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While talking to a New Brunswick resident, I learned that there are people at the University who actively told students that the neighborhood is unsafe and to not to trust those who occupy the city. By resident, I don’t mean your local college student who takes up off-campus space for a few years and moves on, but an actual local who lives with all the benefits and consequences that come with residing within Hub City.
As an institution, America is prone to national forgetting. As an act of radicalism, this society purposefully puts the horrendous acts of the past, in the past, without blinking an eye. The Japanese internment camps of the 1940s are purposefully forgotten. Dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 is purposefully forgotten. More than 200 years of slavery are purposefully forgotten — because hour-long lessons during the month of February cannot accurately portray the amount of exploitation and suffering that black people endured during those centuries.
I used to be in the habit of checking 10 different news websites as soon as I woke up — a method of staying updated with the world as I would argue to myself. The Internet, newspapers and television were happy to oblige and continue their supply of rage-inducing headlines. The more I read, the more I was complicit in watering the seed of bitterness they had initially planted inside of me. Feeling an urge to “do something,” I attended rallies, participated in protests, attempted to articulate my thoughts on matters whenever possible and took whatever steps I thought were necessary in fighting back against the cruelties of the world. Rampant Islamophobia, the lack of value our judicial system places on black lives, mass incarceration, the prevalent discrimination of various minorities, the oppressing force of governments — a list of issues with no approaching end that requires attention and action.
Free speech, an actual right recognized by the United States Constitution, seems to be the one thing liberals don’t want the government to give them for free. By the way, the title of this column serves as the official trigger warning for the overly sensitive.
Everyone thinks studying abroad is just a bunch of fun and games — you go abroad where you’re the legal drinking age and you can prance around cobblestone streets with no worries and travel Europe or Asia or South America, wherever you decide to go. But the truth is that studying abroad can be really scary, and a lot of people don't realize that. Going through the application process, getting your classes approved and then finally being accepted is one of the best feelings ever, but hitting that “commit” button is just as scary as committing to a college. Do I really want to do this? Am I sure this is where I want to go? And then it starts hitting you — you’re leaving your friends, your family, significant other, your pets, your home and you’re going to a strange place where you might not know the language or mannerisms, and you stick out like a sore thumb. But let me tell you — it’s worth it.
Unintended consequences are almost a trademark of government activity, and the criminal justice system is no exception. Mandatory minimums, intended as a potent weapon in the War on Drugs, have unnecessarily destroyed lives and crowded prisons. Court proceedings, designed to give everyone their say, have become rote and turn defendants and victims alike into mere blurs and docket numbers. And clearly guilty criminals can walk away with no punishment through an arcane rule or the maddening vagaries of a jury.
In my last column, I discussed the why we should care about the recent dietary guidelines. I’m not sure how many of you actually ate the recommended amount of vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains and protein today, but I’m sure many of you did not. So the question is: Why do so few Americans actually follow these guidelines and eat a healthy, balanced diet?
In times of struggle to increase media representation of different backgrounds, identities and experiences, we still have a very long way to go. We like to think we've come so far and then reality waits around every unexpected corner to swiftly slap us in the face. It can come in the form of YouTube comments, Facebook statuses, Republican candidate polls or all-white Oscars.
During the month of February, store windows displays change to different hues of red, with heart-shaped products, greeting cards, chocolates and roses reminding us that Valentine’s Day is coming soon and reminding people in romantic relationships that their pockets better be ready. For many of us, this day heightens the idea of love is in the airwaves and funneled into our minds asking ourselves, where does love exist in my life?
In Black History Month, we reflect on lessons of leadership from black revolutionaries. We celebrate the lives and legacies of Sojourner Truth, James Baldwin, Dorothy Height, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many more of the powerful black figures in American history. But it’s not often enough that we also critically engage with the themes and ideas discussed during black history month and examine the ways in which all of us (black people, white people and non-black people of color) are responsible for a future of racial justice and equality.
In past years, health education and government intervention has focused much of its attention on childhood obesity. The First Lady herself promotes exercising, eating right and learning how to stay active and in good health from a young age. The American population has been overwrought with unhealthy kids and adults and the negative affects that excessive weight has on our bodies. But knowing this, the world has gone into health overdrive. Young millennials have taken a stand against unhealthy living and have gone organic. You see people on Paleo diets, eating gluten-free and non-genetically modified foods and working out for endless hours “getting swole.” There are even a surprising number of young men and women taking up body-building and participating in “bikini” competitions, transforming their bodies and ways of life completely. The drastic changes our society’s physical state has gone through is both inspiring and crazy, when you think about it. Although obesity is still a major problem, the entire world is aware of it now, and we are making a conscious effort to better the old habits that led to the obesity problem.
Reparations for black people to repair the accumulated injuries from centuries of enslavement and institutionalized racism have moved toward the center of public discourse in recent months. With the Black Lives Matter movement and the fact that a black family (indeed, through the lineage of First Lady Michelle Obama, a descendent of slaves) now resides in the White House, Americans have had to confront our country’s racist past and present in oftentimes difficult and visceral ways.
Unbeknownst to many, students, commuters and others who ride trains in New Jersey, the state faced a looming disaster late last year. In October, an NJ Transit spokesperson warned that without an extension of a federal train safety deadline, the agency would no longer be able to run trains. This would be paralyzing. In 2014, New Jersey residents made 85 million train trips, with an average daily ridership of 295,173. NJ Transit wasn’t alone, either. MTA President Thomas Prendergast warned that it would have to shut down Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, and PATH general manager Michael Marino noted that PATH trains would face the same scenario. A shutdown would mean an unprecedented economic collapse across the region. Fortunately, however, Congress passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, extending the deadline to the end of 2018 at the earliest. New Jersey trains will continue to run for the time being.
Rutgers—New Brunswick is being faced with the possibility of becoming the only Big Ten school without a student newspaper within the coming year. But before brushing this off, let’s take a minute to reflect on why the Targum is needed on campus.
In the early 1970s, the fraternity brothers of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) began sponsoring Rutgers University Dance Marathon. In bringing the competition to campus, they drew on a tradition that extended as far back as Medieval England. During the 1920s, dance marathons became popular in the United States as endurance tests with prizes for the last couples standing. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, they offered luckless young people food, shelter and a chimerical promise of a cash reward in spectacles of humiliation often cynically manipulated by their promoters. Horace McCoy's 1935 novel, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," and the 1969 Sydney Pollack film adaptation of the novel, starring Jane Fonda, captured the grizzly underside of these contests. More recently, that story has been updated by Rutgers Professor of Dance Julia Ritter's production of "Marathon Dancing: Letters to Wall Street in the Era of Wonderful Nonsense," which carried these tales of desperation forward to the financial collapse of 2007 and 2008.
Sunday will mark the end of an era.
Diversity does not mean inclusion. Just because there are television networks or classrooms where individuals from minority backgrounds are present does not mean that these individuals feel welcome or represented.
“It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living … We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people … is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed and insecure.” The latter quote seems to be the rallying cry of the ever-popular Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), full of hope and a guarantee for economic equality social reform. However, such is not the case, considering the latter is actually an excerpt from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union Address on Jan. 11, 1944. Why bring FDR into the fray of modern politics? Because Sanders is, simply put, not a socialist, as is often charged by those right-of-center — and even those new to the Left.
You wake up in the morning, pajamas still inside out, spoon cold under your pillow and you jump up from the comfort of your bed to look outside and see what mother nature has bestowed upon us. Lo and behold, there is snow covering every inch of the ground. It’s a white wonderland! You spend the day inside, maybe watching movies and drinking hot cocoa, snuggling in a warm blanket. An entire day passes with snowflakes perpetually falling from the sky. Sunday morning rolls around, and the snow has stopped. After a day of relaxation, it is finally time to start shoveling outside.