Cover, Black Ink Magazine, September 1972
Dedicated to Revolutionary Media
Black Ink September/October 2010
A word from your editors
Hello Everyone, This semester a previous cover from our magazine’s past inspired this year’s kickoff issue of the Black Ink. The September 1972 issue of the Black Ink ran this cover and we decided that 38 years later, that same message still applied. So with this issue, we wanted to start the year by keeping it real and discussing real issues that affect you, our readers. In this edition of the Black Ink, you’ll find articles that cover the various issues in our society and community. From the recent celebration of UNC’s 55th anniversary of desegregation, the Internet sensation known as Twitter, the oil spotted summer of 2010 and much more. To highlight how much has been happening on our campus and in the world, the Black Ink wanted our theme to be simple so we decided to keep it REAL! Every article is just that, real, and we wanted our readers to know that it was time we brought some more revolution to the media. Once you’ve read the articles, take the thoughts and comments you have and start discussions and conversations that start change. As always, happy reading. Peace! Kirstin Garriss Editor-in-Chief
Hello Readers, Forty-one years ago the Black community at UNC released this publication dedicated to revolutionary media, knowing that although the revolution will change, it will never die. And in 2010 we are still faced with issues that call for a transformation of societal thoughts and processes. In this edition of Black Ink we have decided to reevaluate our concerns and rediscorver the truth of our newage revolution. We are addressing questions that are impacting our current society, inside and outside of the Black community. Why are low-income workers constantly subjected to unjust working conditions? Why has the black community tolerated and perpetuated the use of the term n*gga? In this issue you will not find all the answers but you will find truth and hopefully inspiration to start participating in these controversial conversations. We decided to go retro with our cover (taking it from a 1972 Black Ink issue) to highlight how history always repeats itself. The same question they had 38 years ago many of us have now; how long is the facade of a perfect America going to last? And Black Ink’s answer to this is, as long as we let it. So open this issue as an ordinary and close it as a revolutionary! Let it inspire you to be educated politically, socially, academically and culturally so that when you are called to be part of the revolution, you are well equipped. We appreciate your support as we uphold the success of this publication. And as always with your help we will continue to represent the Black presence on UNC’s campus through revolutionary and informative media. Brittany Johnson, Assistant Editor
the Life of a Transfer Student “Are you a first-year?” “No I’m not a first year, but this is my first year at Carolina. I am a junior transfer student.” That is the most common question I have been asked since I arrived to UNC. To transfer to a new school in the midst of your college years where you don’t know not one soul is much more difficult than actually going to school for the first time as a freshman. Coming to college as a freshman may be scary, but you have the opportunity to meet thousands of freshmen that are scared just like you. Transferring during your upper classmen years are hard because you have to try and meet people that have already established their group of friends and bonded with people for 2-3 years. You still have to deal with learning the
bus system, occasionally looking at the map to figure out where certain buildings are, and in my case adjusting to the south. Carolina in general is much different from the people, to the school, and sometimes the style of dress from where I’m from in Cleveland, Ohio. But each day is a different learning experience. So I have to put together a little list of things that I think all transfer students need to do in order to meet people and break the barriers of being scared at UNC. 1. GET INVOLVED GET INVOLVED (best way to meet and socialize with people) 2. Get acquainted with the Professors in your major ( they can really help you in making sure your transition is smooth)
3. Meet your counselor (They can keep you on the correct path to make sure you graduate on time) 4. Get out of your comfort zone ( do something different, try something new, ex: try new food, do something that people at home would never believe you did) 5. Network (you may never know if a person has a had a class that can give you some help with tutoring, have an extra book, or can let you know when it is some really good parties) 6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (UNC has many different resources that can help you with just about any and everything you may be having a problem with. --- Jessica Kirby
What I Wish I Knew... If you ask any UNC student about their first year in college, they’ll probably just ponder and smile. But there are many things that people wish they could do over academically or socially. Here are a few tips to make the best of your first year. GO TO CLASS!!!! What you don’t understand is that one missed class turns into two missed classes, which then turns into feeling like you don’t have to go. Mom and Dad are not here in college to tell you to go to class. And you don’t want your professor to know your name and not your face. Only miss class if you have to, not because you feel like you can. Ask for help Sometimes trying your best means understanding your best isn’t good enough. You shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help. Utilize resources like Peer Tutoring, Of-
fice Hours, and The Learning/Writing Centers. It’s better to start strong than struggle to finish. Don’t overwhelm yourself It is great to be active in college. But you don’t want to join too many things at once. Try to join organizations that interest you, keep you involved or will help prepare you for your future. ExtraCurricular activities are just that, EXTRA. Try to make new friends – I must admit, it can be hard to make new friends. But you shouldn’t be afraid to meet new people. Talk to the people you meet in the clubs and organizations you join; you already have a common interest. Don’t be afraid to let people go – Contrary to number four, sometimes you have to let people go. People often times grow apart in college and that
has to be respected. You definitely don’t want to be held back because of someone else. These are just some general tips you should know as a first year student. What you make of your first year is up to you. --- Marquise Hudson
Events of Summer 2010
We know what you did last summer While many college students spent their summer working at fast food joints, partying every other day of the week, or doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, some individuals spent their summer impacting the lives of others and investing in their future careers.
A junior and Interpersonal Communications major, served as a counselor for the Kids Across America Christian sports camp in Missouri. This camp is far from ordinary as it takes inner-city youth from all over the country and brings them to an eight-day fun-filled camp packed with sports and spiritually strengthening activities. Coaches acted as mentors, big brother/big sister figures, and teachers. Working with the 9-12 year old age group, Javan considered it a “spiritually rejuvenating experience.” “I love working with younger kids because of their joy and innocence. They’re so passionate about everything they do. They’re up at seven and down at eleven and there’s energy all day long.”
A senior Public Policy major and Medical Anthropology minor, interned for Teach for America, which is a highly selective, nonprofit organization whose goal is to break the cycle of education inequity. Accepting only 90 interns nationwide, Teach for America chose Lisle and placed her in Houston, Texas where she served as an assistant vice principal in Dowling Middle School. With four years of UNC under her belt, Lisle keeps in mind one important concept. “THE most important thing about being a college student is being a college student. It’s not all about grades; it’s the values and lessons that you learn while you’re here.”
A sophomore, completed two internships this summer with the Financial Futures Foundation at the KenanFlagler Business School and The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Greensboro, N.C. Raven also participated in the very competitive Goldman Sachs Undergraduate Camp in New York City,
A senior, Communications major and African-American Studies minor, served as a Political Operations Field Department Intern in Washington D.C. under the Special Constituencies sector of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Alexis was responsible for African-American outreach and awareness activities. She also lobbied for changes in policies regarding the price of birth control and increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates. “ I think sometimes kids do something in the summer just to do it, and I really made an effort to tie together what I’ve done in college and find something that made a difference. I did something for a purpose this summer.” N.Y. As a Business and Economics Double major, Raven aspires for a career in either private or investment management; acquiring these summer endeavors are merely stepping stones in achieving her dream career. “Although I didn’t have an internship that directly deals with what I want to do, I was able to have job experience outside of fast food and retail,” Raven said.
Events of Summer 2010
A sophomore majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, studied abroad this summer in Singapore and Malaysia with the Carolina Southeast Asia Summer Program. Students take two classes while overseas that are taught by UNC professors and explore the different cultures of Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Taking only 25 rising sophomores, John was one of the two African-Americans that attended the program. “Study abroad. The best way to experience UNC is to get away from it because then, you can come back and compare where you were. It [studying abroad] has made me prouder to be black.”
A senior, Communications Studies and Spanish double major, flew to New York City in this past April. Nancy Kennedy, the executive producer of WABC-TV, announced that she probably was not going to have any interns for the summer. Derrick was the only intern that Nancy Kennedy chose. Derrick recalled that this experience truly made him more focused on his purpose in life and encourages others to take chances.“I’ve come back with an entirely new perspective as far as the work that I do here and how it concerns my opportunities in the professional world. I have a stronger understanding of the power of networking and taking advantage of opportunities.”
Drowning in Oil On April 20, 2010, the most detrimental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry occurred. It was a result of a sea-floor oil gusher caused by the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. The BP Oil Spill, as it is better known, has caused widespread damage to the wildlife and marine inhabitants of the Gulf Coast. The spill has also affected the fishing and tourism industries as well. Kristine Chambers, a UNC first-year, is a native of the Gulf and calms that she is disgusted by how financial gain took precedence over the safety of millions. “I care a lot about the environment. So the personal negligence of BP disgusts me.” Chambers also said although she had not been personally affected by the spill, she was concerned about future ecological damages due to greed. Petroleum toxicity and oxygen depletion threatens the environment due to the spill. Eight U.S. national parks are
threatened in addition to several endangered species throughout the Gulf. Those at risk include the Kemp’s Ridley, Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles. Animals such as these are being held in national refuges. This consists of approximately 34,000 birds including seagulls, pelicans, roseate spoonbills, and blue herons. The primary area of the oil spill includes 8,332 species. As of August 13, 4,678 dead animals have been collected, including 4,080 birds, 525 sea turtles, 72 dolphins and other mammals. It can be concluded from this data that Chambers’ fear of further environmental damage are in their primal stages. Luz Cuaboy, another UNC first-year and Gulf native, has a family friend who has been affected by the spill. “My friend owns a condo by [the Gulf] that he rents out. So when the spill happened he lost money because people didn’t want to go to the beaches.” Cuaboy also has deep personal feelings toward the
disaster. “I think that what happened was really awful. Many people have lost their jobs and it’s really sad about all the animals dying. I know something is being done, but unfortunately you can’t take back what has already been done.” The U.S. Government has named BP the responsible party in the spill and has deemed them accountable for all clean up costs and damages. However, as Cuaboy stated, the damage has already been done. It is true that the oil can be cleansed from the beaches and, eventually, the ocean. It is true that business owners and realtors who have lost revenue can be repaid. In spite of it all, the fact remains that thousands have been permanently affected by the damage. The place that numerous people and animals call home has been enduringly marred simply because “the want of money is the root of all evil.” --- Julia Craven
In the Pit:
Is it okay to have the Mosque built in New York City at its present location? Mark Rosenstein, First-year, undecided
I am 100 percent for the mosque being built at its present location. The constitution guarantees it, and I feel they [Muslims] have the right to build it wherever they please.
Ian Helfrich, First-year, undecided My views on the mosque are a little mixed, but when several thousands of people are killed for political purposes by a religious group and for that same religion to then build a cultural center three blocks from the actual terrorist attack site is a little disrespectful to the memories of the people who died in that event [September 11th]. It’s not necessarily that I’m against the Muslim faith trying to build bridges to America, but it’s more that it’s so close to where it happened that it’s a little bit of an insult to the memory of the people who died.
Laura Jasmine, Junior, Journalism and Religious Studies I definitely do not have a problem with the Islamic community center being built near ground zero. A lot of people are opposed to it because they associate Islam with terrorism, but it was just a very small group of extremists who did that.
CJ Powell, Junior, Religious Studies and Peace War and Defense I feel if you say no to the mosque it’s being intolerant. Because you can’t blame an entire religion for what seven people did.
Rohan Smith, First-year, African Studies and Sociology
Janelle Norman, Junior , International Studies and French
I think it’s fine. I feel like this country is really intolerant, and I feel like it doesn’t really matter where it goes because this is America. And I don’t think there should be any restrictions like that. It doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t disagree with the mosque being built because I feel everyone should have their right to express their own religion. However, on the other hand, I don’t necessarily think it’s necessary to put it on that site due to the sensitivity of the subject… There’s no great reason for it. If there’s an absolute need for a mosque there then you might as well have a kind of religious organization for each religion to show unity within America.
In the Pit:
Do you think that Muslim sentiments have worsened, improved or stayed the same in the past nine years? Doug Harris, Senior, English “I actually would say that things are in a constant state of flux and things improve and they get worse in different channels, I think that overall awareness has become an important thing, especially in an academic environment like this.”
Kerby McKinnel, Firstyear, Nursing I would say about the same [as Maya Sharodi]. I think at the beginning with September 11th it was really bad, but things really haven’t gotten any worse or better with them [sentiments towards Muslims].
Lia Smith, Junior, English, and Theatre,
Maya Sharodi, Junior, Business I think they [sentiments towards Muslims] have gotten worse over the past nine years, starting with September 11th and people started associating Islam with terrorism and blaming Muslims and Muslim organizations, rather than the terrorist groups themselves.
I do think it’s a controversial issue, but I think that since 9/11 things have gotten better because I know that after [9/11] happened people were very anti-Muslim because they didn’t really understand what happened. And I think that it got better from there. And with what’s happening in New York and with the people in Texas trying to burn the Koran… I think incidents like that have people question feelings.
Tess Ytuarte, First-year, Math I think things have gotten worse because when people are angry about what happened and they want someone to blame.
Noelle Leader, Junior, Media Studies and Production I personally feel as if the country’s reaction to the debate on whether or not to build a mosque on or near the 9/11 site has been overwhelmingly negative. Everyone feels like either it’s too soon or it’s disrespectful to the victims of 9/11. I feel that recently it’s sparked controversy and sensitive feelings towards Muslims.
Allison Davis, First-year, International Studies and Women’s Studies I feel like the relationship has gotten worse, especially since it has really been shown with the issues of the mosque being built in the ground zero area. People are really just over sensitive about it and things have not gotten better. I think person-to-person things may have gotten better because people try to say “I see this person and I’m not going to stereotype.” But, overall, I think people are still sensitive to it.
Real talk Have you been waiting to make some PSAs to the black community? Has some thought been burning on your heart? Time to let it out! And as usual, Black Ink has got you covered. Follow us on Twitter@uncblackink and let us know what’s real. In each issue of the Black Ink we’ll print the best #realtalk in our magazine. And if you don’t send them in, we will definitely be sneaking on your page and snatching up the realest, craziest tweets we see. So join us as Black Ink takes it back to the tweets! rt #realtalk What was the real purpose of the Dook vs. Alabama game… rt
#realtalk There’s always a group of girls who came to the club for the sole purpose of being antisocial. They’re smack dab in the middle of the dance floor. But don’t ask them to dance, ‘cause they ain’t here for that. They’re apparently havin’ a book club meeting.
#realtalk To the kid in the pit riding a skateboard with a daishiki (sp?) on. Cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.
To the driver of the P2P who saw me do an aerial leap of a rock wall into the bus stop, as you were pulling up, and drove off anyway, I think I sprained my ankle and still had to walk to Franklin
#realtalk Welcome to Atlanta where the players play unless they getting investigated by the NCAA #UNCinATL
#realtalk To the ladies, do you finger-wave your mustache hairs?
#realtalk to the girl in my3:30 pm class not wearing shoes, you’re doing #the LEAST right now.
Obama is Muslim because…. Apparently, Obama became a Muslim this summer. According to a recent Pew Research Study, one in five Americans believes that President Obama is a Muslim and doing his best to turn our government into another Islamic dictatorship. The reasons that they cite for this assertion are flimsy at best and ignorant at worst. According to Islamic Law, Obama is a Muslim because his father was a Muslim. Religion does not follow the old American slave tradition where the race of each parent determines whether the child is really “Black” or “White.” (If that were the case, Obama would be considered White because his mother was White.) You are considered a member of a religion based on your spiritual beliefs, not because of your parentage. While this idea is in the Koran, what it really means is it’s the father’s duty to make sure his family practices Islam. And neither Obama’s father or stepfather were strong practitioners of Islam. But why are we even bringing up Islamic law in the first place, isn’t the whole point to make sure that America isn’t under Muslim Law? Obama is a Muslim because he’s in fa-
vor of the Ground Zero mosque and was openly opposed to Terry Jones’ plan to burn copies of the Koran. So, believing that a group of innocent people (who were not even of the denomination affiliated with the events of 9/11) have the Constitutional rights to free worship and assembly 557,568 feet away from Ground Zero makes you a Muslim? That’s like blaming Lutherans for the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition. And are Muslims the only ones who care enough about our troops to not want to provide fodder Al-Qaida’s jihadist recruitment campaign by burning the Islamic Holy Book? I sincerely hope not. He’s in favor of abortion and gay marriage. Suras (chapters) IV and VII of the Koran, strictly forbid any homosexual activity and Sura V considers abortion a sin akin to murder. Hmm… this is a bit unusual for a Muslim extremist. Vice President Joe Biden best sums up the White House’s strategy for combatting the ridiculous speculations in his Sept. 15 interview with journalist Rachel Maddow, “…This isn’t about the accusation they’re making, it’s about de-legitimization, to try to give an op-
portunity for their argument to win without having to make it.” Why should it matter in the “Land of the Free” if our president is a follower of Islam? Commander-in-Chief is Commander-in-Chief; his religion does not void the laws he’s signed or strip him of the powers delegated to him by the Constitution. The truly sad thing about this 21st century McCarthyism isn’t about what is does to President Obama, but to the community of American Muslims who are hit in the crossfire. They are having their identity used as an insult. Muslims are the new Communists as far as conservative extremists are concerned. Why? Because, they are the group with enough bad PR at the moment to be cast in the role of the “would-be saboteurs of America” who are all bent on undermining American values through liberal policies. It is one thing to openly dislike a politician’s agenda, it’s another to equate an entire religious group including those members who continue to serve our country in the armed forces, as well as, those who have lost loved ones in 9/11-with terrorists. --- Kerri Kearse
For the SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS
Fashionista When scanning the latest online couture newsletters, I cannot escape fashion marketing campaigns that have gone green. The recent effects of global warming have kept the government, businesses and the fashion world on their toes. In 2010, sustainable practices seem to be at the forefront of any organization’s goals. As a socially-conscious fashionista, I have watched these ecofriendly tactics grace the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and trickle down to grassroots T-shirt lines. But let’s be honest: every fashion label cannot be totally
--- Tia Davis
“green.” It’s simply not in America’s industrial makeup. As one of the most developed countries in the world, we have not done a good job in marrying eco-friendly materials with capitalism. We are too indebted to cost-effective blends that happen to make my skin itch. So how do we separate the authentic green brands from those who are have empty marketing campaigns? As consumers, we play a role as one of the most important stakeholder groups for a fashion brand. Not only do we provide the business with profit, but we are often sources of innova-
Please go to Page 16 for the rest of the column
Neo-Racism: Barack Obama and the Conservative Backlash The November 2008 election of Barack Obama as our nation’s first AfricanAmerican president was supposed to mark a big change in the lives of the American people as a whole. While it certainly accomplished that task, the change we got was not the change we— or anyone else in the world, for that matter—expected. It has been argued by several social commentators that the election of Obama by the American people ushered in a new “post-racial” society where race no longer mattered in economic status or social advancement. Instead, one would say that the election of our first black president has created a system of “neo-racism,” where many conservative white Anglo-American pundits and media personalities have begun to virulently attack President Obama’s character and continually challenge his authority at every opportunity. Cenk Uygur of TheYoungTurks.com— and CNBC news correspondent—commented on the video-clip of that infamous town hall meeting where a female protestor got into a shouting match with Republican congressman Mike Castle of Delaware and said she “wants her
country back.” Uygur interpreted her remarks about “her country” to mean “a predominantly white country” where white Americans were in charge of everything and before there was a black man in the White House. This would not be the last time Uygur noticed racial undertones in President Obama’s conservative critics as he commented on Sarah Palin’s PAC ad “Mama Grizzlies” and the “fundamental transformation” Palin and her “Mama Grizzlies” and “Pink Elephants” were rallying against— namely, our African-American president Barack Obama. After Glenn Beck organizes his infamous “MLK Rally” at Lincoln Memorial to “reclaim the Civil Rights Movement,” Uygur reiterates the ridiculousness of Beck’s ideology and the insanity of Sarah Palin’s defense of Dr. Laura’s infamous n-word rant. So with all this racially charged anti-Obama rancor flowing out of FOX News and conservative talk radio, you’d expect all African-Americans to be united behind our first black president right? Well, not exactly. There are also a few notable African-American conservatives who have aligned with FOX
News and the Republicans to oppose President Obama. For instance, Uygur mentions Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, an African-American pastor respected by FOX News pundit Sean Hannity, and Sarah Palin-sponsored Florida GOP congressional candidate Allen West, an ardent opponent of religious freedom for Muslims. In a truly bizarre example, Uygur shows a video-clip of virulently anti-Obama pastor Rev. James David Manning, who denounces the “illegal alien, homosexual-loving, half-breed, mack-daddy” Obama, saying that “white folks are gonna rise up after being pushed down” and that he “might join them” in their revolt. Examples of conservative pundits like Palin, Beck, and Manning further illustrate the need for all Americans—black or white, Asian or Hispanic—to join together and demonstrate to those radical conservatives and the rest of the world that our nation is united behind our president. Then, and only then, will our country become truly great again and be a force of good throughout the world. --- Matthew Eades
From Our TrailBlazers Fifty-five years ago three courageous gentlemen integrated the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. LeRoy Frasier, John Brandon, and Ralph Frasier were the first African Americans to be enrolled as students at Carolina. At Hillside High School in Durham, the three gentlemen were encouraged to attend UNC with the knowledge that other African American students would be there to welcome them; however, that was not the case. Out of the six thousand undergraduate students attending UNC at that time, they were only African Americans. On September 17, 2010 the three gentlemen were honored at the Stone Center where they discussed their Carolina experience. The event was titled The Desegregation of UNC- Chapel Hill: A Story of Race, Law, Education, Sacrifice
and Triumph. Although the topic of racism and desegregation is very serious, the three honorees took a light-hearted approach to sharing their stories, experiences, and advice. The advice that Mr. Brandon really wanted to embed in the minds of the audience was to “apply yourself at Carolina for the future.” He shared that he found himself playing more pinochle, a card game, then studying for tests. When asked if they would integrate Carolina again, they all answered yes. “The actions we took ended up opening doors,” stated Ralph Frasier The event allowed the community to show appreciation for the three honorees, celebrate the progress Carolina has
made and know that there are still ways to improve Carolina. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Winston Crisp, concluded the event by challenging the students in the audience to not let the door that the three honorees opened shut, “Do not take this opportunity for granted, we have much left to do.” Carolina must keep moving forward to become a university that is welcoming for all people. --- Ari Hines
Carolina’s Diversity Dilemma I would consider myself to be an exception on Carolina’s campus. I am not a “Tar Heel born, Tar Heel breed,” in fact, I did not officially accept Carolina as the university where I would be spending my college career until mere weeks before move-in. One of the few reasons Chapel Hill won in the face-off between my other college choices was because of its commitment to a diverse campus. One of the many ways UNC shows its obligation to diversity is by submitting annual reports put together by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. In the 2009-2010 report, The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs covers various topics from the distribution of undergraduate and graduate students and how programs like Project Uplift and special scholarships specific to minorities have increased the number of multicultural students interested in Carolina. But one problem the University is still facing is the amount of diversity within the faculty. The report shows that less than 20% of the current faculty iden-
tify themselves with a minority group. Chancellor Holden Thorpe in the opening “Message from the Chancellor” said in the report, “a diverse student body demands a diverse faculty.” First year undergraduate student, Kori White, agrees with Thorpe, “I just think that there isn’t much diversity at all within the faculty at Carolina I have yet to see any. They are diverse in their personalities but not in cultures.” However, some students are mixed in their feelings about the diversity of Carolina’s faculty. Sophomore Jenny Ibarra says, “the faculty is diverse to the extent that it could be more diverse but it is definitely more diverse than other universities.” Other students like Chase Weddington say that his professors “are diverse and I do appreciate that because it shows and it reflects the University its student body and its faculty as being diverse.” Although there are mixed opinions about the extent of diversity here on campus, it is really refreshing to see stu-
dents, faculty and staff engaged enough in their university to note a problem and strive to fix it. Now as a first year student, I see Carolina was truly the best college choice not just because of its diversity, but its constant endeavor to make Carolina the best college, in all aspects of the university. --- Kourtney Bradshaw
The 43rd Annual Coronation Ball of the Black Student Movement Presents:
AN OPPULENT OCCAISION
Come experience an elegant, classy affair with your peers, staff and alumni
More information coming soon!
Look up the word n**ger in the dictionary. It simply says “a black person or member of a dark-skinned people.” It is not in bold, there are no italics, and it is not underlined. It is written the same as every other word in the book. Therefore, what’s wrong with using it?
The media and entertainment world have every right to use the word, just as some of us use it in everyday language. It is up to us, who feel a certain connection to that word, to move on and not let the word n**ger anchor us down. (We will never get past racism in our world.) It is a bad word with a terrible history. Instead of airing the room out, some of us want to keep the windows closed and suffer in the heat. Now consider an argument about why rappers use the word and how it creates more of a negative connotation than positive. Take Nas’ controversial album title, “N**ger”. He explained in an interview with MTV that he wanted to make the word “easy on mutha----as’ ears.” He wants to take power away from the word in his own way by using music as a medium. Many people on the street didn’t know who Medgar Evers was, but they know Nas. Nas is drawing a connection between civil rights activism and today’s society. His music is trying to give a positive outlook to overcome bad connotations of the word n**ger. Most of the people who say we shouldn’t use the word are only saying that because they were “told” by their parents or respected persons that it was derogatory and a curse word. The connotation of the word was different back then than it is today. As blacks keep progressing in society and those ignorant of the word learn more about it we will be able to move on and not let the word n**ger hold us back.
As blacks keep progressing in society and those ignorant of the word learn more about it we will be able to move on and not let the word n**ger hold us back.
The word n**ger is, by far, one of the most controversial words out there today. Arguments surrounding the usage of the word and who should or should not be granted its usage have gone on for decades. Everyone knows the origin of this word. However, I want to bring it up because of its usage in rap, hip-hop and recent media events. I admit that I listen to hip-hop music on a daily basis. Common, Lil’ Wayne, Drake, etc., are all on my iPod playlist. Sometimes I may subconsciously use the word in conversation. I want to go on the record saying that I do not oppose black artists using this word in lyrics; however, I do oppose artists who use it through simple ignorance. Many African Americans will argue that it is a right to be able to use the word whenever. Blacks believe that we have this right, since us as a people have suffered hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, discrimination, and segregation. It is often seen as a modern day way of turning something that once was negative into something racially positive or enlightening.
I want to go on the record saying that I do not oppose black artists using this word in lyrics; however, I do oppose artists who use it through simple ignorance.
Yet, if we look back to hip-hop’s origins during the 70’s, artists and poets wrote and recited pieces that generally talked about the oppression of black people in America and the economic, political, and social issues of our nation. During these times the use of this word was a part of everyday language and a huge part of music and films. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s hip-hop also carried the n-word as an art form. Fast forwarding to the 21st century, I rarely consider the use of the nword as an art form. All we hear is n**ga this and n**ga that with no valid message or purpose surrounding it. My question is: does the overuse of the n-word in today’s rap lyrics or television give leeway to whites or other non-minorities to use it? Many of us know the incident with Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a Caucasian radio talk-show host, who repeated the n-word several times while debating over the proper usage of the word with a black woman. Dr. Laura repeated, “Yes they did [hear me say it], and I’ll say it again: n**ger, n**ger, n**ger….” After some arguing, she then went on to say to the caller, “Don’t take things out of context. Don’t NAACP me, leave them in context.” Many whites would defend Dr. Laura’s antics. But she clearly was using the word inappropriately and defending it on the basis that our people, blacks, are using it sparingly in media. Is that fair? I think not. To stop whites from using this word inappropriately, today’s artists need to look back at hip-hop’s roots. If more and more people see blacks’ media usage of the n-word in a better light, instead of as a synonym for black person, many incidents, like that by Dr. Laura, would not occur. Just keeping it real these days is always better.
Music and Society
CRANK DAT REAL HIP-HOP Picture this. It is a summer night and you and your People like Roscoe Dash, Waka Flocka Flame, OJ da friends are standing in line waiting to get into the club. Juiceman and Soulja Boy are just men with access to a The ladies are in their heels while the gents are dressed microphone and tape.
in their polos, and then you hear the slurred and shouted Don’t believe our music is getting ridiculous? Search words, “Short Bus Shawty” on YouTube and all of your questions I f*** my money up, damn. Now I can’t re-up. Ran off in will be answered. his spot just to get my stacks up.”
Now, let’s be real, you might find me getting hype at times These are the lyrics to the hot summer song, “O Let’s Do off of some hit song by Flocka, but I beg you, please don’t it”. The title maybe more recognizable if you pronounce consider his work hip-hop. it like “O Ledooi” while yelling and/or being a little, just Hip-hop was started by the greats such as Slick Rick, The a little, drunk. Furious Five, Eric B and Rakim. The launch of such artists, if they can even be classified as such, like Waka Flocka Flame, OJ da Juiceman, and Soulja Boy have gotten me worried about all people that are in earshot of a radio.
In addition, lyricists like NaS, Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest and Blackstar are all trying desperately to be revived by lyrical geniuses like, Lupe Fiasco, Jay Electronica, Wale, Talib Kweli and the list goes on!
Is this what our music categorized as ‘hip-hop’ has come to?
All I’m saying is there is nothing wrong with your successful mainstream artists such as Kanye West, T.I., Rick I remember when hip-hop was good for more than shak- Ross and Drake, but take on a challenge and delve deeper. ing your ass in the club. Fortunately, there is still hope left Lend your ears to Wale’s mixtape, “Back to The Feature” for true hip-hop connoisseurs. or in my opinion the best hip-hop album of 2007, “The I’m writing disappointed and frustrated with radio play Cool” by Lupe Fiasco. Hip-Hop artists like these give you of some artists over others, while stations are still claim- the best of both worlds: it makes your head nod and it has substance. ing they play the “best of hip-hop”. Newsflash: the majority of the best hip-hop artists don’t get enough radio play, if any at all.
The basis of hip-hop shouldn’t be songs such as Waka Flocka’s “Gun Sounds”.
Example, how many of the following artists have you It’s about something more than getting drunk (Thanks, heard more than two songs by in the past week/month/ Gucci Mane) or learning another dance move. Last summer, our music went through a “Crank Dat” phase. year? Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, The Cool Kids, J. Cole This past summer it has become the norm to hear gunshots and onomatopoeias shouted in the background and Consequence. (Thanks again, Gucci and OJ). For one, if you haven’t heard of all of these artists, the I urge you, no, I challenge you to expand your horizons problem is worse than originally thought. and listen to what little real hip-hop we have left and supHip-Hop is supposed to make you do more than dance. port the artists producing the sustenance with substance It’s supposed to make you think. in the midst of all this junk food. The ability to make you dance is just a bonus to be expected. I won’t even go as far to call most people on the --- Mariah Monsanto radio artists.
Social Media and Society
TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET Welcome to the world of Twitter, where there are no longer leaders, Amber Clifford of the 2011 Senior but followers. Class “previously used Twitter for On the newest social networking ser- leisure, but now mainly uses it to get vice, celebrities, professional athletes, the ‘word out’ for her organizations.” companies and even ‘regular’ people fight for followers. But is tweeting re- Truthfully, you can keep track of your followers and get access to ally as “chirpy” as we think? much of their personal lives, whethSome people believe that Twitter is er by stalking the Tweetpics of Kim an avenue by which connections can Kardarshian or catching up on the be created and maintained. latest Trending Topics of the world. London Williams, a First Year Biol- #justsoyouknow ogy major stated, Still, many others argue that Twitter
tion, especially if you are in the job market or even a student-athlete, you must be careful with what you post on Twitter and Facebook. Tweets that may seem harmless may be the deal breaker for whether or not you start the next game. As students, we must always keep our head in the game and be careful, for posts can easily be misinterpreted and cause unnecessary drama.
Sophomore Chinese and Chinese Business Double Major, Joshua Rowsey, reminds us that “anything in life “[M]any of my friends don’t use has a dark side that can really mess that is notable, will be noted on TwitFacebook anymore. Twitter is a great things up. Reggie Bullock, a Firstter within seconds of its occurrence.” Year and UNC Basketball Player way to stay in touch with them.” points out that, “[A]nyone can read Now, note this: Tweet responsibly. This network allows people to interwhat you’re saying … you can even #please act, express their thoughts, and pubgo to Google to see what’s written.” --- Toyosi Oyelowo licize events using text-based tweets (@theTOYstory) Nowadays, to secure your reputaof 140 characters or less.
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Not Quite a Ralph - Charnelle Wilson
Not Quite a R A L P H Today my best friend, Kelly, and I went to the park. After walking two and a half trails we found ourselves sitting on a bench chatting about our freshman year in college: Spring Fling weekend at UPenn, LDOC at UNC, the lack of beer pong and flip cup at black parties, and the men the boys at our respective schools. Although Kelly and I have different friends with different personalities, all of the “boy drama” presented had the same theme: “N**gaz Ain’t S**t” (yes, ‘n**gaz’ with a Z). The problem doesn’t seem local now; it is actually a sign of the times. Like Kelly said, “We all are in search of a R.A.L.P.H. - Real Ass Loving Passionate Husband” (coincidence that my dad’s name is Ralph). I wouldn’t necessarily say we all are looking for husband material, especially at the age of 18, but is the occasional committed relationship too much to ask for? In a little under an hour, we discussed three different types of boys we have come across in college, thus far. All of the scenarios presented are 100% real but the names of the people have been changed to protect their identity.
Boy with a girlfriend
Will deserves an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Feature Film. For a stent of four months Will talked to Tiffany with her having no idea he had a girlfriend of two years. Will was a sweet guy. He would pick Tiffany up after a long day of classes, take her back to his apartment and cook dinner, “watch” a movie, sleep, and in the morning he would drop her off back at her place in just enough time to get ready before her next class. Will even had the audacity to buy Tiffany a Christmas present. “Guess what,” Will once said to Tiffany. “I had a dream that you and I got married.” Will never told Tiffany he had a girlfriend. She found out from a friend and confronted Will about the possible rumor. After that conversation Will never contacted Tiffany again.
Not Quite a Ralph - Charnelle Wilson
Boy on a “break” Kim came into college not wanting anything to come between her and her studies. So when Kim met Chris she just marked him off as just another boy. However, Chris wasn’t ok with just being Kim’s “friend.” Chris slowly worked his way into Kim’s life: “bumping” into her in the library, walking her to class, buying her lunch, and then coming over to chill on those boring Friday nights. At first, Kim wasn’t interested. Chris was known to be the “ladies man” and to be cocky— not Kim’s type at all. But Chris had something in mind… Chris shared his skeletons with Kim. His fears, his troubled past, and his ambitions all made Chris appear more vulnerable, more human to Kim. Kim finally let her guard down and let her heart control her mind. Kim and Chris texted all day, every day. They were together every weekend. They talked about any and everything together. And then one day Kim asked…. “What are we doing?” Turns out, from the beginning of their relationship, Chris was “taking a break” from his ex-girlfriend. Chris never mentioned her to Kim. Months later Chris told her, “I am still in love with my ex.”
Boy with the motto “It’s College” Shayne was feelin’ Ashton. He was smart, funny, and down to earth. They spent weeknights doing home- work together and weekends watching movies and talking until the sun came up. He whispered sweet nothings like, “This could go somewhere,” and “You know… I really like you Shayne. You’re not like the other girls out here.” All of Shayne’s friends warned her about Ashton. He had a reputation of hopping from heart to heart, from bed to bed, and was ruthless about it all. But that didn’t matter, the only thing that rang in Shayne’s head was, “You know… I really like you Shayne. You’re not like the other girls out here.” Shayne will- ingly let her guard down along with her panties. Everything was perfect. One day Shayne went to a cookout with her friends and she knew Ashton would be there. Ashton greeted her with just a hug and a quick hello. Moments later Shayne spotted Ashton through the crowd kissing another girl;; passionately kissing another girl.
All three of these scenarios have one thing in common: the boy never was honest with the girl. Why hide the fact that you have a girlfriend? Why deny that you are talking to four other girls? Why invest time and emotions on a girl you have no intentions being serious with? What hurts even more than being played is knowing that I wasn’t worth the truth.
Sex and Fame: One in the Same? During the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Kim Kardashian was introduced as a fashion icon. Yes, her stylist dresses her well, but has everyone forgotten exactly how she attained her fame? It’s almost as if the boudoir recording of her romp with R&B singer Ray J was never released.
Best Sellers**. Kim Kardashian’s reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians broke the record for the most viewed show on the E! Network***. Kat Stacks has a significant following of more than 140,000 on Twitter because of her outrageous online videos outing celebrities she has slept with.
Kim K. isn’t the only one capitalizing on sex.
Those women have led to recent cases like that of Montana Fishburne. The daughter of Oscar-nominated actor, Laurence Fishburne, debuted in a porn video with hopes to launch her acting career. In a recent interview with E! Montana stated, “Kim Kardashian’s sex tape was released, but she still got past that. Even though she got all that negative attention for it, she still has all these other ventures going on now. That is what I want to emulate: having a tape come out and still being seen as a positive person.” It’s obvious to many that Montana’s view of things is severely skewed and wrong, but is she really to blame? She is a product of her environment. She’s grown up watching celebrities’ sex tapes and seeing nude photos that have been released on the regular. To her, it’s the norm.
Unfortunately, there is a whole group of stars that have gained notoriety through their sex game. Karrine Steffans, Kat Stacks, and saddest of all, Montana Fishburne are among the many women seeking stardom through sex. Some call them whores, hoes and sluts; others believe they’re geniuses.
It is almost as if fame is a “sex tape” away for any young woman. This is a running theme in today’s society. Why? Many young women are fascinated by the lifestyles afforded to these women post-scandal. Thembisa S. Mshaka, author of the book, Put Your Dreams First warns, “The ones you might look up to whoring their way to fame are the exception, not the rule. The so-called ben- The pursuit of fame through sex is totally outrageous for efits run out.”* some and not so far-fetched for others. Even on a smaller The warnings are numerous and many sets of morals and scale, like on campus. College women often feel presvalues tell us that there is something wrong with becom- sured do things physically that they don’t want to do or ing famous this way, yet consumers can’t seem to look are not comfortable with in order to become more popuaway. Everyone looked upon Karrine Steffans with dis- lar. Ladies take heed; a bad reputation at the University gust but her books Confessions of a Video Vixen, The can lead to nothing positive. Vixen Diaries and The Vixen Manual: How to Find, Se--- Averi Harper duce & Keep the Man You Want are all New York Times
For the Socially Concious Fashionista Continued tion and investment. With this, I challenge you to do your homework on a fashion label’s claims to green practices. Educate yourself on a brand’s integrity and mission statement. A fashion label’s written commitment to a social venture speaks volumes. If eco-friendly practices are highlighted in a clothing line’s mission statement, they are probably committed to saving the environment rather than attempting to profit off of the green movement. Look out for tags and labels titled “100% Organic” as well as details about eco-friendly manufacturing processes. This type of transparency is emphasized and often exaggerated by clothing lines that are truly green.
Most of all, beware of newcomers jumping on the green bandwagon. Take note to when a label was introduced to the industry, specifically with green trends. If you’re going to invest your money in a green brand, do our best to catch up on their history. Don’t pay green prices for clothing lines that are not authentically eco-friendly. This is not to say that non-green fashion is not to be trusted. As consumers, we must empower ourselves to decipher between what is real and what is not. Falling for the hype is just as unethical as the company that perpetrates eco-friendly practices for a mere profit. Keep this in mind when skimming through your fashion editorials. Educate yourself on the marketing savvy some brands don’t want you to be aware of. Keep it real and happy shopping, fashionistas! --- Tia Davis
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