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Editor’s Letter

“I AM” :: 1st ISSUE :: MARCH 2010

The Crucible Staff Joy Alise Davis :: Editor in Chief Patricia Jjemba :: Senior Editor/ Treasurer Christopher Lyttle :: Senior Editor/ Political Editor Liz Chmela :: Design Editor Lidia Fillipos :: Political Editor Keiana Smith-McDowell :: Campus Editor Francesca Witcher :: Copy Editor Sena Quist :: Copy Editor Jonathan Dantley :: Fine Arts Editor RyanAustin Dennis :: Fine Arts EditorAlexis Gillam :: Fashion Editor Cindy Moore :: Fashion Editor Deseraye Dunlap :: Secretary Alicia Williams :: Staff member Gerald Yearwood :: Faculty Adviser

Special Thanks to Diversity Affairs Counsel: Megan Garry Una Hrnjak Anshul Srivastava Eloiza Domingo-Snyder

If you would like to submit an article for the next Issue please contact Joy Davis at: with any questions or concerns.

Words cannot describe how I feel about publishing the first issue of The Crucible. Like a mother must feel when her baby takes it first steps, I am nervous, proud and extremely overjoyed all at once. I am truly blessed to watch this grand idea made into a reality. I wanted to create The Crucible primarily because I believe in the power of one voice. No matter how small the voice is, it has the possibility to influence change. I believe that free speech is something that this University sometimes takes for granted. Like a crucible, this forum will be a fusion of different cultural backgrounds. This forum will be a vessel for addressing issues on Miami University's campus. The Crucible will melt the social, economic and political issues of multicultural students together in order to unite as one voice. This publication will shine light on the issues affecting multicultural students at Miami University. This publication is a forum where students can express themselves openly. This opinion-based newsletter will record, review and debate the happenings and movements that affect the Miami student. This publication will be the canvass upon which multicultural students display their creativity – be it poetry, art, music, stories, photography, or literary expressions. Your voice will be heard; your creativity will be showcased. Thetheme of the first issue is entitled “I Am”. This issue essentially challenges students to define themselves. We wanted to express that your own definition of self is the most important on a campus such as Miami University. I am honored to have such a great support system for this publication. Patricia Jjemba, thank you for letting me frantically call you last spring about starting a publication.

You have been there from the beginning and I couldn’t have done it without you. Even though you were skeptical of my plan, I am grateful that you signed up for the journey. You are more than my Senior Editor, You are my best friend and I love you so much. I wanted to give a quick shout out to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Xi Rho, YOU KNOW! Thank you for believing in me. My family Dad, Mom, Gabriel Melody and Hope, Thank you. Elozia, Una Hrnjak, Gerald Yearwood- and all the members of the Diversity Affairs Counsel, Thank You! To my Staff members Christopher Lyttle, Megan Garry, Deseraye Dunlap , Keiana Smith-McDowell, Francesca Witcher, Sena Quist, Jonathan Dantley, RyanAustin Dennis, Alexis Gillam, Cindy Moore, Alicia Williams, and Lidya Tsegay, We did it!! Thank you for joining the staff and working so hard. This is our day, live it up! Liz Chmela, Thank you so much. We would have never been able to make this publication without you. I am so blessed and thankful to have met you. You are going to do great things after MU, I’m just happy I got to work with you before you made it to the BIG TIMES. Thanks! Callen Reese, Thank you for keeping me sane during the foundation work. Even if you can't recall how much you helped, just being there helped me a lot. To all the contributors, Thank You so much for submitting your work to be published, you made this issue. “We as college students have the extraordinary power and ability to make influential moves and changes by displaying our diverse interests and talents. When provided with the appropriate avenues, historically speaking there has been outstanding change within our country and within the university atmosphere. “

The cover photograph was taken by Jasmine Iman Hardy.



I AM//

MORE THAN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION By Joy Alise Davis Editor in Chief Merriam Webster dictionary defines identity as “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances, the distinguishing character or personality of an individual, the relation established by psychological.” I believe that identify goes way beyond any genetics or physical features. In the most simplistic terms, my identity is how I define my self. I am Brown skin, I am a woman, my ancestors hail from Africa, yet my father’s father is from Alabama. I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, an enemy, a lover, and a fighter. I am a Miami student. I am a writer, a poet, a reader, a musician, an athlete, and a scholar. I am blessed. I am a Christian, and I am me, no matter what surrounding I am in, no matter what my peers define me as. The first day I walked on campus, an elder Caucasian faculty member called me a colored


student. I was offended. After reflecting on this, I asked myself why I was so upset. I have often told people that I was a beautiful woman of color, but there was something about being called colored that brought down my college spirit. I felt as if I was being judged for the color of my skin, not my true identity. Yes, I am a woman of color, but that shouldn’t define nor make me, it should enhance me. When I first announced I would be attending Miami University, a lot of friends were shocked. They told me how Miami is known for rich upper class white conservative students. They told me how the school is saturated with polo’s and kaki shorts, with j crew, and pearl earrings, Coach purses and ugg boots. Being that I am a middle class liberal with chocolate brown skin, they believed I simply wouldn’t fit in. I would be the minority. Coming from a suburban high school with forty-five percent of its students with African descent, I wasn’t truly ready for the “MIAMI” experience. It’s hard going to a school where you are constantly reminded of your race. You sometimes find yourself feeling inferior. I believe that my education is very important when forming my identity. This is why a good learning environment is so essential. I recall one day I was sitting in my political science class, listening to presentations freshmen year. At the end of the group presentation, one guy decides to go off on a tangent about how his friend applied to Miami and didn’t get in because a black student took his spot. The student blamed affirmative action for his friend not attending this school. The student said he was tempted to check a box saying that he was a minority so he could

get into any school in the country. In my opinion, this was a foolish thing to say in a civil rights class. My professor Augustus Jones waited patiently for the student to end his speech and took a deep breath and asked all the students to look around the classroom. As I scanned the room, I noticed that 160 plus students were staring at me. Many looked at me as if I was going to respond to this personal attack, but I was in shock. My Professor said that if there were so many minorities taking over the campus, how come there are only 5 students out of 160 plus in this classroom. It suddenly hit me… was I the African American who the student believed shouldn’t be going to Miami, that I didn’t deserve to be here and I was merely a charity case made by the admissions office to fit a quota. My mind raced. The student was implying that all I had to do to get into this school was check a box. The student made it seem as if the school was letting in many unqualified students just because they were minorities. I was in shock. Never in my 18 years of life had anyone stood up in front of me and proclaimed that I was simply a quota, I didn’t deserve to be there. So many Miami students ask me, why I would choose to go to a school and feel inferior. My mother constantly reminds me that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”( Eleanor Roosevelt).I’m asked why I would choose to go to a school where each time I walk down the street people look at me as if I don’t belong. I am frequently being asked if I play a sport here, because my classmates can’t fathom the idea that I deserve to be here for academics, that I am an equal. Yes, I could have attended a Historically Black University and I would have been completely comfortable, I wouldn’t have to constantly defend myself. But that’s not the real world. The world is not homogeneous. If everyone ran away when they felt uncomfortable this country would

be a very different place. I attended this school because the kind of work I want to do after college requires me to learn to work with people who don’t have the same background that I do. I continue to attend this school because I believe that the only way to change the mindset of students is to press on. I could have simply transferred freshmen year after the incident in my civil rights class or even the incident with the faculty member, but what would that prove. Its benefits no one to run scared when you feel inferior. If you want to see change, you must be the change

I am paying my way through college.


I AM//


better. I remember being nervous at first because it seemed like such a new path to take. While he had been in interracial relationships before, I had never and did not know if everything would be totally the same or not. I think in a perfect world, these thoughts or apprehensions would be nonexistent, but one can’t help but have curiosities. Relationship-wise, everything was completely normal. We did not receive questions or concerns from friends or others on campus. It was as if the idea of an interracial relationship was nothing out of the ordinary, and this made me appreciate just how far people have come, how our generation is so greatly different from those before us. And it was the difference in generations that made me nervous for the next step: telling my family. I went for a couple months before anyone even knew I was dating someone who was not white. I decided to tell my mom first because I felt the most comfortable talking with her and wanted her support before I told my brother and dad.

2009 is a new day, a new time where the bindings of the past do not serve to hold us back from what we want. While today’s world is not a perfect place, and we are still far from where we hope to be, things are easier or more accepted for the most part, especially when it comes to relationships. Miami’s campus, being one with a reputation of a conservative student body and little diI think in a perfect world, these thoughts versity, served as a unique location or apprehensions would be nonexistent, for a interracial relationship, but my story is one that illustrates the but one can’t help but have curiosities. changes in our society rather than one that illustrates the restrictions of the past. Before getting into the relationship that I discussed my fears about telling my dad and inspires this article, I had never thought about brother and, above all, my grandparents with him being in an interracial relationship. I went to high well before I revealed my relationship. While his school in a town that greatly resembles Miami’s parents had no issues with me being white, he unstudent body in that there is a little racial diver- derstood my nervousness and supported me until sity. Coming to Miami, it did not seem likely that I was ready. I would be faced with many opportunities to emI feared that my dad would be disappointed, bark on an interracial relationship either, but once but to my surprise, he was extremely supportive, I did, things changed, and this change was for the telling me that as long as I was happy, he would

support any relationship I was in. I could not have been happier. This same reaction came from my brother, leaving Grandma and Grandpa as the last to know. I remember my mom telling me that I had to keep the generational gap in mind and that they will support anything that makes me happy, but

the tension could be cut with a knife when the conversation finally came up. I told them that I had been in a relationship for quite some time, telling them all about him and his family and how we met. Finally I told them he was black, and the first reaction came from my grandma whose only words were, “Uh oh.” After what seemed like ages of silence, my grandpa just offered that we leave soon to make it to our dinner reservation. I was crushed because at that point, I was well into the relationship and had released all of my own tensions. It was not discussed for the rest of the night, and that truly

hurt me. I wanted the support of my family, and while they did not refuse to accept it, the reaction itself was not positive. Over time, my mom was able to discuss with them my feelings, and tensions lessened, but it was a strong example of how things aren’t quite perfect in today’s world yet. Aside from my family’s reactions, being in an interracial relationship was eye opening in other ways as well. I have had the time of my life exploring his experiences versus my experiences growing up. We have talked and compared everything from family traditions, to school choices, to different instances of prejudice. I have never felt more comfortable with race than now. I think that race is constantly a topic that we avoid like the plague. People are scared to say “black” in a class discussion or touch the topic in any way. So much emphasis has been placed on being politically correct that we seem to tip toe around issues that, in reality, are things we should not be afraid to discuss. I have loved the experience of an interracial relationship not just because it has been different and fun but because it has taught me more about myself and made me more comfortable with something that I have never until now had the opportunity to experience. It has taught me more about my family and helped them to open their minds as well. If even just one person is able to change their mind from the stubborn ways they once held on to, then that seems like a step towards progress to me. I think there is something to be said for change whether good or bad, and in my experience the change that an interracial relationship has brought to my life has no doubt been great! And let’s be serious, in the end, “It don’t matter if it’s black or white!”

Sena Quist Copy Editor for The Crucible Major(s): Health Studies Class of 2010 “I am, because you are”- An old African Proverb


I am a Foreign Exchange Student.


I AM//

I AM//

By Alexia C. L. Gillam Fashion Editor of The Crucible

By Jeremy Thomas



Brimming with intelligence as well as style, Lauren and Meghan are always keeping up with the latest trends. Stealing the spotlight everywhere they go with exceptional ensembles, stunning shoes and jazzy jewelry, these two are continuously admired for their glamorous appearance. Jewelry is their secret weapon to making clothing look fabulous and chic. ”I love jewelry especially rings and necklaces, the bigger and shinier the better!” says Meghan. Favorite shopping places consist of QVC, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and Express. Also, on their favorites list include TJ Maxx and Marshalls. “These two stores especially have a large variety of clothes and accessories as well as great prices” says Lauren.

Drawing their fashion inspiration from magazines like Glamour, Teen Vogue and website, but mostly their mother. “She has always been fashion forward and always picks out the best clothes-especially jewelry, says Lauren. They feel as though the clothes they wear help express their personality because they tend to be very loud, energetic and outgoing. Often times, people say clothes do not make a person, but they feel as though their clothes help convey their emotions. Although, black is usually the color they choose to wear, they always accent it with big and shinny jewelry to make it pop! Their style is a true embodiment of class and sophistication.

Segregation Tradition Denomination Doctrine Choice I have a choice I have a voice To many times I let the society take mine Even though they say to use my mind Tolerance brought me fear Respect for me is nowhere I was born like this At the age of four I went down in the water gave my life, so no more wish It’s only pure truth I seek to pursue My relationship with I AM is what I choose Judgment comes from those that don’t know I have the job of

letting Him show People hurt but don’t trust cause of hypocrisy I listen to a Man that can settle all curiosity Maybe if I let Him take full control of me Then they’ll see that I, like them seek to be free Away with color if it keeps me back Away with how I thought if it doesn’t produce fact I push toward the mark of The Most High for no price So I have a problem with tolerating division in the Body of Christ I am a Christian not because I was told to be I am a Christian because He is molding me I am a Christian who will say I was wrong I am a Christian who will stand up strong Because I am a Christian society doesn’t like me So many people act

like I’m talkin heat Miami gives me a good place to be comfortable That’s not my goal, I’m suppose to let Him be able A lot of people may listen and read If I say the name Jesus many people will retreat Jesus carried me when my mom died! Jesus carried me when I cried! So can I say this, “Give Christians a chance”! I am sorry, but look at my stance I have what the world wants but they don’t understand If I have power I must do His plan Hope this is controversial Lies spread universal At least it will make one think What if I died, blink? See you later

I am a ROTC member.



Aaron D. Jones

Andrew Ting





“SIMPLY A LIGHT REFELCTOR” -Yaves Eliis, the Street Pastor

Samrawit Amare

Sammi Beskin

Codi Staples

R. C Huckabee

Jordan Fells

Nakul Bhardwaj

Elmer Smith

Kelly Muenchen

Kierra Williams

Derick Sekyere



“HOPE” William Tillman


Jennifer Veng






Patricia Jjemba

Neelum Amin

Joy Alise Davis Editor in Chief of The Crucible Class of 2011 Major(s): Political Science and Journalism Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow - Isaiah 1:17

I am a male education major. 11


I AM//

UNDEFINED By Deseraye Kenyae Dunlap Secretary of The Crucible

By Joy Alise Davis Editor in Chief

My identity partially preconceived and expected to be fulfilled from the beginning of my existence. Constantly challenged and rediscovered by external and internal influences, images, individuals, ideologies… Life providing a given set of experiences of which I willingly and involuntarily accumulate and consume. Each day bringing about a spirit of openness which acquits the possibility of absolutes to govern me. Who I am an everlasting question with ongoing discovery, concluding with ever-changing labels and results. I am undefined.


Name: Una Hrnjak Nickname: Un Year: Junior Major: Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs, Women’s Studies minor Hometown: Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Worthington, Ohio What is the one thing you wish you knew as freshmen? How to take a Miami plan class credit/no credit! As a child, what did you want to be when you”grew up”? Lawyer! What are you involved in on campus? Associated Student Government Kappa Alpha Theta Diversity Affairs Council The Odyssey What is your biggest accomplishment thus far? Attending the West Point Conference on US Affairs this past fall for the Political Science Department. Three words that describe your typical day: BUSY, 35 hours long, demanding What are your plans after undergraduate? I am going to Washington DC in the fall instead of coming back for my senior year. I will be participating in the Inside Washington Program through Miami, doing an internship and taking classes there. I will be graduating in Fall 2010 and preparing for law school or a consulting job. What is your ideal career? Human Rights Attorney What legacy do you want to leave behind after you graduate Miami? I helped start a new philanthropy event for my sorority called Basketbrawl, I hope that it continues in years to come and helps raise funds for our national philanthropy CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) How do you define yourself? “I AM an advocate ”



I AM// By Callen Edward Reese

Everything I’m not has made me everything I am bout to pour my soul out on this song I call a jam yeah I love makin jams but I aint talkin bout jelly tho used to be skinny then I found that 1st jellyroll summer after 3rd grade is when it all began when ya man had to pack it up and move away from friends well depends can I get mad, my mommy found some ends we aint neva gotta live wit my grand-p’s again all good things come to a end, so I started makin friends

when the winter time came snow piled up like some powder had to travel 1/2 an hour just to take a hot shower still remember every hour, don’t matter how sour hard on my moms so every mothers day I gave her flowers I’m not sayin I’m a coward, I was scared we wouldn’t make it out my high school years and have to move somewhere vacant to a whole ‘nother place and have a better life, or fake it

but it was hard gainin weight still lookin to fit in in the end it got better til I had to move again in a house wit no furniture sittin on some bins had times wit no heat, no lights, no nothin broke in the suburbs, a n**ga was straight frontin “did you see the game b”, “uhh no I fell asleep” truth is I didn’t see cuz I had regular tv

stop hidin from the repo man to try and take it but we made I’m in college, bout to make several dollars get my mom what she needs then the rest I can pocket

go and get myself a locket put my past in there and lock it

she said where you been at bro, can’t lie yeah I missed ya

stunt and show the sidekick straight lyin on my wallet cuz its empty right now but ballin I can plan it closet gon have more colors than that n**ga captain planet

told her workin on this dream when I’m done I’ll send a picture of a house wit more windows than xp or vista on the road to workin miracles, yes I am and I’m a get paid shawty, yes I am after all these bars all I can say is damn...

talkin to my favorite teacher, who was s’pose to teach me spanish she said follow yo dreams don’t let anybody ban it

Everything I’m Not... Has Made Me... Everything I Am...

and I’m not, I’m a do it, I’m a make it to that picture write it down and take a picture just remember that scripture cuz its comin from the heart, no result from a swisher just got a text from liz uh, who’s my graduating sista

Patricia Jjemba Senior Editor and Political Editor of The Crucible Class of 2012 Major(s): Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs “Hold firmly without waver.”


I am the only white person in my BWS course. 15

I AM//

MAKING A DIFFERENCE By Lidya Tsegay Political Editor

including multiple dancers, singers, and poets this event was memorable. This year was also the beginning of the Heritage Gala which was hosted by the Gentleman of Distinguished Character. The 1st Annual Heritage Gala was a commemoration of the Haiti tragedy. Multiple presentations were incorporated to address the recent earthquake. Although only two are highlighted in this article, the many more not mentioned were also equally as valued. It is also important to know that tragedies are not the only moments Miami University organizations are willing to take action. Organizations such as Eden Live, African School Advancement Program, NAACP and UNICEF are continually working to help shape our local and global community.

“I am Thankful” Picture by Jessica Leigh Agee

America has many perceptions in the global arena. Criticized many times for the involvements it carries with the remainder of the nations. However, America is also known for its ability to It is also important to know that tragedies are help nations in need and that not the only moments Miami University is what was done recently for organizations are willing to take action. Haiti. A little over two months has passed since the shock Organizations such as Eden Live, African that shook the earth. Haiti’s School Advancement Program, NAACP and devastating earthquake was a UNICEF are continually working to help shape necessary awakening to our population, reminding us of our local and global community. the value and importance of our global community. It was amazing to see many take up the torch to ful- Events such as Diwali, African Student Union Gala fill their humanitarian duties. I applaud Miami and the Genocide Rally work to bring awareness University organizations that participated in such to different cultures and issues. And multiple lecactions. From the ongoing bake sales to phenom- tures are hosted to educate students. I extend a “Thank You!” for the many already involved, and enal presentations and events. JABBERWOCK talent show is an annual event also offer an opportunity for those who are not. hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. This Join in with the multiple other organizations to season its focus was to reflect on and assist the help make a difference. America is in position to assist, and its people Haitian population. Charging a minimum entrance fee they accumulated a portion of this profit for are humanitarian in their actions. donations. Hosting a number of talented acts

Jonathan Dantley Fine Arts Editor of The Crucible Major(s): English and Creative Writing Class of 2012



I AM// A BLACK FEMINIST By Francesca Witcher Copy Editor

black is defined by the color of someone’s skin, but to me being black is much more than that. “Blackness” to me is a cultural awareness of being black within oneself. I am black because I share a cultural identity of being black in society with other blacks. I am black because of my consciousness of being labeled with presumptive stereotypes by my white peers when I walk into a classroom. I am black because I embrace the authenticity of my heritage through music, reading, art, and writing. I am black because I speak out against social injustices done to my brothers and sisters who are black and feel the same struggles I do. I am black because I am not afraid to be black. In the minds of some, “black” is considered “the other” or “different”; I am not afraid of being “the other” or “different”. It is because I believe in social justice, fairness,

I am fearless knowing that I am Black and a Feminist. I am a 21-year-old Senior at Miami. I am originally from Mitchellville, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, D.C.). I grew up in an upper-middle class family and attended private schools my enSome would say black is defined by the tire life. Most of my peers were color of someone’s skin, but to me being Black themselves, but it wasn’t until High School that I became black is much more than that. more conscious of my blackness. I was one of five black women in my graduating class, and found and women having the right to choose that I conit to be a continuous struggle to find my iden- sider myself to be a feminist. Feminism has always tity in the midst of a predominately White en- been a complicated term for me to grapple with vironment. There were even moments where because subconsciously the media and societal I was afraid to talk to other students about norms have socialized me to associate feminism with negative connotations. It wasn’t until recently that I came to understand femiFrom being called a bitch by a man to nism in a new way. I thought working in all-male group projects where I about my mother and how she always stands up for herfelt as though my opinions and knowledge self, and how she is not afraid were valued, have shaped me into not only to speak her mind. I thought about how she never settled the feminist, but the person that I am today for subpar treatment from men at her job. Then I thought what it was like being black, in fear that they about myself and the things that I stand for. I bewould isolate me and see me as “not like them.” lieve in the woman’s right to choose. I believe in Going to college, academia and being equal pay for equal work. I believe that women exposed to a more diverse group of people than should have the opportunity to have an education in High School helped me to contemplate what and pursue any career field of their choosing. I beit really meant to be black. Some would say lieve women are just as good as men.


Apart from these fundamental beliefs, my personal experiences here at Miami has molded me more into a feminist and embracing the word as a positive one. From being called a bitch by a man to working in all-male group projects where I felt as though my opinions and knowledge were valued, have shaped me into not only the feminist, but the person that I am today. I know now, what I didn’t know before that the word feminist means a strong and just woman. The word has given me the courage to not be afraid to be who I am as a Black woman and a feminist. It’s a word with many meanings, but it’s a word that has keeps me moving forward and a word that lets me know that I have a purpose and mission in this life. I am fearless knowing that I am Black and a Feminist. With that fear I have, I take it every day and share my story with other women at Miami in hopes that they will become fearless like me.

I AM// FOR TRUE BEAUTY By Jean Kleimeyer

Beauty is not perfection. True beauty is how I respond to people, the relationships I have with friends, strangers, and those I am not too fond over. True beauty is how people feel after I talk to them. True beauty is how I respond to prejudice and discrimination. True beauty is something that can be cultivated in myself over time with patient effort. I am for true beauty. I am for that which is genuine, spontaneous and cultivated.

I AM//

TORN BY TWO HALVES By Carmen Esparza White, not Hispanic? Yes, but no Hispanic? Better than the last, but no I still don’t understand why I have to check one I can never decide Who should I be today? One checkbox doesn’t account for my two-halves Different environment= different rules “¿Qué estás haciendo? Quitate la pintura de la cara. Todavía tienes catorce.” I had to learn quickly “Finish your homework and go mow the lawn” I was supposed to know my place I had to learn myself Mental note: the men get comida primero, then the kids, luego las mujeres “Your Mexican! So, do you speak Spanish?” Ummh, kind of How do I explain something that I don’t understand? I cannot own up to only one title The two must be shared I am both of them, inside and out I am Mexican-American I am Chicana


I AM//

NOT A PRODUCT OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT By Keiana Smith-McDowell Campus Editor “Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition, such as lifting weights, we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” (Stephen Covey) Being apart of two minority groups, that is being a woman as well as an African American, I see each and everyday how important it is for us NOT to fit the stereotypical image society has implemented on us. As a woman and as an African American on a predominantly white campus, not to be that “token black person” in class. You know, the person in a class whom everyone expects to make ignorant and uneducated responses simply because they are black. Or the single person in a Black World Studies course expected to know each and every thing about Black history simply because they are of a darker hue, Negative!


As a young African American woman who comes from what some would consider a “privileged” lifestyle, many have made comments insinuating that I “don’t even know what it means to be a product of your environment” and to that my response is that anyone can be a product of their environment. I’ve always wondered why people associate being a product of your environment with something negative, something that gives a free pass to someone who is manner less, uncouth, and unwilling to complete things that will enhance his or her future. But what about the person like me who lives in the suburbs, works onerously, is involved in every extra curricular activity possible, and has the most positive attitude, and fine character? Are they then NOT a product of their environment? Well I ‘m to tell you that in fact they are. And their actions don’t make them any better than a person who does not embody these qualities or come from a similar “privileged” background. Regardless of a person’s background, we all

Keiana Smith-McDowell Campus Editor for The Crucible Major(s): Journalism and American Studies Class of 2011 “Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated” -Lou Holtz “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” -Jim Ryun

have to learn to make upstanding personal deci- is for that reason that we do indeed have somesions, so that being a product of one’s environ- thing to prove. We have to prove to society that ment is not shunned and looked at negatively but the labels placed on us are just that, labels, and praised. nothing more. Essentially, every member of such For so long I have heard people make excuses environments has to stand up and proclaim to our for why they do the things they do, why they just campus and beyond that we are NOT the product cannot help who they are. But at what point do of YOUR environment. if this is what it means to the excuses stop, and the responsibility and ac- be a P.O.E then I will with pleasure accept the title. countability come into play? It is important to But there is something important to consider understand that while we say we have nothing to and remember when it comes to proving, what prove, because we were accepted to the same top and who we are NOT, but rather displaying who ranked institution as certain counterparts, in my we ARE. Egocentrism and just being plain boastcase the male counterpart as well as the majority counterpart, in fact I’ve always wondered why people associate we do have something to prove. Although we are being a product of your environment with looked at as coming from something negative, something that gives a a group of people who free pass to someone who is manner less, will always be oppressed, always be at the bottom uncouth, and unwilling to complete things that of the totem pole, always will enhance his or her future. need governmental assistance, always the underdog, that this doesn’t reflect the fact that we are an intelligent people, a ful in nature should be saved for the likes of Kanye strong people with a rich and deeply rooted his- West’s ago only. Boasting in many ways shows igtory. This is true for both my female cohorts and norance, which is the very type of stigma we are African American minority cohorts. Everything trying to move away from. So I’m calling on peoin our history reflects why we were built to suc- ple from every environment and background and ceed in a society that tells us we are lacking or less asking you to remember to approach things with than. How we can outsmart the counterpart and a voracity for the cause, not only for yourself, for come to the north to make better lives for our- your future, but for the image of your people so selves, acquire equal rights, have a large amount that we are not known as that group, women, Afriof our population fighting for our country, being can Americans or whatever it may be, that makes beat and dogs sicked on us, and through all that excuses, is lacking, and will always need a clutch, stand right back up. We are fighters and survivors, all because we are a product of our environment. if this is what it means to be a product of an en- So what? I AM a product of MY environment, and vironment then I accept that title with pleasure. It a positive one I may add. What are you?

I am the victim of verbal assault on our campus. 21

I AM//

neo-soul and gospel. My culture enhances my swagger and my skin tone makes me remember… I am a Buddhist. I meditate on life and try to preserve it at all costs. I believe that the highest form of salvation is personified through the love and respect of peace, justice and equality. I respect not the extremes of life and choose the middle path. I respect the mortality of man and accept the glass as neither half full nor half empty, but as already Christopher Lyttle Senior Editor/ Political Editor broken. I see god in the beauty of existence and refuse to abandon the universal yoke of struggle. Every human being is a mass of many ideologies I believe that the omnipresent struggle of being and identities, some of our own making, some not. an African American in the United States of AmerBut within us all lays distinct aspects of our iden- ica and the continual recognition of struggle, as tity that drives us, which not only defines who we posited by Buddhism, makes it impossible for me are but also inspires the way we see and change to exclude the reality of struggle from my politics. the world around us. Personally, my cultural iden- I am a Leftist. I am often asked, “Well, what does tity and religious ideology affect who I am the that mean?” most, and who I am is reflected through my poliTo me, to be a Leftist is to develop and cultics. There are so many existential realities that tivate a hypersensitivity to pain and suffering, define me but these are the few that affect me to ALWAYS side with the victimized and NEVER beyond measure. with the victimizer, to stand up for those being beaten down, and condemn those To me, to be a Leftist is to develop and doing the beating. As a Leftist I cannot ignore the suffercultivate a hypersensitivity to pain and ing of black, red, and brown suffering, to ALWAYS side with the victimpeople. I cannot ignore structural racism, or strucized and NEVER with the victimizer, to stand tural classism, the hyper-surup for those being beaten down, and conveillance of black neighborhoods and brown barrios, demn those doing the beating. the empty promises of desegregation, or the slow deFirst and foremost, I am an African American. I terioration of our public schools. I cannot ignore am a culmination of injury and healing – centuries the ugly specter of the prison-industrial complex, of chattel slavery and apartheid, disenfranchise- neo-slave labor, or financial discrimination as perment and imprisonment, civil rights struggles and petuated against black, brown, and poor white dreams deferred. As an African American I feel an people. I cannot stand by as we systematically deexistential connection to hip-hop, blues, and jazz, humanize our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters



Christopher David Lyttle Senior Editor and Political Editor of The Crucible Class of 2012 Major(s): Political Science and History “If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.” - Noam Chomsky

by barring them from their rights and stigmatizing them as the societal “other.” Finally, as a Leftist I reject free-market fundamentalism and the fetishizing of private enterprise. I don’t see the world in a Hobbsein fashion that places a premium on individuality and attempts to delegitimize a sense of collectivism and social responsibility, but rather in a manner that recognizes that the invisible hand does not always lead to freedom and prosperity for the many and that luck and social circumstance along with hard work play a major role in success. I am a staunch believer in Democracy, from the polls to our work

places, from the UN to the other multitudes of international organizations that influence relations amongst nations, (I.e. WTO, WHO, The World Bank, etc). I believe that the citizens of the world have the right to representation within these political bodies. As a Leftist I reject the legitimacy of our military-industrial complex and will never support the expansion of American hegemony by means of bombing innocent children and the destabilization of entire countries and regions. But most importantly, I believe that all Leftists should love and promote freedom by any means necessary.

I am an Immigrant.23

I AM//

THE JAZZMAN Christopher Lyttle Senior Editor/ Political Editor

The Jazzman’s Blues…. You accuse me of kissing in metaphor… “I hate poetry,” She says While tearing a paper heart in two, Your language lacks the capacity to love That’s why I kissed the funeral bride All women look better in black – Black dress, black veil, velvet fingers… Her soul, rooted in African Weave At night she reaches out And entangles your heart There’s nothing like waking up Ass naked, sprawled across Some strange bed With bad tastes of cold wars heating, Heartstrings untangle, Revealing mass graves of Christs And crooks We all rot together – Now they vibrate, high-strung,


Guitars She’s never heard the ghetto But they keep on beating Those slum drums, My impoverished heart, depletes memory banks With nightmares of You That’s why my sleep reeks of marijuana memories Intoxicated gesticulation Only instructs the mayhem Broken glass, my cymbals Human flesh, my snares Crying infants my horns “Play that music B**ch!” Another cold night with Coltrane Melodramatic My messiahs morph Into metaphors Raveled around my brainstem… I only entrust my sorrows With the jazz man

Cindy Moore Fashion Editor for The Crucible Major(s): Diplomacy and Global Politics & Journalism, Minor: French First year- 2013 “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that fits all cases”


I AM// By Anonymous

so.... to grip the pinnacle of success with a rope that was borrowed to fall into raging waters on my own accord to be the sheep,follow the crowd and earn some nickels to be slayed,immaculately, with a grin in my face contradictions,contradictions define what i say question now being-should i follow their norm? should i tackle their ways? am not lost though,am happy still a day at a time,a life to live.

I am the only African American in my class.25




By RyanAustin Dennis Fine Arts Editor Oriental “How much does it cost to buy eggs in China?” And I tell the little black boy for the 5th time “I’m not Chinese. My mother and father are from Japan.” & No I don’t eat dog & No I don’t know kung fu/tai chi & No I am not a eunuch I’ve been fucking since is was 16 & Yes I know my English is flawless Better than you “natives” I am not new I have been here 1825 First known Asian American born in New York 1854 People v. Hall makes a law forbidding any Chinese from testifying in court against whites 1923 U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind declares Asian Indians ineligible for nationalized citizenship 1942 Executive Order 9066 put 110,000 Japanese in 10 internment camps 1982 Vincent Chin murdered in Detroit by 2 white autoworkers who had reportedly mistaken him for a Japanese worker. His murders were acquitted. Not a day in prison. I have been here. Building you railroads so that I can’t ride in them Digging your gold Working your fields

Yes I know my English is good But you can’t’ f**king speak more than 3 words of mine America come tell me something I don’t know About you already “How much do eggs cost in China?” I don’t know b/c I’m not Chinese! Ignorance is a euphemism for bigotry History picks us to the margins making us the yellow disease Battle after battle we have Proven ourselves Yet you simply our complexities I have been here Yet I seem to have perpetual green card An assumed foreigner in a country made of Immigrants legal or illegal Passive slaves of exploitation Peasants of the Whiteman’s glory Our women receptacles of commercial fantasies Gangbanged for postmodern consumers Cultural call girls for fat perverts Asia is not our ethnicity it’s a continent I have been here for so long You just haven’t seen me.

Alicia Williams Staff Writer for The Crucible Major(s): Pre Journalism and International Studies Class of 2012


By Keiana Smith-McDowell Campus Editor of The Crucible From our initial college visit here to Miami, there has been an apparent stress on developing growth and potential in students here at Miami University. With the help of new organizations, like the Presidents Black Caucus, we are walking down the path of building a stronger relationships and more diverse community on campus. The Presidents Black Caucus came about in the middle of the 2009 school year with administrators like Randi Thomas from the Institutional Relations and Gerald Yearwood from the Office of Diversity Affairs helping students like Robert Hendricks and Karena Stewart brainstorm ways to get this organization off the ground and go forward in their quest to aide development in the African American community here on campus. Standing presidents of the predominately black organizations meet monthly with faculty across campus in order to discuss improvement in three main areas: social, academic, and political. Robert Hendricks, co-founder and Caucus President is a diligent advocate for the group and what it hopes to accomplish, “ From a social standpoint, we help students get more acquainted with each other, and faculty. Once a month there are peer-tutoring sessions, which stresses our academic concerns. Last, but not least, we try to keep our students aware in the political arena. We are now a chapter of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. As a group, we talk about political bills that citizens should be aware of”. Although the PBC was intended only for Presidents of organizations and faculty, through curiosity and genuine concern of others, membership has quickly grown to between 20-30 participants. Due to the targeted demographic, the PBC currently contains all African American student organization representatives. Realizing this, Hendricks hopes that once these organizations are able to cohesively communicate and correspond with one another, so too will they expand moving in tune with the rest of Miami’s campus programs. “We would be happy to expand and welcome diverse groups and possibly become University wide.” If you are interested in helping with the Presidents Black Caucus or learning more about it, you can contact Robert Hendricks at




“Llava Lady was originally inspired by the abstract doodling. I use to draw on the side of notebook paper when I was bored in class. I really like curvy patterns mixed with sharp edges. Many of my designs incorporate both soft and edgy aspects. I believe my vision is to keep the clothing simply feminine with bold and unconventional tweaks. Hopefully this would become my signature look I will be known for: the "Girly Girl on Fire" look hence the collection's name "Llava Lady".

Alexis Gillam Fashion Editor for The Crucible Major(s): Family Studies Class of 2011 “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of GOD, I am what I am”

“I plan on working to develop my clothing line this summer and work on investing money within it when the right time presents itself. It takes a lot of time, energy, and patience to really be involved in the fashion industry. “ -Sophia Hischak

I AM//


“I am Artistic�

I am no Gemini but I live, talk, and write like I am not alone. On one side, I was innocent and shy. This side, I glow of life and unpredictability. The Chinese would refer to my birth year as the year of the Tiger. Sometimes, I am stubborn and rebellious but I am not a Taurus. Like an Aries, I seek adventure and stimulation. The Chinese zodiac, for the month that I became a gift to the world, makes me the Fire Tiger! Before, when I was most misunderstood, you would think that I was a Virgo or Scorpio maybe. I have been fortunate in life but I am no Sagittarius. Because my interpersonal skills allow me to create valuable positive relationships, do you think that I am a Libra? I have always been loyal and have always tried to stimulate my friends to be better. I am an Aquarius, the water carrier, the giver of life. Are you convinced? I was born on January 24, 1986. I am an Aquarian Fire Tiger!

Picture by Jessica Leigh Agee


I am Gay in a Fraternity. 31

I AM//

OUT & PROUD? Are you gay? It’s a question I have been asked since the age of 10, and one I have never truly been able to answer. As time passes, the question seems to be asked more discreetly or behind closed doors, and yet the pressure remains. For anyone who does not identify as heterosexual, the atmosphere can be particularly tense. There are a slew of expectations, one being some grand unveiling known as ‘coming out.’ Subsequently followed by an “Oh, I always knew they were gay,” or even a “Wow, they acted so straight!” As a child the thought of ‘coming out’ confused me. As an adult the notion continues angers me. When I was young I vividly remember my father speaking about then Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Kordell Stewart supposedly being gay and ‘in the closet’. At the time, I didn’t quite realize what that meant. I could not for whatever reason wrap my mind around this proverbial closet he spoke of. I can recall the negativity associated with it and the shame his family “should” have felt. To this today when I hear the phrase ‘coming out’, I think back of that experience with my father every time. I understand the importance of being open about one’s sexuality, but I still cannot grasp the concept of coming out the closet. Why do members of the GLBTQ community feel the need to ‘come out’ as if to say all are in hiding? Heterosexuals do not have to come out, so why do all those who identify themselves as non-straight have to partake in some big unveiling? All my life I have struggled with my sexual identity.

There have been times when I knew for sure that I was gay and other times when I was certain I was straight. I have come to realize that my attractions differ with the individual. I suppose the appropriate term would be bisexual, but to me, that indicates a choice. How can I be expected to ‘come out’ if I am clueless as to what I am coming out as? One cannot answer a question to which they do not have the answer to. And in my case, I will likely never have a definitive answer. With all that said, I am proud. I am proud of many things in my life. I am proud to be a college student. I am proud to have an amazing family. I am proud to be someone who strives for success. And while I can say that I am proud of my sexuality (whatever that may be), it is only a small facet of who I am. I am proud of so many aspects of myself that one attribute should not be given precedence over another; thus, I am writing this anonymously. While some may view it as cowardly, being identified as something other than heterosexual is not something I fear; however, I do fear being identified based solely on that fact. I am not straight and I am not gay. I am many things. Sexuality is just a small piece of a much larger whole that is me. Regardless of what society dictates, I refuse to put one simple, indeterminate attribute above another. If you would like to know my sexuality, just ask.

“I am Loved” Picture by Jessica Leigh Agee

Sincerely, Anonymous.

Francesca Witcher Copy Editor for The Crucible Major(s): Journalism and Black World Studies Minor(s): Political Science Class of 2010


I am the President of a Multicultural Group.33


I AM// A PRODUCT By Eric Finnell I can remember it like yesterday The bangs, the booms, arise, awake No smiles after nap time today There it is again, oh yeah I’m pissed today The door swings open, it’s little sis’ face I jump to hold her, but what do I say I can only lie, sis it’ll be okay It’s time to move, not to waste What is it now This dysfunctional family has reached its prime I see him and her That guy and my mom I’m sick of this, now I’m done He yells; she yells Little sis cries, they failed I ball my fists and plant my feet If he touches my mom is all I can think His tone raises as mom approaches Closer and closer the space between gets smaller The tension builds and then he grabs her Hand to neck He’s bigger and much stronger As fast as I can blink with no time to speak

"When one sees a problem and seeks a solution, one must think, how can I help? Our motto as a student organization that strives to serve a diverse minority population is , "If not US, who? If not NOW, when?" We seek to provide equal opportunities for students of minority status while


I push his body to the wall ten feet Adrenaline is up, he must have sensed Because down goes his tone, he begins apologizing Man you better get her No Ima get you That’s my mother, a woman and look at your daughter too I take my own advice and look back the same My mother, my sister Embracing each other; eyes sore from crying I stepped out of myself and began to reflect Watching a fight between two fools A fight over respect I’m no better than you, I let you get to me You are not a man, not in the eyes that dream They are scarred for life, but you don’t know what that means I’ll be better than you, my decision is made No one can stop me, not one more day Because of that, all the pain that weighs One sad story revealed from a man today

educating the community on key issues within our culture, locally and nationally. Be the change you want to see...join NAACP!"


Deseraye K. Dunlap Secretary of The Crucible Class of 2011 Major(s): International Studies Minor(s): Black World Studies and Lusophone Studies “What is written is recorded, what is recorded is history. It is my obligation to claim my time, mark my life, brand my existence”.

I am a Muslim.35


I Am Issue  

Miami University's First Multicultural Magazine- 1st Issue

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