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The recognition that societal ills are concentrated in particular places has been a part of my life from a very early age. Growing up in the Lower Passaic River watershed, vacant lots, abandoned properties and contaminated sites were and remain abundant. These locally unwanted land uses, many of which are classified as brownfields, are a part of the history of my neighborhoods. At the heart of our communities runs the Passaic River, a historic and mighty river which was at the center of New Jersey’s industrial revolution. Decades of improper waste disposal and manufacturing left the 17-mile tidal stretch of the river contaminated with layers of dioxin, PCBs, mercury and other toxic pollutants — the pollution is so serious that the lowest 8 -mile stretch was federally designated a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The meaning of the word “diet” has been destroyed by its continuous misuse in American society. People think diets are supposed to restrict certain foods, even temporarily, in order to train the mind to resist natural food cravings. Instead, this defines what “dieting” is: an inherently ineffective method because it forces people to associate negative feelings to changes in eating. Realistically, the word “diet” should have a positive connotation — it should define a pattern of healthy selections made intentionally over the lifetime of an individual with the intent to benefit the daily functions of the body.
President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party have officially reeled in their first win — the hasty and flippant passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While the bill largely espouses tax cuts to the immensely wealthy, it seems to many to be a blatant assault on the accessibility of higher education. Graduate students are often offered remission or deductions on their tuition, or in some cases are granted stipends to help them afford the cost of living while attending their graduate program. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this monetary help will be liable to be taxed as income, defeating its purpose. As part of a national demonstration in response to the bill passing in the House of Representatives earlier in November, Rutgers graduate students, undergraduate students and faculty members participated in a walkout protest with the aim of displaying the vitalness of graduate students to the wellbeing and advancement of not only higher education but American society.
World AIDS Day, on Dec. 1, is a day to honor those who have fought and are fighting HIV/AIDS. This year, the White House honored the date by displaying a red ribbon and releasing a proclamation regarding HIV/AIDS. President Donald J. Trump’s statement was similar to that of former President Barack Obama, in the years prior, but one large difference stirred up certain members of the LGBTQ and AIDS community. Trump’s statement was similar to his predecessors, but was missing the following line — “Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, Black and Latino people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk.”
Recently, it seems like every morning new allegations about sexual misconduct committed by a high-profile man alight the day’s tabloids and bombard our Twitter feeds. Finally, women are speaking up against the oppression and humiliation they are forced to face day in and day out. Finally, we are using our voices to fight for a cause that really boils down to basic human decency — a trait that is clearly lacking in several people (particularly of the male variety, if the news is any indication). Although I could use the next several hundred words to praise women and the recent trend in exposure of sexual predators, to do so would mean ignoring another issue altogether: the everyday street harassment women are subjected to, whether it be on their way to work, school or a night out with friends. Whatever time of day, no matter what kind of clothes we wear, it is an unfortunate circumstance that continues to pervade our society.
Normalizing bigotry and mainstreaming hateful speech, whether by a professor on a private Facebook account or the President of the United States for all the world to see, has to stop.
A few articles back, I wrote about Anthony Weiner’s horrific abuse of power by involving himself with a 15-year-old child through sexually explicit text messages, photos, videos and other things. I still stand by the fact that Weiner should be held fully accountable for his actions, but I think it is time I took back much of what I said.
Certainly, with the time of giving thanks just passing, we all ought not to overlook Rutgers workers in our expressions of gratitude. It should be obvious to any member of the Rutgers community the extent to which the University relies on its faculty and staff for its quotidian functions. The services on which Rutgers, as an institution, relies are provided by a host of University employees, employees who too often remain invisible to and under-appreciated by the community at large.
Recently there has been a lot of talk surrounding the emerging market of cryptocurrencies, most specifically Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that was originally released as an open source software in 2009. Users are able to purchase bitcoins through various exchanges of currency from around the world. The system is entirely decentralized and relies upon a block chain, which is a shared public ledger of all bitcoin transactions. Transfers of bitcoins and all transactions are confirmed through a process called mining. In essence, users can purchase bitcoin and use it directly to make purchases or exchanges as opposed to working through a financial intermediary or institution like a bank. Users can also avoid costly taxes or transaction fees, while transferring their assets openly and freely.
Net neutrality, the idea that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to all people and that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) — which are few in number — should not be allowed to offer people more access at a higher speed based on how much they pay, has been a trending topic lately. This is because on Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on whether to curtail the net neutrality rules currently in place. Ajit Pai, the FCC’s chairman, is strongly against thorough rules regarding net neutrality, and if he succeeds in lifting the current regulations, there could be serious consequences for students.
Last week, the House of Representatives quietly voted to send thousands of Rutgers students into poverty. Entitled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the plan will both raise taxes on graduate students — in some cases tripling or quadrupling them — and force many of us to quit our jobs. As an English Ph.D. student, I can appreciate the ironic wordplay, even as I deplore the results.
In recent weeks, flyers have been pasted to the walls of buildings at Rutgers and other universities across the country that state the phrase, “IT’S OKAY TO BE WHITE.” These flyers appeared after a post on 4chan encouraged people with aligning views to go out on the night of Halloween and put up the flyers with the aim of provoking backlash from the “Leftist media.” In the end, the goal was to make it appear as if the media discriminates against white people to the point where they needed to defend themselves. By doing this, they assumed that people who are centrist politically would associate this assumed ideology of hatred toward white people with the Left, and therefore turn on them. All in all, it was a scheme conceived by internet trolls to rally support for far-Right activism.
One name that most people are familiar with these days is Harvey Weinstein, the 65-year-old Academy Award winner, American film producer, former co-chairman of The Weinstein Company and newly uncovered sexual predator.
As of right now, it looks as if the Rutgers football team is stuck in an unfortunate paradox. Despite being on a clear trajectory upward, the Scarlet Knights have not yet managed to garner a significant fan base, and this is likely contributing to the rut that they are in.
In the midst of countless actors, politicians and other public figures being revealed for misconduct against women, other acts of unfairness are going unnoticed. In mid-October, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that they would soon be allowing girls to join their program. While this is advantageous for young girls who feel they do not fit in with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) community, this decision is problematic for many reasons including the BSA’s motive and implementation of this decision.
Before I started college, I only thought about the world outside the United States in pretty limited contexts. I was an active member of my high school’s Model United Nations club, but any debate or discourse that I engaged in about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) had no awareness of global justice or the dynamics of institutional powers. As is the case with many a white college liberal, upon learning at the university level of international relations, global health, neoliberalism and development, I quickly became aggrieved over the plight of populations I had never known or felt a kinship towards.
Thanksgiving in the United States has become a sort of deeply ingrained culture with specific symbols, images and memories that enter our minds as soon as we hear the word. Such include Native Americans, pilgrims and turkey. While these things are accurate to the holiday in the sense that there is some perceived connection between them and Thanksgiving, the historical accuracy of these associations is not necessarily acknowledged. In fact, there are multiple holidays that lack historical accuracy, including Christmas, and governments pick and choose specific aspects of them to exploit. According to plimoth.org, former President Franklin D. Roosevelt lengthened the Christmas shopping season by declaring Thanksgiving for the next-to-the-last Thursday in November during his time in office, and in 1941 Congress permanently established the holiday as the fourth Thursday in the month. The symbols that have come to be associated with Thanksgiving are taught to people in school from a young age, and the truth behind the unfortunate history of the holiday is often euphemized or ignored.
We all need a health-promoting environment. Without it, a number of social and economic problems can arise for individuals and communities at large. But not everyone has access to a healthy environment as evidenced by where pollution-producing facilities are located. While some may argue that these facilities need to be located somewhere, it is the likelihood of their siting in Black, Latino and working class and low-income communities that calls into question the fairness of these decision making procedures. How can we espouse a culture of democracy and equality when immutable characteristics like race, ethnicity and class determine your health outcomes through aspects of your community’s built and natural environment? When addressing disparities in environmental quality, it is important to understand what factors contribute to this kind of inequity and how these problems manifest themselves geographically. To advance an intersectional agenda of racial and economic justice, identifying the cause, consequences and implications of all types of inequity is necessary and foundational.
The media has misrepresented male and female bodies for decades, and this trend has continued with the emergence of the digital age. Nowadays, we have access to unrealistic body images through social media on a 24-hour basis. Platforms such as Instagram misrepresent sustainable fitness and body goals through the profiles of fitness models, bloggers and body builders.