Category Archives: Op-eds

Opinion: Black Americans aren’t appropriating African culture

By Alana Burke
Detroit, MI

Initially, the idea sounds absurd. Of course black people can’t appropriate African culture, because that’s their heritage. Appropriation is defined as the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture. Now the question becomes whether black Americans have the right to wear traditional African garb and immerse themselves in African cultural practices.

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Dancers’ pay is nothing to cheer about

By Mirna Rodriguez
Mission, TX

The football stadium is deafening. It is a mixture of passionate screaming and songs melting together. In the midst of all this, keeping the pep alive, are the cheerleaders. Clothed in sparkling costumes and tossing impeccable show hair, they are a single unit, acting as one: dancing, smiling, enduring. They are on top of the world, inspiring countless little girls. With all the lights and glamour, it’s hard to imagine that the beautiful costumes, the iconic pompoms and all the hard work often add up to a paycheck lower than the wages of someone working at McDonald’s. Continue reading

Textbook history doesn’t tell the full story

By Amy Kim
Valencia, CA

We’ve been studying the world through a lens of deceit.

To what extent should George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery diminish their accomplishments? Why didn’t the U.S. intervene adequately in the Rwandan genocide of 1994? Why is the 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, in which women and children were brutally slaughtered by American soldiers, described in a single paragraph in many textbooks? Continue reading

Finding comfort in my identity

By Luis Ortiz
Chicago, IL

When I moved to the United States from Mexico, one of the things that surprised me the most was the locker rooms. In 2011, I came to Chicago from my home in Mexico City for a vacation with my family. After a week, my father went home, and I was told by my mother that we would not be returning with him. I had to learn to adapt to the United States as an immigrant and learn a new reality that would not include my father and his family.

To add to my personal confusion, I discovered something important in the locker room: I was attracted to guys. My dad raised me Catholic, which led me to believe that I was destined to go to hell. When I told my family, they were not pleased: my mother, a fundamentalist non-denominational Christian, took it very badly. We became distant, and we had several arguments that made my life very bitter. During the summer before freshman year of high school, I contemplated the idea of suicide or running away, but I never attempted to do anything about it.  Continue reading

Safe sex education protects teenagers

By Jadelyn Flores-Sierra
New Brunswick, NJ

You are only worth your virginity; once you lose it, no man will respect you,” my mother reminds me yet again. Though the phrase is familiar, I make it a point to look her in the eyes, and the longer I hold the stare, the more I am able to see centuries of female oppression that existed long before my mother was born.

The very idea that I am worth much more than one act in my life is not the result of some epiphany made during health education. Though that class didn’t teach me to respect myself—that was something I had to learn on my own—I was lucky to receive a health education that taught me about different forms of contraceptives. However, not all students in the United States have access to knowledge about safe sex. Sexual education, for some students, is reduced to abstinence-only. The danger in abstinence-only education is not only ignorance but also, and more significantly, the creation of a population at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.  Continue reading

Education is a right, not a privilege

By Breonna Reese
Gary, IN

Think for a second. Think of a land where life is better, richer and fuller for everyone. How about a land where there is an opportunity for each according to their abilities and what they want to achieve? Well, writer and historian James Truslow Adams came up with the idea of the American Dream. The American Dream is essentially defined as “The Land of Opportunity.” Has America truly fulfilled its name though? With access to education being limited, education has become a privilege and not a right, as it should be. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Education should be a right because not allowing someone to get an education will detach that person from society. If a child isn’t taught how to hold a conversation, express herself and become an intellectual, she won’t be able to carve out a better life — in fact, she may not be able to survive. Despite this, education has been made a privilege.  Continue reading

Despite fan craze, Frank Ocean delays

By Angel Santana
Pennsauken, NJ

Waiting for the new Frank Ocean album is like waiting for Halley’s Comet: It takes forever for it to appear. At least Halley’s Comet is easy to predict. Ocean has constantly let fans down in the past, leaving everyone feeling sorrowful and anxious. As an album release date comes and goes, the Internet gets more annoyed.

It’s been more than four years since Ocean released an album. Think about it. In the last four years, Kim Kardashian has gotten married twice and had two kids, Prince and Muhammad Ali passed away, and Donald Trump has become the Republican nominee. With all of these events happening, it’s been more than enough time for Frank Ocean to complete an album.  Continue reading

GOP must rethink strategy to overthrow Trump

Jocelyn Molina
Roma, Tex.

Illustration by Juliana Kim

Illustration by Juliana Kim

If the candidates vying for the Republican Party’s nomination succeeded at anything on the debate floor last Thursday, it was making our party look even more ridiculous — and further damaging our chances for the presidency.

When the top 10 Republican candidates met for the first GOP debate of the 2016 campaign season, a few — such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Republican and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. — succeeded in getting their points across and in generally seeming reasonable. Most of the others, however, accomplished just the opposite. And it wasn’t only Donald Trump.

It’s a given that Trump, with his polling numbers at an impressive 20 to 24 percent, is damaging to the Republican Party. But many other candidates were no better on Thursday. On the debate floor, Sen. Rand Paul, R-K.Y. utilized much of his speaking time to undermine Trump, saying that he “buys and sells politicians of all stripes.” He later engaged in a heated argument about the Patriot Act with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and yet another with Trump concerning a “single-payer system” for healthcare. Both featured a great deal of yelling. Rather than undermining Trump, Paul only appeared as undesirable as the candidate he was trying to tarnish. Continue reading