Page 1

Meet the 2.4% of Central P. 14

Football player diagnosed with Compartment Syndrome P. 24

Taking a look at cultural appropriation during Halloween

Hinsdale Central High School - Hinsdale, Ill. - Volume 89 - October 2016

P. 20

Contents Features Psychology of Fear Why do people seek fear?


The Unspoken Word A look into race at Central


Cultural Appropriation The role of Halloween costumes


23 Full Page Photo Spread 26

Festive Houses in the Community


Profiles Club Spotlight: Gay-Straight Alliance


Danger from Within Eli Blacketor and his injury


Opinions Ask the Athlete Cheers & Jeers


Battleground: The Death Penalty


Column: The Happiness Guide


Revisiting childhood activities



Editorial: Bias in class discussions 7


9 Infographic: Election How-to 10 Newsfeed

Trends What’s Trending Now


Mission Statement


Devils’ Advocate strives to provide fair and balanced reporting to its readers by working with students, teachers, and community members. It is a student-run monthly newsmagazine that wishes to inform the student body of Hinsdale Central High School.

14 Cover photo by Alex Choi Table of Contents photos by Nora Wood and Alex Choi

Section Editors

Photo Editors

Editorial Board

Head Editors


Letter from the Editor

Editor in Chief Seetha Aribindi

Editor in Chief Sayali Amin

Copy Editor Maria Harrast

Copy Editor Ray Shryock

Copy Editor Celine Turkyilmaz

Design Editor Lancelot Lin

Welcome to the October issue of the Devils’ Advocate. Our staff has worked hard to revamp the look of the magazine this year while keeping our favorite signature pages like Cheers and Jeers and Ask the Athlete. We hope that you enjoy our new design as much as we enjoyed creating it. In the October issue, you will find features that explore the psychology behind the holiday’s fear-centered traditions, how cultural appropriation can play a role in modern costumes, what gender is, as well as an engaging debate over the death penalty. But why stop there? Find out how to vote and see what we think about political views in the classroom. We have dug deeper and included more articles that center on our current culture. Discover our cover feature on the varied viewpoints on what it’s like to be black at Central. In the new and improved Devils’ Advocate, we tried to answer the questions we feel are the most pressing. So, we sincerely hope you enjoy reading it. If you feel the need to respond to anything we have written, we encourage you to write us a letter to the editor. Sincerely, Seetha Aribindi Contact Information

@hcDevilsAdvo on Twitter & Instagram @devils_advo on Snapchat Adviser: Cherise Lopez:

Abby Berberich

Alex Choi

Nora Wood

Haley Anderson

Julia Baroni

Julia Chatterjee

Adam DeDobbelaere

Jayne Gelman

Minna Hassaballa

Bilal Khokhar

Cassie Kruse

Juliana Mayer

Sofia Rafiq

Charlotte Sudduth

Anya Uppal

Club Writers

Aneesh Balusu Carolyn Chun Shubhankar Deo Isha Kukadia Amani Mryan Adele Ruby Keshav Sanghani


Ask the Athlete

What’s your favorite Halloween movie? What’s your favorite Halloween candy? What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve dressed up in?


Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Caroline Bowater, junior Varsity Swimming

A Banana

The Exorcist

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Teletubbie

Matt Windgrin, Senior Varsity Golf

Girl vs. Monster Candy Corn Ninja McKenna Revord, Freshman Varsity Cross Country

Cheers &


-Cheers to crushing LT – how many wins is

-Jeers to clowns. (thanks for completely

that now? Six? Seven?

ruining my costume idea.)

-Cheers to the therapy dogs at the Wellness

-Jeers to indecisive weather – thanks for

Fair – the best three minutes of my life. -Cheers to the Clinton and Trump rendition of “I’ve Had The Time of My Life”. Whoever created that should actually be president. -Cheers to boys’ golf winning state for the fifth year in a row. Overachievers much? 4

photos by Alex Choi

almost giving me pneumonia (ahem, Hillary Clinton). -Jeers to fall sports ending. What am I supposed to do with all this free time? -Jeers to Target putting up their holiday displays already and forcing me to break out the sweaters Christmas playlist too early.



by Shubankar Deo and Carolyn Chun

The Death Penalty Since the start of its use in the eighteenth century B.C., capital punishment, known more commonly as the death penalty, has served as the most severe consequence for any crime. Recently, however, there have been calls to abolish the death penalty in the United States. Arguments in favor of ending capital punishment paint it as an ineffective and immoral form of punishment, no longer pertinent in our society. A closer examination of the death penalty’s effects proves otherwise. Capital punishment has been shown in study after study to serve as an effective deterrent to crime. When the death penalty was reinstated in New York in 1995, the rate of violent crime dropped 23 percent; assaults were 22 percent less frequent; and, murder rates decreased by 33 percent. Worse yet, abolishing the death penalty increases violent crime rates. Illinois suspended executions in 2000, and the number of homicides each year increased by 200 for half a decade. While rehabilitation can be an effective way of cutting into the recidivism rate, certain crimes such as murder, treason, and espionage, defy all moral boundaries and cannot be forgiven, no matter the criminal’s behavior in jail. By allowing capital punishment to be used, we ensure that moral boundaries are etched into society and remain there, unforgiving to anyone who dares to defy them.

The question of the death penalty is messy. So, let’s talk something simple: money. A 2010 Duke study found that the death penalty cost North Carolinian taxpayers an additional $11 million a year, which, to put it in perspective, is enough money to fund at least two inner-city Chicago schools. On average, it costs $1 million more to pursue the death penalty in trial than it would to seek life without parole; since 1983, the state of New Jersey has spent an additional $253 million for death penalty trials than they might have otherwise-- though the state has yet to execute a single convict. The fact of the matter is that the death penalty is impractical. It is rarely used and costly, a relic that contradicts the modern concerns of justice. The American legal system, flawed as it is, is still built on the premise that it is better to let 10 guilty men go free than it is to imprison an innocent; that it is better to be execution-shy than it is to kill just one man wrongly convicted. The death penalty thus remains an extreme, a sort of emergency red button that no one wants to press. Few receive the sentence, fewer still make it to execution. Most inmates on death row sit for 16 years or more, a quarter of them dying of natural causes before the state takes action. The death penalty is a broken part in a needlessly complex system. So get rid of it. Streamline. And find a better way.




happiness guide

- Maria & Celine


photo by Alex Ch


a popu in Homer Glen, is Bengtson’s Farms, the area. pumpkin patch in

photo by Alex Ch


Harrast and Tu rkyilmaz enjoy pumpkin pie lat O wl and Lark tes from in La Grange.

One of the best ways to spend an October day is with a cup of coffee at Owl & Lark.

photo by Alex Ch



t’s the time of the season for golden autumn sunlight and spiced apple cider, forests filled with changing leaves and pumpkin patches, woolen sweaters and the smell of cinnamon. The time for trying on witches’ hats and applying face paint and donning brightly colored costumes. The time of the season for laughing with friends and eating way too many pumpkinthemed foods and watching horror movies with the perfect mix of scary and cheesy. Or at least—that’s what October should be about. Instead, for a lot of students, the magic of October is diminished by the prospects of college applications and school. Even worse, there are always the people who groan at others’ fall spirit. They roll their eyes at the hordes of people getting excited about pumpkin spice lattes and sigh at the sight of over-the-top costumes and cobwebbed yard decorations. Now, we’re not saying that Halloween has to be your favorite holiday or that you’ve got to love pumpkin spice lattes (admittedly, the latter starts to taste a little artificial after the first few sips). But we are saying that it’s easier to be a happy person when you let yourself have fun and enjoy the excitement October brings. So this autumn, we should all channel our childhood and try to partake in the activities we used to do when we were younger. Go to a pumpkin patch with friends. Try to find the besttasting apple pie. Watch a bunch of Halloween classics, like Halloweentown and Hocus Pocus and Corpse Bride. Dress up for Halloween. There’s no better time to break out the superhero capes and cauldrons and animal-ear headbands. After all, we might be too old to ring strangers’ doorbells asking for candy, but there’s no age limit on enjoying the happiness October brings.

mcvhwhvcm 6


Bias in Classroom DRAWING HERE Discussion

illustration by Julia Baroni

How Differing Opinions Polarize Students Socratic Seminars and group discussions are important elements of the classroom atmosphere. They teach people to share opinions with peers. It is clear when observing discussions how students play different roles. From the competing voices to the shy, subdued personas, students’ voices in discussions vary drastically. At some point, students reach a general consensus, however, those who disagree may feel uncomfortable sharing their unpopular opinions. This situation where students feel uncomfortable disclosing their honest and raw opinions is detrimental to the classroom environment. According to a paper published by Arizona State University, between 25 percent to 66 percent of students are considered disengaged. Some students are less likely to express an opinion when the consensus of their peers contrasts their

own. So, how do we create classroom environments where students feel comfortable expressing their unconventional opinions? The answer lies within classrooms offering an open-minded environment towards unfamiliar, and possibly upsetting, ideas. Students are typically more willing to share their opinions if they are in a familiar or comfortable environment. The classroom should ideally become this comfortable environment where students freely and willingly share their opinions with peers who they know will be respectful. “A lot of the new software we have been using gives students a chance to post anonymously from the class, and using that, I definitely see more diversity in opinions. There’s a little less pressure to publicly come out for a particular

position or not,” said Mr. Chris Wilbur, history teacher. While there are ways to make students more comfortable, the first and foremost necessity is an open classroom environment. At a time when heated issues are coming to light, it is imperative that people respect one another’s ideas. Especially in the context of the upcoming election, which has polarized students of both political leanings. It is important to first listen, then share one’s beliefs. Understanding the context in which a person has formulated his or her opinion makes people more tolerant. A person respecting others’ opinions does not mean abandoning his or her own. Once people reach the point where discussions become constructive rather than critical, real change can occur.

This editorial is the consensus of the Devils’ Advocate Editorial Board.



Newsfeed by Maddie Studnicka On Oct. 15, the boys won their fifth consecutive state championship. They won by 25 strokes and played at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington. Girls golf took third place at Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur. After strong senior players graduated last year, the teams both aimed to condition talented underclassmen with hopes of clinching another state title. “We had two D1 players graduate, but this year we brought in underclassmen with loads of talent, so it’s been about getting those guys to understand how to play smart golf,” said Brendan O’Reilly, senior. Junior Roshannah Gaur, who has been on the varsity team since her freshman year, has seen the team grow overall. “Our struggles have made this group pretty closely knit. We all believe in each other and push each other to our limits because we all know what comes as a result of it,” Gaur said. O’Reilly won the individual state championship, and Matt Wingren, senior, tied for seventh. “As a team, we are mentally tough, we love hard conditions, we have great depth, and we love to compete,” O’Reilly said.

photo courtesy of Selina Zeng

Aiming for Another Title

On Oct. 15, Central’s girls golf team took third at the Illinois High School Association state tournament.

photo courtesy of tawest64, Flickr

Cake Walk for a Cause

Halloween-themed baked goods will be available on Oct. 31 at the NHS cake walk.

by Isha Kukadia On Oct. 31, the National Honor Society will host a Halloween fundraiser to raise money for the Amazing Grace Foundation, a charity that all clubs and activities will contribute to as part of this year’s school-wide service project. “We are looking to raise money in a fun and easy way which will get people in the school involved without needing them to do a ton of work,” said Ms. Katherine Janicek, one of the co-sponsors of NHS. The event will include a cake walk, face painting, and game booths that students can participate in before school in the cafeteria using admission tickets. Winners of the games will receive prizes including cake, candy bags, and treats from local restaurants and businesses. NHS teams will also compete among themselves in a bake sale complete with costumes and displays to see which team can sell the most baked goods. “The fundraiser is a great way to celebrate [Halloween] with food and games, and since the proceeds are also going to an amazing charity, it’s totally worth it to help someone out,” said Payal Kachru, NHS co-secretary.

For more news, visit 9

Election 101 How to register to vote A 1


Deadline: 10/23

Google “register to vote” 2016 election

Requirements - Be a U.S. Citizen - Live in the district in Illinois in which you want to vote by Oct 9 - Be 18 years old by Election Day, Nov 8 - Not be convicted and in jail for a felony - Not claim the right to vote in another state Information via Google

Image via Google


B 10

Follow the “register online” link

In Person Need two forms of ID, one with address


Through 10/22: DuPage County Election Commission 421 N. County Farm Rd., Wheaton 10/24-11/5: Downers Grove Village Hall 801 Burlington Ave., Downers Grove Committee Room 10/24-11/7: Yorktown Center 203 Yorktown Mall Dr., Lombard The Plaza Shops at Yorktown #42 For more information visit the DuPage County Election Commission at

Data fro

2012 National Voter Turnout for 18 year olds Gender breakdown Individuals Registered

690,000 45.6%

824,000 54.4%


Individuals Voting

570,000 45.1%




694,000 54.9%




Proportion of 18 year olds registered to vote 1,514,000 40% 2,272,000 60%

249,000 16.4%

1,265,000 83.6%

Proportion of registered 18 year olds who voted Data from U.S. Census Bureau


r o t c a F eF ar yment les’ enjo



eop hind p e Uppal b y g olo d Anya h n a c y r s a p h e hok l by Bila

of fear


photo by Abby Berberich



s Kevin Kumar, senior, stepped into the dark room of the haunted house, anxiety immediately clouded his thoughts of what was going to happen inside this room. Stepping further and further into the room, he began to feel an unknown presence following him, but could not see it. With every step he took, he felt more and more alarmed, unsure of what he had gotten himself into. All of a sudden, he felt a tap on his back. He turned around to see the hooded, fanged figure of a demon. With no second thoughts, he ran as fast as he could out of the haunted house, feeling the most adrenaline he had felt in a while. Halloween is a time for horror movies, haunted houses, and scary costumes. During this time of the month, the element of fear is a constant presence. However, why do people choose to have their heart pumping fast? According to Mrs. Erin Fratella, AP Psychology teacher, people choose to have this feel of fright to get an adrenaline rush. “When we get scared, it happens and [then] it’s gone. It is a unique and powerful feeling of adrenaline that we don’t get on an everyday basis,” Mrs. Fratella said. According to a study done for Psychology Today, there are four main reasons people go to see scary movies: gore watching, thrill watching, independent watching, and problem watching. Viewers who enjoy gore watching typically are males who identify with the killer, while viewers who prefer thrill, independent and problem watching have empathy for the victim and seek different

emotional reactions for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 52 million tickets were sold for horror movies, showing this need to feel fear and empathy. Some people crave this feeling of fright, while others avoid it. Stephanie Bowater, junior, belongs to the latter group. “I would be over at my friends’ houses and they would always want to watch a horror movie; I would just stay and force myself to watch,” Bowater said. “I [don’t] like horror because I [don’t] see the appeal of making yourself scared.” The feeling of fear is different person to person. However, the stimulation of the “fight or flight” response--which is what causes the rush of adrenaline that some people enjoy--is common in everyone. According to Ms. Fratella, fight or flight is a psychological reaction in an event of danger. The brain decides to either prepare to run or fight back. “Your amygdala [located in the brain] perceives a threat, releasing a rush of norepinephrine into the brain and adrenaline into the body,” Mrs. Fratella said. Emma Rosenberg, junior, seeks out this feeling of adrenaline. “There is an attraction about that feeling,” Rosenberg said. “It allows you to come close to experiencing something terrible without putting it into reality.” Rosenberg first started watching horror movies her freshman year when her friend introduced her to them on Halloween night. Ever since then, she grew to love the concept of horror, finding the cheesy effects of horror movies to be interesting. “I’m always waiting for the big turn of events to occur which is why [horror movies] are so interesting to watch,” Rosenberg said.

“Your amygdala [located in the brain] perceives a threat, releasing a rush of norepinephrine into the brain and adrenaline into the body.” Mrs. Erin Fratella

Rosenberg said that in addition to enjoying horror movies, she also likes going to haunted houses. The rush of adrenaline that she gets from haunted houses makes Rosenberg keep going to them. “Haunted Houses are so exhilarating, you feel a rush always on the edge the entire time, as though you’re living through something horrifying,” Rosenberg said. Kumar, however, feels differently. From his experience in a haunted house, he has never wanted to go back to one. “It was really scary. I walked into a dark room and I felt like something was next to me but I couldn’t see anything. All of a sudden I heard a scream and ran out as fast as I could,” Kumar said. “When we get scared our hearts beat faster, our breathing gets heavier, and our adrenaline is through the roof.”



pictured fromISleft: Chinaza Nwankpa and Jorrel Wilson IMAGE A PLACEHOLDER, IGNORE IT’S QUALITY 14 THIS

THE UNSPOKEN WORD by Julia Baroni and Juliana Mayer

Students talk about their experiences with race



t was a summer night, and Kai Foster, junior, remembers sitting in her close friend’s room, chatting and talking casually, when her friend suddenly told her, “‘You’re the whitest black girl I know, you talk really white.’” Foster had heard comments like this before from her friends ever since she moved to the Hinsdale area in 2011 from the South Side of Chicago, but as she got older, she found issues within these statements. Foster felt in that moment she should confront her friend, even if it would be difficult or awkward. “I was like ‘Well what does it mean to talk black? What does it mean to like look black?’ She didn’t really have an answer. She saw that there [were] actually problems in what she was saying.” Starting three years ago, the Black Lives Matter movement began demanding answers surrounding systemic racism like racial profiling, police brutality and other forms of racial inequality towards black people. However, at Hinsdale Central, minorities are less prevalent and explicit racism is difficult to find. In Hinsdale, Foster said she was initially surprised by the students, as her school in the city had a majority black population.

She tried to assimilate with her peers at Central, adopting different hairstyles to appear more like those around her. “I wore a lot of braids when I was in the city, and then I got here and became obsessive about straightening my hair,” Foster said. The changes she made were subtle, because what she experienced in the school was never blatant racism, but instead, “microaggressions”. Mrs. Powell, a Special Education teacher at Central for the last 12 years, said that racist actions, though they may take place, are hard to identify among students. “I think at Central [race] is just not talked about. It’s the unspoken word,” Mrs.

time when the fight for equal treatment for black people was much more explicit, the steps for change in public laws were clear. But now, especially in this community, racism is less straightforward. Mrs. Powell describes race today as “bittersweet”. Police brutality is a pressing issue, yet every day she said she hears of killings of black people and still, nothing happens. To Mrs. Powell, on paper, everyone in the country is equal, but this apparent fair treatment does not always manifest itself in society. “‘Oh, you’re really pretty for a black girl’ or ‘Oh, you don’t talk black.’ Things that people think are compliments but they’re kind of backhanded. When people call me ‘pretty for a black girl’ it’s just an implication that black girls are ugly, which is weird to me,” Foster said. Chinaza Nwankpa, junior and one of three triplets, has had similar racial experiences as Foster. Both students described peers reacting to their hair as an exhibit, touching it and playing with it without their consent. “Some people have not had interaction with minorities,” Nwankpa said. “You would think that people would censor themselves, but they don’t always.” Nwankpa, a cheerleader and basketball player, has seen how her experiences at Central have been shaped in team and game settings. When she and her sister joined the cheerleading squad, they were the only two black cheerleaders. She was sometimes surprised with the questions people asked her. “Someone was like, ‘Is your Dad around? Do you have a Dad?’” Nwankpa said. “And, I’m like, ‘What kind of question is that? You didn’t ask anyone else.’ And they said ‘Oh, we were just wondering, ‘cause you know…’. They never finished the sentence.” Neither Foster nor Nwankpa blame people at Central for comments that are insensitive. Foster said that though they may be ignorant ideas, it’s “not ignorant in a bad way”. She believes nobody at the school is responsible for the beliefs ingrained into society today. Nwankpa feels that her life at Central is different than other black students, not only because of differing interests and social groups, but also because she has her brother and sister to rely upon when she

pictured: Kai Foster

“I think at Central [race] is just not talked about. It’s the unspoken word.”


Mrs. Powell

Powell said. “People, they may think a certain way, but if they say something negative it’s to their group or their peer group.” Mrs. Powell said that growing up as a black child during the Civil Rights era, a

photos by Alex Choi

pictured: Chinaza Nwankpa

needs help. “Those two are my built-in friends. I started off with them and it was probably easier compared to someone who didn’t have any friends before coming to Central,” Nwankpa said. Nwankpa believes that race is part of her identity; it allows her to see things in the world that others may not be conscious of. She said that while current social problems don’t affect all students, being black makes her pay more critical attention to them. Often times, since there are few black people in each class, students feel that they are over-representing their race. “I took African American History last year. [I was the] only black person in the class, and it was really weird because a lot of the questions...kind of singled me out,” Foster said. Though Foster took an AfricanAmerican centered course, other classes have made efforts to bring up race related issues. This year in AP Language and Composition, students read Brian Crook’s essay, “What It’s Like to Be Black in Naperville, America”. The piece highlighted Crook’s experiences growing up black in the suburbs of Chicago, many of which parallel those of Central students as racial minorities in a similar setting. Despite the subtle agressions some black students have experienced, for the most part, all have agreed their experience at Central has been overwhelmingly positive. Jorell Wilson, senior and high jumper on the track team, has felt welcomed at school, although at times he does not feel represented. “There’s not… a single [black] leader [at Central], I guess. Maybe … but not really,” Wilson said. But overall, Wilson feels his race hasn’t affected his experience at Central. However, he is conscious of future interactions he may have outside of high school as a black man. “At school, I feel like teachers here look at me just the same as the next person,” Wilson said. Wilson hopes his senior year at Central will be met with more of the same positive experiences. Freshman David Adeyemo, has found his first months of high school so far also to be accepting. Following his passion, he has since joined the soccer team, an

activity that takes up much of his time. “I feel just like everyone else,” Adeyemo said. He doesn’t see race as a big part of his life right now. At times, his Nigerian heritage is a benefit to the classroom. “When we’re in World Cultures or something and we’re talking about the place I’m from, Africa, I can expand on the topic, help people understand it more,” Adeyemo said. The immersion of sports and pride is something common at Central, where many students feel welcomed and part of the team. However, Nwankpa, while

manner, with racism instead arising from feeling that someone else is different or odd. When a friendship with someone who is a minority is already made, a connection has been established and they are not perceived as different. Often times, racist ideas then are reflected when the connection is taken away. This is especially apparent when animosity, or in this case a rivalry, separates the two groups. Inclusion at Central is reliant upon the efforts of all students. Foster, with the help of Mrs. Powell as her sponsor, has started United Club. It’s open to all, with the

“Be you, be confident. Be loving and be willing to accept people for who they are.” Jorell Wilson

cheerleading at a recent game against Lyons Township, observed some Central students saying racist things to LT students, and attributed this to the fact that LT is more diverse than Central. “I don’t get it… especially from people who do have black friends or they do have friends of other races, and [they] go somewhere else and show their true opinions,” Nwankpa said. According to the American Psychological Association, the primary cause of racism is the feeling of superiority of oneself in comparison to another. This often can manifest itself in a less extreme

primary intention to start a conversation about what it’s like to be a minority. Mrs. Powell sees the club as a way to foster a community for all students. “Walk forth and keep an open mind that I’m somebody and you’re somebody, and together we will be treacherous. We will be fantastic,” Mrs. Powell said. For more information on United Cub, go to




TRENDING NOW by Ray Shryock

The Birth of a Nation starring Nate Parker and Armie Hammer Drama Released Oct. 7

Inferno starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones Thriller Released Oct. 28

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back starring Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders Action/Western Released Oct. 21

Music Mania of the Month Joanne by Lady Gaga, the pop star’s new album dropped Oct. 21. Rapper Gucci Mane released his new album Woptober Oct. 17. 18

photos courtesy of Google Images

By the Numbers Andy’s Frozen Custard, 5745 S. La Grange Road in Countryside Chocolate Shake- Score: 10/10 Thicker than a bowl of oatmeal and twice as tasty, Andy’s Frozen Custard proves it’s the best shake shack around.


The number of times the HCHS football team has won the Doings Cup in a row.


Potbelly Sandwich Shop, 19 W. Ogden Ave. in Westmont Chocolate Shake- Score: 8.5/10 Frosty and smooth, Potbelly milkshakes are even more delicious than the cookie that comes on the straw.

The previous record for most pre-sold tickets for a HC sports event.


Tickets pre-sold for the LT vs HC football game. The most in HCHS history.

Highland Queen, 1511 W. 55th St. in La Grange Chocolate Shake- Score: 7/10 The shakes are average. While they’re satisfying, they’re nothing special.

photos by Ray Shryock



(noun) /kuhl-cher-uhl uh-proh-pree-ey-shuh/ 1. the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. by Jayne Gelman and Minna Hassaballa

photo by Alex Choi

Cul•tur•al Ap•pro•pri•a•tion

Cultural appropriation is taking someone else’s heritage and making a joke out of it. Magali Blasdell


photo by Alex Choi

isle after aisle, anything one could possibly imagine dressing up as is hanging neatly in a pile. As the aisles are examined more closely, costumes for various characters from the newest movies, as well as costumes of anything from pirates and superheroes, to crayons and ghosts are all waiting to be bought. However, venturing deeper into the store, costumes such as “Reservation Royalty Native American” and “Sexy Geisha” can be seen adorning the shelves. Spirit Halloween, the costume store in which both costumes originated, has since changed the names of the two costumes to “Black Fringe Native American” and “Geisha with Dragon.” Recently, Halloween stores, like Spirit Halloween, have been publically criticized on social media websites, such as Twitter, for the costumes they sell that are offensive to minorities and other cultures. However, Halloween stores are not the only places where cultural appropriate costumes are questioned and debated. Last year an incident occurred at Yale University where the Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email to all students that advised them to stay away from “culturally unaware and insensitive” costumes. This e-mail upset faculty member, Erika Christakis, as she claimed that students should be able to dress up as whatever they wanted, regardless of whom they might offend. “That [incident] created a lot of discourse about whether people are being overly sensitive if they call out others for [the] costumes that they wear, or whether the wearers of those costumes are the ones that really aren’t being sensitive,” said Mr. Lawrence, African American History teacher.

Different situations like these are occurring more and more often and all raise the same question: What is considered cultural appropriation, and why is it wrong? “Cultural appropriation is taking someone else’s heritage and making a joke out of it,” said Magali Blasdell, senior. Blasdell is of Puerto Rican descent and greatly values her Hispanic culture. Seeing a costume of a pancho and sombrero upsets Blasdell, as she believes the reason why many people choose to dress in this way is for comical effects. According to Blasdell, wearing a costume that comes from someone’s heritage as a joke is harmful to minorities because it condones not taking that culture seriously.

What is considered cultural appropriation, and why is it wrong?

“My grandma came here at 17 and has an accent. I know it hurts her when she sees people thinking her culture is laughable and not really taking her seriously as a working class woman,” Blasdell said. Like Blasdell, many students and teachers attribute the leading causes of cultural appropriation during the Halloween season to the ignorance and insensitivity of the costume wearers towards the history and culture behind certain costumes.

“We have a history in our country that includes blackface minstrelsy, where performers who were white would paint their faces black and act like buffoons, [or] act very foolish and did so for entertainment,” Mr. Lawrence said. “The purpose of this entertainment was not only to get laughs, but also to maintain a social order in which blacks were viewed as inferior to whites.” According to, students at Ohio University have come to terms with their history and the injustices that may have occurred. They started a campaign, a few years ago, to raise awareness. The college students believed a serious discussion had to occur in which everyone can come to an understanding of this harm. “It’s not that hard to find a costume that’s not offensive to other people. Something that is funny to one person can actually be detrimental to an entire group of people trying to make their way in the world,” Blasdell said. According to, in recent years, disrespect for minority cultures has been increasing, as has the tension between minority and majority races. “I feel like until people start to recognize that these cultures don’t look like the costumes anymore, [people] won’t stop believing these kind of stereotypes,” said Andrea Soto, junior. However, various groups of reformers and educators have fought to bring the issue to light so change can happen. “There’s a learning curve for everything and no one should be ashamed of asking why these things are bad,” Blasdell said. “I just want people to feel comfortable talking about why it is wrong, so we can come to an understanding of each other.”


GayStraight Alliance by Adele Ruby and Adam DeDobbelaere


t’s a rainy day in Hinsdale, and the school is quiet, save for the gym, the cafeteria, and conference room 124A, which is beaming with life. It’s an important day for the GayStraight Alliance, Homecoming door decorating day. By 4:10 p.m., the group of eight students shows pride in their creation: palm trees, a foam gorilla; and at the center a sheet of printer paper that states simply: “I Heart GSA.” Central’s GSA is just as much of a mystery to any outsider as the next club. One can see their flyers lining the walls and bulletin boards in nearly every hall and staircase, but may still pose the question: Who are GSA? The answer lies in four words: enlightenment, positivity, acceptance, and fun. Since 2000, GSA has kept a focus on providing a safe space for those in and around the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community while


maintaining a fun and relaxed environment. “Every year the club changes, but the goal remains the same,” said social worker and club sponsor Mr. Michael McMahon. “The faces change, but the goal is always about enlightening people, to help them understand what the issues are in the LGBT community. And we’ve been doing it for 16 years.” The club was opened in 2000 by a group of nine students, and was initially sponsored by a social work intern. However, when his internship ended a year after, Mr. McMahon, who had been working with the intern, was offered the sponsorship opportunity. “I felt that LGBT students in the high school setting were a very discriminatedagainst population, and that they would need all the support that they could get. High school students, especially, may not have a voice,” Mr. McMahon said. “They’re being harassed, and they’re

Club Spotlight being discriminated against, they’re being bullied; in subtle and not-sosubtle ways. And if social work means anything, it’d be to help out.” The issue of bullying is a hard-hitting problem for the LGBT community. GSA’s focus on enlightenment is in the interest of solving that problem, to first end misunderstanding, and next to promote acceptance. “It’s a really positive club. People need to realize that it’s not just ‘oh, the gay club.’ I mean, there’s plenty of straight people too, but it’s more than all that. Positivity is such a large element of it,” said Kathryn Nowak, sophomore and club president. Ash Murphy, freshman and newcomer to the club, enjoys another element to the club. “Most people going into a new school are insecure about making new friends, myself included,” Murphy said. “This club offers new friends that are going to accept you for who you are.”


Haunted Houses

photos by Nora Wood and Alex Choi

...Around Town



Danger From Within Rare injury takes senior running back out for remainder of football season

by Haley Anderson and Cassie Kruse

“Everyone wants an Eli on their team." Niko Ivanisevic

photo courtesy of Eli Blacketor


photo by Abby Berberich


ept. 7 seemed like any other Wednesday night football practice. Senior running back Eli Blacketor was running an inside run drill, when a defensive lineman came in contact with his left arm. At first Blacketor did not think anything of it, and continued into the next drill. But when the pain continued to grow and the swelling increased rapidly, it was apparent to the coaching staff that something was wrong. “The pain was this constant ache that kept getting worse as the night went on,” Blacketor said. Blacketor developed what is known as Compartment Syndrome, which is an “exercise induced injury that causes pain, swelling, and sometimes disability in the affected area,” according to Mayo Clinic. “[Compartment Syndrome] causes blood circulation and nerves to be cut off. It happens when there is repetitive trauma to an area,” said Liz Wohrley, athletic trainer. This condition is rare, and there is about a one percent chance of it being developed in the arm, according to Wohrley. It causes the muscle to expand underneath the skin, and without any way for the muscle to go, pressure exponentially builds. The biggest risk factors to developing Compartment Syndrome is being under 30, repetitive impact activity--a key component to playing football--and overtraining, all of which apply to Blacketor. After careful examination, the trainers decided that Blacketor needed serious medical attention. In order to relieve the pressure, doctors cut through the skin and the fascia of the muscle. After this, Blacketor learned he would be out for the remainder of his senior year. “I was really disappointed. I worked really hard to get where I was,” Blacketor said. “To be told you’re out for the season is horrible.” Blacketor credits his quick release from the hospital and the treatment of his arm to the fast thinking of his trainers and doctors. “I’m doing physical therapy for the next five weeks [in order to] get the range of motion back,” Blacketor said. “The muscle has no damage so I should make a full recovery.” Blacketor, who had worked his way up since his freshman year footballseason, is missed by his teammates. “Everyone wants an Eli on their team: a kid who does what they are told, and does what the team needs him to do,” said Niko Ivanisevic, senior co-captain. Looking towards the future, Blacketor plans on cheering on his team for the remainder of the season, and expects to run spring track, where he competes in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and high jump.

Breaking Binary


by Julia Chatterjee and Adam DeDobbelaere

“Did you see the new bathrooms? I heard they’re for the trans students.” “Did you hear about what happened to Homecoming Court?” “Why do they need their own bathrooms?”

tudents use the hallways during passing periods as a hub for sharing remarks, jokes, and gossip. With recent adaptations to make school a welcoming environment for all genders, such as a Homecoming Court free of cisgender distinctions and a family restroom for all students, comes discussion of gender itself. Palatine High School has taken similar steps as Central to accommodate all genders, but the reactions varied. During the 2015 school year, students and parents of Palatine sued District 211 for school officials granting a transgender female student access to the girls’ locker room. Throughout the lawsuit, the student was repeatedly and incorrectly referred to as “he.” “It’s pretty offensive that they don’t even fundamentally acknowledge that our client is a girl,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois spokesman Ed Yohnka, in a Chicago Tribune article. “If you don’t understand enough about what it means to be transgender to get that, I don’t know how you even begin to opine on this.” According to the Human Rights Campaign, gender is “one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither,” whereas sex refers to a person’s biological status. When the traits of sex and gender do correlate, the person is termed cisgender, but there are many other circumstances that lead to many other gender identities. Senior Victoria Peralta identifies their gender as falling under the umbrella term: nonbinary. Nonbinary describes any gender identity that doesn’t fit within the binary of boy and girl. “Gender is how a person thinks of

themselves,” Peralta said. “I like to think of it as a personal identity that cannot be dictated by others.” Sophomore Daniel Keck, a born female who identifies as a boy, frequently hears students say that gender does not matter and “being who you are” in their opinion solely pertains to what sex you were born as. “Most people from what I’ve seen look at gender as something you’re stuck with,” Keck said. “I really just see it as when someone imagines themselves as who they are.” According to the American Psychological Association, gender expression is not always consistent with socially prescribed gender roles, and it may or may not reflect one’s true gender identity. Peralta said that assuming gender based off of feminine, masculine, or androgynous dress can disrespectfully offend or misgender someone, something they face frequently, being incorrectly greeted as either a boy or a girl in the hallways. Sports, class activities, and bathrooms are all separated using the categories boys and girls, excluding all other gender identities. Even in co-ed sports, it is challenging for all gender identities to find uniforms that accurately express their identity. The new bathroom is the one place Peralta feels like a gender is not forced upon them in the school. These non-conforming gender identities, including agender, transgender, pangender, and gender-fluid, have always existed, but only recently have they been recognized with their own labels and terms. “I just wish things were more inclusive,” Peralta said. “For that to happen, the entire school, staff and students, need to be educated about gender, transgender people, nonbinary folks, and gender

nonconforming people.” At Lyons Township High School, “Safe Space” stickers are placed on each classroom door signifying support and acknowledgement of all genders and sexual orientations. This is a potential step Peralta believes Central could take as well to improve the treatment of all genders, not just cisgenders. Gender roles are determined by a culture’s “expectations for the way women and men, girls and boys, should dress, behave, and look,” according to Planned Parenthood. Children pick up on gender roles from influences including their parents, religion, media, and the outside world in general. By age three, many children have learned to prefer toys and clothes that are considered “appropriate” for their gender. “Try to keep an open mind and don’t hate what you don’t understand.” Daniel Keck Every day in the halls, Peralta sees women belittled and expected to be inferior to men and guys called “gay” when they do anything deemed as dumb or feminine. Sexual orientation is separate from gender, and this is something they want Central to understand. “Students who feel discrimainated against for the gender they identify with should seek out support from an adult or someone within the building they feel comfortable with to try to help them through whatever situation is going on,” said Mr. Kupres, a social worker,. For many students, it’s about respectful communication as well. “Try to keep an open mind and don’t hate what you don’t understand,” Keck said. “If nothing else, ask questions.”


photo by Nora Wood

Many students travel to the area’s best fall farms to search for the perfect pumpkins and admire the autumn atmosphere. Location: Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm 17250 Weber Road Lockport, Ill. 60441

photo by Alex Choi

Devils' Advocate October 2016  
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