Strong Reactions / Happy holidays, Charlie Brown

Roxanne Timan ,  Multimedia Editor Follow her at  @Roxlobster

Roxanne Timan, Multimedia Editor
Follow her at @Roxlobster

Roxanne Timan, Multimedia Editor
Follow her at @Roxlobster

Among all of the chaos of the holiday season, one thing our culture depends on to save us is cheesy TV specials. One of the hallmark cartoons to watch is a “Charlie Brown Christmas”. However, 1965 was so long ago that Millennials cannot relate anymore. Our generation has changed drastically since then, and Charlie Brown needs to face a millennial makeover to keep up.

The special starts with Charlie Brown going on about how Christmas is too depressing. He does not have any friends to send him a Christmas card, though he sent out many. This is the equivalent to being left on “read” or someone opening your snapchat without responding in our hip generation. It is rude not to respond and quite embarrassing to be ignored.

Yet, Charlie Brown goes completely savage. He says, “Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me, Violet.” She responds, “I didn’t send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown!” If you are going to call someone out, you need to have a good comeback ready, CB.

Continuing through the film, Charlie Brown bitches about the commercialization of Christmas ruining his family. His dog Snoopy decorates his doghouse for a neighborhood contest, which makes Charlie Brown sick. If CB was really PC, he would applaud Snoopy for his creativity, and even give him a participation award. While trying to help his sister Sally, she asks Santa to “Just send money. How about 10s and 20s.” She does not understand the value of money. She cannot even write yet. Charlie does not care and makes fun of her. Fast-forward to our upbringing, where we are taught to educate one another, not bring each other down for things we cannot comprehend. Insensitivity is not cool. As Linus and Charlie Brown go out to get a tree for the Christmas play, Charlie decides to get a weak little twig of a tree instead of a nice, conventional one. He has good intentions, but seriously, a tree that can barely hold an ornament should not be your first pick.

I am starting to feel like Charlie Brown would fit the stereotype of a hipster douche in our generation. He is likely to be seen thumbing through crate after crate of vintage vinyl records, scoffing at anyone who enjoys anything mainstream, including some holiday cheer.

By the end, the children steal decorations from Snoopy’s doghouse to spruce up the tree for Charlie Brown. They never even ask the dog, which is one of the first rules we learn as a toddler: do not steal. The children make the tree shine like the ones sold in the farm. But the tree was bought because “it needed a home,” not to make it conform. If we are all seen as “special snowflakes” then why did the children need to make it like all of the others? We are all unique, unless you are a sickly-looking tree, then you need to change according to the Peanuts.

This outdated mess makes sure to seal the deal on the misunderstood youth of today as the characters scream, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” After ripping on this whole cartoon special, I finally feel for the cynical Charlie Brown. Millennials know better than to say “Merry Christmas!” So this one is for you: Happy Holidays, Charlie Brown.

Dancing on the graves of dictators

There are infinite reasons why someone may celebrate: perhaps they have bought a new house, just had a baby, turned a year older or finished school. But how about celebrating the death of a political figure?

In the case of Fidel Castro, it seems more people are relieved and filled with joy than saddened or negatively affected by the news of his passing. There are videos of champagne popping in front of Versaille in Little Havana shortly after the announcement made by his brother, as well as in many different locations.

One may think, okay, politics aside is it not a bit twisted to celebrate someone finally dying? Is it amoral? Does it make you a bad person if you celebrate someone’s death?

However, one must take into account all that Cuban people have endured under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship. Separation from families, starvation, little to no access to resources and unjust prison sentences are just a few of the hardships people endured while he was in power. People feared for their lives and the lives of their loved ones whom they worried they may never see again.

Why should it be a question of one’s morality if they are relieved to hear that one of history’s cruellest, most unjust rulers is dead? What it should be, rather, is a deeper look into Fidel’s communist regime and what it cost thousands of people who were forced to suffer under Castro’s rule. Many view his death as a gateway into democracy.

It does not make you a bad person to celebrate the death of someone who caused years of heartache, deprivation, poverty and suffering. It does not make you a bad person to feel relieved that someone who took away your civil rights, your rights as a human being, is permanently out of the picture.

Even those who disagree with all that Castro did still believe that his death being celebrated is wrong, that it is a macabre, inhumane concept. But why? What Castro did to his people was inhumane. What he put them through is beyond some of our imaginations. If anything, Cubans deserve to celebrate if they choose to, as well as how they choose to, and the rest of us should stay out of it.

As people who cannot relate to the struggles Cubans have endured over the last several decades, we have no say in how they choose to feel or react to Castro’s death. If they wish to mourn, let them. If they wish to rejoice, let them.

It is no different than when people rejoiced the death of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by the U.S. military, a man who also did terrible things and was responsible for the deaths of many.

Feeling liberated because someone can no longer control you or your family, even if it is because of their death, is not a bad thing.

Letter To The Editor

PSA: A Letter from the Niebuhr Center to Elmhurst College

Friends, the election has stirred up a variety of reactions across the nation. Some are outraged, some are rejoicing, some are terriffied for their lives. Some are protesting, some are holding rallies, some are committing hate crimes. Some of these actions have perpetuated and increased the presence and vocalization of white supremacist rhetoric. White supremacy is the belief that “the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” White supremacy has always been present in the United States. In fact, this week we’re “celebrating” a holiday that commemorates the white European immigrant conquest of Native peoples and their land.

The Niebuhr Center is dedicated to meaningful reflection that seeks deeper understanding of self and others as well as the implications of our words and actions. As a college we are “committed to cultural diversity, mutual respect among all persons, compassion for others, honest and open communication and fairness and integrity in all that we do. We are also mindful of humanity’s interdependence and the dignity of every individual, we are committed to social justice on local, national and global levels.” We commit to “act on our social responsibilities and call others to do the same.”

No matter who you voted for in the election, it cannot be denied that hate crimes toward minorities have increased since the election results came in. This proves to us, again, that the civil rights movement isn’t over. Racism is not a thing of the past. Justice has not yet come.

Peoples’ lives are in danger. These are very real realities. Do you know that we are capable of love greater than this? That we are called to be each other’s neighbor? That if we work together, we will succeed? We have a lot of work to do before we are able to work together in a way that is respectful of each other and our histories.

So this is the call to action. White students, staff , faculty, administration, and alumni: take a look at the resources below. Do your homework. Educate yourself. Listen to your friends and colleagues of color. Learn how we, as a country, still purport white supremacy as a part of our narrative. Then ask your friends what they need. Ask how you can be supportive of them. If we don’t do this work now, we will only become a more divided country. If you need support in processing the materials or would like to have a conversation, Professor Haq and I are more than willing.

To students, staff , faculty, and administration who are feeling scared and uncertain because of who you are in the world: please know that we seek to provide a safe space in the Niebuhr Center for all of you. We are available for further conversation, support, and resources. We are here for you.

Thank you for reading this all the way through. I look forward to the work we can do together on campus and in the world.

Peace,

Rev. Emily Labrecque and Prof. Inam Haq

0 to 100 / The finish line

As my last semester of school approaches, I cannot help but recount how the past few years I have spent at EC have molded me as a person and shaped my outlook on things. In retrospect, the changes I see are all positive.

When I first started, I was not so sure I would finish. Graduation seemed eons away, like an ungraspable task that could never be accomplished. I could not help but trick myself into believing that obtaining a Bachelor’s degree was a dream and nothing more. Education is not an option in my family, but beyond that I knew it was something I wanted to do for myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could stick to something through the end. At times, however, it seemed impossible.

So many nights I spent sprawled over my laptop, six cups of chai already consumed, hair a mess, hours flying by with each second I blinked. In those moments I wanted nothing more than to call it quits.

Now here I am, just weeks away from being finished for- ever, and the reflection has me pondering the lessons I have learned along the way.

Sometimes, friends are closer than family and can break the barrier of blood. They can prove themselves to be intimate soul connections that feed you positive energy when all you wish to do is sulk. Maybe our best friends — I mean true, genuine friends — are people we connected with in a previous life. I do not leave any possibilities out anymore, another thing that changed about me this year.

I truly believe friendships are the most valuable thing this earth possesses. Without them, I am not sure where I would be right now. My friends push me to be better, tell me I deserve better when I cannot see it myself and force me to look at things from a different perspective when I need to. Good friends are everything. Over the past couple years, I have lost tons, but in return gained a few gems. The switch made all the difference.

And sometimes, your family knows you better than you know yourself. My dad is forty-six years older than I am, so I guess he knows a little bit more about life than I do. All the times I doubted the advice he gave me, I ended up regretting it (though most of the time I never admitted it.) I carry too much pride still. But I am learning.

My point is this: family (in most cases) are the people who look out for your best interests at heart. They want my well being with nothing in return. They go to the ends of the universe for me even when I wish to fight my own battles and strive for independence. They are annoying as all hell, and they screw me up a little, but I have learned that all their pushing is only to force me to do better.

And if I have learned anything about myself, it is that I am ultimately more intelligent, caring and stronger-willed than I used to give myself credit for. The good in me outweighs the bad, and if I come to blows with my personal problems, I know now that I am strong enough to overcome them. Too many times I was scared about what lay ahead for me, and too many times I thought my issues would swallow me whole. But every single time I have proven myself wrong. And I am so glad.

College is somewhat of an other worldly experience. It is different for every person but certain elements stay the same: you hate yourself, you cannot remember the last time you got decent shut-eye, you live in the library and you meet interesting people you are certain you will not forget.

So I leave with this: gratefulness for the two years I was able to spend on this campus, growing and nurturing and flowering my mind so that it is ready for the next phase of my life, the friends I made along the way and the work that forced me to put all my effort and energy into what I believe matters.

The details of the rest of my life are insignificant. They do not matter. I will make it up as I go. All I can do is live in the moment and know that each one is a blessing from the universe.

Within and Without / Under pressure

Every year, around this point in the semester, it is inevitable that we students begin experiencing the effects of school-related stress. This is only added to by a myriad of other factors: the political climate, the meteorological climate, the economy and our lives at home.

Not that we were not experiencing incredible stress before, no, we were, but now is when dealing with that stress begins to feel insurmountable.

Projects, papers and exams begin to build up and finals loom in the distance, yet paradoxically the end of the semester somehow feels further away than ever. We become desperate to fulfill all of the requirements we have stacked up for ourselves, like an increasingly growing, wobbly Jenga tower ready to collapse the next time one block is pulled out of place.

During this time, the pressure upon us can be great enough to break us. We may even come crashing down. But it is okay.

In my time as a college student, my yearly mental breakdowns seem to arrive around this time like clockwork. The anxiety from the stress and the pressure builds, making it more difficult to get things done, which makes more things pile up, which causes more anxiety, only agitating my preexisting anxiety and depression.

This exhausting vicious cycle of anxiety and stress is incredibly real, and is one you might be intimately familiar with as a college student or even just as a human being.

This chronic condition of pre-occupation is one that we have adopted with responsibilities piling upon responsibilities.

We are trained as we grow up to stay busy: to do as much as possible, to take on as many projects as possible, to be more ambitious, to be competitive. Pressure grows as we build relationships and expectations from our professors, our friends, our families and most of all ourselves which combine to weigh us down and break us.

Which is why it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to fail sometimes. It is okay to distract ourselves from the pressures we face, and who could blame us?

When you are feeling so totally overwhelmed, skip class, call in sick to work, take a nap, indulge in distractions, binge watch Netflix, listen to your favorite album, have amazing sex, meditate, pray, eat ridiculous amounts of food, exercise, go to The Wellness Center, talk to a therapist, call your parents, talk to a random stranger, ask a friend for a hug, do whatever you need to do to get through this. Do whatever you need to keep yourself from crashing down into a jumbled, stress-induced heap of stress.

And most importantly, be happy. Because, although it may be cliché, life is too short not to be.

Coffee Talk / French Presses

If you are an avid coffee drinker and have not heard of a french press, you should definitely look into it.  It is certainly a contender for my favorite brew method. The french press is comprised of two main components.  First, a glass beaker that comes in many sizes ranging from 8 ounces to 50 ounces. Second, a lid with a plunger that has a screen attached.  To properly brew a french press, use 7-8 grams of coffee per 6.7 ounces of water. Coffee should be coarsely ground and resemble sea salt. Add a little bit of hot water to the top of the coffee to allow it to bloom.

Blooming refers to the escape of gasses from the coffee. Next, wait 45 seconds and then pour the rest of your water.  Put the lid with plunger on and press down until the screen submerged about an inch.  This ensures that the coffee is fully submerged in the coffee.  Allow the coffee to rest that way for four minutes.  Next, slowly and gently depress the plunger, pour, and enjoy.

I love french presses.  They offer a robust flavor and heavy “mouth feel,” which refers to the viscosity of the coffee. Generally french presses result in thick and syrupy coffee.  This pairs nicely with darker roasts. Flavor profiles to look for when enjoying french press coffee include chocolaty, smoky, woody and earthy flavors.  If you are a dark roast lover, this is the brew method for you.

However, the french press does offer some limitations.  Generally speaking, light roast coffees do not turn out exceedingly well.  It seems as though the thick, syrupy consistency does not lend itself to the light, bright, and often acidic tones of light roast coffees.  Also, you typically do not want to drink the very last sip of a french press.  More often than not, very fine coffee grounds make their way past the filter(s) and end up in the last sip of the cup. I always forget this fact and get a mouth full of sandy coffee grounds. Not so fun.

I would give french press brewers an A-.  They are great for college students because all they require is the french press itself, an electric tea kettle, and coffee.  They brew a phenomenal dark roast coffee with all of the robust “mouth feel” one could want.  However, they are pretty severely limited to dark roast and (typically) flavored coffees.  All in all, the french press stacks up to be a formidable opponent.

Man-slaughter / White women failed us

Like many, I was shocked at the results on election night. However, the most surprising result of election night was not that Donald Trump won, but that 53 percent of all white female voters cast their ballot for him.

While 94 percent of Black women and 68 percent of Latina women voters cast their ballot for Hillary Clinton, more than half of white women voters supported Trump.

Before this election, I naively thought feminism was colorblind. I understood the existence of dominant white feminism and its problematic nature, but assumed that when all women were under attack, feminists from every religion, race and ethnicity would be united.

How wrong I was. No, the “diverse” sisterhood is not dead. It had never existed.

It should not be so shocking that white women voted how white men wanted them to. After all, historically it was not white women who stood by women of color as they strove to be recognized as equals in society, and continue to do so. The women’s suffrage movement may as well have had a large entry sign that read, “Non-white women need not apply.”

And as women often do — white women sacrificed their own self-interest for the interest their husbands, fathers and brothers, prolonging the preservation of white supremacy and male privilege. Many white women voted for Trump because it was politically expedient. Because they could.

It is time to understand that women of color can no longer rely on white women to fight our battles for us. We are less privileged and therefore hold less power than them and this means we will have to work twice as hard. But it is essential to understand that the fears of all women in this country are diverse as we are. White women will never have to confront those who perceive their presence in this country to be a threat. White women will never have to be victims of racist institutional policies. It is not easy being a woman, but it is even harder being a woman of color.

It is also time to recognize that internalized sexism and inherent patriarchy that underlie our society played significant roles this election. Women can still be, and quite often are, both perpetrators and victims of misogyny. When we condition women to believe that they are less than, that men’s sexually abusive attitudes are normal, then they will admire those who seek to undermine them and reject other women on the basis of these conditionings.

Although white women’s race impacted their vote, discount- ing the role that many women’s implicit, subconscious self-hatred had in this election is imprudent because who they cast their ballots for signals a larger problem — a society where women can vote, but men hold the political power because of entrenched patriarchy, which in turn keeps women’s progress and advancement at a stand-still.

Now more than ever women of color must give white women an ultimatum: you are either with us or against us. The mobilization of a new feminist movement, this time on the backs of women of color, must begin.

If not, the glass ceiling will remain unshattered.

Strong Reactions: Stop the slacktivism

Roxanne Timan ,  Multimedia Editor

Roxanne Timan, Multimedia Editor

Roxanne Timan, Multimedia Editor
Follow her at @Roxlobster

Logging on to Facebook has become a very problematic situation. Your friend from high school changes her profile picture to show respect for a recent tragedy, another friend shares a shocking photo of racist graffiti sprawled across a brick wall connected to the recent election, another posts Joe Biden and Barack Obama memes in efforts to “lighten the mood”. Nothing will change as a result of these posts, just something new to laugh at or something else to comment on.

With the rise of social media comes the creation of the term slacktivism to go with it. It can be defined as a way of using the internet to show support without direct participation. Though it has been an ongoing issue, this election result is proving its ineffectiveness to provide solutions to our grieving country.

After the election results, many Americans expressed their fear of harassment, dehumanization and even deportation. Those who need the help of free health clinics and support groups feel the shift of the republican party getting ready to pull the tablecloth out from under them. The fear is real, and their voices are strong.

Some put their soul into their reactions online, but are only greeted with retweets and replies. Unfortunately, telling someone “how brave they are” and “that they will pull through” these next four years will not erase the target on their back. It is not going to be just a step back for America, but so many people are about to get stepped on too.

We all feel the impact of this election in some way, so it is time we do something to promote positive change. Instead of worrying about the future, being proactive in our communities can lead to a domino effect of positive solutions. Rebuilding from this will not be easy, but hard work will pay o in ways that words cannot.

Though it may seem faster to click “share” on your phone, working together through peaceful protests, donating to trustworthy organizations and just being available to those who need it right now can have long lasting effects on our country.

For example, this year provided the biggest population of registered voters this country has ever seen. That includes the largest amount of young people, going to the polls to do their civic duty. Yet, a part of our civic duty is also to volunteer and help one another. We cannot pick and choose what parts we want to participate in, as paying taxes is another civic duty that most of us have to do unwillingly.

All jabs aside, it is okay to be upset and fearful right now. For the first time ever, all of my professors encouraged us to speak out about how we felt after the election. An overwhelming amount of support for one another surfaced on this campus. There is a change in the air that needs to continue. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere, we just have to get out there and act on our positive convictions.

Opening up the conversation

The last 18 months in the U.S. have been de ned by a toxic election that has left this country deeply scarred and divided.

On the one hand you have people who are disheartened and threatened by the fact that the country that they call home willingly allowed a man who openly appealed to racist and xenophobic ideals, to rise to the highest executive office of this nation.

On the other, you have those who are pleased that Donald Trump will be our next president, because they feel as though he speaks to their needs and wants.

It is time to call for an end to the division in this country. It is time to stop turning our backs on the people who share different political beliefs than ourselves. It is time to stop pigeonholing our fellow Americans based on what political party they belong to or by any one belief they may hold.

It is time to start having a rational discussion with each other about the future.

While it is perfectly understandable to feel hurt or even threatened by Trump’s victory, the answer to that concern is not to immediately dismiss everyone who voted for Trump as a racist, homophobe, misogynist or Islamophobe. By

doing so, it only makes Trump supporters see their opposition as close minded and unwilling to discuss the nuance of why someone like Trump may appeal to them.

Similarly, it is also the responsibility of Trump supporters to understand why so many people who belong to minority groups are disheartened and even afraid of a Trump presidency. Dismissing them as liberal crybabies does nothing but divide us even more.

Now more than ever we must try to put ourselves in the shoes of those on the opposite side of the political spectrum. If you are a Trump supporter, think about how awful it must feel to be a minority who Trump has spoken out against. If you do not support Trump, think about how awful it would be to be immediately cast aside by your peers as a bigot because you happen to have a conservative world view.

What exactly does cutting ties with people because of their political beliefs accomplish besides making life more difficult for both parties involved? As a nation we must realize that we have everything to gain by uniting in an effort to understand each other, and we have everything to lose if we choose to divide ourselves further.

Cutting off the toxicity

With the election behind us, there are differing opinions on how to handle relationships with those from the opposing political side, particularly those who supported Donald Trump.

One side argues that it is incomprehensible to remain friends or be on good terms with those who voted for or support him and his policies. It does not seem logical to put on a facade of contentment around those who stand by someone who is intent on setting up a Muslim registry, spews misogynist and racist discourse, mocks the disabled and wants to take away the rights of women, among many other things.

Why should we act comfortable and normal around people who support Trump? Why should we act as if their vote will not have any affect on our futures in this country? Why should we dismiss their political agreements in the hopes that in the end we will all get along like kids on a playground with no worries in the world?

is is reality, not make believe in which a handshake will fix all the political and social problems in existence. For those of us who are not straight, white or male, our worries about what Trump’s presidency will bring forth is a legitimate fear. It is not an overreaction being blown out of proportion, nor is it unjustified.

Trump and Pence’s hateful rhetoric towards minority groups has brought forth many in-the-closet racists, homophobes and Islamophobes, among many others. Since Trump’s win, over 400 hate incidents have been reported. And that is just the beginning. What this campaign has done is provided a safe space for white supremacists to verbally and physically demonstrate the hate they have been feeling all along. It is just that now, they feel it is okay to express it. Their leader, after all, condones it.

There is nothing wrong with removing people from your life who do not believe your rights and safety are worth protecting. There is nothing wrong with distancing yourself from people who are blind to all the reasons you feel uneasy about a Trump presidency.

For those of us that are everything Trump and his team despise and are working against, we cannot help but make the connection that those who voted for him despise us too. And for that reason, it is near impossible to be on good terms with those who support him.

Coffee Talk / Bodi's Bakery

Bodi’s Bakery - Twin Lakes, WI Often, my weekends are spent in the beautiful Twin Lakes of Wisconsin.  My parents moved there recently and when I get the opportunity to visit for a weekend, I typically make a stop at Bodi’s Bakery at least twice.

Bodi’s is a small eclectic shop on 306 E Main St. in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.  They specialize in baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and small town charm.  To be honest, it is a little bit of an oddball as far as bakeries/coffee shops go.  With prices you really cannot compare, Bodi’s offers a phenomenal product at quite a competitive price. For instance, a small coffee costs $1.35, a freshly fried, hand-rolled donut a mere $0.95.

Of course, all of Bodi’s pastries are fresh and decadent.  The pumpkin donut is dense and cake-like, whereas the french is light and fluffy.  The chocolate donuts, sprinkle and coconut  are all phenomenal.  Bodi’s certainly receives an A+ as far as food goes.  I have had their breakfast foods as well as a variety of pastries and never been disappointed.

They serve soups, baked goods, sandwiches and the best tater tots I have ever had.  After speaking with the owner, Jane Bodi, I fell in love with the place even more.  To paraphrase, she told me that the place runs off of family support and passion.  She often works 14 or 15 hour days and is proud of the unique products and flavors achieved in her store.

However, there is one thing at Bodi’s that could use a little pep. The coffee really is subpar. To be fair, the main focus of Bodi’s is not coffee, but baked goods. I let Bodi’s slide on the coffee quality because everything else makes up for it.  Its small, run-down espresso machine has seen better days. I was able to order a palatable pumpkin chai tea latte, but the coffee leaves much to be wanted.  

Unfortunately, I would give Bodi’s a D on coffee quality and a C+ on overall drink quality. Coffee is  a very temperamental drink and believe it or not, it takes quite a bit of training and skill in order to prepare it well.  It is my guess that Bodi’s staff and owners have never received such training

The coffee itself is very hot, in fact, possibly too hot to get a proper extraction.  The coffee tastes rather bland and generic. But, for me, it is all worth it. Bodi’s may be lacking in coffee quality, but has phenomenal food, friendly staff and a homey small-town feel. I instantly felt like one of the regular customers after walking in the door.  They greeted me with a smile and I left with a bigger one.

0 to 100 / A vote against me

Shock. Anger. Resentment. Just a few of the many things I felt upon attempting to accept that Donald Trump is the President-elect of the U.S. I stared at the television screen in awe, denial like waves electrifying every part of my body.

A racist, sexist, misogynistic sex o ender is the face of this country come January.

The physical and mental unrest that comes with these results feels like a giant wave of nausea that never ends. When something upsets or no longer serves to make you happy, you are advised to let it go. You are told this is the healthiest thing you can do for your mind and soul. It is supposed to rid your heart of its heaviness. You are expected to leave the obstacle behind and continue on, never looking back, to rid yourself of the extra weight. If only it were that simple.

Nothing in my eyes points to any complexity in Trump’s agenda. He is an out and proud racist. He is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. He openly sexually abuses, harrasses and degrades women. He is xenophobic is every sense of the term. He said he would date his daughter if she were not his daughter.

Despite knowing all of the horrifying and truly saddening things Trump has said and done, he still has millions upon millions of supporters. At Trump rallies, many have reported the racist, sexist chants spouting from people’s mouths, white supremacist discourse dripping from their tongues in an attempt to rid the U.S. of anything that does not t their bland idea of what it should be.

I, like so many others, want to believe that I am an accepted member of society. That despite not being white or straight or male, I can live my life knowing that people accept me as I am and what I am. I want to believe that we as a collective group believe that black lives matter, that certain groups have a clear disadvantage in this world and that the opportunity for growth among us has never been equal. I want to believe that the U.S. is rooted in equality of all people from all different walks of life.

But it is not. And this election proves it.

If you voted for Trump, I want to say thank you. Thank you for exposing the political campaign that fights against keeping my social and civil rights in tact, that fights against protecting me, my family, my friends and sheltering my well being. You actively exposed all the bigots in this country that so many argued no longer existed.

More than anything, thank you for making yourselves known so I know who to steer away from in these difficult times. Thank you for showing me who you are. Now more than ever I am aware of those whose views disrespect my very existence. I can rid them from my life with ease.

I have seen several posts on social media from a so-called “neutral” perspective proclaiming that, despite what political stance you take, you will not be judged, and everyone should stay friends regardless.

Wrong! If you voted for or support Trump, you automatically side against me. You side against my rights. You side against my voice. His campaign is built on and feeds o of the nonsensical fear against minorities, Muslims, blacks, Latinos, and LGBTQ+ folk among many others, perpetuating the idea that only the straight, white man can be trusted and everyone else is “other” with a hidden agenda. Your agreement with Trump and his campaign is rooted in my oppression and denies me my humanity. You are no friend of mine.

What has been proven to me through this horrendous freak- show of an election is that my country hates everything I am, who I am and what I stand for. I do not know where to put that weight down. It is excruciatingly heavy.

Perhaps in this bleak and dreary time, I can take comfort in the words of Maya Angelou, a woman who knew in nite struggles as a black woman living the nightmares of this country: “You may shoot me with your words / You may cut me with your eyes / You may kill me with your hatefulness / But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

Man-slaughter / Foreigner in my own home

These past couple weeks, people from both sides of the political spectrum have called for unity and for the need to “love” everyone despite what “side” they are on.

How can I be expected to love a person who voted to deny my very existence? Who voted to reject my presence in this country? Donald Trump supporters say that they voted for this candidate based on his “policies.” What policies? The policy of putting my family and me on a national registry? The policy of stop and frisk? The policy of shunning every minority group in this country?

I hear Trump supporters saying that they voted based on “policy” and that they do not intend for me to be hurt. It is the action, not the intent, that matters. They may not be a misogynist or a racist, but they supported one.

The people who voted for Trump, voted third party or did not vote at all granted a man, who repeatedly dehumanized and attacked minorities, power. And it was easy for them. They do not have to fear stepping out of their homes only to be spit at or shot to death by people fueled and legitimized by the President-elect’s bigoted rhetoric and hate. They do not have to fear their hijabs being ripped from their heads or fear being harassed on a train while fifty others remain silent.

I, like many others, feel betrayed. I feel betrayed by my country; I feel betrayed by the 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump and, in the process, sacrificed women’s progress for the sake of white supremacy; I feel betrayed by my neighbors who preach “love” and “unity” only when it is of benefit to their white privilege.

Despite the grave consequences I and many others will face as a result of this election, I also feel this election is a blessing in disguise. Since the President-elect began his campaign, every part of my identity felt questioned and under attack. I now realize that this country will never accept me as a complete, true American despite being born here. I was delusional to think it ever would — my parents have accents, my religion is too dangerous, my skin is too brown.

And I cannot scrub the color off, no matter how hard I try. I will always be a foreigner in my own home.

Listening to all voices, now more than ever

What a difficult election cycle it was. And now there are great unknowns as our nation prepares to shuffle priorities and resources. Uncertainty creates possibility. And it is imperative that all voices are heard so that all of us shape the future of our country. This includes those who celebrate, those who mourn, and those who fear for their safety and the safety of loved ones this week and beyond.

Things feel shaky even as the sun rises each morning and Reinhold Niebuhr continues to stand outside my office window. I am not a very serene person, so I skip past the “serenity phrase” to his mention of courage.

But how to be courageous? The College’s Core Values assume we already are courageous. The concepts we treasure do not come easily; freedom, critical debate, integrity, respect, fairness, integrity, dignity, social justice, stewardship, religious freedom, and community. If we agree on these values, we are already courageous. Tangible acts are needed more than ever. Conditions are favorable for our involvement. We have brains, creativity, and fairly reliable Internet connections. Fueled by courage, each one of us is a force that will influence our country. Encouraged by each other, our impact will be significant.

We must all humbly engage and try to understand the lives of Americans who feel they have been forgotten. Most importantly, those who are able must become fierce advocates for people who have been the target of hateful language and who remain potential victims of oppressive legislation. We must assure that all people are represented.

Each year I ended my FYS class with a quote by Abraham Joshua Heschel. He spoke specifically to young people, saying, “...I would say that they remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity, let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities, and all the frustration, and all disappointment. And above all, remember, that the meaning of life is to live as if it were a work of art. You’re not a machine. When you are young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence.”

-Lynn Hill, Professor Department of Art

Notifying attendees of canceled lectures

On November 10, 2016 at 7:00 PM, there was a lecture scheduled at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. The topic of the lecture, by Geoffrey R. Stone, was the Supreme Court and the confirmation process.

Long story short: the lecture was cancelled, but there was no notice posted at the chapel or at Frick Center, and the events page on the college website made no mention of the event or its cancellation. It was only after I googled the event that I found it had been cancelled.

Others encountered similar problems - at least two others called the information desk at the Frick Center, and I met two more looking for the event location (they said they had driven an hour to attend).

My suggestion to anyone cancelling such an event - post a notice at the event location, and note on the events page of the college website that the event has been cancelled (and whether it will be rescheduled).

 

-Brian Forgue, Attorney Forgue and Forgue law firm

What hate sounds like

I think I now know what hate sounds like. I know this because I heard it just the other day while I was sitting in my car, waiting for a traffic light to change, just sitting there waiting like people do, not expecting anything to happen out of the ordinary, not expecting to hear the sound of hate because that would be something out of the ordinary. My date and I were waiting at a traffic light in Elmhurst. We were in the right-hand lane, a small sedan was in the left-hand lane, and a large truck was in the left-turn lane. Although it was a little cool outside, I had my window rolled down because I like the crispness of Fall weather, the certainty of the changing seasons. I come from the South, a place where seasons don’t always change, where the certainty of that is not always certain.

But the South is also a place synonymous with racial and ethnic hatred, a place that once turned racism into a daily routine. Even though I know this, I like to think of the South where I come from -- that of sunny beaches and friendly yahoos and boiled crabs with cold beer -- rather than the South everyone else imagines: Rednecks and wooden shacks and thick, swollen accents. Race equality is not a certainty in the south, maybe not even close, but most of the hatred, historical or not, has been for most Southerners an embarrassment, something we like to imagine we’ve outgrown or, at least, suppressed.

Occasionally, I might have heard someone use the N-Word, perhaps the most dangerous word in the human vocabulary, and maybe I saw acts of covert racism that I in my naivety never recognized (a white family being served in a restaurant before a black one). But other than the ugliness of a KKK rally I once covered as a newspaper reporter, in my 20-or-so-years of living in the South, I never, not once, saw or heard an overt act of racial hatred like the kind I heard the other night, sitting in my car, waiting for the light to change in Elmhurst, waiting for anything except what did happen, to see and hear a man in the large truck lean out his window and yell: “Hey! Why don’t you go back to your own country?!”

It was then that I noticed the Asian couple in the brown sedan between us. The man looked quickly over at his companion, presumably his wife, and they exchanged nervous glances before he inched his car forward, going as far as he could go without pulling into the intersection itself, just far enough to no longer be lined up with the screaming man in the truck.

And then I looked over at the truck. The screaming man was young and white, about maybe 25, and he was grinning and saying something to his companion, another young white man. The screamer was very animated as he talked, waving his arms around. A skinny cigarette dangling from his lips bounced around as he spoke. A hat with some kind of insignia was posed on his head, tilted back, and the whole image reminded me of a cartoon, a nasty dirty cartoon about the South, about the kind of Southerners that give the South a bad reputation, the kind that most of us try our best to ignore. Despite the colloquial notion around the country that they are simple but innocent oafs, “Good Ole Boys” are not good and they most certainly are not boys. In the South, we had another term for them, one not so endearing: We called them stupid.

Sitting there as a passive witness to this hatred, all I wanted to do was get out of my car, walk over to the Asian couple and apologize. Why? I guess I felt some sick kinship with these stupid people, if for nothing else but the color of my skin. I wanted to apologize for the entire white race, to tell this innocent couple that not all of us are like that, not all of us are that stupid. I suppose I felt the collective white guilt that sociologists like to talk about, that subconscious notion that whites (especially those of us from the South) feel the shame and guilt of the sins of our fathers.

But the truth is, I simply sat there, my date and I both startled by what we just heard, and then the light changed and everybody was back on the road, back into their own lives: the stupid people o to be stupid again, my date and I to to dinner, the Asian couple to to who knows where, a place where they have to live, a place that may never be as accommodating as we all would hope. I’m not sure what we should do with stupid people. Is tolerance a learned behavior? Can the sound of hatred be silenced by education, enlightenment? As a teacher, I like to think so. But as someone from the South, I think I know better.

(Editor’s Note: The column submission titled “What hate sounds like” by Ron Wiginton — who is the faculty adviser to The Leader — was originally published by Chicago Public Radio and reprinted by The Leader for this issue due to its relevancy with regards to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.)

Strong Reactions: Rap gone wrong

Roxanne Timan ,  Multimedia Editor

Roxanne Timan, Multimedia Editor

Roxanne Timan, Multimedia Editor
Follow her at @Roxlobster

Drama between musical artists is nothing new: Kanye West versus Taylor Swift, Tupac versus Biggie Smalls and Eminem versus almost anybody. They are an excuse to fight with your friends about silly pop culture, and to choose a side on something less political than the election.

The most recent celebrity beef between rappers Drake and Kid Cudi probably will not see the same memorable fate, but with good reason — Drake took it too far this time.

Recently Kid Cudi checked himself into rehab for mental health issues, sparking an out- pour of support online by fans and other musicians. In a statement made on his social media, he said, “It’s been difficult for me to find the words to what I’m about to share with you be- cause I feel ashamed.”

Mental health comes with a stigma that not everyone is willing to be open about, especially in the rap scene, where just about anything is fair game.

However, Drake’s latest move in their ongoing fight was over the top.

His latest diss track “Two Birds, One Stone” goes after Cudi directly a few times, but the line that stands out most is: “You stay xanned and perked up / So when reality set in you don’t gotta face it.”

I find it hard to decide if this is his own pure ignorance on the subject or he is just awful.

With mental illness so common in our society, why would anyone think it is a good idea to use it to “roast” someone?

Though we have made large strides to try to understand and start a discussion on topics like depression and anxiety, there are moments of weakness that we must criticize. As Cudi stated, it is extremely hard to ask for mental help as it is seen as giving in or being cowardly. It is much easier to keep our thoughts to ourselves about our mental states than to share them with people we care about.

This poorly written lyric doesn’t just offend Kid Cudi, but anyone who has to live with mental illness feels the smack in the face Drake just served. Depression is the biggest disability worldwide. It is not just a temporary sadness that popping pills will fix. It is something that hits when one least expects it, making day-to-day tasks almost unbearable. It is not a punchline or an imaginary issue. It is life, and unfortunately a harsh reality, even with the prescriptions and therapy.

I applaud Kid Cudi’s courage to make his condition known, which without a doubt inspired many of his fans to think about mental health and its importance to how to treat one another. As far as celebrity feuds go, it is important to have a level playing field, but it does not work when someone takes cheap shots.

I am sorry Drake, but those listening to your music suffer from these problems too, not just your enemies. You’re going to have to take an L on this one.