BLACK VOICE CARTA LATINA MAGAZINE
October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE - 1
INSIDE THE ISSUE
HOW TO GET OVER LATINA GUILT - 24 DEAR WHITE PEOPLE - 26
LETTER TO NO ONE - 28
THE FORGOTTEN ONES - 8 A PEOPLE UNDER ATTACK - 10 BLACK STUDENT UNION RAISES AWARENESS FOR HOMELESSNESS - 12
ARTS, CULTURE, & ENTERTAINMENT ARTISIT SPOTLIGHT - 29
Latino Heritage Month VANESSA GONZALEZ, WITH PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VANESSA GONZALEZ - 14
THE NFL TAKES A BIG HIT - 30 A REVIEW OF BLACK-ISH - 31 PROFILE ON SHONDA RHIMES - 32
CULTURE VS. CAPITALISM - 16
Health, Beauty and fashion
WHAT DOES CULTURE MEAN TO YOU? - 18
A SCHOOL WITH A PLAN - 20
YOUTUBE MADE ME GO NATURAL - 34 EASTERN AFRICAN FASHION - 36 THE DOCTOR IS IN: DO YOU KNOW YOUR HIV STATUS?: BREAKING THE SILENCE AND MYTHS ABOUT HIV - 38
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Letter from the Editor Way back in September, the University had the annual Student Involvement Fair. It was a sweltering day, as if summer was still trying to impose its presence up on u. Regardless, the BVCL staff and I were excited. The involvement fair was essentially recruitment day, a day to put our best foot forward and find fresh new talent for the magazine. So there we were, stationed in front of our little table in the shade (thankfully) with about 200 fliers ready to distribute. Most of the time, we were just handing out fliers, but some very special people came to the table wanting more information about the magazine. One young man I talked to came to the table interested to hear more. I told him about our mission statement and how we were dedicated to breaking the chains of ignorance. I told him we wanted to highlight the lives of minorities on campus. Once I said that, he started backing away slowly as he replied, “Sorry. I don’t believe in racial publications that divide people”. BVCL: a racial publication that divides people. I strongly beg to differ. Yes, we cover stories of underrepresented and minority groups because that is exactly what they are- not represented. This comes in the form of not only racial and ethnic minorities, but religious, sexual, and the disabled as well. If we do not highlight them, who will? We are Black Voice Carta Latina, but we are not only for Blacks or Latinas. So. This issue, I wanted to explore the topic of culture. Our culture makes us different, but it also unites us. It’s not as complex as it seems. Culture is a medium of social relationships and interactions. It is conscious and subconscious. It creates, defines, and limits up. It is omnipresent and all encompassing. In some ways, your culture is your god. It makes up who you are and is the reason why we do what we do how we do it. Basically, our culture is our identity. And while we each have our individual identities, there are certain aspects that we share. Doesn’t Rutgers have its own culture? Only people from Rutgers will understand the hype of Livingston Apartments or overwhelming stress of registering for classes (WebReg why?). Rutgers cultural norms dictate that we hate Penn State, despise the buses after class at Scott Hall and walk hurriedly by anybody trying to hand us something on College Ave. That’s just who we are. So, with each of the articles, editorials, paintings and photos in this issue, I urge you to observe them with a cultured eye. Ask yourself: What influenced the author to write that? Why is that such a big deal? Why is that group of people in that specific situation? Why does it matter? It is through these questions that we learn and grow as individuals, build bridges, and become catalysts for change in this global community we call Rutgers. Change our surroundings. Change the culture. Change yourselves. With love,
Ijeoma Unachukwu 4 - BVCL MAGAZINE | October 2014
Meet the executive board Editor in Chief Ijeoma Unachukwu
Editors Kim Nebedum Jennah Quinn
Layout Editor Lisa Marie Segarra
Marketing Director/Public Relations Jennifer Ngandu
Advertising Manager Christiana Osawe
Online Content Manager Deji Folarin
Photography Obinna Woko — Color - A School with a Plan Justin Hendrix -— Black and White - A School With a Plan Yvanna Saint Fort — Black Student Union
Quote of the Month: “Trying to be color blind is what is bringing all these problems. The way to stop racial discrimination, discrimination of any kind really, is to stop discriminating. Have open and candid dialouge about these things. Then understand and celebrate these differences. We are not the same perfume in different bottles” ~Clifford Dawkins, President of the Rutgers University Student Bar Association
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THE FORGOTTEN ONES
It seems like the bandwagon effect is not just a psychological phenomenon but an apparent human one. As the year is drawing to a close, I just wanted to highlight the stories that caused international outrage but then seemed to fade away into existence.
#BringBackOurGirls First off, let us start with #BringBackOurGirls movement. For those that were not aware of the situation, the originally Nigerian hashtag was created in response to the kidnapping of approximately 300 schoolgirls by a terrorist organization based in northeast Nigeria---Boko Haram. An education means being able to have a voice or opinion or refuting patriarchal doctrine that encourages female kyriarchy, and in their minds, women should not be given such an opportunity. Meanwhile, it has been about five months since most of the world outside of Nigeria has lost its vigor and interest to save the girls, but here is an update:
In August, Boko Haram also abducted dozens of boys and men: “They left no men or boys in the place; only young children, girls and women.” (Huffington Post) One of the kidnapped schoolgirls was found wandering in a remote part of Nigerian, says she is “heavily traumatized.” (NBC News) It is interesting to think as quickly as news spreads; it is just as fast in losing its vitality.
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Speaking of spreading, in a previous BVCL is-
sue, I informed readers on the fatality rate of Ebola and the number of confirmed cases in parts of West Africa, but these numbers have quickly surpassed expectations. Now, the death toll has reached 3,000 people (World Health Organization). The latest figures say that more than 6,500 cases reported. This leads people to wonder how many more cases are actually unreported. There are some studies that suggest that the numbers could reach more than 20,000 by early Novem-
ber. The first case of Ebola was identified in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on August 26, 1976. The virus was named after a nearby river, “Ebola River,” and fruit bats are believed to be the natural carrier. There has been no record of Ebola travelling through the air, however; it spreads mainly through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, or an infected animal. In humans, symptoms of the fever can be fatigue, fever, headaches, joint, muscle, and abdominal pain. Ebola’s reappearance came about in December 2013, when a two year old boy from a small village in Guinea contacted the virus. Because family and physicians did not know the exact cause of his symptoms, he was treated as a normal patient. Fast forward, Ebola has spread to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, and now we have a reported patient in the United States. Nigeria and Senegal have successfully stopped their outbreaks Two Americans who contracted Ebola were brought back to the U.S. for treatment, received an experimental drug, and were cured. The diagnosis of the first Ebola patient has happened in the U.S. (Texas) Ebola Epidemic Could Top a Million Victims If Not Contained (CDC)
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“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” Ferguson, Missouri is still at unrest after the unfaithful after-
noon of August 9, 2014. It has been almost two months since Michael Brown (18-years-old and unarmed) was shot by police officer Darren Wilson. Using hashtags like: “#Ferguson” and “JusticeForMikeBrown,” his murder became a watershed moment that confronted police brutality and racism within the justice system. Weeks following the shooting, protests erupted in Ferguson, across the country, and even signs of solidarity were shown internationally. Evidence seems clear as day but no one has been convicted of Michael’s murder.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lied about his received “requests” for the videotape that allegedly shows Michael Brown “robbing” a convenience store The police chief (again) allowed his officers to hide their names on their badges which is not legal The U.S. Justice Department bans officers wearing bracelets saying “I am Darren Wilson” Darren Wilson supporters were able to use crowdfunding to raise approximately $500,000. No official report of the shooting has been released to the public and Wilson is still out on administrative leave with pay.
eal life events---not just Raround stories—are happening all us. We can no longer hold in anger and not use it for something constructive. It IS and SHOULD be our job to hold people accountable of their actions, no matter their given position. It is ALSO our job to remember the lives of those whose stories are being forgotten, because their sacrifice (willing and unwillingly) is an immeasurable catalyst for justice.
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A People Under OSAMA SAYED Attack
he name ISIS has been tossed around all over the news lately, and although many people hold an immense hatred of ISIS, not many people actually know who ISIS is. Before ISIS can be defeated it is of utmost importance to understand what it is and why it was created. ISIS, like all terrorist organizations, believes in the takfirist ideology developed by Sayed Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual godfather, in his internationally infamous book “milestones.” ISIS, short for the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (Levant), started off as a branch of AlQaeda in Iraq. After the power gap left by the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Shi’ite led Iraqi government had a difficult time sustaining power over the area. The result was that groups like AlQaeda took a strong foothold in the area. In 2006 the jihadist organization “AlQaeda in Iraq” under Abu Bakr AlBaghdadi decided to break away from AlQaeda in order to form their new organization, The Islamic State of Iraq. They started to gain international recognition upon declaration of their involvement in the Syrian Civil War against President Bashar AlAssad. Although there are many factions and fronts fighting in the war, ISIS gained the most recognition due to the gruesome barbaric nature of its attacks which include but are not limited to: beheading Muslims and non-Muslims alike, mass executions, cannibalism in at least one instance, and decorating their cars with decapitated heads. Recently, ISIS decided to expand its influence by renaming itself “The Islamic State” and hoping to gather international support from foreign militants. It is foolish to believe that the Islamic State can be defeated through sheer warfare alone. Airstrikes would be an incredible way to decrease their current power but they will never be enough to end their influence. A common misconception is that terrorist groups function solely on their structured organization. While organization plays a
key role in the structure of a terrorist organization, their key weapon is ideology. While structure in organization will give them discipline and unity, ideology will give them loyalty without question. That is the key weapon that makes terrorist organizations one of the greatest threats in modern history. The secret of the Islamic State is that it is no longer a structured enemy, it has evolved into an idea. And ideas cannot be killed. They can, however, be suppressed through proper education. The key to defeating the Islamic State should be proper education. Allies in the Middle East such as Egypt under President AbdelFattah AlSisi have played a major role in spreading the secular ideology in hopes of countering terrorism. The United States’s coalition attack of the Islamic State is a major step towards the defeat of Islamic Militarism, but if not planned correctly could backfire and result in an increase of terrorism. The airstrikes should be used to minimize ideological influence by the Islamic State. Without their leaders, influence becomes difficult to ensure. This is exactly what happened to AlQaeda after the fall of Osama Bin Laden and a large number of their powerful commanders. While the airstrikes are a great first step to defeating the Islamic State, the real weapon will be to unite and empower moderate Muslims which make up the majority of Muslims. If the Islamic State was to fall today, several new groups would rise up to take its place. This was seen when the Muslim Brotherhood was disbanded by Egyptian Prime Minister AlNuqrashi Pasha on the charge of terrorist attacks. What had been the Muslim Brotherhood’s secret structure eventually formed to become several of Egypt’s first Jihadi organizations including AlTakfir W AlHigra which was responsible for the death of President Anwar AlSadat. The Islamic State is simply the grandchild of Hassan AlBanna’s Muslim Brotherhood that had been fostered by Sayed Qutb.
It is foolish to believe that the Islamic State can be defeated through sheer warfare alone. Airstrikes would be an incredible way to decrease their current power but they will never be enough to end their influence. A common misconception is that terrorist groups function solely on their structured organization. While organization plays a key role in the structure of a terrorist organization, their key weapon is ideology.
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NEWS When Hassan AlBanna created the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, he had a goal to reinstate the Caliphate after the fall of the Ottoman Empire by the hands of Mustafa Kemal Ata Turk. There was a slight difference between Hassan AlBanna’s vision and the vision of the Ottoman Caliphates. The Ottomans tried to rule the world from the top, by the sword and by force. Hassan ABanna had a different idea. He decided to rule the world through its rotten underbelly. Instead of going to the religious communities, he chose to target the ones who chose leisure over religion. He used fear of the afterlife to win their loyalty. The Islamic State seems to use a similar approach when it comes to fear. Having followed the methods of Genghis Khan by completely tearing apart certain regions in order to scare others into submission, the Islamic State used a similar approach. Following Hassan AlBanna’s quest for world dominance under the Islamic Caliphate, and the methods of Genghis Khan for regional dominance, applying Hitler’s fascist ideas unto their own by believing that only strict Muslims that adhere to them are the the righteous ones. The Islamic State has become an integration of some of history’s darkest moments. There is one way to combat them, by knowing how they achieved their success and undoing their actions step by step. They were very keen on changing the image of the community around them. They have a goal to to reinstate the old. They fear change, because for them, change means the loss of control. They thrive from the old. They are the
old. Their first step was aesthetically changing the community to look like the old. Through ancient robes, beards, and niqabs they changed the image of society. The rise of Salafists also helped them as well. Although their religious message is extremely far from Islam, they are very keen to maintain the image of Islam. They depend on international Islamists who believe that they are their cause is righteous. It is sickening to imagine how many people are genuinely fooled by the Islamic State. Because the Islamic State exists as an ideology even more than a structured organization, it is very capable of attracting foreign fighters. The coalition airstrikes led by the United States should topple the leaders of the Islamic State to prevent any further propaganda leading to sympathizers of the Islamic State. First, the world must unite in order to spread the increase of secularism and modern values by empowering moderate Muslims in order to properly educate Muslims in ignorant populations. Also, in order to prevent the rise of another Sayed Qutb-inspired takfirist ideology, religious extremism must be monitored. Organized religion, racketeering at best, must be kept under a watchful eye so as to prevent the rise of militancy. Finally, the Islamic State should not be identified by the international community as Muslims. In the words of Al-Azhar, the highest religious institution in Sunni Islam, the Islamic State has completely deviated from Islam and should not be labeled as such, instead they should be identified as Al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria, or QSIS for short.
Want to see more articles like this? Want to help create content for bvcl? Come to our meetings every other monday at 8 in the paul robeson cultural center on busch campus or email us at email@example.com October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE - 11
Black Student Union Raises Awareness for Homelessness
oughly three-dozen Rutgers students and members of the Black Student Union took to the steps of Brower Commons on Friday October 10, to raise awareness for homelessness. As part of BSU’s Second Annual “Homelessness Awareness Sleepout,” from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. students slept on concrete, blankets and cardboard to simulate the struggles that homeless people face on a daily basis. “Homeless people are human just like us,” said BSU President and Rutgers senior Lundon Wilson. “The problem is, people don’t always realize that.” According to the Middlesex County Annual Survey of Homelessness, in 2013 there were over 1,500 men, women and children that were homeless and sleeping on the streets of New Brunswick, Piscataway and other cities in the county. “Homelessness is an issue in general. It’s not only in the black community and it’s not limited to minorities,” said Wilson. “There are millions and millions of homeless people all over America.” The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness reports that in any giver year, more than 3.5 million Americans will experience homelessness. Wilson explained that one of the best ways to combat homelessness is to raise awareness and call attention to the importance of the issue. “You can be in a situation and everything can be taken from you,” said Wilson. “There’s no exact stereotype attached to homelessness, anybody can be homeless. You can go from having everything to having nothing.”
BSU Fundraising Chair and Rutgers junior Alexis Ferguson agreed with Wilson and said that students the sleeping out realize that life can change in an instant. At the beginning of the Sleepout, the stories of multiple homeless people were read aloud to highlight the idea that there is not one unifying face of homelessness; every homeless person has a different story and a different background. “We told stories of people who we know that were homeless,” said Ferguson. “One person was even a Rutgers student here and that really hit home for a lot of people. He was homeless and living off of busses.” Ferguson went on to say that the fact that a Rutgers student could be homeless “shows that you could be in class with someone and not even know what they’re going through or experiencing.” Around midnight, those gathered at the Sleepout began to share private, personal stories and reasons why they are generally thankful. Wilson expressed that it was important to ask everyone in attendance why they are thankful, to help them realize that what they have, others may not have.
Many of the students emphasized being thankful for the path that they walk in life, realizing that for many people having the chance to be a college student “is a gift.”
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Many of the students emphasized being thankful for the path that they walk in life, realizing that for many people having the chance to be a college student “is a gift.” One young man expressed his gratitude in saying, “I’m thankful for life because people take it for granted. Where I’m from going to college is not the norm, it’s easy to be in the streets or locked up. I’m thankful that I had parents who were able to influence me and help me to do better.” Following this trend, almost all of the students in attendance noted how important their family members and parents have been to their success, and expressed their appreciation for them. “All of my cousins are locked up in jail or dead,” said a Rutgers senior. “Me and my sister are literally the only ones [who aren’t], so I’m thankful for my father for setting a good example for us.” Another senior said, “ I’m thankful for the people in my life and their value. I think that relationships with people are important, whether they be family or friends, those bonds are important and will help anyone make it through.” Multiple students expressed their thankfulness for siblings. “I’m thankful for my brother,” said one young woman. “He does a lot of things for me that he doesn’t have to do and it shows that he cares.” “I’m thankful for my little sister, she was born premature and was very sick at birth so I’m just thankful for her life,” echoed another young woman. Finally, adding historical context to the Sleepout, a student in the class of 2017 said, “I’m thankful for the civil
rights leaders that made it possible for us to be able to even gather together like this.” The warmth and gratitude generated from the students gathered at the Sleepout, as they spoke about the reality of their lives and situations, was astounding. Each student offered his or her own personal stories and found a way to connect it with homelessness and the gravity of the homeless epidemic in America. Both Ferguson and Wilson stressed the importance that everyone has the chance to notice homeless people while moving throughout every day life. Many of the Rutgers students that passed by the Sleepout, stopped and questioned what was going on. “I just tell them what’s happening,” said Wilson. “Most people agree with what we’re doing here and support the cause.” Just as they stopped to ask about the Sleepout, Rutgers students have the opportunity to stop and acknowledge homeless people, not only through giving money but also by smiling or saying hello. “We have to lead by example,” said Wilson. “Everyone is homeless for different reasons, its not because you’re crazy or you’re violent, and even if that is the case, they’re still human just like us. Say hi or don’t say hi, but don’t dehumanize them.” To echo Wilson’s words, Ferguson emphasized the point that no one knows what a specific homeless person is going through unless they ask. “You may not know someone’s circumstance, giving them a dollar may be really important to them,” said Ferguson. “Just help somebody out, you never know.”
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LATINO HERITAGE MONTH
First transgender douglass woman and advocate
INTERVIEWED BY KELLY LOPEZ
Q: So tell me a little bit about your activism outside of Rutgers. A: So outside of Rutgers I’m part of a projGrowing up, Vanessa Gonzalez always knew she was unique. She loved her hair long, and followed her own rules when it came to potty training. She was a trailblazer. Today, not much has changed. Vanessa Gonzalez is a third-year major in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Social Justice- both of which she takes very seriously considering her work as an activist who tackles issues that surround social justice and specifically, the LGBT community both outside of Rutgers and here on campus. Vanessa started working with the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities her freshmen year as an office assistant. Since then, she has flourished into a teacher and facilitator for SafeR Space Trainings, a workshop sponsored by the Center for SJE designed to teach students, professors and administrators about the importance of creating safe spaces and how to create these spaces in the classroom, at home, in the office and beyond. She also helped plan the Northeastern LGBT Conference last spring where she got to work closely with Janet Mock, an icon in the national trans community. If that wasn’t enough, Vanessa is now officially the first ever trans woman in Rutgers history to have been admitted into the Douglass Residential Campus! I was lucky enough to sit down and have a talk with her.
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ect called the transcalender project. And what that is is a culmination of trans artists, models, and illustrators; creative, artistic folks all over North America. Its based in Montreal, Canada and we just come together and we create a calendar, and 75% of proceeds go to funding people’s transitions all over the continent because transitioning is very expensive. This project is really good because it will provide that support for name changes and medical aspects of transitioning. Beyond the calendar, I am a reoccurring guest on the Natasha Sherman show, which is a local Princeton talk show, which basically talks about everything that is in the public consciousness. So I have discussed everything from trans identities, race, class, and how they intersect. Then I came back as social justice commentator. The show airs about twice a week online and also in Princeton on FiOS. I was also featured in an article by LiveWoven.com which is an online LGBTQA family resource website that lets their financial and legal rights known especially in states where marriage equality is an issue.
Q: What has been your Q: What would proudest moment? A: The fact that I was able to come out [as a trans woman] because you like to say I knew my whole life that I am trans and my idea of self was not matching how the world sees me. In college that’s where it came to to the Rutgers the forefront of my mind, because I met my very first openly trans friend. He and I had very similar views on life and we had similar community? A: Get to know people for who they are and feelings growing up. In regards to my family, I am multiracial. My mother is from Cuba and my father is from Iran, but my Cuban side raised me. That side of my family is very homophobic but also transphobic. I came out on Facebook and hid my whole family from it. There was a lot of support and a lot of love. Coming out to my mom did not go well. I tried to explain to her that I feel as though I am a woman and I have always been a woman but unfortunately my body and the way the world sees me does not match my idea of self. That was the last time I was home and that was in March… I think my biggest accomplishment in life so far was coming because I knew that going into it I knew there was going to be all this backlash and hate and rejection but knowing that its better for me to be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not and how for me, that’s so much more important than living a lie to please others.
not what they are. When I identify as trans, people don’t see me as anything else but that. They erase that I also identify as queer, that I’m Cuban, that English is my second language, that I lived in another country. All of that is erased because being trans is this one fixation they can’t get past. I become an object. When people find out I’m trans they immediately want to ask me personal, invasive questions that they’ve always wanted answers to and because they’re alone with just me, they think its okay. And that is incorrect.
Vanessa has been a role model for many of her peers and the Rutgers community at large. Her passion for Social Justice and LGBTQA issues will surely leave a mark in our struggle towards equality. You can read more about Vanessa’s story in the Daily Targum and New Brunswick Today.
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LATINO HERITAGE MONTH
Culture KELLY LOPEZ
I make my way into the colorfully painted building that I know all too well. I walk in and I’m greeted cheerfully by my peers, my friends, my family. Most people know this building as the colorful building next to Au Bon Pain that occasionally sells freshly cooked empanadas. I call this building my second home. The Center for Latino Arts and Culture or as I, along with others who consider it a second home, call it the CLAC. Every day, dozens of students come in and out of the CLAC to take a nap, to do homework, or simply to embrace the family vibe. The CLAC has been serving as a second home to the Latino community here at Rutgers since its establishment in 1992. Not only is the CLAC a second home to many Rutgers students but it also serves as a means of resources, personal development, as well as educational, cultural and professional programming. The CLAC is what many Latino cultural organizations- greek and non-greek- have labeled as a safe haven and as a necessary resource for the health and well-being of the many Latino organizations that it supports. Recently, our small but beautiful community has been burdened with a lack of support from Rutgers University. Although Rutgers claims to be proud of its diversity, the
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university does not seem to be as genuine as it portrays itself. Most of us can say that we’ve noticed the small changes here at Rutgers that have got us asking, “Where are the values of Rutgers University really held?” Does Rutgers really value its diversity, academics, or even that its one of the top 25 LGBT-friendly schools in the country? Or does the heart of Rutgers just lie within the gates of High Point Solution Stadium? When a university only pays graduate students $3000 per course that they teach, while our football coach was promised a raise from his already ridiculous pay of $950,000 to $1.25 MILLION dollars per year, remaking him the highest paid employee at Rutgers University, we have to question whether or not Rutgers is truly concerned with our students and academics or just our athletics. But Rutgers’ slow transition into a money-hungry, capitalist industry is beside my point. Our Latino community has been burdened by a quota requirement made effective by Student Life and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Any Greek or non-Greek organization wishing to be recognized officially by Rutgers is required to have a minimum of 8-10 (8 for Greek organizations and 10 for non-Greek organizations) members.
Another issue facing our community is Rutgers’ lack of cultural awareness when trying to accommodate our community. Latino organizations on campus who wish to have events with typical Latino dishes often run into the issue that Rutgers offers very minimal options when looking into the Rutgersapproved catering companies. Sorry Rutgers Dining Services, but your makeshift arroz con gandules does not make the cut and no, Currito is not real Mexican food.
As our numbers are lacking in comparison to other communities, the Latino community has struggled to maintain healthy organizations. This issue particularly effects the Latino Greek organizations who struggle semester after semester to avoid the two year suspension that their organization will have to face if they fail to meet this eight member requirement. According to the Chapter Viability Policy provided by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (OFSA), the quota was implemented as a way to “insure healthy group and community dynamics.” However, many Greek organizations chartered under the Latino Student Council have been very successful and contributive “academic success, community service, campus involvement and support of community-wide and council programs”, which is what OFSA provides as a description for a Greek organization that contributes to the Greek community. Frankly, most would say the success of an organization should be judged by the students, and not by OFSA. A two-year suspension for not meeting a quota is not conducive to growth or bettering the Greek community. What it does is put a stress on our students who have worked so hard to keep these organizations running smoothly and productively, long before this quota was implemented. Another issue facing our community is Rutgers’ lack of cultural awareness when trying to accommodate our community. Latino organizations on campus who wish to have events with typical Latino dishes often run into the issue that Rutgers offers very minimal options when looking into the Rutgers-approved catering companies. Sorry Rutgers Dining Services, but your makeshift arroz con gandules does not make the cut and no, Currito is not real Mexican food. On a more organizational level, Student Life fails to properly train many of our student leaders on how to run an organization. Much of what is learned is through experience and other than a sixty-page booklet, Student Life fails to provide a sufficient amount of training. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. Finally, Student Life fails to consider representation during their annual Scarlet Awards. Although, the Latino community is awarded and recognized, the Scarlet Awards are mostly white-washed and not inclusive of our cultural organizations. The last point I want to touch on is the same as my first point: the CLAC- the center of our community. The CLAC is responsible for endless amounts of the Latino student and organization successes. As mentioned before, it serves as a home and a very necessary resource. The CLAC has contributed to the Rutgers and New Brunswick community in expansive ways. The CLAC has researched and produced over thirty exhibitions and catalogues. Several of the exhibitions traveled to international venues and received positive reviews in the New York Times as well as in local and national papers. Since 1996, the CLAC has sponsored the Artists Mentoring Against Racism, Drugs and Violence Healing Through the Arts Summer Camp. This camp runs five days a week, and includes a life skills building program serving at risk youth in New Brunswick. Since 1996, it has serviced over 800 youth. Over the years, the CLAC has collaborated with a number of Rutgers faculty to develop courses that focus on Latino arts and culture, including study abroad courses in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and more recently Costa Rica. The CLAC is truly a token of excellence in our community. And yet, with all of its amazing contributions, it still lacks funding, staff, and accessibility necessary for its expansion. The CLAC has very little space for events, has an admintrative team of only four people servicing dozens of students, and is not wheelchair accessible. Silismar Suriel, the Program Director of the CLAC who has been a mentor and friend to many of our community members is humbled to say that “we make a lot happen with very little resources”. And yes, where we lack in resources, we make up for in resourcefulness. I truly love this vibrant community, and although we do not receive the resources necessary to expand, as we would like, I have extremely high hopes for the potential of the Latino community. We have a very rich and historical presence here at Rutgers and we do not plan on going anywhere.
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In Honor of National LATINO Hispanic Heritage Month BY JENNIFER What does culture NGANDU Anthony: Culture to me is my mean to you? existence. Culture is the fabric of what makes What do you know people who they are. Without culture where about Hispanic would my last name come from? Where Culture? would my favorite foods Nicole: Culture to me is something that influences and shapes us as a person and makes us unique. Hispanic culture is a very loving community that stands together. There is a lot of pride and honor in being Hispanic.
come from? Culture is me. I am culture. Hispanic people are very family oriented because some of my Hispanic friends got married and had children out of high school. Hispanic people are a very close-knit community.
BUILD BRAND YOU
Culture is the linkage between you, your ancestors, and your forefathers. It’s a call to remind you of a time where your people were suppressed but also of the times that you felt loved and connected with one another (ie.: your brothers and your sisters).
Adedamola: Culture signifies traditions that belong to a specific group of people who raise the people they are and the values they hold. Hispanic culture is a way of life that’s deeply rooted and mixed with traditions of other people. It is one of the cultures today that seems to not die out.
Kayla: Culture is tradition. It’s a way in which a group of people live, act, and breathe in a specific geographic area in a society. Culture is nationality. Hispanic culture is vibrant, family oriented, into the arts (music and dance), soccer, and always poppin!
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Abayomi: Culture is your way of life; the blueprint for your life. But an interesting fact about culture is that it is always in constant change. One thing I know about Hispanic culture is that family is extremely dear and important to them. The base of Hispanic culture is extremely similar to the many others, so it makes one question, are we all that different?
YOUR JOB SEARCH BEGINS FIRST SEMESTER FRESHMAN YEAR
JOB SEARCH STRATEGIES INTERVIEW TIPS
FIND A JOB BEFORE YOU GRADUATE
COVER LETTERS DRESS ON A BUDGET
Strategies for personal brand development for college students plus great tips for everyone-else. October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE 19
A School With a Plan IJEOMA UNACHUKWU
It is no secret that Rutgers University is changing. I mean, we’re not blind. There’s constant construction from Cook to Livingston campus which, to be honest, is an eye sore. How many times have we walked past the construction and just wondered why. Then we turned to our friends and grumbled about how Rutgers is so mismanaged and they don’t give students a chance to tell them what we think and they don’t even care about our opinions. But what if they do? On September 8th, Richard L. Edwards, Chancellor of the University sent out an email to all Rutgers students and faculty with a draft of the Rutgers New Brunswick Strategic plan. The strategic plan “highlights several critical campus priorities on which we will focus in the next five years, as well as several new initiatives that leverage our strengths to achieve our goals,” said Edwards. Edwards then called all students to send all their comments and concerns to an email specifically for the strategic plan by September 15th… and then extended the deadline to October 1. He even held a public discussion on September 29th to get even more feedback and criticism on the plan. The discussion was not attended by many students. The Strategic plan highlights some of the main changes the University has been going through, like merger creating Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and the movement into the BIG 10 and its academic implications. So what exactly is the University’s plan for becoming “broadly recognized as among the nation’s leading public universities”? Let’s find out. The Strategic Plan was broken up into 5 main priorities of focus: Strengthening Our Academic Core, Building Faculty and Staff Excellence, Transforming the Student Experience, Advancing Our Inclusive, Diverse, and Cohesive Culture , and Enhancing Our Public Prominence. Each section highlighted the some major problems and solutions and the projected plans for improvement.
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Strengthening Our Academic Core Rutgers is seen as a research institution first and an undergraduate college second. The plan looks to integrate all the different departments and schools inside the university to work on university wide initiatives. Other than the obvious developments in the sciences due to our merger with UMDNJ and the new Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences department, the most prominent initiative is restoring and sustaining the Raritan River. This is an interdisciplinary environmental initiative to not only connect the New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses, but to restore one of the University’s chief assets. The university was actually quite creative with plans to incorporate not only the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the School of Public Planning and Policy, but also Mason Gross. Another novel development is the University’s interest in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and its plans to make “ Rutgers University Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems that will provide seed funding for interdisciplinary projects using this technology for research…” The aforementioned projects include the use of UAS in agriculture, oceanography, and more. According to the Strategic plan, last year, Rutgers became a Federal Aviation Administration test site for the UAS which allows us access to a 5,000 acre FAA technology center.
Building Faculty and Staff Excellence Rutgers staff has quite the reputation in academia. Our professors never just teach. They do research, contribute to publications, have independent projects in their field and many times are very active in philanthropy. Many of them are nationally and internationally acclaimed award winners in their field of study and the University wants to keep it that way. The Plan recognized the need to “foster a culture that is positive and exciting intellectually, a framework that provides opportunity for collaboration and exchange of ideas” as well as increasing the diversity of the workplace. As far as diversity in faculty goes, Rutgers has surprisingly low numbers in comparison to their AAU and Big Ten counterparts. (see fig 2). Only 6.1% of our staff can be categorized as “underrepresented minority” in comparison to an average Public AAU’s 7.3%. The fact that the numbers are so low in any school is an issue, but specifically at Rutgers that boasts diversity. The chart also reveals a largely disproportionate amount of women- 664 women compared to 1050 men. Just because the percentages are higher than their Public AAU and Big Ten counterparts, doesn’t mean it is acceptable. The Plan did not propose any initiatives to increase diversity in faculty. Instead it focused on faculty leadership and mentoring programs.
Transforming the Student Experience The plan’s main concern as far as students was very clearly stated as “ Rutgers-New Brunswick’s ability to attract diverse, talented, dedicated students ... and to produce accomplished, dedicated, and proud alumni who become lifelong supporters of their alma mater”. The plan also admitted to the following problems stu-
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dents face: Understaffed departments, overpacked classrooms, deferred maintenance of buildings, dispersed campuses that can be difficult to navigate, financial aid, lack of large gathering spaces for events, shortages of advisors, and “faulty websites”. At last, the cries of the students are heard! However, when addressing these issues, the overall solution seemed to be “ we will convene a task force” and “ we will seek ways to improve”. One of the core issues in this section was to strengthen student preparation in the sciences. The University is infamous for its chemistry department with an above average failure rate causing many student to drop their science majors completely. According to the Plan, “This problem is compounded for students from historically underrepresented groups, who often have not received adequate preparation in high school to succeed in college-level courses”. Instead of urging reform in the departments, The Plan essentially placed the blame on the students, namely minority students. The simple solution of course is to fund more money into minority serving programs such as The Office for Diversity and Academic Success in the Sciences (ODASIS). That sounds great, but what about the large majority of science majors who do not qualify for ODASIS? What are the plans to increase retention amongst all students and not just one very specific margin? The Plan also revealed designs for a new Honors College on college ave overlooking Voorhees Mall. This new dorm specifically for first year Honors Scholars designed to “establish a sense of identity and cohesion among the Honors scholars and foster interdisciplinary collaboration”. In response to an influx of crime alerts, the University plans to create the Off-Campus Student Ambassador program to improve off campus Rutgers student safety. The program will conduct outreach activities to “ promote community engagement, safe and healthy living, independent living skills, and positive citizenship behavior” Of course, all good things come at a price. The Plan admits that all these changes rely on more tuition and fees as well as state appropriation. This is due in part to the fact that the University has not been as successful in fundraising or receiving federal grants. According to the Strategic plan, we are a major spender of research money, but to continue funding these research projects, we need money. If the government doesn’t provide us with enough funds, where else will the money come from?
awareness of these issues of inclusion, there will be more support for issues of access and the formation of workable solutions. To aid international students whose language barrier may affect their education, the University has proposed the International Gateway Program (IGP) as a way to integrate language instruction into the structure of a course rather than have separate course all together. These classes which will have small class sizes will hopefully prevent international students from having to stay fifth or even sixth years to complete a course of study as they learn English. The University also aims to create the Institute for Comparative Gender and Sexuality to maintain and forge relationships across the New Brunswick schools in issues of race, gender, and sexuality.
Enhancing Our Public Prominence While Rutgers is a University, it is also a business that thrives on the reputation of its students and faculty.Our first year students last year scored 330 points above the national average, our departments are nationally and internationally ranked, and of course, we are a part of the AAU and Big 10. While we are nationally acclaimed, the Plan recognizes our need to become more publicly engaged, improve relations in our local communities and the rst of New Jersey. The University is dedicated to improving Rutgers National outlook, establishing their prestige amongst the Committee of Institutional Collaboration (the academic portion of the Big 10) as well as the TEDx program. The more Rutgers is integrated with our communities and their world, the more we will succeed. There’s a lot you may not know about your own University, but there are changes to become involved everyday! Go to public hearings, town halls, know when and how to vote. Help decide on policies while their being made so you don’t have to protest about it later. As students, we need to be more aware of the University around us. Refuse to let things change without you letting them.
ADVANCING OUR INCLUSIVE, DIVERSE, AND COHESIVE CULTURE The Plan admits that bringing diverse groups together stimulate new and innovate ideas. The University also realizes that diversity comes in more ways than just race or ethnicity. The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI) has arranged to set up diversity committees in each University school to monitor statistics on faculty recruitment, “promulgate inclusive recruitment and retention guidelines ...and promote public discussions and national meetings to educate the community within Rutgers and to establish Rutgers’ leadership in this area”. The University has also proposed to implement Diversity Coordinating Councils under the OIDI. One of the councils aims to raise awareness for students with disabilities and stimulate inclusion for these people. The council hopes that by raising
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How to: Get Over Latina Guilt If you’re reading this guide, you’re probably daydreaming about surrealist art while face deep in a biology textbook or you’re listening to “gringo” music with the headphones on because you don’t want mami to hear. You’re probably tired of hearing your relatives back in the homeland ask you if you’re ever going to learn real spanish and not that “mierda” they teach in middle school. Whether you’re a first generation college student leaving your parents tight grip or avoiding eye contact in the pharmacy with the old woman asking if someone knows spanish and could help her, this is the guide to getting over your Latina guilt!
Step one: when someone calls you a gringa or says you talk like a white girl while in the middle of a presenting a project in sixth grade, don’t break down in tears in front of the whole class. No one will ever let you live it down. You know in your heart that whether you were raised on the island or not, you are a Latina and no stinkin’ bully is going to tell you otherwise. Two days later, you’ll get a note from your crush saying that he can’t date you because his reputation matters to him, even though you and Felix (the booger eater) were his only friends. You’ll run home after school teary eyed and your mother’s arroz con gandules will reassure you of what you know in your heart. She’ll tell you not to waste your tears on stupid kids who don’t know their head from their ass and when you finally fall asleep with your head on her lap later that night, she’ll cry enough for the both of you.
Step two: when your first boyfriend tells you that he likes blondes, DON’T DO IT. You will damage your hair until you’ve lost six inches just from it breaking off, and even though you don’t appreciate them because the European standard of beauty has been shoved down your throat all your life, you will ruin your inheritance, your abuelitos . You will spend months of your life lightening and straightening and frying your hair until you forget your natural color. You may not know it now, but you will fall in love with someone who whispers in your ear about starting a life and family with you, praying for a daughter with your curls. You’ll cringe because you’re still so young, but the thought of someone loving you so effortlessly will be enough to help you sleep through the nights away from him.
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Step three: when you start having sex, don’t think about your mother during it. Her face will pop into your mind and you will start to panic, which will cause you to tense up, making the whole ordeal more painful. Her voice will ring through your head, telling you that she came from Puerto Rico to give her family a life. Your boyfriend will keep going and when he does realize your discomfort after he finishes, those two minutes will have felt like a lifetime. You’ll cry because even though you used a condom, your family has drilled into your head that even being in a room with a boy will result in pregnancy. You’ll only be sixteen and the lack of a sexual education will result in many nights lying in fetal position, praying to God that you don’t end up pregnant because you’re too young to be homeless. You’ll think about your mother’s reaction to your sisters teenage pregnancy and sex will become so shameful that it will take you two years before you could even let another boy touch you.
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Step four: when looking through college brochures, don’t plan on majoring in sciences because your parents think you’ll be a great doctor. You can’t even stand the sight of blood.
Step five: when you bring your white boyfriend home to meet your family, ignore the questioning glances and honestly answer questions about his upbringing.
Tell your parents the truth about school otherwise you’ll spend your first semester in a very dark place with many nights of takeout thai and awkward sexual encounters with the kid from expos who hated class as much as you did and will conveniently text you after 1 AM. But even if you don’t tell them the truth right away, you’ll overhear the feminist group who meets every Wednesday night at your job and a fire will spark inside you that will burn any bridges to that career in medicine your parents hoped for. You will spend your second semester in a gender studies class, discussing the waves of feminism. Your mother will yawn while you rant about the struggle of being a woman of color in a college setting and the gender hierarchy. When you finish, she’ll stare you down and tell you not to talk to her in that fancy college talk as if you were better than her. She’ll go back to rubbing her swollen feet from working all day. Do not think too long about it or you’ll become painfully aware that it’s your fault she has to work so hard.
He is the fifth of the white guys you’ll date, but the only one who won’t brag about only dating “hispanics”. He will make you feel like you are not only supposed to be the faithful, doting daughter, but a woman with her own identity. You’ve never been in love, but you’ll be sure that this is it. One night, while your mother berates you about running off with some gringo every night, he’ll be sitting outside ready to wrap his arms around you, unaware of his critics. He’ll keep a straight face while your mother questions him when you finally introduce them, and he will eventually win her over. One night you’ll be falling asleep with your head on her lap and when she thinks you’re no longer listening, she tell you that she’s happy you’ve met someone who won’t dull your shine. She’ll smile because she knows that she’s raised you well enough to know that the gringo could be temporary but you’ll always have your heritage. You’ll never forget your roots but you won’t let them hold you back from starting a life of your own.
If you’re an organization, business, or individual looking to get flyers, logos, or business cards made contact Plex Graphix today for all your graphic design needs! Instagram: @Plexgraphix Tumblr: plexgrfx.tumblr. com Email: Plexgraphix@gmail. October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE - 25 com
Dear White People is the New Movie, but Here’s Something for Us Colored Folks ALEF TADESE
he movie is described as “A black face is a white place”. The 2014 Sundance Film Festival winner for Breakthrough Talent, Dear White People premiered October 17th. It is a comedic satire about race relations for black students in predominantly white institutions. It also hits everyday issues with co-opting black culture,stereotyping, discrimination, and micro aggressions. For the first time ever, there is a movie filled with people who actually look like me as starring characters. It makes me think about how we, as black people, are in need of access to white spaces when we can enhance our own. For example, why do we praise Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs)? Why do we look down on Historically Black
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Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)? Why is being “more white” better than being ourselves? Now, what does it mean to be white? These are questions I ask myself all the time, but we also deal with as a community. Can we start praising out black spaces? It’s better if we utilize the already present institutions that are giving us access to higher education at HBCUs. We need to embrace them as alternatives to always fighting for inclusion in PWIs. Our community and our own institutions can thrive even further. According to US News in 2010, Howard, a prestigious HBCU, has alone awarded most black student with Ph.Ds worldwide. Xavier University of Louisiana, another HBCU, has the highest amount of black undergraduates who have earned their degrees in biological/life sci-
ences and physical sciences. According to The Network Journal, HBCUs have been partly responsible for “ 40% of all Black congressmen, 12.5% of Black CEOs, 40% of black engineers, 50% percent of Black professors at non- HBCUs, 50% of Black lawyers, and 80% of Black judges”. Still, HBCUs are not highly regarded even with their accomplishments. I wonder why we are always moving toward PWIs to feel validated by white America, as if HBCUs aren’t good enough. This does not mean to ignore PWIs or to look down on them, but to give recognition to Black America and its institutions. We need to maintain these vital resources. Although HBCUs may not have the best graduation rates, NPR noted in an article that HBCUs still have higher graduation rates within black students than the national average rates. In addition, they primarily serve first time low income black students, which is already a struggle considering the low funding they receive. This also points out the fact that PWIs are selective in enrolling black students to ensure their overall graduation rates among black students. HBCUs have also been in the forefront of mobilizing black communities, specifically with our voter registration drives. HBCUs have been a driving factor in uplifting blacks to the middle class and beyond. I am sure we would face less issues ( at least on university campuses) if we embraces more of our spaces and our accomplishments rather than stray away from it and having a negative outlook on it. Again, it always seems we are putting more effort in fighting for access into white spaces than enhancing our own for generation to come. HBCUS are something worth protecting because as they lose funding and in some cases cease to operate, PWIs are not going to suddenly increase their black student enrollment. This will leave us out in the cold. We need to reclaim our spaces! On the other hand, for those who do have the opportunity to be a part of predominantly white spaces, they should very well be advocates for all that are not fairly represented. Black Students in PWIs should become active voices. Students in HBCUs shall mobilize students around common core issues around our community. There needs to be a unity to promote social and economic mobility throughout our community and on campuses. It can easily start with respecting black institutions, supporting black businesses, getting active on campus, and realizing common issues we face with others. So let me ask you this: do we still need validation from White America?
It makes me think about how we, as black people, are in need of access to white spaces when we can enhance our own. For example, why do we praise Predominantly White Institutions? Why do we look down on Historically Black Colleges and Universities? Why is being “more white” better than being ourselves? Now, what does it mean to be white? These are questions I ask myself all the time, but we also deal with as a community. Can we start praising out black spaces?
What do you think? Tell us your opinion and tweet at us @rutgersbvcl October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE - 27
Letter To No ONe
To whom it may concern, I am a man whose God Body is a rich shade of dark amber, with eyes of obsidian and thick hair the color of the night sky. I am a black man, from which all races of the earth originated. I am one of the proudest creatures to ever walk this earth, my skin color my badge of honor. My existence in itself is a wonder of this world, as amazing as the sunrise, as confounding as the cosmos, the physical manifestation of power, warmth, love and wisdom. My question however, is why does that bother you so much? Why are you so envious, so resentful, so very afraid of what I am? Why does my skin color, born of the roots of Africa cause you unrest? Why is my name, Arabic in its foundation foreign to you in such a way that you prefer not to use it? Does the fact that Mansa Musa, ancestor of my people, was the richest most powerful man to ever live, or the fact that pyramids and the Sphinxes of Ancient Egypt stand to this day, or the fact that my people have the rightful claim to everything that you call yours unnerve you? Does it affect your mental in such a way that you actually feel the need to resort to your wicked ways? Why do you hate me so much? You plan and you plot. From the moment you laid your eyes on my people you planned and you plotted. “We will destroy their culture. We will dehumanize them. We will take them to our stolen land. We will make them, who are so far above us, lower. We will lie. We will deceive. We will take what is theirs and make it ours.” It wasn’t enough 300 years ago when you first saw me. It continues to this day. When you realized you could no longer control me your next option was to exterminate me. You are so very afraid of me that to this day you will make any excuse necessary to get rid of me. The list of crimes I can commit in your eyes range anywhere from being black while carrying a toy gun in an open-carry state to being black while mentally handicapped to being black while walking to being black while driving to being black while standing still to being black while sitting on my property to being black while pulling out my wallet to show you my ID that you asked me to produce to being black while fleeing from danger to being black while helping someone out of danger to being black while breathing the same air that you do. You create the crime. You create the punishment. You create the biggest injustice the world has ever known. Why do you hate me so much? Only you could name Martin Luther King, a peaceful civil rights activist as the most dangerous man in the country and murder him and justify it. Only you could infiltrate our uplifting, empowering organizations and try to destroy us from the inside out and justify it. Only you could kill our youth, our old, our rich, our poor, our men and our women and tell us it was our fault and then justify it. It is our fault for looking how we look, our fault that our beautiful skin radiates with the light of our ancestors, our fault that we dress, walk and speak the way it has been portrayed to us since youth. Our fault that our names have deep rooted meanings and yours just pop up from your imagination. Our fault that our hair grows up and out with life like the tallest sequoia and yours is weak and pulled down by gravity like the most depressing weeping willow. There is no way anyone but you could commit the most atrocious sins against humanity, get away with it, do them again and still believe that we don’t belong. Why do you hate me so much? Is your heart as cold as your complexion? Your blood as pale as your skin? Are your feelings and sense of doing right as thin as your hair? Does you rationale break as easily as your skin does with age? Does common human empathy burn in the sun like you do, O Vampire of this earth? Are you as short of temper as you are of phallicy? There are stereotypes of the Asian, the Hispanic, the Middle Eastern, the Indian, and the Black. Why does no one fit into their stereotype as perfectly as the white devil does? Why do you hate me so much?
Artist Spotlight: Somina Mosaku
As an artist I firmly believe it is important to do more than make images. I like to consider it my lifestyle. It’s a state of mind. It’s a way for me to connect with others on a deeper level. What I may not say with words, I say with my art. Strangely enough, viewers have a nonverbal reaction that also goes deeper than words. That speechless conversation is what I love. To me, it’s the most beautiful.
Someone who wants to know why 5 can’t be 100. 28 - BVCL MAGAZINE | October 2014
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A Review of Black-ish MATT TAYLOR
ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
The NFL Takes a Big Hit DEONDRE SMALLS
merican football star, Ray Rice, was released from the Baltimore Ravens on September 8, 2014 following a leaked TMZ video of Rice assaulting his Fiancée on an elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey more than 6 months ago. Rice’s case is just one of many in a slew of domestic violence cases that has hit the NFL this year. The case of this former Rutgers Running Back has been generated more through the news because the case itself has transformed into an ongoing soap opera. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell decided to suspend the running back for the first 2 games of the upcoming NFL season. This punishment invoked mixed reactions from the public, as some felt as though 2 games was not a reasonable punishment. After the dismay of the fans, in disagreement with the punishment, was felt, the NFL created a domestic violence policy which would place a lifetime ban from the NFL on any player, owner, or executive who had a repeated domestic violence offense. “I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values,” Goodell said in a press conference. “I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.” Just weeks after the policy was put into place, the entire video of the altercation between the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Rice, in which Rice knocked his wife unconscious, would be exposed to the world.
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The 2 game ban that was previously imposed on Rice would be escalated to a lifetime ban and this nightmare of a saga would just begin. Along with the case of Rice, there has been 2 other notable cases of domestic violence in the NFL this year. In July, Carolina Panther’s defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty of domestic charges placed against him in May. In this case it was reported that Hardy choked and threatened his girlfriend at the time. The Pro Bowler received 18-months of probation and has since been deactivated from the Panthers. In the most recent case of domestic violence in the NFL, Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson was indicted on a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child after he allegedly beat his 4-year-old son with a flexible tree branch. Peterson has since been deactivated by the Vikings. Cases of domestic abuse in the NFL, percentage wise, are higher than those of the general public. International Business Times, reports that, according to Five Thirty Eight, “Domestic violence accounts for 48 percent of the league’s violent crime arrests, compared to just 21 percent among average American males.” This disproportional statistic speaks volumes. Where is the NFL’s sense of urgency? It is not a time to point fingers and place blame on someone else; in order for this problem to be solved, executives and players alike must understand what it is that they themselves could do better.
his fall, there is a new family invading primetime, and inheriting the enviable post-Modern Family timeslot. The Johnsons are a lot like the other families you see on sitcoms: loving, quick-witted and, by the end of the episode, willing to share a valuable family lesson. But the one thing separating the Johnsons from almost every other family on television is, as the title suggests, that they are African Americans, and the stars of black-ish, the only comedy on network cable with leads of color. Right off the bat, black-ish establishes itself as being different from the other sitcoms on ABC’s comedy night lineup. While The Middle and The Goldbergs are more traditional family fare, and the extremely successful Modern Family has received a fair share of criticism for sidestepping issues about sexual orientation, blackish makes its audience aware that this show will be about race. Thanks to Anthony Anderson’s charming, if overdone, voice over work, we learn that he plays Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson, an affluent business man who fears that both he and his family have lost there sense of culture in the predominantly white neighborhood they live in. The premise, and its eventual resolution, feel closely tied with the question many critics had prior to the series premiere: why produce a sitcom with African American stars, writers and producers if it’s not going to be any different from the dozens of white sitcoms out there? It’s refreshing to see that, like the Johnsons, black-ish is interested in standing out and resisting the status quo. The rest of the show’s pilot balances a number of different subplots involving race: Dre’s son, Andre Jr., aspires to play field hockey instead of basketball and asks to convert to Ju-
daism so he can have a Bar Mitzvah. Meanwhile, Dre and his wife Rainbow (a hilarious Tracee Ellis Ross) debate whether or not their children’s color-blindness is beneficial or problematic. These stories are handled delicately and without much tension (this is a comedy after all), but offer more intelligent commentary than viewers can find on any other primetime sitcom. The show is funny throughout, highlighting a great cast, charming dialogue and some humorous one liners. While the characters still need some work being further developed, this will hopefully take place over the rest of the season. Smart writing and a talented ensemble are certainly to thank for making black-ish the best reviewed comedy pilot of the year, but executive producer Larry Wilmore, best known as the “senior black correspondent” on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, was definitely an important part in the creative process. Unfortunately, Wilmore will be stepping down as executive producer this winter to star in his own comedy series, The Minority Report. Hopefully Wilmore will help
the show find its footing and maintain this level of quality before departing. ABC has already received a fair level of praise for the diversity on its primetime lineup, most notably for the high number of LGBT characters on shows like Scandal, Nashville and, of course, Modern Family. But this fall they’ve done considerably more to diversify television: new comedy series Selfie stars Korean-American actor John Cho, sitcom Cristela stars Mexican-American comedian Cristela Alonzo, and the highly anticipated drama How to Get Away With Murder gives Oscar-nominee Viola Davis the kind of starring role she’s criticized Hollywood for not offering to women of color. But black-ish distinguishes itself the most from this lineup as it offers viewers the chance to both laugh and think. While it’s hard for comedies to maintain the same momentum they rush out of the gate with, this could become a fun change of pace for primetime cable. And, with 10.8 million viewers tuning into the premiere, it seems like audiences are ready to embrace a diverse, timely and clever series like black-ish.
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Profile on Shonda Rhimes MATT TAYLOR This fall, Shonda Rhimes has the rare distinction of being a producer with three consecutive programs filling the entire primetime schedule for a network television channel. Such an accomplishment is undeniably impressive, but the fact that Rhimes is a woman of color in an industry dominated by white men calls for special attention. In a little more than 13 years, Rhimes has grown from the screenwriter of duds like Crossroads to the queen of primetime television. Rhimes’ first major series, Grey’s Anatomy, entered its 11th season on September 25, while the DC set phenomenon Scandal returned for its fourth season immediately after. Capping the night, Rhimes unveiled her latest production, How to Get Away With Murder, a series she may not have written herself but certainly shares the same qualities as her established hit. Shocking twists, mysterious characters, social commentary, a diverse ensemble and a complicated female lead are traits found throughout ABC’s “TGIT” (Thank God It’s Thursday) lineup, and champions of both entertaining and diverse programming have Rhimes to thank for that. While Grey’s Anatomy is an undeniable success, it’s Scandal that has become Rhimes most buzzed about show as the drama quickly become a Thursday night staple. A soap opera on the surface, but a more intelligent, intricately plotted political drama underneath, the show has garnered attention for its cliffhangers, boundary-pushing sex scenes and, perhaps most notably, the star-making turn from Kerry Washington. Despite having appeared in a number of noteworthy films prior to landing the first leading role for a woman of color on network television since the 1970s, Washington became a household name due to her complex portrayal of a Washington “fixer” whose complicated relationship with the President of the United States leads to a series of problems. Two Emmy nominations later and it’s safe to say that Washington’s role is one of the most iconic in modern television. Rhimes hopes to make a similar success story out of Viola Davis, the two-time Oscar nominee who has taken the leading role in How to Get Away with Murder. While taking a job on television is typically looked down upon for a Hollywood movie star, Davis made no secret of how disappointed she was with the lack of diversity in her parts. She blamed Hollywood for severely limiting the amount of roles available to women over 40, especially if they are women of color. But on Murder, Davis has been given a juicy role that will help her show the full range of her abilities. As the legendary but mysterious law professor Annalise Keating, Davis gets to be a successful lawyer, vicious teacher, an unsatisfied wife and, most importantly, a woman filled with secrets. In the pilot alone, she is funny, frightening, alluring and constantly commanding the audience’s attention. It’s certainly a terrific part. Like the political thriller that precedes it on Thursday night, Murder is ripe with possibilities. Right from its opening moments we’re introduced to morally ambiguous protagonists, mysterious supporting characters, a disturbing murder mystery and a shocking cliffhanger. Yep, this new drama certainly belongs on Thursday night. But will it live up to the high bar set by Scandal, one of the most compulsively addictive and layered dramas currently
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ARTS, CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT on television? With that drama, Rhimes has taken a snapshot of modern America’s fears and created a series that’s both entertaining and thought provoking. With subplots involving constant surveillance, government-sanctioned torture and a shadowy organization that carries out horrible deeds “for the greater good”, Scandal asks its viewers complicated questions and introduces characters that are often hard to root for. While Olivia frequently champions her co-workers to put on their “white caps” and do what’s right, very few characters are truly innocent. It will be interesting to see if Murder follows suit and introduces complicated characters and murky moral decisions. Both Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder also thrust their female leads into questionable romantic relationships. The adulterous affair between Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant has divided Scandal fans, but their involvement goes far beyond “will they/ won’t they” and into the realm of “should they/ shouldn’t they.” Grant is often manipulative and controlling, with at start of the fourth season, Rhimes has wisely chosen to have Olivia independent and focused more her career. Meanwhile, in the first episode of Murder, we find Keating in the midst of a love affair with a mysterious police officer, while her husband may be involved in the murder of one of his students. It will be interesting to see how Rhimes and her team of writers develop these relationships, and if they will be anywhere near as interesting as the bond between Olivia and the President. Few, if any, producers have as much power as Shonda Rhimes. With two very successful shows and a new series that debuted to a stunning 14.34 million viewers, Rhimes has given ABC their most successful Thursday night lineup in five years. With smart stories and talented actors, it’s no surprise that both audiences and critics are so responsive to her productions. Hopefully Rhimes will continue to impress as her spotlight only grows brighter.
The fact that Rhimes is a woman of color in an industry dominated by white men calls for special attention. In a little more than 13 years, Rhimes has grown from the screenwriter of duds like Crossroads to the queen of primetime television.
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Why YouTube made me go natural SHANTELL MISSOURI
As a Psychology major, I have spent these past few semesters learning how society plays a major role in shaping the person. What we take in everyday, subconsciously and unconsciously, or in other words how we are socialized, influences the way we think and behave. Similarly our culture, which is a total of our beliefs, customs, habits, and language, greatly work to grow us into the people we become. Culture and society work hand and hand, influencing each other in forming a social norm, or a common flow of actions and behaviors that a certain group of people do at a certain time. There are various variables that converge to form any given society and culture. Things like policy and government, music, art, and even celebrities all combine to shape our culture. Think about it, life was different in the 80s than it is now. People behaved differently, believed different ideas, upheld different standards, and enjoyed different pastimes. Psychologists have argued for years on whether it is culture that builds the person or whether our identities have been woven into our DNA since birth. I like to believe that there are strong interactions between the both, and that they influence each other, however as I have grown and seen how trends weave in and out of popularity, I have been perplexed at how easily people seem to succumb to societal fads. There is one fad that has been on my mind recently, and that is the relatively new phenomenon of black women going natural. Now don’t get me wrong, I am natural myself and absolutely love walking around and seeing black women take pride in the beauty on top of their heads. However, what interests me is how and why this came to be. As a little girl I was one of few who walked around with their kinky hair out and about. I got my fair share of comments and complaints from hair stylists urging my mom to give me a relaxer. I also experienced one year of relaxers (never will I ever forget the smell or the stinging burning, sensation my scalp), but by age thirteen in 2008, I had gone back to my natural ways. It was during this time that being natural was still a rarity. Soon after, suddenly being natural became in the “in” thing to do. There were names like “wet-and-go,” “twist-out “and“ stretching” for all of the things I had been doing and thinking nothing of. There are thousands of YouTube videos, and internet tutorials for doing natural hair. Our culture today approves being natural, when just five years ago, no one dreamed of getting rid of that white cream. I still continue to ponder whether it was society that made everyone feel okay with embracing their roots, or whether it was us as black women who told culture to make it okay. I believe that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Regardless of how or why it happened, I have written this prose piece to encourage my fellow women to love their hair not because that’s the in thing to do, but because you have the right to. You have the right to wear your hair in any style you want, and you should it do it because it is simply what you want to do.
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HEALTH, BEAUTY & FASHION
YouTube Made Me Go Natural Why are you natural? Are you really content with the bends and zig-sags of
your kinky hair? The way it kinda wavers in the air after you lay on it? Do you see the beauty is its thickness, in how full it is when you aim to tame it with your chocolate hands that never seem to be big enough catch it all? Your hair is you’re crown; you wear it proudly, embracing its beauty. Is that why you’re natural? Do you walk outside and with every step feel your fierceness as you move toward the sun’s amber streams of light that cause your brown skin to flicker. Do you stand firm on the sidewalk with your head pointed toward the moon letting its light reflect off of your confidence? A confidence that seeps from within your pours. That follows you around, leaving behind a whiff like a scent seducing the noses of everyone you pass. Tell me that this is why you cut off those permanently straightened ends. Tell me you have made the choice to feel beautiful. To know beauty with depth and conviction. Or are you natural because YouTube says it’s cool? Do you plaster yourself in front of screens with videos on “twistouts” and “stretching” because society has deemed being natural as being “in” now. Don’t let your expression of beauty succumb to the fickle trends of society’s inaccurate judgments on whom we are. My fear is that being natural has become a fad, a mere way to stay in style, when in actuality being natural should be a rebellion against everything out there that wants to convince us that we are not beautiful. So go out and prance the streets with conviction. With every crane of your neck believe that whatever jewels you choose to rock on your crown is a choice made by you. A choice to express that you counter every societal argument that black is not beautiful. Straight, curly, afro, shaven, extensions. Wear it because your beauty cannot be caged or limited. Wear it to show them that your versatility should be envied. Erase hundreds of years of oppression with each strand you release from the prison of this world’s ideals. Why are you natural? Because your beauty, like your hair, cannot be tamed.
What do you think? Tweet us your reaction @rutgersbvcl
Be Sure to Catch These Upcoming Events October 21
Journalists for Social Justice Minority Journalists Event — RSC
Ms Africa Pageant — RSC 7pm
Iota Phi Theta — Powderpuff football game
BSU — United As One Banquet Trayes Hall Douglass 7-12pm
BVCL meeting — 8pm Paul Robeson
Homecoming Bed Races
How to dress to impress — Grad Student Lounge 6-8pm
Mr. and MRs. Latino — DCC Trayes Hall8pm
Wednesdays — Paul Robeson 9pm
Douglass Divas Thursdays — DCC 9pm
Black student union
Tuesdays — Paul Robeson 8:30
follow us! Twitter:@ rutgersbvcl
Latin Gala — Trayes Hall
BVCL Professional Workshop
Instagram: @ RUbvcl
BVCL meeting 8pm Paul Robeson
1st annual Ashley Lauren Foundation MasquerAID ball — 8pm
Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc Presents Cafe Soleil
BVCL Meeting Paul Robeson October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE - 35
Eastern African Fashion I've been through so many magazines dedicated to black women and the majority of the features are West African.Since I am East African, specifically Sudanese, I don't get featured much. To be honest, East Africans are often overlooked. Most of the clothes featured are traditional and staples of the Sudanese Culture. They are a part of the Sudanese wedding ceremonies called habsha. During the wedding, the ladies and the men wear black Hena on their hands and legs. Here, Hena is just something fun you put on your body, but in my country, it’s something beautiful and special. My culture is beautiful, not just “exotic”. It influences how I grew up and it influences my future. At the end of the day, my culture is who I am.
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HEALTH, BEAUTY & FASHION
The Doctor is In The Doctor EMAN OSAGIE
When the words “AIDS” and “HIV-positive” are said, what comes to mind? Maybe you see a poor young child in a developing country or an uneducated sickly individual. Both images have been deemed as the faces of HIV and AIDS, but the truth is that someone with HIV could be a professor within a university, the CEO of a hospital, a star NBA player, or even a college student. HIV/AIDS doesn’t discriminate. It sees no education level, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, and age. HIV/AIDS carries a long history of stigma. Even in 2014, people cringe at the sound of “AIDS” and “HIV-positive.” People don’t like talking about and don’t even want to know their own status because they’d simply rather not know. But how can we, as a people, ignore what’s going on around us and what is affecting our own people? The African Americans and Latino community are the most affected racial group by HIV. 1 out of every 6 people who have HIV, don’t even know it. It’s time to break this age of stigma, taboo, and silence. It’s time for African Americans and Latinos to open there ears to the facts and take control of their sexual health.
Here are the facts: AFRICAN AMAERICANS
Blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2010 (CDC HIV Facts). The rate of new HIV infection in African Americans is 8 times that of whites based on population size (CDC).
Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the population but accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 2010 (CDC HIV Facts). In 2010, the rate of new HIV infections for Latino males was 2.9 times that for white males, and the rate of new infections for Latinas was 4.2 times that for white females (CDC).
Let’s first understand what the difference is between HIV and AIDS:
In layman’s terms, HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that only affects a human by weakening the immune system of the body. The most important thing about HIV is that it is unlike many other viruses in that when you contract HIV, you have it for the rest of your life. HIV can destroy so many of your cells that your immune system won’t be able to fight any diseases or infections resulting in the final stage of HIV, which eventually leads to death. This final stage of HIV infection is AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Not everyone who has HIV advances to AIDS, due to the new treatment that is available to the public. This treatment is called “antiretroviral therapy”, which helps to keep the HIV virus level low in your body.
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Ways to prevent HIV: •
• • • • •
Avoid unprotected sex – Use condoms consistently and correctly for vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Use dental dams as a barrier if performing oral/vaginal or oral/anal sex. Limit the number of people you have sex with or practice abstinence. Avoid sharing needles for injection. Know you’re HIV/ STD status and know your sexual partner’s HIV/STD status. Get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted infections (STI) because having an STI also raises the chance of getting HIV.
Breaking the Myths: Myth #1: There is a cure to HIV/ AIDS; Magic Johnson doesn’t have it anymore.
Magic Johnson still has HIV, but due to the antiretroviral therapy we have today, he still continues to live a very long life. He is just an example that there is still life even after being HIV-positive. However, he is not cured of HIV, and there is no cure. Hopefully, one day a cure will be found.
Myth #2: AIDS is a conspiracy in order to kill minorities.
Many people within the African American and Latino community feel that HIV is a conspiracy in order to kill minorities. However, these populations have such a high rate of infection due to low healthcare and less preventative measures. Having unprotected sex, not knowing your status and your partner’s HIV status, sharing needles, and having an STI all raises the chance of contracting HIV.
Myth #3: I can get HIV by being around people who are HIV-positive.
HIV can only be transmitted from person to person by: • Sexual contact (blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids) • Injection Drug Use • Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Breastfeeding (breast milk) • Blood Transfusion/Organ Transplant • Occupational Exposure
Myth #4: I’m straight and don’t use IV drugs, so I won’t become HIVpositive.
HIV is not a disease spread by only homosexual males and females. In fact, heterosexual males are infected by 16% and heterosexual females are infected by 78% through sexual contact.
Myth #5: If I’m receiving treatment, I
How to get tested? FACT: 1 out of 6 people who have HIV don’t know it. So, get tested and know your status– it’s that easy. Testing is simple, confidential, and convenient here at Rutgers University. The health services at Rutgers, also called Health Outreach Promotion Education (H.O.P.E.) provides rapid result HIV testing. The test takes 15 minutes; they prick 1 finger and tell you your results after the 15 minutes.
HIV Testing Thursday, October 16 2:00 – 6:00 PM at H.O.P.E. (8 Lafayette Street on College Ave Campus)
HIV/STI Testing Monday, November 17 1:30-6:00PM Livingston Student Center
can’t spread the HIV virus.
Even with HIV treatments, the amount of virus can be reduced in blood to a level that it may not show in blood tests. However, the virus is still there and can still be spread to another person.
Myth #6: You can’t get HIV from oral sex.
HIV can be spread through all types of sex: anal, oral, and vaginal.
Myth #7: The reason HIV is spreading in the African American community is because of the “down-low” men.
Black men who are considered to be “down-low” seem to be blamed for the reason black women are highly affected by HIV. However, the truth is that HIV continues to run rapidly in the African American community due men/ women having unprotected sex with multiple partners and not treating an STI which makes a person more vulnerable for contracting HIV.
Myth #8: HIV is a white, gay disease.
HIV spreads to every person regardless of race and sexual orientation. In fact, HIV new infection rates are highest in the African-American community, heterosexual and homosexual individuals.
Myth #9: HIV can be spread from person to person by casual contact.
No, HIV can’t be spread through casual contact like shaking hands. In fact, HIV can’t be spread through tears, saliva, sweat, air, water, bugs (mosquitoes/ticks), drinking water fountains, and toilet seats.
Myth #10: I’m HIV-positive – my life is over.
If you find out you are HIV-positive, you life is not over. Fortunately, due to the medicine and treatment there is today, a long life can continue for a person who is HIV-positive. Knowing your HIV status now is better than knowing when it’s too late. If you are HIV-positive, antiretroviral therapy can work so that you can live with HIV for decades longer and possibly never even reaching the last stage of HIV.
Take control of your sexual health and get tested for HIV. Knowing your HIV status could potentially save your life and those you love. It’s easy, free, and confidential. October 2014 | BVCL MAGAZINE - 39
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