Censoring Scientists and Ignorant Billionaires—The World will End in Three Years.
Censoring Scientists and Ignorant Billionaires—The World will End in Three Years.
Ashley Seldon ’24
Early in April, concerned headlines reported the worldwide protests of scientists to raise awareness about the climate crisis. In the United States, four scientists in Los Angeles chained themselves to a JP Morgan building to protest the bank’s significant investments in fossil fuel projects. The frustration from the scientists comes at the release of the IPCC yearly report that said the window to end irreversible climate damage is closing rapidly. Once the planet’s overall temperature raises 1.5 degrees Celsius, there is little that people can do to handle the consequences. When scientists heard about the continuation of investing in fossil fuels, it felt like a slap in the face; they have been trying to warn people for decades of the environmental horrors to come. Out of their frustration, they began the movement #ScientistRebellion with demonstrations in Madrid, Berlin, and other cities. The Sierra Club reports, “According to the group, more than 1,000 scientists in 26 countries took part. Dozens were arrested.” It is scary that governments are already looking to censor scientists from spreading facts and data they have researched for a living. If people wonder why they haven’t heard about this, it does not come as a surprise. None of the major news stations like CNN, The Washington Post, or the New York Times covered the story, and it goes to show people will not stop brushing off environmental issues.
This story is even more concerning because it aligns perfectly with a recent Netflix movie titled Don’t Look Up, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie was created as a satire to poke fun at how America’s highly partisan government handled the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the actual film is about the dangers of a climate catastrophe where a meteorite is hurtling towards Earth. Throughout the movie, Lawrence and DiCaprio play scientists trying to push a joke of a government into action while facing the barriers of unresponsive media outlets and self-centered billionaires. They are consistently censored by the U.S. government, which tries to prevent fear from spreading when everyone should be scared out of their minds. A movie intended to be a comedy is slowly becoming the world’s reality as the media constantly puts news about the environment on the back burner, most likely because it makes people feel uncomfortable. However, government responses would be a lot stronger if everyone united and took an interest in the planet’s future. Something that seemed like it would only impact future generations is looking like the world will begin to feel the drastic implications of global warming in three years. As the Netflix movie showed, it is very hard for regular people to agree with each other about anything with all of the conspiracy theories, misinformation, and distractions from social media. In fact, if it came out tomorrow that the world only had three years remaining, the result would be a surge of memes on Twitter poking fun at the matter.
A big story in the news has been billionaire Elon Musk’s deal to purchase Twitter for $44 billion. While anything that Musk does makes headlines because he is a controversial and funny figure, it raises further awareness of how this sum of money could be better spent. One tweet from Stephen Semler penned, “The amount Elon Musk just paid for Twitter ($44 billion) is nearly equal to Biden’s proposed climate budget ($44.9 billion), in case anyone’s wondering how seriously we’re taking the climate crisis.” To put it into perspective, Musk boasts a whopping $264.6 billion-dollar net worth showing that this new business venture hardly puts a dent in his pockets and will probably make him more money. However, instead of doing something meaningful that could benefit the entire world and push people to take global warming seriously, Musk decided to invest in social media. After the deal, he tweeted a joke that he may purchase Coca-Cola so they can start putting cocaine back in the drink. The way he speaks shows the distance he is financially and emotionally separated from people with his billionaire status. While it is all one big joke, putting pressure on billionaires to help contribute to this issue would alleviate the burden on governments. As cynical as it sounds, the money would die with billionaires if the planet were to explode—so why not use what they can to help?
Tangents and Tirades
Why Do We Move Our College Stuff out for the Summer?
Ashley Seldon ’24
Earlier this week, a college girl posted a TikTok poking fun at her father, who asked her if she could call her school and move her items into her new housing before the summer break. College students understand that this is not how move-out day works and that once the end of the semester hits, it is a hassle to pack everything back up and load it into the car. However, everyone in the comment section of this TikTok mentioned that their fathers had said the same thing, as dads certainly dread the toil of moving boxes up and down flights of stairs on move-out day. These dads may be on to something. It seems like it would make more sense if upperclassmen were permitted to move their items into their new suite or apartment at the end of the semester in preparation for the next term. When they return in August, all they would have to bring is their clothes, toiletries, and groceries, rather than packing up their entire college lives and attempting to stuff them in an empty closet at home for three months. There are arguments that the dorms need to be cleaned over the summer, but on move-in day, the rooms are remain dusty and have marked-up floors, presumably from the year before. It could be left to both the incoming and outgoing students to clean their dorms. Providence College could have each class “move out” and move their belongings in bins to their new housing on campus at the end of the spring semester. It could start with rising seniors and end with sophomores so that the upperclassmen will already be moved out before the underclassmen take their rooms.
The TikTok Trend We All Need
By Julia McCoy ’22
If approached with the question, “Do you believe in feminism?” or “What are your thoughts on systemic racism?” would you be able to quickly have an informed answer? These questions are now more frequently asked thanks to TikTok. Despite its marketing as an entertainment application, TikTok does sometimes offer educational information. More so than just a video explaining what these things may be, students at Brigham Young University use the app as a way to highlight disparities in education, specifically on topics like social issues and history.
One group that appears to be gaining popularity recently is “The Black Menaces,” students of color at Brigham Young University who ask their peers questions about race, gender, and sexuality. There are opinion-based questions, like “do you think women should always be stay at home moms?” or “do you support Blue Lives Matter”, which capture the students’ thoughts about hot button issues. In other videos, the students show a picture of a historic Black figure, like Coretta Scott King or Malcolm X, and ask if the students can identify them. Students offer a variety of answers for each type of question, with shockingly underwhelming results for those fact-based questions.
Essentially, the goal of this page is to point out that there is a distinct difference in the education of students at Brigham Young University and those at countless other schools across the country. Students can likely identify well-known figures like Rosa Parks, but not many others. When answering opinion-based questions about feminism and systemic racism, students often deflect, admitting that they need “more information” or “to do more research” on a topic.
Overall, there is a glaring issue in what young people know regarding race, gender, and sexuality. The importance of doing “research” is evident as students are left dumbfounded by rather basic social questions. So, in case this trend circulates at other schools—and just for the sake of knowing more about the world around you—start thinking about your own stance on these social issues.
Will Smith’s Legacy Following Oscar’s Slap
Will Smith’s Legacy Following the Oscar’s Slap
Ashley Seldon ’24
Most people did not know the Oscars were happening until Will Smith was trending on Twitter for smacking Chris Rock onstage at the awards event. Rock, one of the co-hosts for the Oscars, made a joke on stage during his set calling Jada Pinkett Smith “G.I. Jane.” His joke was problematic because Pinkett Smith recently revealed on her talk show that she has been battling alopecia and struggling to find confidence with the recent loss of her hair. Pinkett Smith had said, “I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’” Rock’s joke was insensitive as it pokes fun at Pinkett Smith’s autoimmune disease, and Chris Rock should have known better. Still, no one was expecting Will Smith’s immediate reaction to the joke after seeing how annoyed his wife was with Rock. He climbed onto the stage, walked over to Chris Rock, slapped him across his face, and yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out your f—-ing mouth!” The surrounding celebrities were shocked at the outburst, and what was even more surprising was that Smith was able to remain in the audience and accept an Oscar 20 minutes later. One tweet (via @nhannahjones) said, “I’m tripping that you can assault someone on live television on stage at the Oscars and just take your seat and watch the rest of the show.” While some praise Smith for defending his wife against a cruel joke, the entire situation seems like a mistake that will now forever cast a negative light on Smith’s career.
The awards night should have been a beautiful moment for the Smith family to celebrate as Will won the highest achievement an actor can receive—an Oscar. Smith won the award for best actor for King Richard as well as for best picture. Sadly, one of the biggest nights of his life will now forever be plagued by him slapping Chris Rock and yelling obscenities at him. Nobody wants to be remembered for their worst action or mistake; however, celebrities do not get that same liberty. Everyone spent the days following the Oscars poking fun at the Smiths’ already fragile marriage. Back in July 2020, Pinkett Smith brought herself to the Red Table, her popular talk show on Facebook Watch which features Pinkett Smith, her mother, and her daughter discussing a myriad of topics, to address the rumors that she was having an affair or open relationship with rapper August Alsina. She admitted to being in an “entanglement” with Alsina while she and Smith were going through a rough patch in their marriage. She brought her husband on the show to tell him that she wanted to feel good, and Smith noticeably looked distraught. This sent a surge of memes and jokes Smith’s way, joking that his wife had publicly embarrassed him and was sleeping with a man close to their children’s age. In June 2021, she posted a never-before-seen poem of Shakur that he had written while in jail. Despite Shakur and Pinkett Smith saying they were purely platonic, many close photos of them and poems he had written for her have resurfaced since his untimely death showing the intimate nature of their friendship. In Smith’s memoir, he admitted that he was “tortured” by the connection they shared, saying that Shakur made Smith feel less secure. In the memoir, Smith says, “[He] triggered the perception of myself as a coward…I hated that I wasn’t what he was in the world, and I suffered a raging jealousy: I wanted Jada to look at me like that.” Perhaps Smith’s outburst at the Oscars can be attributed to him trying to exemplify a strong man for Pinkett Smith and defend her as he believed Shakur would have.
Smith’s attack on Rock at the Oscars may affect the future of Black celebrities being invited to the elite event. It has already become an issue in the past that the Oscars rarely invite, nominate, or award Black actors and actresses. It was clear that this year had been the “Blackest” the Oscars have been in a while; the representation was clear. Moments like Will Smith’s play into the “angry Black man” stereotype and are taken harshly by already prejudiced white committees. His assault could hurt the number of Black attendees and nominations at next year’s Oscars. Smith resigned from the Academy on April 1, before the Academy had initiated their disciplinary hearings. With this, Smith will no longer be recognized for his work in upcoming films.
Stop Glorifying Kanye West
Stop Glorifying Kanye West because he’s Kanye West
Ashley Seldon ’24
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s very public divorce has been the subject of news for months despite more pressing matters facing the world. While at first their divorce seemed to be a peaceful separation where the couple would be able to co-parent, social media ruined that possibility. Relations between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West began to spiral when he allegedly was not given the address of his daughter, Chicago’s, birthday party. Since then, he has posted private messages among him and Kim, Pete Davidson, and other family members. He has publicly asked for Kardashian to come back to him, despite his public appearances with multiple women. Kanye West also called out the fact that North has a TikTok account, and Kim responded on her Instagram story, saying, “Kanye’s constant attacks on me in interviews and on social media is actually more hurtful than any TikTok North might create.” His Instagram attacks seem like manic episodes with senseless captions in all caps. He has bad-mouthed Davidson and coined a new nickname for him: “skete.”
The situation appeared comedic when West posted a meme he made of Marvel’s Civil War with him and Pete Davidson against each other in battle along with different members of their social circle. Additionally, though, back in December, West bought a house directly across the street from his former wife. While he says his concern is proximity to children, he could have easily purchased a home in a nearby neighborhood. If it were anyone else, people would call him a stalker. Kim Kardashian is not happy with how public West has made their separation. She was recently approved to be considered legally single because of the harassment she has endured from Kanye. Kim posted her first official relationship photo with Pete Davidson following this news. Meanwhile, West has moved on to another Kim look-alike—from Julia Fox to Chaney Jones. Creepily he appears to be committed to making each of his women dress like Kardashian, and Fox even admitted on the Call Her Daddy podcast that West dressed her.
While this is yet another irrelevant news story regarding the Kardashian family, Kim’s divorce and the public harassment she is enduring from her ex-husband are an important narrative. Many people have come to Kanye’s aid out of hate for the Kardashian family, saying they feel bad for the pain he is enduring and that the Kardashians have ruined yet another Black man (an ongoing myth that there is a Kardashian curse). People cannot deny that West is incredibly talented when it comes to making top-charting music and setting fashion trends. However, being an artist and what many call a “genius” does not undo the fact that he is abusive to his ex-wife and children. He has been publicly harassing her and most likely affecting his relationship with the kids as he makes co-parenting unbearable. Kim Kardashian has publicly done nothing to shame her ex-husband while he seems committed to ruining her life.
In Kanye West’s new song, “Eazy,” he says he wants to beat up Pete Davidson. In the disturbing music video, a blurred face looks like Davidson wears a “skete” hoodie and gets attacked by a monkey. West is inciting violence by threatening Davidson, and this behavior shouldn’t be pushed to the side just because Kanye West is rich, famous, and influential. It also seems strategic that West had sat on documentary footage for twenty years and then finally sold it to Netflix that details personal aspects of his life and has made fans pity him. It is clear West has never fully coped with the untimely death of his mother, but that doesn’t change that his behavior is wrong. In light of it being National Women’s History Month, it is particularly important that Kim Kardashian is enduring a toxic cycle from which most women do not have the resources and money to protect themselves and their families. Suppose people are incapable of checking Kanye West’s behavior. What does this mean for any woman dealing with a manipulative ex who has threatened or harassed her into getting back together? Though Kim Kardashian is wealthy, she deserves to be supported and protected by society.
Tangents and Tirades
Make Time for 7 P.M. Mass
By Zach Rossi ’23
As a Catholic institution, Providence College does a phenomenal job providing Mass to its students. In their tours of PC, nearly all members of Friars Club or Admission Ambassadors discuss the Mass options for students, focusing on one specifically: the 10 p.m. mass. While this service gets an abundance of attention and hype at the College, it is inferior to the 7 p.m. Mass.
The 10 p.m. Mass is often completely filled with students. To get enough seats for yourself and your friends, you need to get to the chapel relatively early. It tends to get so packed because the Mass is such a production. The music, performed by some of PC’s best singers and musicians, is unique to the service and gives a more contemporary alternative to a traditional Catholic Mass. While this format can be refreshing, it likens the service to more of a spectacle than an actual Mass. The environment of it all, tied in with getting out at 11 p.m., gives people the feeling of attending a packed, late-night concert. The 7 p.m. Mass, on the other hand, is at a reasonable time and gives people the chance to enjoy a traditional Catholic Mass, and without being on top of one another.
The 10 p.m. Mass has a great reputation, but is it really all that? The 7 p.m. Mass offers a standard service and gives one the chance to enjoy it with one’s friends in a comfortable setting. While one may be unique, the other is more preferable if a person is really trying to just enjoy Mass.
Embrace the Discomfort of Being Alone on Campus
By Olivia Bretzman ’22
Walking to the Slavin student center from Phillips Memorial Library takes approximately three minutes. Most of that time, although so brief, is spent on one’s phone.
When walking alone from a residence hall on lower campus to the science building, the task becomes even more daunting. There seems to be an unwritten script for students to quell their feelings of discomfort walking alone by going on their phones.
Students hardly ever walk alone with their head up or ears unplugged. While understandable when one is trying to make one’s walks more enjoyable, often there is a sense of urgency to constantly fill any sort of empty space, conversation, or moment.
This habit has become part of almost everyone’s daily life and is incredibly detrimental. In life, there are supposed to be moments of silence, of respite, of repose. Life should not just be a huge jumble of distractions and screens.
Our campus yearns to be appreciated. People are meant to be acknowledged and smiled at. Humanity finds its place in nature by looking up every once and a while and putting down one’s phone.
Not only do people lose out on opportunities to be silent, but also to learn something. By looking for the details on our campus and in others’ faces, students, professors, administrators, and coaches can gain a perspective on life that will impact them far more than anything on their iPhone.
Of course, there are moments during one’s walk that are perfect for a phone call to one’s mother and should be cherished, but aside from a call or genuine human interaction, it simply makes no sense to pass up on the opportunity to look around and smell the roses.
Moreover, everyone can and should try to embrace the discomfort of being alone when walking around campus and take in life for its raw and pure nature.
Why Being a Material Girl in College Is Not a Smart Thing to Do?
Ashley Seldon ’24
For the last couple of months, one of the most popular sounds on TikTok has been “Material Girl” by Saucy Santana. Many users have been quoting the sound to brag about their poor spending habits while actually having little-to-no money in their bank accounts. While it is fun to listen to, and can be entertaining to pretend everyone can live out their “Blair Waldorf” dreams, most expenses are unnecessary and give insight into how wrapped up young women have become in material items. Some girls will brag that they cannot stop buying expensive oat milk lattes or constantly have packages from Amazon arriving at their houses. However, spending hundreds of dollars on nails that last two weeks or fast fashion is merely short-term gratification, and in the long term, women will likely regret spending money on these items because many college students do not have steady incomes and either work few hours at minimum wage jobs or live off the money their parents put in their bank accounts.
While these TikTok videos are jokes and are often intended to merely poke fun, it is concerning that the trend seems to be encouraging young women to buy useless items that they do not need.. To combat this, it would be wiser for college-aged girls to begin to recognize their toxic spending habits now before it leads to dangerous adult behaviors that could affect one’s credit score or ability to save money. For example, instead of instantly buying something or constantly “treating yourself,” try to sit on online orders for longer and recognize that the things you want are probably not needed. There is already a stigma that young women do not know the value of money—prove everyone wrong.
How to Meaningfully Celebrate Black History Month
How to Meaningfully Celebrate Black History Month
Ashley Seldon ’24
Once February comes around, many businesses begin launching their Black History Month “collections” or collaborations. Target will dedicate a section of its app and store for Black-owned enterprises that they sell, or brands will include more diverse faces on their advertisements. Other retailers like Michaels will clear an aisle to sell “black art” sets for the month. The History Channel does its part by broadcasting various Martin Luther King documentaries or Malcolm X movies. While these visual celebrations are valuable and honest first steps in uplifting Black businesses and acknowledging the month’s existence, there are other more meaningful ways of celebrating. Sometimes it comes off like a marketing team is sitting there thinking, “we have to do something for black history month—let’s brainstorm,” and they do the bare minimum. If this business philosophy persists in marketing meetings, it can make celebrations of Black History Month come off as cheap and insignificant.
Last week, Bath and Body Works faced backlash on Twitter when they released their Black History Month collection. It took popular scents like champagne toast, coconut sandalwood, and teakwood and slapped on traditional African print and designs onto the packaging. A tweet by @blickiddyb said, “So gullible no new scents, just dashiki style candles and vibes to seal the performance. Support these black businesses and gone about y’all day.” Quick and meaningless business ploys like this come off as ingenuine and rushed. There was no thought behind curating a scent that correctly recognized Black culture with traditional ethnic scents. They could have easily curated a new scent including cocoa butter, jojoba oil, or lemon by working with a team of minorities.
For those who want to celebrate the right way, Black History Month is a great time to get educated on why this holiday is necessary. In this process, it is just as important to recognize that the small wins brought by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, MLK, etc., are a part of an ongoing struggle that still exists today. Black History Month should automatically make one think of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the issue of systemic racism that modern society is trying to dismantle. This education can be done through documentaries and books and easy things like podcasts on drives to work or walks to class. People can donate funds to organizations that look to better minority youth or the criminal justice system. The United States has come very far in addressing racism and fixing hatred, but there’s still a long way to go. It’s a great time to expose oneself to more black content creators on social media apps and diversify daily media feeds—whether that’s on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.
However, Black history shouldn’t just reflect the negativity and hate that America has pushed onto the Black community. There also should be appreciation for Black culture and all of the achievements it has given the world. Crab boils, creative nail art, rap music, extraordinary athleticism, and dance moves should be treated as aspects of culture that the Black community has shared with society and made life more fun. There are so many great Black artists and actors whose gift may be one’s favorite album or movie of all time. As college students, it may be more challenging to take active time out of one’s day to go about celebrating. Still, it could be just taking a moment of gratitude for that SZA song that you can’t stop singing or dedicating a movie night to popular Black culture films. Lastly, Black excellence and success should be honored and respected every day, not just in February. To think of how far African Americans have come in this country despite all of the barriers shows a resilience that people should commend more often.
Tangents and Tirades
PC Needs to be on Flip or Flop
Ashley Seldon ’24
Providence College announced their construction project to create a new residence hall named after Father Shanley, a relief to students since many friars remember the hassle of finding housing last spring. While it’s nice that PC is taking action to solve this issue, it would be nicer if the college devised a plan to renovate the existing dorm buildings. Many of the residence halls were built in the 1950s and 60s, and that’s apparent once stepping inside.
The tuition and room and board costs have gone up expeditiously in the last ten years, now exceeding $77,000 for students to attend. Despite these heavy prices, students feel that their needs are not being entirely met in terms of comfortable living. Basic living standards need to be met to justify the elitist cost families are expected to pay. The rooms in McVinney hall are way too small to be considered “doubles.” Most residence halls don’t offer air-conditioning or adequate storage space, and provide few wall outlets. In Mal Brown, there are only four washers and dryers for the 142 residents to fight over. Considering the differences in technological needs over the last 50 years, printers and spacious study lounges in dorms would help modernize these spaces.
The school administration and alumni’s efforts to renovate and improve PC are appreciated. However, instead of building more, they need to update what the campus already has by partnering with students.
COVID-19 Cannot Stop the Friars
Zach Rossi ‘23
The Providence College Men’s Basketball Team is ranked within the top 25 best teams in the nation for the first time in years. With a record of 16-2 and being ranked seventeenth in the country, this year’s squad is eyeing an NCAA tournament berth. There is only one thing stopping this from happening, and it is not any of the competition.
COVID-19 stands in the way of the college basketball season. Even if athletes do follow proper pandemic protocols, the season could still be ruined by an executive decision due to COVID-19 “problems.” For any upperclassmen, they can remember the incredible run of the 2020 season where the Friars took down top teams left and right. As the Big East Tournament rolled around, their run to glory was destroyed by the beginning of mass quarantines. At the time, little was known about the virus and how it would affect people. Now, with that knowledge, let the kids play.
Our Friar athletes work too hard to have their chance at a great accomplishment stripped from them. They dedicate their time, energy, and effort to their sport. As their hard work finally comes to fruition with a phenomenal season, let us not have the virus be a greater concern than rival Villanova University. It is time to finally move forward with some normalcy, and there is no better way to do it than by continuing to watch the Friars win basketball games.
The Meaning of Kyle Rittenhouse’s Verdict
by Ashley Seldon ’24
During a series of protests in Kenosha, WI following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois shot and killed two protestors in what he alleged to be an act of self-defense.
While a 1994 Wisconsin law allowed Rittenhouse to carry a semi-automatic AR-15 style rifle as a minor, the fact is that no one so young should be able to own an assault weapon and openly carry it to a protest. While Rittenhouse claimed to be helping protect local businesses from protestors, he knew the climate he was walking into and the message he was sending by going into such a highly emotional and violent moment of civil unrest with an AR-15 rifle. He wanted conflict, and that is exactly what he got.
Several people approached Rittenhouse to disarm him. One person, Joseph Rosenbaum, lunged at Rittenhouse and was fatally shot by him. Anthony Huber, another victim of Rittenhouse’s violence and a friend of Jacob Blake, tried to stop Rittenhouse by hitting him with a skateboard. When Gaige Grosskreutz approached Rittenhouse with a handgun pointed at him, Rittenhouse shot and wounded him.
Rittenhouse’s intention was never to protect businesses, but instead, was to incite more violence and threaten protestors with his weapon. He caused two deaths and one injury because he chose to attend the protests that day.
In initial statements, Rittenhouse had claimed he was an EMT. During his trial, which took place throughout November, however, he admitted this was a lie as he was questioned about why he did not medically assist the people he shot.
The trial itself was generally a farce. While the defense was speaking, the judge’s phone rang twice with Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the USA” as his ringtone. Could it be a mere coincidence that this is the same song which was often used in Donald Trump’s rallies to get the crowd excited? Or, was this an indication of something different?
Kevin Gough, Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, also felt that the presence of “high-profile members of the African-American community” put pressure on the courtroom despite the lack of disruption made by such observers. Gough continued, “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here,” arguing against Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton being present. Gough’s comments further play into the racist stereotype that black men are threatening, apparently even just by their presence in a courtroom.
Despite these instances, it was a shock to many when Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. Even though he killed two people, he will face no consequences. The judge ruled that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defense, and his actions were just because he felt that his life was on the line. Following the verdict, Rittenhouse was praised by many Republican politicians, who invited him to take internships with them. How comforting that America’s politicians feel that a murderer is a strong candidate for a future career in politics.
Many do not like to confront the fact that Rittenhouse was an avid Trump supporter and that he supported the Blue Lives Matter movement. It is wrong to make the sweeping generalization that all Republicans are racist.
Looking through a lens of race, there are more issues within the Rittenhouse decision, because his privilege as a white person likely afforded him advantages. This case further proves the danger of a party that promotes gun ownership, white innocence, and racism. The precedence of self-defense, if it applies to this 18-year-old white boy, should be equally considered in cases with Black defendants. But our justice system often does not work that way. If self-defense is the precedent being set, it needs to apply to all cases, not just a now 18-year-old white boy.
For example, women who go to jail for protecting themselves against men who rape and beat them—like Cyntoia Brown, who was given a life sentence at sixteen—should be treated the same. In another case during the summer of 2020, Marc Wilson and his girlfriend were parked near a pickup truck full of white teenagers that began yelling racial slurs. The teenagers swerved in front of them and tried to knock Wilson’s sedan off the highway; they also threw an object at the car. Wilson shot at their vehicle and killed Haley Hutcheson sitting in the backseat. He tried to argue self-defense, saying that he and his girlfriend feared for their lives, yet the judge denied Wilson’s bail and ruled last week that he felt Wilson was a “significant threat” to the community.
If self-defense is the precedent being set, the justice system needs to ensure this right applies to Black individuals as well.
Remembering Virgil Abloh
Remembering Virgil Abloh
Why He Should Be Remembered as a Pioneer for African Americans in the High-Fashion Industry
by Ashley Seldon ’24
Virgil Abloh passed away on Nov. 28 at the age of 41 after privately battling cancer. Abloh was the creative director of the high-fashion brand Louis Vuitton and the founder of Off-White. He became the first-ever Black artistic director for Louis Vuitton, paving a pathway for other young, Black designers to follow suit.
Abloh was controversial and daring in his approach. As a young designer, he would purchase Ralph Lauren shirts for $40 and then print them with his Off-White logo to sell for $550. He forever changed the meaning of streetwear and has made it something that can become high fashion. Before, streetwear was prominent in African American communities, and people who dressed casually were stereotyped as ghetto. Instead, Abloh, through his art, was able to turn hoodies, purses, and t-shirts that were simple in design and style into something considered high-end.
Off-White was a complete breakaway from the rigid designs of Louis, Gucci, Fendi, and Prada and promoted simplicity and edge. Off-White products typically say what they are on the item; for example, an Off-White phone case will display “phone case” on the product in the signature quotation marks. A pair of Off-White sneakers will say “shoelaces” on them.
In one interview, Thom Bettiridge recalled why it was so crucial for Abloh to use quotation marks on his pieces: “Quotation marks are one of the many tools that Abloh uses to operate in a mode of ironic detachment…Abloh rejects the who-did-it-first mentality of previous generations in favor of the copy-paste logic of the Internet and its inhabitants.” Unlike the French high-end brands, Off-White is inherently American, and one can see Abloh’s roots as a second-generation U.S. citizen. One of his most famous pieces is his yellow belt that mimics construction workers’ caution tape; it’s unique and wearable. The prices of Off-White pieces are still expensive but not as bad as Louis Vuitton or Gucci. Belts are around $200, and purses can be as low as $1,500.
Abloh’s most iconic work, subjectively, is Hailey Bieber’s custom wedding dress with the long romantic veil. His iconic quotation, “Till Death Do Us Part,” is embroidered at the bottom. It was a perfect collaboration, seeing that Bieber is known as a famous model for her streetwear, and she was often seen wearing Off-White pieces.
There is truly no other Black designer who has influenced the high-fashion industry like Abloh. He was a key inspiration for Kanye West’s Yeezy line that has consistently sold out and impacts streetwear as Abloh once did. West’s pieces are simple and wearable; they’re on the more affordable side, but his shoe designs are unique.
Another young, Black designer who recently hit the high fashion market is Telfar Clemens with his Telfar bags. The tote purses are simple and wearable and only $200, yet specific designs are exclusive because they sell out so quickly. Many celebrities can be photographed courtside at basketball games or walking down the street wearing multi-colored Telfar purses.
Many models and profiled celebrities have expressed their shock and despair towards the sudden loss of such a talented designer and close friend. Abloh has left behind a legacy for other Black men to become designers. He once said, “I realize my runways and campaigns in my own image: young men of color, who, in the future, might be able to mirror themselves in the historical reflection of luxury as much as any white boy down the street.” As a child of immigrants from Ghana, historically, Abloh was not supposed to become a top designer and artist. However he did not hide his creativity, instead he chose to take a risk and share it with the world. Abloh taught the world that young, Black children could embody wealth and class just as much as any white child in this country. Rest in peace, Abloh, and thank you for breaking barriers for future Black artists.
Accountability for Assault
Accountability for Assault
Colleges and Universities are Failing Students without Proper Rape Responses
by Ashley Seldon ’24
Content warning: This article contains discussion of sexual assault.
It is only the first week of November, and there have already been two major college rape scandals that have caught the attention of mainstream media. A lawsuit against Liberty University has a total of 22 plaintiffs who are suing the university for their indifference and complete negligence towards multiple rape accusations made by female students. Liberty University is a highly conservative Christian institution that hides behind its moral code when controversy comes to light. Their “liberty way” is an honor code the students are expected to live by that is, “…rooted in biblical admonitions and morality, and sexual behavior is apparently also being used by administrators to sidestep Title IX” (MSNBC). Back in 2017, freshman Elizabeth Axley reported her rape case to the Title IX coordinator, which took quite a bit of courage. The former coordinator asked Axle what she had to drink and why she had gone to that party instead of details on the rapist. The coordinator should have realized that her questions had nothing to do with the actual sin committed—a male student not asking for consent before making sexual advances. There is nothing wrong with religious colleges, but it is immoral to use the Bible against a victim and gloss over the real issue. Liberty administrators have a history of quieting victims by asking them to sign forms saying they had broken the honor code or fining them instead of holding abusers accountable.
At the beginning of this school year, The University of Massachusetts Amherst students protested a fraternity,Theta Chi,because of their history of sexual assault unchecked by the administration. A student, Kelsey Nass, woke up one morning after attending a frat party and realized she had been raped with no recollection of the night before. What is not important is what she wore, her previous relationship with the perpetrator, or how much she had to drink. What is key here is that a male student took advantage of her in a vulnerable state and raped her. Nass has chosen not to press charges, but bravely decided to share her experience to promote a conversation about rape culture on campus surrounding Greek life. However, when she met with an administrator about the situation, she said, “I was met with the words: This will all be on record and I do not need and/or want details of your full story…Within minutes, my confidence was stripped. I was being looked at as a court case, further than that, a liability. I was a threat to his power.” Instead of treating her like a student, a survivor, or a human being—UMass Amherst’s administration chose to instead fear for their university’s reputation. There was no collaboration on how the administration could best support Nass in her mission but rather viewed her as the enemy.
These cases are not just experiences that have occurred in other places, though. It is important to know that Providence College has seen similar scenarios. In 2014, there was a PC case surrounding one female and two basketball players, Rodney Bullock and Brandon Austin. The judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence and the two were set free. This lack of justice allowed Austin to transfer to the University of Oregon, where he was accused of rape again. Bullock continued and finished his basketball career at PC. Once again, the female student was quieted and the male athletes were acquitted.
Often times, it seems that schools feel that accusations of rape have a negative impact on the school’s marketing instead of focusing on safety and moral concerns. As a result, they often participate in counterproductive actions that attempt to hide or discredit survivors who come forward with their stories, showing the poor priorities of schools and their administrations. If colleges instead reported these instances with full candidness, it would show how honest and proactive that school is to rape cases. Schools could also detail the mental health services provided to the survivor to help heal after suffering such trauma and the rightful punishment given to the perpetrator once proven guilty. If a rapist is allowed to continue to be on campus, it is only threatening the rest of the student population with the probability of a repeat offender. Some high school seniors applying to colleges may have already suffered some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lives. They will look at the university’s proper handling with comfort and assurance that these actions should be the standard protocol. On the other hand, lack of proper response to rape accusations may contribute to a future decline in university applications and enrollment.