Is Black Beautiful in Africa ? (by David R.)

| New Internationalist | by David Rausch |

While studies are showing a growing trend in African American women “going natural” it seems that the same is not true for the African continent.

In  2014, the World Health Organization released findings showing that 77% of Nigerian women used skin bleaching products on a regular basis, while a recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that  a third of  black South African women bleach their skin frequently. This trend is one that local doctors are calling an “epidemic” as the creams that African women use to lighten their skin often contain dangerous chemicals such as mercury that can lead to cancer, liver failure as well as skin pigmentation and diseases such as eczema.

Mounting evidence in the form of confessions by skin bleaching cream users suggest that the practice is fundamentally linked to an individual’s lack of self confidence, as women with lighter skin tones are…

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Rosslyn Academy’s Spiritual Emphasis Week (by David R.)

| New Internationalist | by David Rausch |

Every year, Rosslyn Academy dedicates a week to furthering its students spiritual lives, and while the majority of the student body have cited Spiritual Emphasis Week to be a positive force, there are some who believe that changes are in order.

A typical day in Spiritual Emphasis week entails four classes in the morning, followed by activities, a chapel service and a small group discussion between members of the same grade. The speaker in charge of the week-long daily chapel services this year was Jacob Jester, with whom I sat down with to understand the purpose of Spiritual Emphasis week.

What he told me was simple; Spiritual Emphasis Week existed to foster students’ spiritual lives from the perspective of Christianity (as Rosslyn Academy is a Christian school) and aimed to encourage pupils to have intensely spiritual experiences even after Spiritual Emphasis Week had ended. However, when I asked Jacob about…

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Racial Integration and Marriage: A Personal Matter (by David R.)

| New Internationalist | by David Rausch |

Its funny how quickly the world changes,, and how  those resisting the time often get lost in the rising tides. For example, 50 years ago, my existence as a mixed race child would have been seen as a taboo, and my parents’ marriage would have been illegal in most of the 50 states.

Both my mother and father were raised in societies where people of other races were not common; in my mother’s village in rural Kenya, the only whites for miles were the Catholic priests who ran a school and orphanage near the village , while my German father’s first memory of a black person relates to an African-American soldier in a tank distributing chocolate to bombed-out children in 1945. When asked about the specifics of the event, my father could only recall one other famous person of color; Jesse Owens, an athlete of my father’s time. So, how…

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Four Finger Rule (by Lule K.)

noirpanther

There are noticeable asymmetries when it comes to dress code implemented among males and females. To many of the male students attending Rosslyn Academy, dress code isn’t even something that crosses their mind. As for the girls that do get called out, are there certain aspects to personality, relationships, or even appearance that may determine whether or not they were forced to cover their clothing with Kangas?

“I started noticing that my white friends weren’t complaining about dress code as much as my black friends were. I’m not sure if the two are related, but I did notice it,” said Angel Thairo, a 16 year old girl that attends Rosslyn Academy. For many women, dress code is, and will continue to be a factor of everyday life. Especially if you spend the majority of your time in a professional setting. The dress code at Rosslyn is seemingly simple. Most of the…

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A Weed In a Field Full of Daisies (by Lule K.)

noirpanther

“They didn’t care that I was African. To them, I was just black. And black was always less,” explained Eunice Kariuki, a Kenyan woman who lived in the United States of America. When you are residingin the West, sometimes the only thing that differentiates you from an African American is your accent. So what if you don’t have an accent? Then you are simply identified as a black American.

Kariuki experienced a considerable amount of culture shock when she first moved to the United States. “I remember the day that I arrived. I had never seen so many white faces in one place. I felt like a weed in a field full of daisies.”

Of course, America is not all white. However, according to Black Demographics, African Americans are the largest racial minority, equaling a measly 13.3%. The probability of racial profiling soars when a black person is clearly…

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A Trip of Expectations (by Angel T.)

A Culture of Us

Every year at Rosslyn Academy, the senior class goes on a trip to the beach for a week in March. The trip is meant to be a time of relaxation and debriefing from a busy year. However, it is often the case that feelings of excitement for the trip are overshadowed by great anxiety in having to meet social expectations and pressures that are present throughout the trip.

“I hear students talk about getting ready for senior trip all the time, saying things like, “I’m going on a diet because I want to look good for Senior Trip”and other comments like that,” remarks English teacher John Leonard, who has accompanied students on previous trips.

In talking with students, it is obvious that the expectations are clear to many. “There’s definitely expectations of how your body should look and what you’re going to wear,” says Njeri Thuo, a current senior. Junior students Jackie Lee and Kafura Thairo state that they are aware of…

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Still Inside the Gates (by Angel T.)

A Culture of Us

As the clock strikes 3:30 p.m., the final bell sounds. A throng of students flood the hallways, eager to escape from the authority that school has over them. Excitedly, they discuss where to meet up over the weekend, all the while unaware that they haven’t fully escaped the grasp of school.

“Wait, what? The school can really do that?” asks senior Gabby Opagi in surprise after being informed of Rosslyn Academy’s  policy on student life outside of school. The policy states that the school can intervene in students’ out-of-school activities if they pose a threat to an individual’s learning process. When students join Rosslyn, their parents sign a basic tenant form declaring that while attending the school, students must uphold Rosslyn’s values and abide by certain standards both in and out of school. If this is not followed, the school can address the situation.

The most common cases in which…

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Why the Gender Wage Gap is Even Worse for African American Women (by Lule K.)

noirpanther

The debate on the wage gap is not a secret. Everyone’s heard the whole “a woman makes 77 cents to every dollar the man makes” issue.  However, when the pay system is further analysed and dissected, one will find that this isn’t true for every woman, or every man. It is no surprise that white women have significantly more privilege than black woman, and black men less than white. For both men and women of color, the “77 cents” deal is unfortunately not the case. According to AAUW, for every dollar a man makes, the black woman makes 63 cents. That’s 37 percent less than a non-hispanic white man. Think about it this way: a black woman has to work for an extra eight months to be paid what said white man was paid at the end of December. So what exactly is the cause of this?

Well, statistically…

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Fixing Crazy

I recently saw a crazy woman. She was standing beside the road in a shanty town called Banana Hill, jerking sporadically while frantically arguing with the frigid morning air. At least, I assume that she was arguing. From behind windows of a passing car, I could barely hear the cold, damp world outside.

Mental health is a serious issue in Kenya. When humans don’t show extreme signs of starvation, it is easier to believe that poverty or lifestyle hasn’t impacted them in a major, life-threatening way. Depending on one’s personal opinions, he or she credits Kenyans who live in destitute conditions with either intense tolerance or ingrained ignorance. However, every human has a breaking point, especially a mental one. In Kenya, no one wants to validate that mental breaking point.

According to Basic Needs, Basic Rights, a global NGO that supports those with mental health problems, “only a third of the 75 psychiatrists in the country for a population of 38 million work in the public sector.” The average Kenyan with mental health problems, like the woman I saw on the side of the street, cannot afford to pay the almost one-hundred-dollar fee for a session with a private psychiatrist.  Within Kenya, there are only fourteen mental health hospitals with a fifteen to twenty-five bed capacity for each hospital. Kenya only has thirty-three psychiatrists and four hundred twenty-seven nurses that are qualified to take care of the mentally impaired. This shows the lack of specialty in the mental health area.

Kenya is in the top global percentile for suicide rates, a fact which is little known in comparison to the country’s other problems. Kenya has a higher suicide rate than the USA, which often garners attention for suicide due to the highly publicized nature of mental illness on sites such as Tumblr. Growing up in a Western community, mental illness, while a sensitive topic, is definitely validated.

Kenyan men that have taken to living on the streets are often suffering from substance abuse disorder especially in the form of alcohol. Drinking is a major form of “entertainment” for many Kenyans. Women in this country, if they are on the edge of mental instability, usually suffer from depression due to poverty and stress placed on them by responsibilities and family.

As Kenya develops, the crisis of mental health slowly emerges from the water. On 17 May 2016, Kenya launched its first mental health policy, which its dedicated toward developing more specialists and hospitals in treating mental illnesses. Mr. Cleopa Mailu, the Health Cabinet’s Secretary of Kenya said, “We have not been in a vacuum, but the policy was necessary to guide how laws are enacted as well identifying gaps in the sector.” With this policy enacted, the mental health care of the average Kenyan will definitely improve.

The policy is definitely a good start in the metal health care ministry. Now – maybe –  the woman beside the street will no longer be arguing with the air, but talking to a person trained to help her. Maybe she won’t be wandering beside the road, but laying on a bed in a hospital, safe in the care of nurses and doctors.

Internet and Twitter: The Death of Print Journalism?

Twitter is not a new topic. People all around the global use twitter as a way to communicate. Twitter had an estimated 72 million active accounts in the year of 2013. Today it has 310 million monthly active users and 1 billion who use it to have “unique visits monthly to sites with embedded Tweets”, and a mindblowing 79% of the accounts are used outside the U.S; so you can see how big this franchise is today. Twitter supports 40+ languages on its site, so you can probably tell why this site is so popular – it’s accessible to most of the world in their most comfortable tongues such as English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, German and many more.

Should all journalists be on Twitter? Please do keep in mind that this question is not prompting anyone to stop using their own platforms in which they show the world their writing. This question could be taken into a larger perspective and could be asked this way: Should journalists move their work to the internet? I personally do not think it is good to abandon the idea of writing on paper, but the internet is becoming the source of news from most people. Internet usage has reached 3.3 billion users; around 40% of the world population has internet connection, as of today. This number is steadily rising. According to interentlivestats.com, “the first billion was reached in 2005, the second billion in 2010, the third billion in 2014.”

Somebody could say that Twitter could be the ruin of journalism. But, is this based in reality? There are newspapers like the Economist that post links to their articles and one could easily click a link and be transported to their website with a full length article to read the whole thing if one is interested. There are also other profiles on twitter that are Breaking News profiles and are used to tell news quick and short, which are great if you like straight forward, to-the-point reads. What I normally find myself doing is reading the breaking news articles and if I’m interested in the topic addressed, I go on Google and look at multiple articles that address that issue.

I took a survey and asked 6 millennials where they prefer to get their news from: the internet or the old fashioned papers? The results were surprising to me since both sides got 3 votes.  Maybe newspapers still have hope in the internet generation. I personally do think that the offline newspaper is, as sad as it may be, slowly dying, in the age of the internet which is growing at a surprisingly fast pace.

But what about those who live in countries or districts that don’t have reliable internet access, and rely solely on news delivered by paper? There are still the 4 billion apart from the 3 billion who still don’t have the internet at their disposal. What will become of them if news goes paperless?