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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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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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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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?

Catcalling: Two Sides to the Story?

In my previous article “Compliment or Catcall”, I addressed the issues of catcalling, why it is done, why it shouldn’t happen, and its effects on women. Which made me wonder-what happens when the roles are reversed and women are catcalling men?

Do men like the attention and respond positively to it, or do they feel objectified and uncomfortable like many women do?

Earlier this year, a shopping mall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, reported 16 cases of sexual harassment of men by women, prompting outrage in the conservative kingdom. Men were followed around the mall and catcalled in a growing trend that is challenging gender roles in the Middle Eastern kingdom. Many said the women should be punished severely, to ensure that this kind of behaviour doesn’t happen again. According to one male shopper, “Women harass men verbally for emotional enticement, especially if the man is handsome.” This issue was unexpected. However, the amount of sexual harassment of women and girls still vastly overshadows the limited harassment of men, and we don’t see that being brought to light every time it happens.

Malaika Norman, a high school student from Nairobi has an opinion on this issue. She brings up an interesting idea about where this double-standard might stem from: “Some men are hypocritical in the way they do things. The same men that you will find catcalling women are the same men that if you ask ‘What if someone did this to your mother, sister, etc?’, they will be against it, as they see clearly it is disrespectful and that a woman is not to be objectified. Yet they are the same people who still do it. Does it start from the way boys are raised? And how does that play into their actions now? Shouldn’t boys [and girls] be taught to be respectful and understanding human beings in general? As the one time a woman stands up for the disrespect that men of this class dish out, we are rude, bossy, crazy feminists.”

Many social experiments have been performed in order to uncover what men think and feel about catcalling. In videos titled “Sons React to Their Moms Getting Catcalled”, “Dads React to Their Daughters Getting Catcalled” and “Men React to Their Girlfriends Getting Catcalled,” we see that the issue can hit close to home, and that most males did not like it when those close to them were victims of this disrespect. However, catcalling shouldn’t only become disturbing when it happens to someone’s mother, daughter, sister or girlfriend. Shining a light on the commonness of street harassment women experience on a daily basis (often when a male friend or loved one isn’t around) can have a powerful impact.

In other social experiments, such as “The Shame Game”, we see that flipping round catcalling doesn’t quite work in the same way. The reactions that the women conducting the experiment get ranged from confused to amused, and – unfortunately – the men seemed to like it.

So, women are in a conundrum; it is hard to explain the combination of shame and being “creeped out” that comes with frequent objectification, especially when you are trying to explain the experience to the opposite sex, and if most people of the opposite sex (i.e. men) seem to like it.

Ivan Coyote, a transgender activist, has a message for men who don’t understand that a woman’s existence in public is not an invitation for male attention. “Just leave her alone,” Coyote wrote in a status on Facebook. “She is wearing her headphones AND reading her book at the bus stop. What part of that says ‘I want to talk to you?’ She’s not dressed up for you…She doesn’t want to smile. She knows she looks good.”

So when in doubt, people of public spaces, just follow Coyote’s advice: “Just leave her alone.” We need more people to spread the word and understand this simple message. You might like catcalling and being catcalled, but that doesn’t mean others feel the same way.

Respect.

Game of Thrones: Why Watch?

April 24, 2016 marked an important day for millions of people around the world. After Jon Snow’s death, the anticipated Season 6 of Game of Thrones was on everyone’s mind. On the 24th of April, Episode 1 aired, and it did not disappoint. Meera Shah, having watched up to Episode 3 of the current season, said, “Season 6 of [GOT] is like going to an expensive restaurant without money and freaking out the whole time you are there, but when the bill comes, you find out someone else paid it for you. I don’t think I have ever felt these many emotions at one moment.” With people constantly being captured, tortured, and killed, many Game of Thrones fans would agree with Shah’s statement. The audience can try to guess what will happen next, but will ultimately fail to guess right.

Watching an episode per week doesn’t seem like much when it comes to Game of Thrones. The intensity of the show might give my stomach ulcers to last for the next few years. It always leaves me guessing and sitting at the edge of my seat, ready to throw my phone at any given moment. So far, having watched four episodes of Season 6, I can say that it is proving to be an intense season. Maybe this is because I have to get used to waiting a week for the next episode, but nonetheless it is intense. I deliberately left out any details concerning the 6th Season for those of you who are not caught up as of yet, but look out -all the other seasons are fair game for the blogging world.

Season 6 is finally at the point when the show has caught up with the books, and therefore people cannot make speculations. The audience is completely relying on the producers to continue making excellent television. Fortunately, George R.R. Martin is involved in the production of this series, meaning that his view is still being fulfilled. Many books that are made into TV shows and movies do not manage to maintain a great reputation. Often people say that the book is better than the movie or TV series, but in this case I think that the show is carrying its own weight. With an estimated amount of six million dollars going into each episode, HBO, the crew, directors and producers are putting in an incredible amount of time and money into the making of a fantastical show, episode by episode. With the help of George R.R. Martin, chances are good that the show will remain a success until the end.

If you do not watch GOT and are looking for a new show to get into, there is no better choice. You will be entranced by the medieval fantasy life that you have always wanted; granted, your entrails might end up tied in knots, but this is a small price to pay to witness this piece of entertainment history. 

Freshman Fifteen

High school graduation is approaching for many people around the world. Students are ecstatic about their soon to arrive “freedom”. Thoughts of relief, joy, and sadness reside inside of them, and they cannot wait for the next thing life will throw at them. Summer break quickly comes to an end as they settle into their new lives as university students. Some of them are away from home, and all on their own. The semester begins and as the year progresses, and so do their stress levels. Suddenly, the famous “freshman fifteen” – gaining 15 or more pounds in the first year of college – is no longer a myth, but instead an unwanted reality. It is obvious that university is taking a toll on you and all you want to do is eat your stress away. You look around and realize that there are many people like you, as well as people who manage to deal with the effects of stress in an entirely different way.

When asked about why he got into bodybuilding, Michael Mukolwe said that, “There are many ways to stay fit; running, yoga, Pilates, lifting weights, CrossFit, etc. I chose lifting weights. The act of lifting weights is rather simple; pick it up and put it down. The difficult part is the consistency. It’s not just mindlessly going into the gym and doing the same thing at the same weight. That’s stagnating. The constant challenge to lift heavier and to get stronger and inevitably get bigger is thrilling”. This is what Mukolwe used to deal with the stress of the changes and challenges of college.

Relating his choice to the dreaded Freshman 15, he said that “Balancing that with proper nutrition is the catch. One can lift heavy weights as much as possible and stay the same weight because of the lack of proper nutrition. One can work out their core hard and hope for the abs of their dreams, but not eat properly to carve them out. Abs are made in the kitchen.  Many people understand the concept; it’s the execution that evades them. Although cliché, Rome truly was not built in a day.”

However, weights are not for everybody. As Mukolwe mentions, staying fit can be accomplished in many ways. Therefore, there should not be excuses when it comes to fitness. If going to the gym is daunting, then sign up for a yoga class instead. In university, you cannot afford to eat your stress away, because that’s an unhealthy habit to develop. Overeating can increase one’s chances of getting high blood pressure and a cholesterol imbalance. Exercise is always a good idea to handle stress, but without eating healthy meals one will find themselves trying to form good exercising habits while getting accustomed to bad eating ones.

As a senior about to graduate, I am interested to see if my classmates will continue to take care of their health when their parents are no longer making them eat a balanced diet. The university cafeteria is a student’s sweetest dream and worst nightmare. With proper self-control, you can reap the benefits of a range of food types and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Right now, your main concern is finishing off the year and moving away from your parents, but perhaps you should also focus your energy on how you are going to stay healthy throughout university.

Will you say, YOLO and eat without a care? Or will you make deliberate choices that will benefit you in the future? Everything in moderation – keep that in mind as you get into the next part of your life.