Hillary Clinton: Real Feminist?

This year Hillary Clinton has become the first female to be nominated for president by a major political party. Because of this, Clinton has become a symbol for feminism.  Many famous women in our country such as Kerry Washington, Lady Gaga, and Meryl Streep are proud Clinton supporters. Some have even taken to social media to show their support and post the #imwithher slogan. But are they only with Clinton because she is a “her” or do they actually support her views? Should Clinton even be considered a feminist?

Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez shows her support for Hillary Clinton on twitter after the Democratic National Convention. “So moved! Herstory in the making tonight! @HillaryClinton #imwithher,” Lopez tweeted.
Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez shows her support for Hillary Clinton on twitter after the Democratic National Convention. “So moved! Herstory in the making tonight! @HillaryClinton #imwithher,” Lopez tweeted. Photo courtesy of https://twitter.com/JLo/media.

When people first look at Hillary Clinton, it is only human nature to notice that she is a woman. I think this only affects Clinton in both negative and positive ways. Some people will look at her and think “a woman is not fit to be president, I’m not voting for her.” Others may look at her and think “a woman needs to be president; I’m voting for her.” I have a problem with both of these points of view.

Continue reading “Hillary Clinton: Real Feminist?”

Drinking in America

Your 18th birthday is quite a big milestone. There are so many freedoms you get when you finally turn 18. You are not, however, awarded the freedom to drink alcohol.

The legal drinking age of alcohol being 21 and not 18 has never made sense to me. How is it fair that you are able to get married, yet can’t legally have champagne at your wedding? How can we allow people to fight and die for our country all before you are old enough to kick back and have a beer with your friends?

The legal drinking age in the United States has been 21 years of age since The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984. The restriction of alcohol was initially enacted to lessen the amount of drunk driving with the help of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. With their influence, President Ronald Reagan passed the bill telling states to raise the age or face a 10 percent cut in their federal taxes.

Some people might say that 18-year-old college students wouldn’t be mature enough to drink if the drinking age was lowered. But we find them mature enough to live on their own, go to prison for crimes, and decide who runs our country, right? I would much rather some 18-year-olds drink than choose our president, that’s for sure.

Everyone knows college students drink anyway. We also know how crazy they get. But it’s not really their fault though. It has to do with the culture of drinking in America. The United States is one of few countries who has a drinking age this high. In many European countries, kids grow up drinking under the supervision of their parents. When they are 18, or in some countries, 16, they are able to drink on their own.

Being 18 means you are an adult, and are entitled to every freedom that comes with adulthood. Photo courtesy of Daniel Essrow

When they get the chance to drink alone, they most likely do it responsibly because it hasn’t been off limits to them their whole young lives.  I think drinking like this while growing up would be much better for people.

According to a recent article published in the Huffington Post, Dr. Patrick Neustatter, author and current medical director at Lloyd Moss Free Clinic in Virginia, agrees Europeans consume alcohol more responsibly.

“I will say that as someone who grew up in England, and has lived in America for several decades, I can say it seems like younger Europeans do have a more respectful, controlled attitude towards consuming alcohol,” Neustatter as quoted saying.

I‘ve grown up with the mindset that alcohol is supposed to be off limits until you turn 21. My parents hardly ever drank and I never saw alcohol in the house. For me, all this did was make me want to figure out what all the commotion was about, and try it even more. So, I’ve looked forward to turning 21 for quite some time.

Some people aren’t waiting until 21 to try it though. Teens and young adults rebel; that’s just human nature. That means, regardless of the law or what their parents tell them, young adults are going to drink. And because of the law, they are doing it in unsafe places in effort to avoid being caught. And since they haven’t been exposed to it before, they consume it in excessive amounts because they aren’t aware how much they can handle.

Surprisingly, many students at Tallahassee Community College are not in favor of lowering the drinking age.

Shayla Clark, a second year student, is one of the people who feels this way.

“It would not be a good idea,” Clark said. “People are not mature enough at that age to be responsible.”

TCC Student Government Association President Cody Rodgers has a more moderate view.

“I’m neither for nor against it,” Rodgers said. “We know people are going to drink anyway. I would just question if it affects brain function.”

To me, being 18 means you are an adult, and are entitled to every freedom that comes with adulthood. This would include drinking alcoholic beverages. If the drinking age were lowered, and our culture made alcohol less “taboo” and more of a normal thing, I think it would actually promote a more safe and smart way for people to do what they have probably already been doing since they were 16.

Avoiding the Nightmare of Tallahassee Community College Parking

First-year Tallahassee Community College student Keylee Glover locks her car door before she goes off to class.

By Brandi Stevens

Imagine arriving to campus ten minutes before your class begins. Seems like plenty of time to get to class, right? You drive around to look for a parking spot and before you know it, 20 minutes goes by! At this point, you still haven’t found a spot, you’re already late to class, so you just decide to go home.

This has most likely been the experience of many students at Tallahassee Community College. This has been my experience quite a few times in fact. I struggle with parking on campus almost daily. I’ve gotten frustrated, yelled, even hit the steering wheel in anger! At first, I figured I was the only one struggling. I now know that I am not the only one who has these frustrations.

Second-year TCC student Lexie Goodson says she has trouble with parking on campus.
“It’s terrible. I’ve spent 25 minutes looking for a spot at one point and ended up being five minutes late to class,” Goodson said.

It’s not just finding a spot, it’s fighting others for spots as well.
Taylor Branch, who is also a second-year student, hasn’t had the best experiences with other drivers in the parking lot.

“Just today I was waiting for someone to back up so I could have their spot,” Branch said. “As I was about to pull in, someone came from behind me and stole it.”

I believe almost every student who drives to campus has gone through similar scenarios in the parking lot. When I think about parking at TCC, the first thing that comes to mind is “It’s awful, it’s terrible.” There is a parking garage, overflow parking, and I still have trouble finding a spot. I wonder sometimes why it seems like the school has done nothing to help students. Maybe it’s not the parking that’s the problem, maybe it’s me? While there are students like myself who have trouble finding a spot and getting to class on time; there are probably just as many students who do not have problems and have always been on time.

Taylor Branch is one of these people. Even with her trouble fighting other students for a spot, Branch has always found a way to be on time.

“I like to plan things, and I always plan to get to school early,” Branch said. “It’s worked for me so far, I’ve never been late to class.”

Greg Gibson, the sergeant of the TCC police department, agrees that planning will help students with parking.
“You have to show up early, you can’t wait until the last minute,” Gibson said, “You have to anticipate that you are going to have to find a spot that might not be close to your class and expect that you’re going to have to walk.”
Gibson says the scheduling of your classes can mean easier parking access.

“The bulk of our students are on campus from 10am-2pm,” Gibson said. “If you’re in a crunch for time, you may want to think about scheduling classes early in the morning or late in the day.”

Now, I am a naturally late person. On my best days, I arrive to campus no more than 10 minutes before class. Maybe I’m crazy to think I can find a spot and walk to class in that time frame, but I still attempt to. For a late straggler like myself, the TCC parking lot may always remain a problem. Though, it is possible to beat the heat if you play it smart.

Safety Tips from Sergeant Greg Gibson

  • Be mindful of 15mph speed limit
  • Look both directions when backing out of a parking spot
  • Obey stop signs
  • Beware of pedestrians walking in the parking lot
  • Always wear your seatbelt

For more information about TCC parking and safety on campus, feel free to contact the TCC police Department at 850-201-6100.

No Strings (Or Stigma) Attached

By Sydney Selman

Hooking up isn’t as big of a deal as people think it is. It’s been a recurrent activity for decades. So why are we so quick to shame those who participate in casual relationships? I have always viewed sex as simply that: sex. In my opinion, sex can be personal or impersonal, so long as there are two (or more) legally consenting parties.

As hookups become more seemingly prevalent on campus, many suggest that young people are more sexually active at earlier ages in casual circumstances than their Baby Boomer parents were at their age. History tells us that casual sex isn’t unique to the millennial generation.

According to reports, no-strings-attached relationship with other individuals has been a prominent part of the sexual practice in the world since 1943. Additionally, during the so-called sexual revolution in the United States and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, attitudes towards sexual issues underwent considerable changes. The onset of “the pill” and other forms of birth control, legalization of abortion, and the Women’s Liberation movement is believed to have led to an expanded practice of casual sex.

Research shows that as many as two-thirds to three-quarters of American students have casual sex at least once during college.  For many, sex is a basic human need and desire that requires immediate fulfilment or gratification–precisely what casual sex provides. This is not to say that this is the only way sex should be perceived. I’m merely stating that sex is appropriate with or without an emotional involvement.

(Photo courtesy of Jibri Bailey and Masani Bailey)
(Photo courtesy of The Hippie Hangout)
(Photo courtesy of Jibri Bailey and Masani Bailey)
(Photo courtesy of The Hippie Hangout)
(Photo courtesy of Jibri Bailey and Masani Bailey)
(Photo courtesy of The Hippie Hangout)

With this notion in mind, I personally believe that hookup culture can actually be empowering. The hookup culture itself  is thriving on college campuses, and to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture.What makes this remarkable development possible is not just the pill or legal abortion, but a whole new landscape of sexual freedom.

Nowadays, for kids in college, an overly serious suitor is comparable to an accidental pregnancy in the 19th century. It’s a prospect to be avoided at all costs for fear that it jeopardizes a promising future. It’s the ability to delay marriage and have temporary relationships that will not derail an individual’s career.

If you consider that relationships can possibly be detrimental to academic success, threaten friendships, provide a breeding ground for jealousy, manipulation, and abuse, it is easy to see why many young people may opt for casual sex. Being open to hooking up means being able to go out and fit into the social scene, get attention from other suitors, and learn about sexuality.

“Hooking up isn’t the rampant, hedonistic free-for-all portrayed by the media,” said the authors of “Is Hooking up Bad for Young Women?” The National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) reported its findings that those born prior to 1942 were less sexually active at a young age than those born after 1942. However, the NHSLS reports suggest the sexual activity between young adults appears to reverse or halt among those born from 1963-1972.

It seems that recent claims about the hookup culture among college students are greatly exaggerated, presumably due to the Baby Boomer generation and the media. Strictly speaking, despite scandalous headlines proposing that young adults are becoming more invested in informal liaisons as opposed to formal relationships, I don’t think these so-called “hookups” are a problem among young adults.

We need to educate those around us that that they must be cautious of sex, but not to fear it. Sex is not to be used as a form of manipulation or stigmatize those who may practice it in a presumably unconventional way.  It is also okay to remain abstinent if it is so desired.

The only ways to counter social inequality among those who are sexual active is to promote respect and awareness. Hooking up is an activity that should not purportedly debase those who choose to participate in it.

What Are Your Thoughts On Casual Hookups?

Name: Alicina Dale Major: Chemistry Hometown: Inverness, Fla. “They can be very empowering to both sides of the relationship. Sometimes it can be a bit stressful. You have to make sure you’re safe. If you meet somebody and you decide to have a causal relationship with them, they might not be the person you thought they were. They can get super jealous and think that it’s more than what it is.” Photo by Sydney Selman)
Name: Alicina Dale
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Inverness, Fla.
“They can be very empowering to both sides of the relationship. Sometimes it can be a bit stressful. You have to make sure you’re safe. If you meet somebody and you decide to have a causal relationship with them, they might not be the person you thought they were. They can get super jealous and think that it’s more than what it is.”
(Photo by Sydney Selman)
Name: Ethan Brown Major: Humanities Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla. “I’m not a big fan of that. I don’t really feel that you should play with someone’s emotions like that. I don’t think anyone should be judged for it though. You need to understand that one of you may or may not get attached at one point.” Photo by Sydney Selman)
Name: Ethan Brown
Major: Humanities
Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla.
“I’m not a big fan of that. I don’t really feel that you should play with someone’s emotions like that. I don’t think anyone should be judged for it though. You need to understand that one of you may or may not get attached at one point.” (Photo by Sydney Selman)
Name: Gabrielle Benites Major: Social Work Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla. “I think they’re really cool. Yeah, they can be empowering and fun for a lot of people, but I think the most important thing honestly is being on top of testing. As long as you’re doing that, I think it’s awesome. Otherwise--finger wagging. There’s no judgment from me as long as you’re safe about it.” (Photo by Sydney Selman)
Name: Gabrielle Benites
Major: Social Work
Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla.
“I think they’re really cool. Yeah, they can be empowering and fun for a lot of people, but I think the most important thing honestly is being on top of testing. As long as you’re doing that, I think it’s awesome. Otherwise–finger wagging. There’s no judgment from me as long as you’re safe about it.” (Photo by Sydney Selman)




Taking Off on the North Carolina License Plate

By Patricia Singletary

There is a particular injustice going on in America that has bothered me for a very long time, and I think it’s far past time to have a serious discussion about it. North Carolina’s license plate motto is completely ridiculous!

This motto, “First in Flight”, is on every North Carolina state sanctioned license plate, and worse, I am forced to see it even here in Florida.

During such times, I’ll be minding my own business and–boom–I’m sent into a nonsensical rage over the grave offense done by a stupid license plate. This hatred has even made me insult the boyfriend of a friend as I went on a rant similar to this one in front of him, not knowing that North Carolina is his ancestral homeland.

I hate the phrase, “First in Flight,” so much because the state is taking credit for something the Wright brothers accomplished, not North Carolina, and that they try to do so is a travesty that seems to me well beyond the scope of any other.

There is a great wrong being done here. Orville and Wilbur Wright were the two brothers who are credited with making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight on Dec. 17, 1903 four miles south of Kitty Hawk, N.C.

While they were not the first people to attempt aviation, they were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible. But the Wright brothers are not even from that state! They are from Ohio, which rightfully has the motto, “Birthplace of Aviation,” on its license plates!

North Carolina’s appeal was that it does have an environment that Ohio cannot offer, which are the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks are barrier islands off North Carolina’s coast that boast steady winds and isolated beaches.

This is why the Wright brothers took their legendary flight on a beach near the town Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks.

It was the best location for their experiments. So clearly, the only reason this state had any contribution to the invention of flight at all was the natural environment of the barrier islands right off their coast.

The state government cannot take responsibility for convenient borders. Furthermore, this was not a state funded venture, but rather an experiment done by two entrepreneurs who were only in North Carolina for the strong winds.

So why is this touted as the state’s biggest accomplishment?

Perhaps North Carolina could replace this ridiculous slogan with, “We Hate the Gays!”, at least that one is accurate.

The Social Stigmas We’ve Given Mental Health

By Sydney Selman

One considerable barrier that is currently handicapping the United States’ social progression is the way in which it’s citizens regard those with mental illnesses. Attitudes that view symptoms of psychopathology as aggressive and distressing are prevalent in most societies, including our own. The mindsets of people who view those struggling with mental illness as incompetent and hostile stems from our own culture.

Culture plays a vital role in how society views mental illness.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), culture may be indicative of, “whether or not they seek help, what type of help they seek, what coping styles and supports they have, what treatments might work and more.”

Currently, the cultural representation of mental illness in the U.S. is lacking and skewed at best. The U.S.’s diverse population has been done an injustice by society’s lack of accurate cultural differences and representation.

American society prides itself on diversity and equal representation. However, more often than not, television and film paint an inaccurate reflection of said diversity. Instead, the media homogenizes and misrepresents the lives of those who live with mental illnesses. Media distortions, such as neurotic disorders, frequently foster stigma and even discrimination towards these individuals. In films and on television, the portrayal of mental illness is inaccurate, and perpetuates stigmatization and negative stereotypes of those who struggle with mental illness.

Films such as, Psycho, directed by, Alfred Hitchcock, are a prime example of how those with mental illnesses are stereotyped as dangerous to the public.  This movie is highly relevant because, for many Americans, the media–whether it be scripted television or broadcast news is the primary source of information regarding mental illness.

People often don’t understand mental illness, or when they do, it’s not properly talked about in our various social institutions. In fact, it seems to be looked down upon.  One study reports that 37 percent of employers interviewed would not employ an individual with schizophrenia, and another 23.4 percent would not employ an individual with depression. It seems that mental illness is brushed off and considered unfavorable in most cases. In one study, 45.1 percent of individual’s surveys, stated that they would not want an individual with mental illness such as schizophrenia marrying into their family. Similarly,  28.2 percent would not want an individual with depression marrying into their family.

I can see where these people are coming from. Mental illness does truthfully affect a family as a whole. However, this seems to indicate that within families, mental illness is clearly talked about and perceived negatively. I for one have seen how those with mental illness are blamed for their illness, and taught to conceal their issues. We know that such discrimination can play out in the small and daily interactions between people. Minor instances of discrimination or inequality that are experienced repeatedly, build up to compound a person’s understanding of what is appropriate to discriminate against.

Is the stigma of mental health worth jeopardizing the lives of your family and friends who live with it?

Islamophobia Spreads as Demagogues Take the Stage

By Elery Ostertag

The world as we know it is rife with political and religious demagogues, espousing their particular ideology as the only truth. 

With a presidential election on the horizon and the threat of ISIS looming in the Middle East, these demagogues in the United States and abroad have taken their respective stages and drummed up the masses.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been preaching a medieval fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran, calling for terror attacks, genocide, and the ushering in of the apocalypse. While here in the U.S., politicians actively incite the marginalization and mistrust of innocent Muslims based on the actions of the minute percentage of Muslims who follow al-Baghdadi.

It is this destructive Islamophobic rhetoric that we must challenge every chance we get. Many people in the U.S. have called for drastic measures, such as turning away refugees, requiring Muslim-Americans to wear identification badges, and even interning Muslim-Americans in camps like the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II.

Even though arguing with people who support these kinds of measures often proves futile, it is imperative that we as individuals and as a society speak out against them and show compassion for our fellow man, in the hopes that we sway just one person who may also speak out.

In these situations, countering the inflammatory fabrications of Islamophobes with well-researched arguments based in fact is of paramount importance.  We must utilize the logos of Aristotle’s Rhetorical Triangle, arguments based upon logic and fact.

The politicians who encourage this Islamophobia use pathos, arguments based purely upon emotion, to sway the opinion of those who follow them. Surrendering to the whims of passion and emotion in challenging a topic as heated as Islamophobia gets neither party anywhere.

I find it deeply troubling that so many seem to be willing to forsake the ideals that our country was founded on. These ideals that we have fought for time and time again have fallen by the wayside as our nation’s focus turns toward security, when that security could prove to be nothing more than a facade for something more malicious or illusory and is often based on half-truths or complete lies. In todays social media meme culture, people will believe any picture with a fabricated fact thrown on it, Instead of forming their own opinion.

The concept of not acting at all is equally troubling to me. In doing that, we become just as guilty as the people calling for camps and special IDs.

The history of the U.S. is full of notable figures who have stood up and expressed dissent when our nation was heading down the road towards injustice, and that is what we need right now.

We are barreling down that same road again, while justice and compassion recede into the distance. We must fight tirelessly to stomp out Islamophobia.

To do otherwise would undermine the efforts of all who have fought for justice before us as well as our own  desire for a nation, and a world, where people can live free of fear.

Challenging the Pressures of College Success

By Sydney Selman

High schoolers are subjected to pressure from schools and colleges setting ridiculously high standards and working students to death.

I am a first year at Tallahassee Community College. This is my third semester at TCC and academically, things have been going great. Despite juggling six classes and a part-time (they make it feel like full-time) job, I have been able to keep my head above water. Of course, when exams roll around, the water starts to get rocky, but I manage to push through.

In my sophomore year of high school, my honors English teacher would make continuous references to our years to come and what would happen “on the collegiate-level.” I don’t know how I let him scare me about college so much. Being here is not so bad.

What was most concerning to me was the strain and stress of high school in preparation for college.

“In highschool, we just tried to please everyone else, and the colleges,” said Samantha Fream, a member of the Honors Program and freshman at TCC. “In college, I’m just doing what I want to do.”

When do we begin to feel as if we’re good enough? As some recent studies and statistics suggest, the answer seems dismal at best.

According to an article published by the New York Times, the drive for success is actually making students sick. As described in the article, Stuart Slavin, a pediatrician and professor at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, conducted a study in cooperation with Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif.

In the spring of 2015, Slavin anonymously surveyed two-thirds of Irvington’s nearly 2100 student population. Slavin utilized two measures for his study: the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. His findings revealed that 54 percent of students exhibited moderate to severe depression. On the same note, 80 percent exhibited moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety.

“I was the perfect student,” Fream said. “I had everything but test scores.”

I don’t think I have ever struggled to maintain the status quo and complete tasks the way I did my final years in high school. It seemed like, in spite of our accomplishments and hard work, the schools always asked for more. No matter how hard students keep pushing themselves, the weight of the attaining success remains constant.

“Everyone was trying to get Valedictorian, the highest GPA and trying to find scholarships,” Fream said. “They’re setting us up for failure.”

The drive for success and the pressure from schools is not only undermining their potential, but eroding students health.

Teens reported their stress to be on average a 5.8. According to the APA, 23 percent of teens report skipping a meal in the past month due to stress. Further, 39 percent report to do this on a weekly basis or more.

In addition, research by the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that the more nightly homework students are forced to endure, the less they sleep.

These statistics are more than alarming. Schools are putting far too much pressure on students to maintain a standard of excellence within academia. With the drive for success being as high as it, it’s no wonder that students are forgoing sleep and food, incurring numerous amounts of stress, anxiety and even depression.

If this aim for success continues, clearly students may literally die from the pressure. Is that the price of success?

Black History Begins with Black Women: 6 Books Written by Black Women Everyone Should Read

By Angelique Fullwood

The month of February is the time of year in the United States when folks acknowledge Black History. While Black Americans started observing Negro History Week back in 1926, it wasn’t until 1976 that it expanded into a national holiday under President Gerald Ford, he told Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

At any other time of the year it is very rare, if ever, that students learn about the African Diaspora and culture, outside of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, in American History classes. The Black experience is never quite centered; an individual would have to sign up for an elective course to study/cover it. During Black History Month, we lift up the names of the same individuals Martin Luther King, Fredrick Douglass, George Washington Carver and others. Even during a time of acknowledging a marginalized race, we tend to marginalize the powerful women who were on the front lines of progress.

Standing at the intersections of race and sex, Black women’s experiences have been often discarded. This was apparent during the Civil Rights Movement, while women like Ella Baker or Fannie Lou Hamer were great organizers, the media, and history, focused on the men. During the Women’s Suffrage movement, it was Soujourner Truth who gave the speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” during the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851, criticizing how the Women’s Movement disregarded the plight of Black women.   

“ Look at me! Look at my arm! I could have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen them most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

To dedicate this Black History month to the not-so-visible forces of change, here are six great works written by Black women that everyone should read.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

sister outsider
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

These words from the renowned Black queer feminist, Audre Lorde summarizes the over all theme of her life’s work and contributions to identity politics, activism and poetry. Sister Outsider is a collection of essays and poems that offers thought provoking analysis on the complexity of intersectional identity of race, class, gender and sexuality.

Assata an Autobiography by Assata Shakur

“No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.”

Assata Shakur was a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army  and is currently living in Cuba under political asylum since escaping prison in 1979. A  Black radical hero, this book is intense and personal. Her story reveals how the FBI repressed movements and made targets of its leaders and includes insightful analysis on political theory.

Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis

“The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what’s that? The freedom to starve?”
“The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what’s that? The freedom to starve?”

This book is a classic in any women’s study classroom. When discussing the history of relationships between gender and race, Angela Davis is a must-read to understand the Women’s Movement in the context of a society built on institutions that uphold patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

“The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer primarily concerned with the prevention and punishment of crime, but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.”

Michelle Alexander is a law professor and writer who exposed mass incarceration as a systemic form of oppression, coining the term “New Jim Crow.” Alexander’s book offers insight on how the War on Drugs helped maintained a “racial caste system” in the United States.

Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ramsby

“My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”
“My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

Ella Baker is arguably one of the most important leaders during the Civil Rights Movement, but the least mentioned in American classrooms. Barbara Ramsby, historian and African American Studies professor, chronicles Baker’s extraordinary life and leadership in this book.

Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900 by Ida B. Wells

“One had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”
“One had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

Seventy years before Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells was dragged off a train for refusing to give up her seat. This sparked her legendary and brave investigative journalism career in which she published articles criticizing the terrorism that Black people across the South were subjected to after the Civil War.

Transgender Students Deserve Respect in Schools

SAIL High School works to accomadate transgender students. (Photo by Sydney Selman.)
SAIL High School works to accomadate transgender students. (Photo by Sydney Selman.)

By Sydney Selman

Schools are not doing enough to support their transgender students. Well, that’s the way it seems at least.

Getting an education can be very stressful. I can imagine this stress is only amplified when fighting for basic rights and decency as a transgender student. It’s even worse when policy makers and school representatives aid in increasing the ostracism these students already face.

In late September 2015, a 13-year-old transgender boy in Elko County, Nev., made an appeal to use the male-designated bathrooms on campus. An anti-bullying bill passed this year allows for transgender students to request to use the bathrooms of their identified gender. After sending the case to court, the appeal was denied.

According to an article published by the Nevada Appeal, three lawmakers in the state have not only criticized the anti-bullying law that widely extends protection to transgender students, but have opted to remove this part of legislation entirely. They have even pushed a bill to segregate transgender students and explicitly ban them from using public school bathrooms that align with their identified gender.

It seems to me that lawmakers are unapologetically disregarding the needs of transgender students. Such asinine reasoning is sure to have adverse effects on the lives of these students.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, 59 percent of transgender students have been denied the use of restrooms that match their identified gender.

“Too often, school officials themselves single out these youth by refusing to respect their gender identity and even punishing them for expressing that identity,” said NCTE. “Rather than focusing on their education, many students struggle for the ability to come to school and be themselves without being punished for wearing clothes or using facilities consistent with who they are.”

The hardships the students are faced extend much further than the use of bathrooms.

Transgender student Cole Carter, a senior at SAIL High School, said that schools are trying to be more accommodating, but they’re not doing enough for students who are non-binary.

“The teachers go by birth names and assigned genders to refer to each student and never ask a preference,” said Carter. “I had to go to the counselor to fix my gender issue.”

Carter noted that a majority of his teachers did refer to him as Cole (his preferred name), but continued to call him “she” and “young lady.” It was not until a discussion with Erica Page, the guidance counselor at SAIL, that the topic of Carter’s gender was brought up in a staff meeting.

“I noticed attempts to use my preferred pronouns the next day and two weeks following, but it eventually stopped and some teachers still slip up and never notice,” said Carter.

According to Carter, these acts of being “misgendered” often go undisciplined by students and teachers alike.

“I know many people–myself included–who have been misgendered by other students, sometimes on purpose because they don’t agree,” said Carter. “These acts are considered bullying, and the students are never punished.”

A national survey by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network reported that 75 percent of transgender students feel unsafe at school. More alarming, those who endured the fear to attend school held significantly lower GPAs. These same students were reported to have missed more school out of fear for their safety.

These statistics could be easily dropped if schools and lawmakers paid mind to the desires and needs of transgender students. Instead, they write these students off completely.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 41 percent of transgender students attempt suicide at some point in their lives. In comparison, just 4.1 percent of the general public attempt suicide.

These numbers alone should be incentive to do better.

It’s clear that not enough is being done to protect transgender students. A simple change of attitude and effort could save a life.