Page 6 Illuminating Stories: Project shines light on people needed in Hall of Honor
Lawrence High School Lawrence, KS Volume 129, Issue 4 April 2022
THE BUDGET BRIEFS
IN THIS ISSUE
Student wins social justice essay contest Page 6 Illuminating Stories: Project shines light on people needed in Hall of Honor
Hall of Honor equity project seeks to fight for diversity
Lawrence High School Lawrence, KS Volume 129, Issue 4 April 2022
Shining light, our special project aims to address the lack of diversity in the LHS Hall of Honor. Graphic by Asher Wolfe
Interviews with famous LHS alums and Hall of Honor members
Opinion: ‘Euphoria’ character plays into stereotypes
Photo of the Month: Sit-in leaders visit school
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BRIEFS THE BUDGET
JOURNALISM STAFF GOES TO
Journalism staff members head to LA and bring home national awards BY CUYLER DUNN Co-Editor-in-chief
he Budget is proud to announce that we were recently recipients of multiple national awards from the National Scholastic Press Association. The staff received the honors while in Los Angeles April 7-11 for the National High school Journalism Convention. First off, the staff were finalists for multiple Pacemakers, widely considered the highest achievement in scholastic media. The Red & Black yearbook was a Yearbook Pacemaker finalist — it’s second consecutive time to receive the honor. The Budget’s breaking news approach was named an Innovations Pacemaker finalist in the inaugural year for the innovations award. Also awarded at the opening session of the conference, editor-in-chief Cuyler Dunn was recognized as the Kansas state nominee for National Journalist of the Year. At the closing ceremony of the conference, the LHS journalism staff took home even more awards The Budget newsmagazine placed fourth in the Best of Show contest for high schools with 1,500-plus students. Finally, the project showcased in this print issue of the newspaper placed third in the Best of Show contest for social justice reporting. We’re proud to present this nationally recognized work for our community of readers and commit to continue our standards of excellence for years to come. To our readers, we thank you for your consistent support. It continues to motivate us to tell the story of our community at a nationally-recognized level. Alongside the awards ceremonies, staffers attended sessions given by advisers and reporters from across the country and went to the beach and other Los Angeles sights.
Holding up awards (top), members of the journalism staff celebrate their accomplishments at the National High School Journalism Convention in Los Angeles in April. Front row: senior Kenna McNally, sophomore Charlotte Stineman, senior Arien RomanRojas, and sophomore Maebelle Hamlin. Back row: adviser Barbara Tholen, senior Cuyler Dunn, junior Perrin Goulter, junior Jack Ritter and sophomores Finn Lotton-Barker. Co Editor-in-Chief of the Red & Black yearbook Kenna
McNally, (left) accepts a Pacemaker Finalist award, which the Red & Black received at the NHSJC. Co Editor-in-Chief of The Budget Arien Roman Rojas (bottom left) holds up a Best of Show award that The Budget earned for social justice coverage at the NHSJC. At the beach in Santa Monica, members of the journalism staff pose for a picture. Pictured Goulter, McNally, Ritter, Roman-Rojas, Hamlin, Stineman and LottonBarker.
DESIGNED BY CUYLER DUNN | APRIL 2022
THE BUDGET NEWS
Accomplished, sophomore January Jackson wrote an essay this year that earned recognition in the Equal Justice Initiative’s Racial Justice Essay Contest. Her essay was published by The Lawrence Times in January. Portrait by Owen Musser
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NEWS THE BUDGET
STUDENT ESSAY AIMS FOR
Student essay on racial justice wins contest and gets published BY FINN LOTTON-BARKER Staff Reporter
or teenagers like January Jackson, student voices in the classroom feel underused and unappreciated, especially surrounding the topic of racial justice. When she had the chance to write about it, she took it. Jackson was a winner of The Lawrence Time’s racial justice essay contest, leading her writing to be posted on the news site. Although the ongoing issue of racial justice plays a huge part in most aspects of America’s past and present, Jackson feels like schools rarely take the time to fully and accurately discuss it. “Outside of electives, I feel like a lot of required history courses in education systems neglect the present day impact of police brutality,” Jackson said. “It feels like it is viewed as a complete past tense issue rather than an ongoing one.” Many students will only touch on the subject of racial justice when talking about rights movements from the ‘60s and ‘70s. “Some teachers believe that stories from the 90s are too recent to be taught,” Jackson said. “Even though they are very important in understanding the complicated position we are in today, a lot of classes don’t cover them.” The absence of racial justice material in schools is disappointing to many students passionate about the issue. Students who want to learn about the topic mostly rely on outside sources. After reading a poster on a local business window, Jackson
learned about the Equal Justice Initiative’s Racial Justice Essay Contest, facilitated by the Lawrence/Douglas County Community Remembrance Project Coalition. Contestants were asked to write about the past of racial injustice toward Black people in America, how that history has affected the present and how we can overcome the past and begin a new era of truth and justice. “The goal was to increase awareness and critical thought about racial injustice in our local community and engage students in learning about it,” Mattie Bell, chair of the committee that ran the contest said. Jackson was ready to share. “When I saw the prompt for the writing contest I just knew I had to say something about it,” Jackson said. Jackson’s essay was about the ongoing issue of police brutality in America and contextualized the topic by discussing the long-standing past of racist law enforcement and systemic racism toward Black people. Jackson explored the stories of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rodney King and Christopher Bailey and emphasized the importance of overcoming racist stereotypes of Black people and ending all racial profiling. Jackson called for sweeping improvements to police education and student education as well. “This type of reform is crucial to the progression of the United States, as education is the repellent of ignorance and therefore hate, and it can be used to better this society in more ways than one,” Jackson said in their essay. The challenge of the contest
“When I saw the prompt for the writing contest I just knew I
had to say something about it.” —January Jackson, sophomore
ESSAY Read January’s essay published in the paper here:
was clearly evident to Jackson, not only in fully composing an essay, but also in tackling a very intense and personal subject. “It was pretty hard to write at times,” Jackson said. “I’ve witnessed incidents of brutality and injustice myself, things no one should have to be subjected to.” In their essay, Jackson referenced racist Black stereotypes perpetuated on social media, and how slurs, insults and hate speech have become commonplace in online settings. After events of injustice, Jackson witnessed swaths of hateful comments aimed at the victims of brutality — even blaming victims. “The words of those anonymous accounts have stuck with me,” Jackson said. “It forced me to realize that this uneducated mindset is instilled within the people around me as well as in the entirety of our society.” The winners of the contest were announced in August, with Jackson taking home fifth place behind Zora Lotton-Barker, a former LHS student and Budget Editor-in-Chief. All participants received scholarship money, with a total of $10,000 of prize money awarded. “It was a great environment within the participants,” Jackson said. “We all supported each other throughout the process.” After the contest ended, all eight essays were published on The Lawrence Times. “My real hope is that other students take the opportunity to learn about racial justice,” Jackson said. “The change that has to be made is more than just higher ups and politicians. We as a people, as a community, have to come together to end these issues.”
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THE BUDGET HALL OF HONOR
HALL OF LETTER FROM THE EDITORS:
Reporting pushes for diversity and equality in the LHS Hall of Honor BY CUYLER DUNN TESSA COLLAR AND ARIEN ROMAN-ROJAS
awrence High School is filled with rich, diverse history. This year our coverage has sought to encapsulate that diversity. We covered sections of our school’s new mural that highlight civil rights protests held at LHS. We analyzed how racial slurs are used in schools and how they harm minority students. This coverage led us to dig deeper: Where has our coverage, and our school, not fully encapsulated the diverse history of our student body? What better place to look than at our school’s Hall of Honor? Looking through those alumni who have been recognized, we can see it’s not a full representation of the history of our student body, specifical-
ly students of color. The goal of this project is to tell the stories that are missing from the Hall of Honor. We hope to raise awareness and improve representation. The Hall of Honor should be a form of inspiration to students. Fulfilling that goal requires ensuring that demographics of our student body are reflected in the Hall of Honor. Fulfilling our goal requires a few reporting tasks. In this project you will find multiple alumni of color who were instrumental and impactful in the development of LHS and the city of Lawrence. These are people we believe deserve
recognition in the Hall of Honor. We also feature current people of color in the Hall of Honor. These people have made a significant influence on their city, state and world since graduating from LHS. Finally we talked to our student body, the driving force behind this project, and talked with them about why this kind of representation matters. We hope that our reporting accurately reflects the strength, diversity and history of LHS and inspires change that creates more diverse and reflective spaces in LHS institutions in the future.
Uncovering Lion Legacies 6
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HALL OF HONOR THE BUDGET
Graphic by Asher Wolfe
Our first Hall of Honor nominations
Interviews with current Hall of Honor members
Why representation matters to LHS students DESIGN BY ASHER WOLFE | APRIL 2022
THE BUDGET HALL OF HONOR
LEONARD MONROE Sergeant succeeds despite racism BY ARIEN ROMAN ROJAS Co-editor-in-chief Illustrations by Anna Anderson
eonard Monroe (class of 1950) was the youngest of eight children and the son of a carpenter. Born and raised in Lawrence, Monroe became a distinguished athlete in track and basketball during his time at Lawrence High School (then Liberty Memorial High School). Monroe experienced discrimination throughout his life, an obstacle which got in the way of his education and athletic desires. In the 1940s, Liberty Memorial had integrated some of its sports, like football and track, but others like basketball still had separate teams for Black and white students. “They didn’t integrate the basketball team until 1950,” Monroe said in an interview with Alice Fowler, an alumna who interviewed notable community members. “As a matter of fact, I was one of the first ones to be on the Lawrence Lions, the first Black to be on the Lawrence Lions.” Monroe was the second fastest quarter-miler in Kansas, leading to offers from universities during his senior year of high school. But Monroe only had one college in mind: the University of Kansas. Unfortunately for Monroe, the track coach at KU, Bill Eason, refused to let Monroe run because of his race, as Monroe described in the Fowler interview, which was
one of the few sources of information available about Monroe’s life to be used in this reporting. Despite such disappointing encounters, Monroe didn’t let the discrimination he experienced derail his life. Since he couldn’t run track at KU, he decided to join the Air Force. During his time in the Air Force, Monroe tried to sign up for classes at Louisiana State University but was once again stopped because of his race. His only option was finding 19 other African Americans who were willing to commute to another school, not the LSU campus, in order to study. Given the additional challenge, he stayed in the Air Force. Eventually, he was discharged to study at a ninemonth electrical school in Kansas City since he had experience as a front line electrician in the Air Force. During his job search, he discovered the job market was riddled with racism, and he was unable to find a job. Monroe joined an aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, and was recruited by the Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1958. Monroe met his wife, Jaqueline, in Roswell. After getting married, he was stationed in Vietnam, had a son and returned. He left for Germany where he had two daughters and worked in the Aerospace and Ground Equipment field at the Rhine Mainz Air
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Force Base. During his time in the military, Monroe became quite accomplished. He received an Commendation Medal for his time in Vietnam and was afforded titles for his exemplary leadership. Although only a tech sergeant, Monroe was promoted to brass chief of the squadron, where he took over the branch. Monroe was in for a major surprise when, during a conversation with the major of the squadron, he was made master sergeant. “Boy, that was the biggest surprise,” he said in the Fowler interview.“Because you have to two years in grade to make master sergeant, and I only had 18 months at the time.” He ran that branch for three years, later served in Taiwan and was assigned to McConnell Air Force Base located in Wichita after that. Monroe was made senior master sergeant at that branch, and often returned to visit his family in Lawrence. After serving for 23 years in the Air Force, Monroe decided to look for to a different occupation. He got a job with City Hall as the superintendent of a city garage. He received a flag to commemorate his work from the city after he retired. “I was just swept off my feet really,” he said. “I mean, the whole thing was for me.”
HALL OF HONOR THE BUDGET
Almuni teacher bridges gaps BY TESSA COLLAR Co-online editor-in-chief
math teacher of 31 years, Debra Green was born May 18, 1951, in Lawrence and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1969. Green taught math at LHS for more than three decades, positively impacting students she taught and going beyond her required duties for students. Being of Native American and African American heritage, Green defied the odds and broke down barriers. Green’s family had deep roots in Lawrence, with her great-grandparents settling in the area in the 1860s as sharecroppers after being freed from slavery during the Civil War. Following Green’s death in 2012, the Lawrence Journal-World published an article titled “Family and friends remember LHS math teacher Debra Green,” commemorating her contributions to Lawrence High and the wider community. “Debra Green was a professional teacher in the highest regard,” former LHS librarian Martha Oldham said in the article. “She had high standards, but if you had a problem, she always had time to talk. Debra touched lives in a positive nature.”
Green expressed her apprecia“Her life could be a book,” Hood tion for Lawrence High in getting said. “She and her family have her on the path she wanted to been so important to the history pursue. of Lawrence, and I think Kansas “I liked Lawrence High at the University athletics back in the day. time I came through because… I She influenced so many people as got the best teachers. It allowed a teacher and a community leader. me to get eight hours of calculus She bridged gaps between the diffor college credit before I got out,” ferent communities of Lawrence.” Green said in an interview with Oldham recalled the caliber of Curtis Nether in 1977 as Green’s teaching and her part of the “Lawrence/ way of connecting with Douglas County African students. “She bridged American Oral History “Debra Green was a Interviews.”“Really, those gaps between professional teacher in the the different teachers that I had gave highest regard,” Oldham me a sense of direction said in a Lawrence Jourcommunities on where I wanted to nal-World article. “She had of Lawrence.” go.” high standards, but if you Green also influenced —Jack Hood, LHS had a problem she always teacher younger family memhad time to talk. Debra bers, such as her great touched lives in a positive nephew, Jelani Ragins. nature.” “She is part of my inspiration for Although he didn’t experience wanting to go into the education Green as a teacher, Ragins only field,” said Ragins, a 2021 Lawrence heard positive comments of her High graduate. “The things she dedication and care in her classaccomplished as a Black woman room. during her time are phenomenal.” “Many people who went to LHS Jack Hood, Lawrence High social and had [Green] for a class always studies teacher, taught with Green will share her love for the students,” at Lawrence High for several years. Ragins said. “Anyone that I talk to Hood emphasized the significance always mentions how much she of Green’s life and her impacts on cared and poured into seeing her the community. pupils succeed.” DESIGNED BY RILEY HOFFER | APRIL 2022
THE BUDGET HALL OF HONOR
Current Hall of Honor inductees speak on the importance of diversity BY CUYLER DUNN AND ARIEN ROMAN ROJAS Co-Editors-in-Chief
r. Larry Kwak is a world-renowned physician and scientist who has pioneered breakthrough innovations in immunology and cancer vaccines. His accomplishments led him to be named one of TIME magazine’s “100 most influential people” in 2010. He was also awarded the 2016 Ho-Am prize in medicine. The Ho-Am Prizes recognize people of Korean heritage who have made significant medical advances. Dr. Kwak credits a lot of his growth to a high school mentor who sparked his interest in the field. We reached out to Dr. Kwak to discuss the Hall of Honor and the lessons he learned during his time at LHS. Here is our conversation, slightly edited for clarity:
Describe what you think your accomplishments mean to your community? Dr. Kwak: “I am privileged that my calling to help people is also my chosen occupation. In high school during a summer internship at a hospital lab, I did menial tasks, but at the end of each day, my mentor invited me into his office to look at slides of cancer cells. He challenged me to ask the question of why they were there and the even bigger questions of whether they could be harnessed to fight cancer someday. “That question inspired me to pursue a career as a physician and scientist and my lifelong quest to harness the immune system to fight cancer. Inventing new treatments for cancer that can be offered to patients who don’t have other options is what still gets me excited about going to work every morning. Making an impact on cancer earned me recognition in the time 100 and the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in South Korea.”
Dr. Kwak: “As you think about your future, think big, in terms of maximum impact. We all have a universal calling to help others and improve humankind. Developing excellence in your chosen craft will require sacrifice and perseverance.” What is your vision for Lawrence High’s Hall of Honor? Dr. Kwak: “The purpose of awards and honors is to inspire those around us and the next generation.
What advice would you give to current Lawrence High Students?
MORE HALL OF HONOR LEGACIES
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Alongside the two Hall of Honor members we talked with, multiple other members of the Hall of Honor have made significant impacts on their community and world. Here are a few other minority graduates from LHS who are members of the Hall of Honor.
HALL OF HONOR THE BUDGET Focusing, workers set up the new Hall of Honor plaques. Before construction, the Hall of Honor members were recognized with plaques hanging around the rotunda. Because new construction removed the rotunda, the plaques were relocated to a new section in the cafeteria, near the main entrance. “I hope people of color start getting more representation for cultures and their history,” junior Inila Braves said. “I just hope that they start standing out more.” Photos by Maya Smith
oug Coffin has been a professional painter, sculptor and mixed media artist for more than forty years. A Potawatomi and Creek Indian, Coffin grew up on Haskell Indian Nations University’s grounds and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1964. Coffin has used Native American inspirations in his art to create his unique artistic style. He’s a recognized artist who has had his art displayed around the world and an example of how connecting with your roots can help you pursue your passions and succeed in life. Coffin was inducted into LHS’s Hall of Honor in 2006. We reached out to him to ask about the importance of representation in the Hall of Honor and what it meant to him to be inducted. Here is our conversation about
the Hall of Honor, slightly edited for clarity: Roman Rojas: What’s the most important thing you learned during your time at LHS? Coffin: “There’s a lot of different groups that form throughout the process of going through high school. There’s the sporty people, artsy people, in those days you notice those obvious differences. “But at the same time, the class of 1964, Lawrence only had one high school so everybody was thrown into the same kind of environment, so you felt that you were up against the same things and you were going to get along with everybody as much as you could. As far as that people did seem to get along as far as I could tell.” What impact do you think diverse representation could have on students?
Coffin: “People need to respect the differences and realize that people are the same. We’re all related. They’re all kind of success stories and they all started off at Lawrence High. “It shows that people can achieve their own successes no matter where they are. People have done some remarkable things. Part of the common bond is going to the city of Lawrence. People of color worked as hard as anybody.” What did it mean to you to be inducted into the Hall of Honor? Coffin: Well I got the call that I was inducted, and I started laughing, which I don’t think they expected. I was like, ‘Did you get the wrong number? Why are you calling me?’ I wasn’t the best student, the brightest student, the hardest-working student, but again, I had my vision of the singular thing of what I wanted to do.”
SRI AND SRINIJA SRINIVASAN
WESLEY B WALKER
Sri Srinivasan is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Srinija Srinivasan served as vice president, editor-in-chief at Yahoo! for more than 15 years.
Manning is an American college basketball coach and former professional player who is the interim head coach for the Maryland Terrapins.
Multi-sport athlete and World Champion wheelchair athlete.
Brown served in the Colorado Senate from 1955 to 1974 and as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1979.
DESIGNED BY RILEY HOFFER | APRIL 2022
THE BUDGET HALL OF HONOR
JOHN SPEARMAN SR. Rights leader fights for equity BY TESSA COLLAR Co-online editor-in-chief Illustrations by Anna Anderson
ohn Spearman was an integral part of his community, helping to make Lawrence the place it is today. Between the 1950s and 1970s, Spearman was a member of the Lawrence League for the Practice of Democracy (LLPD), the Lawrence chapter of the NAACP, the Concerned Black Parents, the Lawrence Human Relations Commission and the first African American USD 497 school board member. “He always believed that Lawrence was a place worth improving, even if he had to fight to do it,” John Spearman Jr, Spearman Sr.’s eldest son, said in the Lawrence Journal-World article “Rights leader helped shape city,” which ran after Spearman Sr.’s death. Spearman played on the all-Black basketball team, the Promoters, while at Liberty Memorial High School. During World War II, Spearman served in the U.S. Army in Japan. Beginning in 1961, Spearman worked at the local Hallmark plant as a cutter and ended his career in 1994 as an industrial engineer. Listening to America, written by Bill Moyers, former White House press secretary, details conversations Moyers
had with Spearman Sr. while visiting Lawrence to write his book. In Listening to America, Spearman Sr. described what it was like to live as a Black person in Lawrence during his lifetime. “When I grew up in Lawrence, the Blacks were pretty invisible people,” Spearman Sr. said. “There are men on the school board who don’t realize I went to school with them. They just weren’t aware of me. You seldom saw Blacks mentioned in the newspaper, certainly not on the society page. “Everything in this town was segregated except the schools,” he continued. “While I was in high school, you could only participate in non-contact sports if you were Black. Track — not basketball or football. The year after I graduated, a Black was nominated by the students to run for class president — the first time — but the principal stepped in and eliminated him. Housing was segregated, the drugstores were segregated, the restaurants were segregated, jobs were segregated.” Spearman Sr. emphasized his commitment to ensuring his children had a better high school experience than himself and that they knew their self worth.
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“I made up my mind that my children wouldn’t spend their highschool years how I spent mine,” Spearman Sr. said in Listening to America. “I started very early making sure they knew they were as good as anybody living, anybody walking on the earth. If they suffered oppressions or injustices, I told them, it had nothing to do with their own self worth. It has to do with the white man’s ignorance and pride. I told them to strive for what you want, what you know is right. But don’t deal from feelings of inferiority, frustration, bitterness. That isn’t what I wanted for them.” Michael Spearman, Spearman Sr.’s son, noted the impact his father had on Lawrence and the changes that came from his work. “He worked with so many individuals and organizations to make Lawrence a better place,” Michael Spearman said. “My father impacted so many people and helped bring about so much necessary change.” Michael Spearman reflected on his parents’ involvement in the effort for the integrated pool in Lawrence in the 1960s. “My parents were members of the organizations that waged this battle
HALL OF HONOR THE BUDGET
Reasoning for Representation We asked LHS students of color why seeing representation in the Hall of Honor is important to them
“I think in the past people of color haven’t really been represented as well as they should have and
that’s something that needs to change.” —Inila Brave, junior
“I think being able to look up to someone that is like you, for me that would be someone who is Latinx. I just think it’s important, especially for younger kids, that they are able to
have someone to look up to.” —Giuliano Lule-Paredes, junior
“I’ve noticed before situations where there was lack of representation for people of color. In certain instances it’s made me feel a little less valid about my
background.” —Cordelia Luellen, junior against a very resistant community,” Michael Spearman said. “I remember going with Mom and Dad to demonstrations against the segregated pool, the Jayhawk Plunge, as a very young child.” “Taking the Plunge: Race, Rights, and the Politics of Desegregation in Lawrence, Kansas, 1960,” an article written by Rusty Monhollen, focuses on activism in Lawrence during the 1960s, and specifically on the efforts to create an integrated public swimming pool. Monhollen included Spearman Sr. and his wife, Vernell, in his discussion of the LLPD and the fight for desegregation in Lawrence. “Members of the LLPD shared a commitment to social justice,” Monhollon wrote. “John Spearman Sr. and Vernell Spearman, African Americans who were lifelong Lawrence residents
and the children of social activists, were typical LLPD members, working quietly and diligently for racial equality.” State representative Barbara Ballard echoed the sentiment that Spearman played an important role in the advancement of Lawrence’s civil rights. “I don’t think he just sat back and said someone else could do it,” Ballard said in “Rights leader helped shape city.”“He participated in making Lawrence what it is today.” Michael Spearman noted the vast differences between the place Lawrence is today as opposed to the segregated place it was in the mid 1900s. “I think it says something that most people living in Lawrence now wouldn’t recognize the Lawrence that my father lived in,” Michael Spearman said. “In fact, I doubt that most would
find it hard to believe the Lawrence in which my father grew up ever existed. But it did.” Spearman passed away July 4, 2007. Michael Spearman emphasized his parents’ lifelong involvement in making Lawrence the place it is today, referring to the battle to establish the integrated swimming pool. “I suspect that most people living in Lawrence today will find it hard to believe that the white citizens of Lawrence were so strongly opposed to what seems so uncontroversial today,” Michael Spearman said. “But it was a battle my father and mother helped to wage and to eventually win. That it is now an almost forgotten memory had a lot to do with my father, my mother and those who fought along with him to make right so much that was so wrong.”
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THE BUDGET OPINION
Euphoria character plays into harmful Latinx stereotypes BY ARIEN ROMAN-ROJAS Co-Editor-in-Chief
pon the release of its first season in 2019, Euphoria was praised for its defiance of stereotypes. The main character, Rue, was a mixed, bisexual, young woman played by Zendaya — not a straight white person. Rue’s love interest, a transgender girl named Jules, is played by transgender icon Hunter Shafer. Kat, another of the main characters, was a bigger girl who instead of being ashamed for her size embraced her curves and body shape and radiated bad-ass confidence. But the character that meant the most to me was Maddy Perez. In past years for trending teen shows like Euphoria, the it girl was normally portrayed by a blonde, pretty, rich ,white girl. Whatever the it girl girls obsessed over and tried to wholeheartedly replicate was always white. Whether that was Cher from Clueless or Regina George from Mean Girls, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde or even Blair Woldorf and Serena Van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl, they were all white. So when I found that the it girl from Euphoria was Maddy Perez, a girl of Latinx descent, and not her white friend Cassie, Jules or Kat, I was ecstatic. For once it felt like Latinas had something that was ours. Thousands of girls recreated Maddy’s outfits, incorporated her lines into their daily speech and copied her personality, but no matter how many white girls dressed identically to Maddy, they would always fall short of her because they weren’t Latina. As a teen girl, it’s hard not to like Maddy. She emits and exudes confidence, she’s stylish and bold, she’s beautiful, popular, and most of all she doesn’t let anyone
bring her down. She seems like the perfect poster girl for Latinas everywhere right? Yes and no. Although it’s amazing that the it girl of the show is finally a Latina, Maddy as a character plays into a lot of stereotypes that are forced onto Latina women. She’s rude, aggressive, doesn’t care about school, is promiscuous and sexualized, and she’s often getting into physical fights. Half of her dialogue includes the word ‘c*nt.’ From the beginning episode, it’s established that Maddy has a reputation for being “crazy,” and in her backstory episode, it’s established that she thoroughly enjoyed “not doing anything.” Euphoria isn’t the first teen show to portray Latinas as angry, aggressive, dangerous women. Let’s recall Santana Lopez from Glee, a Latina cheerleader who often threatened to fight people and was equally as confident as Maddy. And although Veronica Lodge from Riverdale never gets in a physical fight, she is manipulative and scheming and does whatever she can to get what she wants. This trope is so overdone, it has been engraved in many people’s minds as one of the first thing that others associate with Latinas. Stereotypes like these are never good and usually end up favoring people who discriminate. You might think that people aren’t gullible enough to translate stereotypes like the ones from shows into real life right? Everyone knows TV isn’t real life. Even so, I’ve been told countless times that people were scared to approach me because I looked mean. When I’ve gotten into arguments with other girls, some have even blurted out that, “I better not hit them” (despite me never being in a physical fight), and whenever I stand up for myself, I’m often portrayed as the at-
APRIL 2022 | DESIGNED BY PERRIN GOULTER
tacker. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not afraid to stand up for myself but they also know I’m not stupid enough to think that physical action will solve a dispute. People are also surprised when I care about school and am dedicated to my education. But because of TV shows like Euphoria, which is so mainstream, those stereotypes of being lazy, aggressive, and mean are projected onto Latinas like me and translated into real life. And the rapid growth of Euphoria probably won’t help that situation. Girls on social media have come to glamorize Maddy’s aggressive attitude, branding her a “bad b*tch” who doesn’t take anything from anyone. Girls praise her for being unable to control herself and beating up girls instead of dealing with conflicts in a mature manner, lip synching to audio of Maddy calling people every insult in the book. Latinas have even come to wear Maddy’s aggression proudly, which is confusing since so many of us have tried so hard to fight against the stereotypes that we’re aggressive. Although I’ve detailed all of Maddy’s defects as a character she still has a lot of redeeming qualities. She’s one of the kindest characters on the show, she’s loyal, she’s confident, and she’s creative. It makes sense as to why girls would want to be like Maddy, and since her feisty attitude is such a trademark of her being, it’s difficult to separate the good parts of her from the aggressive parts when you’re lip-synching to an audio of her on TikTok or trying out one of her glamorous makeup looks. But why can’t we just focus on those positive traits without bringing in negative stereotypes? Why can’t people glorify her amazing babysitting skills, lip sync to audios of the countless times pep-talks she’s given to her friends, or focus on her unique style and personal life?
OPINION THE BUDGET It’s disappointing to know that Maddy could’ve been all those admirable things, continuing to be teen girls’ idol, without the aggression and hostility. Euphoria’s creator Sam Levinson could’ve easily used a less overused trope that won’t contribute to harmful racial stereotypes for his fabulous it girl, especially since he chose to make Maddy someone of Latinx descent. Additionally, the audience doesn’t even get reasoning as to why Maddy turned out so aggressive, unmotivated, and promiscuous. Levinson could’ve justified his creative choices for Maddy and why she turned out like such a stereotypical Latina if he unraveled what led her to play into them. Why doesn’t she want to do anything with her life? Why is she so caring? What specifically about her home life made her choose to stay in a toxic and abusive relationship? Maddy as a character is pretty boring because she’s used mostly as a token time bomb that could be set off by anything and anyone. Her backstory episode is vague compared to the rest of the characters, and her cultural background, something that is of great significance to any person of color, isn’t ever explored. Levinson completely missed the opportunity to contrast the rest of the families in Euphoria and Maddy’s, something that could’ve added another layer to her character. All he had to do to create a refreshing character was go against those stereotypes. Make her self-assertive and logical, not
crazy and aggressive, make her supportive and studious, not rude, ignorant (I mean she uses the r-slur repeatedly without hesitation) and “never had a desire to have a career or a job”, make her a confident and beautiful teenage girl, not a confident, beautiful and promiscuous minor. I understand why it’s hard for some girls to draw the line between Maddy’s alluring, flashy, appearance and personality and her impulsive, hostile attitude. But wearing that aggressive trademark proudly is frankly just embarrassing, especially when Latinas do it. It gives other people the right to brand Latinas as aggressive, stupid, and promiscuous women, as difficult or challenging sex objects or prizes. Embracing inherently negative stereotypes in an attempt to refocus them is like a free pass for others to justify their incorrect assumptions about Latina women. I’m sure Levinson thought he was being inclusive by making a mixed girl the protagonist of Euphoria, a trans girl her love interest, and Maddy the it girl of Latinx descent. But by reverting to those tireless racial tropes, it comes off as less inclusive and more as lazy, insensitive writing. It’s something that creators like Levinson who are trying to be progressive and inclusive in the media need to be more considerate of. And Latinas need to be more aware of the things that we’re embracing — not be too consumed and excited with the fact that we finally received our rightful representation. Graphic by Anna Anderson
DESIGNED BY PERRIN GOULTER | APRIL 2022
SPEARMANS RETURN After leading civil rights sit-ins in the 70s, brothers John and Michael Spearman returned to LHS to tour the school and sit down for an interview with editors-in-chief Tessa Collar and Cuyler Dunn. The brothers were influential in fighting for diversity, both at LHS and in Lawrence as a whole. “I think, those two things were sort of symbiotic and related to each other, if you’re going to change things,” Michael Spearman said. “And in the high school level, it was going to affect how the white and Black community related with each other outside of the high school.” Follow along at lhsbudget.com for a story, transcript of the interview and a photo gallery from the visit. Photo by Owen Musser
THE JOURNALISM STAFF MISSION STATEMENT The Budget newspaper is committed to providing the Lawrence High community with objective, inclusive news coverage that ensures relevance to its spectrum of readers. The staff devotes itself to the exercise of First Amendment rights and upholding the highest of journalistic standards. While the paper is a tool to publish student voices, it also works to help students grow as journalists and help readers access information.
ABOUT US The Budget is published every six weeks and distributed free of charge to students and faculty at Lawrence High School, 1901 Louisiana, Lawrence, Kan. 66046-2999. The Budget is produced by students in the Digital Journalism and Digital Design and Production courses with occasional contributions from 21st Century Journalism and guest columnists. The newspaper’s goals are to inform, entertain, and present a forum of expression for students, faculty, administrators and community
members. The newspaper is financed through advertising and fundraising. The editorial staff is solely responsible for the content of this newspaper, and views expressed in The Budget do not necessarily reflect those of the administration of Lawrence High School or USD 497.
STAFF Sama Abughalia, Henry Adams, Anna Anderson, Claudia Baltazar, Audrey Basham, Milo Bitters, Maxwell Cowardin, Ava Crook, Anna Erisman, Maison Flory, Maddy Freed, Perrin Goulter, Morganna Haaga, Riley Hoffer, Ella Holthaus, Hayden Houts, Emmie Hurd, Cian Kasten, Henry Keeler, Sam Lopez, Jonas Lord, Finn Lotton-Barker, Karen Middleton, Caitlin Mooney, Jayden Moore, Channing Morse, Connor Mullen, Owen Musser, Aaron Novoseltsev, Emily O’Hare, Elijah Paden, Cami Palmer, Alden Parker-Timms, Reed Parker-Timms, Brandon Parnell, Declan Patrick, Ian Perkins, Danny Phalen, Ashton Rapp, Jack Ritter,
Adam Schnurr, Jake Shew, Avery Sloyer, Maya Smith, Brady Stark, Maria Szydlo, Jack Tell, Kaie Thirteen, Paige Unekis, Jackson Yanek and Tyller Zacher.
THE BUDGET EDITORS Cuyler Dunn........ Co Editor-in-Chief Arien Roman-Rojas.......... Co Editorin-Chief Owen Musser................Photo Editor Asher Wolfe.................Design Editor Julia Barker.............. Features Editor
RED & BLACK EDITORS Kenna McNally.... Co Editor-in-Chief Kate O’Keefe........ Co Editor-in-Chief Charlotte Stineman......... Secondary Coverage Editor Maebelle Hamlin..........Photo Editor
LHSBUDGET.COM EDITORS Andrew Phalen... Co Editor-in-Chief Tessa Collar......... Co Editor-in-Chief Olive Harrington.......... Social Media Editor
STAFF EDITORS Ryan Hardie.............Sports Editor Ella Trendel..........Captions Editor Addie London............ Copy Editor