Volume 12: Essays Selected from Spring and Fall 2018 HPU First-Year Writing Courses 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS EDITORS’ WELCOME .................................................................................................. 4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................. 4 REPOSITIONING ONESELF ........................................................................................ 5 Walking into a New Religious Territory: Chinese Buddhism ........................................... .6 Geonna Ribeiro Universities of Two Worlds ............................................................................................... .8 Ruby May Ramos Alaska ............................................................................................................................... 11 Emali Cordell Burning Bridges ................................................................................................................ 14 Athena Iokepa CLOSE TO HOME......................................................................................................... 16 Choices .............................................................................................................................. 17 Juan Peralta trans-PARENT .................................................................................................................. 19 Alyssa Lawton Pro Fast Food? .................................................................................................................. 22 Jade Rivera The Struggle of Mental Health Care in the Foster System ............................................... 24 Molly Olsen LOCAL ISSUES AND COMMUNITY CONCERNS ................................................. 29 Electronic Sports Belong at Hawai‘i Pacific University................................................... 30 Dustin M. Frederick Female Gender Discrimination in Gaming Culture .......................................................... 34 Cherlyn Kay Alejandro The Impact of Japanese and Filipino Immigrant Workers on the Sugar Strikes in Plantation Era Hawai‘i ...................................................................................................... 42 Reyginson Villa Sagayagai Home ................................................................................................................................. 52 Alyssa Lawton Marijuana: Holistic Medicine or Another Blight on Society? .......................................... 53 Colin Heacook Cats: The Invasive Species Situation on O‘ahu ................................................................ 59 Drew Downing Taking Out the Trash ........................................................................................................ 69 Angela Hansen
Outdated Security at Hawai‘i Pacific University .............................................................. 72 Jennifer Aabb CULTURAL AND NATIONAL STRUGGLES .......................................................... 76 The Gratification of Vaccinations: Uncovering the Vaccine Controversy ....................... 77 Laila Valdez Witches and New Age Spirituality: The Connections and Misconceptions ..................... 84 Jasmin Diaz Social Security’s Problems ............................................................................................... 91 Lopaka Martin Good Cop, Bad Cop: Police Brutality in America ............................................................ 96 McKenzie Fuata Sexual Assault: A Consequence for the Victim or Perpetrator? ..................................... 104 Rianna O’Neill Crime Rate in Relation to Marijuana Legalization ......................................................... 111 Alia Masonsmith Is Stressed Out the Way It’s Supposed to Be? ................................................................ 116 Ivy Ammerman The Portrayal of Women in Science Fiction Films ......................................................... 124 Inka Ovaska TRANSNATIONAL CONTROVERSIES .................................................................. 132 Equal Pay for Both Genders in Tennis ........................................................................... 133 Ryan Emeeron Cimatu Understanding the Poor................................................................................................... 138 Katherine Felix Meaningful Education ..................................................................................................... 143 Marc Jaksuwijitkorn Society’s Fault for Female Anorgasmia ......................................................................... 150 Lyka Mae Corotan Can Texting and Driving Be Stopped? ........................................................................... 157 Kellen Chevalier Chemotherapy: Is the Psychological Damage Worth the Risk? ..................................... 163 Brianne Aguigui Misunderstood Psychopaths............................................................................................ 169 Julia Yuson Mental Health in Schools ................................................................................................ 176 Arianna Guzman MEET THE WRITERS .............................................................................................. 180 MEET THE EDITORS ............................................................................................... 187
EDITORS’ WELCOME We are pleased to introduce our twelfth issue of Fresh Perspectives. Once again, we solicited essays from our first-year writing courses, covering a range of topics and approaches. Because these writers are relatively new to the academy, we do not expect disciplinary mastery. Our goal is to provide a venue for dissemination of ideas by our first-year students, who may still be learning the nuances of academic discourse yet who have compelling things to say and who offer, in the words of our title, “fresh perspectives.” Promising student essays were nominated by the students’ instructors and underwent a full editorial process by our interns. You will notice a wide range of views here, some of them perhaps contradictory; these pieces represent the opinions of the writers alone and are not necessarily endorsed (nor denounced) by HPU, the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of English and Applied Linguistics, or the editors. Rather than selecting pieces that toe any particular “party line,” we have attempted—in the spirit of academic freedom—to present a range of perspectives, some of which may be proactive. This is fitting for a first-year writing program that emphasizes argumentation. Whether you agree, disagree, or have a complex reaction, we hope you will enjoy hearing from the newest members of our HPU ohana!
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The editors and contributors would like to acknowledge the support of the following people: Allison Gough, Dean, College of Liberal Arts William Potter, Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts Joan Ishaque, Assistant to the Dean Mikael Ladegaard, HPU Web Services David Falgout, Faculty Editor Nyna Dies, Editorial Intern Julie Flores, Editorial Intern Grace Laudick, Editorial Intern Margarita Pangelinan, Editorial Intern Jun Dennis Sadang, Editorial Intern Lorraine Jimenez, Cover Design Nominating Instructors: James Armitage Joseph Bibeau David Falgout Tad Matsunaga Deborah Ross Micheline Soong Cheryl Wallick Christy Williams Caitlin Yamamoto
Contributing Artists: Kelsey Ann Arreza Ramon Brockington Kellen Chevalier Soncee Del Rosario Lily Franzwa Sean Healey Georgina Lancaster Molly Olsen Jessica Joy San Pedro
Salmonco by Jessica Joy San Pedro
Walking Into New Religious Territory: Chinese Buddhism By Geonna Ribeiro Have you ever just taken a break from your daily life and decided to do something completely random and spontaneous? The whole idea of dériving revolves around the spontaneity of adventure. It is the nature of wandering or straying from the normal activities that keep you busy from day to day life and allows you to make new observations, acquire new experiences, and explore new places. Regardless of whether the location is planned or not, the idea of dériving falls under a type of drifting or wandering manner. Dériving can allow you to take a step away from all of your responsibilities to take some time to breathe, take notice to everything else around you, and even meet new people. My dérive experience led to an unexpected eye-opening opportunity that I would not normally have had, had I gone somewhere else. By visiting a Chinese Buddhist temple, I gained a better understanding of the Chinese culture. Keeping that in mind, religion has always played a significant part in my life. Taking a step back and learning about another religion gave me a different perspective on how others view the world. When you do this, you get a sense as to why certain people may believe one thing to be morally correct over the other. Throughout learning each of these, we were brought into a peaceful state of mind through meditation. The instructor accomplished this by allowing our minds to perceive the sound of wood hitting wood as water droplets trickling off of a leaf and onto the ground. The meditation took away from our surroundings and created an environment of pure serenity. Out of everything I learned from visiting this temple, three beliefs that Chinese Buddhists follow from daily stuck out to me the most. First and foremost, emptiness is the truth, as nothing lasts forever. This emphasizes the fact that everyone is ultimately nothing. The body is just flesh and the real soul is within. Second, the idea is to not get attached because everything changes. Everything has an end and remaining attachments will only cause you to be in pain because it will not allow for you to move on and grow. Lastly, you cannot have too much focus on materialism or you will forget who you really are. The main takeaway is to remember that you are nothing and that your real self is within your soul. The body is simply a container. Our true identities are within us and past our appearances as well as what we claim our identity to be in this world. Wandering to a new place gave me a realization of the importance of adapting to changes. It is also important to remain observant of your surroundings because it is essential for your safety. When you dérive, there should not ever be a set plan to follow. While difficult when dériving with other people, planning may be inevitable. With the world we live in today, timing and planning is essential to our daily lives, whether we dérive or not. With that being said, I made sure to keep in mind the changes that might occur along this adventure. I first planned out this dérive with some friends. We decided to meet up at Starbucks. I took the bus from Ewa Beach into town, which is usually an hour long ride, and got off on the first stop on Bishop Street. I then walked over to Starbucks and waited there. They never arrived; however, since I was supposed to be dériving, I was perfectly okay with this obstacle. I overcame this by contacting another friend who agreed to go with me instead. In realizing that you have to adapt and make changes to an adventure that is supposed to be done in a “wandering” manner, you realize that any planned day is never really truly planned. Changes will continue to take place and there will be constant shifts in your day. The first observation I made during my dérive was the lack of 6
homeless people on this side of town. Around our university, there are homeless people on the side of the streets everywhere you walk. You have homeless people near the bus stops, restaurants, and even some trying to make conversation with other people. Once you cross over to the other street however there are only one or two walking around. Knowing your surroundings is very important, especially when you are in a new area and you are not familiar with the place yet. Knowing what type of environment you are surrounding yourself with can also help you become more knowledgeable about the island’s issues. Visiting a temple was a unique yet productive way to escape certain responsibilities for the day and open the door to new learning opportunities. If I had not chosen the temple to be my dérive location, I would have had a completely different experience altogether. If I had gone to a social event or a crowded place, I would have interacted with more people and perhaps had different and more exciting encounters. However, throughout this dérive experience I learned more about Chinese Buddhism than I would have in a classroom, taking notes from a lecture. This religion focuses on the core of what is known to be the Heart Sutra. In Chinese Buddhism, the Heart Sutra is a concept that revolves all ideas around each other in order to make sense of the reality that we live in. Ideas are interdependent on each other in order to prove their existence. When trying to reach nirvana, Chinese Buddhists believe that there is a means to which constant rebirth can come to an end, and, by following certain ideals, they might be able to achieve that. There is a significant amount of symbolism and thought presented in this religion, and many are not aware of how therapeutic and enlightening it can be to learn about a new way of life. Although it was a serene environment to be in, it was also surrounded by the busyness of the streets and cars as the building was not isolated. I found the contrast in setting to be unique but also unusual to hold meditation and praying sessions in such close proximity to a noisy distraction. Despite the noise, the session I went to did not fail to present a peaceful and calm environment. Learning about this religion has further encouraged me to learn more about what other values and beliefs exist in other religions. Overall, taking the time out of my busy schedule to do something different resulted in a unique and enlightening experience, one that I wouldn’t have gone through had I done any detail differently. The randomness of this adventure led to a day full of learning and excitement as well as peacefulness and calmness. Throughout this dérive, I learned to take things at a slower pace because there is always room for changing your daily routine for something productive, yet different. Regardless of the religion that I believe in, I mainly found this experience to be an interesting one.
Universities of Two Worlds By Ruby May Ramos The word “college” is such a daunting yet profound word that I heard frequently in high school. Every corner of the room felt like it was closing in on me each time someone asked what colleges am I interested in or what college am I going to be attending. I was just terrified with the fact that the college I am going to attend would not be the best fit for me. Now that I am a freshman at Hawai‘i Pacific University, I believe it was a good idea for me to stay on island because now I get to experience more of the real world of Oahu, especially being located in downtown Honolulu. I am now able to adventure around and observe places I’ve never been before with the access of city buses. I have seen and experienced many things within the first week of being in college and it really opened up my eyes being in two different environments, one being surrounded by business buildings and the other with an abundance of trees and nature. Going on a dérive, or to spontaneously drift in an environment and go with the flow, was such a pleasant thing to do on my own since I got to go to an unfamiliar place that I don’t go to on an everyday basis. The place I went for my dérive was the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and my dérive experience accentuated the differences between two universities coming from total opposite locations and attractions. UH Mānoa gives students more of an ideal college life expectation and experience compared to HPU’s unique campus and experiences it has to offer. Despite UH Mānoa being a public university, I noticed that mostly everything is all on one campus being more accessible to the students. At HPU, there are multiple campuses such as the one located downtown and at the Hawai‘i Loa campus in Kaneohe. It is more of a hassle having to catch a shuttle bus back and forth for classes instead of having to walk all the way across campus like at UH Mānoa. Another major issue of HPU is the disadvantages of student athletes traveling the distance just for practice, whether it be all the way in Kaneohe or Waipahu or at a nearby school’s gym. The Rainbow Warriors are privileged to have their own facilities on campus. When I first arrived at my destination, I saw a green stairway from a distance going up a building, so I decided to check that place out first. On the second floor where I walked up was the food court and campus center, but downstairs was the bookstore. This area was located close to the middle of the campus, and the bookstore provides much more materials of all sorts, and they even function like a store with snacks, drinks, and medicine other than supplies and clothes. In comparison to HPU, our bookstore is located in the corner of the Aloha Tower Marketplace, and it only has less than half of what UH Mānoa offers. The setting of UH Mānoa is not so intertwined with the real world like being in downtown Honolulu. First off, not many homeless people could be found or seen while being on campus; you will mostly see students everywhere you go. At HPU there are all types of people navigating their way in this environment, such as business people, policemen, homeless people sleeping or walking around, and just people in general looking for a good food place to eat at. Sometimes the sense of place is lost being at HPU’s campus because it is not your ordinary college campus and environment, which is one of the takeaways being at HPU. At UH Mānoa the environment and surroundings are great for people who enjoy being around nature and green sceneries all the time. Being at HPU’s Hawai‘i Loa Campus is like a snippet of UH because of it being serene.
Public Universities like UH Mānoa have a stronger support system in Hawai‘i. To be honest, I am one of their fans when it comes to sports because it was usually broadcasted on TV such as football, volleyball, and even soccer. Plus, I was fortunate enough to watch some games at the Aloha Stadium and Stan Sheriff Center at a young age. Growing up and being raised in Hawai‘i, I would almost always see people wearing shirts or have something that is from the University of Hawai‘i, and that is where the support group comes from. I believe that there’s more support for public schools in general compared to the private ones because being in a “private” school implies that they are rich enough to support themselves rather than relying on the government. Especially when it comes to sports, it is much more entertaining to watch a public school defeat a private school since they are considered the underdogs. Therefore, the amount of support UH Mānoa compared to HPU has is possibly due to the school being public. On top of that, there are alumni that show a lot of spirit to represent our state and the University with their flags and banners out and about. Since there are more students at UH Mānoa, there are more opportunities with sports that are available to most students’ interests. This all leads back into UH Manoa being a more ideal college if you want to have more of that college life experience rather than the harsh reality of the real world being at HPU. Although all colleges have their differences, there are other factors to why we make impulsive decisions or why we chose this school and not the other. After doing this dérive, I have observed and learned so many things that I didn’t really think about before, and it was a great experience for myself to get out there and drift. This actually made me want to do more dérives now, and hopefully I will be able to travel to another state or country, and just be mesmerized with my experiences.
In the Light by Kellen Chevalier
Alaska By Emali Cordell I stare out the window to see a world full of darkness. Like a mask, it covers the unsightly town in a blanket of night, a blanket that I would like to acquire for myself both for the security of being hidden, and for the simple warmth that overcomes from being within. I felt my own warmth shift across my lap forcing myself back from the thought. A small figure crawls up to my neck, rubbing against me with a soft fondness, reminding me that I had a purpose. The figure of my small kitten could only be felt in the dark of the night although I strained my eyes desperate for the sight. As I pet my fond friend, I felt the wet tears that had fallen from my face entangled in his fur. In that moment, I decided that sleep was impossible and turned the key in my ignition. As the engine squeaked, lights flushed my vision and reflected my image in the same window that once harbored the dark town. The frame pictured my small, desperate family resting his head on my shoulder from the inside of my down coat, a scene from the driver's seat of my rundown Mazda 626 in the year 2016 that still vividly crosses my mind. Once the lights from inside faded away, my eyes adjusted to the forward light where I could see the everlasting fall of white snow. We were in a parking lot that I often found safe to rest for nights. It was near apartments that many people reside in. I figured it would be less obvious to my classmates this way. As I put my foot to the pedal, cold air blasted our faces, causing Ronni to squirm down to my lap. As I apologized to him for the situation, which was a common ritual between us, I shifted gears ignoring my shaking hands. The only way to achieve heat was to bear the cold and drive onwards. In life I have learned that it is sometimes best not to have a destination. For us it was the journey that became necessary for survival. To have a destination would mean to stop the engine, which in turn would eventually relinquish the little heat that allowed us our lives. Morning was reliable, a concept I am still unfamiliar with today, and may never be. Reliability comes easily for those who are able to overlook it. I feel that I can understand that because I was voted captain of Wasilla High School soccer team once again in this year. Not one player, teacher, counselor, or coach felt the need to look into my personal life because I learned to play the roles. I would be social. I would be focused. I would say what was expected. It was almost frustrating how easily overlooked I could be. Despite my frustration, my struggles were not something I was willing to share openly, because I felt that external solutions could better my situation. I had to be able to find the will within myself to achieve something better. It felt like a burden too big to share with my small-minded town. Granted, friends were easy to make and easy to keep. My behaviors in social environments in no way reflected my living or financial status. My routine was set, and every day I was careful to follow the script I had unconsciously branded onto myself. The weather outside was a force separate from the internal struggles I faced for social and mental survival. After an unforgiving and cold night in the car, my intricate day would begin. The best coping mechanism I had acquired was to take in the world hour by hour. I would perform my day based on the issue that I was currently facing. The hardest part of that was parting with Ronni, who had 11
to stay in my car while I was in school. I had food, water, and a litter box in the back seat. In the other seats were laundry baskets and duffle bags full of my things while all of my soccer gear was kept in the trunk. Ronni would cuddle underneath all of my clothes and sleep during my classes, due to our active nights together in the car. Between every hour, I was able to pet him and make sure he was staying warm. I knew that he was depending on me almost as much as I depended on him. Together we would arrive at the school one hour before class should begin. After getting the car as warm as possible, I would get my duffle bag and head inside the school. The gym locker room was almost always empty at that time, so I would have my shower and brush my teeth in the mornings. I was never questioned by the staff for coming so early. That made things easier for me. It gave me the opportunity to be seen as completely normal. I was able to reset the stage in my mind and become the normal high school girl and team captain stereotype. After classes, as team captain, I would start shoveling the snow off of the soccer field. A few teammates came to help as well because it was optional for other members. I remember spending hours outside being thrashed around by the freezing wind, our faces crimson, as we stabbed at the ice in preparation for our first games. I received approval from my teachers and peers in that aspect of my life. It made me realize that people are easy. Academics, on the other hand, were not reflective of my full potential. In my first year of high school I passed every class with an A, but, as the years progressed and hardships with my home life increased, the statistics on my transcript translated that struggle. These facts were never enough evidence for the teachers or administrators to have reason for doubt. I was still passing with some Cs in my junior year. The only warm meals I received were from school. Ever since I could remember, the meals at school were accessible to me because of my low income background. It was surprising that most of my peers had failed to mention that fact before. Still, I staggered through every single day oppressing myself and relinquishing my thoughts of reliability. In my mind I was the only one to rely on. Financial freedom to me means a chance to find my identity. It means opportunity and chances for experiences I could never dream of in the darkness of Alaska. Above all, to me it means stability and comfort, to the point of not worrying about where to find my next meal. This would allow me to be the fullest me, from my stomach to my potential. It is important to me because I want to try. There are so many things I want to learn, but the price tag always flies over my radar causing me to believe that some things are out of my potential to achieve. I have always wanted to try new things ever since I was small, but I am growing up now and the chances to pursue those little girlâ€™s dreams are coming to a close. I have to find a better pursuit, a realistic one that can someday help me remove my price goggles and actually see the world for the wonders it holds, instead of for the money you need for the exchange of those wonders. My pursuit for financial freedom is to use college as my ladder to get me to that safety that money gives the world. I have lived without it my entire life thus far, perhaps because my family never 12
encouraged college. When I told them about my applications, they told me that I was wasting my time and money. Never would I listen to them again about what I wanted to dream of. They denied my dreams as a child, and I would not let this opportunity to escape the force of poverty go to waste. Normal students, to me, are the students who do not have to think twice about dependence. They are the students who sit next to me in class, the teachers who teach those students, and the adults that decide the choices and contents of the teacherâ€™s agenda. I am surrounded in life by strangers, but perhaps I am not the one who is at a disadvantage. Most students in my school have no comprehension of experiencing first hand hardships. Many of them would say their parents are divorced, or one parent is not in the family, or that their parents do not understand them. What a privilege it would be to complain about the ones who you rely on. I am not the one who is blind to the concept, yet others cannot comprehend the fact, unless they themselves have been completely segregated from any and all aspects of family. At the end of my day, I relive this truth. The pretentious act always ends once the final bell rings. I return to my family that consists of myself and a small kitten. Then together we wait for the mask of darkness to veil a blanket over our town, giving us no choice but to see ourselves in the cold light of truth once again.
Burning Bridges By Athena Iokepa People die all the time. There is someone dying right this moment, maybe desperately clinging to life, maybe slipping away peacefully in their sleep. For my uncle, I could not tell you how he was feeling. He was asleep, sure, but peaceful? I do not know. Can someone be peaceful when they are hooked up to tubes and machines? And what about those left behind? The people who love him. The people struggling with the reality that life can be short and that you should not take anything for granted? People like me. Where is our peace? My parents divorced when I was 12 years old, and I remember it hitting me like a rock slide, carrying me off into the unpredictable ocean of life, just about drowning me. Now that I have grown up, having built a makeshift raft in order to just barely stay afloat, I can look back and see all of the moments that could not have been avoided, not with narcissism and mental illness coming so strongly into play, moments like when my parents were looking for a new house, and I had noticed that there were jacuzzi jets in the tub of the master bathroom. Excited, I told my father about them, then had to watch from inside the car as he cussed out my mother for not telling him there were jets in the bathtub… not that the house was anything we could have ever afforded anyway. But he made it seem like that little omission was my mom saying that he could not provide a living space for the family. The idea that everyone was lying to him was constantly on his mind, probably because he was constantly lying to himself and the people around him. My father lived in a fantasy world of his own, somewhere he made up, somewhere we were not invited to if we did not conform to his every desire, a place none of us really wanted to go to anyway. If someone didn’t agree with his lies, or his view of the world, they were immediately attacking him and his image, and were cast out from his circle, no longer worthy of being in his presence. Because of these situations happening all throughout my childhood, then later bribery and attempted emotional manipulation, I had not spoken to my father in many years when my uncle fell fatally ill. His passing made me realize, at least at the time, that I did not want to live with so much hatred for the man that had helped create me. Was I afraid? Sure. The man was terrifying. Did I want to rebuild the bridge that had broken down? Yes. I wanted to try, so I reached out. I sent him a message over Facebook asking if he was going to the ceremony that was being held for my uncle. He asked me what ceremony I was speaking of, and I told him it was a remembrance ceremony of some kind. I had not been filled in on all of the details, but I just wanted to know if he was going. But since he did not seem to know what I was talking about, I told him “never mind,” because maybe he was not supposed to know about it. He then asked me, “What do you think I need to remember about my brother, that you have never known about him, that you think you can tell me?” In the process of rebuilding that broken bridge, the figurative plank I had just placed to be able to cross over stared at me mockingly. I was taken aback, confused, hurt, wondering why he had reacted with hostility towards me for seemingly no reason. I clarified that there was nothing I wanted to try and tell him about my uncle, and that my cousins were the ones hosting the ceremony. Unfortunately, but almost predictably, he came at me with something that I had heard before: 14
“You’re brainwashed.” His exact words were, “Be careful when you interject thoughts and ideas that are not yours but your mother’s. Not thinking of the consequences of what you message to me. It is a shame that you have not found your own voice after all these years.” I called him “weird,” because he was, and he proceeded to tell me that, if that’s the best I could do, that I should never reach out to him and my, at the time, step-mother. So, I set that bridge I had wanted to build on fire and watched it burn. The inevitability of the situation was almost laughable. How could I have thought that trying to reach out to someone so self-involved with themselves was going to go anywhere? How could I have believed that the words I wrote into a text box would not be taken and given a completely different meaning by someone who viewed the world through colored glasses of his own making? Why had I allowed myself to cause my heart so much pain? I do not have answers to those questions, and I do not think I ever will. I have just learned to grow past them and learn from the mistakes that I made. Living or dealing with a narcissistic, mentally ill parent can cause many misunderstandings, especially if the parent insists on twisting everything to fit what they believe they are seeing and hearing. But none of those misunderstandings are the fault of the child, and, while my situation is not standard, it also is not unique.
CLOSE TO HOME
In the Shadows by Kellen Chevalier
Choices By Juan Peralta There’s a problem and you don’t see it Maybe you need mushroom clouds to feel it With the odds stacked against us, we fight Late nights, salt water to heal our wounds, I think we’ll be alright We just gotta hang tight, enjoy the moon light in the canoes we built all night with the chants we recite We recite the oath and now we march for days Thinking to myself is my father proud, what would momma say? I left for a reason, but in my mind was it right, To be a part of the veteran’s club despite My family telling me to choose something regardless of their appetite Knowing I’m in a war zone and they are too that’s what really sends a fright I’m burning up inside, body temperature reaching 99 Fahrenheit But I leave it alone and I close my eyes I close my eyes and pray In hopes these cold platforms don’t breakaway What do you do when your supply slowly fades away Into a long lasting suffering demise Should continue to close my eyes? Or do I persevere? Have no fear, with all ice in sight, we got gear, we got guns, knives, ropes and spears This is something I can’t change this is my career, hunting in the frozen frontier, in what we know as the icy atmosphere Listen here, I am the modern pioneer, this is something to discuss Make sure to remember us Remember us for who we are and how we accepted you You came from foreign lands, we opened up to you with free hands Pale skin compared to our skin tanned, With your feet in the sand and the soil from the farm lands We didn’t go against your missionary plans We simply introduced you to the ancient and sacred high commands So please respect what we have given to you with permission from our fathers before I hope this helps you down the road and opens many doors Hopefully in the future, you will do the same And remember us by our first and last name Under these newly paved roads lay the stains and the names of those forgotten, But as what we must remember, I never forget He was just a young man, this a true story not a threat He was the epitome of hope and pride Lived on through his Ohana, that was his secret to staying alive 17
Youâ€™ll never forget his name, it may be written in blood But the blood of an innocent No one will ever forget that incident It was not insignificant; he was just a citizen from the Hawaiian lands His ancestors are his witnesses, this misfortune was no coincidence No innocence in their predicament, they only stood tough with their hands on the instrument But if they were so tough why didnâ€™t they finish it? What happened to being vigilant? These are the stories of the ones who made different choices but still had a common cause, they are the people of the islands and they are never forgotten for a common cause.
trans-PARENT By Alyssa Lawton I miss coming home from school to share how my entire day went with my mom. She would sit there patiently on the couch as I retaught every subject she missed and all the games we played. No detail was missed because our relationship was transparent. I could always count on her to embrace me when I scraped my knee or did not receive the grade I felt I deserved on that darn test. When I was bullied, she would wipe every tear falling down my cheek and become my dream catcher. She was my closest friend and my guardian. However, she was just a figment of my imagination, a mother who I felt would have understood me. My real mother never held my hand throughout my life, and I fought to justify myself to her. She was unable to reason with me and admit that she was wrong. You may wonder where my father or grandparents were in all of this, but they only witnessed a fraction of what happened. My mother believed I had a reputation to uphold as I was the representative of her. If I embarrassed her, I would instantly regret what I had said or done, once everyone surrounding us left. No one outside of my household was aware of what happened when my father was not home. My siblings and I went through the same routine after school as if we were trapped in a loop. Mom’s car would pull up into the school, and we would tell our friends that they had to leave because our childish conversations upset her. Once we arrived at home, it was time for us to do our homework and time for her to complete any extra work she was given that day. I was afraid because I could not solve this single math equation. She asked me why I was just sitting there and staring at my textbook for so long, but I did not want to admit that I could not solve the math equation. She told me to bring the textbook over, so I did. “What’s the problem, Alyssa? Do you not know how to solve this?” All I could remember was not being able to answer and praying for some gear in my brain to turn. She would tell me to not make her repeat herself, but I was trying my best to solve the problem in my head. I could feel my nails digging deeply into my arm as I would prepare for what was to follow. Each time she asked a question, I heard her fuse shorten as her face turned red. Every second of silence was a second closer to her detonating… and boom! I left tears on the textbook that left a mark on me. I was the frontline facing her rage after another strenuous day of work. If I had just answered her question, maybe it would have changed the outcome. The problem was that I did not know the answer and I feared that saying, “I do not know” was an even worst alternative. What was an occasional incident became a typical school day that resulted in having to turn around or go into my father’s closet to select a belt of my choice. My younger sister watched every hit I took for the regiment, though I reminded myself that I would always take it as long as this meant they would never have to face what I faced. One morning my mom yanked my hair with my brush because I was about to head to school with tangles. My sister watched me shed a tear for each hair pulled out of my head. During school that day, I was called to the counselor’s office for the first time and found my sister in the room. The counselor explained that my sister had expressed her concern for my well-being. Initially, I denied everything that she described was happening in my household, because who was she to be involved? Each day I withheld information from my counselor resulted in another threat from my mother to the point I no longer felt safe to be left alone with her.
Speaking to my counselor about what happened in my own home never felt right because, after each session, I was told not to tell my mom about what I had shared that day. I was told to tell my friends that my eyes were puffy and glistening due to allergies, but all I felt was weakness when I needed to be the strongest. The day I was told that I would not return home was when I felt I could no longer feel that same weakness I felt each session. For once, the police officers arrived at school for me. I was told that I did not do anything wrong, but I felt so much guilt that day. After the school nurse checked my body for any more bruises, it was time for us to leave school and pick up my brother after lunch time. The Caucasian lady drove a white car with a Hawaiian state seal on the car door. On our drive to her office, we encountered bumps throughout the highway. She said these bumps were potholes, and, even now anytime we drive over another pothole, I have a vivid memory of that drive to her office. During that week away from my parents, my mother was placed behind bars and sent to a psychiatric hospital. Seeing my parents only resulted in guilt pouring out of me. Everything seemed fine for the first couple of months, but I distinctly remember her telling us to never call her “Mom.” To this day, our relationship is comprised of broken pieces clinging on to one another. Family therapy never resolved the dishonesty that reeked in my household. I still find myself becoming another person to please my mother. One would assume that a child could confide in their own parent, but my relationship could never return to being ever slightly transparent. “Parent” being the root word of transparent is too ironic. I made the decision to intern for my mother’s company, which could be one of the greatest mistakes in my life. I question whether I am her daughter or her employee, but I suffer because she can treat me differently from my siblings and my coworkers. Guilt is an emotion that has shriveled my heart to the point I could not get anything past my mother. I never questioned whether I had anxiety when asked by my doctor during a physical until my last appointment. Admitting that I was experiencing anxiety concerned me so much that I have decided to keep this to myself. Every day feels as if I am walking on a thin layer of ice and like I need to be extra cautious about every move I make around her. If I slipped, I would drown. I wonder if my mother would be the person to pull me out or just watch me.
Beyond Focus by Georgina Lancaster
Pro Fast Food? Jade Rivera How many of us actually cook and eat organic meals at home? Personally, I do not. A typical day for me consists of going to school, coming home, doing homework, and then going to work. School starts at 8:35 in the morning, and I find myself coming home from work around 10:20pm. With a day like this, it is hard to find a moment where I can cook a meal. This is just my life, and I know that there are many other people out there who are much busier than I am. In a life where somebody is constantly occupied, it can be difficult to find moments in the day to cook three full meals. A solution to people being too busy to cook is to go to fast food restaurants because it is convenient and saves time. People really should go to fast food restaurants because of the convenience. According to Buzzfeed’s Deena Shanker, fast food restaurants have several ways for someone to receive quick access to a meal: “While the drive thru meant we no longer had to get out of the car to get a burger, delivery means we don't even have to leave the house.” This shows the convenience of fast food restaurants by explaining how simple it can be for someone to buy food. Nowadays, fast food places not only have drive-thrus and delivery services, but are also pairing up with many other online food ordering companies such as Uber Eats and Bite Squad. These options make it convenient for busy people who are on-the-go. People can simply swing by a drive thru and get a meal within a matter of minutes. If someone was stuck at work and just could not find a spare moment to make something or go out, then that is where the delivery service comes in handy. A big downside to cooking is having an unpredictable time frame of how long it will take to prepare and cook a meal. However, with these online food ordering companies, people can use the company’s mobile app to know exactly how long it will take to receive the food. Besides being convenient, fast food restaurants also help people to save time in their day. A lot of people have busy days. Whether it’s school, work, taking care of kids, or even a combination of these things, there are many things that keep us busy during the day. On average, most parents work about eight hours each day, some may work even longer. If this is a day job, then that means parents are not getting home until about six in the evening. By this point, it is late, and the kids are probably ready to eat dinner already. Instead of having to wait to defrost, prepare, and then cook dinner, a quick solution to this is to drive to a fast food restaurant. This would allow parents to grab an already cooked meal to feed the family. Parents would not have to go through a lengthy process to satisfy the family. Within a matter of minutes, the entire family would be fed. I know that some people may not agree with the decision to go to fast food restaurants. Many think that these places only offer food that are processed or unhealthy. However, this is not the case. Most people think that fast food restaurants are unhealthy because of all the junk food provided. Junk food can be defined as food that holds a low amount of nutritional value, which is not what fast food places are all about. The reality of it is that most fast food places offer healthier options, such as salads. Not to mention, people are not only limited to the places that sell burgers. Fast food is not defined as just burgers or fries; it can be defined as food that is prepared or cooked quickly and served in a place with no waiters. With this said, people can go to a place with a more balanced meal, such as a Korean BBQ place. These places usually serve a mix of meat, starch, and vegetables.
Another thing that concerns people is that a lot of fast food is processed. Something that people do not realize though is that most of the food sold in grocery stores is processed as well. According to Harry Wood, a lot of the food from grocery stores gets processed in other places and then gets shipped to the local grocery stores: “Many types of technology, processes and materials as well as the food ingredients go into producing the food products that end up in your shopping trolley.” These supermarket foods can be just as processed as the food we see on the menus at some fast food restaurants. People should embrace going to fast food restaurants because of the convenience and time they save. Many fast food places are convenient due to the many pickup and delivery options they offer. Fast food places also save time by serving cooked food within a matter of minutes. Some people may disagree and say that fast food restaurants are unhealthy, but that is not entirely true. In reality, a lot of the things we put in our body comes down to choices. We have the choice to pick what we want from the menu or store. We have the choice to choose how often we buy and consume the food. We have the choice to live a life with balance. How many of us cook organic food? Not too many, but that does not mean that we cannot still be healthy. WORKS CITED Pilon, Anne. “Fast Food Survey: Most Customers Choose Fast Food for Convenience.” AYTM, 13 August 2014, aytm.com/blog/fast-food-survey-2/. Shanker, Deena. “12 Ways Fast Food Companies Trick You Into Eating More Junk.” Buzzfeed, 12 January 2014, https://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/ways-fast-food-companiestrick-you-into-eating-more-junk. Wood, Harry. “The Top 9 Food Safety Risks in Supermarkets.” DeBugged, DeBugged, 29 June 2018.
The Struggle of Mental Health Care in the Foster System By Molly Olsen Mental health of children in the U.S. foster care system is often a problem that is overlooked by the general public, as many people do not know how big the issue really is. According to AdoptUSKids.org, 10% of all American adolescents will end up in foster care at some point in their childhood (“About the Children”). These children are often pulled from homes that have caused them pain and suffering of both emotional and physical variety. They have faced countless episodes of abuse that have caused them to be removed from family care with little to no contact with their former guardians. The questions I'm asking are: if the current foster system is detrimental to the mental health of these children, why isn't there an emphasis placed on the mental health care for them, and what can be done to improve it? The first side that I will cover is the idea that they are kids and will grow out of it because kids are resilient. This viewpoint believes that these children either will forget or grow out of any problems that they face when they are young. This viewpoint believes in the strength of adolescents and thinks that there is no need for therapy. The second view that I will address is that, even if these children do need help, there are too few of them and it would cost the government too much money to do anything. This side does not doubt that these children need mental care; they think there is not a financially responsible way for the government to take care of these children and equate their care to wasting money. The third and final view I plan to evaluate is the view that these kids do need mental health care and deserve to receive the best care available. This side believes that these children are a minority that we cannot afford to ignore; this view thinks that these kids need the stability that can be provided by therapy. I will use academic studies in the fields of child psychology and health to find statistics to support my thesis. I will also use sources from foster organizations and mental health journals to find information on the wellbeing of foster children and information on mental health disorders in children, especially foster children. Finally, I will compare the family situations of foster children and children of LGBT couples. While these groups would not normally be linked in any way, I believe that there is a strong correlation in the behaviors between the two groups, especially on the topic of social stigmas and mental disorders. I will be arguing in opposition to the viewpoints that there isn't funding available or that these children don't need mental health care; it is absolutely vital that they receive it due to the traumatic events that these kids have endured. Some of the biggest issues faced by the children in foster care are behavioral issues. These issues are linked to disruptive behaviors such as aggression towards authority, antisocial behaviors, and destruction of property. According to an article published by National Conference of State Legislator, up to 80 percent of children in foster care have significant mental health issues (“Mental Health”). This statistic is shocking when compared to 14% of all American children having emotional or behavioral problems (“Mental Health”). The study also says that foster children are the most heavily medicated group of adolescents because there often is not funding or personnel to properly treat them, therefore they are prescribed medication to suppress the symptoms of an illness instead of receiving the treatment they need (“Mental Health”). This does not work in the long term according to Sandra K. Cook-Fong, a New York-based child psychologist. In her article “The Adult Well-Being of Individuals Reared in Family Foster Care Placements, Cook-Fong says: “Individuals formerly in family foster care placements did report significantly higher depression scores, lower scores on marital happiness, less intimate parental relationships, and a higher incidence of social isolation” (29). This means that former foster children tend to have more 24
difficulty leading a healthy, prosperous life after they leave the system. This shows that the foster system truly does change the lives of the kids who are forced into it during the most fragile years of their lives. Bullying and social stigmas also play a significant role in the decline of mental health in these children. According to “Bullying; The Hidden Harassment of Foster Children” by Richard Villasana, foster children are 40% more likely to be bullied in school (3). Bullying behaviors are often caused by stigma placed on the foster system, such as the kids being “unwanted,” “dirty,” or “unloved.” To quote an interview with a foster child in Villasana’s article, “Yes, I was bullied by one girl in high school who was my friend. When I told her I was in foster care, everything changed. She would say things [such as] ‘at least my parents love me’”(Villasana 3). This shows how extreme bullying behaviors can often get in these situations. A group that faces similar issues with stigma and bullying is children with LGBT parents. Like children in foster homes, they are more likely to be faced with the extreme social stigma which causes mental health issues such as aggression and depression. The article "Children in Planned Lesbian Families: Stigmatization, Psychological Adjustment, and Protective Factors" by Henry Bos & Frank Van Balen, raising children in an LGBT (in this particular case, lesbian) household does not change the fundamental upbringing of a child, but the child may face stigma not faced by children raised in heteronormative households. This article says, “Findings from the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) in the USA showed that […]43% of the children had experienced stigmatization because of the sexual orientation of their mothers” (Bos and van Balen 223). This shows how prevalent the issue is among members of this community. This statistic is supported by research on child behavior problems presented later in the article: “The NLLFS also found that experiencing stigmatization is associated with a higher externalizing problem behavior score on the Child Behavior Checklist” (Bos and van Balen 223), associating the stigma with future behavioral problems. It is also claimed that children that face the previously mentioned stigma tend to have “more effective decision-making coping skills” (Bos and van Balen 223) and higher self-esteem. “In the face of high levels of perceived stigma, their self-esteem was higher than that of those with a lower level of this type of coping skill” (Bos & van Balen 223). This raises the question: does a child who is faced with these problems end up being stronger mentally in the long run? Do their struggles in adolescence actually lead them to be more stable and competent adults? Possibly, though that isn't the case for foster children. Compared to the mostly external issues dealt with by LGBT parented children, foster children’s struggles tend to come from internal sources such as past abuse and being predisposed to mental illness. In an article called “Health, Developmental, and Support Needs of Vulnerable Children: Comparing Children in Foster Care and Children in Need” by Shanti Raman and Sharmishta Sahu, they state, “Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in the early years [creates] an increased risk of health and developmental problems in childhood, as well as chronic diseases in adulthood” (419). Then they go on to support this claim by sharing a shocking statistic that 82% of children brought into one of the free health clinics in Sydney Australia had some reported abuse in their past, with 57% of them being in foster care or other alternative homes (Raman and Sahu 420). This statistic means that, on average, over half of these abused children end up in foster care. Being placed in these alternative homes may be what's best for the welfare and safety of the child, but this option has many drawbacks. These foster homes are often underfunded and overcrowded, at no fault of the people running them. These conditions often lead the children in the homes to flee them and, in many cases, end up on the street. Some could even argue that the foster system 25
is what so often leads children to mental illness and drug addiction, not the homes that they were removed from. This begs the question: is there a way to improve the current foster system to continue to remove these children from damaging homes without causing more problems in the process? Maybe there is, but why is this important? Why should it even matter that these children are faced with these problems? After all, the children in question are a significant minority compared to the total population of American children. Why should we feel the need to spend extra money and time protecting them when there are much larger groups of adolescents that need help? While these points are valid, they don't acknowledge the fact that these children are a vital part of our future; by denying them their right to the care that they deserve, we deny them the freedom to take their unfortunate experiences and grow from them. If we choose to ignore these children in the foster system merely because they are a minority, does that mean that we get to ignore other minorities and their issues? With this logic, the education needs of children in underfunded school districts also get overlooked because these children are technically a minority; this leads society down a dangerous path. If we begin to lose sight of the needs of minorities and in turn alienate these people who already face extreme prejudice in today's society, another problem with ignoring the needs of adolescents in foster care is that you are effectively hindering the potential of over 687,000 children (“Mental Health”) each year by not providing them with the resources to reach their full potential in life by giving them primary health care of both the mental and physical varieties. The lack of mental healthcare for this group becomes shockingly clear in a study performed by Karen Pridgen, a professor at Athens State University. There are over 687,000 children placed in the foster care system each year, with over 438,000 in the system at any given moment. 80% or 542,400 of those children have a documented form of mental illness (Pridgen 23). This staggering statistic shows how important mental healthcare should be for this group, but, in reality, only 27 states have any sort of legislation regarding the subject, and the majority of these laws are vague; some of them even claim that the country is not responsible for the mental care of these children. A perfect example of a state law that does nothing to help these children is the Idaho House Bill 1401, which states, “Responsibility for the education of children in state care for child protection or mental health issues falls upon private caretakers” (“Mental Health”). The law states that Idaho recognizes that these kids have mental health issues, but excuses the state from caring for these needs. Pridgen also reported that “children in foster care were almost three times more likely to have considered suicide and almost four times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who had never been in foster care” (18). If all of this is true, then why is mental care put on the back burner by the officials who are supposed to put the needs of these children first? One reason people often blame is the cost of care. According to “How Much Does Therapy Cost,” the average price of therapy for a child ranges anywhere from 75 to 300 dollars a session, with the average amount of sessions attended being 26 visits over one year. This adds to about 7,800 dollars per child, or up to 19 billion dollars to help all 542,400 kids who need it each year. This number is astounding and completely unmanageable by our current government, but why does therapy cost so much? Is there a reason that the minimum cost of these services is seventy-five dollars instead of maybe thirty dollars or even less? As it turns out, the required training for a therapist is expensive; this means that properly trained personnel are hard to come by. The website “All Psychology Schools” states that receiving a doctorate in psychology can cost upwards of 150,000 dollars and 12 years of school starting from a basic high school diploma. This means that not only 26
is it financially draining, but it also takes a long time to complete. This may seem like it would be discouraging to young college students, but, to the contrary, the field of psychology is teeming with them. The article also says, “In 2012 – 2013 [...] 1.84 million bachelor’s degrees were awarded to students.” The article also claims that only 27% of these graduates end up working in a field closely related to their degree. This means that there are over one million eager and viable people who could enter the workforce, but they don't. Why not? The main reason these people do not join fields that pertain to their degree is that they can't afford the extra eight years of education required for so many of the positions in the field. What if, instead of trying to pay for each child’s needs, the government paid for the schooling of some of these people who have the passion and ability to help the children? That way, instead of helping the issue one person at a time, they could help hundreds of children by hiring one person. This could also solve the issue by funding one college graduate’s higher education. In conclusion, I believe that the children in the foster care system not only need mental health care, but they also deserve this care. These kids are forced to go through traumatic experiences from a young age, such as being abused by their guardians and being forced out of their homes because of the trauma. With over 80% of these kids having a form of mental disorder (Pridgen 22), it is essential to address these issues while they are young. These children are also more susceptible to bullying, which raises their likelihood of anger and depression. The risk factors are comparable to those faced by children of LGBT parents who also face stigma and bullying related to their home lives. The main difference between these two groups is that the LGBT parented children often have a better support system in the form of a solid family situation. In contrast, foster kids often do not have as solid of a family, which leads to the amplification of the risks factors due to the difficult nature of living in a foster system that passes them around from home to home with no regard for their mental state. This argument is particularly backed by the evidence found in “Children in Planned Lesbian Families: Stigmatization, Psychological Adjustment, and Protective Factors” By Henry Bos and Frank Van Balen. The findings in that study seem to directly correlate to the statistics reported in “Mental Health and Foster Care” that foster kids have a suicide rate three times the national average and depression rates double the national average (“Mental Health”). If we choose to ignore the needs of these kids, we effectively hinder them from reaching their full potential. The obvious answer is to get these kids the care they need, but, as shown by the evidence, it is nearly impossible because of the staggering cost of just therapy alone. This issue could possibly be remedied by paying for education for people to work in mental health. This would be much more cost effective than the previous option of paying for each child individually. Regardless of how we get this care for these children, it is vital that they receive it because they are at such high risk for mental disorders or even suicide. WORKS CITED “About the Children”. Adopt US Kids (2017), https://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-thechildren/children-in-foster-care/about-the-children Bos, Henry M. & van Balen, Frank. “Children in Planned Lesbian Families: Stigmatization, Psychological Adjustment, and Protective Factors.” Culture, Health & Sexuality. (2008) pp. 221-236, DOI: 10.1080/13691050701601702
Cook-Fong, Sandra. “The Adult Well-Being of Individuals Reared in Family Foster Care Placements.” Child & Youth Care Forum. (2000) pp.29-37 DOI; 0.1023/A:1009440422651 “Counseling Degrees | What You'll Study in Your School Program.” All Psychology Schools.com, www.allpsychologyschools.com/counseling/degrees/ “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” GoodTherapy.org. (2017) https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/faq/how-much-does-therapy-cost “Mental Health and Foster Care.” National Conference of State Legislatures, Child Welfare Project, http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/mental-health-and-foster-care.aspx Pridgen, Karen. “Mental Health Care for Children and Youth in Foster Care.” Athens State University, (2014) http://www.athens.edu/business-journal/spring-2014/kpridgen-mentalhealth-care-in-foster-care/ Raman, S. & Sahu, S. “Health, Developmental and Support Needs of Vulnerable Children: Comparing Children in Foster Care and Children in Need.” Child Abuse Review. (2014) pp.415–425. doi: 10.1002/car.2305 Villasana, Richard. “Bullying: The Hidden Harassment of Foster Children.” Foster Focus. (2015)www.fosterfocusmag.com/articles/bullying-hidden-harrassment-foster-children.
LOCAL ISSUES AND COMMUNITY CONCERNS
Diving in Blue by Kelsey Ann Arreza
Electronic Sports Belong at Hawai’i Pacific University By Dustin M. Frederick Few schools in the country can compare to what the colleges in the islands of Hawai’i have to offer. Coming to a college in Hawai’i means sun, sand, and plenty of relaxation to accompany one’s studies. Many prospective college students are now looking to one college in Hawai’i for a new kind of scholarship: Hawai’i Pacific University’s electronic sports scholarship. As of early 2018, Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) created a fully functioning electronic sports arena equipped with the latest computers, video game consoles, and hardware required to house a team competing against other schools in the electronic sports college scene. Though the electronic sports arena is well-funded and accommodating for anyone trying to utilize its tools, many students currently attending Hawai’i Pacific University feel as though the arena is wasted money, time, and resources that could have been better spent throughout the school. These students often find themselves asking the administration of Hawai’i Pacific University the same kind of question: is the E-Sports arena worth the investment because of community, scholarships, and future tuition? Electronic Sports, or E-Sports, is a fairly new revolution in the realm of video games that takes the skill intensive focus of video games and turns that into a competitive environment, much like conventional sports. Over the past five years, E-Sports have begun to take a noticeable rise in popularity across the world as a legitimate sport. Schools across the world have begun implementing E-Sports arenas as a way to host that school’s E-Sports team for various competitions against their rival schools. The potential for E-Sports goes beyond just that of colleges. Professional E-Sports players around the world compete for fame and fortune as a career, beyond just the traditional hobby of playing video games. The prizes get so big that in 2017, the game known as Dota 2 held an international tournament called The International 2017, in which the first prize was a little over 24 million dollars (“Largest Overall Prize Pools in ESports”). Not only are the prizes for E-Sports often incredible, but the viewers that tune in around the world are considered by many to be absurd. The game League of Legends for example held a tournament called the LoL World Championship 2016, which had over 43 million different viewers tuning in from across the world (“Top ESports Championships by Unique Viewers 2017”). With the amount of worldwide viewership and money that E-Sports makes, it became only natural that colleges started implementing ways to recruit and train E-Sports students with incentives like scholarships and experience in the E-Sports scene for future avenues in the professional scene. HPU became the first college in Hawai’i to build an E-Sports arena and fund two teams to compete against other colleges. Many HPU students felt as though this investment of the arena was not going to pay off anytime soon, if at all. To get an accurate representation of the disapproval of students at HPU, an anonymous survey was conducted of 50 HPU students about their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with the E-Sports arena. The table below explains the questions asked on the left, and the responses to those questions on the right. The survey was conducted away from the HPU ESports arena, in farther parts of the campus, to avoid any direct potential bias from those who frequent the E-Sports arena daily.
HPU E-SPORTS ANONYMOUS SURVEY CONDUCTED ON 3APR2018---4APR2018 AMONG 50 RANDOM HPU STUDENTS Age 17 or younger: 18-24: 25-35: 35 or older: 0 45 4 1 Male, Female, Other Male: Female: Other: 21 29 0 Have you heard about E-Sports Yes: 46 No: 4 before? Are you aware of HPU’s new E- Yes: 45 No: 5 Sports arena? Do you believe HPU’s E-sports Yes: 14 No: 36 arena was a good investment? Using the data gathered from the survey, it was clear to see that an overwhelming majority of students, both male and female in the 18-24-year-old range understand what E-Sports are and are aware of the HPU E-Sports arena. Controversy exists at HPU because many students believe that the arena was a waste of money. At the bottom of the survey, students were given an opportunity to express their specific concerns as to why HPU’s E-Sports arena was a waste of money, and their feelings towards how the money should have been better spent. The most common complaints were that the money should have been spent on things the school actually ‘needs,’ rather than a luxurious E-Sports arena, such as more parking for the students, athletic sports teams, better library computers, and better cafeteria and food services. One such complaint on the anonymous survey was: “I don’t think the school should’ve spent money on it. This is because from my understanding, the e-sports team is considered an actual sports team in athletics, meanwhile they are cutting funding from athletics” (Frederick). It is not hard to empathize with those who complained about the other sports teams getting budget cuts while the E-Sports team gets a new flashy arena, but, while there is stigma against the arena, there are some people that support the arena. Of those in the survey that favored the E-Sports arena, believing it to be a good investment, the responses where overwhelmingly positive. One such positive response was: “I think the E-Sports arena is a place where people can go to relax. There’s a lot of stress in college, so it’s a nice place to go have fun” (Frederick). While it’s easy to see the E-Sports arena as a waste of resources, those who enjoy it for what it is seem often rewarded with an excellent experience. Opportunities that exist for HPU students because of E-Sports extend into the college tuition. Because HPU is the only school in Hawai’i to have an E-Sports arena, this can attract students from all over the world to study at HPU. To further entice students, and to treat the E-Sports teams as athletic teams themselves, HPU offers scholarships to students that participate in their League of Legends teams, which compete across the United States for prizes and recognition. On the HPU website, the application process for scholarships sets the value loosely at between $1,000 to $6,000 a year (“Esports Application”). Looking at both the scholarships, the arena itself, and the fact that HPU is the only school in Hawai’i to have an arena, it would come as no surprise that the college would start to attract more students per year than previously before. When asked in an interview if the HPU E-Sports arena was a good investment in April 2018, Dominique Bushong, Campus Recreation Coordinator, gave her insight into the thought process of what went into the arena. Though no specific prices were given as to how much the arena cost the school, Bushong said that companies Dell and Sony took part in investing and discounting 31
most of the equipment in the arena. As to where the arena idea came from in the first place, Bushong claimed it was “straight from the president’s mouth.” From HPU president John Gotanda’s perspective, being the first college in Hawai’i to have an E-Sports arena would be an advantage for the university in areas such as future tuition, scholarships, and opportunities. Aside from the cost of the arena, Dominique claimed that there is more to the E-Sports arena than just the price that comes with it. When asked what opportunities E-Sports provides for students, Bushong said: I believe it provides community. Before we even started this club, none of these guys in here on the team knew each other now they’re roommates, they’re friends, they’re coworkers. They’ve helped each other excel at life and just wanting to stay here at HPU and building that Ohana that we all talk about…because you know the stigma of being a loner, I mean, in here you’re not a loner; everyone has the same interests…it’s nice having that sense of community in here when you’re usually sitting at home, playing the games by yourself…it’s more community based. Bushong further discussed how the arena attracts the community beyond HPU, such as local residents, tourists, and children. To gain an understanding beyond the administration, an interview was conducted with League of Legends team student president Keven Quortey and team captain Wesley O’Neill about their feelings on whether the school’s E-Sports Arena was a good investment. To get a better gauge on the long-term investment value of the arena, I asked the team where they thought E-Sports were headed in the greater community and at HPU. Quortey says, “As a whole I think it’s going to be a lot bigger than ever imagined because it’s just the future; it’s what young people love to see and love to play, so I think that it’s going to be a lot bigger in the future and probably hitting up to, like, the NBA, rival NBA viewers” (Quortey). When the same question was presented to the team captain, O’Neill said, “There were more people watching League of Legends Worlds than the NBA finals and the NHL finals combined. Again, that’s worldwide. The future is coming.” Young people are more interested in the E-Sports scene than ever before, and with traditional sports being overshadowed by E-Sports in worldwide viewership, E-Sports might be using its influence to take over the professional sport scene. Though money was never directly talked about in discussion over the E-Sports arena, the HPU website advertises its game time prices for anyone wanting to utilize its services. Though it would not pay the bills for the center every week, the passion and dedication from those who attend the E-Sports Arena will keep the doors open long enough for the arena to reach a higher membership count. With the rising enthusiasm for E-Sports across the world, it would be only smart that colleges began to invest in a sport whose prizes are so large and whose viewers are so many and so dedicated. HPU’s decision to join the E-Sports scene, have people pay for game-time, and compete against other teams, has already been done in some colleges across the United States. Illinois State University, University of Akron, University of Utah, and over twenty other colleges have made the commitment to E-Sports already (Morrison). To say that HPU is a trendsetter would be wrong, but many colleges around the United States are making steps towards the future of college athletics.
Though some students of HPU (many of which have never been inside of the arena itself), think the HPU arena is a waste of money and resources, the administration stays one step ahead by making investments for the school’s future. Rising enthusiasm for electronic sports has put the world in an uproar, and colleges across the world have begun to make scholarships and resources readily available for anyone wanting to join. The center provides a means for students and the community of similar interests to join under one common enthusiasm: E-sports. Though monetary investment is an area of concern, the effects E-sports have had personally on the students has already begun to show. Communities and friendships have formed over a common goal of winning a video game. HPU has benchmarked itself as the only school in Hawai’i with an E-sports arena, increasing incentive for prospective students to apply. For HPU, the investment of the e-sports arena is a guaranteed payout of both game time, prize money, and tuition. For HPU students, the E-sports arena provides a place of friendship and community. Regardless of the common sentiment at HPU that the E-sports arena was a poor investment, in the words of Dominique Bushong, “Don’t knock it till you try it.” WORKS CITED Bushong, Dominique. Personal interview. 4 April 2018. “Esports Application.” Hawai’i Pacific University, www.hpu.edu/financial- aid/scholarships/new-undergraduate/esports-app.html. Accessed 13 April 2018. Frederick, Dustin. Survey of 50 HPU Student of the HPU E-Sports Arena. Informal Survey Conducted on 3 April 2018-4 April 2018. “Largest Overall Prize Pools in ESports.” Esports Tournament Rankings, www.esportsearnings.com/tournaments. Accessed 12 April 2018. Morrison, Sean. “List of Varsity Esports Programs Spans North America. ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 15 Mar 2018, www.espn.com/esports/story/_id/21152905/college-esports-listvarsity-esports-programs-north-america. Accessed 13 April 2018. O’Neill, Wesley. Personal interview. 4 April 2018. Quortey, Kevin. Personal interview. 4 April 2018. “Top ESports Championships by Unique Viewers 2017.” Statista, www.statista.com/statistics/507491/esports-tournaments-by-number-viewersglobal/. Accessed 12 April 2018.
Female Gender Discrimination in Gaming Culture By: Cherlyn Kay Alejandro In June of 2016, a 16-year-old female Overwatch player named Kim Se-yeon who went by the gamer tag of “Geguri” was competing in an amateur Overwatch competition as part of a team called UW Artisan. During this match Geguri played the character Zarya, a strong Russian woman with pink hair and a big laser gun, and completely dominated the other team with very precise aiming and timing. Rumors circulated the Overwatch community which accused Geguri of cheating during the competition. Even though she was already known in Korea for her amazing skills with the character Zarya, two pro-players on the team they defeated, Dizziness, believed that Geguri was using an aim-bot during their match. These next few weeks were filled with support, but also a lot of hate towards Geguri, as she explains: “Everyone in the community was attacking me, calling me a crazy b----[bitch]. I was scared.” She also received many messages: some from fans, others from trolls, men who mock her looks and tell her she needs plastic surgery (Kimes, 2017, pg. 1). As a 16-year-old girl at the time, why did people believe it was okay to attack her in such a way? One of the commentators from the Overwatch match that Geguri played in invited her to prove that her skills were real and that she wasn’t cheating. She agreed and played several matches for an hour on a stage and proved all the rumors and accusations wrong. As seen in her live gameplay, her skills still matched how she played in the competition, but, despite the quality of her performance, Geguri said that she could have done even better but she'd been under a lot of stress over the previous days because of the accusations (Chalk, 2016, pg. 1). Geguri isn’t the only female gamer to be accused of cheating by using hacks or accused of having someone else such as a boyfriend, brother, or male friend play for them. The two pro-players who believed that Geguri was cheating were so convinced that they vowed to quit esports if she could prove that she wasn't, which they did. These two gamers put their gaming careers on the line because they fully believed that Geguri couldn’t have been as good as she proved to be. Why is it so hard to believe that a female could be just as good as a male gamer? Once children are born, they are introduced to what is common for boys and what is common for girls, such as the colors pink vs. blue and dolls vs. action figures. This could potentially be where the idea of only boys playing video games originates. Not only is this a problem in the minds of children, but gender stereotypes happen in many adult workplaces, such as a woman being seen as inferior to her male boss. Many people have seen this problem and have spoken out about it. Protest for equal pay and opportunities in these professional workplaces have been fought for. Marches, speeches, rallies, etc. have been created by women and men to push for equality for all genders. Even though sexism in these workplaces has been brought to many people’s attention, sexism in gaming culture hasn’t gotten a lot of exposure. Video games aren’t taken seriously by a lot of adults, but, more recently with the rise of eSports, the community of players and viewers has grown. With this growth, the increase of females in the gaming community has grown as well, so are they now treated equally along with their male counterparts? No. Stephanie Fisher, a PhD candidate in York University’s Language, Culture and Teaching program in the Faculty of Education and Jennifer Jenson, co-editor of Loading: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association and past president of the Canadian Game Studies Association, both argue that “girls and women are considered to be both separate and unequal participants in games culture and industry” (Fisher & Jenson, 2017, pg. 88). The definition of a gamer in the Merriam-Webster dictionary states that a gamer is “a person who plays games; especially: a person who regularly plays computer or video games.” A gamer shouldn’t be based around a gender because in reality 34
both genders are doing the same thing, which is playing video games. Female gamers are constantly looked down upon and many have experienced tough situations due to their gender. The discrimination women face has yet to be dealt with by its players and industry. Even though sexism is a huge problem in many areas, the gaming community has been progressive by including females in gaming content and in esports, but many female players are still harassed by male players through gaming related sites, discriminated against by the gaming community and industry, and affected mentally as they continue to encounter and deal with hostility. Throughout history, women have faced hardships trying to fight for their right of equality. Beginning in 1848, women’s suffrage included thousands of women who fought for their want of being able to have their own political identities with the ability to vote. As these women succeeded in August 26, 1920, this was the start of a new revolution. Up until today, many marches have been held where females continue to make their voices heard. Currently, The March for Women’s Lives has gotten a lot of publicity as thousands of women and men are shown all around the world, all marching for the same thing. In today’s world, sexism is looked down upon and many people believe in equality between genders. Although there are differences in the ways each gender is treated, it still hasn’t diminished in many parts and communities in the world. The gaming communities’ problems aren’t known by very many people, but sexism is still very prominent in this male-dominated community. With the awareness of women’s rights, more light should be shed upon the now rising number of female players in the gaming community. If sexism in the workplace, education, etc. is looked down upon, this continuous harassment that female gamers face should be addressed and dealt with. When you hear the word “gamer,” what do you picture? Most people imagine a white, scrawny, acne-covered male, sitting in a dark room in the basement of their parent’s house, surrounded by empty boxes of pizza and Monster energy drinks. The most important part of their description is the gamer’s gender, which always happens to be male. Video games were always associated with boys and that’s what people always thought. Why is the idea of a girl being an avid gamer so foreign? When the image of a female gamer is brought up, the stereotypical image of a girl who uses her body for ranks and flirts with male players is what is imagined because some people see female gamers as attention seekers. Noah Petters, a student at University of Minnesota working towards her degree in Communications and Edward Downs, a teacher at University of Minnesota with a PhD in Communications, argue that, “sexist perspectives prevail in the gaming community, where misogyny is the norm and objectification of women is accepted” (2017, pg. 51). All players within the gaming community have seen misogyny and objectification of women become the normalized way of thinking or acting. How did this perception of women start and why is it the norm? As video game companies promote their products, they are mostly targeting the male population and most commonly forget that there is still a percentage of players who are female. Benjamin Paaben, Thekla Morgenroth, and Michelle Stratemeyer are authors who either have a Ph.D. or a postdoctoral; they have all contributed to researching and discussing the start of the male gamer stereotype, what contributes to women never being thought of as actual gamers, and how it affects them. In their article, they say that “the male gamer stereotype also informs the perceived audience for game developers, leading to game content and marketing that panders to a clichéd young male audience, most notably with violent game play and hyper-sexualized depictions of female characters” (Paaben, Morgenroth, & Stratemeyer, 2017, pg. 429). Many games such as League of Legends, DOTA, Smite, etc., who have a big population of male players, 35
include female characters with overly sexualized body parts that can be seen as objectifying to some women. Video game companies constantly make games that primarily interest male players, because they believe that video games appeal more towards them. Even though this is currently true, not marketing to both genders is a leading factor as to why the gaming community is so maledominated. It created the stereotypical gamer being seen as usually male. The images in these video games promote the female body to males, which can be a primary reason why female gamers are never taken seriously. Very few companies have tried to advertise to both male and female players, which can affect the players’ attitudes to encountering the opposite gender. Brona Nic Giolla Easpaig, a lecturer in psychology at Charles Sturt University and Rhi Humphrey, a PhD student at the University of Glasgow, argue that the “barriers to women’s participation have also been identiﬁed in the design and content of games, the under-representation of women working in gaming industries and competing at elite levels, and assumptions that women’s gaming skills are inferior to those of male-identifying players” (2017, pg. 554). Easpaig and Humphrey are trying to explain that the reoccurring belief that women are inferior to men are due to the lack of strong female representation in game content. Constantly, strong female character roles are being forgotten in story mode games and the hyper-sexualized images of female characters can be distasteful to the interest of females. Without the support of big name gaming companies, equality for both genders would be hard to achieve as males will continue to see women as inferior, which leads to harassment and unequal opportunities. Research and numerous stories about problems female players deal with on video games and live streaming sites have caused many female players to stray away from pursuing video games or to conceal their own identities on these platforms due to brutal words and actions expressed from male players. During online gaming, females who use game chat to communicate with other players face more vocal harassment compared to male players talking in game chat. Petters and Downs’ article explains an online experiment conducted at Ohio University lead by two people named Kuznekoff and Rose. In this experiment, communication is used through the service of Microsoft’s voice chat called Xbox Live, which allows their players to communicate in game. Two voices were pre-recorded and conveyed the same message, which would be played before, during, and after the game. The only difference was that one voice belonged to a male and the other belonged to a female. The purpose of this experiment is to observe how the players in the game react to the voices and compare the results. After receiving the reactions from the players, the study found that “the female voice received three times as many derogatory or negative comments than a male voice or no voice, even when the voices communicated the same message” (Petters & Downs, 2017, pg. 50). The experiment has shown how male players react brutally to a female player. Even when both voices conveyed the same message, the voice of a female got responses that were inappropriate and rude just because it’s a girl. A lot of the time their insults vary from characteristic traits to gameplay. Common things that are said to females are “You’re a girl gamer? You must be fat, ugly, or a slut” and when a girl is actually good at the game male players say, “Your boyfriend, brother, or guy friend must be playing for you.” Why do male players react this way towards a girl? How does it benefit them in any way? The reason why they feel like they can get away with insulting them is because of the anonymity of online chatting. This is especially common on streaming websites such as Twitch.tv or YouTube. When streamers stream, most will have a face cam and microphone to interact with their viewers. During this time people who are mostly referred to as trolls or keyboard warriors come out and cause havoc in the streaming chat. Trolls are people who have the sole purpose of wanting to make someone mad and try to do 36
anything to get a reaction out of the person they are trolling. A keyboard warrior will “aim to make threats, of physical or psychological abuse and even sexual abuse, they would otherwise never got to make in a life situation” (Condran, pg. 1). Trolls and keyboard warriors usually see female players and streamers as easy targets, using stereotypical gender insults to get a reaction from the females or the chat. Every day online female players have to deal with all sorts of online harassment, but how does it affect them in real life? Being a public figure in any community comes with a lot of pressure, but for any popular or successful female gamer, the pressures are much harsher. In many interviews about female pro players’ experiences in esports, a big percentage of them have one thing in common, the pressure and hostility from other players (primarily male) affect them mentally. Paaßen, Morgenroth and Stratemeyer explain how the term called “stereotype threat” is used: as the negative effect that salient negative group stereotypes can have on group member’s performance. For instance, women who are reminded of their gender identity before a cognitive ability test (e.g., a math test) tend to perform worse than women who receive no such reminder. Both Vermeulen et al. (2016) and Kaye and Pennington (2016) found that gaming performance for women could be negatively affected by evoking the “girls can’t play” stereotype; as such, stereotype threat might play a role in reported performance differences between the genders. (2017, pg. 462) As female players hear and see so many discouraging messages about their characteristics or skill, these memories stay in the back of their head when they participate in gaming competitions or streams. Males also receive hate, but it doesn’t go as far as sexual remarks and stereotypical gendered insults, such as how women should stay in the kitchen. As Geguri turned 18-years-old, she was recruited to play for Shanghai Dragons, a pro-team apart of the Overwatch League. She became the first female pro-player, and she noticed it wasn’t filled with pride and joy. Geguri was constantly being harassed by male players, as they continued to comment on her body type and questioned her gender because many people believed that she looked like a boy. Being the first female pro-player affected her mentally, emotionally, and even physically as she expressed to Twitter, “When I get stressed, I start binge eating so I get fat. I’m sorry for being ugly. In stage 3, I’ll work hard to show a good side of myself, if only in the game!” (Myers, 2018, pg. 1). As it took a toll on her, she believed that she had to apologize for the way she looked and kept herself from eating what she wanted to eat. She was harassed by many male players among the community, and it only shows misogyny because most of these men only made remarks about her attributes such as her short hair, figure, and looks, but none of them critiqued her gaming capabilities. Just because Geguri is a female, the way she looks is seen as more important than her gameplay, which keeps her from being fully focused on the game as she felt like she had to worry about her looks as well. The Overwatch community isn’t the only community that harasses their female pro-players. In the game called League of Legends, which is known for its notoriously toxic player base, one proplayer named Maria Creveling, who went by the name of Remi, was the first female player to be part of the League of Legends: League Championship Series (LCS). This was a major deal to many female players because for years the pro series was filled with only male players. While many would assume that Remi had gained a lot of support for the accomplishment she had achieved, it was the complete opposite. A few months into her career in the pro league, Remi stepped down 37
from the starting line up in her team called Renegades. In an interview, she said, "When I set out initially, I wanted to be the first girl in LCS. That was what motivated me. That dream I had I accomplished and yet it is being challenged in such a heartless way" (Williams, 2016, pg. 1). Although her anxiety and self-esteem from being on stage caused her to leave the team and her career as a pro-player, this challenge she faced was because “Remi has also been the target of sexism and transmisogyny from League of Legends' notoriously toxic community” (Williams, 2016, pg. 1). Being the only female in the pro-leagues wasn’t a really good experience for Remi compared to all the other male players. It pushed her to step down from her position due to the harassment she received. Some may say that the words said to females are just “boys being boys,” but it’s no different than cyberbullying done to any gender. As these experiences still go on today, many female players continue to find ways to overcome it. Despite the female players who have been mentally and emotionally affected by the words and actions of male players in the community, in today’s world, with the amount of women’s empowerment being expressed, some female players will continue to fight against these men. So how do these women deal with all the issues of harassment? Amanda Cote, who has a Ph.D Communication Studies Department from University of Michigan, focuses on the industry and culture of video games, with a particular emphasis on gender, representation, and issues of technological access. Throughout her research on gender discrimination in the gaming community, she has figured out the most common strategies women use to deal with harassment in the gaming community. Interviews from 37 females with a background in gaming explained their situation in the gaming community and how they dealt with hostile players. The first thing some females did was to leave the gaming community, as Cote explained that “many of them avoided online play due to past negative experiences or even the perception that they were more likely to be harassed online” (2017, pg. 143). Just like Remi, sometimes the pressures and harassment from people isn’t worth dealing with or having to face. It’s not something females should have to deal with, but most people see harassment towards females in the gaming community as it has become normalized. The next two strategies are to avoid strangers and to camouflage your gender. The fact that women feel the need to hide their gender shows how they feel inferior to male players due to all the experience harassment and discrimination they have received in the past. Even though a majority of the males have treated women differently in good and bad ways, it is possible to find friends within the community. It does take time to find male players who are decent and don’t focus on the fact that the person they are playing with is female, but it becomes the better option than talking to someone and not knowing how they’ll react to your gender. Many females hide their gender by using gamer tags that have no trace of feminine words, and some don’t talk in game chat to contain their anonymity and let people believe it’s just another male player. The last two strategies are to deploy skill and experiences and to adopt an aggressive personality. Cote said that “emphasizing their skill or high level of experience with gaming was often enough to stave off harassment” (2017, pg. 147). Females have become a big part of the gaming community, and many of them have become good at the game. As many use their skills to show males that females could be just as good, it put many egotistical players in their place. The words of harassment and hostility towards females are harsh, but many won’t take it. Quite a few females will often talk back to male players that try to seem superior and often get shut down by them. Many become surprised by how they fight back, and sometimes females earn respect for standing up for themselves. Andy Chalk, a writer for PCGAMER, is a gaming enthusiast with interest in writing articles covering news within the gaming community. He wrote an article based on Geguri’s situation. In Geguri’s case, 38
through all the harassment she had received, when asked how she overcame these issues, she said, “I got used to it as time went by." Over the past year, she explains, she has grown tougher -- less vulnerable to the doubts people cast upon her as well as the ones she had sown in her own mind. "I wasn't always like this, but I decided I needed to believe in myself to be good," she said. "I need to play with no regrets" (qtd. in Chalk, 2016, pg. 1). Geguri has been through the best and worst experiences as the first female in Overwatch League, and through this she has learned that fighting through all the hate she has received is the route she is going to take. No longer will she pay attention to what people have to say about her looks, body, etc. because she is now focusing in benefiting herself through her dream of becoming a pro-player in Overwatch League and doing her best for her fans. Harassment to females shouldn’t be seen as the norm in today’s world, but the women in gaming are strong and many have taken their negative experiences, adapted, and used it as a way to strengthen themselves. While looking at all the experiences that women have dealt with in the past years, one question still stands: Has anything changed? Of course, there are still a group of male players that continue to boost their ego by putting down everyone and anyone, especially females. Although, has the community and the industry itself made any changes to welcome equality for all types of gamers? Melissa Terlecki, Jennifer Brown, Lindsey Harner-Steciw, John Irvin-Hannum, Nora MarchettoRyan, Linda Ruhl, and Jennifer Wiggins, who are all associated with the Psychology Department at Cabrini College, have sought this answer as they conducted an experiment that focuses on similarities and differences between both genders in gaming. Unexpectedly, these researchers have found that “both men and women in this study thought that advertising was/is the most crucial aspect that influences their gaming preferences also argues for great attention to be paid to women’s choices. More research needs to be conducted and communicated to the gaming industry to better serve the female gaming population” (2010, pg. 30). In recent years, many gaming companies have been listening and observing the change in their player base. The video game Call of Duty has had a long line of first person shooter games and has always been the stereotypical guy game, which usually only included male characters, but in recent releases they have added characteristic options that let players choose between a male and female character. In another game called Overwatch, owned by the gaming company Blizzard, there is a set of heroes to play, and more than half of them are female. The characteristics of these female heroes vary, but they are all perceived as strong independent women and are not showcased in skimpy and revealing clothing. Many other companies have followed suit with the implementation of strong female characters, which shows that many industries have noticed the rise of female gamers and are now more aware in knowing that their audience isn’t as male dominated as before. As for the players within the community, many have become aware of the female presence within games, streams, and esports, while some have welcomed and supported these female players and treated them as gamers, without including gender. Over time gaming culture has changed from a predominantly male community that was based around the stereotypical image of a male gamer to a new rise in female gamers. Although this transition wasn’t easy for the female gender as many have experienced harassment from other players that have affected them mentally, many strive to fight back and deal with the issues they face. Many prominent and successful female gamers have either become stronger, as with Geguri, or become like others, such as Remi, who prove to male players that a woman can become a proplayer but find it best for themselves to leave the scene. Either way, all these female players make 39
decisions based on their well-being and have learned from their experiences. Through knowledgeable research from Petters and Downs, reactions from male players have shown how they react to female players and that they are treated different in the worst way possible, through sexual remarks and negative comments. Feedback from the 37 interviewees in Amanda Cote’s experiment shared the experiences of casual female gamers and how they have dealt with the issue they faced. Despite the fact that there are still male players that induce hostility towards female gamers, the gaming community and culture has moved forward as the implementation of strong female characters in popular games has been added to games due to the gaming industries’ recognition of the rise of female gamers, as well as the support of male players towards casual and popular female gamers within the gaming community. Even though gender discrimination hasn’t fully diminished from gaming culture, the past few years have showed ongoing improvement for the equality of both genders, and, as the community evolves, so will gaming culture. REFERENCES Chalk, A. (2016, June 21). Teenage Overwatch player accused of cheating proves she's just that good with Zarya. Retrieved from https://www.pcgamer.com/teenage-overwatch-playeraccused-of-cheating-proves-shes-just-that-good-with-zarya/ Condran, T. (n.d.). Keyboard Warrior vs the Troll. Retrieved from https://tomtafe.weebly.com/keyboard-warrior-vs-the-troll.html Cote, A. C. (2017). ‘‘I Can Defend Myself’’: Women’s Strategies for Coping With Harassment While Gaming Online. Games and Culture, 12(2), 136-155. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412015587603 Easpaig, B. N., & Humphrey, R. (2017). ‘‘Pitching a virtual woo’’: Analysing discussion of sexism in online gaming. Feminism & Psychology, 27(4), 553-561. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353516667400 Fisher, S., & Jenson, J. (2017). Producing alternative gender orders: A critical look at girls and gaming. Learning, Media, and Technology, 42(1), 87-99. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2016.1132729 Kimes, M. (2017, September 15). Esports is dominated by men. Can a 17-year-old Korean girl change that? Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/20692051/how-teenage-gamer-becamereluctant-icon-south-korea-feminist-movement Myers, M. (2018, March 28). Let Geguri Live. Retrieved from https://compete.kotaku.com/let-geguri-live-1824150910 Paaßen, B., Morgenroth, T., & Stratemeyer, M. (2017). What is a True Gamer? The Male Gamer Stereotype and the Marginalization of Women in Video Game Culture. Sex Roles, 76(6), 421-435. doi:10.1007/s11199-016-0678-y Petters, N., & Downs, E. (2017). Perceptions of Women and Gaming: Exploring Implications of Intersectionality through Quantitative Analysis of Blog Comments. Aisthesis, 8(1), 48-59. 40
Terlecki, M., Brown, J., Steciw, L. H., Hannum, J. I., Ryan, N. M., L. R., & Wiggins, J. (2010). Sex Differences and Similarities in Video Game Experience, Preferences, and SelfEfficacy: Implications for the Gaming Industry. Springer Science Business Media, 30(1), 22-33. doi:10.1007/s12144-010-9095-5 Williams, H. (2016, February 08). League Of Legends Championship Series' First Female Player Has Already Quit. Retrieved from https://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/02/league-oflegends-championship-series-first-female-player-has-already-quit/
The Impact of Japanese and Filipino Immigrant Workers on the Sugar Strikes in Plantation Era Hawai‘i By Reyginson Villa Sagayagai Many are blinded by the paradisal image of Hawai‘i, and many are clueless about its plantation origins. Tourists do not seem to know that before there were towering buildings and establishments crowding Waikiki, there were infinite acres of sugar plantation fields throughout the islands of Hawai‘i. These sugar plantation fields brought groups of different nationalities together, which is reflected in Hawai‘i’s rich interweaving of cultures today. According to the 2010 census of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (2010), the population of Hawai‘i is comprised of 24.74% Whites, 14.50% Filipinos, 13.67% Japanese, 4.04% Chinese and more other nationalities. Before this diverse society of Hawai‘i, immigrant sugar workers have struggled due to their haole (Caucasian) plantation managers and lunas (sugar field heads) who created a sense of division between them. The sugar plantation leaders made the laborers hate on each other, which engineered a great polarity among the different racial groups. This loathing was further intensified by the plantation heads’ demonstration of superiority and supremacy. The racist ideology of the plantation managers during the sugar plantation era of Hawai‘i affected the wage systems and housing conditions of the sugar plantation workers, which prompted the Japanese and the Filipino laborers to go on sugar strikes. These strikes led to a more powerful uprising, which left an essential legacy of multiethnic cooperation that is evident to Hawai‘i’s modern labor force. The history of Hawai‘i’s modern workforce can be traced back to the sugar plantation era. Ronald Takaki, a historian, narrates the very start of Hawai‘i’s sugar industry in “’An entering wedge’: The origins of the sugar plantation and multi-ethnic working class in Hawai‘i.” The century following the arrival of William Hooper in 1835, Hooper established the first Hawaiian sugar industry (Takaki, 2008, p. 33). Hooper was sent by Ladd and Company of Honolulu to initiate the establishment of the very first plantation field in the Sandwich Islands and “to cultivate sugarcane as a cash crop” (Takaki, 2008, p. 32). The perfect climate and soil of the said region must have been at an optimum level for the sugar industry quickly progressed. The success of the first established sugar industry in Hawai‘i needed workers to keep it up and running. “Eighty years after Hooper had planted his first field of sugarcane, Hawaiian plantations produced 556,871 tons of sugar” (Takaki, 2008, p. 33). This level of the sugar industry’s triumph gave rise to the idea of importing labor force outside of the islands. Hawai‘i’s newly formed Bureau of Immigration in 1864 organized the first “shipment” of half a thousand immigrant workers from Hong Kong (Beechert, 1985, p. 62). The immigration of workers was ceaseless as the sugar industry grew and grew. As sugar production skyrocketed, the demand for more labor force also increased, paving a way for the first shipment of the Japanese and the Filipino sugar workers. Edward Beechert, a history professor, described the import of Japanese labor forces in Working in Hawaii: A Labor History. Beechert (1985) points out that the first group of Japanese sugar plantation workers arrived in Hawai‘i in 1868 (p. 65). Takaki (1983) adds that the Japanese immigrant plantation worker “imagined bold possibilities for themselves in Hawai‘i, the place where they would be able to fulfill dreams of making money and building bright futures” (p. 42). The Japanese were not the only ones who were imported to Hawai‘i to become workers of the sugar fields. Based from the 42
stories of previous immigrant Filipino workers arriving from Hawai‘i back to the Philippines, other hopeful Filipinos wanted their own Hawai‘i sugar plantation story to tell. When asked why the Filipinos wanted to go to Hawai‘i, they responded: “Kala glorya ti Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i is like a land of glory” (Takaki, 1983, p. 49). Filipino peasants were told that laborers in Hawai‘i were paid in gold and lived in luxury (Jung, 2004, p. 107; Takaki, 1983, p. 51). This eventually prompted the Filipinos to sign up for work in Hawai‘i’s sugar industry, leaving their country. Based on the different quotes presented regarding the reasons why the Japanese and the Filipinos wanted to work in Hawai‘i, it can be concluded that, in a general sense, they decided to migrate to Hawai‘i to better their lives. However, instead of having the chance to uplift their status in life, they faced their worst nightmares. Though the Japanese and the Filipinos had different reasons for choosing to work in the sugar industry of Hawai‘i, at some point they unified against whatever adversities they had to face, such as problems in wages, housings, and unionism. The wage system in the sugar plantation era of Hawai‘i was unfair due to the unreasonable fine system of the plantation managers. During the early times of the sugar industry, according to Beechert (1985), four dollars, the average monthly salary of a sugar plantation worker, caused them to fall into debt (p. 73). Beechert (1985) lists the grounds for fines: Tardiness of fifteen minutes in reporting to work cost a fine of one-quarter of a day’s wages; there were charges for broken or lost tools; absence from work without permission was to be charged double; violations of lights out after nine o’clock, talking, smoking, or having visitors in quarters after lights out were to be fined twenty-five cents for each occasion. (p. 73) This implies that it was incredibly difficult for a worker to thrive in a workplace that was driven by unkindness and was power-dominated by plantation managers. Given the fact that there were other expenses needed to be paid by plantation workers such as laundry and housing expenses (McGowan, 1995, p. 180), with the influence of the unreasonable fine system, truly, an unlucky worker would drown in debt. The rules listed by Beechert can be said to be irrational. Take the no talking after lights out for instance; this rule restricted the sugar plantation workers from socializing with each other, which should be a basic right. This unreasonable fine system made the wages of the laborers inconsiderate and had a different impact on sugar workers of different nationalities. Even though the sugar plantation workers were assigned the same tasks, they were paid differently based on nationality. Takaki, historian Gerald Horne, and sociologist Moon-Kie Jung emphasized this in their works. While Takaki, Horne, and Jung agree with Beechert on his claim that the irrational fine system made the wages unfair, they further argue that the severity of the unsympathetic wages differed to each group of laborers of different nationalities. As Takaki (1983) described it in Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii, 1835 – 1920, “Filipino cane cutters, for example, were paid only $.69 in average wages per day in 1910, as compared to $.99 for Japanese cane cutters” (p. 77). A possible reason for this was that the Japanese were one of the first waves of immigrants to arrive in Hawai‘i to work in the sugar plantation fields. The Japanese established their presence long before the Filipinos, resulting to their higher earnings. Another reason might simply be the racist idea of the plantation managers that dark-skinned people have a low status or standing in society. This unfairness remained evident throughout the sugar plantation times before World War II. As further illustrated by Horne (2011) in Fighting in Paradise: Labor 43
Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawaii, Caucasians earned $51.45, the Japanese earned $28.15, and the Filipinos earned $25.05 (p. 35). Based on this, the wage system tainted with racism evident in 1910 continued as the sugar industry of Hawai‘i progressed from its start in 1835. To add on to that, according to Jung (1999) in “No whites, no Asians”, “… the average monthly earnings of … male sugar workers in 1939 for haoles, Portuguese, Japanese, and Filipinos were $76.00, $56.23, $50.94, and $46.92, respectively” (p. 365). This shows that the racism-driven wage system was carried out even after the modern times of Hawai‘i’s sugar industry. It can be inferred that, for about a century, darker-skinned workers like the Filipinos were receiving less income than that of lighter-skinned workers like the Japanese for doing the same job. Unfortunately, skin color was not the only basis of the unfair wage system but also the gender of the sugar workers. The plantation managers were not only racist but also sexist, which was evident with the presence of a gender-based wage system that was widely used. Takaki and Beechert agree with Horne and Jung that there was indeed a nationality-based wage system. However, Takaki and Beechert point out that sugar workers were not only paid based on nationality but also based on gender. Takaki (1983) uncovers this wage difference according to gender: Though women were given many of the same work assignments as men, they were paid less than their male counterparts. Japanese female field hands, for example, received an average wage of only $.55 per day in 1915, as compared to the $.78 Japanese male field hands received. (p. 78) It is noticeable that there was a social scale which put men on top and women at the bottom, resulting in the differences in wages. Clearly, there was not only a racial discrimination but also gender discrimination. Unfair wages for women continued in the 1920s. It was determined by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration that women should receive a wage that should be not less than seventy-five percent of that required for men (Beechert, 1985, p. 254). This resulted in women only receiving a minimum pay of one dollar and five cents per day (Beechert, 1985, p. 254). Going back to indebtedness, according to Takaki and Beechert’s description of a gender-based wage system, one can conclude that a dark-skinned unlucky woman plantation worker would drown in debt as compared to a plantation worker who is a male and light-skinned. These wage differences according to nationality and gender were one of the factors that fueled the sugar uprisings by the sugar plantation workers. Historian McGowan, sociologists James Geschwender & Rhonda Levine, together with Takaki, Beechert, and Horne, all illustrated in their works that the sugar plantation workers organized strikes that fought against the unfair wage systems of the managers. While all of them come to an agreement that the sugar plantation workers learned to stand up and voice out their concerns regarding the unfair wage systems, the success of these strikes also depended on another circumstance. Another factor that resulted in sugar strikes was the workers’ housing camps. The immigrant sugar plantation workers were segregated and discriminated against on the basis of nationality in the housing camps; lighter-skinned workers having better houses creating a hierarchy. Takaki argues that the plantation divisions in the housing camps resembled a pyramid, light-skinned laborers on top and the dark-skinned ones on the bottom. As Takaki (1983) further elucidated it, “At the top of the slope was the big house, the home of the manager; below were the nicer-looking homes of the Portuguese, Spanish, and the Japanese lunas; then the identical wooden frame houses of 44
Japanese Camp; and finally the more run-down Filipino Camp” (p. 92). As one sugar laborer recalled it, all of the workers lived in a one big camp but were segregated racially – the Japanese dwelling in one building and the Chinese in another (Takaki, 1983, p. 92). Based on Takaki’s illustration of the housing camps, it can be inferred that not only were the plantation managers racist in terms of wages but also in terms of assigning housing. Knowing the housing camp structure of the sugar workers, it can be concluded that the racial segregation of laborers reflected a social hierarchy among them which affected the wages they were receiving. Not only did the segregation affected the wages but also the laborers’ living conditions. It can be said that the segregation of the workers based on nationalities really worked well for the plantation managers for it stopped any cohesive well-organized uprisings among all of the workers to fight against the unfair wage systems and for equal housing conditions. The rules and the divide between the immigrant sugar plantation workers of different racial groups in the housing camps made it hard for them to communicate and eventually to organize sugar strikes. Since the sugar plantation workers were segregated in the housing camps, they never had the chance to mingle and talk to each other and eventually, to plan sugar strikes. As stated earlier, talking after lights out, the workers’ only free time, was one of the rules of the unfair fine system. Knowing this, it can be concluded that the workers might not have risked whatever savings they had just so they could talk to each other and plan out strikes. The division in the housing camps was the reason why one would think that there was no single unified movement among the sugar laborers of different nationalities. As Beechert, Geschwender and Levine declared it in their works, there were no unified sugar strikes before the Second World War. Beechert (1985) specifically points out that the strikes before the annexation of Hawai‘i “lack [in] communication and the absence of overall labor structure from which guidance and support could be obtained” made it impossible for the sugar workers to attain what they wanted: higher wages (p. 163). A factor that affected the connection between the laborers of different nationality and ultimately the absence of labor organization would be the racial segregation of workers in the housing camps. With this situation, Geschwender and Levine (1983) argue in “Rationalization of Sugar Production in Hawai‘i, 1946-1960: A Dimension of the Class Struggle” that, “With the exception of a short-lived attempt at cooperation between the Japanese and Filipino workers in 1920, all attempts at labor organization before the Second World War took place among workers of single nationality” (p. 355). Based on this claim, one can infer that the lack of unity among the plantation workers of different nationalities made it hard for them to be heard by the plantation managers and to achieve what they wanted: higher wages and better living conditions in their housing camps. As illustrated by the other sources, sugar strikes continued to flourish throughout the islands of Hawai‘i even after the Second World War. However, although there were no multiracial strikes, that does not mean that there was not a single organized and successful strike before the Second World War. Though there were no multiracial strikes, with the exception of the 1920 Sugar Strike of the Japanese and the Filipinos, before the Second World War, there still was a sugar strike that was remarkably successful in going against the managers of the sugar plantations. This strike was the 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike. According to history professor, Kelly Nakamura (2011) and Takaki (1983), the 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike was successful because it was one of the greatest ones (p. 71; p. 153). As interpreted by Nakamura (2011) in ““Violence and press incendiarism”: Media and labor conflicts in the 1909 strike”, this sugar strike was one of the greatest because it was an islandwide strike of the Japanese involving all the plantations of Oahu as a result of nearly eight months
of deliberations (p. 71). Takaki (1983) further described why the Japanese Strike of 1909 was one of the greatest ones by enumerating his reasons: The strike of 1909 was indeed a great one. Where earlier strikes were usually protests against mistreatments from lunas, the 1909 strike had a definite and singular economic focus: higher wages. Where earlier strikes were confined to individual plantations, the 1909 strike involved all of the major plantations on Oahu. Where earlier strikes lasted only a few days, the 1909 strike was a protracted four-month long conflict. Finally, where earlier strikes were usually spontaneous actions, the 1909 strike was well-organized, spearheaded by an articulate and educated leadership, an influential network of Japanese newspapers, and effective interisland support system. (p. 153) Nakamura and Takaki imply that, though Beechert and Geschwender and Levine claimed that there were no sugar strikes led by two or more nationalities before Second World War, the lack of communication and eventually unity of two or more racial groups did not hold the Japanese sugar laborers back to fight against the struggles presented by their plantation managers. These struggles were unfair wage systems and segregation in housing camps, which resulted in unequal housing conditions as described earlier. Furthermore, these hardships in the laborers’ workplace were affected with not only racist but also sexist ideologies of the plantation managers as evident in the gender-based wage system. Such adversities provoked the Japanese to organize and made the 1909 Sugar Strike happen. The 1909 Sugar Strike led by the Japanese seemed multiracial because it addressed the most controversial issue in the laborers’ workplace that time: the nationality-based wage system. The strike tackled the issues on housing conditions and raising wages, but the most important issue it challenged was the wage differences according to race. Beechert (1985) lists the strike’s goals: 1. An increase of eight dollars per month in the basic wage for all levels of field work; an increase for mill workers of ten and a half dollars; an end to all racial pay scales and the establishment of standard pay scales for each job; 2. An increase of ten cents per ton for cane cutting and cane loading contractors; 3. A reduction of the workday to ten hours with all Sunday work at double time; 4. Improvements in housing for families with emphasis upon immediate improvement in camp sanitation. (p. 171) The courageousness of the Japanese in voicing out their concerns by taking the first organized step against the unfair policies of plantation managers is highly appreciated. However, I believe that the very highlight of the strike was one of its goals, putting an end to differing wages based on nationality. Even though the strike was only led by a single nationality, it is like it was multiracial because of the Japanese’s inclusion of all the other nationalities in their goals when they aimed to abolish the nationality-based wage system. Truly, the 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike was a successful one. In spite of the organizational success of the 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike, none of its goals were initially met. According to McGowan (1995) in “Industrializing the land of Lono: Sugar plantation managers and workers in Hawai‘i, 1900-1920” and Beechert (1985), regardless of the strike’s organization and orderliness, none of the strike’s goals were met (p. 174; p. 193). Yet, Takaki adds to McGowan’s and Beechert’s argument. Takaki (1983) claimed that even though the strike lacked 46
in unity among the plantation workers of different nationalities, after three months, the managers finally raised the wages and disbanded the nationality-based wage system (p. 163). Just a single nationality took down the widely used wage system that discriminated against. Imagine what could have happened and achieved if the 1909 Sugar Strike was led by all sugar laborers of different nationalities. Furthermore, Takaki (1983) and Beechert (1985) divulged that laborers were also granted a monthly pay of not less than $22 with twenty-six working days (p. 163; p. 174). This shows that not only was the nationality-based wage system put to an end, the wage also increased. Based on Takakiâ€™s earlier quote, a $0.69 per day of a Filipino worker is just $17.94 per twenty-six working days. With the new policy then, it allowed a Filipino worker or any worker from a different cultural background to earn a monthly wage of higher than $22.00. Though the 1909 strike resulted in a remarkable triumph that benefited those workers who received lower wages compared to their lighter-skinned co-workers, this was not the case for the Japanese. The 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike was bittersweet. Nakamura, Beechert, and Takaki can all agree to this. Nakamura (2011) confirms that although the strike was a major win, the Japanese faced a backlash from the managers (p. 72). Takaki (1983) and Beechert (1985) further elaborate that, even though the Japanese workers were triumphant in terms of demanding an increase in wages, the overall Japanese plantation workers were reduced from 70 percent to 54 percent (p. 163; p. 176). These quotes show that the Japanese strikers made a sacrifice. They were selfless for not minding about the negative effects of the strike on them just as long as their goals were met, one of which not only benefited them but also the other workers of different racial background. As the laborers continued to struggle, sugar strikes became more organized. Despite the differences in wages and housing conditions between the Japanese and the Filipino sugar plantation workers, they set these aside and organize the very first strike led by two different racial groups, the 1920 Dual Strike. As confirmed earlier, the Japanese and the Filipino laborers were paid unequally. The Japanese having higher wages compared to their Filipino counterparts. Also, the Japanese had nicer-looking houses compared to the Filipinos. Takaki (1983), Geschwender & Levine (1983), and Beechert (1985) implies that regardless of these inequalities, the Filipinos and the Japanese teamed up to organize the very first interracial sugar strike of plantation era Hawaiâ€˜i (p. 164; p. 355; p. 197). Niiya (1993), editor of numerous Japanese publications, and Beechert (1985) further narrate this unionism between the Japanese and the Filipinos: Despite their differences, an amazing degree of cooperation was affected between the highly organized and financially strong Japanese union and the disorganized, poorly financed Filipino union. This cooperation survived in the face of a massive campaign sabotage by employer agents, language and cultural differences, and sharp limitations on finances. (pp. 9-10; p. 327) This points out the other differences between the Japanese and the Filipino laborers aside from wages and housing. The difference that stands out for me was the language and cultural barrier. It amazes me how two racially different groups came together given that the Japanese and the Filipinos speak two dissimilar languages. It is obvious that the workers struggled even after the abolishment of the nationality-based wage system because of the succeeding strikes that occurred. As strikes following the previous ones were planned out, the laborers made sure that the earlier strikes were models of the ones that were currently being organized. As stated by Takaki (1983), 47
there was a lesson the workers had to learn from the 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike, and they practiced it in the 1920 Dual Union Strike (p. 164). This lesson is “To be successful, the labor movement in Hawai‘i and its strike actions would have to be based on interethnic working-class unity” (Takaki, 1983, p. 164). This takeaway from the 1909 Japanese Sugar Strike made the laborers in 1920 realize the need for organizing strikes of different ethnicities. Taking this lesson into consideration, the Japanese and the Filipinos gave all their best efforts in the 1920 Dual Sugar Strike. Though the 1920 Dual Sugar Strike was perceived to be unsuccessful, it paved a way for multiethnic unionism among the sugar laborers. The 1920 Dual Sugar Strike of the Japanese and the Filipino can be said to be a loss for the strikers because it created an awful setback that greatly affected them. The leaders of the strike were prosecuted with “conspiracy charges” (Beechert, 1985, p. 214). The strike also led to the passage of an anti-labor legislation designed to make it easier to prosecute and harass striking workers (Beechert, 1985, p. 214). Obviously, the strike did not work well in favor of the strikers. Instead of having the chance to better their situation in the workplace and their living conditions and having the opportunity to freely fight against their struggles, the new laws made it risky to plan and organize succeeding strikes. With workers being more restricted in assembling strikes, which were perilous given that they can get into trouble with the authority, sugar strikes never ceased. Beechert (1985) adds, “The severity of the 1920 strike and the specter of racial cooperation among workers dictated an industrywide reorganization of the labor force” (p. 327). Regardless of the strike being seen as fruitless, it still had a positive impact on the sugar workers. It created a stronger bond between workers of different racial backgrounds or a sense of interracialism (Jung, 2003, p. 388). This idea of interracialism gave rise to a more organized and unified sugar strike. The 1920 Dual Sugar Strike’s idea of interracialism led to a one-of-a-kind sugar strike which left an astounding mark to today’s labor force in Hawai‘i. The concept of interracialism carried out from 1920 to 1946, the year when the Great Hawai’i Strike occurred. University of Hawai‘i West O’ahu Center for Labor Education and Research. (n.d.) and Horne (2011) declares that the 1946 Great Hawai’i Sugar Strike was exceptional because it was joined by all the sugar workers of every ethnic group (para. 5; p. 82). At last, the sugar strikers realized that the way to achieve real success is labor solidarity. Due to the unity of sugar workers of all ethnicities, the laborers emerged as victorious after 79 days of fighting for causes in housing, medical care, pensions and wages (Horne, 2011, pp. 82-87). With one unified voice eagerly aiming for advantages in such causes, the strikers of 1946 Great Hawai’i Sugar Strike left a legacy that is evident to modern Hawai‘i’s labor force. This legacy is the multiethnic workforce that bridges ethnic differences and that builds a trust based on worker solidarity. The diverse workforce of Hawai‘i as a result of the 1946 strike formed a single working-class culture, a culture that is unique to Hawai‘i. The establishment of a sugar industry in Hawai‘i promised opportunities for immigrants to better their lives by working in the sugar fields, but they faced worse instead. Immigrants such as the Japanese and the Filipinos who migrated to Hawai‘i struggled in the workplace due to their plantation manager’s racial and gender discrimination, which affected their wages and their housing conditions. The differences in treatment based on nationality and sex prompted the laborers to go on sugar strikes. These strikes learned from the preceding strikes until one stood out for being the most unified, the 1946 Great Hawai’i Sugar Strike. This uprising by all the sugar workers of different nationalities gave birth to a legacy that is embedded and forever engraved in modern Hawai‘i, a multiethnic labor force. If it was not for these strikes, there would possibly still 48
be a nationality-based wage system in Hawai‘i. This is one of the reasons why individuals, such as tourists, should not be all about knowing Hawai‘i as a paradise because its plantation origin is worth-knowing. Though the wages based on skin complexion and the divide between workers of different racial groups have already been addressed by the sugar plantation workers themselves, one thing still lingers up to this day and is waiting to be tackled: the gender-based wage system. REFERENCES Beechert, E. D. (1985). Working in Hawaii: A labor history. Honolulu, Hawai‘i: University of Hawai‘i Press. Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. (2010). Population characteristics by detailed race (summary file 2). Retrieved from http://census.hawaii.gov/Census_2010/SF2/ Geschwender, J. A., & Levine, R. F. (1983). Rationalization of sugar production in Hawaii, 1946-1960: A dimension of the class struggle. Social Problems, 30(3), 352-368. doi:10.2307/800359 Horne, G. (2011). Fighting in paradise: Labor unions, racism, and communists in the making of modern Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawai‘i: University of Hawai‘i Press. Jung, M. (1999). No whites, no Asians. Social Science History, 23(3), 357-393. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.hpu.idm.oclc.org/stable/1171603 Jung, M. (2003). Interracialism: The ideological transformation of Hawaii's working class. American Sociological Review, 68(3), 373-400. doi: 10.2307/1519729 Jung, M. (2004). Symbolic and physical violence: Legitimate state coercion of Filipino workers in prewar Hawaii. American Studies (00263079), 45(3), 107-137. doi: 0026-3079/2004/4503-107S3.00/0 McGowan, W. P. (1995). Industrializing the land of Lono: Sugar plantation managers and workers in Hawaii, 1900-1920. Agricultural History, 69(2), 177-200. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.hpu.idm.oclc.org/stable/3744264 Nakamura, K. Y. (2011). "Violence and press incendiarism": Media and labor conflicts in the 1909 strike. Hawaiian Journal of History, 45, 69-99. Retrieved from https://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10524/33782/1/HJH45_69\100.pdf Niiya, B., & Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.). (1993). Japanese American history: An a-to-Z reference from 1868 to the present. New York: Facts on File. Takaki, R. (1983). Pau hana: Plantation life and labor in Hawaii, 1835-1920. Honolulu, Hawai‘i: University of Hawai‘i Press. Takaki, R. (2008). “An entering wedge”: The origins of the sugar plantation and a multi‐ethnic working class in Hawaii. Labor History, 23(1), 32-46. doi: 10.1080/00236568208584643 49
University of Hawai‘i West O’ahu Center for Labor Education and Research. (n.d.). 1946: The great Hawai’i sugar strike: Rice and roses. Retrieved from http://www.hawaii.edu/uhwo/clear/home/1946.html
Untitled by Lily Franzwa
Home By Alyssa Lawton I see the waters rise from my street; I am a warrior, but do they see me? I’ve been drowning deep in my home, But the children here - they don’t know. They said hope was a little far gone; But I know, it’s far from home. I left my island; mama said it was a sin. Papa, he didn’t know that it was time for me to go. The price broke the deal; imagine all the people I can heal. My home is not a home, I don’t even know what I am… This skin. This flesh. These bones. They can’t confess to what’s been done. We are blind, we cannot see The problems here in Hawai’i. The water has divorced the land, All she left was the sand. I served my time but crossed the line; this town is a ghost that I called my home. My parents are struggling; the veterans are tired of living. The haole has come for my land. The haole has invaded my people. They have come to call me a savage, while embarking on my voyage. E mālama i ka'āina (Take care/Respect our lands) Mahalo nui loa (Thank you very much)
Marijuana: Holistic Medicine or Another Blight on Society? By Colin Heacook It’s been a rough week! Exhausted from the everyday bullshit that life is throwing at you, you weigh your options: continue being just another cog in the fucking machine of the world or, maybe just once, be the one saying, “Hold my beer and watch this!” Finally, coming to a decision you say, “Fuck it” and decide to enjoy life. Ending up at a Revive the Live concert at the Waikiki Shell, listening to all the major island reggae artists a scent of something different, something unique, catches your attention. Following this alluring smell, you come across many others partaking in this thing you know is illegal, but for so long you have always wanted to try it - marijuana. Soon you find yourself in a foggy haze surrounded by this plant’s unique cologne. This taboo subject is slowly becoming a social norm now-a-days with growing support from “cannabisseurs,” or cannabis supporters. Made legal for medicinal use through the Sessions Laws of Hawai’i (2000), this opened the door for medical practitioners to offer an alternative source of medicine with a more holistic approach of treating chronic ailments (Hawai’i Dept. of Health). On the other hand, however, “squares,” or non-supporters, are still skeptical even with recent scientific data proving the possibilities of the medicinal uses of cannabis. There is also the looming debate of an increase in criminal activity that may arise with the legalization of marijuana, which is seen plausible due to the criminal enterprises of society wanting their own stake in the “high profits” to be made. It is only through our growing understanding of marijuana that society can hope to usher in the legalization of marijuana with the least amount of resistance while bringing about something beneficial to all. As stated previously, medical marijuana is on the precipice of becoming a new alternative source of medical treatment offered to patients with a history of chronic illnesses such as: glaucoma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nausea, and cancer, to name a few (Lazaga). Due to the volatile nature of cannabis, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has deemed marijuana a Schedule I drug. The DEA outlines any Schedule I drug as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” (DEA), with federal government agencies stating that there is no current use of marijuana for medicinal uses based upon their own research and criteria. The Department of Justice (DOJ) in Section 201C of drug scheduling outlines the criteria that the Attorney General will base their decision on the classification of substances within the Controlled Substance Act as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Its actual or relative potential for abuse Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance Its history and current pattern of abuse The scope, duration, and significance of abuse What, if any, risk there is to the public health Its psychic or physiological dependence liability Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter.
With there already being so many checks and balances already in place by the government, one can see why it is difficult for a substance such as marijuana to be moved into different scheduling.
Some theorists believe a different story and that marijuana was not truly branded in the way we view it today, or they argue that why it was deemed illegal in the first place was not due to the scheduling of the drug. One such theory is stated in a comedic series Adam Ruins Everything. During an episode titled “Adam Ruins Drugs” comedian Adam Conover describes how marijuana was demonized by Harry J. Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) in the 1930s. Under fear of losing federal funding for the organization, Mr. Anslinger makes the association that marijuana makes Mexicans violent towards white people, and by using society’s racial fear of this he is able to launch a campaign that later gained success with the federal government (“Adam Ruins Drugs” 03:40-04:27). This same theory is also stated in a book titled Cannabis: A History written by Martin Booth. In Cannabis: A History Booth writes, “He [Harry Anslinger] was out to get the drug and all those connected with it, almost at any cost and often with blunt disregard for the truth of any facts that were contrary to his argument” (Booth 2746). The author takes it even further stating, “The government gave him and the FBN free rein for many years and did not discourage him from stepping outside of the law” (Booth 2746). With unlimited support from the federal government and almost no one of authority keeping Anslinger in check for his actions, one could say this became something similar to the Salem Witch Hunts. Also, later in the chapter the author elaborates how the FBN gained more support from the public for arresting both Mexicans and Blacks in association with cannabis, due to minorities taking jobs from Whites during the Great Depression of the 1930s (Booth 2775). By chastising minority groups in association with frequent marijuana use, individuals are able to use this form of racism and demonization of marijuana to further their own gains, whether they be political or personal. In the case of Hawai’i, no one individual or organization can claim to be the catalytic push for the research that contributed to the state legalizing medicinal cannabis. Though the state legislature did claim “that the regulation of medical marijuana is of paramount importance to the health and welfare of our citizens” (House of Rep. Hawai’i). Some state officials are recognizing the possibility of marijuana providing some health benefits to the ill citizens of their state, regardless of what federal agencies are stating about the drug itself. With so many states making the bold move to legalize marijuana, at least medically, they are all quickly realizing that there needs to be some form of regulation for the substance in the order to prevent chaos. This is the case with the state of Hawai’i when the state legislature expressed that “the state did not provide a legal way for individuals to obtain medical marijuana” (House of Rep. Hawai’i). This makes the state seem as if they are “behind the curve” so-to-speak about the medical marijuana program, but it definitely points out the need for medical marijuana dispensaries. Many cannabisseurs or entrepreneurs noticed the gap in the legislative laws passed in the state of Hawai’i and promptly put their own voice into helping these people in need of medical marijuana. Under the original plan of action dictated by the Sessions Laws of Hawai’i (2000) medical marijuana could only be obtained through the patient growing it themselves or having it procured by an authorized caregiver (House of Rep. Hawai’i). With the lack of guidance by the state, it is left up to interpretation on where to obtain your medicine, which is then typically purchased illegally. Even now, Hawai’i legislative is lacking better solutions to those with medical marijuana licenses to obtain their medicine from dispensaries. Residents of Oʻahu and Maui, who already possess necessary documentation to obtain cannabis legally, can procure their medicine at dispensaries on their home island. However, those on neighboring islands do not have this luxury. This presents a quandary for patients who rely on the sticky-icky due to current laws preventing the transportation of marijuana inter-island (Sessions Laws of Hawai’i 2015). Although, recently 54
government officials in Hawai’i are looking to other states who have legalized marijuana for guidance, but they are still behind on this issue as well, leaving many to acquire their weed illegally. Squares (non-supporters) would attribute the rise in drug possession, distribution, and overall crime to marijuana being more readily available regardless of it being legalized medicinally or not. This feat has been demonstrated in the state of California, where marijuana has now been legalized for recreational use, but prior to this it was only for medicinal use. A televised documentary show, Drugs Inc, shows the fear of criminal violence, armed robbery, and that the state of Hawai’i may be afraid of an increasing number of dispensaries becoming readily available to the public for medicinal distribution. In an episode on Drugs Inc. titled “Marijuana Mayhem,” the documentary depicts how the criminal underworld is strong-arming dispensaries and selling medical grade marijuana onto the black-market (04:10-06:05). This increase in criminal activity is ultimately due to the fact that criminals want part of what is a multibillion dollar enterprise and, in the case of California, have generated thirty-one billion dollars a year in revenue a year (03:23-03:25). Even with security measures already in place this is still happening throughout the state of California. This could be seen by the state of Hawai’i as a reason to be hesitant in further marijuana legalization. An increase in crime rate due to the legalization of cannabis for medicinal use is something that the state legislative of Hawai’i should look at and be worried about. Although, the issue of an increased crime rate due to an illegal substance should not be looked at in just one state, but in other states that have legalized marijuana as well. Prior to recreational legalization of marijuana, Colorado had only legalized cannabis for medicinal use. In the academic article, “Medical Marijuana Centers and Urban Resident’s Perception of Crime in their Neighborhood,” the author, a student pursuing their masters in criminology at Regis University, states that there were limitations that restricted gathering criminal statistics as well as whether or not there was a correlation between medical marijuana dispensaries and crimes committed in the area (Scherrer 5). Simply because there is insufficient data we cannot say that medical marijuana dispensaries are causing an increase in criminal activity when it comes to the state of Colorado. However, Scherrer does go on to claim, “Because the centers already have a negative effect on much of the population, and it is assumed that the presence of these centers do bring higher crime into a community, local law enforcement may not be notified when a medical marijuana center or its clients are robbed” (5). So, basically if a medical marijuana dispensary owner is robbed and already has a negative connotation with their business, they forgo reporting the crime. This would then give squares more leverage in their fight to prove cannabissuers wrong, thus pushing marijuana to again be illegal for consumption. On the flip-side, with such insufficient data supporting squares’ claims of it increasing criminal activity, whether it is a result of lack of reporting crimes or already having a negative stigma, there just isn’t any truly verifiable evidence backing up this claim. Scherrer sheds light on this once again by stating, “According to a 2009 article in the Denver Post newspaper, Setting the Facts Straight on Medical Marijuana Statistics, Denver police representative Joe J. Ramirez stated, ‘There’s no obvious trend at this point,’ when it comes to medical marijuana’s broader crime impact on Colorado’s local communities” (12). With both local and federal agencies lacking sufficient evidence to help support squares’ claims, it seems as if they are fabricating what they know to keep the negative stigma going.
The fact is we, as a society, just do not have all the variables figured out. We are ill equipped to make such rash fucking decisions without looking at all the good or bad possibilities that could come from the legalization of marijuana. Sure, squares could say there is the possibility of cannabis users becoming addicted to the drug, but there are far more individuals addicted to already legal products like alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, etc. These products cause just as many health issues, and the worst part is the populace does not even believe they are addicted to these products, especially when it comes to substances like caffeine or sugar. With legal policies like the Schedule I Controlled Substance Act already in place limiting researchers from obtaining information, it is restricting the individuals in charge of regulating marijuana from making better informed decisions on whether or not it should be legalized for medicinal use or recreational use. This could be detrimental to states, like Hawai’i, that are looking for clear evidence on improving their legalization policies so that those in need of this alternative medical treatment can obtain their medicine the legal way. After filtering through the plethora of research data on cannabis online, through books, and even documentary TV shows, I decided to do my own research and interview someone who has more in-depth knowledge of the subject at hand. Finally, after coordinating through email and phone calls, I was able to do an interview with Dr. Nelson Lazaga, a microbiologist at Steep Hill Hawai’i. Steep Hill Hawai’i is a laboratory that conducts a multitude of tests on cannabis to determine whether or not it is safe for consumption by medicinal users. First and foremost, Dr. Lazaga and members of his team in no way, shape, or form have any true ties to the marijuana industry. The facility has to uphold a high standard and must pass a multitude of international, national, and state regulations in order to operate. Steep Hill is, after all, an international organization with their main facility held in Berkley, California, where most of the in-depth research on all health benefits is being conducted. Enough of the back story of the company though; let’s get on with the nitty-gritty interview of the mad scientist. According to Dr. Lazaga, cannabis is in-fact safe for consumption, providing that it is just that - cannabis. Every form of cannabis is tracked and monitored for testing according to state regulations, but medicinal users are not allowed to get the product back after testing, nor can they ship any cannabis products to Steep Hill for testing (Lazaga). Everything is conducted in person with all necessary documentation present. Dr. Lazaga assured me that they are not in any way enforcers of the law, but do require people to abide by what regulations the state has set forth. However, with that in mind, they really do not care where you get it from, but only that it is safe for you to consume. He let me know that there are indeed health benefits to cannabis, mainly cannabinoids (CBD). The full extent of all the health benefits are still being discovered. Though he does agree that many individuals do use cannabis for the “high” that it produces through tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC (Lazaga). There are in fact other substances within marijuana that do yield some promise for health benefits, like terpenes, which, like CBD and THC, produce various effects once attached to brain receptors (Lazaga). Dr. Lazaga pointed out that Leafly.com has a good outline on what terpenes can do. Many users of cannabis, however, don’t even smoke the product but consume it through oils, droplets, candies, etc. Come to find out these methods of consumption are preferred, especially by those who have immunodeficiency disorders. The main thing is that no matter how you consume the substance it is still safe for an individual to use, providing that it is just cannabis. 56
One thing to note however, is the fact still remains that there is a negative stigma that surrounds cannabis; even Dr. Lazaga and his team get this blow back from third-party entities. These thirdparties, mainly outsiders who have no true knowledge of cannabis, insist on telling Steep Hill and its employees how to conduct research or even manage their day to day operation. This creates unnecessary problems for Dr. Lazaga and his team, due to the fact that they are consistently trying to please everyone. In the end this leads to Steep Hill Hawai’i getting inspected on a regular basis, which can lead to those wanting their cannabis inspected for quality assurance experiencing delays in receiving the pertinent information needed to make a sound decision on consuming the product they have acquired. Wrapping up the interview with the mad scientist, Dr. Lazaga did point out that legalization, whether medicinal or recreational, is beneficial either way. He pointed out an idea that, by having individuals register as users of cannabis, government entities could track users, regulate usage, or even place limitations on usage by individuals. Another thing he pointed out was the fact that many big pharmaceutical companies do not want to see cannabis legalized for medicinal or recreational use, based on the fact that they know cannabis does possess health benefits. This would put the power of healing back in hands of the common person, taking away from not only their profit but also the profit to be made by health insurance companies, which back medicine produced by pharmaceutical companies but won’t cover the cost of marijuana by medicinal users. This left me with one thought; I left the lab thinking that this is one hell of a conspiracy theory and certainly would explain why it is hard to get cannabis legalized in any form across the nation. Personally, I don’t believe you are going to stop individuals from ever consuming marijuana. Jon Gettman, a marijuana rights activist, leader of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, avid contributor to High Times Magazine, and professor at Shepard University in West Virginia has conducted his own research into this factor as well. It is just not possible to stop, especially in the state of Hawai’i where marijuana accounts for 46% of all drug related arrests (Gettman 4). According to Gettman, “marijuana arrests cost $16.59 million in Hawai‘i for 2006” (3). This is fucking astronomical! Instead of adding more fuel onto the fire with the costs of fighting individuals using marijuana, I believe Hawai’i should look at a better solution - recreational marijuana. The law enforcement agencies here are obviously losing the war with marijuana, even with it being legal for medicinal use and it costing the taxpayers dearly. By legalizing marijuana for recreational use, placing a tax on it, increasing punishment for underage consumption or selling to minors, the state could possibly see an increase in revenue while also seeing a drop in arrests for marijuana. This theory was also stated in “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Decriminalization and Legalization for Hawai’i” by David Nixon, an associate professor for Public Policy Center at University of Hawai’i. In this article Nixon states: Decriminalization of marijuana possession would now reduce state and local enforcement cost by $9 million annually. Legalization of manufacture and distribution of marijuana would reduce state and local enforcement costs by an additional estimated $3 million, bringing the total annual savings to $12 million. Legalization would also allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana distribution, and would provide state and/or local government at least $11.3 million in additional tax revenue. (1)
With the cost of living in Hawai’i already fucking high as it is and the citizens of the state paying increases in taxes to fund state wide projects, wouldn’t it be easier to legalize marijuana for all? This way people who need it as a form of medicine get what they need, those who use the substance for recreational use can do so without fear of prosecution from the law, and the state gets a huge revenue source to fund all projects that are lacking federal funding. So, we’re back! Enjoying this amazing concert, Revive the Live, surrounded by like-minded individuals. Everyone basking in the alluring aroma of marijuana, enjoying good jams and good vibes. As you go to take one more hit from the sticky-icky, contemplate the knowledge that I have just laid before you about marijuana. Think about the trials and tribulations that people have to go through to obtain a medicinal plant that all could benefit from if we, as a society, just had a better understanding of the substance, instead of belittling those who use it. WORKS CITED “Adam Ruins Drugs.” Adam Ruins Everything: Collection 1, written by Adam Conover, Gonzalo Cordova, Travis Helwig, Mary Lordes, Alingon Mitra and Diona Reasonover, directed by JJ Adler, TruTv, 2016. Booth, Martin. Cannabis: A History. New York, NY, Picador, 2003. Chapter 13 Gettman, Jon. “Marijuana in Hawaii.” Arrests, Usage, and Related Data. 2009 pp 3, 4. sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/1680halde3.asp “Marijuana Mayhem.” Drugs Inc: Season 6 Episode 5, directed by Steve Allen, Wall to Wall LTD National Geographic Channels, 2014. Lazaga, Nelson. Steep Hill Hawaii. Personal interview. 20 November 2018. Nixon, David C. “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Decriminalization and Legalization for Hawai’i,” Public Policy Center, University of Hawai’i, 2013. pp 1. acluhawaii.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/econreptmarijuana12013.pdf Scherrer, Maura L. “Medical Marijuana Centers and Urban Resident’s Perception of Crime in their Neighborhood.” Regis University. 2011. pp 5, 12. epublications.regis.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1473&context=theses State of Hawaii, Department of Health. Medical Cannabis Program. health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis/ State of Hawaii, House of Representatives. “A Bill for an Act: Relating to Marijuana” capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/HB1680_.HTM, capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol06_Ch0321-0344/HRS0329D/HRS_0329D-0008.htm United States Department of Justice. Diversion Control Division. deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/ United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling. dea.gov/drug-scheduling. 58
Cats: The Invasive Species Situation on O‘ahu By Drew Downing This morning I happened upon a cat dashing across the street in pursuit of one of the island of O‘ahu’s native birds. Unfortunately, it narrowly missed its meal and we continued on our separate paths; not my problem. According to estimates, there are a few hundred more in similar living situations as the cat I saw. Interesting, but not my problem. Statistically speaking, many of those cats will within the next couple years suffer from pain-inducing diseases; that is upsetting, but still not my problem. Before dying, however, each cat has the potential to produce several litters, in turn fathering their own litters, amounting to several million cats for each cat that is already on the island; but it is not my problem. Each one of those cats is likely to carry a virus known as toxoplasma gondii, which has the potential to disrupt human pregnancies and even wipe out entire species; concerning; sure, but it’s not my problem. Right? Feline overpopulation is, as one might expect, the overabundance of cats in any given environment. This is a globally widespread phenomenon, and unsurprisingly so, seeing as though two cats have the potential to produce an army of over eighty million cats in just a decade (Udell)1. The incredible speed of feline reproduction, combined with a general lack of knowledge of the public regarding the importance of neutering cats, has led to the existence of myriad feral cat populations spread throughout the United States. Though the vast number of cats is undeniable, there still remain a few questions: what are the problems associated with too many cats in an environment, and to what extent can the human race be held responsible? In examining these questions, this essay will consider feline overpopulation on a global scale, but also—and possibly more importantly—on a more intimate level, regarding the cat population on the island of O‘ahu specifically. Before examining the effects, we’ll need to cover the cause: why is there feline overpopulation? The obvious response is because cats are being born much more quickly than they are dying, but that is not much of an answer; we might need to simplify our analysis a bit. Perhaps a more insightful way to consider its cause is to break it down into two basic parts: input and output, in this situation referring to cats going into and out of shelters. If cats go into a shelter, logically it would mean there is an abundance of them in the environment; if they go out—excluding instances of death—it would signify that there is space for them in the environment. This is the basic breakdown utilized by in “Cat Overpopulation in the United States,” written by Philip H. Kass of the Department of Population Health and Reproduction in School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. His research found that major reasons for the relinquishment of cats unto shelters—thus, contributing to the “input” of the shelters—were too many cats in the home, owner allergies, cost, and no homes for litter, these being the first, second, fourth, and sixth reasons for relinquishment; the third and fifth were moving to a new residence and landlord prohibitions (Kass 128). A major theme across the four aforementioned reasons, which made up a third of all relinquishments, are that they can all be explained by a general unpreparedness of the owners to take on the care of a cat, or the care of additional cats in some situations. Ideally, costs and owner allergies should probably be considered before taking on feline responsibilities, and too many cats or too many new kittens in the house can easily be avoided through spaying and Equation: When a=1, b=10, and n=1, ∑(2+2*2.8)^n ≈ 80,000,000. The first 2 in the equation stands for the starting cats, the second 2 stands for number of litters per year, and the 2.8 stands for surviving births per litter (equation my own; equation not provided in source). 1
neutering; in most cases, then, situations necessitating feline relinquishment could be avoided much of the time were it not for a general lack of education and information. That is just common sense: do not take on challenges you aren’t prepared for. To examine the output of shelters—again, excluding deaths—Kass analyzed determinants of adoption. The two major influences on adoption he found were “predictably, gender and sterilization status” (136). The preferred groups were males and sterilized cats, likely due to the chances of them giving birth are just about zero, omitting procedural failures and acts of God. Though males were preferred notably more than females, the real difference appears between sterilized and unsterilized cats. Prospective owners were four to six times more likely to adopt cats if they knew that the cats were sterile (136). Another discrepancy in adoption rates was seen between rare breeds and average tabbies, but even this difference—a factor of about two—was relatively insignificant compared to sterilization status (137). It seems, then, that we as a society—a cat-owning society—have decided it is better to avoid knowingly increase the feline population. Interesting. The mathematical difference between these inputs and outputs is quite significant, and much larger than one might think. According to a 2004 statement made by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, numbers of cats admitted to shelters in the United States alone reach several millions, and, alarmingly, “approximately 75% of these cats are euthanized” as result of insufficient willing and able households (Richards). An instinctual and seemingly logical response to this would be to make more shelters no-kill shelters. This would unfortunately be too simple; high euthanasia rates are indicative of a high input of cats relative to a low resource supply. To be able to care for and house an increasing and seemingly infinite population of cats for an indefinite amount of time would require infinite spatial and monetary resources, neither of which are plausible, one of which is impossible. No-kill shelters are limited in space and money, meaning that they can only care for a fixed amount of animals, while shelters with euthanasia programs can continuously accept animals, even if doing so would cause deaths of other animals already accepted. By this, it could even be argued that no-kill shelters contribute more to feline suffering and death than shelters that directly facilitate it through euthanasia; by refusing—or not being able to—accept animals past a certain occupancy, no-kill shelters are at risk of allowing a total net suffering that is larger than it would be than shelters that induce euthanasia to end it. At the moment, however, there is insufficient data to make a conclusion on the subject. Now we move on from the conceptual to the actual and practical application of the above information. Feline overpopulation on the island of O‘ahu is prevalent and evident to anyone who spends any time at the Ala Moana-Kakaako beach parks or University of Hawai‘i and Chaminade campuses. Estimates made by the Hawaiian Humane Society in 2015 put the homeless cat population upwards of three hundred thousand, putting feral felines on par with human inhabitants of the city of Honolulu, and that is without including domesticated cats (qtd. in McAvoy; “Hawaii Population”). These cat societies, like ancient human civilizations, are often condensed around water—beach waterfronts and lush suburban areas are especially popular as result of the many potential food sources, either natural or man-made. As cats are not native to the Hawaiian islands, their introduction to the environment caused some turbulence in the balances of the ecosystem. Though several Hawaiian species have suffered feline predation—including the Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Moorhen, Newell’s Shearwater, and Hawaiian Stilt—one of the best and most telling examples of this turbulence is 60
the Wedge-tailed Shearwater. A study investigating the effects of wild cat colonies on successful reproduction of Wedge-tailed Shearwater colonies measured distance between the colonies and number of surviving avian births (Winter 44). It was found that when the distance between the colonies was only thirty meters reproductive success was zero. Another species whose population has suffered greatly at the claws of felis catus is the ‘alae ‘ula, more commonly known as the Hawaiian moorhen. Listed as endangered both at the state and federal levels, the average count by the Department of Fish and Wildlife made on O‘ahu between 1993 and 2003 was under three hundred individuals (“‘Alae ‘Ula”). Again, the Hawaiian moorhen has become a target for cats because of how close their colonies are. The typical Hawaiian moorhen habitat is both gathered around low-altitude water sources and on the coast of O‘ahu. Sound familiar? Of course, the primary effects of feline predation are not the only effects that are significant and relevant to a discussion on the matter; an ecosystem’s stability is like Jenga, take out the lower levels and watch the whole tower collapse. Even worse, imagine the Jenga tower is affected by two gravities, one at the top and the other at the base. When you take predators out of the equation, such as birds like the ‘alae ‘ula, you indirectly increase the populations of its prey, which in this case is insects like the pesky mosquitoes. Unfortunately, these insects do more harm than just annoy; professional mountain man and comparative religions scholar Edwin Bernbaum, Ph.D. notes avian malaria caused by the mosquito population as a major threat to the biodiversity of Hawaiian volcanoes in his article “Sacred Mountains and Global Changes” (Bernbaum 35). This is a prime example of how dynamics of nature work together to make their negative effects’ magnitude greater than the sum of its parts. Mosquitoes—most importantly, those carrying avian malaria—are allowed to reproduce at greater and more successful rates than before, as a major predator, the Hawaiian moorhen, is being removed from the equation; the broader climate change of global warming has also allowed these insects to survive at higher altitudes than they were previously able to, which is what enables them to get to the birds of Hawaiian volcanic ecosystems. This reduced biodiversity illustrates how the culture and history of Hawai‘i has the potential to be erased, or at the very least diminished, through an invasive and non-native population—namely, the feline. In Hawaiian mythology, the ‘alae ‘ula was known as the keeper of fire, which is from where its name is derived2 (Wyban). By this, the culture of O‘ahu stands to lose more than just its native plants and animals—it has the potential to lose even its mythology, and by that, the culture of the older ages. Seeing as though the ancient Hawaiian native peoples did not have a written language, it was the constant reminders of the observances of nature that enabled stories like this to be handed down for generations. We have the potential to drop them, letting them shatter and fade. But the dangers that cats hold over native species do not even stop there. When you have any species living in filth and squalor, as homeless cats are prone to do, they are susceptible to infections and parasites galore. One such parasite might be Toxoplasma gondii, recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the sole cause of toxoplasmosis, which in humans can be as benign as mild flu-like symptoms to as critical as brain damage or miscarriage, though it has the potential to affect any mammalian species (“Toxoplasmosis”). The Toxoplasma gondii parasite needs a feline host in order to continue its life cycle into maturity, and the majority of the time that toxoplasmosis is contracted is when the contractee has come into contact with feline feces ‘Alae meaning “forehead” in Hawaiian and ‘ula referring to its strikingly red or burnt appearance, the Hawaiian moorhen’s original name ties it closely to its related myth. 2
or contaminated soil, which often occurs through consumption of contaminated water or unwashed fruits and vegetables that have exposed to contaminated soil. Though this is enough to set anyone who comes into contact with cats regularly on edge, this statement from the CDC goes the extra mile for O‘ahu: “Infection is often highest in areas of the world that have hot, humid climates and lower altitudes.” As a society that lives in 80-something degrees all year around and about five feet above sea-level, shouldn’t we be fairly concerned about this? As stated above, toxoplasmosis has the potential to affect any mammalian species, and many species have already been severely affected, unfortunately. The parasite made headlines recently when it was determined that three Hawaiian monk seals died of toxoplasmosis in May of 2018; Toxoplasma gondii enters the seals’ habitat through the infected feces of the cats that live on or near the waterfronts of any water source that leads into the ocean. What is deeply troubling about these deaths is that these seals are already part of an endangered species, and toxoplasmosis affects female seals disproportionately, slicing the potential birth rate by a significant amount (Else). Since 2001, there have been 11 documented Hawaiian monk seal deaths that resulted from toxoplasmosis, which may not seem like a large amount, but it seems a lot bigger when you realize that that means almost 1 in 100 seals died because of this single parasite (Else). Were that percentage put into proportions of people in Honolulu alone, it would amount to more than a few thousand deaths due to only this one disease. Do these two major effects—predation and parasitic infection—pack enough punch to seriously affect O‘ahu to the point of making it an uninhabitable wasteland? I’d rather doubt it. Though the effects of an intensely altered ecosystem can be unpredictable, the losses that are most likely are those of biodiversity, vibrancy, and cultural significance of species like the Hawaiian moorhen and Hawaiian monk seal. Can we afford to be unaffected bystanders in situations like these? Not without guilt, certainly; in other words, let’s not. There are so many potential ways to solve the issue—though, admittedly many of them are unfeasible, unethical, or both—that it would be foolish to throw up hands with forfeit and a “well-what-can-you-do?” attitude. To see what needs to be done, let us first look at what has been done. O‘ahu is governed by the laws regarding animal and specifically cat treatment of the county of Honolulu, the state of Hawai‘i, and the United States’ federal government. Important articles of Honolulu law are sections 7-6.2 and 7-6.6, which require the identification and sterilization, respectively, of any cat that is allowed to the indoors of its residence (“Chapter 7”). Added in 1995, the wording of these laws specifies that they only apply to cats over the age of six months, giving the owner ample time to comply. Furthermore, by Hawaiian law it is illegal to abandon any animal, though an infraction is only considered a petty misdemeanor. As one might infer, even if these laws were followed perfectly, feline population still has the potential to exist at the magnitude that it does today. However, it could be said that the legislature already knows what to do to handle a stray population. By §143-10, which can be traced all the way back to the 1940s, it is mandatory to report any stray dog to animal control, who will subsequently check the dog for identification, and, if none is found or the identified owner does not claim the dog, it “may be sold or destroyed” by the involved officer (“§143-10”). Though the wording is somewhat harsh, it is certainly effective. To see a stray dog around Honolulu is a rarity, let alone an entire colony. No similar law has been put in effect for cats.
An extremely simple solution to the feline situation would be, of course, to kill them all. There have actually been several instances of successful feline eradication of island or insular environments. As documented in “A Review of Feral Cat Eradication on Islands,” published in the scientific journal Conservation Biology, different governments have utilized a variety of programs, including hunting, trapping, and poisoning the invasive species (Martin, et. al). However, not only would a similar program on O‘ahu violate Hawaiian and federal laws regarding animal cruelty, it is likely it would be ineffective; of forty-eight documented successful feral cat eradications since the early 1920s, only ten have taken place on islands larger than ten square kilometers, the largest being 290 square kilometers. The island of O‘ahu is over five times that size, at more than 1500 square kilometers. It is also unlikely that there would be enough public support for it to take place, seeing as though support for animal rights and protections have been historically trending upwards. Although, it is interesting to consider how bad feline overpopulation would have to be for eradication to take place. A peg down in intensity, we could solve the problem by letting nature do the dirty work for us. Though concrete evidence of success is scarce, it is theoretically possible to control an invasive species by introducing yet another species: a host-specific pathogen. Just as it probably sounds, though, there are great potential dangers to this. Firstly, just because a bacteria or parasite is hostspecific at its introduction to the environment, there is no guarantee that it would stay that way; similar to how the common cold virus is ever-changing and evolving, any pathogen has the capability to surpass its intended boundaries.3 Secondly, there are major ethical issues here that would, again, likely prohibit a program like this to get enough support and funding to be successful; as the human and feline brains are decidedly different, we cannot know that the introduced pathogen would not induce horrific pain upon its unknowing victims. Consequently, animal rights groups would immediately jump at the throat of any such proposition, in the end causing several more problems than solutions. There is such thing as being too easy, though. Professors of psychology Angela K. Fournier and E. Scott Geller propose in their article “Behavior Analysis of Companion-Animal Overpopulation: a Conceptualization of the Problem and Suggestions for Intervention” that public education on the issue would be sufficient solution. While education on the matter is certainly a good idea, by no means would it have a significant effect on the situation. The main stem of the issue comes from feline reproduction from within the feral communities, and telling a bunch of people that cats have a lot of babies will have only a microscopic-level effect on the act itself, if any at all. This would be an extremely simple, inexpensive, and likely popular program to carry out, but it is just too implausible that it would be effective. To determine the golden Goldilocks solution, we’re going to need to baby bear the problem and find the sweet spot that lies between the relative extremes of unethical and ineffective. That sweet spot is found in a program known as TNR—Trap, Neuter, Release. The logic behind this kind of program is pretty simple: if you take the means of feline reproduction out of the equation, you can effectively reduce the population without the need for inhumane harm or pain. Since the first program was implemented in Britain in the 1950s, multiple countries had used this system to deal Though a work of fiction, an easy way to see how this might happen is the Planet of the Apes series. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it is revealed that the drug that allows the apes to have brains as advanced as their human relatives is deadly to humans, almost wiping them out. 3
with their own feline situations before a US group known as the Alley Cat Allies popularized the process in the 1990s (“Best”). Since then, the United States has had several TNR programs. One such success is that of waterfront Newburyport, Massachusetts. Over the course of 17 years, the Newburyport TNR program brought the feline down a staggering one hundred percent, with complete and unequivocal success (Spehar and Wolf). An interesting addition to the classic TNR program structure utilized here was to implicitly add an “A”—Newburyport was able to adopt a large proportion of the trapped feline population, and did so, likely because it both benefits people looking to adopt cats and the cats, who no longer have to live as homeless felines. Though I do not pretend that O‘ahu will have the same level of success as Newburyport—the feral feline population here on the island is much greater than that in Massachusetts—I do think the similarities between the two basic environment structures (i.e., waterfronts) indicate that it is possible to make great strides towards solving the problem here as well. Although it is often hard to argue with results, of course there are some who find a way. There are those who would claim that implementing a TNR program would be overstepping our boundaries as inhabitants of the Earth into shameful manipulators and controllers. David Boonin, a professor of philosophy, asserts in his article "Robbing PETA to Spay Paul: Do Animal Rights Include Reproductive Rights?" the affirmative—animals, cats included, are indeed entitled to the right to reproduce freely. Boonin’s reasoning comes from a stance that enforcing a neutering or spaying procedure upon a feline and the included experiences, like going to the vet, allow for fear, anxiety, and even risk of pain or infection that could otherwise be avoided (2). He is technically correct in many aspects—going to the vet does cause obvious stress in animals, much like many children fearing the dentist, and there is a risk of infection that could happen as result of the procedure, much like many physicians will say about most surgeries. But would forgoing these inconveniences, which could be fixed with a soothing voice and meticulous cleaning of surgical tools, warrant the plausible destruction of several native species, not just on O‘ahu, but globally? Of course not! If we believed that, no one would get their shots, and most people probably wouldn’t even floss. Boonin’s visions for the standards of feline treatment are far too luxurious too afford at present. And then there are those who claim that TNR programs are downright abominations and even dangerous. As a guest blogger on National Geographic, Daphna Nachminovitch, the senior vice president of cruelty investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (yes, that PETA) criticizes these programs, stating that they are “doomed to failure” and that spaying an entire colony is “nearly impossible” (Nachminovitch). She elaborates that her reasoning is that new cats will continuously come to a food supply that was set out to trap the original cats. My response to that would be: great! That makes implementing the problem substantially easier; in fact, having the cats bring themselves to the trapping area would make TNR much less impossible. Nachminovitch then asserts that TNR is a form of feline abandonment, which is illegal and, as most would probably agree, horrendous. This, however, is highly flawed logic; to make Nachminovitch’s statement true, one would have to assume either that the program would leave previously owned cats on the street or that one assumes responsibility and ownership of any cat upon the act of trapping them. At no point would already-housed cats be at risk for becoming homeless in a correctly implemented TNR program; the R for “release” can also be interpreted as “return,” as in return the trapped cat and not a cat that did not already live on the street. 64
Additionally, if this were agreed to regarding that anyone that trapped or housed an injured or at risk feline, then it is doubtful that anyone would try to help feral cats, as many people can afford to feed a cat one cat-sized meal, but far less can afford to take care of a cat indefinitely. The example of Nachminovitch, who again works at PETA, really illustrates just how much education and awareness is needed on the subject. Awareness will not be enough to control a population of several hundred thousand, though. In fact, it is not even certain that a TNR program would be the end-all to the problem—it is less of an ideal solution and more of a practical, possible, and potentially popular solution. There are further steps that can be taken beyond these three letters; there is such a thing as a TTVARM program, which, in all its six-lettered glory, stands for “trap, test, vaccinate, alter, return, and monitor” (Hughes and Slater). “N” is noticeably absent from this acronym, but only because it has been replaced with “A” for alter, which refers to neutering and spaying as reproductive alterations. The reason that this is less of a possibility for implementation on O‘ahu is simply because of the extra effort and costs that are inseparable from the program. When implemented at Texas A&M University in 1998, it was met with observable success as marked by a decrease in the number of cat-related complaints that ignited the program in the first place (Hughes and Slater). Additionally, it was found that costs, though substantial at the inception of the program, decreased as it went on. For this reason I have included it in this essay; I believe that although O‘ahu might not be ready to take on a TTVARM program at the moment, I do think it can handle a TNR program to possibly evolve into TTVARM in the future. With the given evidence, I propose that it is fairly clear that a TNR program to be implemented on the island of O‘ahu falls under our duty as inhabitants and stewards of the island, not only for the cats, but for the surrounding environment, for the native Hawaiian mammalian species, and for ourselves. To turn a blind eye to the issue would be a great disservice to the ecological and cultural histories to the island, and, without intervention, it is possible that the issue has the potential to become irreversible. Were this to happen, we as a society stand to lose a great deal more than we possibly realize. This is our duty, this is our issue, and this is certainly our problem. WORKS CITED “§143-10 Stray Dogs.” Hawaii State Legislature, www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/vol03_ch0121-0200d/hrs0143/hrs_0143-0010.htm. Abbate, Cheryl E. "Harming (Respectfully) Some to Benefit Others: Animal Rights and the Moral Imperative of Trap-Neuter-Release Programs," Between the Species: vol. 21, no. 2, Spring 2018, pp. 94-124, www.digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bts/vol21/iss1/4. “A Brief History of TNR.” Best Friends, Best Friends Animal Society, 26 Sept. 2018, www.bestfriends.org/resources/brief-history-tnr. “‘Alae ‘Ula or Hawaiian Moorhen: Gallinula Chloropus Sandvicensis.” Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii, Oct. 1, 2005, www.dlnr.hawaii.gov/wildlife/files/2013/09/Fact-Sheet-hawaiian-moorhen.pdf.
Bernbaum, Edwin. “Sacred Mountains and Global Changes: Impacts and Responses.” Sacred Natural Sites: Conserving Nature and Culture, Earthscan, 2010, pp. 33–40. Boonin, David. "Robbing PETA to Spay Paul: Do Animal Rights Include Reproductive Rights?," Between the Species: vol. 13, no. 3, August 2003, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.15368/bts.2003v13n3.1 “Chapter 7: Animals and Fowl.” City and County of Honolulu, City & County of Honolulu, www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/ocs/roh/ROHChapter7.pdf. Dobson, A. P. “Restoring Island Ecosystems: The Potential of Parasites to Control Introduced Mammals.” Conservation Biology, vol. 2, no. 1, Mar. 1988, pp. 31-39, doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.1988.tb00333. Else, Jessica. “Toxoplasmosis Takes Seals.” The Garden Island, The Garden Island, 19 June 2018, www.thegardenisland.com/2018/06/19/hawaii-news/toxoplasmosis-takes-seals/. Fournier, Angela K., and E. Scott Geller. “Behavior Analysis of Companion-Animal Overpopulation: a Conceptualization of the Problem and Suggestions for Intervention.” Behavior and Social Issues, vol. 13, no. 1, 2004, pp. 51–64., doi: 10.5210/bsi.v13i1.35. “Hawaii Population 2018.” Total Population by Country 2018, 2018, www.worldpopulationreview.com/states/hawaii-population/. Hughes, L, and R Slater. “Implementation of a Feral Cat Management Program on a University Campus.” Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 5.1 (2002): 15–28. Print. Kass, Philip. H. “Cat overpopulation in the United States.” The Welfare of Cats, edited by Irene Rochlitz, Springer, 2007 pp.119-139. Martin, Aurelio, et al. “A Review of Feral Cat Eradication on Islands.” Conservation Biology, vol. 18, no. 2, Apr. 2004, pp. 310-319, doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00442. McAvoy, Audrey. “Contaminated Cat Poop Fuels Debate over Feral Felines in Hawaii.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 17 Oct. 2016, www.cbsnews.com/news/contaminated-cat-poopfuels-debate-over-feral-felines-in-hawaii/. Nachminovitch, Daphna. “TNR Is Dangerous Both to Cats and to Other Animals – National Geographic Blog.” National Geographic Blog, National Geographic Society, 8 Mar. 2017, www.blog.nationalgeographic.org/2017/03/08/tnr-is-dangerous-both-to-cats-andto-other-animals/. Richards, James R. “The 2004 American Association of Feline Practitioners Position Statement on Free-Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats.” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, vol. 6, no. 4, Aug. 2004, pp. vii–ix, doi:10.1016/j.jfms.2004.04.003.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Dir. Rupert Wyatt. Perf. James Franco and Andy Serkis. Twentieth Century Fox, 2011. Film. Spehar, Daniel D and Peter J Wolf. “An Examination of an Iconic Trap-Neuter-Return Program: The Newburyport, Massachusetts Case Study” Animals : an open access journal from MDPI vol. 7,11 81. 31 Oct. 2017, doi:10.3390/ani7110081 State of Pet Health 2013 Report. Banfield Pet Hospital, 2013, State of Pet Health 2013 Report, web.archive.org/web/20150209021452/http://www.stateofpethealth.com/Content/pdf/Ban field-State-of-Pet-Health-Report_2013.pdf. “Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma Infection).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Aug. 2018, www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/index.html. Udell, Cherise. “How Long Does It Take 2 Cats to Turn Into 80 Million? | Care2 Healthy Living.” Care2 Causes, 25 Nov. 2012, www.care2.com/greenliving/how-long-does-ittake-2-cats-to-turn-into-80-million.html. Winter, Linda. “Popoki and Hawai‘i’s Native Birds.” ‘ELEPAIO, Hawaiian Audubon Bird Society, vol. 63, no. 6, Aug./Sep. 2003, pp. 43-46, www.mcbhawaii.marines.mil/portals/114/webdocuments/iel/environmental/fishwildlifepl ants/030801-impactsofferalcatsonnativebirds.pdf. Wyban, Carol A. Tide and current: fishponds of Hawai'i. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1992, pp. 42–43.
Hawaiian Waves by Molly Olsen
Taking Out the Trash By Angela Hansen The majority of the world thinks of Hawai‘i as paradise, the place to go for a once in a lifetime vacation or if you really just want to relax. While there is no denying that Hawai‘i is beautiful and has some of the best beaches in the world, there is still trash and marine pollution on all of the islands. The cool thing about Hawai‘i is that there are already so many programs in place, we just need to be made better educated of them, and we need to be able to implement better habits into our daily lives. One example of a negative habit is going to get your favorite drink in the morning when you start your day. One drink usually includes a cup and a straw; that’s two items, five times a week, (we will not include the afternoon drink, or the drinks you get while shopping over the weekend) fifty-two weeks a year. That adds up to being five hundred and twenty items of waste just for one person’s habit. One program to help with habits like this is the slogan you have probably heard but maybe have not paid much mind to, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Pollution is not just an eyesore, but is actually a major hazard to marine life, coral reefs, and even the overall health of the entire ecosystem. With better education, people could be made aware of the issues and all of the possible programs in place to help combat the amount of waste created by humans each year. In this paper I will define what marine pollution is, where it comes from, and explain how it can be a hazard to animals. I will also talk about run-off and what kind of long-term effects it can have on our environment. In order to change the world we need to first look at what pollution is and where it comes from. According to Dr. Geert Potters’ article, “Marine Pollution:” Pollution can then be defined as any form of contamination in an ecosystem with a harmful impact upon the organisms in this ecosystem, by changing the growth rate and the reproduction of plant or animal species, or by interfering with human amenities, comfort, health, or property values (2). Pollution can also take many forms such as solids, sound and light, or chemicals; solids would include marine debris, sound and light is typically emitted from a major city, and manmade chemicals can end up in run-offs (Potters). Many people would dare to argue that one person cannot make a difference, and that there are already programs and systems in place to help but they just do not work. Those same people are usually under the assumption that the majority of pollution comes from big ships and ocean dumping, so they feel that regardless of their efforts, ships will still be ships dumping in the ocean and pollution will still be a problem. Little do they know, that type of pollution makes up less than a quarter of total pollution (Potters 5). The biggest source actually comes from run-off, both industrial and agricultural, making up 44% (Potters 5). The runner-up, at 33%, is from the atmosphere, which includes dust particles, greenhouse gases, and combustion processes such as car engines (Potters 5). The final 23% of pollution actually comes from 3 sources: 12% from maritime activities such as shipping and accidental spills, 10% from ocean dumping of garbage and sewage, and the last 1% from offshore mining, oil and gas drilling (Potters 5). Marine debris is the most commonly heard of pollutant. This consists of many different types of netting and all kinds of plastics, including microplastics. If you are wondering how simple plastics 69
can be the biggest contributor of marine debris, the answer is actually quite simple. We have incorporated plastics, both single-use and reusable, into our daily lives and these plastics last for a very long time, if not forever! I know what you are thinking, “forever is a long time” and you are right; it is after all, forever. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), most plastics never actually mineralize, meaning that instead, they will break up into teeny tiny pieces, to the point where you won’t be able to see them with the naked eye. That degradation process is what creates materials classified as microplastics (“What We Know About: Plastic Marine Debris”). If a plastic is able to mineralize completely, that means it fully degrades and will turn into carbon dioxide, water, and inorganic molecules. Whether the rubbish has traveled many miles, or is from the birthday party down the beach, it is not only an eyesore, but can also pose a major threat to marine life. Some of the commonly discussed issues are entanglement and choking, but some you may not be fully aware of are ingestion and starvation. NOAA explains the direct impact plastic debris can have on the marine life. “Studies have shown that fish and other marine life do eat plastic. Plastics could cause irritation or damage to the digestive system. If plastics are kept in the gut instead of passing through, the fish could feel full (of plastic not food) and this could lead to malnutrition or starvation” (“What We Know About: Plastic Marine Debris”). Another issue resulting from marine debris is the possibility of floating debris acting as a temporary home for pelagic “hitch-hikers”. Murray R. Gregory, from the review on environmental effects of plastic debris, explains that “hitch-hikers” are also known as an alien or invasive species because when they get to their new location there is a strong possibility of endangerment to the new environment. Long-term effects of trash polluting the beaches and waters of Hawai‘i are the least recognized, but definitely the most harmful. Run-off consists of all kinds of toxic materials such as sewage, oil and gas, as well as agricultural run-off coming from local farms. When run-off merges with the ocean water there is an imbalance of nutrients. This imbalance causes some fish to die and other things like certain types of algae to flourish, throwing off the ecosystem. Another effect of run-off can be any of the diseases it can cause in different marine animals. For example, in sea turtles, A. Alonso Aguirre and Peter L. Lutz with EcoHealth explain a disease called Fibropapillomatosis (FP). FP is a disease specific to marine turtles that consists of benign tumors. Long-term studies have shown that the turtles don’t get the disease until after being in the polluted water that surrounds populated areas. “Field observations support that the prevalence of the disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high density, agricultural runoff, and/or bio toxin-producing algae” (Aguirre). Now that we understand what pollution is, where it comes from, and how harmful it is, the question then becomes, what do we do about it? Lucky for us, we do not have to think up a whole new proposal; there are already so many programs in place and many different opportunities available to us, we just need to find a way to get the information out there and make recycling a part of our lifestyle. Many places such as NOAA, use the catchy slogan mentioned earlier, “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Starting with reducing, we can minimize a lot of our single use items. Not only when going out to eat and indulging in our daily drink habits but also within our homes we can stop being so lazy and just wash dishes forcing us to use less paper plates and plastic silverware. This then brings us to reuse, because the likelihood of anyone completely cutting out single use items is slim to none. We can try to at least have reusable items for some of our daily habits; things such as reusable water bottles and cups are a great start for this kind of change. There 70
are a lot of establishments that have programs like Starbucks who actually offer discounts for those who have reusable cups and thermoses. And last but not least, one of the easiest and most known about programs is recycling. There is more than one way to recycle. Fortunately for many neighborhoods on the different islands of Hawai‘i, the city and county encourages recycling with different color bins. The blue bins are for the recyclables including everything from newspapers, cardboard, and office paper to glass bottles, aluminum cans, and most plastics. The green bins are for all the (wait for it… that’s right!) green waste, such as grass from the mower, as well as tree and hedge trimmings, and other organic waste. Not everything is recyclable however, so there is still a bin for rubbish. Rubbish can be anything from Styrofoam and plastic bags to magazines and old worn out shoes. For those of us who do not have these different colored bins to help recycle, there are other options. By saving aluminum cans, as well as plastic and glass bottles, we can turn them in at different HI 5 recycling locations to get five cents per item! When I first moved to Hawai‘i, I had no idea that when I went to Costco and bought a couple cases of water they added $2.00 to every 40 pack. Later on after talking to some friends, I learned that if kept my bottles and turned them in I would get my 5 cents per bottle back. Needless to say, I started to keep all of my recyclable items: plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and even all of my glass bottles. It became an errand that I would run every other weekend or so; sometimes I would go every weekend if we had a beach day or some kind of party. The most I ever got back on one trip to the recycle center was $76.85 after a work party. If that isn’t motivation enough to recycle, I don’t know what is. I really do believe that, if people were better educated and made more aware of all the harms caused by pollution, then they would be more inclined to participate in all the programs and opportunities available. Just knowing that the lifestyles we have created for ourselves have become such a problem isn’t enough. Actually learning the repercussions of that lifestyle and understanding the true harm to the marine life and the ecosystem could be more of an eye-opener and motivation to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The saying is true that one person cannot change the world; however, one person can make a difference, and that same person can influence those around them so they can influence more and so on. WORK CITED Aguirre, A. A. & Lutz, P.L. EcoHealth (2004) 1: 275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-004-00973 Gregory, Murray R. “Environmental implications of plastic debris in marine settings— entanglement, ingestion, smothering, hangers-on, hitch-hiking and alien invasions.” Review of Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society. 2009. Potters, Dr. Geert. Marine Pollution. 1 edition, 2013, http://bookboon.com/en/marine-pollutionebook. st
“What We Know About: Plastic Marine Debris.” NOAA Marine Debris Program, September 2011.
Outdated Security at Hawai‘i Pacific University By Jennifer Aabb Academic institutions across America have seen a rise in school violence the last few years, stirring up a debate surrounding campus security and measures to ensure students safety while attending classes. While Hawai’i is one of the strictest gun law states in the country, the island has seen a rise in firearm threats against multiple Hawaiian High Schools and an increase of high profile assault crimes during 2017 and 2018 (Schaefers 1). This paper’s aim is to examine how safe Hawai‘i Pacific University students feel on campus and on school property, and evaluate the efficiency of the security staff and protocols in place. Hawai’i Pacific University, HPU, is a 4 year college with a current enrolment of 4,081 students spread out across three different campus locations and two dormitories. With its central and unconventional campus layout, students attend classes between the Business District and Chinatown at the main campus in Downtown Honolulu (HPU 1). In 2016, crime statistics provided by Records Management System, Case Reporting System, and Honolulu Police Department for central Honolulu, where HPU is located, showed 1 murder, 7 rapes, 8 robberies, 28 aggravated assaults, 17 burglaries, 337 larcenies, and 23 auto theft cases in the area. Since the surrounding area sees a large amount of crime yearly, security is an important feature at HPU to ensure the safety of students. A common discussion among previous and current students is in regards to walking home at night after late classes. To further investigate this and to better understand how students feel about this, a survey composed of nine questions was sent out to one hundred current HPU students. Out of these hundred, nine students completed the survey about their experience with HPU Security. Four out of these identified as male, and five identified as female. Out of these nine, six individuals had reached out to security officers at some point while attending school. The reason for their interactions with officers were: (2) help, (2) missing or lost item, (1) SafeWalk, and (1) theft. As a follow up, 57.14% said that they were pleased with their interaction with the officers, while 42.86% said that they were dissatisfied with the service provided and not pleased with how the situation was handled. Furthermore, 5 individuals said that they would contact HPU Security to report an incident in the future, while 4 individuals would rather call HPD to report an incident on campus. With its many campus locations, 66.66% of students reported feeling the safest at Aloha Tower Marketplace and its dormitory. Remaining participants reported that they felt safe at all locations. Furthermore, one participant provided a comment that the Aloha Tower location has the security measure of having to swipe ones Student ID in order to access student facilities and that this provides an extra layer of comfort that no outsider can enter the location. A female student that contacted officers for SafeWalk, a service provided to student to have an officer accompany them safely home at night, provided feedback that as a university student that spends late nights in the library at the downtown campus she did not feel safe walking home at night and was usually left scared while waiting for the bus by herself late at night due to the large amount of homeless in the area. Despite the low number of participants, the information gathered provides a good foundation for the current landscape and students’ feelings towards the security on campus grounds. Half of the participants trust the capacity of the security officers and all participants rated campus security as extremely and very important. The response and answers from the survey gives an insight to 72
the inconsistent security measures between the different locations, and due to its central location more could be done in order to provide students with the feeling of safety at all campus locations, both day and night. Located 0.2 miles from Hawai‘i Pacific University Downtown campus lies University of PhoenixHawai‘i, UOP, a private for-profit 4 year college. While the university does not offer its students housing on campus, it shares similarities to HPU with its central campus and also being located in central Honolulu. The total enrolment at UOP is 1,087 students. Although there is a difference in the number of students, comparing the two is still viable as this matter looks into the security on campus in a downtown urban environment and the number of crimes reported to the school officers. The crime statistics collected from the institution between 2014-2016 by the U.S. Department of Education shows only one burglary offense in 2014 on UOP Hawai’i campus (NCES). In contrast, the Hawai’i Pacific University Campus Security Statistics for calendar years 2014-2016 shows much higher crime numbers (see table 1). Table 1: Reported arrests and offenses to HPU Campus Security 2014, 2015, and 2016 ARRESTS 2014 2015 2016 Illegal weapons possession 0 0 0 Drug law violations 13 6 31 Liquor law violations 16 0 0 CRIMINAL OFFENSES 2014 2015 2016 Murder/Non-negligent manslaughter 0 0 0 Negligent manslaughter 0 0 0 Rape 0 1 0 Fondling 1 1 2 Incest 0 0 0 Statutory rape 0 0 0 Robbery 0 1 1 Aggravated assault 0 0 0 Burglary 2 2 4 Motor vehicle theft 1 1 0 Arson 0 0 0 Stalking 2 2 2 NON REPORTABLE INCIDENTS 2014 2015 2016 Thefts (backpacks, wallets, etc.) 26 22 14 Miscellaneous (trespass, vandalism, etc.) 288 168 137 Source: “Hawai’i Pacific University Campus Security /clery-statistics-information-14-15-16.pdf. Accessed 15 April 2018.
Although the university has seen an overall decrease in crime since 2014, compared to UOP, which is similar in location, the number of reported incidents is high. While Hawai’i Pacific University provides a more in-depth information sheet about offenses and arrests committed on each campus separately, the table above shows a summation of all reported offenses on all locations. As expected, with a difference in the number of students in mind, HPU shows a higher amount of violations and offenses on campus grounds than UOP. Yet, one cannot overlook that the majority
of drug and liquor law violations were reported in the dormitories, which is something that UOP does not provide to its students. Thus, these violations can be disregarded in this case. Students reported feeling safest at ATM; the location is HPU’s latest addition as the college invested around $50 million dollars to turn the previous marketplace into its new central hub with accompanying bookstore, student lounges, and dormitories (Inefuku 1). As a smaller private institution, the school does not have the funds to improve and revamp every single location to match the security measures of ATM. Arguably, the security of students is an important feature that students take into account when deciding where to apply for college and whether or not the student decides to stay at that college. Nonetheless, with the rise of violent crimes in Honolulu, the stark difference in reported crimes between HPU and UOP, and student feedback, HPU will need to improve their security moving forward to ensure students safety and to create a positive environment for students attending classes late at night. To conclude, with the current landscape surrounding the HPU locations, security measures at HPU needs to improve. While located close to each other, the two colleges HPU and OUP show a different story in amount of offenses that occurred on campus between 2014-2016. 66.66% of student participants feel safest at Aloha Tower Marketplace, the college’s latest addition with more security than older buildings, due to the security measure of having to swipe their Student ID card in order to access student facilities. Since the highest number of reported crimes to Campus Security were thefts, trespassing, and vandalism, the Student ID measure should be mandatory on all HPU facilities. As the campus is located in an urban environment, with no measure to prevent individuals from entering student lounges or classrooms in this area, such implementation could lower the three crimes mentioned above as trespassing could not occur if civilians could not enter the building. With an increase of high profile assaults in Hawai’i this past year, the university should investigate how they can evolve and improve current measures to be able to ensure students safety while attending college since the environment surrounding the college is constantly changing. Hopefully this will cause zero reported incidents of stalking, rape, and fondling of students in the future. Finally, it is worth nothing that despite the effort of having a sample data of one hundred individuals and ending up with a participation of only nine individuals, the information provided is still valid as it is about the students’ experience about the security on campus. However, in order to get a change in the environment and security measure, more data needs to be collected from student experiences. The survey should have been provided in person for a better reassurance of participation rather than distributing the survey online. WORKS CITED “Campuses and Facilities.” HPU, hpu.edu/about-us/information/campuses-facilities.html. “College Navigator - University of Phoenix-Hawaii.” NCES, nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/? q=university+of+phoenix&s=all&id=420042#crime. “Hawai’i Pacific University Campus Security Statistics.” HPU, hpu.edu/security/files/clerystatistics-information-14-15-16.pdf.
“Honolulu Police Department Annual Report 2016.” HPD, honolulupd.org/downloads/HPD 2016annualreport.pdf. Inefuku, Terri. “Hawai‘i Pacific University Turns Aloha Tower into Residential Community.” KHON2, khon2.com/news/local-news/hawaii-pacific-university-turns-aloha-tower-intoresidential-community_20180309114556846/1025690547. Schaefers, Allison. “Stabbing of Military Man Intensifies Scrutiny over Waikiki Crime.” Star Advertiser, staradvertiser.com/2018/03/03/hawaii-news/stabbing-of-military-manintensifies-scrutiny-over-waikiki-crime/.
CULTURAL AND NATIONAL STRUGGLES
Drowning for the Real by Sean Healey
The Gratification of Vaccinations: Uncovering the Vaccine Controversy By Laila Valdez Circa 2003: I, a three-year-old girl, was dreading the wait in the doctor's office. Although the waiting room, decorated like a vibrant, fanciful jungle, embellished with whimsical gizmos, still did not distract me from the anticipated thought that the nurse was going to poke my body with four needles because "Mommy told me I had to." Do you remember a similar incident and the apprehension? Everyone should. During that time, I was waiting to receive my vaccinations so that I could enroll in preschool. Now, fast forward to the year of 2012; I took a biology class, wherein a particular unit of study I analyzed the functionality of the immune system. Most importantly, I explored the realm of vaccinations and realized that facing the needle was not that horrible after all. Unfortunately, in today's society, especially in the United States, many children are not receiving vaccinations because of the beliefs of their parents, which is undoubtedly unforeseen, as exempting a child out of treatments is an endangerment of a child's health. For many years, vaccinations were always stressed by medical professionals and doctors because it prevents the acquirement of deadly diseases, like human papillomavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. In doing so, it is highly efficient to have children immunized when they are young, as their immune systems are in the process of familiarizing itself with the outside environment. Hence, if a pathogen, a harmful germ or virus, is introduced to one's immunize system, "â€Śthe innate immune system programs protective immune responses and regulates the magnitude, quality, and persistence of vaccine-induced immunity" (Pulendran & Ahmed, 2011, para. 2). In other words, the immune system is familiarized with the pathogen, so that when there comes an instance in which the immune system encounters the virus, the immunological response executed will be more enhanced, as it can assail the microbe. In the United States, some state laws dictate that there are mandatory vaccinations that children must receive before attending school. However, many parents are choosing to opt their children out on receiving full immunizations for the following reasons: religious and lifestyle beliefs, along with biased media influences. There are instances in which some parents are unable to afford fully vaccinating their children (Boom & Healy, 2018, para. 7). Resulting in being able to only partially treat or not being able to treat their children at all. In more radical cases, parents who have the resources and finances to provide their children with proper health care, refuse to vaccinate their children. It is under the United States law that children must be vaccinated. But, parents have the option to obtain a vaccine exemption for their child. Throughout the years, the number of vaccine exemptions has been increasing. Vaccine exemptions primarily target individuals with religious beliefs against immunizations ("Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC,â€? n.d.). However, these exemptions are abused by the public as the vaccination rates are decreasing. Despite the small percent in an increase every year, each percent accounts for the United States population. Hence, there is still an abundance of children untreated. In all, many more individuals are going against vaccinations, even after many decades it has been proven to prevent widespread outbreaks. To address this potentially dangerous situation, this paper will formulate ways to solve this problem. Therefore, to overcome the gradually increasing vaccine exemptions the following need to occur: establishing uniformity in state laws, ensuring diligence in disseminating vaccine 77
literacy, and clarifying vaccine misbeliefs in popular media platforms. In doing so, more parents are capable of promoting competent decisions for their children. In the United States, a majority of the state laws include “vaccination requirements for children in public and private schools and daycare settings, college/university students, and healthcare workers and patients in certain facilities” ("Public Health Professionals Gateway," 2018, para. 3). As aforementioned, state laws possess loopholes in the process of obtaining vaccine exemptions. Therefore, there should be uniformity in all state laws so that states can follow the same exemption procedures and requirements. State laws differ from every state, as each government is capable of construing distinctive policies ("Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC,” n.d.). In specificity with vaccine exemptions policies, every state can either grant philosophical, religious, and medical exemptions, or all of the above. Concurrently, all fifty states offer vaccine exemptions. As stated by the National Vaccine Center, a medical exemption needs to “be written by a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.)” or “other state-designated healthcare workers” to validate that the “administration of one or more state-mandated vaccines would be detrimental to the health of an individual.” While religious exemptions enable any person following a religious faith to exempt their child or themselves from inoculation through “a signed affidavit from your [a] pastor” or a “notarization of your [one’s] signature on a religious exemption statement attesting to your [one’s] sincerely held religious beliefs about vaccination” ("Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC,” n.d., para. 3). Similarly, philosophical exemptions (which eighteen states permit) are for “individuals who hold conscientious objections to one or more vaccines” ("Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC,” n.d., para. 5), which are mostly connected to the ideas of ethics and morals. In order to obtain a philosophical exemption, the process is similar to obtaining a religious exemption. For instance, in the state of Hawai‘i, the laws only accept religious and medical exemptions from vaccines, while another state, like Washington, allows all three listed vaccine exemptions ("Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC,” n.d.). Many organizations like the NVIC Advocacy Portal (NVICAP) promote “achieving and protecting the right to informed consent to vaccination” and to “protect and expand vaccine exemptions” ("Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC,” n.d., para. 7). The efforts in promoting for vaccine exemptions are virtuous, since the NVICAP exhibits inclusion and respect toward individuals' beliefs. However, vaccine exemptions should solely be required for religious reasons, as the Constitution directly states the freedom of religion, and for medical reasons, as some individuals, do not positively react to the vaccines. Hence, when mentioning the concept of uniformity of state laws, all laws should be the same in all fifty states—suggesting only to accept medical and religious exemptions. In doing so, the rate of vaccine exemptions will decrease as all state laws are regulated, and loopholes are diminished. Since most immunizations are routinely administered during infancy and childhood, most parents have the authority to decide whether or not they would prefer to exempt their children from obtaining these vaccines—which in a particular outlook could be an endangerment to a child’s health. In recent studies, “A Focused Examination of Non-medical Exemptions in States and Counties” found that “in the past decade, the number of philosophical exemptions to vaccination has increased in two-thirds of the states that allow such exemptions” (Olive, Hotez, Damania, & Nolan, 2018, para. 3), therefore causing an increase in vulnerability to vaccine-preventable outbreaks in 78
these areas. Furthermore, this research is based on the data that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected on non-medical exemption rates in kindergartners in each state or county level. It was discovered that there was “an overall upward trend” (Olive, Hotez, Damania, & Nolan, 2018, para. 3) in the number of kindergartens with non-medical exemptions in twelve states. Within these twelve states, there are several of densely populated, metropolitan areas—including Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle—that possessed high exemption rates, suggesting that “outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases could either originate from or spread rapidly throughout these populations of unimmunized, unprotected children” (Olive, Hotez, Damania, & Nolan, 2018, para. 9). Furthermore, with these urban centers including at least one international airport, individuals and children who are not vaccinated could start an outbreak outside of their vicinity (Devitt, 2018, para. 4). For that reason, promoting uniformity for vaccine exemptions in state laws will increase the national security of spreading any potential outbreaks. Additionally, the rising numbers of non-medical vaccine exemptions come with detrimental consequences. For example, the Disneyland (located in Anaheim, California) measles epidemic in 2014 to 2015 was proven to be caused by the “low MMR vaccination coverage of children (50%– 86% vaccination rate among the exposed population)” (Olive, Hotez, Damania, & Nolan, 2018, para. 12). Hence, in responding this crisis, the California State Legislature “passed Senate Bill 277 (SB 277), which placed a statewide ban on NMEs starting January 1, 2016,” which proved to be the right response as “kindergarteners with NMEs from 2016 to 2017 dropped to 3,133, the lowest that the state has seen in over a decade” (Olive, Hotez, Damania, & Nolan, 2018, para. 12). Nevertheless, state laws and legislation should be more active in overseeing vaccine exemptions. It is proven that vaccine exemptions are consistently misemployed by parents, especially with vaccine exemption rates based on philosophical reasons, rather than for medical or religious ones. By establishing uniformity in laws, the rates of high vaccine exemptions in correlation to low vaccination rates within all fifty states can be more efficient in manageability and consistency, versus the imbalance of exemptions rates between states, which may increase the chances of large vaccine-preventable outbreaks. The primary purpose of even including vaccination in state laws was to “maintain low rates of vaccine-preventable disease” ("Public Health Professionals Gateway," 2018, para. 1). Thus, what is the purpose of establishing these laws when the individuals of society are searching for loopholes to counteract vaccination laws? If the law is not abided by, then the law should be eradicated in its entirety, or it should be improved, which is the preferable route of action in this vaccine controversy. Vaccine literacy should be highly stressed, not only in the United States but worldwide. Most parents lack vaccine literacy and are most times uninformed about the benefits and functions of immunizations, hence contributing to the higher non-medical exemption rates. I interviewed Internist (a doctor specializing in internal medicine) Dr. Ann S. Harada, a local doctor treating various patients in Hawai‘i at Queen’s Medical Center. I mainly asked her: “How would you react to a parent or an individual requesting for a vaccine exemption?” She responded with “I always give a speech, but I cannot force them. I have to document their refusal. But mostly, I have to teach and inform. You teach them a little bit about why you are doing it, and then they will come back and say ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’” Some parents are defined to be resisting with vaccine hesitancy,
which “refers to a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination…influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience, and confidence” (Boom & Healy, 2018, para. 2). Vaccine hesitancy in relation with vaccine incompetency can be ameliorated through the simple act of education—it all lies in the matter of how one approaches managing vaccine hesitancy, especially in parents. Through 2015 studies it was discovered that “multicomponent and dialoguebased interventions appeared to be the most effective” in relieving hesitancy (Boom & Healy, 2018, para. 3), namely by establishing non-confrontational dialogue and addressing key points in acknowledging a shared goal, disseminating the information of vaccine safety and benefits, and helping parents interpret superlative information to make an informed decision. Moreover, according to Boom & Healy, surveys that suggest that approximately “one-third to one-half of vaccine-hesitant parents eventually vaccine their children” (2018, para. 4). In all, any individual can contribute to the diligence of promoting vaccine literacy by informing others about vaccines. Advocating and practicing vaccine literacy promotes a healthy lifestyle, as healthy decisions are influenced by healthy information exchange. The most prominent reasons behind the influx of vaccine exemptions in the United States are through vaccine misbeliefs, which result in the incompetency in individuals. The recurring biases that spread rapidly throughout the media are that vaccines do not work, that vaccines cause autism, and that the vaccine immunization schedule is too demanding. First of all, vaccines do effectively work. As briefly mentioned, vaccinations are an aid in the process of bolstering the acquired immunity of individuals’ immune systems. Acquired immunity is when one’s immune system can identify antigens, so that the immune system, consisting of Tcells and B-cells, can properly halt the spread of the virus. Immunological memory boosts immunological responses towards antigens and pathogens, which are microbes that could brutally harm the functionality of one’s body system (Boom & Healy, 2018). Furthermore, with the accumulation of individuals that possess innate immunity, that means there will be a bolster in herd immunity. Herd immunity is a method to “extend vaccine benefits beyond the directly targeted population” through “the indirect protection of unvaccinated persons, whereby an increase in the prevalence of immunity by the vaccine prevents circulation of infectious agents in susceptible populations” (Kim, Johnstone, & Loeb, 2011, para. 5). In other words, if a majority of a population were vaccinated, then individuals that happen to be unvaccinated (especially individuals who do not have the resources to obtain vaccines) will be protected from vaccinepreventable diseases, along with the prevention of major outbreaks. It is even suggested that the concept of herd immunity “has had a major impact in the eradication of smallpox, has reduced transmission of pertussis, and protects against influenza and pneumococcal disease” (Kim, Johnstone, & Loeb, 2011, para. 6), which are diseases that provide dreadful and intolerable side effects to an individual or even worse, death. Herd immunity is beneficial to individuals especially to large societies and communities that many people subsist in today. Next, the idea that the vaccine immunization is too demanding is somewhat right, but the opinion that it should be the reason that will prompt exemption of a child to vaccinations is biased. The “demanding” immunization schedule is established during infancy and childhood as vaccinepreventable diseases “are more severe in infants and young children than in older children” (Boom 80
& Healy, 2018, para.11). By introducing an infant to an antigen, their immune systems will promote swift adaptability and stronger immunological responses. Dr. Ann S. Harada, an internal medicine specialist, states that: The reason that a lot of the immunizations are given in two or three parts is that because sometimes when you vaccinate with just one, your body doesn't have enough time to build immunity. The reinforcement of the virus and bacteria is ensured through the second or third vaccine so that your own body can strengthen that immunity against the antigen injected through vaccination. The immunization schedule was constructed collaboratively by the Centers for Diseases Control, the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Boom & Healy, 2018), which are all major public health institutes in the United States. Each immunization schedule from infancy to adolescence, even to adulthood, is recommended, not required—however, many medical professionals still refer to these particular schedules for educating parents about the various, required vaccinations. Immunization schedules can vary according to the individual. The central importance in inoculations is receiving all parts of the vaccine, as most vaccines—like pertussis is recommended at least five doses in infants (Boom & Healy, 2018)—consist of different parts and treatments at different times. Hence, parents develop the bias that vaccine schedules are “back-to-back” deeming them to be “dangerous” for a child as they are “unable to handle” the given doses (Boom & Healy, 2018, para. 2). However, that belief is not true. Thus, if it comes to a point where a parent or an individual exhibits stagnancy in their hesitancy and refusal for vaccination, alternative schedules are also offered, which extend “incomplete and delayed protection against life-threatening diseases” (Boom & Healy, 2018, para. 3). This means that parents can request to postpone or skip one or more immunizations. However, “alternative schedules increase the duration of vulnerability to vaccine-preventable diseases that continue to cause outbreaks” and “increase the risk of under-vaccination and many increases the risk of adverse effects” (Boom & Healy, 2018, para. 9). Hence, the recommended vaccination schedule is not harmful to an individual, as it has been proven to be effective in safeguarding the efficacy of one’s immune system. Ultimately, parents refuse to vaccinate their children with the belief that vaccines induce autism due to the traces of thimerosal or mercury that are contained in vaccines. This idea commenced the vaccine controversy worldwide, inculcating apprehension into many parents, who believed that vaccines would subsequently develop autism in their children. Fortunately, this media-biased idea rooted from the 1990s is wholly false. According to Taylor, Swerdfeger, & Eslick, in their research study, they discovered that “five cohort studies involving 1,256,407 children, and five case-control studies involving 9,920 children were included in this analysis[…]the cohort data revealed no relationship between vaccination and autism” (2014, para. 6). Thus, it can be confirmed that “the components of the vaccines (thimerosal or mercury) or multiple vaccines (MMR) are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder” (Taylor, Swerdfeger, & Eslick, 2014). The cohort studies that substantiated this rash concept was done by British researchers, who published their findings in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal. However, their findings were discredited as their research was removed since it was revealed that they “had been paid by attorneys seeking to file lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers” ("Do 81
Vaccines Cause Autism?,” 2018, para. 7). To sum up, vaccination is not linked to the development of autism, as there is no verified correlation between the two. In summation, vaccinations are the most beneficial reform in the healthcare system. Throughout history, significant virus outbreaks, like the Bubonic Plague and measles, have decimated populations of large communities. Unfortunately, in this current state of scientific innovation and advantage over preventing vaccine-preventable outbreaks, many individuals, especially parents oppose vaccinations. In extenuating cases, it is understandable why some parents cannot vaccinate their children, due to the lack of financial resources and healthcare aid. However, it is disturbing to find that some parents who can promote a healthy lifestyle for their children go against vaccinating them. There are various instances in which vaccinations prove to be effective. On the other side of the spectrum, there is also proof that the unvaccinated suffer when there are outbreaks. For instance, a woman named Amy Parker shared her story of being an unvaccinated child: I am the 70s child of a health nut. I wasn’t vaccinated. I was brought up on an incredibly healthy diet: no sugar till I was one, breastfed for over a year, organic homegrown vegetables, raw milk, no MSG, no additives, no aspartame…As healthy as my lifestyle seemed, I contracted measles, mumps, rubella, a type of viral meningitis, scarlatina, whooping cough, yearly tonsillitis, and chickenpox, some of which are vaccine preventable. In my twenties, I got precancerous HPV and spent six months of my life wondering how I was going to tell my two children under the age of 7 that mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed. (Parker, 2018, par. 2) It can be deduced that the repercussions of being unvaccinated are endless and life-threatening, as seen in Amy’s situation. Dr. Ann S. Harada raised the question, “Would you risk your child getting cirrhosis from Hepatitis B and fighting for a new liver on the donor list?” The idea of vaccination may possess a connotation of uncertainty while it connotes efficiency—that is acceptable. In the end, the facts outweigh the assumptions in this case. Clarifications can be made toward vaccine misconceptions. The state legislature can enact uniformity in vaccine exemptions laws. Every individual can promote vaccine literacy. Why endanger the health of yourself, your child, and all of the individuals living around you? Beliefs may be persistent, but what will happen when one's child is infected with a virus? One can only hope with regret. Instead of dreading the idea of vaccinating your child, dread the wait in the doctor's office to get your child vaccinated. Thus, deviate from adversity and conform to open-mindedness when deciding for yourselves and one another. Vaccinating every living individual is one step forward to eradicating these viruses. In conclusion, protect everyone around you and ones you love by getting vaccinated. REFERENCES Boom, J. A., & Healy, M. (2018, July 23). Standard childhood vaccines: Parental hesitancy or refusal. Retrieved from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/standard-childhood-vaccinesparental-hesitancy-or-refusal Devitt, M. (2018, June 20). Study Finds Disturbing Trends in Vaccination Exemptions. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-thepublic/20180620vaccineexempts.html 82
Do Vaccines Cause Autism? (2018, January 25). Retrieved from https:/www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/do-vaccines-cause-autism Harada, Ann S., M.D. Personal Interview. November 10, 2015. Kim, T. H., Johnstone, J., & Loeb, M. (2011). Vaccine herd effect. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 43(9), 683-9. Olive, J. K., Hotez, P. J., Damania, A., & Nolan, M. S. (2018). Correction: The state of the antivaccine movement in the United States: A focused examination of nonmedical exemptions in states and counties. PLoS medicine, 15(7), e1002616. Parker, A. (2018, March 05). Growing Up Unvaccinated. Retrieved from https://www.voicesforvaccines.org/growing-up-unvaccinated/ Public Health Professionals Gateway. (2018, February 28). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/vaccinationlaws.html Pulendran, B., & Ahmed, R. (2011). Immunological mechanisms of vaccination. Nature Immunology, 12(6), 509-17. Taylor, L. E., Swerdfeger, A. L., & Eslick, G. D. (2014, June 17). Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24814559 Vaccine Exemptions FAQs - NVIC. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nvic.org/faqs/vaccineexemptions.aspx
Witches and New Age Spirituality: The Connections and Misconceptions By Jasmin Diaz Wicca and Spirituality are new age religions that have an ever-growing amount of followers, especially for those who do not identify with another religion. While there are many joining these groups, there is still a stigma and misunderstanding of what each religion holds in store. Those who are Wiccan or Spiritualists are associated with the stereotypical imagery of witches. The term “witch” is used as a way to identify those who believe in energies and their ability to be utilized. Wicca and New Age Spiritualism are often mistaken to be the same religion, and while they do share similar beliefs, they are different in their own way. Though there are still negative perceptions about the groups, their connections to flowing energy, reiki, and use of tools, such as tarot cards and spirit boards to get in touch with their energy, indicate an intricate religion that is actually positive in nature. The idea of witches is commonly associated with negative connotations such as connecting witchcraft to darkness or the devil. The misconception of witches dates back several centuries. According to Alastair Sooke, an art critic for The Daily Telegraph, the concept of witches is believed to have first appeared in the Bible in the story of King Saul who consults the Witch of Endor, or even in Greek mythology with the enchantress called Circe who can turn enemies into swine (Sooke). While the concept of witches seems to appear first in the creation of the Bible, the modern-day, stereotypical imagery was not created until the Renaissance era. During this era, a German painter and printmaker, Albrecht Durer, painted numerous pieces of artwork detailing what are now known as witches (Sooke). One painting shows a naked woman sitting atop a horned goat whose “mouth is open as she shrieks spells and incantations, and her wild, wind-blasted hair streams unnaturally in the direction of her travel (a sign of her magical powers)” (Sooke). This painting also pictured the woman holding a broomstick, creating the stereotype that all witches associate with broomsticks and therefore use them as a method of travel (Sooke). Albrecht Durer’s painting made people connect witches and magic with the devil as well because a horned goat pictured in artwork represented Satan, thus adding a negative perception to the concept. This instilled an image in the public’s mind that caused people to fear that any interaction with a witch could connect them to evil. The series of paintings created by Albrecht Durer generated superstition amongst people and villages. This sparked events such as the Salem Witch Trials to get rid of any and all witches who practiced the art of “magic.” During these events, mainly women were isolated for certain beliefs and were ostracized or burned at the stake because of their different beliefs. Women who had a knack for science or healing tended to be labeled as a witch since this was not considered a woman’s job. As Maddie Crum, a journalist specializing in books and culture at the HuffPost, states, “The label ‘witch’ might as well read ‘outsider’” (Crum). Any woman who did not fit in with the societal norms was also at risk for being considered a witch due to their unusual involvement in the community or their lack of conformity. There are many other stereotypes that group witches together and form the perception of evil. Witches are commonly linked to an immortal anti-world and tend to have an insatiable greed and envy that poses a threat to the community, according to Niek Koning, a professor in agricultural 84
economy and sociology at Wageningen University. It is believed that witches could inflict harm upon the public by using magic to control those who disobeyed or angered them. They are also believed to have the ability to turn into animals, gather in secret conventions, have the need to “eat” other humans, and have special powers in their eyes or mouth (Koning). These beliefs tend to stem from the fear of the unknown as it is easier to make assumptions about a group rather than taking the time to understand them. Witchcraft beliefs, such as the evil eye, were commonly feared by other religions as well (Koning). According to Ancient Hebrew text, “The Evil Eye brings great misfortune to this world”; and as stated by Allan Berger, the “notion of the Evil Eye has existed for thousands of year in very many parts of the world.” The Evil Eye is said to bring demons to this dimension that wreak havoc on those who do not take the proper measures to avoid it by plaguing people with disease, loss, or poor luck. Its connection to witches automatically causes people to look down upon those who practice any sort of witchcraft or exhibit witch-like behavior. There are many ways to get rid of the negative energy and protect oneself, such as by reciting special prayers, using amulets, performing rituals involving different liquids, and colored ribbons tied to vulnerable creatures such as babies and cattle (Berger). This was also thought to rid of witches and any demons that came along that could do harm unto the person. Superstitions about witches instilled a great amount of fear and people took many precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones. While there is not as much fear towards witches and magic, there is still angst in the subconscious of many that causes wariness due to their long-established history. While witches are still not completely understood, they are starting to become more accepted, especially through the new religion of Wicca. Wicca, also called Neo-Paganism, is a modern form of witchcraft that dates back to a group founded in the mid-20th century, as Dr. Helen Baroni, a Religion Professor at University of Hawai‘i at Manoa I interviewed, states. The group was formed by two people, Gardener and Valenci, who claimed the religion went back to pre-Christian Europe; however,it is a fairly new religion (Baroni). Through its recent formation, Wicca has spread to places all over the world, including the United States. According to Dr. Baroni, “What’s really different about Wicca in the U.S. today is that Wiccans often practice by themselves and not just in covens.” It is a highly believed idea that witches are always part of covens, and while that can be true to some extent, it has also become very individualized and formulated around one’s own beliefs. Wiccans worship a goddess, and that goddess can come from any religion in the world. For example, they could be honoring Amaterasu from Japan, Hina from Hawai‘i, or more often, the different Celtic goddesses (Baroni). Dr. Baroni also noted, “They can mix and match, but what they believe is that the goddess takes many forms all over the world in all those cultures, so it’s perfectly fine to look at the goddess in whatever formation that they do.” So, depending on one’s beliefs, Wiccans can shape the religion for themselves and create their own system that works for them. Wiccans are often thought to use magic selfishly to obtain their desires; however, this is a common misconception. The group does utilize magic, but it is distinguished into white and black magic. White magic is a force that is used for good and to help others, while black magic is used for selfish reasons. Not many Wiccans use black magic due to their basic ethical norm, “An ye harm none, do as you will” (Baroni). This means that any action is acceptable, so long as it does not cause harm to oneself or others (Baroni). However, Dr. Baroni warns that “any harm you do comes back times three, so it is a little like karma.” Many Wiccans are more spiritual and do not believe in using changing the cosmos and universe, but rather they think they are changing themselves. Dr. 85
Baroni elaborates, “There is power in the cosmos, the goddess, that they draw into themselves and power themselves to do good, to heal.” Wiccans are more about the light and energy that flows through the universe from which they can use to do good. Wicca is a religion that wants to spread goodness to others, but this concept is not widely recognized, so there is still an unfavorable view upon their religion. While the negative perception of witches and witchcraft has decreased over the centuries, there is still a slight stigma and superstition about modern-day witches. Modern-day witches are not necessarily labeled as a witch, but it is more inclusive and tends to work with the idea of spirituality. Spirituality is one of many branches of Paganism, which is “practiced by as many as 1.2 million Americans” (Crum), and while Paganism tends to have a strong negative connotation, spirituality itself is not negative. The core of spirituality is nature-worshipping and believing that female and male energy forces have an equal sway in the universe (Crum). According to Alex Mar, an author who wrote Witches of America, “They teach that the divine can be found within us and all around us, and that we can communicate regularly with the dead and the gods without a priestly go-between” (Mar). This new age religion believes in the energy that flows within all living things, and believes in the power of nature and its healing abilities. It is a very grounding religion that explores getting in touch with oneself and one’s connection to the earth. According to Crum, the practices of modern day “witches” are mostly concerned with self-discovery and not creating spells and incantations to place on other people (Crum). This religion that involves modern day “witches” is a “spiritual movement focused on nature, equality, and the triumph of the self” (Mar). This is also related to spirituality, which is more of a connection to mind, body, and spirit. Spirituality centers around the energy that flows through all living things, and those who are spiritual have a great sense of the energies within them. For example, the Chinese built health care around energy meridians, which are energy channels within the body, through acupuncture. Ryuho Okawa, an author specializing in self-care and self-help, also notes that most native traditions focus on natural energies of the body for natural healing. There is a belief that the body contains energy centers that keep people balanced, and these energy centers are commonly called “chakras” (Okawa). The word chakra is Sanskrit for “vortex of energy,” and while it varies per tradition, most mention the seven energy centers (Okawa). These seven chakras are aligned along the back in a vertical formation starting at the top of the head to just below the spine. Each chakra has its own type of energy and wave field that requires individual tuning to keep a person’s energy in balance. The first chakra is called “the Root” and is located at the base of the spine. This chakra represents safety, security and stability, but if imbalanced, the attributes can lead to anxiety, fears, and scattered energies. The second chakra is called “Sacral” and is located just below the naval. It represents creative and sexual energies, but if imbalanced, attributes such as lack of or repressed creativity, sexual dysfunction, withheld intimacy, and emotional isolation will arise. “The Solar Plexus” is the third chakra that is located below the chest. Self-esteem, pleasure, will power and personal responsibility represent this chakra and an imbalance results in low self-esteem, control issues, manipulation, and missing power. “The Heart” chakra is located in the center of the chest and is the fourth chakra that is represented by love, self-love, and the governing of our relationships. Any imbalance would result in depression, difficulty in relationships, and lack of self-discipline. The fifth chakra is “the Throat,” which is located directly within the throat and represents the ability to speak and communicate clearly and effectively. Imbalances in the chakra can result in shyness, withdrawnness, arrogance, and increased anxiety. “The Third Eye” is the 86
sixth chakra that is located in the center of the forehead between the eyebrows and represents intuition and foresight, and is driven by openness and imagination. Imbalanced attributes would cause lack of direction and clarity. The seventh and final chakra is called “the Crown” and is located directly at the top of the head. It represents states of higher consciousness and divine connection, and imbalanced attributes would be cynicism, disregarding what is sacred, closedmindedness, and disconnection with the spirit (“Guide to the Chakras”). These chakras represent the life energy that flows through all human beings and is key in the beliefs of spirituality. This can easily be mistaken for witch behavior as the concept of chakras are similar to some beliefs witches have. However, believing in the chakras allows people within spirituality to connect with the universe and themselves. While chakras are a major tool that is used to get in touch with self, it is not the only connecting force that is utilized. Those who follow spirituality and believe in a flow of energy between all living things may practice reiki as well. According to the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT), reiki is a “Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing” (“What Is Reiki?”). The word reiki stems from two Japanese words—Rei, meaning “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power,” and Ki, meaning “life force energy” (“What Is Reiki?”). This practice is based on the idea that a “life force energy” flows through all living things and allows us to live. As the ICRT states, “if one’s ‘life force energy’ is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy” (“What Is Reiki?”). To heal a low life force energy, the hands are placed over the body to let the negative energy escape and diffuse through the healer, and to move the positive energy from the healer to the subject. This is commonly used when a person has an injury, such as a sprained ankle or headache, because it has the ability to heal through energy. People who are considered spiritual commonly practice reiki to get in touch with their energy and the environment’s energy. It is easily referred to as witchcraft since it can be seen as putting a “spell” on a person to heal them. However, it is just dealing with a flow of life force. Reiki and chakras go hand-in-hand as they both deal with frequencies throughout the body. If a chakra is imbalanced, the only way to fix it is through another form of energy, which is where reiki comes into play. Since reiki is able to put good vibrations back into a person, it will be able to heal and restore the energy centers of the body. This balances the person’s overall resonance and improves their vibrational health. If viewed in a misunderstood way, it is possible for people to see this as “magic” or “witchcraft.” Tarot cards are another tool that is commonly used by those practicing spirituality and Wicca. By definition, tarot cards are cards that get in touch with the divine and provide guidance to those who seek it. It involves pulling cards in a certain way and order to read a person’s situation and give them clarity. Tarot cards are portrayed in the media as an apparatus for psychics, gypsies, and mystics, and while this is true for some, they are not the only ones who use it. Those who believe in spirituality enjoy using the cards to get in touch with themselves and others to offer clarity and direction. According to Hunter Oatman-Stanford, a writer for Mental Floss, “Divination cards offer a way to project certain ideas, whether subconscious or not, and to toy with potential outcomes for important decisions.” It is very much about utilizing one’s energy to let the meaning of the cards tell people what needs to be heard. People who practice Wicca often use tarot cards as well in a very similar manner as they appreciate getting in touch with their energy and life force as well. While this tool is commonly used in modern times by Spirituality and Wicca practitioners, tarot cards had a different use when they were first created. Tarot cards have a very long history of where they originated from and how they became the oracle-cards they are seen as today. These 87
cards of guidance date back to the 14th century where they existed as playing cards for a game very similar to modern-day bridge (Oatman-Stanford). Even with this tool being used for guidance, there are still a lot of superstition and misperceptions about the integrity of tarot cards. They can be seen as a way to interact with the devil and are generally avoided by many people. There is often skepticism about tarot cards, but this is not the only tool utilized by spiritualists that arouses superstition to outsiders. Spirit boards are another tool that can be used by those who practice Spirituality or Wicca. While there are many different types of spirit boards, the most well-known is the ouija board, which has attracted strong negative attention to it. The ouija board, in fact, came from America’s obsession with spirituality in the 19th century, according to Linda McRobbie, a writer for Smithsonian Magazine. There have been many stories of paranormal occurrences when using one of the boards, leading psychologists to believe that it may offer a link between the known and unknown (McRobbie). Spirit boards were not seen as negative objects, but after the film The Exorcist was released in 1973, the ouija board became “a tool of the devil” and began making a presence in horror movies (McRobbie). Spiritualists have since developed other versions of spirit boards to attract positivity. For example, the enchanted spellboard has brighter colors and miniature pieces of artwork to not only make it lighter and more positive, but to also make it less intimidating. The tools such as the ouija board and the enchanted spellboard can be used to contact spirits that have passed on or to get in touch with guiding energies. They are used in a similar manner to that of tarot cards, but they have a greater capacity to be more specific. However, there are many who try to debunk the integrity of the boards due to their skepticism. Aja Romano, a writer for Vox who specializes in internet culture, claims, “Any scary firsthand reports you might hear or read of reallife Ouija board horror stories are exaggerations, false claims, or a misunderstanding of how Ouija boards actually work.” She also suggests that there is a scientific explanation for the movement of the planchette through “ideomotor effect.” “The ideomotor effect is an example of unconscious, involuntary physical movement—that is, we move when we’re not trying to move” (Romano). This scientific effect has been used to prove that ouija boards only work with small, involuntary movements. While that may be true to a certain degree, scientists cannot determine whether or not a spirit or some type of energy has an influence on the planchette. Those who believe in Spiritualism and Wicca also believe in the spirit board’s ability to act as a tool to gain clarity and guidance. Those who do not believe in Wicca or Spirituality may claim that the religions are not true religions, that they are not solidified in old text and therefore are less of a belief system that people embrace. They may also believe that anyone involved in Wicca or Spirituality associates themselves with the devil. This idea was created by the Catholic Church and impacted the minds of many people about the integrity and motivating factors of “witches.” This has caused many problems for Wiccans and Spiritualists who identify themselves as so. Dr. Baroni explains, “There are these associations with Satan worship that have caused trouble, and there have been outbreaks of violence against witches and those who were said to be witches.” There are people who are heavily against witches as Wiccans and Spiritualists are believed to partake in Satan worship, going against the Catholic and Christian churches. It is the lack of knowledge that perpetuates this association and leads people to misunderstand the motivations behind these religions. For those who do not understand spirituality, it is easy to see why many people could consider spiritualism to be a form of witchcraft. Spiritualism mainly believes in the healing, purifying 88
forces, and energies of nature and the universe, which is very closely connected to what witches believe. This can easily be tied together into one by misunderstanding, and while spiritualism and witches are very similar, they are not entirely the same. They are two branches of the same tree that share some beliefs. New Age Spiritualism is an ever-growing belief system that puts the health of nature and the soul’s vehicle first. Wicca and Spiritualism are often thought of with negative connotations, but they are highly misunderstood and are actually associated with the goodness in the world. They both use energies to connect with themselves and nature through tools such as reiki, tarot cards, and spirit boards. The new age religions have an ability to connect with those who do or do not identify under another religion. Many would argue that they associate with the devil and partake in witchcraft, but this in fact is a very common misconception that leads to negative views towards the groups. Through superstition, one can generalize and create stereotypes that lead to false perceptions towards different religions. It is important to keep an open mind towards the unknown as it creates a more tolerant and accepting community as a whole. WORKS CITED Baroni, Helen. Personal Interview, April 25, 2018. Crum, Maddie. “This Is What It's Really Like to Be a Witch Today.” HuffPost, Oath Inc, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/witches-of-america-alexmar_us_562a8c82e4b0aac0b8fEc16. Gershman, Boris. The Economic Origins of the Evil Eye Belief. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. Volume 110, 2015. pp. 119-144. ISSN 0167-2681. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2014.12.002. “Guide To the Chakras For Beginners And Healing Practitioners.” RSS2, www.chakras.info/. Hereford, Z. “What Is Spirituality?” Essential Life Skills.net, Essential Life Skills, www.essentiallifeskills.net/what-is-spirituality.html. Koning, Niek. “Witchcraft Beliefs and Witch Hunts.” Human Nature, vol. 24, no. 2, June 2013, pp. 158-181. EBSCOhost, doi: 10.1007/s12110-013-9164-1. Lindeman, M., & Aarnio, K. (2007). The Origin of Superstition, Magical Thinking, and Paranormal Beliefs: An Integrative Model. Skeptic, 13(1), pp. 58-65. McRobbie, Linda Rodriguez. “The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, www.smithsonianmag.com/history/thestrange-and-mysterious-history-of-the-ouija-board-5860627/. Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. “Tarot Mythology: The Surprising Origins of the World’s Most Misunderstood Cards.” Mental Floss, Mental Floss Inc., mentalfloss.com/article/71927/tarot-mythology-surprising-origins-worlds-mostmisunderstood-cards. OÌkawa, RyuÌhoÌ. The Laws of Wisdom: Shine Your Diamond Within. IRH Press, 2015. 89
Romano, Aja. “How Ouija Boards Work. (Hint: It's Not Ghosts.).” Vox, Vox, www.vox.com/2016/10/29/13301590/how-ouija-boards-work-debunked-ideomotor-effect Sooke, Alastair. “Culture - Where Do Witches Come from?” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140925-where-do-witches-come-from. Torgler, Benno. Determinants of Superstition. The Journal of Socio-Economics. Volume 36, Issue 5, 2007. Pages 713-733. ISSN 1053-5357, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2007.01.007. “What Is Reiki?” Karuna Reiki, www.reiki.org/faq/whatisreiki.html.
Social Security’s Problems By Lopaka Martin My grandmother was the loveliest woman you could ever meet. She was kind to the touch, inviting and warm. With that being said she did have a lot of quirks as well. When I was a kid still in the early parts of elementary school, I would get sick and she would pick me up from school to take care of me. As soon as we got home, chicken noodle soup awaited me. She had this idea that every form of lactose was the devil’s juice for some reason, so she would trick us a lot. She would ask if us kids wanted ice cream, then she grabbed a giant spoon, scooped out peanut butter, and gave it to us saying, “Here you go, ice cream!” My grandmother was a crazy woman, but I loved her no matter what. Unfortunately, my grandparents did not know how to manage their finances that well, so they made due with whatever they had. When my grandmother got sick with pancreatic cancer, everything changed for the worse. They knew they qualified for Social Security to help with the medical expenses, but they believed that you should not ask for help no matter what. They were very proud, and almost borderline arrogant, and they grew up with the mindset to help the country and not let the country help you. In the end, she passed away proud and loving, but she could have been saved by those Social Security checks. I wish people had a mindset like theirs: help others before yourself, and do not ask for help unless really necessary. At the time when this happened, the debt for Social Security was at an all-time high, so they chose not to get Social Security Checks. This is why the system for Social Security needs to change. When Franklin D. Roosevelt drafted up Social Security it was for the people who had lost everything during the great depression. They lost it all because the majority of banks were privatized institutions and they could not guarantee and insure their customers’ money. This was the reason why the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) was founded: to ensure that the money in the bank is guaranteed. The Social Security system is still in place helping those who are not financially well, and those who are considered elderly in the population. Just the debt from Social Security is a huge and overwhelming tab. According to this article, the effects of collecting income taxes on Social Security benefits will lead to a disaster in the future. “The sustainability of the Social Security system has been a pressing concern for several decades. Even after a number of reforms, the system’s trust fund is expected to be depleted in 2035” (Jones and Li 128). With the trust fund being depleted by the year 2035 that means that the beneficiaries of Social Security will be left high and dry because they will no longer be receiving money to help them live. A majority of the American people want a Social Security system with the same ideals as the current system, but is it sustainable where it can provide for all people without plunging the government into more ridiculous debt? The elderly need to be taken care of, but the biggest question is, “How do we do it?” The national debt is growing into more and more of a problem, and it seems nobody can stop it. The Social Security Association needs to change the policies of the past because what worked in the past does not always work in the present; medicine is too advanced for social security, people abuse the system, and it could possibly be better if the system of social security is more privatized. The literal definition of “Social Security” is any government system that provides monetary assistance to people with an inadequate or no income. “The principle or practice or a program of public provision (as through social insurance or assistance) for the economic security and social welfare of the individual and his or her family” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). In other words, 91
under the Social Security Act, as soon as you turn 18 years old the government starts recording your income. Over your entire work career, you as the individual must be a part of the work force for at least 35 years to receive full Social Security benefits once you turn of age. The infamous “formula” that is used to calculate a person’s Social Security takes the 35 years out of your work career that you have made the most and does calculations to decide the amount you get from your Social Security checks. The Social Security Administration itself stated for the year 2018, “We adjust or “index” your actual earnings to account for the changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. The Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned most (“Your Retirement Benefit” 1).” The main reason to do this is to make it easier and more uniform in deciding Social Security and how much is owed to retirees, but this does not come without consequences. The price per capita varies from each place within the United States, so the “formula” is inefficient at performing its own job due to the differences in cost of living around the country. This is why there needs to be more of a closer, indepth look at when calculating Social Security benefits. There are still a lot of problems with Social Security, and there are not only problems with Social Security for retirees, but for people who claim they have low income. A lot of people already know people who do this. They work and get paid out in cash to get Social Security checks for having low income. There are also people who take advantage of the financially disabled by claiming to the Social Security Administration that they will be the representative of the Social Security representative. Eventually what happens is that the payee is stealing the person’s Social Security benefits for their own advantage. According to the Office of the Inspector General there are certain circumstances where a person can manage the Social Security benefits of others. “Sometimes people who receive Social Security Benefits are not able to handle their own financial affairs. In those cases, and after a careful investigation, SSA appoints a relative, friend, or another individual or organization to handle their Social Security matters” (“Misuse of Benefits”). I am not saying that everybody does this, but it is becoming a huge problem for the federal government. There needs to be a system in place that analyzes the people who take advantage of the Social Security system. In order to get approved for low income Social Security there should be a certification that says that you do only make so much money and need assistance from the government. This certification would be attained by providing enough asset information as well as history of depositing to the bank. This shows that an individual does not make that much money, and, if there is any evidence that proves otherwise, they can be charged with fraud. There should be financial monitoring of the payee who takes care of a Social Security benefit recipient to ensure the authenticity of the payee. Another problem is Social Security checks that are provided to those on maternity leave. There should be support for these groups of people, but Social Security is not the right system for it. It should be made in to law that all jobs that employ women are mandated to provide maternity leave pay, and this should allow the mother to keep a steady income until postpregnancy. This should not be impossible to do, but a system like this for maternity leave could only work if the woman works for a company with large enough assets to help cover maternity leave. If said person does not work for a company of that sort, then they should get some sort of assistance from the government. There is no denying it; medicine is getting too advanced for the Social Security system. For retirees, the Social Security system was made for those who can no longer provide for themselves after they exit the work force. With life expectancy raising due to these advancements in medicine, 92
there is too much for the system to handle because with longer life spans come SS benefits that span over a longer period of time. Multiply that with the growing population, and it is a recipe for the financial ruin of the country’s government. According to one article just small increases average life expectancy within a country can have huge outcomes. “The instrumented changes in life expectancy have a fairly large effect on population: a 1 percent increase in life expectancy is related to an approximately 1.7-2 percent increase in population over a 40-60-year horizon” (Acemoglu and Johnson 928). This is important because there isn’t enough money from Social Security to go around for that many people, and we are seeing the result of that even today. Medicine is way too advanced for having only age being the deciding factor of when someone receives Social Security benefits. There are some other options that we can look at for Social Security by studying similar programs in other countries. In countries such as China, there are multiple variables when deciding someone’s old-age pension, which is similar to the United States’ retirement Social Security benefits. They do multiple scenarios involving when a person is employed, non-employed, age qualified, as well as considering gender differences for qualifications. Research from the Social Security Administration has found that countries’ welfare programs vary based on decisions by their government. “Age 60 (men and professional women), age 55 (nonprofessional salaried women), or age 50 (other categories of women), with at least 15 years of coverage” (McClanahan et al. 74). Their welfare system is totally different than that of the United States because China has a more collective mindset so it promotes equality over the economy, but they are a communist country with capitalistic values. Other countries which lean more towards capitalism have their own differences as well when it comes to welfare. For old-age pension in Israel, beneficiaries do not have the luxury of benefits from 35 years of their career in the work force. In Israel, they only calculate old-age pension to a max of 12 years, and plan accordingly how much each retiree receives as their benefits. They “must have at least 60 months of contributions in the last 10 years or a total of 144 months of contributions” (McClanahan et al. 113). This means that, rather than their formula spanning over a 35-year career, Israel’s formula only spans over 12 max. There is no right or wrong way of doing Social Security, but there is always a better way to install Social Security within a country. It would be better if the system for Social Security was privatized rather than subject to public taxation. Rather than have the government tax there should be a system in place where workers in the working class have an individual financial responsibility to invest for long term retirement. There is the 401(k) system, which is offered by a lot of employers in the United States alone, but there should be multiple ways of saving for retirement for the average individual, which there are. The ideal step-by-step saving for retirement would require three retirement saving systems; the 401(k), the Mutual Fund, and the Annuity. The 401(k) is a great system that was set to replace the old outdated pension system because it would bankrupt companies if they continued to make substantial payouts to long time employees for their retirement. “A 401(k) plan is a specific type of employer-sponsored retirement plan that enables employees to save for retirement while deferring income taxes on the saved money and earnings until they are withdrawn. Typically, a portion of the employee’s wage is withheld and paid directly into the 401(k) account” (Howlett et al. 224). There is fault in the 401(k) system though; it takes money out of the worker’s paychecks over the course of their work career, and puts it into an account with compound interest, but when withdrawn early from the appropriate retirement age it will be taxed, as well as a withdrawal fee, 93
and it has compound fees as well. The Mutual Fund has the same concept, but depending on what firm you chose to host your mutual fund account; there are differences in the compound percent interest yields. An Annuity is a totally different concept than that of the two other retirement tools that were previously mentioned. Imagine that there is a pot that everybody in the village puts in a certain amount. At a certain age villagers would get a certain amount, every year, for the rest of their life; and, as the pot grows with more villagers depositing, the more the amount of the yearly withdrawal will increase. All of these things are private retirement tools that are eligible for everybody. These retirement machines are meant to make retirement full of wealth, unlike Social Security. That is why the retirement segment of Social Security should be removed as a whole from who is covered from Social Security. “In order to maximize one’s long-term well-being, it is often necessary to avoid selecting options with short-term benefits, but long-term consequences, by overriding or regulating impulses” (Howlett et al. 226). This is important because for something of this magnitude and size there needs to be a way to educate people who are not at retirement age, yet it takes a certain mindset to prepare for the long-run rather than the short-run. These are all reasons why the current Social Security system should be more privatized rather than publicized because it will cut down cost to the government and there will be less taxes to the citizens. There should still be a Social Security system to help those who aren’t part of the retirement population of beneficiaries, but altogether that population should not be part of the Social Security benefits. Overall, there needs to be not only a reform, but a completely different and revolutionary way to look at Social Security and welfare benefits. If people were just more educated on how to save for retirement by going through private firms, the average wealth of older Americans in the population would be significantly higher, and the country would be in a lot less debt. Too many people are taking advantage of the Social Security system because although it is a crime to commit fraud to lie when answering welfare questions, it is hard to enforce the punishment for this crime because of how much effort it takes. The SSA fraud hot line gets a call of fraud and local law enforcement is supposed to enforce it, but there is not a clear collaboration between local law enforcement and the SSA. With longer life expectancies there is more payout going to Social Security beneficiaries each year, which is plunging a huge part of our national budget. It is true that people come first, but there is always a way to find compromise, especially between financial well-being and human care ethics. The Social Security Administration needs to act now to find that compromise, or all of the money used for caring for the people under welfare will be depleted due to its unsustainability. WORKS CITED Acemoglu, Daron and Simon Johnson. “Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth.” The University of Chicago Press Journals, vol. 115, no. 6, December 2007, pp. 925-85. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.1086/529000.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A59aeeeaa82b 81901a839e4bcac7e5324. Geisler, Greg. “Taxable Social Security Benefits and High Marginal Tax Rates.” Journal of Financial Service Professionals, September 2017, http://www.umsl.edu/~geislerg/articles/Geisler1_J0917.pdf. ..
Howlett, Elizabeth, Jeremy Kees, and Elyria Kemp. “The Role of Self-Regulation, Future Orientation, and Financial Knowledge in Long-Term Financial Decisions.” The Journal of Consumer Affairs, vol. 42, no. 2, Summer 2008. pp. 223-42. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/23859643?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. Jones, John Bailey and Yue Li. “The Effects of Collecting Income Taxes on Social Security Benefits.” Journal of Public Economics, no. 17-02R, September 2017, pp. 128-145, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21144/wp17-02.. “Misuse of Benefits by a Representative Payee.” Office of the Inspector General, https://oig.ssa.gov/what-abuse-fraud-and-waste/misuse-benefits-representative-payee. Schobel, Bruce D. “The 2017 Social Security Trustees Report.” Journal of Financial Service Professionals, vol. 71, no. 6, November 2017, pp. 42-6. EBSCOhost, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=8e34e7b16a62-49a0-83a6- fcb03d70d0df%40sessionmgr120. “Social Security.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary, https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/social%20security. McClanahan, Shea et. al. “Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Asia and the Pacific, 2016.” Social Security Administration, no. 13-11802, March 2017, pp. 1275,, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2016-2017/asia/ssptw16asia.pdf. “Your Retirement Benefit: How It’s Figured.” Social Security Administration, no. 05-10070, January 2018, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf.
Good Cop, Bad Cop: Police Brutality in America By Mckenzie Fuata As America moves forward into the future, there are some things from the past that have not yet been resolved. As a result, America has become a spiteful and dangerous place to live in. Among the many problems within the U.S. there is police brutality. According to Chaney and Robertson (2013), they state that “police brutality is defined as the use of excessive physical force or verbal assault and psychological intimidation” (p. 482). Police officers are seen as people that the community can run to in times of crisis. They are supposed to be the advocates of justice, yet the heinous actions that certain officers have committed have put them in the same category as criminals. While a majority of police officers are good, there are a few officers that should be taken out of the task force. With this ongoing problem in America, questions that arise are: how is this affecting the people of America, and what should be done about this problem? Police brutality is a major issue in the U.S. that severs the relationship between the police and the public. In order to fix this problem, the police must induce changes into their system to create a safe place for both the public and the police. The question that is most frequently asked is: why is force used in police-civilian encounters? When the police handle situations, there are a variety of force options that are available to the officers. The different levels of force can range from the presence of an officer to lethal force. The most common reason as to why police officers use force is due to subject resistance. Subject resistance is when the person resists complying with the officer verbally, passively, actively, or defensively (Alpert, Dunham, & MacDonald, 2004, p. 477). Depending on how well the person is able to cooperate with, the officer will most likely decide whether the officer will use force or not. Similarly, there was a study done on smaller police departments in 2008. The study concluded that subjects displaying higher levels of resistance required the officers to use more force (Terrill, Leinfelt, & Kwak, 2008, p. 62). When the subject refuses to comply, it gives the officer no other choice but to use more force in order to bring the subject down. Additionally, in the article “Peer group aggressiveness and the use of coercion in police-suspect encounters” written by McCluskey, Terrill, and Paoline (2005), they found that another contributing factor to the use of force by the police is determined by the emotional state of the subject as well as how respectful the subject is to the officer. If the subjects are more emotional, then the officers who are in are in less aggressive peer groups are more likely to use higher levels of force. Similarly, if subjects are disrespectful, officers in more aggressive peer groups are more likely to use higher levels of force (McCluskey et al., 2005). After going through the research, one would come to a conclusion that officers will most likely not use force if the subject is willing to cooperate with the officer. McCluskey et al. (2005) further explain in detail the study done by Terrill et al. (2008) concerning the use of force in police-civilian encounters. Nonetheless, some people feel that the behavior of the subject in the police-civilian encounter does not affect how the police officers treat the individuals. The public has been exposed to the dark side of the law enforcement for quite some time now. The question that comes to mind is: how do the people feel about the police as well as police brutality? The public plays an important role when it comes to police work because they determine how effective the police are able to execute their duties. Without the community’s cooperation, the police officers’ jobs would become more complicated. In the article “Racism and Police Brutality” 96
written by Chaney and Robinson (2013), they conducted a study to see how the people felt about police brutality in America. Most of the comments that they received back had nothing good to say about the police officers, while very few had something good to say about the police and their job. One of the comments given in Chaney and Robertson’s (2017) article was as follows: Police officers are trained to handle the law, not abuse it. “Having a bad day” is not an excuse for brutality. If you are a police officer that “has a bad day” every now and then and senselessly beats citizens and in some cases killing them, you should not be a police officer. (p. 494) It becomes understandable how frustrated these citizens must be because at the end of the day, the police officers are the ones who signed their lives away to protect the citizens and maintain order. It seems ironic that the ones who are supposed to maintain order and protect the citizens are the very ones “senselessly” beating them. Similarly, in the article “Race, Policing, and Lethal Force: Remedying Shooter Bias with Martial Arts Training” written by Lee (2016), some people ironically do not feel safe when the police are around. According to Lee (2016), “multiple sources report that over 1,000 individuals were killed by police in the United States in 2015” (p. 147). It is due to those high numbers that the people feel that it is much safer to not have the police around. Lee’s (2016) article gives a realistic reason as to why the people have negative feelings toward police officers in the comment given in Chaney and Robertson’s (2013) article. With this lack of trust for the police officers, it severs the relationship between the police and their communities. The severed relationship makes it hard on the police as well as the community because in that time frame the crime rate could increase, potentially causing a risk to both parties. It becomes very hard for the police officers to be trusted when the only thing that the public sees on the media is the mass amounts of police brutality cases. The media is a key player when it comes to police brutality because, most times, the stories that are posted are the only ones that could possibly get the most attention. In “The Malleability of Attitudes toward the Police: Immediate Effects of the Viewing of Police Use of Force Videos” by Boivin, Faubert, Gendron, and Poulin (2017), a study was conducted to see how videos of the police’s use of force affected the public’s opinion towards the police. The sample group for the study consisted of 248 undergraduates in criminology from the University De Montreal. The students were either assigned to group A or group B, and they were both given questions concerning the issue on police brutality. However, group A was shown fictional videos of the police using some level of force against a citizen, while group B was not. Group A was then given a questionnaire that asked specific questions pertaining to the videos shown, while group B was given general questions about police brutality. As for the results, students from group A had more negative feelings toward the police than group B. Boivin et al. (2017) were able to prove that the media can play a big role in the public’s opinion on the police. This shows that no matter how hard the police work on creating relationships with the community, it could all be taken away by just one story in the media. Boivin et al. (2017) do a good job at providing yet another reason as to why people have negative feelings toward police officers in the comment given in Chaney and Robertson’s (2013) article. After reading what went on in the study, one could begin to wonder if the news surrounding police brutality is misrepresenting the police. In this imperfect world, police officers are not the only ones who are being misrepresented in the media. Chaney and Robertson (2013) state, “Black males are viewed as the ‘prototypical criminal’ 97
and this notion is buttressed in the media, by the general public, and via disparate sentencing outcomes” (p. 482). While the media has a major influence on society, in reality black males are not the victims. According to the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation (2016), the Uniform Crime Report for 2016 reported that there were almost two times more white males than black males in America that were arrested for some rate of crime. This shows that sometimes what the media has to offer may very well be false. Similarly, one could see how the media plays an important role on the influence of how people feel on not only the police and police brutality, but other races as well. With the increased use of technology in today’s society, it becomes very easy for one to be influenced by what the media has to offer. When it comes to police brutality, people believe that the police target only certain individuals. According to Chaney and Robertson (2013), they state “blacks are more likely to be victims of police brutality” (p. 482). Similarly, Walker (2011) said in her article, “Race, class, and gender privilege, in a discourse that naturalizes oppression, veil the unspoken societal assumptions” (p. 585). Both of these articles argue the fact that these police officers are targeting people because of their race or gender. Within these two articles they also come to a conclusion that there is some sort of institutional racism within the workforce. However, one could also argue that maybe this whole police brutality issue does not have anything to do with the police targeting certain people. Eric Garner was an African American that stood at six feet and four inches tall and weighed about four hundred pounds. As a man with a big stature, Eric Garner was seen as a very intimidating person. He was arrested about thirty times for being accused of selling loose cigarettes. After being confronted by the plain-clothes officers, Garner was soon choked to death by one of the police officers trying to detain him (Hayes, Joosen, Smiley, 2018). In another case of police brutality, a white male by the name of Daniel Shaver became the victim. Officer Philip Brailsford held Shaver at gunpoint while Shaver, scared and drunk, responded to the officer’s commands. While Shaver was ordered to crawl towards officer Brailsford, he moved his hand toward his pants and officer Brailsford shot Shaver five times in the back with an AR-15 (Gagliano, 2017). In the cases of Eric Garner and Daniel Shaver, there were two victims of police brutality; one victim was a black male and the other was a white male. In the end, they both faced a tragic death that could have been prevented. These two cases go to further show that maybe it’s not about the police targeting certain people. One could rather argue the fact that maybe these police officers are not being trained correctly. Given the severity of police brutality in America, one should be curious as to know how police officers are trained and what kind of people are deemed to be a police officer. In the United States, the vast majority of police departments require the officers to be twenty-one by the time they graduate from the police academy (Matrix Group International, 2018, para. 3). This allows young adults who are inexperienced and young to join the force, which may potentially put the public at risk as well as themselves. When it comes to education, 93% of the local police departments in the U.S. require a high school diploma or equivalent, 4% require some college, 3% require a twoyear college degree, and less than 1% mandate a four-year degree (Bruns, 2015, para. 2). Due to the lack of higher education through college, the officers with a high school diploma or GED may cause them to take unnecessary action during a situation. Once the officers meet those requirements, they are then able to go through the police academy where they are taught how to carry out their duties as a police officer. After the officers graduate from the academy they are then deemed to be capable of upholding justice and keeping peace within the community. This low 98
requirement to become a police officer in the U.S. opens up a wide door for anyone and everyone to apply for the position. This may pose as a positive thing because it allows more people to acquire a job; however, having the right people for the job is what the U.S. really needs. The first step towards creating better officers and a better society would have to start with the requirements on becoming a police officer. Education is very important for any job, requiring police officers to acquire at least four years of college prior to applying to the police academy should be mandatory for every local police department. In Roberg and Bonn’s (2004) article “Higher education and policing: Where are we now?”, they state that “officers with a Baccalaureate degree tend to have fewer citizen complaints filed against them, better performance, more aware of social and ethnic problems within the community, and rarely tend to use deadly force in any given situation” (para. 27). In this article Roberg and Bonn (2004) go through different research studies to prove that officers with a higher education perform better in all categories of the job. Similarly, in Bruns’s (2015) article “Assessing the Worth of the College Degree on Selfperceived Police Performance,” he reports “higher educated officers exhibit greater understanding of human behavior, display more emphasis on ethical conduct, less likely to use force as a first response, and have a greater acceptance of minorities” (para. 5). Bruns’s (2015) use of the term “higher educated officers” (para. 5) refers to those officers that receive a four-year degree or more in college. In his article he explains the effects of a college degree on a police officer. Roberg and Bonn’s (2004) article further supports Bruns (2015) article by providing more research study on the topic of police officers and college degrees. As the world progresses into the new age, so should the officers. Having a higher education such as a four-year degree will not only ensure the public’s safety, but in the long run it will benefit the police officer’s lives by helping them to achieve more in life. Police officers in the academy as well as the task force should be taught how to de-escalate the situation rather than resorting to a firearm. During the police academy the officers only have a certain amount of time to learn everything before they hit the streets. The police officers are given fifty-eight hours for training with a firearm and only eight hours for de-escalation training (Rivero, 2015, p. 1). Having substantially more training hours for a firearm is understandable being that a firearm is a dangerous tool to handle. However, the police academy needs to be mindful that having the officers learn about de-escalation scenarios is just as important as firearm training. While on duty, the police officers have other options to resort to rather than using their firearm. According to Bengtson’s (2017) article “Bad cops or bad training? How police officer training impacts use of force incidents,” she reports: Preliminary research has found that the use of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs or commonly known as TASERS) has resulted in less injuries to officers, but when CEDs and another form of force was used the risk of injury to officer increased. Others contend that the use of pepper spray or CEDs decreased the likelihood of injuries to subjects. When CEDs were introduced to departments, subject injury decreased by 3053%. (p. 7) In Bengtson’s (2017) article she argues the fact that rather than using a firearm, the police should use devices such as a taser and pepper spray to de-escalate the situation. Using the CED devices drastically decreases the risk of hurting the subject, or in serious cases killing the subject. Based on Rivero’s (2015) graph illustration, if the police recruits were to have more training in de99
escalation, then they would know that using CED devices will not only solve that problem, but, as referred to in Bengtson’s (2017) article, it would decrease the chances of the officer hurting or killing the subject. Similarly, implementing ongoing martial arts training for all officers could also solve police brutality. According to Lee (2016) Regular training in the martial arts would give officers more confidence in their ability to handle volatile situations without immediately resorting to the gun. Such training would also provide officers with a healthy way to relieve stress. Regular martial arts training would also promote mental and emotional stability. (p. 151) In Lee’s (2016) article she brings up the point that mandating martial arts training will help police officers perform more efficiently in all aspects of the job. Rather than immediately using a gun, the officers will be able to determine how much of a threat the subject poses before they take action. Lee’s (2016) article is supportive of Bengtson’s (2017) article because it provides another viable solution to solving police brutality. Mandating martial arts training in local police departments could have changed Gagliano’s (2017) article pertaining to Daniel Shaver. Lee (2016) points out that “ongoing martial arts training can help improve an officer's intuition by accurately reading a situation and differentiating between unstable people who do not pose a true threat of harm and individuals who do” (p. 169). Had the officer in the case of Daniel Shaver been exposed to ongoing martial arts training within the department, then the likelihood of Shaver being shot would have been slim to none. Changes must be made to the system in order to ensure the safety of the public as well as the safety of the police officers. Choosing police brutality for my research paper was very important to me because after I graduate from college I would like to join the Honolulu Police Department. Knowing what’s going on with the police around the U.S. is something that I keep up with on a daily basis. The certain officers involved in the police brutality cases should be punished for their crimes that they have committed. Police brutality has become a major issue in the U.S. because it severs the relationship between the police and the public. In order to fix this problem, the police must induce changes into their system to create a safe place for both the public and the police. Police brutality in America strikes the question on why the police use force in police-civilian encounters? While the public conveys their negative feelings toward the police, it cannot be helped with the misrepresentation that the police officers receive from the media. Likewise, the media misrepresents male African Americans, which leads the public to believe that the police only target certain people or minority groups. However, some would also argue that police brutality has nothing to do with targeting certain people or minority groups. Rather, this problem stems from what kind of person the law enforcement deems to be a police officer as well as what the officers are taught in the academy. The solutions to police brutality include: requiring the officers to obtain a four year degree, and giving more training on de-escalation scenarios through the use of CED devices, and ongoing martial arts training. Despite the many benefits that come from the solutions given, police brutality in the U.S. is not a problem that could be magically solved with such simple solutions. Police brutality is a serious yet delicate problem within the U.S., and it has negatively affected many lives. Solving this arduous problem is not a sprint, rather more it is a marathon that requires commitment in order to successfully reach the finish line, despite the trials and hardships that lay
in between. It is through perseverance and hard work that change can occur. It may not occur overnight, but over time the finish line will eventually be met. REFERENCES Alpert, G.P., Dunham, R.G. & MacDonald, J.M. (2004). Interactive police-citizen encounters that result in force. Police Quarterly, 7(4). 475-488. doi:10.1177/1098611103260507 Boivin, R., Faubert, C., Gendron, A., & Poulin, B. (2017). The malleability of attitudes toward the police: Immediate effects of the viewing of police use of force videos. Police Practice & Research, 18(4), 366-375. doi:10.1080/15614263.2016.1230063 Bruns, D. L., & Bruns, J. W. (2015). Assessing the worth of the college degree on self-perceived police performance. Journal Of Criminal Justice Education, 26(2), 121-146. doi:10.1080/10511253.2014.930161 Chaney, C., & Robertson, R. (2013). Racism and police brutality in America. Journal of African American Studies, 17(4), 480-505. doi:10.1007/s12111-013-9246-5 Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2016). Uniform crime report. Arrests by race and ethnicity [Data file]. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-theu.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/topic-pages/tables/table-21 Gagliano, J. (2017, December 12). Daniel Shaver's shooting by police officer was an avoidable execution. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/11/opinions/danielshaver-shooting-opinion-gagliano/index.html Hayes, R., Joosen, K., Smiley, C. (2018) Black petes & black crooks? Racial stereotyping and offending in the Netherlands. Contemporary Justice Review 21:1, pages 1632. doi:10.1080/10282580.2018.1415049 Lee, C. G. (2016, Summer). Race, policing, and lethal force: Remedying shooter bias with martial arts training. Law and Contemporary Problems, 79(3), 145+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A460185875/PPCJ?u=hono53192&sid=PPCJ&xid=0 73ec3eb Matrix Group International. (2018). Basic requirements. Discoveringpolice.org. Retrieved from http://www.discoverpolicing.org/what_does_take/?fa=requirements McCluskey, J.D., Terrill, W. & Paoline, E.A. III (2005). Peer group aggressiveness and the use of coercion in police-suspect encounters. Police Practice and Research, 6(1). 19-37. doi:10.1080/15614260500046954 Rivero, D. (2015). [Graph illustration on police recruit training]. Splinter. Retrieved from https://splinternews.com/everything-thats-wrong-with-police-training-in-one-char1793850106
Roberg, R., & Bonn, S. (2004). Higher education and policing: Where are we now?. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 27(4), 469-486. doi:10.1108/13639510410566226 Terrill, W., Leifelt, F.H., & Kwak, D. (2008). Examining police use of force: A smaller agency perspective. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 31(1). 57-76. doi: 10.1108/13639510810852576 Walker, A. (2011, Summer). Racial profiling - separate and unequal keeping the minorities in line - the role of law enforcement in America. St. Thomas Law Review, 23(4), 576+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A271512007/PPCJ?u=hono53192&sid=PPCJ&xid=c 365395e
Sunrise by Soncee Del Rosario
Sexual Assault: A Consequence for the Victim or Perpetrator? By Rianna O’Neill You would never know what it is like to lose a part of yourself, until you’re standing in the hospital getting examined by nurses due to the abrasions and fingernail marks up and down your body, where you’re left wondering: how can this happen to me? What did I do wrong? How can I pretend that I am okay? Based upon the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN, 2012 statistics show that “on average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States” (“Victims of Sexual Violence”). Throughout this essay, sources that will be addressed to solidify the argument are academic journals about sexual assault victims, in corroboration with magazines for the use of present day anecdotes from survivors of sexual assault attacks. Sources providing sexual assault attacks would not exist today if they were not disclosed; therefore, disclosing information on sexual assault is beneficial to the victim and should not be an event kept secret, as disclosure can support the victim’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as allow them to receive closure through the legal system. Becoming a victim of sexual assault has a long lasting effect on one’s mental health and personal self-image if not discussed and treated accordingly. As published in The Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, an article titled “The Effect of Severe Child Sexual Abuse and Disclosure on Mental Health during Adulthood” notes the correlation of sexual abuse to mental health, in order to emphasize the relevance of disclosure. The article cites information indicating that trauma that occurred as result of sexual assault was found as a good indicator of mental health problems in several studies (O’Leary et al. 276). The different characteristics of sexual assault can cause a victim’s lifestyle to completely change as result of the various mental health problems that can potentially arise. For a victim who has endured a traumatic event like sexual assault, where they received injuries from penetration or physical violence, it’s easy to see how their mentality would change as well as how they perceive themselves after the attack. Victoria L. Banyard, a professor in the Department of Psychology at University of New Hampshire, along with other professors within the U.S., wrote about how sexual abuse can lead to mental health symptoms. In their article “The Long-Term Mental Health Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse: An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Multiple Traumas in a Sample of Women,” they state that “complex posttraumatic stress disorder, which includes problems [that] affect arousal, dissociation, somatization, changes in perceptions of self and others and belief systems, can become part of the individual’s personality structure” after such traumatic events and can continue to be a growing problem if not disclosed and treated accordingly (Banyard et al. 698). After being sexually assaulted, victims who disclose their attack have an advantage over those who keep it to themselves because they can receive help from professionals who can help guide them to integrate themselves back into the lifestyle of the people around them. Therefore, by doing so, it reveals how the victims are going back to the normal aspects of their life and their associated feelings of security. In regards to sexual abuse, victims might feel they lose a lot of themselves, emphasizing the idea that counseling is beneficial because one can be taught healthy ways to improve their mental stability. The article “Counseling Sexual Assault Victims: A Loss Model” relates to this concept by revealing how important it is for a victim to remember who they truly are in order to gain back their sense of identity. The author Sheila K. Whiston, a health-professions counselor in the College of Health Related Professions at Wichita State University, declares “to rebuild self-identity, 104
individuals have only one initial frame of reference, and that is to rebuild as they were previously. Therefore, the initial response for many victims is to reestablish their previous level of functioning, activities, and attitudes as quickly as possible” (Whiston 365). Victims who struggle with a traumatic event such as sexual assault tend to keep the attack bottled up, which causes them to struggle with returning to their everyday activities. Hence, it’s important for victims to know that in order to move on from this event and to return back to their “reality” they must be willing to go back to their normal activities even if it’s out of their newly altered comfort zone, so as to avoid continue to lose their self-identity as time goes on. To help out with making sure a sexual assault victim doesn’t lose who they are as an individual, the National Institute of Justice reveals what can be accomplished through psychological therapy, in which they state, “the goals of psychological therapy for victims of sexual assault include (1) preventing and reducing PTSD/trauma symptoms, anxiety, depression, and other psychopathologies; and (2) improving social adjustment and selfesteem”; in other words, “individual cognitive behavioral approaches, such as cognitivebehavioral therapy or insight/experiential therapy,” thus showing the victims how they can benefit from disclosing their abuse to a professional in the trauma field because it makes for an easier transition back to their regular life (“Psychotherapies for Victims”). Through counseling, those who have been affected by a perpetrator of sexual assault may minimize their chances of having conditions such as PTSD or anxiety throughout their life because they are able to challenge and consequently modify negative thoughts about themselves and the world in order to enhance their happiness. Sexual assault traumas are never forgotten, but the marks left behind can be healed with the help of health respondents. Author Sherri Kwence一former sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) for the Sexual Assault Response Team of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania一publicized information about what procedures are followed when examining a victim who has experienced sexual assault. Within her article “Encountering the Victim of Sexual Assault,” Kwence reveals: responding hospitals [provide] to presenting victims of sexual assault all of the following elements of comprehensive medical care management: acute medical care, history and physical examination, acute and long-term rape crisis counseling, prophylactic and therapeutic management for HIV or other sexually transmitted infection (STI), and provision of emergency contraception, with appropriate counseling. (Kwence 16) Provision of services like these to victims of sexual assault has a positive consequence because it allows for necessary medical procedures and examinations to be given so they are aware of any possible injuries or illnesses. Most injuries found on a victim’s body are done through examinations by SANE, which commonly include abrasions, fingernail marks, contusions and lacerations (Kwence 19). Therefore, allowing an expert in the field of sexual assault to examine one’s body helps the victim in the long run due to the outcome of receiving treatment that can help heal any physical injury. With identifying these types of abuse, a victim is able to alleviate pain and stress through acknowledgement and proper treatment of any injury. Other than physical external examinations, seeking further medical attention can uncover any potential contractions of sexually transmitted diseases obtained through the perpetrator. Some victims may not even know the medical risks of untreated sexual transmitted diseases and infections; for this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) talks about what 105
types of diseases and infections may be passed on to a victim from their perpetrator and what preventative steps can be taken to ensure the victim’s health. Based on the information received in the section “Sexual Assault and Abuse and STDs” by the CDC, “trichomoniasis, BV, gonorrhea, and chlamydial infection are the most frequently diagnosed infections among women who have been sexually assaulted,” showing through the severity of the diseases that it’s imperative to seek medical attention after such an event (“Sexual Assault”). By opening up about the assault they have endured and submitting themselves to the medical field, the victims are able to receive proper treatment, rather than letting the injuries and illnesses impair how they live their life. The CDC also states that different “circumstances of an assault (e.g., bleeding, which often accompanies trauma) might increase risk for HIV transmission in cases involving vaginal, anal, or oral penetration” (“Sexual Assault”). Not knowing one has acquired HIV through any of the types of penetration without protection can become a major dilemma for the victim’s health because it can lead to AIDS which is an autoimmune disease that is famously fatal, when not addressed. This emphasizes the idea that disclosing sexual assault is beneficial to the victim, because awareness of the illnesses that can cause them chronic pain or potentially kill them can be life-saving. As society changes, the views about coming forward and receiving justice through the legal system evolve as well, making it a viable option for victims to seek retribution. In regard to the sectional “Reporting a Sexual Assault” from Western Michigan University, those who come forward and talk about their sexual assault reap the benefits of “protection, including physical safety, emotional security, and/or academic and workplace accommodations” (“Reporting a Sexual Assault”). These advantages indicate how a victim can grow through the process of revealing their sexual assault within the legal system because then they know that their safety is ensured. A victim of sexual assault doesn’t need to press charges against their perpetrator in order to achieve justice. As long as they feel protected and emotionally stable within the workplace or an educational institution, then they have received the greatest gift of justice. Being paranoid every second of the day and always looking over one’s shoulder takes a toll on a victim; therefore, it’s important to see how disclosing in this manner can be helpful to the victim’s quality of life. An example of a victim receiving justice after opening up about their sexual assault can be read within the Times Magazine article “Aly Raisman opens up about Sexual Abuse by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar,” by senior writer Alice Park. Through this article, Raisman explains the sexual abuse she has endured by the hands of Nassar as well as her views what should be done to end this “epidemic.” USA Gymnasts like Aly Raisman would go to Dr. Nassar for treatments to lessen the pain of injuries; however: Those treatments, it turns out, weren’t necessarily treatments at all. According to Raisman and other gymnasts who have described the procedures, Nassar’s so-called therapy seemed to consist primarily of invasive massage, touching the girls around their pelvic areas and vagina… He rarely used gloves when working with the girls, and would touch them with his bare hands, including penetrating their vagina with his fingers. (Park) Raisman was abused for years because no one stood up to Nassar’s respected reputation, until she realized he had used his “treatments” as a cover up. So, by standing up against the gymnastic program in the USA and voicing her opinion in the courtroom, Raisman was able to receive justice by looking her perpetrator in the eyes and telling him how she felt, making a change in the USA policies for the gymnastics team. During the whole ordeal of Nassar’s case, Raisman was given 106
the opportunity to read her victim statement in court which is seen in full text in the New York Times, where she emphasizes: I am here to face you Larry, so you can see I have regained my strength — that I am no longer a victim, I am a survivor. I am no longer that little girl you met in Australia where you first began grooming and manipulating. She went on to offer advice to the USA gymnastics program: We need to go on, we need to demand real change, and we need to be willing to fight for it. It’s clear now that if we leave it up to these organizations, history is likely to repeat itself. (Raisman) With these words, Aly Raisman, a victim of sexual abuse, reveals her strength as an individual who has come forward to open up about the abuse as well as aide the prosecution of her assailant. Besides showing the strength she has gained from fighting back against the abuse Nassar perpetrated, Raisman’s words show her as an advocate for change within society where she demands for those who enabled this abuse一namely, USA gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee一to enhance their policies so athletes can no longer be taken advantage of. Given these examples, it’s evident to see how there are different types of benefits a victim can receive from coming forward to the public about their assault: where one can feel security within their everyday actions knowing their perpetrator cannot physically reach them due to rules set in place by the law, workplace, and institution, receive closure by expressing their emotions by speaking to who assaulted them, and seek change from organizations that lack protocols to protect individuals. In the past, individuals who spoke out about their sexual assault carried around a negative stigma within society where those around them put the blame on the individuals who were hurt from the attack. This is portrayed through the actions of the prosecutor towards Emily Doe一the victim一 during the Stanford attack trial, as quoted in the Washington Post article “‘You took away my worth’: A sexual assault victim’s powerful message to her Stanford attacker.” Doe talks with the general assignment reporter, Lindsey Bever, where she states that during the trial she was asked questions such as: “How much did you drink? What were you wearing? Why were you going to this party? Did you drink in college? You said you were a party animal? How many times did you blackout? Did you party at frats?” She argued that the defense attorney was trying “to attack me, to say see, her facts don’t line up, she’s out of her mind, she’s practically an alcoholic, she probably wanted to hook up, he’s like an athlete right, they were both drunk” (Bever). The defense attorney wasn’t asking her about the Stanford attacker’s behavior; he was asking about her actions and the way she dresses, illustrating victim blaming. Many chose to ignore the actions of the perpetrator insinuating that a victim such as Doe was asking for it due to the way she dressed or how she was acting at the party because she was drinking more than usual. Therefore, victims of sexual assault tend to keep the trauma to themselves because they don’t want be attacked by people who turned the story around to make it seem to the victim that they had “asked for it.” In the article “False Allegations of Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported Cases,” written by David Lisak, an American clinical psychologist, and other researchers from Universities throughout the nation, it addresses that “for centuries, it has been asserted and assumed that women 107
“cry rape,” and that a large proportion of rape allegations are maliciously concocted for purposes of revenge or other motives” (Lisak et al. 1318). However, this stigma of victim blaming is moving further and further away from the public view, as ulterior motives are not commonly suspected anymore. This evidence can be seen from the FBI’s 1997 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) where it indicates “a frequently cited statistic for false rape reports is the 8% figure reported,” meaning that 92% of cases reported are deemed genuine cases of sexual assault or rape (Lisak et al. 1322). Therefore, a victim should not feel terrified to speak out against their assailant because newer modern evidence corroborates the allegations of the victim and allows for their statements to be taken more seriously in comparison to previous years. With believing the victim and their story, society’s views on blaming the victim for their actions is shown to be trending towards being viewed as outdated and ill-founded. With the statistic taken from the UCR, it is emphasized how a victim of sexual assault should come out because there is empirical data revealing how there’s a higher rate in which officers and the community will side with and support the victim instead of disregarding their report and thinking it was consensual. All in all, a victim of sexual assault can receive benefits by disclosing their attack to their resources 一be it family, friends, police, counselor, etc.一in many different ways, such as mentally, physically, along with achieving rectification through the legal system. By reaching out to one’s support system, victims are able to fight back negative thoughts and actions like self-harm and PTSD in order to protect their mental health, in addition to receiving examinations from health respondents in order to check their physical health after an assault. Furthermore, the change in societal norms and views is beneficial to assault victims because they are given the ability to find closure by speaking about the event to those closest to them, as well as in the justice system. The main sources used to emphasize these points were academic journals about sexual assault victims as well as magazines in order to bring into account present day stories from sexual assault survivors. Through all the evidence being used, the key sources were Sherri Kwence’s academic journal about how to examine a victim of sexual assault, as well as Aly Raisman’s victim statement where she demands for change along with showing other survivors they should not let one moment define who they are forever. When addressing the statistic of someone being sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, it demonstrates to the U.S. that there needs to be stricter protocols and consequences set in place to ensure the safety of individuals around the country. In order to acknowledge a need for change within the country, it’s imperative that universities teach the next generation about how their choices affect not only themselves but also those acted upon and implore these students to speak out against such harsh actions and events. WORKS CITED Banyard, Victoria L., et al. "The Long-Term Mental Health Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse: An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Multiple Traumas in a Sample of Women." Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 14, no. 4, Oct. 2001, pp. 697-715. hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h &AN=11308722&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Bever, Lindsey. "‘You Took Away My Worth’: A Sexual Assault Victim’s Powerful Message to Her Stanford Attacker." The Washington Post, 4 June 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/06/04/you-took-away-my-worth-arape-victim-delivers-powerful-message-to-a-former-stanfordswimmer/?utm_term=.038e43e22d5f. Kwence, Sherri. "Encountering the Victim of Sexual Assault." Clinician Reviews, vol. 22, no. 12, Dec. 2012, pp. 16-20. EBSCO Academic Search Premier, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h &AN=84395828&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Lisak, David, et al. "False Allegations of Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported Cases." Violence against Women, vol. 16, no. 12, Dec. 2010, pp. 1318-34. EBSCO Academic Search Premier, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h &AN=56473455&site=ehost-live&scope=site. O'Leary, Patrick, et al. "The Effect of Severe Child Sexual Abuse and Disclosure on Mental Health during Adulthood." Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, vol. 19, no. 3, May 2010, pp. 275-89. EBSCO Academic Search Premier, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h &AN=51095980&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Park, Alice. "Aly Raisman Opens up about Sexual Abuse by USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar." TIME, 13 Nov. 2017. TIME, time.com/5020885/aly-raisman-sexual-abuse-usagymnastics-doctor-larry-nassar/. "Psychotherapies for Victims of Sexual Assault." Crime Solutions, National Institute of Justice, 2013, www.crimesolutions.gov/PracticeDetails.aspx?ID=18. Raisman, Aly. "Full Text of Aly Raisman’s Statement." The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/sports/full-text-of-aly-raismans-statement.html. "Reporting a Sexual Assault." Western Michigan University, wmich.edu/healthcenter/healthpromotion/prevention/reporting. "Sexual Assault and Abuse and STDs." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2015, www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/sexualassault.htm. "Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics." RAINN, 2012, www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexualviolence.
Whiston, Sheila K. "Counseling Sexual Assault Victims: A Loss Model." Personal and Guidance Journal, vol. 59, no. 6, Feb. 1981, p. 363. EBSCO Academic Search Premier, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h &AN=6475605&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Crime Rate in Relation to Marijuana Legalization By Alia Masonsmith When on the topic of marijuana legalization, it is often thought that it will only benefit those who use the substance. This is why the issue seems fairly shallow at the surface, as partakers of the substance often have negative stereotype for being “stoners” or “hippies” that are unproductive and unintelligent. However, this is an issue that runs deeply and has the ability to affect the everyday lives of our entire population in unexpected ways. Some may think that legalizing a drug within a community will have major negative impacts, particularly related to crime - but studies have proven that the opposite is true. Despite negative stereotypes, recent studies have proven beneficial outcomes, such as reduced crime rate in places where marijuana has been legalized. This is due to the consequent infertile ground for organized crime, and how it is being used as a substitution for other drugs that are known to incite violence. Many will remain skeptical of this information, as there are many concerns to be taken into consideration when discussing the legalization of cannabis. However, marijuana legalization has already had a great impact upon crime rates within states that have legalized the drug and has the possibility to positively benefit other states. It would be remiss not to take this information into consideration when discussing what we as a society can do to better our communities and livelihoods. The DEA classifies marijuana as a schedule one drug, described as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” (“Drug Scheduling”). This is one of the main reasons why some are suspicious of the drug and lean towards prohibition. It is reasonable to think this way because the federal government recognizes this classification; however, the historical context of the criminalization of marijuana should be taken into serious consideration when developing opinions on legality. An article showing the ancient uses of cannabis cites that the first documentation of using cannabis as medicine goes all the way back to the second century B.C.E. They say that “the use of cannabis for the treatment of human disease appear in Chinese pharmacopoeias” (Friedman and Sirven). Additionally, the use of marijuana as medicine continued into the nineteenth century as “physicians in Europe and North America explored and wrote about extracts and tinctures of cannabis for treatment of various maladies” (Friedman and Sirven). This shows that the use of medicinal cannabis was widespread, and it wasn’t questioned in the United States until the 1930s. This stemmed from the influx of Mexican immigrants after the Mexican Revolution and how they were viewed in American society. A study done on the history of cannabis in the United States cites that “the media began to play on the fears that the public had about these new citizens by falsely spreading claims about the ‘disruptive Mexicans’ with their dangerous native behaviors including marihuana use” (Burnett and Reiman). Since United States citizens only knew the drug as “cannabis,” many did not know that they had developed stigma of “a plant they already had in their medicine cabinets” (Burnett and Reiman). It was due to this demonization of both Mexicans and the substance that led to the “Marijuana Tax Act of 1937,” where it became illegal to use and sell cannabis. While the aim of this essay is not to showcase the history of cannabis, it is important to understand why it is illegal in the first place when discussing future legality. Racist ideals played more of a role in marijuana prohibition than scientific evidence - this is a fact that remains largely ignored in modern debates of legalization. A major concern that comes with legalization is the increase in availability of marijuana, particularly within those who are underage. Many will argue that legalization of marijuana will increase availability of the substance to children, who have higher risks of negative side effects 111
than those with more developed brains. This is justifiably a grave concern as the accidental consumption of cannabis has the possibility to harm children and cause accidental trips to the emergency room. This concern is made clear by those who run “stoppot.org,” an organization that strives to push back on marijuana legalization laws. They claim that the way edibles are packaged makes them more appealing to children, and therefore encourages consumption. This organization argues that the “deceptive packaging for marijuana makes pot candies enticing to youngsters;” citing that “many edibles look like children’s favorites, such Pop Tarts, Cap’n Crunch, cotton candy, Pixie Sticks and Gummy Bears” (“Marijuana edibles trick children”). It is reported that “exposure visits related to marijuana in Colorado increased from 0 before legalization to 14 of 588 (2.4%) children after October 2009” and that they were mostly due to the ingestion of edibles (Gourdet, et al. 2). Even though this is concededly a valid issue, there are regulations being put forward to counteract this. In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington various laws have been put in place regarding the packaging of edibles. All four states have implemented requirements of child-resistant packaging, as well as warning symbols citing the intoxicating effects. While there are few studies regarding the effects of these laws, it is hopeful that these regulations will help reduce the hospitalizations of those who have accidentally consumed cannabis. Another concern that comes from underage consumption is the purposeful illegal consumption of marijuana amongst teens. Similarly to alcohol, the marijuana age within legalized states is 21. One could feasibly argue that it would be as simple as finding a 21-year-old to go to a dispensary for them if they wanted to get high, just like how all they would need to do is have a 21-year-old buy alcohol for them if they wanted to get drunk. Due to this, it is entirely possible that a spike in illegal underage usage would occur. However, when looking at the statistics of marijuana usage among teens before and after marijuana legalization, the results show little to no difference after legalization. In a study about the association of recreational marijuana laws with adolescent marijuana use throughout Washington and Colorado, it was found that there was only a slight increase in the rate of teenage usage of marijuana within Washington after legalization, but the rate in Colorado remained essentially the same. In Washington, “marijuana use among eighth and 10th graders increased by 2.0% and 4.1%, respectively” (Cerda, Magdalena, et al. 4). While this increase is important to acknowledge, the percentage of increase is not that great. Additionally, the researchers of this study cite that the spike in usage could have been due to other factors than legalization. They concede that “each school participates in the MTF for only 2 consecutive years, suggesting that changes in marijuana use might be partly because of school variation over the years” (Cerda, Magdalena, et al. 6). School variation could feasibly lead to warped results, which is important to take note of. This is because the value of increase is so low, and even a slight adjustment to the data could render the conclusion completely different. Many will argue that the crime drop will be due to the reduction in marijuana possession and usage charges, which is a completely rational thought. In fact, a particular study done by the University of Bologna looking at the crime rate in Washington and Oregon as marijuana is legalized acknowledges this notion. The researchers of this study cite that “legalization of recreational marijuana may induce a reallocation of police efforts away from cannabis pushers and consumers and towards other types of offenses” (Dragone et al. 11). However, the same article provides overwhelming evidence that other crime is also being reduced as legalization occurs. As marijuana became legal in Washington, “rapes dropped [...] by, approximately, between 15% and 30%, and property crimes fell by between 10% and 20%, an effect entirely driven by reduced thefts, which decreased by between 13% and 22%” (Dragone et al. 11). While it is important to take these 112
statistics with a grain of salt as they could only study these trends over a few years, they still have major significance. This is because these drops in crime fell lower than expected on a national level (Dragone et al. 7), implying that marijuana legalization specifically led to a reduced crime rate. This same study also showed that while the legalization of marijuana led to an increase of marijuana consumption by “2.5 percentage points” (Dragone et al. 2), usage of other drugs fell by “0.5 percentage points” (Dragone et al. 2), and both ordinary and binge alcohol rates fell by “2 points” (Dragone et al. 2). This is significant because it suggests that a substitution favoring cannabis over other substances is occurring among the population. The researchers of this study say that this will positively impact the rate of crime because, “alcohol and other drugs [...] make consumers more aggressive than if consuming cannabis” (Dragone et al. 2). This is supported by the tendencies of violence that arise with usage of alcohol in particular. It is reported that “about 27 percent of aggravated assaults are committed by individuals who have used alcohol” and “about 40 percent of convicted murderers had used alcohol before or during the crime” (“Alcohol Related Crimes - Statistics and Facts”). Meanwhile, marijuana is known for its sedative and calming effects among users. While both alcohol and marijuana are inhibitory substances, it is evident that they have very different effects on the brain, particularly in terms of aggravation. With more of a population using a relaxing drug as opposed to a violence-inducing one, it is feasible that crime rate could reduce like it has in Washington. What can be taken from this evidence is the notion that, if marijuana legalization leads to a drop in crime rate in one city, it can reduce crime rate in another. This hypothesis is supported by the crime reduction in Denver, Colorado where marijuana was legalized recreationally at the same time as Washington. It is said that “Denver experienced a 2.2 percent decrease in violent crime rates and an 8.9 percent reduction in property crime offenses” (Heuberger). This shows that the crime reduction in Washington was not isolated, and that it can occur in other places. Researchers of this same study also predict that the legal market of marijuana would “reduce the role of criminals in producing and selling drugs”; similarly to how “gangsters were largely driven out of the alcohol market after the end of prohibition” (Dragone et al. 1). They concede that this argument is incomplete as they are unsure of what ex-dealers do after legalization, however there is still an argument to be made. With the legalization of marijuana there is less of a market for illegal sales, thus reducing clients of illegal markets. It is quite likely that this would lead to a reduction of involvement of small criminals, which consequently “reduces [...] the risk of being victimized while buying or consuming (marijuana)” (Dragone et al. 11). This is because legalization “offers more safety and more reliable product quality via legitimate business” (Dragone et al. 11). With the regulations and laws surrounding businesses, it would make sense that risk would be a lot lower and would make the legal market more desirable to consumers than the illegal market. This theory is supported by evidence collected by Heyu Xiong from Northwestern University. He studied the displacement in the criminal labor market in relation to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. He found that “legalization lowered the profit margins and returns for participants in the illicit marijuana market” (Xiong 4). Essentially, it became more cost-efficient to go to a dispensary rather than an illegal dealer. This, in combination with the better guarantee of a higher quality product and lower risk of a dispensary, plays a major role in reducing criminal activity surrounding illegal marijuana consumption.
Even though there is a mass of information showing that the opposite is true, there will always be at least a small group of people that believe legalizing marijuana will increase crime within our communities. This is because of the negative way marijuana has been represented in our everyday lives throughout many decades. T.V. shows portray those who partake in cannabis as “low-lifes” who have no plans for their future, health classes talk about how the drug could destroy someone’s life, and we have all heard that it is a “gateway drug” at least once in our lives. Because of this, those in opposition on legalization are justified in their reasoning. After being taught one thing for so long, the message becomes ingrained in one’s brain, and it is unlikely that the individual will change their minds. However, I truly believe that we as a society need to think about a few things when discussing the benefits and consequences of legalizing marijuana. As previously cited, cannabis was criminalized because of racist stereotypes. If we want to stray from racism, why do we have laws enacted to this day on its behalf? We also need to reflect deeply upon the evidence that supports a reduction in crime rate among places where marijuana has been legalized despite the fact that we have been conditioned to think the opposite is true. It has been shown that rapes, murders, and other violent crimes have been reduced because of the legalization of cannabis. This is likely because of the sedating effects of cannabis, the substitution of the drug over violenceinducing alcohol, as well as a consequent infertile habitat for organized crime. All of this has shown that the benefits of marijuana legalization outweigh the negatives in terms of reducing crime. While there are admittedly some risks, I would personally rather live in a community of “stoners” than aggressive criminals, and the legalization of marijuana makes this possible. WORKS CITED “Alcohol Related Crimes - Statistics and Facts.” Alcohol Rehab Guide, 16 Aug. 2018 ,www.alcoholrehabguide.org/alcohol/crimes/. Burnett, Malik, and Amanda Reiman. “How Did Marijuana Become Illegal in the First Place?” Drug Policy Alliance, 8 Oct. 2014, www.drugpolicy.org/blog/how-did-marijuanabecome-illegal-first-place. Cerdá, Magdalena, et al. “State Recreational Marijuana Laws and Adolescent Marijuana Use.” JAMA, American Medical Association, 1 Feb. 2017, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2593707 “Drug Scheduling.” DEA, www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling D. Dragone, et al. “Crime and the legalization of recreational marijuana.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (2018). Friedman, Daniel, and Sirven, Joseph. “Historical Perspective on the Medical Use of Cannabis for Epilepsy: Ancient Times to the 1980s.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 12 Jan. 2017, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525505016306667 Gourdet, Camille, et al. “How Four U.S. States Are Regulating Recreational Marijuana Edibles.” Computers & Education, Pergamon, 23 Mar. 2017, reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0955395917300361?token=A341541987F0495168E4 CF0968310BC38B9123B5711FA72A8539F9298D7E54F54A111554A802F9101FC05A 5E740A31DA. 114
Heuberger, Brian. “Despite Claims, Data Show Legalized Marijuana Has Not Increased Crime Rates.” Colorado Politics, 28 Feb. 2018, coloradopolitics.com/despite-claims-data-showlegalized-marijuana-not-increased-crime-rates/. “Marijuana Edibles Trick Children.” Stop Pot, 21 Aug. 2015, www.stoppot.org/2015/01/18/marijuana-edibles-are-danger-to-children/. Pedersen, Willy, et al. “Alcohol and Violence in Nightlife and Party Settings: A Qualitative Study.” Drug & Alcohol Review, vol. 35, no. 5, Sept. 2016, pp. 557–563. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/dar.12395. Xiong, Heyu. Displacement in the Criminal Labor Market: Evidence from Drug Legalizations. Northwestern University, 7 Nov. 2018, cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.northwestern.edu/dist/9/2679/files/2018/09/paper_v8-2i4s pn2.pdf.
Is Stressed Out the Way It’s Supposed to Be? By Ivy Ammerman Finals week: consisting of all-nighters, mental breakdowns, and cramming both learned and unlearned knowledge into one’s brain as much as possible. Many think of these weeks as the most stressful weeks of a college student’s life; however, these levels of stress seem to only be slightly more heightened than their normal, day-to-day stress levels. According to the “Stress In America: Generation Z” report by the American Psychological Association, stress levels in young adults, ages 18-33, are the highest compared to any other generation and are at an overall all-time high in the recent years; specifically, millennials and Generation Z reported an overall average of 5.7 and 5.3 out of a 1 to 10 scale, 1 being little to no stress and 10 equating to a great deal of stress (7). The amount of stress put on college students today by professors, family members, and social standards has skyrocketed, and college students are having to not only deal with the higher standards of learning and studying outside of the classroom, but standards of learning to live on their own as well. College students these days all recognize the extreme amounts of pressure put on them, and find this to be a difficult way to live. However, society believes that stress in college is the way it is supposed to be; in other words - the societal norm. Student loans and debt seem to be inevitable in this day and age, and some even see the stress college students experience as help to better prepare them for the real world. There are also adults who have gone through their college years and believe the amounts of stress students today go through are the “typical college experience.” These are potential reasons as to why the levels of stress that college students feel are often overlooked and not taken as seriously as they need to be. The cost of living and the costs of tuition have greatly increased in the past decade, creating higher levels of financial stress on college students. Although the minimum wage has been raising over the past few years, students are still struggling financially to keep up with tuition payments, as well as living expenses. Yet, one counter argument that can be made is that there are still cheaper options for students and their college selections to lower the financial burden on them. Technological advances have made it easier for people to connect all over the world, but missing verbal and physical interactions help improve students’ happiness and are a crucial part of the enjoyment of one’s college years. With the advanced technology that has been built today, another counter argument can be made that homesickness can be lessened by keeping in contact with family members and friends through the use of text messaging, phone calls, social networking, and even FaceTime. Nevertheless, are these arguments able to counteract the increasing levels of stress? If the stress in college students is steadily increasing, how does one combat it and are there ways to lessen the stress on college students as a whole, or is it the individual’s responsibility to effectively deal with the stress they feel? Both are much deeper questions to be branched off of the main focus questions: what exactly is causing this stress in college students, and what are the best ways to cope and overcome it? Even though stress is something everyone deals with at one point in their life, the constant and overwhelming stress that college students are facing in this day and age is something that needs to be seriously looked into and solutions need to be provided and executed. Although society perceives college as an environment that is supposed to be stressful, I think there are many components of a college student’s life that are much more stressful than they need to be. The overall stress college students experience needs to be recognized and reduced by lowering costs of 116
tuition, providing more emotional support, and working with professors and adults to put more effort into teaching ways to manage workloads and stress put on college students. Stress is a normal part of every human being’s life. However, college students and young adults seem to have it the worst. College itself is a constant battle for students, between doing daily homework assignments and studying for exams, all while trying to balance their social lives. Not only are college students having to worry about the schoolwork aspect of college, but many college students work part-time or even full-time jobs, live on their own, and are having to balance their relationships - whether it be familial, intimate, roommates, or friendships. In “Stress, Sex Differences, and Coping Strategies Among College Students” by Professor Ruby R. Brougham, who works in the Department of Psychology at Chapman University, she states, “past studies [have] reported that 75% to 80% of college students are moderately stressed, and 10% to 12% are severely stressed” (85); that leaves only a slim number of college students who feel less than moderately stressed. Some of the major stressors found in college students include living away from home, academic anxiety, finances, relationships, and future plans (“College Stress”). Firstyear college students tend to feel the most stress when it comes to living away from home, and with their lack of strong relationships in the first few months of college, loneliness and unhappiness seem to be a recurring result. Although living away from home seems to affect first year students the most, academic anxiety affects every college student. The transition from high school to college is a significant jump due to the increased difficulty in courses, higher credit requirements, immense amounts of outside homework, larger class sizes, and a lack of intimacy with professors in some situations. Gradually, students have to learn to adapt to these changes that are experienced throughout their undergraduate years. Furthermore, as students go through each year more adaptability is required because of the increase in difficulty in courses due to finishing prerequisite courses and moving forward into major-specific courses. On top of the increase in difficulty of school itself, the social aspects of college, meaning their close relationships as well as longdistance relationships, can add great amounts of stress onto the already strained college student. College is a community of its own, bringing in lots of new relationships and experiences to all who attend. Many college students live in the dormitory their first year or so, and with that comes the transition to rooming with other roommates, which in some cases can be a demanding change. In “College Living Environments and Stress: Commuters Versus On-Campus Residency” by Alicia Horvath, a former undergraduate student at Indiana University, Horvath mentions, “Many [oncampus] students are forced to live their lives around complete strangers [in the dormitory,] and are forced to adjust their own lifestyles to others they are not used to” (82). On top of adjusting to life with new roommates, there is also the possibility of unpleasant roommates which can add even more additional stress to students. In many cases, college students go to schools away from their hometown, whether it be anywhere from ten miles away to thousands of miles away, and because of this separation, long-distance relationships become a normal part of college students’ lives. Long-distance familial relationships can cause anxiety and stress in students, and creates a greater chance of homesickness. Many students who go away to college feel as though they are missing out on many aspects of day-to-day life of their family members. Along with the stress that can come from familial relationships, college is a time when many young adults are open to and can experience many forms of intimate relationships, including one-night stands, long-term, and even some long-distance relationships with people in different cities or states. Because of the potential for students to be looking for relationships or being in relationships, the stress of making time for 117
each other, on top of many other priorities in a college student’s life, can be yet another stressor. In spite of the potential stress these many different relationships can cause, social interactions and support from meaningful friendships, caring family members, and loving partners all help raise the quality and enjoyment of a college student’s life. In contrast to both the stressful, but beneficial, aspects of social relationships in college, the financial burden of college itself on students does not have any benefits. One of the leading causes of stress in the world is money. In a survey completed in 2017 by the American Psychological Association called “Stress In America: The State of Our Nation,” it was found that 62% of Americans are stressed because of things concerning money (1). Furthermore, college students’ stress with finances are even more intense due to the overwhelming demands of academic achievements and adjusting to adulthood. In the online article “College Stress: Why It’s a Problem & What You Can Do About It,” “43% of full-time undergraduates had jobs in 2015, and almost 27% of those students worked more than 20 hours a week.” Work is in high demand for college students; in order to live off campus, afford groceries, pay monthly dues, and spend money on household and personal necessities, a job is almost necessary in college. Not only do students have to worry about providing the basic needs to survive, but college tuition is at an all-time high and student loan debt seems to be inevitable. “As of 2016, American undergraduates are paying 28% more for college on average …. [and] in 2015, around 68% of seniors at public and nonprofit colleges graduated with student loans” (“7 Facts You Didn’t Know”). Not only are student loans and debt inevitable, but “52% of students contributed their own income/savings to help pay for their college education” (“College Stress”). Students are not only putting their hard-earned money towards living and surviving, but many are paying for their college tuition on their own as well. However, some can argue that there are many other college options that can substantially reduce their financial burdens of the cost of college by going to community colleges, staying in-state, and even just simply not going to college; by choosing to go to a college that is more expensive, college students can be seen as implicating financial stress on themselves. With all of the stress college students’ experience, many are having to find ways to cope, though not all of them are favorable. Students in college tend to turn to drugs and alcohol for relief of their overwhelming course load requirements, anxiety, and stress, and the peer pressure of others around them. As mentioned by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., the President and Chairman of CASAColumbia, the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “Half of all fulltime college students (3.8 million) binge drink, abuse prescription drugs and/or abuse illegal drugs. Almost 1 in 4 of the nation’s college students (22.9%, some 1.8 million) meet the medical criteria for substance abuse or dependence.” One of the most common drugs college students are using today is the drug Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine, commonly known as Adderall. In the article, “More College Students Are Using Adderall to Stay Up and Study” by the Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the John Hopkins University Center for Communication, Stephanie Desmon-Jhu mentioned, “[Adderall is] used as a study-aid medication to help students stay up all night and cram.” This drug is used to improve one’s focus, but it can cause serious side effects such as sleep disruption, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, bipolar disorder, and increased aggression (Desmon-Jhu). Not only has Adderall use become more popular, binge drinking and use of marijuana have become largely accepted on the college scene. By resorting to these kinds of coping mechanisms, students are put at an even higher risk for substance dependence, depression, and unhealthy habits. In order to help lower the amount of substance abuse in college 118
students, stress levels of students need to be recognized as extreme and dealt with in healthier and favorable ways. Many mechanisms of coping with stress in college are very self-based, meaning the student hisor-herself has to find the best ways to cope with their stress. “College Stress: Why It’s a Problem & What You Can Do About It” offers college students some really useful tips in stress relief. In order to create less stress in the academic aspect of college, time management and avoiding procrastination are the best solutions. By staying on top of homework and studying, rather than pushing it off, stress levels can be lowered significantly and students can feel more confident in their scholastic abilities. Being physically healthy is another great technique to deal with stress; by incorporating exercise daily, eating and drinking healthier, and getting a good night’s sleep regularly, energy levels in the body increase creating an overall better physical state and healthy mind (“College Stress”). On top of staying healthy physically, mental health is crucial for college students. In a study called “Social Support, Self-Esteem, and Stress as Predictors of Adjustment to University Among First-Year Undergraduates” performed and written by Laura J. Friedlander, a doctoral student of Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada, along with others, it was found that, “advice and encouragement from sources of support may also increase the likelihood that an individual will rely on active problem solving and information seeking. These techniques may assist students in dealing with various stressors in the environment and facilitate a positive adjustment process” (270). In other words, students who feel supported by others, whether it be friends, family, or partners, tend to feel more confident in their abilities and feel less stressed out than those who do not communicate and lean on others. There are many given stress relief techniques to improve one’s stress levels; however, all of the techniques given are on an individual basis, but are not solving the bigger issues college students have no control over. The most common stressors that are experienced by the majority of college students are beyond their control - costs of college and lack of social support. When the topic of the cost of college comes to the table initial thoughts and reactions tend to be “expensive” and “outrageous,” but many can argue that there are numerous ways to lower any and all costs in college. These options include gaining an associate’s degree at a community college, which can lower costs of tuition immensely compared to many four-year public and private universities, renting or buying used textbooks rather than buying new, applying for as many scholarships as possible to help lower outof-pocket costs, and graduating on time or ahead of schedule in order to accrue the least amount of money owed (“10 Ways to Reduce College Costs”). Although this can be a good counter argument for the financial stress college students endure, these are, yet again, more individualbased solutions to lower their stress. However, when will the ridiculous costs of college be seen as an issue of the nation, rather than that of the student themselves? Since the 1980s to now, overall costs of an undergraduate degree have increased 213% in public schools and 129% in private schools (Hoffower). These raises in cost are stemming from the lack of state funding and increase in federal aid programs. In “College is More Expensive Than It’s Ever Been, and the 5 Reasons Why Suggest It’s Only Going to Get Worse” by Hillary Hoffower, Your Money Reporter for Business Insider and graduate of the University of Florida, she states: Studies have shown that when state support is level or increasing, tuition is flat. But when state support declines, tuition goes up. Roughly 80% of America's students attend public
colleges, so it's not an exaggeration to say that the biggest determinant of the price they will pay for their education is the budgetary decisions made by state governments. On top of the lack of state funding, Mary Kate Cary, former White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush and a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report, argues, “The more money the federal government pumps into financial aid, the more money the colleges charge for tuition.” Financial aid is increasing faster than inflation-adjusted tuition and fees are, thus creating the ability for colleges to charge more for tuition than ever before. Although federal aid is greatly beneficial to many college students in helping them gain a college degree, it is also adding to the nation’s debt of $1.3 trillion (Cary). Overall, if the costs of tuition were lowered as a whole by increasing state funding, the necessity of federal and private loans would decrease, which could in turn help lower the nation’s overall debt and lower the financial burden and stress on college students. On the other hand, students are also feeling a lack of support throughout the transition of college. Technological advances have changed the world over the past decade with the abilities of having every bit of knowledge at the tips of your fingers, due to search engines like Google and Bing, keeping in touch with friends, family, and acquaintances without the use of snail-mail, but instead text messaging and social media networks, and being able to visually see and hear each other not just by phone calls, but also FaceTime, Snapchat, and Skype. With all of these various forms of communication through computers, cell phones, and even watches, many would wonder how college students could feel a lack of support, even with these many resources available to them. On the contrary, the research article, “Having the Time of Their Life: College Student Stress, Dating and Satisfaction with Life” by Catherine Coccia4 and Carol A. Darling5, shows this way of thinking is incorrect. Social networking, texting and other non-verbal social interactions were found to negatively impact life satisfaction in college students; however, phone calls and relationships were found to be positively related to students’ life satisfaction (32). This study also found “students who used technology to spend more time engaging in asynchronous communication through text messaging and social networking were less likely to be in romantic relationships and less likely to have high life satisfaction” (33). Overall, this study shows the importance of face-to-face interactions in college students’ lives in order to bring more life satisfaction and feel more moral support. Technology is a great creation that has linked people from a couple miles to thousands of miles away, but the necessity of physical interactions will never change. In order to help students feel more supported throughout college there needs to be more support offered through the schools themselves. According to a survey of counseling center directors, the mean student-to-counseling-staff ratio at colleges and universities is 1,737 students to one counselor (Winerman 88). By increasing the number of counselors available to students, as well as maintaining or increasing communal meetings and activities available to college students to find more social support, the lack of support students may feel can be decreased. Along with increasing the number of counselors available to students, professor and student relationships need to be improved upon. In Ranjita Misra’s research article “Academic Stress of 4
Assistant Professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University 5 Professor at Florida State University in the Department of Family and Children Sciences in the College of Human Sciences 120
College Students: Comparison of Student and Faculty Perceptions,” the relationships between college faculty and students was examined. In this study, it was found that when professors interacted with students on a more personable level it significantly influenced their overall behavior in their specific courses. Furthermore, because of the lack of communication and interaction between the two, “faculty members perceived students to experience higher levels of stress and display more reactions to stressors than the students’ own self-perceptions” (9). With that, it shows that with the lack of communication between college professors and their students there is a lack of understanding as to what students are really feeling in the professor’s course and what may or may not need to be improved upon. In order to solve this, Misra proposed, Institutions should develop ways to improve effective communication between students and professors, thereby improving academic and social efficiency of students, [which can] help them to practice techniques and adopt attitudes essential to assist and mentor them to cope with academic stress more effectively. (9) By incorporating more opportunities for students to feel heard and understood by their professors, this can add additional feelings of support and security in both academic and social aspects in college students. Overall, improvement in offering more forms of support for college students through faculty and social activities can lead to stress being more manageable for college students. To an extent, manageable stress can bring mental toughness and resilience when being presented with future stress. Life without stress is unrealistic, but the excessive stress and anxiety college students today are dealing with is detrimental and can cause long-lasting effects. With that being said, the stress college students are experiencing needs to be dealt with and lessened. They are not only having to worry about their academics, but money management, tuition costs, social relationships, and keeping themselves physically and mentally healthy. Unhealthy habits of drinking and abusing drugs in order to mask the stress they feel not only causes physical problems, but also adds to the stress they already experience. While there are many self-based ways to cope with these stressors, the stress that is out of their control is the biggest issue, yet can be fixed when recognized by those doing the damage. Lowering tuition costs by providing more state-funding and offering more resources for students to get the support they need from their professors and faculty members can be significant methods to lower the stress of college students. In order to help college students feel supported and heard, measures need to be taken to assist and encourage college students, and by executing these measures their performance and life satisfaction can immensely increase. The necessity for a college degree today will not change, but the experience students have in college doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly stressful. Therefore, is stressed out the way it’s really supposed to be? WORKS CITED “7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Student Debt.” SoFi Lending Corp, 26 Jan. 2018, https://www.sofi.com/7-facts-you-didnt-know-about-student-loan-debt/. “10 Ways to Reduce College Costs.” EducationPlanner.org, 2011, http://www.educationplanner.org/students/paying-for-school/ways-to-pay/reduce-college costs.shtml. 121
American Psychological Association (2017). “Stress in America: The State of Our Nation.” Stress in America Survey, pp. 1-7, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state nation.pdf. American Psychological Association (2018). “Stress in America: Generation Z.” Stress in America™ Survey, pp. 1-9, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2018/stress genz.pdf. Brougham, Ruby R., Zail, Christy M., Mendoza, Celeste M., & Miller, Janine R. (2009). “Stress, Sex Differences, and Coping Strategies Among College Students.” Current Psychology, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 85-97, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-009-9047-0. Califano Jr., Joseph A. “Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Alcohol and Drug Abuse on College Campuses.” Center on Addiction, 28 May 2007, https://www.centeronaddiction.org/newsroom/op-eds/wasting-best-and-brightest-alcohol and-drug-abuse-college-campuses. Cary, Mary Kate. “Why the Government is to Blame for High College Costs.” U.S. News & World Report, 23 Nov. 2011, https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/11/23/why the-government-is-to-blame-for-high-college-costs. Coccia, Catherine, and Carol A. Darling. “Having the Time of Their Life: College Student Stress, Dating, and Satisfaction with Life.” Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, vol. 32, no. 1, Feb. 2016, pp. 28-35. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/smi.2575. “College Stress: Why It’s a Problem & What You Can Do About It.” Trade Schools, Colleges and Universities, 8 Nov. 2018, https://www.trade-schools.net/articles/college-stress.asp. Desmon-Jhu, Stephanie. “More College Students Are Using Adderall to Stay Up and Study.” Futurity, 17 Feb. 2016, https://www.futurity.org/college-students-adderall-1107612-2/. Friedlander, Laura J & Reid, Graham J & Shupak, Naomi & Cribbie, Robert. “Social Support, Self-Esteem, and Stress as Predictors of Adjustment to University Among First-Year Undergraduates.” Journal of College Student Development, vol. 48 no. 3, 2007, pp. 259274. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/csd.2007.0024. Hoffower, Hillary. “College Is More Expensive Than It’s Ever Been, and the 5 Reasons Why Suggest It’s Only Going to Get Worse.” Business Insider, 8 Jul. 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/why-is-college-so-expensive-2018-4. Horvath, Alicia J. (2012). “College Living Environments and Stress: Commuters Versus On Campus Residency.” Indiana University South Bend Undergraduate Research Journal, vol. 12, 2012, pp. 81-85. https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/iusburj/article/view/19668. 122
Misra, Ranjita, et al. “Academic Stress of College Students: Comparison of Student and Faculty Perceptions.” College Student Journal, vol. 34, no. 2, June 2000, p. 236. EBSCOhost, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.esbcohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9 &AN=3452256&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Winerman, Lea. “By the Numbers: Stress on Campus.” American Psychological Association, vol. 48, no. 8, 2017, p. 88, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/numbers.aspx.
The Portrayal of Women in Science Fiction Films By: Inka Ovaska Over the past few decades, women have gained more main roles in science fiction films; they are not just on the sidelines anymore. These women actresses now play big roles on big screens in a genre that historically has not been seen as a genre for women. Science fiction is a genre that focuses on futuristic views and technological advancements with events that often happen in space and in the future. For that reason, science fiction has been dominated by men on screen and in the audience. Technology and space, two big themes in sci-fi, are often connected with masculinity and something that women would not be interested in. However, women have started to take over on both sides of the screen. This raises some new and recurring problems about how women are represented and seen in science fiction films and during the process of making and marketing them. I will be looking more closely at films such as Arrival and Gravity, and comparing them to other sci-fi films such as Blade Runner 2049 and The Martian. The roles that women have in these films are often problematic; their characters are constructed differently than male characters, and there are certain expectations of how their bodies should look. Their commercial draw is not believed to be big enough to bring in the audiences. For a genre that focuses so much on the future and new developments, it is odd that it has not developed to meet the requirements of the modern audience, especially the women who are being represented. Although women have gained more significant roles in major sci-fi films, they are still often portrayed in a way that is unequal to the roles of men. The roles of women in science fiction films are problematic, and now it is more important than ever to develop these characters because their audience is changing. Some might argue that representation is not a problem since giving more roles to women means increasing gender equality. Even though women have more important roles in this genre than ever before, it has not been a guarantee that equality has increased. Men and women are represented very differently from each other in the main roles on big screens. Just by comparing Gravity and The Martian this becomes clear. They have a similar plotline; both protagonists are stranded alone in space and need to figure out how to survive and get back to Earth. However, Matt Damon’s character in The Martian is portrayed as a humorous and a relaxed type of person, while Sandra Bullock’s character in Gravity is more emotional, tight and panicky. Increasing the number of roles for women in science fiction is just one step towards gender equality in the film industry. The rest comes from how we portray and want the audience to see the characters. It is not helpful if we have more female protagonists but do not represent them in a way that is fair and equal to their male counterparts. Increasing the number of badly represented female characters is going to do more harm than good; it would come off as a sign that the audience approves of the way that their gender is being portrayed. Differences in representation do not happen only in science fiction, it is a problem in other genres too. Why focus on just this genre that is not as popular as some other ones? Science fiction is growing in popularity and the audience’s demographics are changing. In 2014, out of the ten most popular feature films released that year five were science fiction films (“Most popular […] 201412-31”). In 2015, six out of the ten were sci-fi (“Most popular […] 2015-12-31”). These numbers give some indication of how popular sci-fi has become and how many people actually choose to watch science fiction. It is still also a popular genre amongst males, which is why focusing on the developing of female characters is possibly lagging behind in time. When talking about the 124
problems that this genre faces with female representation, it is important to note that other genres can struggle with similar problems. However, the demographics and the size of sci-fi audience are also changing to include more women; this situation requires more attention to detail. The women who go to theaters to see a sci-fi film for the first time might not think anything about it at first, but, when the protagonist is always portrayed as a mom or the female side character is always objectified, they will have a problem with that. Other genres have seen more development because they have been more popular for a longer period of time and they have gained a female audience earlier. Other genres also have more women directing and otherwise producing the films; usually their presence can be seen in the final product. However, science fiction has yet to gain more women to work in the production of the films. The directors and main producers of the films mentioned in this essay are all men. These are the people who get to decide what the outcome looks, sounds, and feels like. These days directors and writers are often questioned about the representation of women in their films. As mentioned earlier, women are more abundant than before in the audiences of sci-fi films. This opens up a new media for advertising the newest science fiction films: magazines that are targeted for women. Interviews with actors and directors are popular reads and often make it to the front page. Dennis Villeneuve, the director of films such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, had a lot to say about the topic of representation of women since he has directed multiple films with women featured in the leading roles. In an interview for the Vanity Fair magazine, director Denis Villeneuve answers some questions about his newest film, Blade Runner 2049, and how he sees the portrayal of women in it. The movie, like its predecessor, is very rough on women. Villeneuve claims that he thinks a lot about the way he portrays women, but he had an original version to honor and he wanted to bring depth to the characters. He says: “What is cinema? Cinema is a mirror on society. Blade Runner is not about tomorrow; it’s about today. And I’m sorry, but the world is not kind on women” (Hoffman). He argues that the objectifying and degrading representation of women is justified because he is depicting the condition of our current society. I argue that it is not justified and that he is only partially correct in his statement. Cinema is a mirror of society, but Blade Runner 2049 is not about today. It has themes that are taken from today’s society, but even the name already suggests that it is about the future. This is an example of how the genre that focuses on the future seems to lag behind in developing itself to be more progressive. Because it is a futuristic film, it does not really address the problems society faces today even if they are present in the film. Instead, it focuses on problems that are going to be more relevant in the future, which brings me to my first argument. Most often the problems with female representations come up when talking about the female body. Since science fiction deals with technology and futuristic views, there are many possibilities of how to “build” the female body. Dr. Ying Liang from the Beijing Foreign Studies University wrote about the subject in the journal Theory and Practice in Language Studies: So, a series of questions arise: if the female body is a recurrent presence throughout the productions of world culture over thousands of years, how is it being reconstructed by and within the sci-fi discourse, since as we all know, science fiction is a literature of infinite possibilities. (Liang)
She focuses on science fiction literature instead of films, but both areas face the same problematic representations of women. Both arts also have the same infinite possibilities of constructing worlds and characters. Because the audience of sci-fi films has been dominated by men, it is expected that the women in these films meet the current western beauty standards. This has been a problem in science fiction for more than just the past few decades. It has its roots in the science fiction literature and has transferred onto the screens. Science fiction allows the writers and directors to go beyond realism when creating the characters. A good example is the original and the already mentioned remake of Blade Runner. This film does not have a female protagonist, but a great number of female side characters. Women in these films are heavily objectified, which is part of the dystopian part of the plot, but does it have a place on the big screens today if the subject is not discussed as a main point of the film? When talking about Blade Runner 2049, people usually bring up the problems and horror scenarios of artificial intelligence rather than the objectifying of women. This is why I think Villeneuve’s argument about Blade Runner 2049 being about today does not make sense. Instead of addressing current problems, it handles topics that are more futuristic. Artificial intelligence is present in our society already, but not the way women’s representation is. To justify the objectifying and sexualization of women in this movie, it should be the main topic of discussion and the main theme of the movie. Women have traditionally been assigned to the side roles in sci-fi films. They have served as support to the main character, who has most often been a male. Now females too have been getting these roles as the hero who saves everyone. One of the biggest turning points for the industry was when it was announced that the newest Star Wars trilogy would be following a female protagonist. The saga has millions of devoted fans who were used to seeing a male in the leading role of their favorite movies. Now it was proven to a massive audience that a woman can also be a hero in a science fiction action film. The movie was a hit, especially amongst girls who got to dress up as Rey and finally have the spotlight. Before this there was not a film that had a similar role for a woman in this genre. But Star Wars: The Force Awakens was only released a few years ago. Science fiction has been gaining popularity even before that, but only now are we seeing an increase in strong female characters. The cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a huge hit right away when it was announced. This shows that the genre and the industry are heading towards the right direction, but there is always room for improvement. The fact that people were surprised to find out the new protagonist is a woman tells a lot about the industry. The audience does not expect that these big production film series or even standalone films will get a female lead. This is why we need more of these changes to happen, so that the female casting choices would not come as a shock, but that they would be expected the way that male choices are expected currently. They do not cancel each other out. Even when women are cast to the leading roles, they are portrayed as less independent by having a close relationship with another person. A professor from the University of Toronto, Ken Derry, raised a question about the relationships that women have in science fiction films. His review of Arrival that was published in Journal of Religion and Film questioned why is it that men do not rely on anyone in these films, but women are always closely connected with another person such as a child, father or a husband. ”Why is it, in other words, that in these films men who interact with aliens do so on their own, while for women their close relationships with other people are always part of the equation?” (Derry). His review did not offer an answer to this question, but it starts up an important conversation. The statement about women always having a relationship with 126
someone is true in Arrival and many other big screen science fiction films like Contact and Annihilation. These are examples of science fiction films where the protagonist is partly or completely defined by the close relationships she has, and this has an impact on the plot of the film. In Arrival, Dr. Banks’ story is greatly defined by her decisions as a mother. In Contact, Dr. Arroway has a close relationship with her deceased father, which guides her career and eventually the whole plot of the movie. In Annihilation, Lena is only drawn to the expedition that sets up the plot because she wants to save her husband. The movie focuses on a group of women, but the protagonist is not along for the ride, for her skills or education; she is there because of her relationship with her husband. Her career as a cellular biology professor seems to be almost like an upside instead of the actual reason she is asked to be a part of the project. Compared to some science fiction films with male leads, the difference is obvious. In The Martian, Mark Watney has no loved ones back on Earth. In Blade Runner 2049, K is trying to find the truth about his parents, but they are not really the main point or plot of the movie. This is an interesting phenomenon that seems to relate to the stereotype that women are more emotional and more sensitive than men; it makes sense that women have people who are close to them in these stories. Again, this brings up the question of why this is the case in science fiction, where the topics covered are futuristic and often include developments in technology, society, and other parts of life. Still, despite advancements, females are stereotyped to always appear as emotional and empathetic when males have the option to be these things. Gravity was a huge hit in the box office when it came out. It produced over 55 million dollars on its first weekend (“Gravity (2013)”). It was advertised by using both Sandra Bullock’s and George Clooney’s names. Clooney is only seen in the beginning of the film and in a few parts later on. Gravity has been categorized as a single actor film because for majority of the film Bullock is seen on screen. A formal film critic for The Independent newspaper, Ryan Gilbey, argues in his review of this film that Sandra Bullock is not the main attraction for the audience of Gravity. Her role was not to bring in huge crowds, but to bring in more female viewers: Bullock isn't the primary commercial draw of a film such as Gravity, which promises spectacle and (maybe misleadingly) certain comforts of the genre. But she will be vital in bringing to the movie a type of viewer not statistically attracted to science fiction extravaganzas. That type is called "female" (Gilbey). What he is saying is that the film is a somewhat traditional and comforting science fiction piece, but to make it successful they need the female viewers to get interested in it. Was this the reason Clooney’s name was included in advertising campaigns? Did they not believe that Bullock was enough to bring a lot of ticket sales by herself, even though she is a female protagonist of a major production science fiction film? What if the roles were switched? Would Bullock’s name have made it on the film poster? It is possible to answer this by comparing Gravity to a science fiction film with a male lead. If we compare it to a science fiction movie with a male protagonist, such as The Martian, it is obvious that Matt Damon is seen as the primary commercial draw of the film. His name was the only one on the marketing poster. Now this would suggest that the film production believes that Matt Damon is enough by himself to bring in the audience. His colleagues were on the screen even more than George Clooney was in Gravity. Yet, none of their names were seen as crucial part of the marketing. The movie posters are the medium of marketing that reaches the largest amount of people. It is clear that the strategies behind the decisions are thought out 127
carefully. However, it does not seem like the question of how much credit different actors and actresses deserve is being considered as an important factor in the decision making process. The marketing problems do not end at the names used to bring in the audience. The pictures on the posters are often even a bigger draw for people because it can tell a lot about the film’s visual world. Women in this industry and genre face the same problems with the poster pictures as with the names on the posters. Science fiction films that have females in the leading roles hardly ever rely on the actress’ name or face to bring in the viewers. Instead the interest of people is awakened with other solutions. Arrival uses the mysterious space ships and aliens to raise viewer’s attention rather than Amy Adam. Gravity has a person in the posters, but it does not have a face, so it could be anyone. These posters described are the ones that were the most wide-spread. Often there are a few different versions of these marketing posters and usually at least one of them has the main character on it. The other version of the poster for Arrival has Amy Adams on it. However, it also has Jeremy Renner and even Forest Whitaker, who had quite a minor role in the film. Moreover, Gravity also has a few other versions. One of them is surprisingly a close-up of Sandra Bullock’s face in a space helmet. Not so surprisingly, they also have another similar poster with just Clooney’s face. Again, if we compare this to a movie with a male lead such as The Martian, it is obvious that there is an unfair difference. Matt Damon’s face covers the whole poster. The absurd thing is that, as mentioned earlier, The Martian and Gravity basically have the same plot: a person stranded alone in space. Both movies have other important characters, but somehow only the movie with a male lead is actually marketed with using only the leading actor’s name and face. Because of Gravity, Sandra Bullock topped the Forbes’ List of Highest Earning Actresses in 2014 with her earnings that totaled to 51 million dollars. It is unclear how much of this was made from Gravity. It was speculated that she would make more than 70 million from the film. It seemed suspicious that when Forbes announced the list; her total earnings were a lot less than what people thought she made from Gravity. It is clear, however, that this was almost a third less than what the highest earning actor, Robert Downey Jr., earned the same year, which was 75 million dollars. In addition, the second and third highest paid actors both earned more than Bullock that year. The pay gap in the industry is still there like it was in 2014, and it even has increased. In 2017 actors made almost three times more money than actresses combined in the United States (Pomerantz). This issue is largely covered by the media and clearly covers all film genres, and not just science fiction. It is partly surprising that one of the biggest and most well-known industries still struggle with this problem. Just like science fiction, the film industry is often seen as the place where technological advancements are made. And until recently, it was also seen as an ideal place to work at as a woman. However, just like science fiction as a genre, the film industry has not made any advancements to treat women as equals to the men in the industry. As already mentioned, science fiction films are often directed, produced and written by men. This brings in the problem of the “male gaze” that Laura Mulvey introduced in the 70s. This means that the film is constructed from a male, heterosexual point of view. As mentioned earlier, this leads to the expectation that the female characters have to follow the current Western beauty standards. The male gaze also means that the point of view of women is shown in a minor way or is not explored at all. The woman character is in the shots, but the object or event that they are looking at is not shown. The camerawork and editing style determine what the audience gets to see and feel. Often the audience does not even realize how the fact that the people working on the 128
production of the film are male influences the outcome. The events are witnessed through masculine eyes in the films where male gaze is present, which at the moment is the majority of science fiction films. This can put the female audience into an awkward position where they have to view the scenes in a way they normally would not. This is something the viewer might not realize before it is pointed out and it suddenly becomes clear. It is hard to stop seeing the male point of view after it has been pointed out. This can take away from the experience for some viewers, but it is important to get some attention to this problem that is influencing a whole industry greatly. Ruining the experience for a few new films would be worth it if the next ones after them can offer some fresh points of view and some new innovations. Talking openly about the grievances of the industry is one of the keys to solving the problems this genre and the industry faces. The good news is that the science fiction audience and the actresses have started to speak up and bring awareness to these problems. They are writing essays and articles and doing speeches and interviews. They are not only bringing awareness to the problems that science fiction as a genre faces, but also the problems the whole industry faces. Because science fiction has become more popular and started to collect bigger and more diverse audiences, the genre has managed to wake up film critics and get their attention. These critics have a lot of power, and their criticisms are an important factor when it comes to getting people into the theatres to watch the films. When more people watch these films, the problems are bound to get more attention. The criticism needs to reach the people who work in production of these films and make them understand that the demographics of the traditionally male dominated audience has changed dramatically. This means that the audience will have people in it that expect and wish to get represented. Finding more females to work on the production of the films might be good solution so we could minimize the effect of the male gaze and move into a more equal solution. Getting both a female and a male perspective during the production could turn out to be a good middle ground. Happily, with almost every new science fiction film some aspect of female representation is changing for the better and the changes are significant enough to be visible. Although science fiction films have gained more female leads, there is still a long way to go to reach equality and fairness on screen and outside of it. Womenâ€™s characters have seen some developments, but they still have characteristics that repeat themselves and that make them unable to be equal to the characters that men play. Women also face inequalities outside of the screen. Some of these problems are more serious than others, such as unequal pay. There are some strong arguments about why the representation of women is not any different from those of men, but as a female I can say that I am still not satisfied while watching sci-fi films. I expect that a film about the future featuring some huge advancements would also be advanced enough to represent women in a way that is equal to men. As a fan of science fiction, it feels good to see yourself represented on screen, more importantly, represented respectfully and not as a stereotypical emotional and fragile woman who is dependent on a relationship in her life. Hopefully in the future we will see more developments towards an equal representation of both sexes as well as equal treatment outside of the screen.
WORK CITED Annihilation. Directed by Alex Garland, performance by Natalie Portman, Paramount Pictures, 2018. Arrival. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, performance by Amy Adams, Paramount Pictures, 2016. Blade Runner 2049. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2017. Contact. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, performance by Jodie Foster, Warner Bros. Pictures, 1997. Derry, Ken. "Arrival." Journal of Religion and Film, vol. 20, no. 3, 2016, p. ie+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A486283941/AONE?u=hono53192&sid=A ONE &xid=3fb48205. Gilbey, Ryan. "Every Move You Make." New Statesman, vol. 142, no. 5183, 08 Nov. 2013, pp. 52-54. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hlh&AN=91858588&site=ehostlive&scope=site. Gravity. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, performance by Sandra Bullock, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013. “Gravity (2013) - Weekend Box Office Results.” Box Office Mojo, www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=gravity.htm. Hoffman, Jordan. “Denis Villeneuve Is the Sci-Fi Remake Master with Blade Runner 2049 and the Upcoming Dune.” Vanity Fair, 28 Nov. 2017, www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/11/denis-villeneuve-blade-runner-2049-dune. Liang, Ying. "Female body in the postmodern science fiction." Theory and Practice in Language Studies, vol. 5, no. 10, 2015, p. 2037+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A446734726/AONE?u=hono53192&sid=AONE&xid =d068d170. “Most Popular Feature Films Released 2014-01-01 to 2014-12-31.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/search/title?year=2014&title_type=feature&. “Most Popular Feature Films Released 2015-01-01 to 2015-12-31.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/search/title?year=2015&title_type=feature&. Pomerantz, Dorothy. “Sandra Bullock Tops Forbes' List Of Highest Earning Actresses With $51M.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Aug. 2014, www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2014/08/04/sandra-bullock-tops-forbes-list-ofhighest-earning-actresses-with-51m/#678c2e792b06. 130
Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Directed by J. J. Abrams, performance by Daisy Ridley, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2015. The Martian. Directed by Ridley Scott, performance by Matt Damon, 20 Century Fox, 2015. th
Sunrise over Kualoa Ranch by Ramon Brockington
Equal Pay for Both Genders in Tennis By Ryan Emerson Cimatu Does tennis care about gender equality? Originally, tennis was a male-dominated sport. In England, kings and other royalty members were the only ones allowed to play this sport. In fact, the first tournament in 1877 was an all-male competition (“The Origins of Tennis”, 2009-2010). Eventually, tennis opened its doors to women and people from different countries. However, the question remains: for a diverse sport, why are the women players still not treated as equal athletes? The comparison between both gender’s pay in tennis is huge. Considering both gender’s physical and mental differences, both are still training and playing the same techniques in the sport, which simply does not make sense. As a current player in the USTA League, tennis still faces gender inequality because women are still being paid less than men, because the opportunities and support they have as child up to the pro level are low, and because women tennis players seem to be less skilled and are influenced by their parents differently. Tennis dates back to several thousand years ago and started developing in Europe. Tennis players started off using their hands to hit the ball, and then the game improved with a leather glove, which eventually led to the creation of a tennis racket (“The Origins of Tennis”, 2009-2010). Ironically, the French King Louis X gained the sport its popularity after he died from a hard game of tennis, but nonetheless it started spreading across Europe and made its way to the United States in 1874 (“The Origins of Tennis”, 2009-2010). Tennis was generally for royal and wealthy people, but mainly men because it was considered a masculine sport. The first game that was played was a men-only tournament at Wimbledon, England, in 1887, and it was not until 1884 that women were introduced in the tennis community (“The Origins of Tennis”, 2009-2010). The tennis community over the years has become more and more diverse in terms of accepting more women in, as well as accepting different races, and even people in wheelchairs play. The tennis community was recognized for such diversity in the sports industry; however, there still lurks a major problem: equal pay for the men and women tennis players. Rachel Tranter, Ruth Medd, and Claire Braund from the Women on Boards, an organization that empowers women for the same level of leading roles as men, wrote a report stating, “In 1973 Billie Jean King refused to play in the US Open unless she received equal prize money to the men. Yet it took 37 years for male and female prize money at a major ITP tournament to be equal” (Tranter et. al, 2016, p. 12). Billie Jean King, a former pro-tennis female player was and still is a huge advocate for equal pay in women sports; however, although the majors offered equal pay, other small funded tournaments did not offer the same. A New York Times writer, Ben Rothenberg, states, “Roger Federer received $731,000 for defending his title at the tournament, while Serena Williams received $495,000 for defending hers hours later” (Rothenberg, 2016). The huge gap between this is clear and wrong, and why this is happening in the small tournaments should be questioned. He also mentions, “The median pay gap between a women in the top 100 and her opposite number on the men’s tour is $120,624” (Rothenberg, 2016). Still a huge gap, but if you look at the statistics of the top women player, Serena Williams has more major titles than Roger Federer, Williams with 23, and Federer with 20 (Totalsportek2, 2018). Keep in mind, Federer initially had 18 and earned two more starting in 2017, which was the year Williams had her baby, missing two major tournaments, both of which she could have possibly won considering her everlasting physique.
A New Statesman writer, Tim Wigmore, argues that the unequal pay in the tennis community has also caused the other women players to retire early due to insufficient funding (Wigmore, 2016). Andy Murray and other professional male tennis players support equal pay; however, the players do not have very interesting things to say. Novak Djokovic, a top player in men’s tennis, mentions, “Male players should be paid more than female ones, on the grounds that they generate more cash for the sport and, in grand slams, play over 5 sets rather than 3” (Wigmore, 2016). This shows that the problem of unequal pay is still apparent. It shows that the “Male Dominance” idea is still instilled in male athletes today. The kind of pride the male athletes have is uncompromising. On the other hand, when male players complain about low pay, that immediately goes into discussion, and is somehow resolved since there is so much money flying around for their funding. Dr. Elizabeth Daniels, an Assistant Professor at University of California, Los Angeles in the Psychology Department had some things to say about this, namely that “with the increase in women’s professional sport participation since Title IX, federal legislation passed in 1972 that increase funding to girls’ and women’s sports, particularly in media targeted at girls and women” (Daniels, 2009, p. 402). During that time, media started giving the sexual appeal of women players to the public as a means of marketing women sports. Daniels continues, “In contrast, images of women athletes that focus on their athleticism may prompt girls and women to think about their physical abilities rather than how their bodies look” (2009, p. 404). In tennis, for example, a majority of the top women players like Serena Williams are models, and are using that marketing scheme to market women’s tennis, and by getting huge amounts of endorsements. While the other bunch, as mentioned, will eventually retire early due to insufficient amounts of funds. Men’s sports will always be marketed more, delegating the sports fund into their bank accounts more, and less into the women’s sports. Dr. Jane English, a philosopher and physicist from Massachusetts, states, “Although everyone has an equal right to basic benefits, not everyone can claim an equal right to receive fan mail or appear on television. For this, having the skill involved in the sport is one relevant factor” (1978, p. 271). Just imagine: as a women tennis player, if modeling is not the forte, shining as a player can definitely double the paycheck. It’s also important to notice that parents and the community play a huge role in determining the type of sport their child plays. Parents play a huge role when children are growing up, and this can influence whether or not a child pursues becoming a professional athlete. Dr. Paul Turman, a specialist in interpersonal communication, states, “The father was most likely to serve as the role model for boys and influence their sport participation, while mothers were more like to serve the same function for girls” (2007, p. 155). Serena Williams and her sister, Venus Williams, grew up trained by their father. Their father demanded aggression and achievements that led them to be that type of reputable player they are today. Turman also mentions, “Fathers were more likely to provide influence for sport participation for both male and female children” (2007, p. 155). It was common in society for the dad to be into sports, and so the idea of which sport to play surely played a role for both their sons and daughters. The dad often demanded a son to play football or baseball because it was a physical sport, and the daughter joining cheerleading or volleyball. In addition, currently there are over a thousand tennis players at the professional level; the competition is high and super competitive; brilliant skill will be needed to reach the level where there is a lot of monetary benefits other than tournament’s prize money. A well-known match that sparked the revolution of equal pay in women’s sports was the famous tennis match “Battle of the Sexes.” A writer from People magazine, Mike Miller, reviewed the history of it summarizing that the battle 134
between a 29 year old, Billie Jean King, and 55 year old, Bobby Riggs, was arranged because Bobby Riggs wanted to show the world that male players were dominant (Miller, 2017). The winner of the match would win $100,000 even. When Billie Jean King won the match, the world was in total shock, and this encouraged women athletes to participate in more sports, as well as advocating for equal pay (Miller, 2017). On the other hand, King was criticized and told that she won because Riggs was way older than her, when really before that match Riggs beat Margaret Court, the number 1 ranked tennis player at that time, who was also younger than him (Miller, 2017). Statistically Serena Williams has more titles overall, including majors and the other small tournaments, compared to the top male player, Roger Federer (totalsporttek2, 2018). Williams was also criticized by former pro-tennis player, John McEnroe, according to Jake Becker in New York Daily News, stating, “John McEnroe was on defense Tuesday ... over the weekend that pegged the female star as ‘like No. 700 in the world’ if she were to play in the men’s circuit” (2017). Williams was criticized for her skill by a pro-tennis player who does not compare to how many majors and titles have been achieved by Williams. This shows that even today male players still believe in male-dominance, imbedded as a strong pride. It is funny how society judges things by the most obvious, because, yes, women are way different than men in terms of their body, clearly that shows. English states, “Groupings by ability are much easier to justify than groupings by the specific characteristics just discussed. There is no discrimination against less able members of the dominant group” (1978, p. 274). Tennis is not the only sport that faces these problems; women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and many more do as well. Yes, it is true that men get paid more in tennis because they are marketed more, and because the tennis community loves watching the male players the most, not to mention, they can seem better fit. But tennis is a very physical sport. Why give an equal amount of pay when the men are doing more work and work in teams better? Riley Arnold from Jetstream Journal states, “Women have a harder time playing team sports than men ... women take criticism more personally” (2014). Let’s face it, women may not be as emotionally stable. Who wants to watch that in tennis, especially around hundreds of people watching in the arena? A perfect example would be Serena Williams; during the U.S. open, she threatened a line judge for a wrong call. No wonder people do not watch the women’s tennis matches often. Andrew Latham, a writer from Chron, also mentions, “Elite male athletes have a higher oxygen carrying capacity than women” (2018). The matches for tennis in the men’s arena are longer and more exciting, not to mention funny and cheesy at the same time. Men also often have a sense of humor more than women, which makes their matches memorable. From a business standpoint, spending on something worthwhile and memorable for a person who knows or does not know tennis is all worth it. But, as Jane English mentioned, this marketing is based on something obvious, like a woman’s mental and physical aspects; yet it is not fair because there is a huge difference. Also, keep in mind, not only does Serena Williams have more titles overall than the top player, Roger Federer, but women’s tennis has also helped influence more opportunities for other people. Women’s tennis helped create a better diversity in tennis by inviting wheelchaired players to participate in such a great sport like tennis (Tranter et al., 2016, p. 21). In terms of impact in the community, the women expanded the tennis community to a huge diverse organization, which any person who enjoys sports would clap to. The fact is that the women are practicing just as hard as the men; they may 135
not be playing more sets than the men, but they certainly could if they needed to because they are trained. The only difference is the gender bias surrounding the community. In addition, both genders are trained to use a racket, hit the ball, serve, hit groundstrokes, and more, which are practically the same skills used in the matches, and yet there is a huge difference in pay. Billie Jean King was an extraordinary person on and off the courts in tennis. Before the Battle of the Sexes, she faced gender inequality all her life when she was playing tennis. Despite her skills, the male tennis players looked at her like they looked at the rest of the girls, as weak and unskilled. Tranter et al. states, “Billie Jean King and eight other female tennis players decided to boycott the peak body for professional tennis, the International Lawn Tennis Association” (2016, p. 12). Eventually, as time progressed the consistency of the equal pay started to fade, especially with the private and small tournaments funded by major company owners who get to decide the payments of the players (Tranter et al., 2016, p. 12). It is quite shocking how such a diverse sport like tennis cannot consider equal pay, but the great news is that there is an increase in women board members in the tennis community (Tranter et al., 2016, p. 25). Will tennis ever have equal pay for gender in the future? Yes, things are moving in a hopeful way. Considering that the grand slam tournaments offer equal pay, it will not take long until equal pay in other small funded tournaments will jump on board. But then again, the consistency of the equal pay could vary; the tennis executives could simply enforce that just to be recognized in the public, but they probably will only do it for that, and not really for the long term and a movement so dear to its fellow women players. Who knows? It just all depends. Now, we are also living in a society where issues are freely expressed; back then women tennis players did not really have a voice, and now the women players followed by some other men are also teaming up to spread the awareness of a major problem. Society is creating a new eye, and hopefully surpassing the old eye of “maledominance” in sports. The reasons for why women tennis players are not getting paid equally is quite absurd. To reiterate, the women tennis players are not paid equally because men are marketed more, and more funding goes to the men players; there are limited opportunities offered, and the most advantageous would be a model, and lastly they are belittled by their skill in tennis. Tranter, Medd, and Braund were the main sources that really touched base with all these sub-topics, while giving statistics not only in tennis, but in other sports as well. Regarding the strategy aspect in tennis, both genders practice the same skills to play the game, and, even if the women play less sets than the men, they would still be able to play the same length because both are trained to work at the pro-level. Hopefully, the future for girls who want to play tennis and become a pro will allow them to blend in easily just as men, in terms of opportunities and pay offered. It may sound like a “women-dominance” future that is needed here, and that is not the case; there needs to be more of creating opportunities and equality for all, even for the wheelchaired tennis players who certainly help grow and encourage not only the tennis community but every sport. REFERENCES Arnold, R. (2014, May 14). Psychological Differences between Male and Female Athletes. Retrieved from, https://thejetstreamjournal.com/3372/uncategorized/psycologicaldifferences-between-male-and-female-athletes/
Becker, J. (2017, June 27). John McEnroe doubles down on Serena Williams ‘No. 700’ comment. Retrieved from, www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/john-mcenroedoubles-serena-williams-no-700-comment-article-1.3281012 Daniels, E. (2009, May 1). Sex objects, Athletes, and Sexy Athletes: How Media Representation of Women Athletes Can Impact Adolescentt Girls and College Women. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24(4), 399-422. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558409336748. English, J. (1978). Sex Equality in Sports. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 7(3), 269-277. Retrieved from, www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2265148.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Aadefd47e1d6eb3d828da6a 9c521011b1 Latham, A. (2018, June 28). Physiological Differences Between Male and Female Athletes. Retrieved from, http://work.chron.com/physiological-differences-between-male-femaleathletes-20627.html Messner, M. (1998). Sports and Male Domination: The Female Athlete as Contested Ideological Terrain. Sociology of Sport Journal, 5, 197 – 211. Retrieved from, www.michaelmessner.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ssj88.pdf Miller, M. (2017, September 28). When Billie Beat Bobby: The True Story Behind Battle of The Sexes. Retrieved from, http://people.com/movies/the-true-story-behind-battle-of-thesexes/ Rothenberg, B. (2016, April 12). Roger Federer, $731,000; Serena Williams, $495,000: The Pay Gap in Tennis. Retrieved from, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/sports/tennis/equal-pay-gender-gap-grand-slammajors-wta-atp.html Tennistheme. (2010). The Origins of Tennis – History of Tennis. Retrieved from, www.tennistheme.com/tennishistory.html Totalsportek2. (2018, September 10). Most Tennis Grand Slam Titles Winners (Men & Women). Retrieved from, https://www.totalsportek.com/tennis/grand-slam-titles-winners-menswomen/ Tranter, R., Medd, R., and Braund, C. (2016). Gender Balance In Global Sport Report. Retrieved from, https://www.womenonboards.net/womenonboards-AU/media/AU-Reports/2016Gender-Balance-In-Global-Sport-Report.pdf Turman, P. (2007, December 5). Parental Sport Involvement: Parental Influence to Encourage Young Athlete Continued Sport Participation. Journal of Family Communication, 7(3), 151-175, https://doi.org/10.1080/15267430701221602. Wigmore, T. (2016, August 5). Sports gender pay gap: why are women still paid less than men? Retrieved from, https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/sport/2016/08/sport-s-genderpay-gap-why-are-women-still-paid-less-men
Understanding the Poor By Katherine Felix Poverty, the thought of getting out of it seems easy to some but difficult to others. Some people see poverty as something that is easy to get out of and is just a mindset, an established set of attitudes held by someone, while others see it as a way of being and hard to get out of. Horatio Alger was a writer in the late 19th century and was best known for his rags-to-riches novels. In these novels, the main character would go from being dirt poor to swimming in wealth by hard work and determination. Horatio Alger is connected to The American Dream, which is described as “the set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers” (“American Dream” par. 1), because of these novels. Samuel Bowles, a professor of microeconomics, Steven N. Durlauf, a professor of educational policy, and Karla Hoff, a lead economist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, editors of the anthropological text Poverty Traps, challenge the Horatio Alger rags-to-riches view on poverty. There are a lot of factors that are out of our control that make poverty seem more like a state of being than a mindset. Some of these factors, or theories as Bowles et al. has described them, are critical thresholds, dysfunctional institutions, and neighborhood effects. These three factors are important and should be studied more because they are theorized to be the main causes of consistent poverty that are beyond the control of an individual. In the introduction of Poverty Traps, Bowles et al. describe critical thresholds as “overall wealth or human capital— that must be reached before the forces of standard competitive theory take hold” (2). If a poor person in a third-world country stays around uneducated people in an unskilled job instead of going to a country with more educated people than in their own, then he will not be able to save enough money to escape poverty (Bowles et al. 2). Dysfunctional institutions are the influence that high power and wealth have in the support of basic necessities like public education, public goods, and protection of property rights (Bowles et al. 3). If someone in high power does not give support to public schools, then there might be fewer schools to serve economically disadvantaged students or more schools that have low test scores. Neighborhood effects are influences on different groups, like races, that are determined by economies, neighborhoods, or schools (Bowles et al. 3). Latinos, for example, most of the time move into economically disadvantaged neighborhoods that also have other latinos, or parents would look for a school that has more latino kids, even if it’s underperforming. This is mainly because they can only afford to live in these neighborhoods, or it is where they feel the most comfortable, living next to “their people.” The first of these three theories is critical thresholds and is covered by Costas Azariadis. Costas Azariadis, a professor of economics, looks at the critical threshold theory in an economic view in “The Theory of Poverty Traps: What Have We Learned?” (17). Azariadis explained that, if a country is impatient, it will stay in poverty. Azariadis states, “Once capital starts flowing, the impatient [country] will raise its consumption immediately, first by selling its capital to foreigners and finally borrowing against its future labor income” (20). It’s like a parent giving their child allowance money and the kid spends all their money on toys and candy, then asking their parent if they can borrow some money to buy a game that they really want. Poor people’s life cycle in poor countries is short because there is not enough money to invest in medicine, doctors, or hospitals, 138
resulting in the country not planning for the long run (Azariadis 21). It’s not just the country that can cause poverty by being impatient, the government can also slow down the country’s growth rate and go into poverty by being impatient and taxing heavily. Developing countries need to take more risks and be productive by saving money, by producing and not consuming it at a rate that is higher than the given consumption of its people. Azariadis reports, “Economies are riskless and unproductive at low levels of wealth; risky and reasonably productive at middle levels; riskless and very productive at high levels” (28). Poorer countries don’t take risks because they fear that they will fail and not excel. Middle countries take risks because they are not afraid to fail. Rich countries don’t take risks because they either don’t need to or they are afraid it will have consequences. Other things that affect economic development are war, disease, and natural disasters. Azariadis suggests two ways countries can overcome limitations, stating, “Put in place international and intergenerational transfer schemes (public debt, social security, and foreign aid) that dilute the costs of liberalized markets on the least fortunate classes of citizens or nations” and “subsidies to education and public health in LDC’s, paid for and administered by advanced countries” (36). Azariadis gave an example regarding Africa: if the European Union, the U.S, and Japan combined and committed to one percent of all three countries GDP for ten years on a Marshall Plan, Africa would get three trillion dollars and would no longer be in poverty (37). The next theory is dysfunctional institutions and is discussed by Halvor Mehlum, Karl Moene, and Ragnar Torvik. There are a lot of extortionists in developing countries that target small institutions, and these institutions pay them and in return they get protection. Halvor Mehlum, professor of economics, Karl Moene, an economist, and Ragnar Torvik, professor of economics, talk about parasitic institutions in “Parasites” (79). Parasitic institutions are “unproductive enterprises that feed on productive businesses” and are largely found in developing countries (Mehlum et al. 79). These institutions can be controlled by bandits, mafia bosses, bureaucrats, or corrupt politicians. The targets for these institutions are street sellers, sweatshops, family businesses, and big business firms. Neighborhoods also have an effect on education; there will be schools with lower test scores in a lower income neighborhood than in a higher income neighborhood. In the article “Groups, Social Influences, and Inequality,” Durlauf talks about group, social influences, and inequality (141). The income of the next generation is determined by the amount that parents invest in their child’s education (Durlauf 142). This shows inequality throughout generations because higher income families will invest more into their child’s education than lower income families. According to Durlauf, because poor families live in poor neighborhoods, this depresses the “future economic prospects of their offspring” (142). This connects with what I said earlier, namely that someone is most likely to move into a neighborhood that has people of the same ethnicity. Parasitic extortion is something that my great grandmother in El Salvador has to deal with. She owns a hotel, and there are gang members from the MS13 gang that live near or on her property. She pays them so that they can “protect” her and the hotel, and she has been doing this ever since my great grandfather passed away. When he was alive, the gang members would not mess with him, but now that he passed away, the gang members saw this as an opportunity. I grew up in San Bernardino, California. It is known for being a hotspot for selling crystal methamphetamine and 139
is ranked 14 in the most dangerous cities in America. My family and I live there because it was what we could and still can afford. The poorer neighborhoods, where I grew up, were mainly blacks and latinos and a few white people. My parents enrolled my brother and me into a school that was two hours away just because it was in a nicer area and it had better test scores. There were more white and latino people at the school. The middle neighborhoods, where we currently live, are mainly white people and a few blacks and latinos. My brother and I went to a charter school, which was 30 minutes away and did not have good test scores. There was an equal number of black, latino, and white students. For high school, I decided that I wanted to go to a charter school in a decent area while my brother chose to go to a public high school, which was in a poor area. My brother ended up getting into a lot of trouble. He skipped his classes, talked back to the teachers, fought, and started using drugs. My mom decided that what was best for him was to go to the charter school I was going to. My brother cleaned up his act and started to do better in school, he became more mature and responsible, and he stopped doing drugs. He graduated two years later than he was supposed to, but, with the help of some really good teachers, he was able to. I believe that growing up in a poor neighborhood does not affect your child’s education. There will always be teachers who want to teach and teachers who do not, whether or not the school is in a lower or higher income neighborhood. It is on the parent to encourage their child to study and on the child to take the opportunity of free education that other children in other countries do not have. Talk to your child about some money problems. Not all the money problems but some, like if there is only money for necessities and not luxuries. Let’s say you are at the store buying toilet paper, a necessity, and you walk past the toy section and your child says he wants a toy, a luxury. There are three ways this scenario can play out: You can tell your child no and probably risk a tantrum, tell your child no and tell him that you only have money for the things you need right now and that he could get it next week when you have more money, or you put back the toilet paper and buy him the toy. As someone who grew up in poverty, it was beneficial to know if there was money for luxuries. It will not hurt your child unless you use it in a way to attack them; in other words, do not blame them for the fact that there is no money for luxuries. Emily Campbell, American Public Human Services Association’s (APHSA) Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Carrie Finkbiner, Clinical Project coordinator for the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health, and Kate Griffin, Vice President of Programs at the Corporation of Enterprise Development, wrote the article “Breaking a Mindset of Scarcity” about the effects poverty has on young children’s brains, and they look at poverty in a neurological way. This article argues that poor people start to believe that they are poor because they are not good enough based off their own experiences of inequality. They start believing that they can’t amount to anything because of their ethnicity, race, immigration status, or other factors and that they are poor because they are not white; however, this kind of thinking is toxic and has a huge effect on physical and mental health. The authors propose steps that can help people in this situation to start taking control of their own financial wellbeing. They state, “Helping people plan and practice making forwardthinking decisions allows them to set their own meaningful goals — that they are often more likely to pursue” (Campbell et al.14). Showing someone how to plan out their budget or just their day in general can be a big help because, when you do not have a plan and you are under stress, you can end up getting tunnel vision or confusing and stressing yourself out even more.
Personally, I believe that everyone should be taught how to plan toward their goal regardless of whether they are struggling with poverty. I believe that everyone can benefit from it and possibly teach others. Hanna Brooks Olsen, co-founding editor of Seattlish, wrote the article “Why Escaping Poverty Isn’t Nearly as Easy as People Think” talking about the struggles of trying to escape poverty. Olsen agrees with Campbell et al. when she says, “There are a variety of emotional, physical, and even neurological disadvantages that come along with childhood poverty” (par. 15). Poverty is more than a temporary status, it is a continuous cycle (par. 18). There are a lot of stereotypes involving poverty; for example, some think it is temporary and not long term. Not everyone is born into poverty; someone could have experienced something like losing their job, medical bills, or anything that can cause their money to significantly decrease (par. 22). Some people believe that only people of color are stuck in poverty, but in reality it can happen to anyone whenever. Personally, I am guilty of believing that stereotype. I have primarily seen people of color in poverty while growing up, so I assumed that white people were somehow invincible to it. There are government programs that are offered to poor people, such as SNAP and Medicaid, but a majority of the time poor people are judged for applying for these programs. There would be some people who see poor people getting these programs as lazy. My mom would receive SNAP, a program that offers food-purchasing assistance, when I was younger because food is quite expensive, especially if you are buying “healthy” foods. Once I turned 18, the government stopped giving my mom SNAP because she no longer had a dependent. These government programs are really helpful for people struggling with poverty because if you have SNAP you can use that just for food and you would not have to spend any of your own money on food, and instead you can use it to pay rent, bills, etc. David K. Shipler, an American author who won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction in 1987, wrote the book The Working Poor: Invisible in America about poor people’s experiences and what they have to go through. Poor people normally rely on tax return season to make big purchases, like fixing their car or big payments like overdue bills because they did not have enough money before getting their tax return and could not afford to pay or buy what they wanted. My parents used to wait for tax season all the time. We would not have presents on Christmas because there was not enough money, so tax return season was our Christmas. Almost like tradition, something would always happen to our car, whether it was a car crash or it just needed something simple repaired, so we would also get it fixed. Now my parents dread tax season, afraid that they are going to have to owe the IRS and pay them money that we do not have. Why do newcoming immigrants have such a positive view on poverty here in America and not see themselves as being poor? It is simple really; poverty here in America is better than poverty in their home country. They see coming to America as an opportunity to get a better job and give their children a better education. Some people hit a financial bump, or obstacle, like what Hanna B. Olsen said, that just causes their money to significantly decrease. My parents were once immigrants who had that gleam of hope shining in their eyes when they came to America; they thought that they would go to university and find a good job. Unfortunately, my family hit a pretty 141
big bump that we have not been able to recover from. This is not the case for all immigrant families; some go on to be quite successful, like Jin Park. Jin Park, a 22 year old immigrant from South Korea, is a senior at Harvard University who is the first DACA recipient to be awarded a Rhodes scholarship. Jin is “working toward a a degree in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in ethnicity, migration and rights” (Simon par. 2). His mom worked in beauty salons and his dad was a line cook. They were denied health care, access to health care, and health insurance. This has kept Jin focused on working hard and despite what his family has been through; he feels really optimistic about America. Poverty is not a mindset; it is a way of living that is hard to get out of, and there are just some things that are out of our control and can either work in our favor or not. That being said, it is also not impossible to get out of, like Jin Park. Most of the people I have met who are poor all have a positive “I’m going to make it out of here” mentality, and they work hard and want to help their parents get out of poverty. That is honestly why I am going to university. I want to get out of poverty, and I want to get my family out of it too. My brother decided not to go to college yet because he saw my parents struggling with trying to pay the rent, and now he is working, paying some bills, and helping with the rent. If poverty was just a mentality, then my family and many others would be out of it by now. WORKS CITED “American Dream.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream. Campbell, Emily, et al. “Breaking a Mindset of Scarcity.” Policy & Practice (19426828), vol. 73, no. 5, Oct. 2015, pp. 13-30. EBSCOhost, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h &AN=116279565&site=ehost-live&scope=site Olsen, Hanna B. “Why Escaping Poverty Isn’t Nearly as Easy as People Think.” Everyday Feminism. 20 Jul. 2017. everydayfeminism.com/author/hannabo/. Poverty Traps, edited by Samuel Bowles, et al., Princeton University Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hpuebooks/detail.action?docID=784526 Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible In America. New York, Knopf, 2004 Simon, Scott, and Sophia Boyd. “Meet Jin Park, The First DACA Recipient Awarded A Rhodes Scholarship.” NPR, NPR, 24 Nov. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/11/24/670513643/first-dacarecipient-awarded-a-rhodesscholarship?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20181126 &utm_campaign=npr_email_a_friend&utm_term=storyshare.
Meaningful Education By Marc Jaksuwijitkorn American President Lyndon B. Johnson famously stated that “education is the key to opportunity in our society, and the equality of educational opportunity must be the birthright of every citizen” (Lyndon B. Johnson). It is undeniable that education is the key to success for every succeeding generation. It might even be the most important determinant of life as it provides opportunities and functions as a safeguard against inequality. However, education at the university and college level is extremely costly, and for many it is a massive investment, elevating a sense of pressure to succeed at all costs in this pursuit of a college degree. Sue Coffey, Charles Anyinam, and Hilde Zitzelsberger, in their joint article “Meaningful Engagement with Academic Integrity through a Focus on Context and Relationship” published in the anthology New Directions for Community Colleges, acknowledge that “students’ level of personal investment is high from day one, so not surprisingly, the stakes for success are high” (20). The pressure to succeed at all costs raises the issue that much of the time students are fixated on the end result with the mindset of obtaining a diploma as the key to a job rather than focusing on the learning process that transforms their thinking and understanding of the world within the hard work of reading, thinking and writing for their classes. Too often, as Thomas Lord implied in his article “What? I Failed? But I Paid for Those Credits! Problem of Students Evaluating Faculty” published in the Journal of College Science Teaching, students see assignments and required classes as obstacles in their way of getting the diploma that they feel they have paid for. Moreover, students are overly-concerned about seeking shortcuts to get their work done with the least amount of effort for the highest grade possible according to David Horacek’s argument in “Academic Integrity and Intellectual Autonomy” published in Pedagogy, not Policing: Positive Approaches to Academic Integrity at the University. This results in students who actually short-change themselves—in trying to “get through” the system with the least amount of effort, they actually end up not learning life lessons, such as struggling with material they do not understand, the perseverance of sticking with something even when the outcome is uncertain, discovering for oneself patience to listen and figure out what lesson is to be learned from the experience. All of these things are not measurable by a standardized test, but they are fundamental skills that need to be mastered as graduated students enter the job market. As a result of the complex scenario I stated above, I came up with several important questions that help me better understand the problems of the current education system. How are students being prepared to enter college? When first entering the college, students are given regulations telling them not to cheat, but there is no discussion on how they cheat and how to avoid it. Second, how exactly can institutions help students acknowledge the importance of the meaningful education? How important is the role of the institution in assisting the students to achieve their goals? Institutions throw regulations on students expecting to prevent students’ plagiarism. Why is there not an institution-wide discussion on what academic integrity and intellectual autonomy means from day one for all incoming freshmen? This leads to the next question: is the academic integrity that many universities are encouraging a possible solution? I found out that an educational success surely is a work of two parties. Both the educator and the student need to work together in order to achieve this particular goal. Both sides cannot neglect their significant duties. In order to establish an outstanding school community with a great education system, the university must 143
acknowledge that education itself has a purpose with meaning. However, due to the lack of attention by institutions to monitor each and every one of their students, students themselves are not paying enough attention to what they are doing in their classes. Moreover, when the cost of getting an education is extremely high, students are pushed to accomplish too much at the same time and are pressured to seek shortcuts for a degree rather than go through the long and painful process of learning hard lessons to gain an actual education. Firstly, how well prepared are students for the college education or the profession fields in the future? What is the actual goal of going to college, and do students understand the importance of going to college? Coffey et al. cite A. R. Bavier to point out that current education appears not to prepare students well for their future careers (16). An example from my personal experience was when I was attending a community college in Iowa. My English composition class’s professor was shocked at how many native-English speaking American students did not pass the required placement test for her class compared to second- or third-language English speakers. She also expressed her concern over the high school education for not being able to prepare students well enough for such basic requirements of higher education. As a result of not being prepared for the fundamental skills of higher learning, students turn to an easy way out. Coffey et al. provide a graph of percentage of students cheating from 70 and 4 years ago. The numbers run from 23% 70 years ago to 50-70% 4 years ago in 2014 (Drake and MacLeod qtd. in Coffey et al. 16). Plagiarism and cheating are two prevalent practices by students that demonstrate that the experience of learning through hard work is significantly devalued by most students today. It is this attitude held by many students, that they are simply too busy doing more important things like status updates that prevent students from reaching their full potential. Moreover, if students are allowed to pass their courses without learning to take responsibility for their own learning, they are at a distinct disadvantage when moving on to their careers in the future, because they never learned the importance of taking the initiative to learn critically. Horacek argues in his essay that students are not effectively taught what academic integrity means nor how to get students to embody it, and instead students are simply given a list of behavior to avoid and ordered not to cheat and plagiarize (7). Additionally, Coffey et al. suggests that faculty should not be too focused on deterring cheaters, or fall into a role of policing. Instead, faculty should aid in helping to improve student understanding of the connections between morality in school and subsequent professional life (1517). The answer to the question whether the students understand the true purpose of going to college or not would be “not exactly,” which leads to the next question: “Can the institution help the students to acknowledge this significant matter?” As previously stated, the success of education is a work of both student and educator. Student and faculty must be in consensus about the meaningfulness of the education. Coffey et al, argue that in order to make this work, academic institutions and students have to be on the same side and not against each other (16-17). Students have to be willing to accept the targeted, desired conduct with the full understanding that following the codes is the only way to achieve the goal of educating oneself (as opposed to being passive about one’s education, expecting that your teacher does the learning for you), which continues to one’s future career. The goal of study should be working toward getting ready for the subsequent career. Coffey et al. demonstrate how a nursing program instills this sense of a professional standard that nursing students are initiated into, and they are guided toward a successful example of how a university gets its students to take responsibility for themselves to figure out how to behave within their academic discipline: “The context of nursing 144
practice in our jurisdiction is one in which nursing is seen as an honorable, and highly esteemed professional undertaking” (Coffey et al. 17). Nursing students are encouraged and guided to incorporate the goals of the profession into their own personal practice. They do not avoid banned activities because it was forbidden by academic integrity. Instead they obey the rules because they aspire to become a nurse. While college students in other disciplines do not share the same particular set of professional goals as nursing students, Horacek argues that they are initiates into a community of researchers (10). In a response to Horacek’s claim I would encourage the university to treat students similarly to the way that practitioners initiate in a community of practitioners, so they can see that the work they are asked to do for classes has a direct correlation to the work and standards that they will be expected to adhere to when they join the workforce. When I was writing this essay, I attempted to apply Horacek’s method to my work. Surprisingly, I found it was more helpful than I first expected. I was enjoying working on my paper, and more importantly I did not catch myself plagiarizing or bullshitting throughout the course of writing this paper. It is true that the foundation of college education is different and far broader than a community of practitioners, which usually has specific necessary principles required for each area of profession. The fundamentals of a community of practitioners require students to evenly balance experiencing in the work area and the course work in school. For example, in the nursing education, a practitioner will have to learn both how to actually work in a hospital and gain theoretical knowledge in the classroom. On the other hand, college education is more focused on theoretical study. However, that should not imply that a substantial code of academic integrity cannot be applied to the college education. Moreover, when we carefully examine, despite the associating careers of each major, the mechanisms in obtaining the knowledge in college education are not too far off in any branch. Every major requires very similar methods of studying, generally reading and then providing critical responses on an essay, and taking exams. Seeing that, college education should be considered as a community of researchers similarly to how the nursing education is community of practitioners. Even so, the implementation of the approaches will not be easy, even though we have the community of practitioners as a model. However, because of the distinctiveness of the two systems their unique purposes are intended to serve in different areas. In effect, some modifications are still needed in order to make it effectual in college education. To simply take one system and apply it to the other would not guarantee a positive result. However, the idea of implementing selfregulation morality should be holding as a principle of renovation. Students should not feel that they are avoiding certain activities because it is implicated in the regulation. Instead, they should be encouraged to see themselves as a part of a larger community of researchers, so that they can understand that the rules that they are following have a direct correlation to standards of the workforce that they are going to participate in in the future. Horacek suggests that students should be instructed similarly to researcher apprentices. This alternative method will help to highlight the continuity between the role of student and the subsequent career (16). Additionally, Coffey et al. quotes Bavier to imply that students’ careless behavior in school should not be overlooked, because it will pass on to the profession life “The way students behave in their educational programs may set the stage for behaviors that will persist into their work lives” (Bavier qtd. in Coffey et al. 16). Therefore, once again I have to emphasize that, in order to achieve educational success, both the educators and the students have to have a very strong determination to change. 145
To answer another important question, “What should students expect when go to college?”, I have found that many students do not even know what they should be expecting when they were deciding to go to college. For this reason, it is a magnificent duty for the university to help students to appreciate and understand the value of college education. In the article, Coffey et al. generally emphasize the context and relationship between student and educator. They indicate that educators must appreciate the role of supporters, and be willing to help students develop to their best abilities at all cost. On the other hand, students also have to appreciate the role of scholars by recognizing the goals and purposes of study, and most importantly be honest. Both articles from Coffey et al., and Horacek have one understanding in common; they both agree that this significant change could and should begin with the educators. Horacek states, “We educators should do our best to eliminate all failures of academic integrity in students, both the forbidden and the allowed, because both interfere with the development of a student’s intellectual autonomy” (7). In the hope that the new implementation will work, Coffey et al. indicate that some policing process should matter. With self-regulation as an essence of the codes, penalties and consequences have to be appropriate, yet enhancing dignity and respect of both themselves and the community (18). However, it is very important to keep in mind that regulation is not all that matters, but education must also have a space for students to have freedom and creativity. The most efficient way to prevent breaking rules is to have the fewest rules, rather than forcing students to obey the regulations. Instead, support them to develop more freedom of thinking. According to Horacek, one of his strategies to enhance academic integrity and prevent plagiarism is to encourage students to write more freely. In the other words, he provides students more opportunities for expressing their understandings by saying what they truly understand. Horacek indicates, “One of my teaching strategies resolves around exposing the ‘insane conspiracy’ of high school writing teachers and telling students that I expect them to write like real researchers, that is in the first person” (13). Moreover, he also encourages apprenticeship-like educating, which is to say "learning like working” (16). As a result, this method not only enhances the morality of learning and responsibility, but also understanding and the use of true knowledge. However, some might argue that encouraging students to write more freely will increase the opportunity for students to talk about anything regardless of the facts, or “bullshitting” rather than using true intellect. Again, back to what was previously stated, the educator and the student have to be on the same side, and not against each other. Educators have to understand students’ pressure, and to be too focused on punishing might even enhance the chances of students breaking the policy. There is plenty evidence to indicate that students not only want to graduate, in fact students do care more about the quality of education than we expected. The research in “Honesty on Student Evaluations of Teaching” by Lauren McClain, Angelika Gulbis and Donald Hays indicates that students tend to be honest in evaluating courses if they believe that the evaluation will positively affect their learning conditions. On the other hand, they tend to care less if they believe that the purpose of the evaluation is firing or promoting faculty or that it is not going to help with their learning directly (McClain et al. 380). This shows that students do deeply care about the meaningful education, but the pressure to succeed at all cost squeezes them to tilt toward shortcuts. Coffey et al. claim that “If all it took to stem behaviors that posed a threat to academic integrity was to develop clear policies, advise students, and faculty of the rules of conduct, and follow 146
through with appropriate consequences for failure to meet these expectations, we would have conquered this problem long ago” (16-17). A perfect written policy would not be able to make any difference, if both student and educator are not truly convinced to make a change. The question is how badly both sides are willing to have a better condition of learning. Are students only going to college just to get a degree, so that they can get a decent job? Did the knowledge already become a secondary objective for going to college? On the other hand, how willing are academic institutions to assist students to reach the top priority of education? Is educating still the heart of these institutions? Or have universities today turned into some kind of corporation already? If the focus on financial efficiency becomes as important as generating quality people for the society, then we have driven the education in a very wrong direction. Lord, in his career of teaching, once had been asked for a refund from a student for the credits that he paid for, and he was taken aback by the question. (117). However, Lord goes on to argue in his essay that the student’s perspective was quite understandable since students today are perceived as in a role of customer by many universities. He quotes Sylvia d’ Apollonia and Philip C. Abrami: “The student-as-consumer philosophy has become more widely spread in academic institutions over the last two decades,” emphasizing how university business model became such a big issue (Sylvia d’ Apollonia and Philip C. Abrami qtd. in Lord 118). As a result, education today has kind of lost the purpose. Both students and educators are doing the opposite of what they should be doing. Not only are students misplacing themselves in the education process, but the universities are also misleading students. As a result of the business model system, students gained more voices in the university, but not in a position of scholars, but as consumers. Under those circumstances, they gained the perception that they need to be pleased by the university. As previously stated, when students gained more voices, students’ opinion became overwhelmingly influential on university policy. Lord demonstrates an example in his article. “It is common nowadays for student representatives to serve on university committees. Students are often consulted on ventures that include curriculum, discipline, regulation, and campus construction” (118). It is not wrong, however, to have voices of students in the process of policy or decision making that relates in the area of learning community. In many ways it was a quite rightful and very useful method to take students’ opinions into consideration. However, the problem is that both student and university are awfully misunderstanding the concept of studentcentered education. Lord quotes Stanley Fish to explain how this method turns out not to be quite effectual. “When the driving mechanism for faculty evaluations shifts from educating to pleasing, many problems occur” (Fish qtd. in Lord 118-119). When students are perceived as in the role of consumer and graduates are products of using the service of the university, they are no longer demanding a better learning environment. Instead, they are requiring more comfortable conditions of learning. Moreover, when universities are not focusing on implementing what is rightful, instead they are trying to keep students expectations met and keep them pleased. As a result, both sides are carrying the education more and more toward consumerism, and drifting away further from academic integrity. Lord quotes another colleague of his in his article to reveal that it is almost a mission impossible to provide students everything that they want along with keeping a high quality education. “The principal foundation of the business model is the notion of satisfying the customer. Because the products of a college are its graduates, it requires the college to meet their expectations for both a quality education and a gratifying experience. This is nearly impossible if the college wants to retain its integrity and 147
high standards” (117). The business method does very little if anything at all in solving the problem of the learning community. It fails to advise students to recognize that it is more important to be educated, rather than just be graduated. What is the point of graduating if no knowledge had truly been learned? In a world that is full of big corporations, all things have turned into business, but education should not be one them. Education should be the last resort of hopes. The context of academic institutions is beyond significant. The duty of assisting students to recognize the essence of education and developing them into quality personnel are keys to accomplish academic integrity. Seeing that, the role of academic institutions might even be more important than the student’s. Given that, even if students are holding false understandings about college, it could help establish the true motive of education for students. Subsequently, if students do not understand what they are getting into when they are continuing to the higher education, the institutions hold a responsibility to establish the conditions for the students to achieve the goal of academic integrity. Be on the same side with the students, be understanding, and be supportive. Students in higher education already know enough to have valuable opinions. However, this is still not enough for many reasons. Therefore, it is an academic institution’s duty to establish conditions of learning by compromising with the students’ opinions. Lord quotes Robin Wilson, who states, “The role of the university is leadership, not a servant of consumer demands as the current business model requires” (Wilson qtd. in Lord 121). Nonetheless, in terms of teaching, the faculty has never really been concerned with making negative influences on education. From my own experience, most of the teachers and professors were brilliantly responsible in the role of instructors. Lord cites an unnamed colleague arguing that what causes problems the most would be the management of the higher education. Many universities today have turned to the business model (117). Administrations take students’ satisfactions for granted. They believe that a good education must be simple, and satisfying. As a result, they are trying to provide more opportunities for students to propose their desires by having them participate in the process of determination of educational purposes. Consequently, it could be very useful in many cases. However, in the use of implementing academic integrity, this method is quite mistaken. It is true that students should be happy and fulfilled in the university life. However, the satisfaction should be perceived from the pride of being able to accomplish tasks with ability, and not from having uncomplicated and convenient learning style. To answer my last question whether the academic integrity is a possible solution, the answer would be yes. Nevertheless, before getting to the point of implementing the solution, educators have to evoke the necessary principles in order to make it effectual. In the other words, the educators firstly have to strengthen students’ passion for meaningful education before carrying out the step of implementing. I personally not only did not truly understand the concept of academic integrity at first, as I had never heard of the phrase “academic integrity” before writing this paper. I was not so surprised because I am an international student, and there are countless words that I have never heard of. What alarmed me was when I started asking my student friends, “What is academic integrity?” I was startled when most of my friends did not know what it means either. It perplexed me how universities just throw regulations and expectations on students without preparing them to understand the essentials of the mission that they have to take.
Under those circumstances, one can see how the institutions could help shaping students’ perception in the higher education community. However, in order to build a better learning community, both sides have to be willing to remodel their old perceptions for better conditions of learning. Students and educators still have a very long way to go. Students must realize what they are getting themselves into when they are applying for college. Furthermore, they have to recognize the heart of education, its purposes, and know what to expect to achieve in the college. Are students only going to college just to get a degree, or do they really want to be educated and getting a degree is an outgrowth? On the other hand, the academic institutions also have a responsibility to establish a well-prepared environment for students to learn with their true ability. This involves objectives, the policy, the faculty, and the facility. All of these factors could exceedingly enhance the readiness of students for the academic integrity. Not only the students have to understand the context of scholars, but the university as well has to recognize its role in the learning community. The only aim for the administrator should be to educate people, and not whether the institution is gaining or losing profits in this quarter. As Lord quotes Robert Haskell at the end of his argument essay, “University certainly have a responsibility for the safety, wellbeing, and satisfaction of the people they serve, but they also have a responsibility to educate the people as well. With their dignity and reputation on the line, the most important responsibility is to certify that their graduates are truly educated” (Haskell qtd. in Lord 121). And I agree. WORKS CITED Coffey, Sue, Charles Anyinam, Hilde Zitzelsberger. “Meaningful Engagement with Academic Integrity through a Focus on Context and Relationship.” New Directions for Community Colleges, vol. 2018, no. 183, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2018, pp. 15-23. Horacek, David. “Academic Integrity and Intellectual Autonomy.” Pedagogy, Not Policing: Positive Approaches to Academic Integrity at the University. Ed. Tish Eshelle Twomey, Holly White, and Ken Sagendorf. Syracuse, N.Y: Graduate School Press, Syracuse University, 2009. 7–17. Print. Lord, Thomas. “What? I Failed? But I Paid for Those Credits! Problems of Students Evaluating Faculty.” Journal of College Science Teaching, 38(2), 72–75, 2008. "Lyndon B. Johnson." AZQuotes.com. Wind and Fly LTD, 2018. 29 November 2018. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/1056436 McClain, Lauren, Angelika Gulbis & Donald Hays (2018) Honesty on student evaluations of teaching: effectiveness, purpose, and timing matter!, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43:3, 369-385, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2017.1350828
Society’s Fault for Female Anorgasmia By: Lyka Mae Corotan Can you remember when you last orgasmed during sex? That sensational feeling of your man making love to you, kissing your body and going deep in you. You begin to lose it and realize you were getting this ever stronger wave of pleasure, your body freaks out and eventually, you hit a peak. Well, sad to say, not every woman gets to experience that. Though there are many discussions about the problem of male sexuality, we neglect to see that females too can have issues in bed. Females can also have sexual disorders, such as anorgasmia. Many seek to find the cure to this dysfunction, but what most do not consider is that female anorgasmia should not only be seen as a biological or medical problem. Most studies have shown cognitive therapy to treat this issue, but it is the society that should be treated. Because of the gender roles, placed between males and females, and lack of sex education on sexual pleasure, many females have struggled to gain the pleasure that is talked about in sex. The incapability of orgasming interferes with the individual’s happiness and sexual gratification, leading to residual sexual tension that could spill over into other aspects of a woman’s life. Various journals, TedTalks, and articles show the underlying issue within our society, such as gender roles, the absence of education on sexual pleasure, and the lack of acknowledgment and acceptance of females being orgasmic from different cultures, has caused female deprivation in being orgasmic. Before trying to understand the reason behind female anorgasmia, understanding what a female orgasm is comes first. Unlike the male concept of placing strong selective pressure on the man's penis to reach an orgasm, women have various variable mechanisms that go into being orgasmic. H. Ümit Sayin, who specializes in neuro-psychopharmacology and neuroscience and has studied female sexuality, explains that “female orgasm is a neuro-psychological response and peak experience that results from the accumulated sexual tension, sexual stimulation, arousal and internal sexual build up, which is accompanied by the neural and psychological discharge” (Sayin 693). A female orgasm is a complex concept that has various factors that lead up to this ecstasy. This is similar to the famous goal-oriented four-step process developed by sexual, psychological, and psychiatric researchers William Masterson and Virginia Johnson. The process includes excitement or “state of desire or arousal,” plateau, buildup of sexual tension, the actual orgasm where “rhythmic contractions occur in the uterus, vagina, and pelvic floor muscles,” and finally resolution, the aftermath feeling or the releasing of sexual pleasure (Alkon 2018). For a female to get orgasmic, she has to first get aroused. It takes between 20-40 minutes for a woman to reach this stage, whereas, for men, they could reach climax in minutes. When she is aroused then she can begin to build the tension with her vagina that allows her to get to that orgasmic stage. What most people do not realize is that a female can have different orgasms as well. Women have at least 12 different types of orgasm, the most common are either from their clitoris, vaginal penetration, or the g-spot. But even with the various types of orgasm, some women find it difficult to reach an orgasm in general. From Ellen Laana, a professor at the department of sexology and psychosomatic obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Amsterdam, and Alessandra H. Rellinib, a member of the Human Sexuality Research Clinic and a professor at Department of Psychology at the University of Vermont, we get the article “Can We Treat Anorgasmia in Women? The Challenge to Experiencing.” They begin by explaining the medical definition for female anorgasmia. They cited 150
the American Psychiatric Association’s fourth book “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” explaining the diagnosis of factors that are considerable as anorgasmia. “Persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm following a normal sexual excitement phase, causing marked distress or interpersonal difficulty” (Laan et al. 329). There are two degrees in which female anorgasmia is categorized: primary orgasmic dysfunctions, which is when a woman has never had an orgasm and secondary orgasmic dysfunction when the female fails to have an orgasm only in selective situations. Sandra Leiblum, an author on sex therapy, lays out statistics collected from various females worldwide on their average of being orgasmic or not: Only 25% of women always reach orgasm during intercourse, and 30% climax only sometimes or less frequently during sex with their primary partner...7% of the Dutch women never had an orgasm during coitus… 10.3% reported difficulty reaching orgasm all or most of the time... Among patients in an American outpatient gynecological clinic and a UK general practice clinic, 29% and 23% of women reported orgasmic difficulties. (Leiblum 2018) There are fewer than 35% of women who are easily capable of being orgasmic. That leaves about more than 50% of women who struggle or are incapable of being orgasmic. There are many women who seek sexual pleasure but do not usually get what they expect; they struggle to understand why they cannot have an orgasm. Female anorgasmia is said to be the second leading problem with female sexual disorder, and many seek to understand and find a cure for this disorder. In many experiments about treating anorgasmia, a cognitive therapy which helps with female anxiety problems is commonly used. For instance, in the article “Women’s Orgasm,” by multiple authors like Julia R. Heiman, American sexologist and psychologist, different aspects of the female orgasm is explored. The authors explain the overview of what we should know about the female orgasm: its history, causes, the objective of an orgasm, its different types, and relations between physiological factors in orgasms, and even female orgasmic disorder. The article states that “Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anorgasmia focuses on promoting changes in attitudes and sexually relevant thoughts, decreasing anxiety, and increasing orgasmic ability and satisfaction” (Meston et al.). Continually it is discussed that, in order for a female to reach more satisfaction during sex, she should go to therapy that will change HER thoughts and HER attitude towards sex in order to be orgasmic, because from this perspective it is definitely her fault that she is thinking too much and is super tense during sex so much so that she cannot orgasm. There seems to be a sense of blame from society that the female is at fault for her inability to orgasm, when in actuality it is society’s fault for the thoughts and anxiety females feel during sexual interaction. Although orgasm is technically defined to have psychological factors, we have to essentially look at what causes these thoughts and anxiety in the first place. Even Martina McCabe, who is the Director of the Institute for Health and Ageing at the Australian Catholic University, claims that “in order for treatment approaches to address the psychological factors that contribute to anorgasmia, it is important to have a clear understanding of the manner in which they contribute to this sexual dysfunction” (McCabe 181). In other words, before suggesting a psychological or cognitive treatment for female anorgasmia, one must understand how and why they think and feel certain ways in the first place. Heiman’s treatment of women with cognitive therapy is essentially useless if they fail to understand the cause behind those thoughts and anxiety. 151
Jennifer Drew, from the University of Metropolitan in the UK, states that “many women experience lack of sexual desire or lose interest in sexual activity with their male partner because of rigid sex roles” (Drew 92). She says this in her article “The Myth of Female Sexual Dysfunction and its Medicalization,” that was published in the Sexualities, Evolution & Gender journal, which confronts and advocates for interdisciplinary matters and issues about sexuality, 'normal' sexual behavior and sexual health. Drew explains that society often acts like “her vagina’s sole purpose is to serve the necessity of a penis ejaculating” (Drew 92). Gender roles are not only in the workforce or the household, but even in sex. Society has placed this thought in our head that a woman’s job during intercourse is to please the man, that his needs to reach sexual pleasure come first. Coming from experience, during sexual intercourse it has been automatic for me to think of what my partner feels and whether he is feeling good or not. That constant thoughts and concerns are what essentially leads to female anxiety during coitus. Because we place these sex roles and teach our females that sex is about pleasuring the man, it deprives us of thinking of our own pleasure. Instead of thinking of pleasuring ourselves during sex, we are more focused on what he is feeling. Society has also neglected the whole idea of female satisfaction. Drew stated that “women are not supposed to express their sexual agency or desire, instead the man’s needs are primary. Masturbation is not considered acceptable behavior in prepubescent girls, and adolescent girls supposedly do not experience sexual or physical desires” (Drew 92). Again society places these “rules” or expectations which stop females from exploring sexual pleasure. Similarly, in the movie Sexology Catherine Oxenberg and Gabrielle Anwar, who are both awards winning actresses, explore the meaning behind women being orgasmic and get insight from experts in sexology, trance specialists, and sex therapists on the best ways for women to increase their abilities in being orgasmic. Sheri Winston, a medical professional, explains to the two ladies that women were taught that pleasure is “dangerous, it’s going to cause trouble...we’d be bad girls.” Oxenberg added on that, “Most of us shut down our sexual energy at some point… when we were told what we were doing is inappropriate, whether it was touching ourselves…. We got negative messages about our sexual energy, how to hide that and not to pleasure ourselves in any way” (00:26:25-00:26:55). When society starts to portray these negative thoughts about self-pleasure, women begin to think that way as well. Instead of trying to explore the wonders of pleasing ourselves, we are taught that it is bad, it should never be done, and that we should hide our pleasure. This potentially carries on as we grow older and as we begin to have sexual intimacy with our partner. But instead of getting that wondrous sexual pleasure, we continue to think about the negative thoughts society has placed on women. Instead of allowing us to enjoy our own sexual pleasure, society makes us suppress any thoughts, feelings, and actions towards pleasing ourselves. Peggy Orenstein, an award-winning journalist and a well recognize speaker on issues affecting girls and women, explores the changing landscape of modern sexual expectations and its troubling impact on adolescents and young women. In her recent Ted Talk, “What Women Believe about Their Own Sexual Pleasure,” she enlightened the audience with the issue of society’s effect on females’ understanding and feeling towards sexual pleasure. Orenstein said, “Girls expressed a sense of shame around their genitals. A sense that they were simultaneously icky and sacred.” Society has caused our young females to be ashamed of their own body. How are we supposed to feel the enjoyment of sex when society has made us feel ashamed of our body? Society essentially affects the thinking and feelings females have towards sexual pleasure. Instead of feeling more 152
excitement and desire towards having sex, female are constantly reminded that their vaginas are dirty or perceived to be dirty for having sex in the first place. Because females are geared towards thinking that their genitals are “icky,” it causes them to be distracted and essentially lose sight in the lustful feeling of orgasming. Like Orenstein said, “Women's feelings about their genitals have been directly linked to their enjoyment of sex.” So, if a female has negative thoughts about their genitals, then they are least likely to get aroused, leading to the disappointment of not being able to orgasm. There is also evidence in different cultures that have shunned the idea of female anorgasmia. Again from the article “Women’s Orgasm,” the authors gave the example of “Mangaian women are taught to have orgasms, hopefully, two or three to her male partner's one, and to try to attain mutual orgasm. Mangaian males who are not able to give their partners multiple orgasms are not held in high esteem” (Meston et al. 217). While in a different culture they are quite the opposite. “The Arapesh is such a society, as they do not even have a word in their language for the female orgasm. In a similar vein, the Sambia people of the Highlands of New Guinea accord the clitoris (lakandiku) no function or importance, and it is never mentioned in public by men” (Meston et al. 217). In the Mangaian culture, it is more likely for the female to have an orgasm compared to the women who are Arapesh or Sambians. Because the Mangaian women are taught to have an orgasm, they are expected to have an orgasm and are constantly reminded to. Since the idea is always being talked about there is a higher chance for the orgasm to occur. In comparison, Arapesh or Sambian women are uneducated on the kind of pleasure they can attain during a sexual intercourse. Because they are not exposed to the idea of having an orgasm, the women are unsure of what an orgasm is and would probably not know whether they have had one before. McCabe also explained how “empirical studies have consistently demonstrated that anorgasmic women reported experiencing significantly greater discomfort with communication about sexual activities” (McCabe 180). Females can feel discomfort when addressing any sexual activities. The lack of acknowledgement some cultures have with females being orgasmic can cause them to feel ashamed to talk about it. Because these women are unsure of how to communicate their feelings and thoughts about how they prefer to be sexually aroused, it then becomes very difficult for them to reach any peak in sexual intercourse. By seeing the difference between the two cultures, it is safe to say that it would not just be culture that can prevent an orgasm from occuring in women, but also lack of education can also result in women being unable to experience pleasure through orgasm. Sex education in the United States has also lacked in properly educating young teens about the wonders of sex. John Delamater, an American sociologist and sexologist who taught at the University of Wisconsin, wrote the article, “Gender Equity in Formal Sexuality Education,” which explains different types of sexual education that are provided and their effectiveness. There are five types of sex education: Sexuality education which is a broad teaching of sexuality and considerations of sexual health and quality of the interpersonal relationship. Theoretically based sexuality education.... include information about sexual behavior, sexual relationships, and sexual health; they are based on empirically tested theories of health promotion…. Abstinenceplus programs. Promote abstinence as the preferred option for adolescents but permit discussion of contraception as an effective means of reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancy and disease... Abstinence-only programs. Promote abstinence from sexual 153
intimacy as the sole morally correct means of preventing pregnancy and STIs for persons who are not heterosexually married ... HIV/AIDS risk education. Refers to educational programs sharply focused on disease prevention. (Delamater 411) These sex education programs focus on the risks and dangers of sexual activity. In most cases schools, churches, and communities promote the idea of abstinence--not having sex at all until marriage. We are only taught about how dangerous sex can be and the horrific consequences of sexually engaging with others. Although it is crucial to learn about the risk of having sex, it is also important to educate about sexual pleasure. The key to the ultimate goal of enjoying ourselves is to know what you and your partner want and how to satisfy each other. Consequently, incomplete and biased sex education fails both men and women, omitting the fact that sex is not only for reproduction and getting diseases, but also for enjoyment. Because society fails to teach women and men about their capabilities in how to sexually please themselves, it can lead to an incapability of being orgasmic. Jaiya, a somatic sexologist and author of multiple books on sexual pleasure, stated in the movie Sexology: “it’s not that you're broken, it’s because they have a lack of sex education.” Females tend to think that there is something wrong with them if they have not experienced an orgasm during sex when it could essentially be the fact that they are not taught factors that lead up to being orgasmic. Rather than exploring the wonders of sexual pleasure, we continue to teach our girls to close their legs and wait till marriage. We should be educating all genders on more ways to achieve sexual pleasure, not only for the satisfaction, but also for the benefits from it. Getting them to better understand their own body and how to sexually please themselves can lead to better performance in sexual interaction with their partner. Clearly, female anorgasmia does not entirely have to deal with medical or biological problems. Society and culture have definitely impacted women’s performance in bed and their ability to be orgasmic. Placing gender roles is common in various aspects of society, even with sex. Ultimately, women are perceived as the submissive partner and that their role is solely to provide pleasure for their male partner. Society also neglects to acknowledge and educate females on sexual pleasure. Growing up as a female, we are constantly taught that pleasuring ourselves is wrong and that we are dirty. Because of these thoughts, females struggle with achieving the climax they long for. Female anorgasmia is affected by society. In order to treat female anorgasmia through cognitive therapy, we have to first fix the source of those thoughts and feelings. We have to get society to stop supporting negative comments and gender roles, begin to accept that us women can get sexual pleasure as well, and educate women more about their own body in order to avoid women’s incapability of orgasming. WORK CITED Alkon, Cheryl. “Women and Orgasm: Facts About the Female Climax.” Everyday Health, 2 Ap. 2018. https://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/the-female-orgasm.aspx Delamater, John. “ Gender Equity in Formal Sexual Education,” Handbook on Achieving Gender Equity Through Education, 2nd ed., pp. 411-420. https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~delamate/pdfs/SexeducequityCh19_Klein_LEA.pdf Drew, Jennifer. “The Myth of Female Sexual Dysfunction and its Medicalization.” Sexualities, 154
Evolution & Gender, vl 5.2, Aug. 2003, pp. 89–96. Taylor & Francis Ltd doi: 10.1080/14616660310001632563 Laan, Ellen and Alessandra H. Rellini. "Can We Treat Anorgasmia in Women? The Challenge to Experiencing Pleasure." Sexual & Relationship Therapy, vol. 26, no. 4, Nov. 2011, pp. 329-341. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14681994.2011.649691 Leiblum, Sandra R. and Williams, Nina. “Treatment of Orgasmic Dysfunction in Women.” The Global Library of Women’s Medicine. Jan. 2008, DOI 10.3843, https://www.glowm.com/section_view/heading/Treatment%20of%20Orgasmic%20Dysf nction%20in%20Women/item/431 McCabe, Marita P. “Anorgasmia in Women.” Journal of Family Psychotherapy, vol. 20, 22 Jul 2009, pg 177-197, doi: 10.1080/08975350902970055 Meston, Cindy M., et al. "Women's Orgasm." Annual Review of Sex Research, vol. 15, no. 1, Dec. 2004, pp. 173-257. Orenstein, Peggy. “What Young Women Believe About Their Own Sexual Pleasure” TedTalk, Oct. 2016. https://www.ted.com/talks/peggy_orenstein_what_young_women_believe_about_their_ wn_sexual_pleasure Sayin, H. Ümit. "Doors of Female Orgasmic Consciousness: New Theories on the Peak Experience and Mechanisms of Female Orgasm and Expanded Sexual Response." Neuroquantology, vol. 10, no. 4, Dec. 2012, pp. 692-714. EBSCOhost, hpu.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9 &AN=84345637&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Sexeology. Directed by Gabrielle Anwar. Journeyman Pictures, 22 Dec. 2016.
Lost Boat by Sean Healey
Can Texting and Driving Be Stopped? By Kellen Chevalier Driving in a car, lots of traffic, the kind that will delay everyone’s day, and the radio starts describing yet another car crash. Pretty normal right? Car crashes seem to happen every other day - especially on the days we are running late. It happens so often that it tends to go through one ear and out the other, if it is not concerning someone we care about then it is “just another car accident,” we hear about it, feel concerned and bad about it for 5-10 minutes, then we go on with our day, but what about the people in the car accidents? These car accidents could change their daily lives forever or even cause death in just a matter of seconds. Imagine being paralyzed for the rest of your life or killed because someone else was on their phone. These driving accidents kill on average 200,000 people every year or about 101 deaths everyday - and that is just in the United States (Brannon Lawfirm, 2017). Drivers that are using their phones on the road put themselves, their passengers, and the people around them at risk of serious life-changing injuries and even death. Disabling the source of the dangers and risks that come with driving and texting could potentially save thousands of lives every year. It is estimated that more than 90% of adults around the world own a cell phone and about 36% of the world’s total population own and use a smartphone (Madrigal, 2013 and Statistica, 2018). This could potentially lead to accidental crashes or fatalities that involve the usage of a phone. These incidents are under-reported; even so, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that 27% of the crashes in 2015 were due to driving and looking at one’s phone (Envoca Designs, 2018). Even looking down at a phone for just 5 seconds poses a huge risk! At 55 mph, it only takes 5 seconds to cross the same distance as a football field. Driving while using orlooking at a phone increases risk of crashing by 5.36 times (“Car Accident Statistics”, 2018). 70% of all car accident victims are actually the people inside the vehicle (Aceable, 2018), meaning that not only are the passengers’ and driverss safety at risk, but also that of nearby motorcyclists and pedestrians. Disabling or preventing drivers from using their phones could potentially save many lives. One solution is to create a type of feature on smartphones that disables the use of all social media, games, Netflix, etc., while also severely limiting the usage of texting, calling, and other possible emergency or service features. This would discourage the driver to look at their phones because, if they cannot do anything on it, then there would be no motivation or point of looking at it. When this feature is activated the phone will display a screen that says, “Driving mode has been activated” and “Only GPS, Audio, Videos, Pictures, Calling, hands-free texting, and emergency features won’t be disabled.” This will let the user know that only certain features are available, hopefully taking away any motivation to go on their phone. Certain apps should not be disabled due to emergency reasons, or if the app provides a service that does not cause the driver to look away from the road, such as emergency calling or texting features, which allow the user to call or text under any circumstances. The user will not be allowed to text freely; this could be similar to the already existing emergency call feature available on the lock screens of iPhones. Instead just calling and texting will be allowed if it is really needed. Emergency features are important because of the possible emergencies that could happen while driving where the driver may need to contact someone or 911 immediately. A couple of examples include witnessing a car crash or crime while driving or a time sensitive family emergency. The features 157
will also be helpful in a severe case such as a kidnapping; the victim needs to have the option to call or even text 911 regardless, whether the phone believes that person is driving or not. Of course, with some limitations the emergency texting and driving should be used only for emergencies to contact 911 or 2, maybe 3, preset emergency contacts. This should not be used as a way to get around the disabling feature by texting through the pre-existing emergency contacts because the user would then end up spending more time trying to figure out how to text through or undo the driving feature, spending more time on their phones than looking at the roads. Required service features may include GPS for directions or video and pictures for evidence of a crime. Regular phone calls and audio features will not be disabled because a phone call will not cause a driver to keep looking down at their phone - it would be the same as having a conversation with someone in the car. Music or other audio features will not be disabled either because, even though it may distract the driver for a few seconds, it is very similar to the car’s own radio. Lastly, if the car can connect via Bluetooth, then hands-free calling and audio texting - the user may audio text people who are not in the pre-set emergency contacts - will be available. A majority of smartphones can be located by satellite and have the ability to determine how fast the phone is traveling. Brad Penneau, a Safety Program Consultant “with a career in transportation safety spanning 30 years” from Verizon Connect, described how this process works, The formula for calculating speed is speed equals distance covered divided by the time taken often represented as: x = d/t. By using two GPS points (locations) we can calculate the distance covered. We can use the clock inside the GPS receiver (a very accurate clock that synchronizes regularly with the atomic clocks aboard the GPS satellites) to measure how long it took the vehicle to travel between those two points. This technology is already being used today by the popular Pokemon Go app. When a user tries to use the app while in a vehicle that is going above a certain speed (perhaps more than 25 mph), the app displays a screen asking if you are a passenger. If you click “Yes, I’m a passenger,” then the app allows you to continue to play the game normally (Tassi, 2016). The app only displays this one option; it does not have any kind of “No, I am not a passenger” button or driver mode. Even if you click the “Yes, I’m a passenger” button, if the user is going above a certain speed, the game does not allow the user to do anything on the app. The app goes back to normal once the user goes under a certain speed limit, meaning that a user can play normally at a red light or when there is heavy traffic. Even though this restriction is not flawless, it did remove a lot of the motivation for users to play while driving. This type of technology can also be applied to the driving feature to prevent the smartphone owners from getting distracted by their phones while driving. Smartphones that can connect to the car via Bluetooth allow the phone to be able to determine when the user has started and stopped driving because the phone knows when it is connected or disconnected to the car. This is a good way for the phone to determine whether or not the driver is still driving, allowing the phone to determine when to activate or deactivate the driving feature, regardless of whether the user is at a red light or in slow traffic. This is already being used by the Google Maps app. It always “saves the location of your parked car,” proving that connecting to Bluetooth can be implemented to determine when the user is driving or parked. If the car does not
have Bluetooth then the phone can check if it is plugged into the auxiliary cord. These already existing abilities can be used towards preventing distracted driving. Drivers are not always the only ones in the car; passengers who are not in charge of driving like to use their phones and other electronics to speed up the long and boring drives – especially for children of young ages. If the driving feature activates the passenger phones, then the driving limitations could cause an uproar and make customers upset, perhaps even protesting the device entirely. There needs to be a way that the driving feature can differentiate between driver and passenger and if the user is even in a car. This is a problem because people could be on a plane, bus, or other type of fast-moving mode of transportation and the driving feature would not let them use their phones as time-wasters, do their work, or relax. If features like texting and email were disabled while on a train or bus, then people are going to get very upset and it could potentially be a safety issue. In the U.S., Americans on average spent 4 hours and 5 minutes a day on their phones in 2017 (Hackernoon, 2017). Apps can be an emotional, mental, work-related, or social necessity in someone’s life, and removing that privilege can be perceived as a violation of their rights to use their phones during their downtime. Creating an automatic program that can determine what the user is currently doing will be very difficult. The phone will not know whether the user is in a car or plane, and the phone may mistakenly confuse the passenger as a driver because passengers also like to connect to the car’s Bluetooth or auxiliary cord as they go the same speeds as the driver. The conditions to implement the driving feature will have to be very precise and accurate; there will be little room for a margin of error. To increase the accuracy in differentiating passengers from drivers, phones could potentially use the program “Machine Learning,” a program that allows a machine to “learn” without any kind of programming. It can be used to conduct an experiment with 100 people or more to determine when the participant is driving and how long they can look at their phones while driving. “Machine Learning” could potentially determine how long a person is able to look at their phone while driving and implement that pattern into a condition to activate the driving feature. This program would be able to determine if the user is looking at their phone or not because of the facial recognition features that the iPhone possesses. Facial recognition is being used as a way to unlock the iPhone, otherwise known as Facial ID (in the Model X and later models). It uses infrared light to brighten the user’s face, giving the camera enough light to take pictures and scan the user’s face, then it starts building a 3D model of the user’s unique facial features and compares very specific or similar features to the preset 3D model that the user would have done when first acquiring the phone - similar to the touch ID fingerprint feature (“How does Facial,” 2017). Using this technology with the infrared lights and sensory cameras would allow the machine to determine where the user is looking at their device, and it can then “count” how long the user is looking at his or her phone. This solution is kind of tricky because, even though the technology to implement it is possible, it is hard to determine how accurate this program will be and if it will confuse a passenger with a driver. The driving feature will not be turned on carelessly; there will be a number of conditions that must be met in order to activate the program. The user must be going above a certain speed (perhaps 16 mph like the Pokemon Go app), be looking up and down at their phone repeatedly, be unable to look at their phone for a certain period of time, and if possible, be connected to Bluetooth or the auxiliary cord. The first three conditions must be met in order to activate the driving feature, the 159
fourth condition is an extra option that can be used to determine if the user is in a car, but, if a passenger connects to the car or auxiliary cord, then the driving feature will be implemented if the other conditions are also met. On the other hand, activating the driving feature for everyone going above 16 mph - regardless if they are a passenger or the driver in a car or any mode of transportation - can be a way to get people less addicted to their phones, forcing more face-to-face interactions, and lessening the chances of a driving accident. Disabling smartphone usage for everyone will force people to find other ways to entertain themselves such as reading books or talking more to the other people that they are with. Completely banning the use of social media and other apps while going a certain speed may also leave the other passengers in the car more attentive, and they may even help the driver stay more alert or warn them of potential crashes. The Pokemon Go creators also had this dilemma, and they decided to introduce a new program that disabled a majority of features while the player was still moving above the preset walking speed. Niantic - the creators of Pokemon Go - implemented this feature in order to prevent players from using the app while in a car or driving by taking away the ability to play almost completely. The program thus took away the playerâ€™s motivation to play while in a vehicle, regardless of whether they were the driver or not. This feature was implemented after Niantic noticed that players were getting into accidents or dangerous situations. Niantic wanted to prevent any fatalities and liabilities that would be connected to Pokemon Go (Tassi, 2016). It is possible to go the same route as Niantic, but it is not ideal; it could still cause a lot of protest. Realistically, it would be very difficult to convince a multi-million dollar company such as Apple or Microsoft to actually program a driving feature app, use it in their products, and then force their users to use it. Companies could lose customers because of the complaints that this feature could trigger. The system may not be 100% accurate at determining if the user is a passenger or a driver, and customers would get very upset if they could not use their phones in the car. Customers may even want to continue to use their phone while driving, even though it puts them and others around them at risk. It could also lead to a boycott or protest of the product, such as when Apple removed the headphone jack feature from their iPhones. It still causes a lot of uproar because customers that upgrade to an iPhone newer than the iPhone 6s are now forced to only use Bluetooth earbuds. It would also take very long and a lot of money to conduct the 100 person experiment in order for the Machine Learning program to create a program that could determine when a person is driving and how long they are able to look at their phones. Large companies may choose to allow distracted driving to continue, save time and money, and not risk the bad publicity and possible backlash from forcefully including the driving feature in the next possible software update. Another possible solution to determine if the user is a driver or not is by having the device ask the user to perform a kind of test or puzzle, such as a simple memory game or maze. It can be a simple test or series of tests that will not be considered annoying or bothersome to the user if they are not driving. The test cannot be easy enough where the driver can successfully pass the tests while driving or at a red light. Lastly, it can only perform this test when the phone is about to implement the driving feature and needs to make absolutely sure that the user is driving. This method is another way for the phone to differentiate between passenger and driver.
In the future, there can be a type of device in the car that can further prevent drivers from using their phones. The driver’s phone would need to be paired with a device that stays on or underneath the steering wheel, or is the steering wheel itself. When the car is on and the driver touches the wheel, this device or steering wheel will detect that the wheel is being touched and will send a signal to the driver’s previously paired phone and tell the phone to implement the driving feature. Another variation of this idea is that the device or steering wheel will only send the “turn on the driving feature signal” if the phone is within 2-3 feet of the steering wheel. This would prevent the driver from being able to see their phone, further strengthening the reliability of the driving feature. It will definitely know and disable only the driver’s phone, also eliminating the chances of mistaking a passenger as the driver. Overall, texting and driving kills and injures many people every year. A driving feature that disables the use of distracting apps can greatly reduce the amount of fatal and non-fatal car accidents caused by the driver using a smartphone while on the road. This can be made possible by creating a program that only allows certain features to be used if the car can connect to the phone via Bluetooth because that way the driver is using a mostly hands-free system, allowing the driver to focus on the road. The technology needed is available right now, such as how the popular gaming app Pokemon Go uses satellites to detect how fast a player is moving to determine if they are in a vehicle or how Google Maps uses Bluetooth connection or the auxiliary cord to determine whether or not the driver is still driving. Apple iPhones using facial recognition as a login into the phone paired with the machine learning program can also be used to check if the user is looking up from their device or not while determining if the user is a passenger or driver, and the device itself could conduct a simple test of the driver before implementing the driving feature. All of these conditions - besides the Bluetooth connection and the auxiliary cord - must be met before the driving feature will be activated. The combination of all four of these programs, and possibly in the near future the steering wheel touch connection, will make the “driving feature” possible and the roads and people safer. REFERENCES Aceable. (2018). Car Accident Statistics. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.aceable.com/safe-driving-videos/car-accident-statistics/. Envoca Designs. (2018). Learn the Facts About Distracted Driving. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.enddd.org/the-facts-about-distracteddriving/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwsMDeBRDMARIsAKrOP7Hv0-gcu6b_w4GRJvjI9I0pc9RLhKyR-ALr7PnarYXae00pPTfXY4aAg6uEAL w_wcB. Hackernoon. (2017, May 09). How Much Time Do People Spend on Their Mobile Phones in 2017? Retrieved November 1, 2018, from https://hackernoon.com/how-much-time-dopeople-spend-on-their-mobile-phones-in-201 7-e5f90a0b10a6. Madrigal, A. C. (2013, June 06). More Than 90% of Adult Americans Have Cell Phones. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/06/more-than-90-of-adultamerican s-have-cell-phones/276615/. 161
Penneau, B. (2014, December 13). How does GPS tracking report on speeding? Retrieved November 1, 2018, from https://www.verizonconnect.com/resources/article/gps-trackingreport-speeding/. Statistica. (2018). Number of smartphone users worldwide 2014-2020. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-usersworldwide/. Tassi, P. (2016, November 08). Why 'PokĂŠmon GO' Is Now Completely Unplayable At Certain Speeds [Update]. Retrieved November 1, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/11/08/why-pokemon-go-is-nowcompletely- unplayable-at-certain-speeds/#29d844723564. The Brannon Lawfirm. (2017, September 18). How Many Car Accidents Are There in the USA Per Day? Retrieved October 23, 2018, from http://branlawfirm.com/many-car-accidentsusa-per-day/.
Chemotherapy: Is the Psychological Damage Worth the Risk? By Brianne Aguigui Surviving cancer is one thing, but surviving its long-term effects is another. After someone is diagnosed with cancer, their only focus becomes survival. This is when a chemotherapy treatment plan is suggested and a list of the commonly known side effects is provided. The chemotherapy treatment has beneficial outcomes when it comes to internally killing the cancer, but the posttreatment side effects among the survivors are hardly mentioned among medical professionals or anyone exposed to the survivors effects behind closed doors. The post side effects that detrimentally damage the patients neurotransmitters result in possible long term psychiatric problems that they are then forced to live with. These are a direct result of the toxic chemicals within chemotherapy. According to the Adverse Drug Reaction Bulletin, Thomas states, “Improved cancer survival and newer forms of chemotherapy have increased exposure to neurotoxic agents” (2013, p. 1071). Chemotherapy is a combination of strong chemical substances that work to fight off the cancer inside the human body, making its strength and toxicity almost equivalent, if not stronger, than the actual cancer (Meyers, 2008). Going off of this information, Beisecker et al. write, “Physicians may stress side effects experienced during chemotherapy, but may refrain from telling patients that side effects may persist long after chemotherapy” (1997, p. 86). With heightened survival rates due to the chemotherapy treatment, no one is willing to question further problems since the main focus is to survive at any cost. Based on research found regarding the post long-term symptoms among cancer survivors who received the chemotherapy treatment, the assumption that chemotherapy is the reason for the detrimental effects upon one’s neurotransmitters appears to be accurate, leading to a strong desire for an alteration of the treatment as a whole. Every patient deserves all of the information that comes with chemotherapy side effects, including long-term effects, in order for them to be fully prepared for the drastic changes that will come in a package deal with survival. This leaves many to wonder: what about chemotherapy causes so many problems within someone’s personality if it is supposed to be beneficial? The post-chemotherapy issues are related to the destruction of the patient’s neurons within the brain due to the amount of unnatural chemicals going into the body. To better understand how neurotransmitters negatively affect the brain, one must understand how they would work normally in the human body. Neurotransmitters can be best described as the brain’s chemical messengers. The neurotransmitters in your brain communicate with others neurons in your body, which ultimately determine mood, reactions, and movements. By adding the chemicals involved with chemotherapy, there is damage to the neurons affecting overall personality (Boeree 2009). The brain reacts in a way that makes someone’s personality seem altered or damaged, which hinders their overall being. Since one of the long-term post-chemotherapy effects has to do with cognitive dysfunction, memory loss is to be expected. The brain undergoes intense chemicals within the treatment resulting in the damage of the temporal lobe and makes the memory foggy and slower than usual (Kieran 2009). The temporal lobe is responsible for the brain’s responses and mental functions such as “feelings or emotions that motivate decision and voluntary actions” (Kieran, 2012, p. 2). The survivors of cancer who underwent chemotherapy can all agree to this as supported by a Professor at University of Rochester Medical Center, Michelle C. Janelsins, who says, “Our study, from one of the largest nationwide studies to date, shows that cancer-related cognitive problems are a substantial and pervasive issue for many” (Paddock, 2017), so much so that they have even come 163
up with a specific term to best describe their problems with memory faced daily. The term “chemobrain” is a term created by the survivors who accept their inevitable cognitive decline regarding their susceptibility to memory loss. There are many studies that conclude common longterm side effects of chemotherapy take a great toll among the brain. Ahles, T. Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center did a study on breast cancer survivors along with other colleagues concluded that “17% to 75% of these women experienced cognitive deficits-problems with attention, concentration, planning and working memory-from 6 months to 20 years after receiving chemotherapy” (2017). This study supports the belief that cognitive decline among cancer survivors who underwent the chemotherapy treatment should be expected. This information brings to light the now obvious detriments of this treatment and leads people to evaluate whether or not the benefits of chemotherapy truly outweigh the risks. The commonly used term from cancer survivors who mentally struggle, “chemobrain,” is an accurate description and has become very well-known since its spread. A seasoned journalist in the medical field, Charlotte Huff, describes “chemobrain” as “a range of difficulties--from diminished executive function to reduced verbal memory--that can emerge in the weeks and months after chemotherapy completion” (2005, p. 28). This conclusion is supported by Ahles (2017) whose trial concluded an almost definite expectancy of cognitive issues post chemotherapy, short-term and long-term among the patients. Adam Thomas, from a Department of Medical Oncology, reveals his views on the subject of “chemobrain” by saying, “Central nervous system (CNS) adverse effects range from commonly reported headache to encephalopathy, intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), and the entity known as ‘chemobrain’” (2013, p. 1071). Encephalopathy is expressed as a problem within one’s consciousness, and an intracranial hemorrhage is when there is bleeding inside one’s skull (Cohee, 2017, p. 45). When someone has problems with their consciousness, this means that their brain is weak in the area that controls the awareness of their surroundings. This then leads to confusion in everyday activities, resulting in frustration for the person who is unable to understand previously known knowledge they should be able to retain. Both Huff and Thomas deem the “chemobrain” term to be an accurate description of the loss of cognitive function considering the problems from the brain are abnormal, thus being a direct result of the chemotherapy. Similarly, Halle Moore from a Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology views brain issues to be a direct correlation with chemotherapy through her statistical evidence found in her research. After her research Moore concluded, “Approximately 14% of cancer survivors reported memory problems, compared with 8% of participants without prior diagnosis, representing an approximately 40% increase in the likelihood of cancer survivors reporting cognitive concerns” (2014, p. 797). This means that a large percentage of people who receive the chemotherapy treatment are just at risk. This research goes hand in hand with Ahles’ conclusion mentioned earlier that revealed the 17% to 75% who actually do experience the detrimental post-chemotherapy cognitive side effects. With Huff, Thomas, Ahles and Moore all in agreement about the aftermath left from chemotherapy upon the brain, we can conclude that “chemobrain” is an accurate term to be said used when survivors experience neurobehavioral abnormalities. With “chemobrain” comes the general wondering: what exactly inside the brain is being changed to even develop a “chemobrain”? When evaluating the central nervous system and the development of depression after chemotherapy, studies show that both are damaged during treatment despite the blood-brain barrier (Meyers 2008). Neuro-oncologist Meyers (2008) of MD Anderson Cancer Center covered a number of clinical trials in her attempts to uncover the exact mechanisms within the chemotherapy treatment that 164
repeatedly cause cognitive dysfunction that are yet to be identified. Meyers covers a specific trial where the medication, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), was injected into mice to then test the cognitive function post injection. One of Meyers’ trials came to the conclusion that “exposure to 5-FU caused a progressive increase in interpeak latencies, consistent with developing myelin damage, whereas cochlear function was not affected” (2008, p. 4). Meyers states that this drug caused a longer time gap in between the waves among brain interpretation, while constantly interrupting and damaging the myelin, the sheath around many nerve fibers throughout your body that determine the speed of impulses conducted. Although, the cochlear function was unbothered, which is what leads nerve impulses that are related to sound (Meyers, 2008, p.5). With this revealed, chemotherapy treatment holds the certain toxic medications that are responsible for the emotional damage among the patients. This is all a direct result from nerves being damaged during the treatment. This conclusion alone will help guide clinical researchers to get one step closer in examining the exact medications within the chemotherapy treatment that could potentially be altered in order to create a less mentally damaging treatment. This new knowledge will work to protect the central nervous system and possibly prevent the damage that is currently happening among the survivors, which then leads to the next question that arises: is the brain able handle the chemotherapy treatment? The many trials tested by medical professionals all end in the same conclusion; chemotherapy treatment is too intense on the brain and has an end result of long lasting emotional damage. The long lasting damage even seems inevitable among survivors. Similar to Meyers’ belief about a main cause to cognitive decline, Beisecker et al. (1997) of Kansas Cancer Institute are able to conclude in their article about the side effects of adjuvant chemotherapy that emotional side effects were the most significant complaint among patients even six months after treatment (1997, p. 88). This is based off the statistics recorded on the patients after they survived cancer through the use of the chemotherapy treatment. The conclusion of this study supports the idea that emotional long-term side effects are what should be expected after deciding to go in the direction of chemotherapy. In this same study Beisecker et al. were able to conclude that “sixteen of the eighteen participants reported they had a greater number of side effects 6 months after chemotherapy than they had expected” (1997, p. 89). These side effects included low blood count, and emotional issues like depression (Beisecker et al., 1997, p.89). With both trials tested on either mice or actual survivors, both Meyers and Beisecker et al. are able to have a similar view on the effects of the chemotherapy treatment on the brain that eventually lead to long-lasting emotional issues. In another study covered in a medical journal reviewing oncology trials by Vitali et al.(2017), those trials were overviewed by Wefel et al.’s (2010) trial, which studied the short and long-term cognitive dysfunctions among cancer survivors who utilized the chemotherapy treatment to aid in survival. At the start of this trial, the forty-two breast cancer patients selected had a neuropsychological evaluation in order to test the strength of their brain before undergoing chemotherapy. Nine out of the forty-two patients tested positive to cognitive problems prior to the treatment. Although, in the post chemotherapy treatment neuropsychological evaluation, seventeen out of thirty-seven cases had short-term cognitive issues, and seventeen out of the twenty-eight patients were proved to suffer with long-term effects (2010, p. 3350). Wefel et al.’s trial resulted in the conclusion that “the cognitive impairment was most frequently reported in the domains of processing speed, executive function, memory and learning” (Vitali et al., 2017, p.8). Many medical professionals are in agreement that, based off their series of tests, cognitive decline and emotional issues come hand in hand with the chemotherapy treatment. These issues are proven to be 165
inevitable, yet still unknown among many when asked about someone’s knowledge of chemotherapy, and that is a problem. Although, the cognitive decline and emotional issues that appear within the patient may not be unambiguous to those who are not personally close with the survivor who is facing all these new obstacles. Although many who are not exposed to the survivors change in personality for themselves, it is behind closed doors where the damaging effects of chemotherapy are really exposed. From my own personal experience, I have been exposed to the damaging effects first hand. I knew a cancer patient before she chose to undergo the chemotherapy treatment and have witnessed the detrimental side effects that for her specifically includes depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Her mental state has significantly changed and her personality is slowly going with it. I remember when she first informed us of her diagnoses with cancer. We went over the side effects as a family and decided chemotherapy would be the best option. When going over the side effects, she was only informed of the obvious: hair loss, weight gain, fatigue. As time went on and she had finally finished treatment, a day we as a family all looked forward to, it only went downhill from there. She was different; at times it seemed like it was not even her. We all soon realized that it was still her, just a different her that came along with the side effects chemotherapy had inevitably brought that we all now had no choice but to adjust to. This is a sad reality for me and many others who were caught off guard by the intense changes upon a family member after chemotherapy. With more transparent information from the doctors about chemotherapy, there would be a more honest understanding of this damaging treatment that patients can take into consideration before deciding to move forward. The chemotherapy treatment is glorified and is a commonly suggested treatment to fight off cancer cells based on its effectiveness on keeping affected patients alive. In fact, this treatment is so venerated that the detrimental post side-effects are left in the shadows and are never brought up or questioned. It is believed that chemotherapy treatment does just as much damage as it does good. The intense long-lasting post side effects of the chemotherapy treatment are also hardly mentioned from the doctors, which leads to survivors who are caught off guard and then are forced to do their best at living to constantly combat their inevitable change in personality. The long-term side effects from the treatment that are not mentioned as much as the common side effects include depression and cognitive dysfunction. It is important to fully understand the serious problems that surround the chemotherapy treatment in order to expose the damaging components in hopes of a possible alteration of the treatment as a whole. When someone is informed about their diagnoses of cancer, doctors go into all the treatment options that can be utilized. Although, they are not fully aware of the patients’ shock that causes them to disengage in the conversation, thus resulting in the impulsive decision of chemotherapy. Despite the multiple studies and research that support Huff, Thomas, Moore, Meyers, and Beisecker et al.’s negative view on the long-term effects of chemotherapy treatment, the topic revolving around the problem of chemotherapy is still often downplayed by most medical professionals who only want to shine the light on the benefits of chemotherapy as opposed to exposing the underlying issues that lead to a whole new problem within the patient. Partridge, Burstein and Winer (2001), all from Dana- Farber Cancer Institute write in the Oxford Academic Journal article their view on the longterm effects on chemotherapy treatment with a terse paragraph ending with, “Nevertheless, these rare effects must be considered in decision making about adjuvant therapy, particularly when the 166
absolute benefits associated with treatment are of small magnitude” (2001, p. 137). Partridge et al. are in contrast with Meyers and Beisecker et al. in the sense that Meyers and Beisecker et al. describe their research to support the issues within the treatment that carry a large magnitude of negative effects. The “rare effects” are proving to be not so rare based off the amount of survivors that are currently suffering from the irreparable damage chemotherapy caused. Medical professionals, like Partridge et al., are the reason so many patients are not fully aware of the mental restraints, which are a large possibility that go hand in hand with surviving the cancer after deciding to utilize the chemotherapy treatment as the best option for survival. An ongoing problem surrounding the chemotherapy treatment is the lack of knowledge on the treatment as a whole. I believe all doctors need to provide every piece of information that accurately exposes all aspects of the chemicals that are entering the body in order for the patient to be better prepared for the changes that will inevitably come their way if they decide to take the route of the chemotherapy treatment. This knowledge leads to all the more reason to desire alterations within the actual chemotherapy treatment so that there will be more accurate information given by medical professionals in order to prevent shocking changes within a patient who has already survived a battle, and has to go into the new battle unarmed. Understanding the full effects of the chemotherapy treatment and all aspects of the drug is important and needs to be acknowledged in order to hopefully make a beneficial change in the treatment that will result in less long-term damage among the patients. From understanding the term “chemobrain” and actually understanding what exactly happens to the brain and neurons after chemotherapy treatment, and desiring the necessary full knowledge on the treatment, it is acceptable to believe chemotherapy has a detrimental effect on people and needs to be altered to assure survivors a better life after cancer. Many people in the world are exposed to the downside of chemotherapy treatment but have yet to be given a voice to shed light on the subject due to its presumed credibility as a successful drug. The chemotherapy treatment problems are often overlooked since it is mainly only working for survival, as opposed to an appropriate healthy survival. Through my own past five years of being exposed to cancer and the chemotherapy treatment that is supposed to be working to help, I have also been exposed to its irreparable damage that it causes on the patient. I want to open the eyes of everyone that venerates the chemotherapy treatment and put the spotlight on the long term flaws within the medication so medical professionals are able to alter it for the better. A start to a solution is as easy as word of mouth. Getting the word out about the damaging effects within chemotherapy will open many people’s eyes. With more clinical trials to test the exact problems accurately, it is possible to change the chemotherapy treatment significantly in order to benefit the patient’s psychiatric state to increase the possibility of a longer and happier life without mental restraints. REFERENCES Ahles, T. (2017). Understanding “Chemobrain” and Cognitive Impairment after Cancer Treatment. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/aboutcancer/treatment/research/understanding-chemobrain Beisecker, A.E., Cook, M., Ashworth J., Hayes, J., Brecheisen, M., Helmig, L., Hyland, S., & Selenke, D. (1997). Side Effects of Adjuvant Chemotherapy: Perceptions of NodeNegative Breast Cancer Patients. Psycho-Oncology, 6, pp. 85-93. doi:10.002/1099-1611 167
Boeree, G. (2009) Neurotransmitters. General Psychology. Retrieved from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/genpsy.html Cohee, A., Adams, R., Fife, B., Von Ah, D., Monahan, P., Zoppi, K., Cella, D., and Champion, V. (2017). Relationship between depressive symptoms and social cognitive processing in partners of long-term breast cancer survivors. Oncology Nursing Forum, 44(1), pp. 4451. doi:10.1188/17. Huff, C. (2005). Chemobrain: The hunt for answers. American Psychological Association, 36(4), pp. 28. doi:10.1093/jnci/dji319 Kieran, J. A. (2012). Anatomy of the Temporal Lobe. Epilepsy Research and Treatment, 12(2012), pp. 1-12. doi:10.1155/2012/176157 Meyers, C.A. (2008). How chemotherapy damages the central nervous system. BioMed Central. 7(4), pp. 1-11. doi:10.1186/jbiol73 Moore, H. (2014). An Overview of Chemotherapy-Related Cognitive Dysfunction, or ‘Chemobrain’. Cancer Network, p.797-804. Retrieved from http://www.cancernetwork.com/oncology-journal/overview-chemotherapy-relatedcognitive-dysfunction-or-chemobrain/page/0/2 Paddock, C., (2017). Breast cancer patients reports ‘chemo brain’ is a substantial problem. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315015.php Partridge, A., Burstein, H. & Winer, E., (2001). Side Effects of Chemotherapy and Combined Chemohormonal Therapy in Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer. JNCI Monographs, 30(2003), pp. 135-142. doi:10.1093/003475 Thomas A., (2013). Neurological adverse effects of cancer chemotherapy. Adverse Drug Reaction Bulletin, 279, pp. 1071-1074. doi:10.4103/2229-3485.154014 Vitali M∗, Ripamonti, C.I., Roila, F., Proto, C., Signorelli, D., Imbimbo, M., Corrao, G., Brissa, A., Rosaria, G., Braud. F., Garassino, M.C., & Russo, G.I., (2017). Cognitive impairment and chemotherapy: a brief overview, Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 118, pp. 7-14. Retrieved from http://www.croh-online.com/article/S1040-8428(17)30389-X/pdf Wefel, J.S., Saleeba, A.K., Buzdar, A., Meyers, C.A., (2010). Acute and late onset cognitive dysfunction associated with chemotherapy in women with breast cancer. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 116(14), pp. 3348-3356. doi:10.1002/cncr.25098.
Misunderstood Psychopaths By Julia Yuson Broken branches blanketed on the orange crunchy lawn. Abigail’s pastel blue and eggshell white Easter dress splattered with dried blood. Her small hands encrusted with the pungent, festering sweet coppery scent. Hushed screeches from birds nestled in their dying bed of flattened leaves with twisted broken necks. Abigail’s joyful ponytails created by her father before work, now depleted with a missing silk rose ribbon now wrapped around a blue jay’s neck. Her mother followed the trail of droplets contrasting the grey and white tiled floor. Her body shaking with fear and heartbreak watching Abigail attach bright blue feathers to her Barbie’s dress. “What’s wrong mommy? Now me and Barbie have matching dresses!” Abigail giggles, in complete innocence, without a droplet of remorse. The Barbie Special Edition doll given to Abigail for being a good girl for not pushing her one year old cousin too hard on the cedar swingset out back. Rolling tires onto the wet driveway, belonging to her husband’s 2004 Subaru. Briskly, she yanks Abgail’s hands and drowns the blood into the kitchen sink with cold rushing water. She hurriedly slams the curtains, blocking the view to the murder scene yard. Her husband turning the frosted door knob, she shields her daughter’s now scarlet dress. It happened before, and it will happen again. 1% of the general population are psychopaths (Parry). Psychopaths are all around us. The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath is that psychopaths are born with a genetic predisposition, while sociopaths are made by their environment (Parry). Although psychopaths may also suffer from childhood trauma like sociopaths, psychopaths have physiological brain differences due to underdevelopment. Society does not prioritize the treatment of psychopaths and categorizes psychopaths into a lost hope that can never be a positive and functioning member of society, thus concluding that society is unable to detach a person from their psychopathy. The inability to detach a person from their mental disorder allows one to not feel guilty about not working towards any medical treatment, and for psychopaths this leads to isolation in society. Other mental illnesses and personality disorders, such as depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, are more widely cared about in society and have a vast range of treatments and therapy offered. Someone that has a more common mental illness is not drowned in social stigma, limiting their existence to just their diagnosed illness, yet for psychopaths they will never be more than a psychopath in the eyes of society. A combination of scientific journals and articles written by masters in the psychology field will be used to synthesize and examine data and results to uncover the truth of the misconceived illness of psychopathy. Through a better understanding of the psychology and physiology behind how psychopathy works and how the underdevelopment of certain parts of the brain can change someone’s whole outlook, the sources will allow one to perceive if psychopathy can be reversed over time and learn the most effective methods of treatments. The idea of finding a cure to a disorder scientists know so little about is out of reach, but perhaps not a method to reduce the dangerousness of what can unfold. People with psychopathy are all around us, and it is about time that psychopaths stop being misinterpreted and start being treated with the same open arms as other genetic predispositions. To begin, we all have variations of psychopathic characteristics inside of us but know how to control it better with reasoning. Psychopaths do not have that reasoning. Ironically, nonpsychopathic people who accuse psychopaths of being non-human are showing no empathy for 169
psychopaths. For example, people who are forced to defend their family could display a psychopathic tendency when they kill an intruder, not because of the actual killing, but because their empathy switched off for that situation. Non-psychopaths have the ability to turn their empathy switch off selectively. Most people have small bits of tendencies that can classify someone into being like a psychopath but do not make them a psychopath. So how could the complete inability to feel empathy or remorse create a whole different perspective on life? What is the definitive line between a diagnosed psychopath and a non-psychopath that has sociopathic behavior? Psychopathy is a diverse personality disorder, varying in almost every case, but society generalizes all psychopaths when the majority are actually nonviolent. Ted Bundy is the poster child of psychopathy in society’s mind, but the accuracy of saying all psychopaths are cold hearted killers is far from the truth. The over-coverage of these rare events by the media makes them seem like weekly occurrences, but a minority of the mass murderers making the news are actually psychopaths, but rather depressed homicidal people. Most uneducated people equate psychopaths with murderers and presume all murderers are psychopaths. Although some studies show there is a correlation between psychopaths and serial killers, there is a small percentage of psychopaths that develop to become murderers and commit senseless violent crime. In “The Etiology of Psychopathy: A Neuropsychological Perspective,” by Pamela Perez, who is an acclaimed neuropsychology professor at Chapman University, she claims, “Despite the correlation [between crime and psychopathy], little is known as to why some individuals become serial killers with clear predilections toward psychopathy and others do not. Fonagy et al., who have done extensive research on the predatory serial killers, argue that violence and crime are actually disorders of the attachment system itself. It is through meaningful attachment relationships that humans develop the necessary mental capacities to reflect on their own internal states as well as that of others” (Perez 3). The essence of Perez’s argument is that violence and criminal acts are ways of coping for psychopaths. This may indicate why only a select number of psychopaths become violent, depending on their various level of psychopathy and if they received any treatment for their diagnosis. Correspondingly, most people believe that psychopathy is incurable and inalterable; once a psychopath, always a psychopath. On the contrary, some scientific evidence refutes this claim. Association for Psychological Science (APS), in their acclaimed journal article, “Psychopathy: A Misunderstood Personality Disorder” state that “Recent empirical work suggests that youth and adults with high scores on measures of psychopathy can show reduced violent and other criminal behavior after intensive treatment” (“Psychopathy” 4). This reflects how there may not be a cure or perfect therapy for a disorder scientists know so little about, but they are working towards a method to reduce the violence and dangerousness that is more likely to be linked to psychopathy. Most people believe that psychopaths are rare, but the reality is psychopathy is one of the most common mental illnesses. According to the article “The Criminal Psychopath: History, Neuroscience, Treatment, and Economics,” written by Kent Kiehl, an associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of New Mexico, “[Psychopathy] is twice as common as schizophrenia, anorexia, bipolar disorder, and paranoia, and roughly as common as bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and narcissism” (Kiehl 2). Kiehl then argues, “The only mental disorders significantly more common than psychopathy are those related to drug and alcohol abuse or dependence, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (Kiehl 2). This data sparks a question of why the similarities of psychopathy and other 170
socially acceptable disorders is blurred. Why is society afraid to face admitting people suffering from psychopathy and post-traumatic stress disorder are fighting the same demons? Why is the comparison to a psychopath such an insulting yet riveting title? Likewise, in “The Reappearing Psychopath: Psychopathy's Stain on Future Generations” by Jack Pemment, who is a researcher in the neurobiology of criminal behavior and aggression field, he adds, [W]hen psychopaths were presented with affective words, the regions in the brain known to respond to the perseverance of these words became minimally active when compared to non-psychopathic criminals and healthy civilians. These regions included the amygdala and the hippocampus, the parahippocampal gyrus, the ventral striatum, and the anterior cingulate cortex, all regions involved in experiencing emotion. There are other disorders, too, where the affected individual demonstrate reduced empathy, such as autism. (Pemment 8) The focus of Pemmentʻs argument is that the same underdevelopment in certain parts of the brain are seen in other mental disorders. His point us that it is not just one contained region of the brain that affects psychopathy, but a handful, such as with autism. He infers that it is not only hard for psychopaths to feel a full range of emotions that non-psychopaths feel, but also to even use affective words in accurate context. As well, in an interview conducted by Jonah Lehrer with Marco Iacoboni, a neuroscientist at the University of California at Los Angeles, best known for his work on mirror neurons, a small circuit of cells in the premotor cortex and inferior parietal cortex, Iacoboni asserts, “Patients with autism have hard time understanding the mental states of other people; this is why social interactions are not easy for these patients. Reduced mirror neuron activity obviously weakens the ability of these patients to experience immediately and effortlessly what other people are experiencing, thus making social interactions particularly difficult for these patients” (Iacoboni). In other words, a deficit in mirror neurons can explain some principles in the lack of social and motor problems people with autism have, and likewise the same case goes for the social interactions for psychopaths. Additionally, some may not be able to put themselves in a psychopath’s shoes, but this metaphor, thought of by Pascal Wallisch, a NYU Professor of Psychology, offers a glimpse to how psychopaths view the world. “What it feels like to be a psychopath might be to consider how you would feel about spilling milk. It's unfortunate, but nothing to cry over. And of course one has to break a couple of eggs to make an omelet – that is just how things are. Psychopaths treat people like you would treat objects – things to be manipulated for their personal gain with no conceivable ethical or moral dimension.” Thus sparking another debate, whether psychopaths should be held accountable for their actions or not. As a prominent neuroscience professor at the University of Cambridge, Isabel González Tapia in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry maintains that “Psychopathy is a challenge for our socio-liberal, free-will and culpability-based Criminal Law systems, because it represents archetypes of ‘evil’, of incorrigible criminals, for whom a retributive culpability-based punishment is not enough and a consequentialist ‘dangerousnessbased’ legal response would be required” (Tapia 41). In making this comment, Tapia urges the need for the public perception fueled by news media but also expert claims to separate psychopaths from the concept of evil. The extreme violence in the crimes broadcasted are not an accurate 171
portrayal of psychopaths. Tapia also mentions how the law should alter the treatment of psychopaths in court, offering an insanity defense. In the quote, “Prison seems to have no deterrent, punitive or curative effect on psychopaths, which is why it can be considered woefully inadequate as a treatment option. This is another irony of psychopathy – those who are most likely to end up in prison are least likely to be affected by it” (Wallisch), the author mentions that prison for psychopaths has no curative effect and how statistically psychopaths have a probability to reoffend that approaches certainty (Wallisch). There are too many unanswered questions about the biology and nature of psychopaths to have a strict legal treatment of psychopaths. Moreover, the article “Structural Brain Abnormalities in Psychopaths” was published online by Wiley InterScience and reviewed the studies of structural neuroimaging in psychopathy and intertwines the biological basis of psychopathy to synthesize a relation between the two. Wiley is one of the largest collections of online journals, books, and research resources, covering life, health, social, and physical sciences. This article was written by three main authors: Sabrina Weber, Katrin Amuts, and Frank Schneider. Sabrina Weber is a doctor, has a Ph.D., and is a professor of Psychiatry and Physiotherapy at Aachen University in Germany. Katrin Amuts is a German neuroscientist. She is one of the most prominent neuroscientists in brain mapping in the world. Frank Scheider is a professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School. Dr. Schneider is an anatomic pathologist with special expertise in pulmonary pathology. The overall goal of “Structural Brain Abnormalities in Psychopaths” is to review the studies of structural neuroimaging in psychopathy and intertwine the biological basis of psychopathy to synthesize a relation between the two. This is evident due to the abstract, where it states, “Few studies deal with structural neuroimaging in psychopaths. The aim of this article is to review these studies in order to contribute to our understanding of the biological basis of psychopathy” (Weber). Another quote that helps summarize the goal is: “To gain a comprehensive understanding of this, psychopathy must be viewed as a multifactorial process involving neurobiological, genetic, epidemiological and socio-biographical factors” (Weber). Furthermore, Weber at al. pinpoint which section of the brain is the most linked to psychopaths. The following sums up how the findings during the studies reported led to specific parts of the brain effecting psychopaths the most. “Data in the literature report a reduction in prefrontal gray matter volume, gray matter loss in the right superior temporal gyrus, amygdala volume loss, a decrease in posterior hippocampal volume, an exaggerated structural hippocampal asymmetry, and an increase in callosal white matter volume in psychopathic individuals. These findings suggest that psychopathy is associated with brain abnormalities in a prefrontal–temporo-limbic circuit— i.e. regions that are involved, among others, in emotional and learning processes” (Weber). Pinpointing the points in the brain that are relevant to psychopathy prove the difference in mental processing in psychopaths. Without these studies, there is no evidence that a psychopath’s brain is different than a non-psychopath. There is not one part of the brain that is responsible for psychopaths being the way they are, but small differences in certain areas that all amount to it together. This may explain the different levels of psychopathy. The following emphasizes the need for more research: “The associations between structural changes and psychopathic characteristics do not enable causal conclusions to be drawn, but point rather to the important role of biological brain abnormalities in psychopathy” (Weber). The author is saying how more studies need to be done for conclusions to be stated for direct correlation, but there is definitely some sort of
connection between these parts of the brain that are being studied during the experiments to psychopathy. Weber included a large section of structural neuroimaging studies that reviewed each cortex and lobe after experimented with psychopaths that explained studies showing the differing scans between non-psychopaths and psychopathy. One study the authors depicted stated, “A few structural imaging studies reported abnormalities in the amygdala, superior temporal gyrus and hippocampus. In a volumetric MRI study, Tiihonen and colleagues (2000) studied a group of violent offenders (13 obtained high scores and 15 moderate or low scores when tested for the personality traits of arrogance, deceitful interpersonal style, and deficient affective experience, assessed using Hare’s PCL-R)” (Weber 18). Another observation made was: “A few structural imaging studies reported abnormalities in the amygdala, superior temporal gyrus and hippocampus (Table 1). In a volumetric MRI study, Tiihonen and colleagues (2000) studied a group of violent offenders (13 obtained high scores and 15 moderate or low scores when tested for the personality traits of arrogance, deceitful interpersonal style, and deficient affective experience, assessed using Hare’s PCL-R)” (Weber 18). Additionally, “A further structural neuroimaging study underlining the importance of the hippocampus in psychopathy was conducted by Raine (2004), who studied unsuccessful psychopaths (‘‘convicted’’), successful (‘‘unconvicted’’) community psychopaths and control subjects. Relative to both successful psychopaths and control subjects, unsuccessful psychopaths showed an exaggerated structural asymmetry (greater right than left volume) of the anterior hippocampus” (Weber 19). Through mentioning the results of the studies, the authors successfully examine the parts of the brain that classify someone as a psychopath. “The existing body of evidence tentatively supports the idea that psychopathy is associated with brain abnormalities in a prefrontal–temporo-limbic circuit—regions that are involved in emotional and learning processes” (Weber 23). Another quote in which this goal reflected is: “It should be mentioned here that these brain regions are also found to be impaired in patients with other mental disorders such as schizophrenia, who also show deficits in impulse control and emotional information processing (e.g. face processing). Therefore, these brain regions seem to be relatively unspecific for psychopathy itself” (Weber 23). The authors are not just serving as yes man agreeing with each study and repeating the same information; they are analyzing and correcting the studies from a psychological view. This serves as a fresh perspective on old data, starting a new conversation about what a psychopath used to be known and classified as, rather than the actuality of the science and psychology behind it. Furthermore, “The results presented indicate that psychopathy cannot be explained by one particular neurobiological theory or by one neurobiological substrate alone. Rather, the various brain abnormalities seem to involve a network, including prefrontal regions as well as temporolimbic areas” (Weber 23). The authors explain that they aren’t directly saying one particular part of the brain is responsible for psychopathy, but a bunch of networks. This article was successful by interpreting the experiments and data from previous studies from a psychologist standpoint. The authors brought up many different theories that scientists tested before and discussed the results and brought up some possible errors in the theories. They questioned previously known facts about psychopaths and found that many of the brain regions that were discovered to be impaired from psychopathy are also very similar to impaired brain regions of patients that suffer from other mental disorders.
In conclusion, psychopathy is a misunderstood mental disorder in the medical field and society. Fear is mankind’s biggest weapon, being the most influential human instinct. Society is scared of psychopaths because everyone has psychopathic tendencies, but we fear the association because of people that disassociate psychopaths from the healthy active members of society. We fear being ostracized. We’d rather be blissfully ignorant about 1% of the population instead of accepting something we fail to understand. Through the use of scientific journals and scholarly articles about the psychology and physiology about psychopaths, the lack of answers leads to more questions. Going back to the article “Structural Brain Abnormalities in Psychopaths,” the authors provide excellent examples of studies and trustworthy scientific data and endeavor to prove the correlation, but fail to do so. The analysis of the information is sufficient but lacks the evidence to expose the direct connection between the parts of the brain in a psychopath that cause psychopathy. There are much more experiments and studies needing to be done in order to explain how the slightest underdevelopment of certain parts of the complex brain can have the biggest impact on how someone sees the world. And, how they see the world affects the way the world sees them. WORKS CITED Gonzalez-Tapia, Maria Isabel. “A New Legal Treatment for Psychopaths? Perplexities for Legal Thinkers.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry Volume 54, Elsevier, 15 May 2017, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160252717300523#! Iacoboni, Marco. “The Mirror Neuron Revolution: Explaining What Makes Humans Social.” Interview by Jonah Lehrer. Scientific American, Scientific American, www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-mirror-neuron-revolut/. Kiehl, Kent A and Morris B Hoffman. “The Criminal Psychopath: Psychopath: History, Neuroscience, Treatment, and Economics” Jurimetrics vol. 51 (2011): 355-397. Parry, Wynne. “How to Spot Psychopaths: Speech Patterns Give Them Away.” LiveScience, Purch, 20 Oct. 2011, www.livescience.com/16585-psychopaths-speech-language.html. Pemment, Jack. “The Reappearing Psychopath: Psychopathy's Stain on Future Generations.” Www.elsevier.com/Locate/Paid, Elsevier, 3 Oct. 2015, ac-els-cdn-com.hpu.idm.oclc.org/S1359178915001226/1-s2.0-S1359178915001226-mai n.pdf?_tid=a7b87b14-978f-48f7-9b93a16eea7646d0&acdnat=1540882553_82b997d43ca037b9be03c7871ee8293a. Perez, Pamela R. “The Etiology of Psychopathy: A Neuropsychological Perspective.” Www-Sciencedirect-Com.hpu.idm.oclc.org, Elsevier, Dec. 2012, www-sciencedirect-com.hpu.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S1359178912000730#! “Psychopathy: A Misunderstood Personality Disorder.” Association for Psychological Science, 7 Dec. 2011, www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/psychopathy-a-misunderstood-personalityDisorder.html. 174
Wallisch, Pascal. “Psychopaths in Our Midst - What You Should Know.” Elsevier Connect, Elsevier, 17 Nov. 2014, www.elsevier.com/conect/psychopath-what-are-they-and-how-should-we-deal-with-them Weber, Sabrina, et al. “Structural Brain Abnormalities in Psychopaths—a Review.” Behavioral Sciences & the Law, vol. 26, no. 1, Jan. 2008, pp. 7–28. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/bsl.802
Mental Health in Schools By Arianna Guzman Mental illnesses are occurring more frequently. Teens are the main victims when it comes to suffering with mental illnesses or disorders. These problems are overlooked by adults, leaving students to struggle on their own without a guiding hand. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a nationwide organization designed to educate people on not only symptoms, but also statistics of the impact mental health has on the country. Mental illnesses affect 1 in 5 children ages 13-18; therefore, without properly educating about these silent issues, children may not get the help they need to live a happier and healthier life (NAMI). By providing a way to teach students about the symptoms or warning signs of a mental illness, the mental health within upcoming generations may become better overall and benefit the well-being of generations to come. According to the CDC, “suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10–24 years” (CDC). In this age group, people are typically students unaware of why they feel the way they do. Different countries provide a way to educate students about stigmas and inform about the different mental illnesses people deal with. This addresses the lack of support some countries have when dealing with adolescent mental health problems. Adding a curriculum to schools educating students about mental health and different strategies to cope may not only save students but also greatly improve the overall performances in schools and contribute to a healthier life. Students of all ages often feel pressure to try hard and go to college. Expectations are put on children to apply an unlimited amount of effort towards their academics, despite the potential effect on their mental health from the pressure. Students frequently push aside their health needs to impress their parents and excel in school. They become unaware of the realities mental illnesses have on people due to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. There is a common stigma that mental illnesses can be controlled and are a choice. This may contribute to students thinking their emotions are invalid and cause them to push aside their feelings, further adding on to the stress of academics. Without proper education on how to handle this stress, students may come out of school depressed because they were not the best versions of themselves. This may also cause students to not give their full effort towards work because of hopelessness and lack of motivation. There are many ways to be successful in life; however, without the tools to live a healthy life, there are more challenges in having an overall happy life. Schools can greatly help students with their quality of life through education about mental illness, thus eliminating the stigma around it. Carla G. Strassle, a psychology professor at York College of Pennsylvania, developed a way to educate students about mental health by focusing on eliminating the stigma around it. The method Strassle created “specifically targets stereotypes and myths about mental illness in order to reduce or eliminate misconceptions” (Strassle 351). This helps students to better understand that illnesses can be there, even if they are not visible. This bridges the gap of the uncomfortable nature of reaching out for help regarding mental illness. School systems lack the basic fundamentals of checking the well-being of the students they see every day. The curriculum Strassle invented was tested with over a hundred students at a university and was taught by implementing different techniques. The results determined that educating about the stigma in mental illness greatly reduced the ideas generated from stigmas within those students; however, there was no single teaching technique that appeared superior to the rest. The discussion following the experiment report states, “Stigma reduction techniques can be successfully implemented … the question of 176
which stigma reduction techniques should be used is more difficult” (Strassle 355). This proves even by the basic explanation of mental health stigma that students are more likely to eliminate the negative feedback about it, and are more open to the realities of mental illness. As a result, students are more open to confronting any possible mental health issues or reaching out for help if they are unsure. Faculty in schools also play a major role regarding the importance of mental health. When lacking the knowledge and importance of mental health, the stigma around mental health may grow. Susan Frauenholtz is a professor at the School of Social Welfare at Kansas University. She developed a study to categorize the role school employees play on mental health in students with regards to academic success. “21 percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 experienc[e] a serious mental health disorder during their youth” (Frauenholtz 72). These numbers may decrease in the future if teachers are educated on mental health and how to eliminate the stigma around these illnesses. When students come forward themselves without intervention on behalf of the schools, the teacher may be unaware of how to handle such situations. A common sentiment within schools is that “school staff generally [do] not believe they received sufficient children’s mental health training,” which opens a door to wonder if teachers are qualified to have certain conversations with struggling students (Frauenholtz 72). Teachers spend every day with students and should be able to identify behavioral changes within students and appropriately discuss mental health with complete understanding. Stigma about mental illness resurfaces due to a lack of training, because without proper reactions students may feel out of place, making it harder to reach out for help. This causes students to silently deal with their mental illnesses. This may embody itself through a lack of successful academic performance. This partially reflects the overall lack of leadership initiative regarding mental health in schools. According to Frauenholtz’s study, school administration plays a major role in the importance of mental health. Participants in a focus group from the study stated, “Awareness and knowledge of children’s mental health among school staff was heavily influenced by the priority given to it by upper-level administrators” (Frauenholtz 76). Administration teams are an example to the staff, so, by placing the importance of mental health on the back burner, the rest of the staff and students may develop the same attitude, causing students to push aside their mental health and try to focus on being a “successful” student. Mental health literacy for teachers is one of the most crucial parts to helping the next generation understand their emotions and feel safe reaching out for help. Educating about mental health stigma opens a door for mental health literacy within students and teachers. Luckily, people have developed more programs to strengthen the understanding of one of the most common illnesses. Karen Schwartz is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at John Hopkins Medicine. She worked in conjunction with professors to develop the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) in schools. ADAP is a program which trains teachers to be able to educate students on adolescent depression and help them understand the normality and literacy and nature of depression (Schwartz 1971-1972). Thoroughly understanding depression and its symptoms greatly increases the chances of students reaching out for help. This provides a guide for potential symptoms of depression amongst friends and family members. Through the trial of this curriculum, a questionnaire was developed to measure depression literacy and scoring 80% would be “defined [as] depression literacy” (Schwartz 1972). From then on a three day curriculum would be put into place to educate students on depression. During these three days, the 177
students are informed about symptoms, other mental illnesses, consequences, and treatments. Through this curriculum being put into place, depression literacy increased significantly in both boys and girls, leading to students approaching teachers “with concerns about themselves or others” (Schwartz 1974). Depression literacy is crucial in allowing students to express their emotions without fear of judgement, backlash, solidarity, or vulnerability; this allows students with mental illnesses to feel comfortable and safe sharing their struggles and reaching out for help. Mental illnesses are normal and should not be taken lightly because they can progress and reduce one’s quality of life. To improve the mental health of children in America, no real steps have been taken to implement a curriculum discussing the importance of mental health. America is one of the countries suffering the most from mental health issues, yet no one talks about it. Mental illness is comparable to a white elephant in the room; everyone knows it is there, but no one wants to talk about it. People have developed studies and experiments to test the literacy ability in some schools, but nothing internationally has been set. Recently, however, in Canada a curriculum has been introduced to increase the mental health literacy in both teachers and students. The curriculum was developed from multiple specialists trying to find the most effective way to improve the mental health literacy for teachers and students. Mental health literacy in this program is defined through four main components: “understanding how to optimize and maintain good mental health,” “understanding mental disorders and their treatments,” “decreasing stigma,” and “enhancing helpseeking efficacy” (“Mental Health”). These goals provide determining factors as to whether or not students and teachers successfully become literate when dealing with mental health. The curriculum consists of six modules detailing the importance of mental health, informing about illnesses and treatments, and the understanding of the stigma around mental health. Without these modules students may not know the dangers of mental illnesses they are experiencing alone. When mental illnesses are left untreated, depending on the severity, suicide can be a major consequence. The World Health Organization provides an interactive map which displays the average amount of suicides in each country per population. There is a significant difference in suicide rates between Canada and the United States; Canada is about 15.1 people per 100,000 population and the US is 21.1 people per 100,000 population (World Health Organization). As the implemented curriculum grows in Canada, the number of suicides may decrease since citizens will have the knowledge to take care of themselves and others. The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education is another organization working towards the prevention of suicide by providing shocking statistics and stories of hope. Globally, there is about one suicide every forty seconds, and this number could be significantly decreased by educating the youth of warning signs and treatments of mental illnesses (“Suicide Statistics”). Making students aware of the importance of mental health could potentially lower the risk of letting mental illness silently and violently take control. Informing youth could even help prevent future suicide attempts from students. Although the stigma may never disappear entirely, informing and educating about this phenomena lowers the abnormality nametag mental health currently holds. Education is a healthy way to normalize mental health and allow students to understand what is going through their heads and how to reach out for help. Overall, implementing a mental health curriculum could greatly improve the quality of life for students. Mental health literacy contributes to the well-being of students and provides resources. Students can then rely on schools to help them through rough times and focus without worrying 178
about health issues. Teachers may be guides and resources when students are going through a hard time. Students may also know when the appropriate time to reach out for help is if properly educated about the stigma and normality of mental illnesses in people. Having a mental illness is not a rare thing; people all around you may be affected by them. The only difference is that some people understand how to treat or cope while others are unaware. Therefore, adding a curriculum may ease judgement from society and provide a more welcoming platform in schools to learn and live a happier and more successful life. WORKS CITED Karen Swartz et al. “School-Based Curriculum to Improve Depression Literacy among US Secondary School Students: A Randomized Effectiveness Trial”, American Journal of Public Health 107, no. 12 (December 1, 2017): pp. 1970-1976. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2017.304088 “Mental Health and High School Curriculum Guide (Version 3).” Teen Mental Health, teenmentalhealth.org/product/mental-health-high-school-curriculum/. “NAMI.” NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers. Strassle, Carla G. “Reducing Mental Illness Stigma in the Classroom: An Expanded Methodology.” Teaching of Psychology, vol. 45, no. 4, Oct. 2018, pp. 351–357, doi:10.1177/0098628318796922. “Suicide Statistics and Facts – SAVE.” SAVE, save.org/about-suicide/suicide-facts/. “Suicide Trends among Persons Aged 10–24 Years - United States, 1994–2012.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Mar. 2015, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6408a1.htm. World Health Organization, “Suicide Rates Atlas.” gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/mental_health/suicide_rates/atlas.html.
MEET THE WRITERS Jennifer Aabb [not pictured] is from Stockholm, Sweden. With a Psychology major and Criminology minor, her goal is to work alongside law enforcement. Her favorite part about the islands is the Hawaiian culture. Brianne Aguigui is originally from Fallbrook, California. She is majoring in Mathematics Education to pursue a career in teaching and dreams to make a difference. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is being able to experience all these beautiful islands have to offer, like beaches, sunsets, and waterfalls.
Cherlyn Kay Alejandro is originally from San Francisco, California. She is currently majoring in Computer Science and has a goal to become a programmer within the gaming industry. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is the new adventures she gets to take every semester at HPU.
Ivy Ammerman is from Frederick, Colorado. She is majoring in PreMedicine Biology and minoring in Psychology. She is hoping to become a trauma physician. Her favorite thing about HPU is the incredible and diverse people she’s met.
Kellen Chevalier was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and moved to Hawai‘i when she was 2 years old. Her major is Oceanography and her future goal is to become an oceanographer or to work with animals in some way. Her favorite thing about HPU is the diversity of the students and their different stories.
Ryan Emeeron Cimatu is pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing at HPU. He was born in the Philippines and moved to Hawai‘i when he was around 4 years old. Some of his favorite things about living in Hawai‘i are friends, family, tennis, outdoors, and music. His favorite things about HPU are meeting students and staff from around the world, building long-termconnections personally and professionally, as well as the array of great restaurants in the area.
Emali Cordell is originally from Wasilla, Alaska. She is studying Chinese as an International Studies major and plans to travel the world. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is visiting the sunny beaches.
Lyka Mae Corotan is from this beautiful island of Oahu. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration. She aspires one day to become a CPA. Her favorite thing about HPU is meeting people from around the world.
Jazmin Diaz is originally from San Diego, California. She is majoring in Marine Biology and minoring in Spanish. Her goal is to become a researcher that focuses on environmental conservation and awareness within the marine ecosystem. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is exploring the island and seeing its beautiful wildlife.
Drew Downing is originally from Thousand Oaks, California, and is a Business major at Hawai‘i Pacific University. His career plans are uncertain at the moment, but will likely involve film, music, or writing. His favorite aspect of living in Hawai‘i is its culture of Aloha.
Katherine Felix is originally from San Bernardino, California. She majors in Marine Biology, but she is not too sure about her career plans. She would like to work for an aquarium, but still has some time to think about it. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is the beautiful beaches. Her favorite thing about attending HPU is that it is the ideal place to study marine biology, and you can do your homework on the beach.
Dustin M. Frederick is from Greenville, Ohio. His major is Computer Science, and his career plans are to work in the video game industry as a programmer. His favorite thing about HPU is the friendliness of all of the faculty and students, and his favorite things about Hawai‘i are the gorgeous trails, hikes, and adventures that are a short drive in any direction.
McKenzie-James Fuata is from Wai’anae, which is on the west side of O’ahu. His major at HPU is Criminal Justice. His plans for after graduation are to get into a police academy, join the Honolulu Police Department, and then explore his options from there. His favorite thing about HPU would have to be the Criminal Justice professors for making the courses so interesting and treating students like family.
Arianna Guzman is originally from Pomona, California. She is majoring in Elementary Education and hopes to become a Special Education teacher. Her favorite things about Hawai‘i are the beaches (especially Waimea Bay) and the kindness from locals all around the island.
Angela Hansen is originally from Utah, but has been in Hawai‘i now for six years and intends to make it home. Her major is Oceanography, with the goal of working for NOAA. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is the culture and playing in the water.
Colin Heacook is Hawaiian, but was raised in Delaware. He is currently majoring in Diplomacy and Military studies, and hopes to be able to work for a federal government agency in some capacity. His favorite thing about being back in Hawai‘i is being next to family and spending time at the beach.
Athena Iokepa is originally from Hawai‘i. She is majoring in English and plans to become a novelist and, eventually, an English teacher. Her favorite things about Hawai‘i are the beautiful drives you can take around the island.
Marc Jaksuwijitkorn was originally born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. He is majoring in Psychology at Hawai‘i Pacific University and dreams of becoming a psychology professor in the future. His favorite thing to do in Hawai‘i is to go hike and watch the skyline.
Alyssa Lawton was born and raised on the island of O’ahu. She is part of Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Math and Engineering dual degree program. Her favorite part about attending HPU is having the opportunity to meet people from across the world in a single classroom.
Lopaka Martin is originally from Moanalua, Hawai‘i. His major is Marine Science and has career plans to work in fishery management, science, or law enforcement. His favorite thing about Hawai‘i is the diversity and acceptance of cultures.
Alia Masonsmith is originally from Seattle, Washington. She is currently studying marine biology and hopes to work on coral reefs in the future. Her favorite things to do in Hawai‘i are hiking and going to the beach.
Molly Olsen is a first year student here at HPU, and is originally from Johnston, South Carolina. She is majoring in Communications and is hoping to pursue a career in advertising. Her favorite things about HPU are the diversity that the school represents and the people she has met.
Rianna O’Neil is from San Diego, California. She is majoring in Criminal Justice, and her career goal is to be an analyst in the FBI. Her favorite things about living in Hawai‘i are the fact that she gets to play soccer and attend college with her older brother.
Inka Ovaska is originally from Mäntsälä, Finland. She is majoring in Environmental Studies and hopes to work in conservation and sustainability. Her favorite things about Hawai‘i are the warm weather and the beaches.
Juan Peralta is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is majoring in Mass Communication with a Minor in Writing, and his goal is to be an inspirational orator. His favorite thing about Hawai‘i is being able to travel to the neighboring islands and appreciating what each one has to offer.
Ruby May Ramos was born and raised here on the island of O’ahu, Hawai‘i. Her major is Nursing, and her goal is to become a registered nurse. Her favorite things about living in Hawai‘i are that the state is different from all the others because of its diversity in culture and also the Aloha spirit that is shared with one another.
Geonna Ribeiro is originally from O’ahu, Hawai‘i. She was born here, yet (for the most part) she was raised in San Antonio, Texas. She is a Nursing major and intends to work as a pediatric nurse in the future. Her favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is being around her family.
Jade Rivera was born and raised in O’ahu, Hawai‘i. She is majoring in Elementary Education and hopes to pursue a career of teaching on island. Jade’s favorite thing about living in Hawai‘i is the yummy food. Her favorite things about attending HPU are the small class sizes and the diverse student body.
Reyginson Sagayaga is from the Philippines but now resides at Waipahu, Hawai‘i. He is majoring in Nursing and hopes to become an emergency room RN. Reyginson plans also to earn a double degree at HPU in Biology and Chemistry, ultimately pursuing a career as a physician-scientist. He loves the Aloha Tower most about HPU because of its history.
Laila Valdez was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, in the city of ʻEwa Beach. She is majoring in Nursing and is aspiring to become a Certified Nurse Midwife or a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Her favorite thinga about Hawai‘i are the cultural diversity that you can't find anywhere else and the traffic going H-1 westbound at 3PM-5PM.
Julia Yuson is originally from New Jersey. She is majoring in Biochemistry with a concentration in Pre-Health. Her intended career plan is to work in the pharmaceutical field. Her favorite things about living in Hawaiâ€™i are the beaches and weather.
MEET THE EDITORS Nyna Dies is an Iowan at heart, but currently resides on Ford Island with her husband. She is majoring in English and minoring in Writing with plans to go to graduate school, either to teach or to pursue a career in publishing. She loves the variety of languages and cultures that can be found in Hawai‘i, and the food.
Julie Flores is originally from Los Angeles, California and has been in Hawai‘i for four years. She is majoring in English and Psychology and minoring in Film Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies, and she hopes to become an English Professor. She has enjoyed learning about the various components that make up the Hawaiian culture, including the history, customs, traditions, and practices.
Grace Laudick was born in Japan, but grew up in Hawai‘i and currently resides on the east side of the island. She is a Communication Studies major with a minor in Speech Communication, with hopes to work in public relations and communications in the music and entertainment industry. She loves to drive around the island and explore new beaches and hikes, and has a passion for public speaking.
Margarita Pangelinan left one island for another; she was born and raised on the island of Guam but ventured off to Hawai‘i to feel out the semi-busy city life on O‘ahu. She is currently majoring in English and has tentative plans of getting into a Communications major as well. She has enjoyed the island vibes that Hawai‘i emits that somewhat remind her of home, but still finds herself fascinated with the Hawaiian culture.
Jun Dennis Sadang was born in the Philippines, but grew up on Hawai‘i and currently resides in Ewa Beach. He is an English major with minors in Japanese, Writing, and Gender and Women’s Studies. He might go to academic research in the future, or he might go into publishing—he’s not sure yet. He loves to sit on the bus for one to two hours, enjoying the Hawai‘i traffic, and also loves to talk Pidgin with his friends.
Dr. David Falgout is a Writing Lecturer. Originally from New Orleans, he has enjoyed teaching First-Year Writing courses at HPU for over 16 years. He has also taught courses in Philosophy, Religion, and Classics at HPU and at other universities. His favorite thing about HPU is each year having the privilege to meet, study with, and learn from new students from so many different places and backgrounds.
Essays selected from Fall 2018 HPU first year writing courses