As many of you have heard by now, we had a question on our audition form that was completely inappropriate. To all women in the Penn community, and the South Asian community, we would like to sincerely apologize for the hurt that we have caused you. The question on our audition form impresses upon incoming students a culture that objectifies women and promotes misogyny. This is an example of a culture within all-male groups that oftentimes creates and promotes a stereotyped view of masculinity that can lead to physical and sexual violence, misogyny, racism and homo/transphobic behavior. While we have actively worked to move away from this culture, we are ashamed to have contradicted our progress.
We recognized that the question displayed a lack of respect, had nothing to do with an individual’s ability and interest in our group and did not uphold the values that we hope to promote. For those reasons, we removed the question and reprinted the form last Sunday night before the second day of auditions. Once again, we understand that this isn’t a justification. It should not have been on the sheet in the first place.
Going forward, we hope to show all of you that we are better than that distasteful, offensive question. Anyone can write up an apology to perform damage control. That’s not what this is. This is both an apology and a promise to pursue action that will make us better allies to all communities, not just women. We deeply care about respecting every member of Penn’s campus and beyond. What we do for the rest of our time at Penn and beyond will say more than any apology could convey.
In the past week, we’ve been speaking with the Pan-Asian American Community House, Performing Arts Community, Penn Women’s Center and various female leaders on campus to discuss ways in which we can actively turn this into an educational moment and catalyst for change. We’d love to hear more from you on how we can continue taking action to learn from this mistake and generate a progressive and productive conversation about issues of misogyny and sexism at Penn. If anything positive can come out of this, we hope that it is a greater conversation, awareness and tangible action on Penn’s campus to make everyone feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.
Penn Masala, the World’s First South Asian a cappella group, was born with the desire to create music that traversed traditional cultural boundaries and captured the experience of growing up with both Eastern and Western cultures. As the first group in the world to bring the sounds of the Indian subcontinent to a cappella, we’ve consistently been at the forefront of South Asian-Western fusion ever since.Comments powered by Disqus
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