Category Archives: Black and White

Fair Game or Rigged System?

CaseySabath, Staff Reporter

For any student looking at an out-of-state college or university, finding scholarships is a necessity. I’ve become quite familiar with common market, and several scholarship websites. But why are the scholarship opportunities vanishing out of thin air? Such schools like Berry College, Georgia Tech, and numerous Ivy League schools devote too much of their scholarship funds to their athletic programs.. Most NCAA schools give their athletic programs only a limited amount of scholarship money. Due to the minimal amount of money given, coaches will dole out their scholarships and then move on to luring in more athletes with unjustified scholarships.

As someone constantly on the hunt for scholarships, this becomes troubling. Scholarships are consistently being taken and given to students undeserving of them. Georgia Tech is one of the many schools on the lookout for more athletes. One sophomore admitted entry into the prestigious school on full academic scholarship despite the student’s unimpressive 3.0 GPA and lack of rigor in her high school course load. Dozens of students take on 10 to 12 A.P classes and dual enrollment courses in hopes of earning academic scholarships and gaining admission into the school. Meanwhile an athlete with only one year of diving experience is given a full ride to the school in hopes of amping up their athletics department. Is this fair?

Schools with less than impressive athletic programs are becoming more lenient on requirements for their athletes. Ivy League schools are recruiting students with a less stellar academic background, all to assist their sports programs. Unfair advantages much like these happen on a daily basis and are constantly impacting the college playing field.

KatieHeissenbuttel, Sports Editor

For any student planning on attending college, making a decision on which school can be very tough. The majority of people pick the school that would be the cheapest and leave the student with minimal or no debt, while still being a good fit for the student. Students attending a college with the help of an athletic scholarship have earned it; they put in the work that is required to be good enough to play at the collegiate level.

Once an athletic or academic scholarship is received, there are academic requirements students must meet in order to retain it. Athletes receive money to go to a school to play a sport, and the student has to balance classes, practices and games all while staying mentally and physically healthy. Out of the 7.8 million high school athletes only 480,000 move on to play in the NCAA, and not all of those athletes are on scholarships. In the NCAA division I and division II, schools are given a limited amount of scholarship money that they can divide however they see fit. Not all college athletes receive the same amount of money, some earn a full ride and some only get a few thousand, that is for the coach to decide.

As for academic scholarships, they are given out to those who qualify either with their ACT or SAT scores, their GPA or with an essay. Athletes do not receive undeserving academic scholarships; all students who apply for a scholarship are considered and reviewed. Most schools don’t typically admit students who don’t meet their requirements just so they can play a sport because those students bring down the school’s averages. If you want something you have to go out and work for it. Scholarships aren’t going to be handed over on a silver platter.

The Hypocrisy of America’s Drug Culture

SabrineAbdellaoui – Staff Reporter

In a society where drinking alcohol is not only considered the norm, but heavily encouraged, it is somewhat odd to realize that this same society still shuns a form of drug use that is arguably less harmful to the body than drinking. Throughout time, marijuana use has been extremely criminalized and discouraged in the United States. On top of this, whereas drinking can be considered more sophisticated, socially speaking, smoking weed is usually seen as a lower form of drug use, associated with a certain type of person.

This mentality, however, is extremely hypocritical. The same people who drink regularly will sit and preach about how terrible marijuana is. When looking at the facts, however, this argument is completely unfounded. Unlike alcohol, marijuana cannot cause death; one cannot overdose on weed as on alcohol.  According to Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “the impact of marijuana use is much subtler.” There is no known medical use for consumed alcohol, however, there is plenty of evidence that beneficial compounds can be found in the marijuana plant.

But even with all of these facts, the stigma remains. Only twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some form. Over half the country still holds tight to their age-old arguments. What they don’t realize, however, is that if they’re going to keep marijuana illegal, then they should make alcohol illegal, too. It makes absolutely no sense to ban one drug and glorify another. Generally speaking, people unfortunately fear what they do not understand. And because marijuana and the use of it is so rejected and looked down upon, it is still, to a certain extent, seen as a foreign drug. Though it is becoming more and more common for people in the United States to use it both recreationally and for medical uses, the majority of people, especially the elderly, view marijuana as dangerous. Also, instead of educating themselves, they prefer to live in their ignorance and judge a drug they know absolutely nothing about.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion; the fact that the American society as a whole doesn’t accept marijuana is not a bad thing. It becomes problematic, however, when this same society pushes drinking with such force, throwing alcohol ads at you from every angle. In short, the hypocrisy of the American society’s opinion concerning drug use needs to end.

Bang! Bang! or Bark! Bark!: Revolver vs. Pet Sounds

“Revolver”

Andrew Searles

Staff Reporter

Fifty years ago, the world was blessed with some beautiful music. The Rolling Stones released “Aftermath”; The Beatles dropped “Revolver;” Bob Dylan put out “Blonde on Blonde,” and The Beach Boys (or was it just Brian Wilson?) gave us “Pet Sounds.” But out of all those great albums, “Revolver” reigns supreme. An album can be great for its music, its presentation or its legacy, but “Revolver” is an album that is nearly perfect in all three of those categories.

“Revolver”’s music is sublime. The songwriting is (as one would expect from Lennon, McCartney and Harrison) second to none. The album has Beatles standards: “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine.” But those are not the only standout tracks. “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Taxman” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” are all fan favorites. The diverse instrumentation on tracks such as “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” is used better than it had been on “Rubber Soul” but doesn’t overtake the album in abundance. The production is rugged when it needs to be, but at other times the tunes sound clean and pure. The heavy use of stereo sound, the fabulous production and the unparalleled songwriting make “Revolver” a truly intoxicating album.

In terms of presentation, “Revolver” receives high marks. Its album cover is probably the band’s second most famous cover – only “Sgt. Pepper’s” can claim a better piece of art. The mash-up collage of the band members and the large sketches of their faces create one of the most memorable covers of all time. Even at the time of its release, the great artwork was recognized – it won the Grammy for Best Album Cover. “Revolver” looks just as good as it sounds.

Perhaps the greatest single element about “Revolver,” though, is the legacy it left behind. For The Beatles, this album signaled a stylistic turning point. No longer were The Beatles the twist-and-shout boy band of the past. They were more reclusive in a way, more independent. They made the music they wanted to make, not the music all the masses wanted to hear. Nonetheless, most people still loved their music. But now, it was more raw and experimental. They played new instruments and wrote grittier songs.

“Rubber Soul” was the end of the old Beatles. “Revolver” was the first of the new Beatles sound, the beginning of their psychedelic period. In fact, “Revolver” was one of the first psychedelic rock albums. It has inspired rockers ever since, and its style is imitated by bands from The Flaming Lips to Tame Impala. This album not only ushered in a new era for The Beatles, but it also it brought a whole new genre into the world of music. In every aspect of the album – the songs, the cover and the impact – “Revolver” goes above and beyond. It is the best album of 1966 and certainly one of the greatest albums of all time.

“Pet Sounds”

Joseph Shin

Editor-in-Chief

Fifty years ago, the greatest American band of all time (don’t argue with me) made the greatest album of all time. No, I’m not talking about the Byrds’ “Fifth Dimension,” all you hippies out there. Of course, I’m talking about the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.” A miracle recorded on tape, “Pet Sounds” is the crowning achievement of the Beach Boys’ resident genius Brian Wilson as he created not just music but art.

“Pet Sounds” has everything: beautiful harmonies, unique instrumentation and touching lyrics which somehow all combine to be greater than the sum of their parts. From the opening beat of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” to the dogs’ barks at the end of “Caroline, No,” the listener is taken on a journey through Brian Wilson’s mind that runs the gamut of human emotion. Who would have thought that a Beach Boys’ record could touch on such universal themes as love, loss, acceptance and pain?

The record produces a sense of intimacy that only increases on subsequent listens. Every time I listen to it, I fall in love with new sounds: the glorious harmonies in the third section of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” the bicycle bells on “You Still Believe In Me,” the woodwinds in the refrain of “God Only Knows,” the organ and guitar in the instrumental break of “Here Today.” Needless to say, the list could go on and on.

Great music communicates through sound what simple speech cannot. “Pet Sounds” showed the world that rock music was more than just a fad, that it was capable of reaching the same heights of the great musical traditions before it. It paved the way for musicians to come from the Beach Boys’ contemporaries like the Beatles to current acts like Weezer. Indeed, its influence is so vast because of its remarkable timelessness. No album will more fully evoke the human experience than “Pet Sounds.” Don’t believe me? Just take a listen.

Black and White: Apple vs FBI

Black: Security or Privacy?

JosephShin

Staff Reporter

Never since the days of J. Edgar Hoover has the FBI been so reviled. In the wake of the investigation of the San Bernardino terror attack, it has received backlash from tech companies and the public alike.  And over what? Why, over one iPhone.

Apple is famed for its marketing prowess, and this case is no exception. However instead of selling iMacs and iPads, Apple is trying to sell their argument. First, they posit that creating the so-called “backdoor” for the FBI would compromise the security of not just one device, but devices everywhere. This is interesting given that Apple already has the capability to break into their products. This is not a creation issue; it is an implementation issue.

This brings us to Apple’s most touted point – they want their customers’ information to be private. Make no mistake; Apple is not complying with the FBI for a reason , and it’s not because they stand on some moral high ground (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/02/22/fbi-director-urges-apple-to-help-unlock-killers-iphone-in-passionate-statement-its-about-the-victims-and-justice/). Simply put, their public image would suffer if they “gave in” to the FBI on such a sensitive issue. This would presumably undermine consumer trust in Apple and thus shrink their immense profit margins.

Of course, making equivocal statements and protecting their own interests does not by itself make Apple wrong. Its behavior is rational for the predicament it is in.What can you expect from a corporation that values profits over human rights violations and tax law? In fact, other tech companies like AT&T and Intel have chimed in with support for Apple (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/03/03/t-latest-company-back-apples-stance-against-feds/81227900/), perhaps foreseeing the effect that this decision may have on their corporations.

The main thrust of the FBI’s case is that the public’s privacy comes at the risk of security. Should this trend continue, are we as the American people content with potential evidence never being submitted because of today’s highly sophisticated encryption technology? The issue, of course, is larger than this one case.

In the end, the best solution may not be to have a blanket policy, but rather to take this issue on a case-by-case basis. It may be easier to promote a “one-size-fits-all” policy, but the problem remains that there are certainly areas where the FBI forcing corporations is unwarranted or as legalese states “burdensome.” However, in cases like the San Bernardino shootings, it is clear that although privacy is comfortable, national security is all too necessary.

 

 

White: Will the “Land of the Free” Stay “Free” Any Longer?

 

SabrineAbdellaoui

Staff Reporter

One of the most basic ideals upon which the United States of America was built is now in jeopardy. The FBI, in possession of one of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhones, wants Apple to bypass its security restrictions and allow the FBI access to the phone and the contents in it. The software for hacking iPhones, however, does not exist, and the creation of it would put all iPhone owners at risk. More than 94 million people in the United States alone own an iPhone, so this would be affecting hordes of people.

The American people take great pride in the freedom they enjoy in their country. If the FBI wins this court case, will that still be applicable? Can America still be “the land of the free” without its freedom? The FBI argues that it is simply trying to find out more information, that the contents on the phone could potentially give it leads to other terrorist plans, other people involved, etc. However, what it fails to acknowledge is the great danger this could put every iPhone owner in. The encryption on the iPhones keep the information safe, but without it, anyone could have access to it. The FBI claims it’s trying to keep Americans safe and stop the terrorists. It doesn’t realize, however, or is ignoring, that creating this software could be counterproductive, actually putting sensitive information in the hands of the terrorists.

In reaction to these arguments, the FBI has insisted time and time again that it is not interested in the halting of encryption altogether, that it doesn’t want everyone’s data to be accessible. All it is interested in is having access to this one phone. This is extremely naïve, for you cannot create software to hack into a singular phone. If you create it, it’s out there, and it applies to all devices. No matter what you do, it is impossible to single out the one phone, to hack only it.

There is no real way to stay true to the United States of America’s most basic principles and also grant the FBI’s wishes. They are contradictory, unable to exist simultaneously. If America wishes to change, wishes to “adapt,” to give up certain principles that it once held dear to pursue something that it deems more important, then Apple should indeed create the software and hack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. However, if the US wishes to remain the “land of the free”, if it still values its freedom and the privacy of its citizens, then it should not matter what benefits may come from overstepping these boundaries. Up until now, for the most part, America has stayed true to its name. But the question remains: will it in the future?

 

Counting Clocks – Black and white

White

MariaRuiz

Staff Reporter

 

When Ahmed Mohamed entered his school in Irving, Texas on Sept. 16, he expected praise for creating a homemade clock. Instead, he was met with punishment. With the dream of attending MIT and becoming an engineer, Ahmed said all he wanted was to “impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her.”

Ahmed brought the homemade alarm clock to school to show his teachers what he was capable of, but while he was in his English class, an alarm went off. The teacher then sent him out of class into a room with four police officers. One of whom immediately said, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”

Such a display of racial profiling exhibits the reason Alia Salem of the Council on American-Islamic Relations stated that “this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed.”

Ahmed was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center. The school did not contact Ahmed’s parents until they received a call from the police stating their son was being charged with having a hoax bomb. They had denied Ahmed’s wishes to phone his parents because he was being put under arrest. Ahmed was interrogated without the knowledge of his parents and without the presence of an attorney. The legal charges were dropped, but Ahmed still faces three days of suspension.

In this situation, it is obvious that the school should respond to any possible threat with an investigation in order to ensure the safety of the students, but the measures that were taken against Ahmed Mohammed were excessive and unreasonable. For a child with such high aspirations, such a traumatic experience as the one Ahmed has endured is devastating. The fact that the school board suspended such an extraordinary student, possibly inhibiting his dream to attend such a prestigious school as MIT, is absurd.

Many have taken to social media to combat this injustice, using the #IStandWithAhmed. Among the many influential leaders who have reached out to him are Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and many more. “Cool clock, Ahmed,” Obama tweeted. “We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” If even the President agrees that Ahmed’s intentions were admirable, why does the school board refuse to accept that they were in the wrong? Ahmed did not deserve the punishment he received, nor did he deserve to be treated the way that he was. “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” stated Mark Zuckerberg.

 

 

Black

HunterCornett

Staff Reporter

Terrorism in schools is starting to become more and more prevalent nationwide. Last week Ahmed Mohamed, an engineering student, was accused of bringing in a bomb-clock to school. Early in the morning, the teen brought the clock to his engineering teacher. Looking at the clock, the teacher told him “do not show this to anyone else.” In literature class, the clock’s alarm went off. The teacher was scared, so she took all protocols to their full extent, calling the police department.

During the investigation the authorities figured out that the “bomb” was a hoax and was not a threat at all. After taking stock on the situation, the authorities dropped all charges and let Ahmed go home to his worried family.

There are many factors that go in the protocol of threats to schools. In fact, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms reports that the success rate of bomb detonations for bombs in schools is slightly higher than that for the national rate of all bombings. The range of explosive substances and ways of detonating them are limited only by the bomber’s imagination and resourcefulness. Not knowing when the next attack would be, administration has a new outlook on bomb threats.

Ahmed’s school gave him 3 days of suspension because of the bomb incident. This punishment is nothing compared to the one Ahmed was being faced with by the police department. Ahmed has been put in a very awkward situation, and I do not blame him for feeling the way he does towards the school, but the school took all measures to ensure the safety of the students.

Black and White: Did the Grand Jury Dispense Justice?

Black: ValereighDurojaiye

So here’s the thing. Darren Wilson, the murderer of Mike Brown, was never going to be indicted for his crime. He was a cop, and in this country, cops can essentially kill with impunity and they have a history of doing so, people of color usually being on the receiving end of the weapon. The truth is that the law, which undeniably is supported by a systemic structure of white supremacy (because let’s be real‒you’d be a fool to think this wasn’t about race), allows police officers and other “protectors of the peace” the use of deadly force against aggressors, or who the officers themselves deem to be oppressors.  Second of all, he is white. It seems like a “so what?”, right? But that is only to those who do not understand the legacy of slavery and the ideology of white superiority and the injustice, oppression, subjugation, and marginalization they have wrought in these United States of America.

The grand jury that presided over the Ferguson case, nine out of twelve of whom were indeed white, already have an inherent racial bias towards him because of the color of his skin, a sentiment shared by America at large. Some people have cited the inconsistencies and conflicts in witness testimonies as an important reason why Darren Wilson was not charged with anything, but, regardless of those, does that justify the use of lethal force against a person that was unarmed? I find it very hard to believe that trained officer’s only choice in a situation where violence is threatened is to resort to deadly force. Darren Wilson and Mike Brown were the same height and roughly the same build. Wilson even testified that he never carried a Taser because they are “too uncomfortable.” He and others in the PD also failed to follow standard protocol following the shooting, such as Wilson putting his own gun into evidence files and washing the blood off his hands instead of preserving them for evidence. The officers who interviewed him after the shooting did not record the conversation. The medical examiner did not take photographs of the scene because his camera’s battery was dead, nor did he take measurements because what has happened was “pretty much self-explanatory”.

Grand jurors, while almost certainly indicting in every other case,  rarely indict police officers. And what is neither understandable nor acceptable about this is the fact that on the five counts that Darren Wilson was tried on‒ranging from manslaughter to first-degree murder‒he didn’t even get manslaughter. People get charged with manslaughter if someone dies in  a car accident, for crying out loud. The Supreme Court allows law enforcement to use their weapons in two situations: to defend their lives and to stop an escaped felon. Well, Michael Brown was not a felon, no matter how intense the “thug-ifying” of black men might be, and Wilson’s belief that his life was in danger was a belief that only had to be “objectively reasonable” and not based in possibility or likelihood (according to the US Justice System), therefore being justified under the law and aiding his non-indictment. This, in an environment in which the prosecutor was a known supporter of police officers, almost guaranteed that Wilson would walk free. The judicial system as it has been constructed does not hold officers accountable for their offenses, nor it is an impartial server of justice, ironically. The courts and juries exists within the confines of this society and it’s precepts, and therefore, as #Ferguson reminds us, provides as much justice as society is willing to allow.

White: JosephShin

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson has created a firestorm of controversy. Many ask whether the grand jury made the right decision; I believe that they have.

For a second, disregard all of the racially charged elements of this case. Evidence shows that Brown was involved in a physical altercation with Officer Wilson that led to Wilson enduring facial injuries. Both men then struggled to seize Officer Wilson’s gun, but Wilson recovered and then fired multiple times: killing Brown. The autopsy of his body found that all shots were in his front.

All of the facts indicate that Wilson was merely practicing self-defense rather than having deep-seated racial motivations to kill Michael Brown. John Adams once said in a similar situation when he was defending the British troops who perpetrated the Boston Massacre that, “facts are stubborn things.” Given the numerous facts and evidence available, it was the correct decision not to indict Officer Wilson.

Although it was a sound decision, many are not satisfied. Using Michael Brown as an excuse, some resorted to violent protest – despite the wishes of Brown’s own parents. However, violence is never a solution to violence. President Obama advocated for peace during this difficult time but, as he was speaking, police cars were being flipped over and shops looted. Nonetheless, the decision holds true. Though such racial tensions may cloud our vision of justice, this case was sealed the moment Brown attacked Wilson. Simply put, Officer Wilson committed no crime. Was Michael Brown’s death tragic? Yes, death always is, but that does not distract from the fact that this case is wrongly being used as a symbol for other, more real, injustices.

If this case has shown us anything, it shows us that racism is a force still present in American society. Does this change this decision? No, but it has shone a spotlight on the flaws of government authority. The best thing we can get out of this tragedy is some meaningful reform. When fatal chokeholds can be administered without consequence, something must be wrong.

Black and White: Is Black Friday shopping worth it?

Black: SamBerman

Tramplings, brawls and cat fights have all been associated with Black Friday. Each year, a few people get seriously injured trying to take advantage of the ridiculous sales that stores have the day after Thanksgiving. While the sales are great and you can save a bit of money by Black Friday shopping, the trouble of the crowds and lines are simply not worth it.

Are you willing to risk “life and limb” for 30 percent off on an Xbox? While the sales are appealing, retail stores become extremely dangerous as soon as the front doors open at midnight. Stampedes of customers rush into the stores, and most of the time the consumers do not pay attention to others’ safety while trying to get to their desired products. In past years, many people have gotten injured in Black Friday stampedes, and in a few cases, customers have even died. In 2008, at a Long Island Wal-Mart, an employee was trampled by a crowd of about 2,000 customers while opening the doors to the store. Personally, I would rather stay safe than get a discount on a product.

The hassle of waiting in lines and pushing through crowds is the main reason that Black Friday sales are a waste of time. In order to get the deals you desire, you will most likely need to camp outside of a store to be the first inside. Considering that Black Friday is on Nov. 28, the weather is not ideal for camping. I do not believe that freezing outside in a line with random strangers for hours is worth getting a good deal. It is also important to consider that everyone else in the store is looting for the same deals. With everyone swarming to get valuable deals, stores will be extremely crowded, and you most likely will not even be able to get what you intend to buy.

White: SaraEdwards

Have you ever experienced Black Friday? It was fun, was it not? It may have been chaotic, but nonetheless fun. I am not going to sit here and tell you that Black Friday is not mass chaos because it is the poster child of pandemonium. Despite what the critics say though, Black Friday can help you shop till you drop without emptying your wallet.

For the people who say Black Friday sales are not worth it, then you might need to reevaluate where you are shopping. Yes, some stores’ sales are not all they are cracked up to be, but some stores basically just give things away. If you are smart and put in just a tiny bit of effort into researching stores and their sales, then you can come out with full shopping bags and a debit card that is not completely drained.

Some people are not even concerned with how much money they are spending; they just panic because a few people were trampled. Yes, the tramplings and the fighting is over the top and dangerous, but a few incidents should not ruin the fun for everyone. In all the years I have been Black Friday shopping, I have not even witnessed a fight. I am not saying they do not happen and that you should not be careful, but you should not hate on the shopper’s favorite holiday just because you could get injured. Again, as long as you are not being dumb, your chances of injury are slim.

If you are like some of my friends though, then you do not care about the money or the injuries. You just want to sleep. I get it. During the school year students are up half the night on a regular basis, so why would a student want to be up all night during a break meant for sleep and relaxation? Thanksgiving break is a whole week! You have all week to sleep. Get up, go out and make memories.

Let’s just all answer this question in unison: Is Black Friday worth it? If you know what you are doing, the answer is yes. If you plan to stay home, then enjoy your time of rest. If you are going to participate in Black Friday, then be safe, be smart and do not spend all your money in one place.