Category: Commentary (page 1 of 9)

Fight Like Hell for Asian and Pacific Islander Women

I ask you to today to please understand how much Asian communities, among so many others, benefit from the existence of the Office of Violence Against Women, an Office supplying invaluable grants that allow for the existence of nonprofit organizations crucial to the protection of women who face sexual and domestic violence. The funding cuts proposed by the Trump administration threaten the existence of these organizations and the lives of the women they assist and protect.

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Fear of Missing Out

How often do alcohol and substance abuse-related problems stem from a fear of missing out? I’m writing this as I’m sitting in my room playing video games instead of drinking on a Friday night. No, that’s not a boast about how innocent and sub-free I am. In fact, as I check my friends’ and acquaintances’ Snapchat stories (whose contact information I’ve mostly acquired in the Harris bathroom), I feel a deep pit form in my stomach. That sensation is fear. Fear that I’m missing out on making friends and gaining social capital just because I’ve decided to have a relaxing night, that I know my introverted and mentally ill self really needs. Everyone on Snapchat is having fun, and they’re having fun without me. Those Snapchat stories probably don’t tell the whole story of a likely average night, but they are a cruel taunt to someone with a desperate need to be liked who couldn’t find the energy to leave her room. Seeing my peers live up their college weekend nights makes me feel guilty that instead of making connections with my classmates (whom I will “forget” to talk to on Monday), I am having a restful night in. That’s pretty messed up.

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Steam Away Your Toxins; Steam Away Your Woe 

When speaking of rituals, David Bowie once mentioned his essential “awe of the universe.” Rituals are not beautiful for what they represent, but for what they do for their practitioners: for their aesthetic appeal: for their sheer power to define in a vacuous world of competing identities: for their ability to peek out from our distracted lives and wave, reminding us that we live in a miraculous world.

Rituals and structures create an easement, or catharsis, for many who chose to create or follow them. They find a calm and productivity in rigidity, like the generative constraints of creative writing. For instance, given our current political climate on and off campus, tensions constantly soar from brains to hearts to bodies. Tension, bodily and otherwise, defines the Grinnell College campus community in its competitive academic culture, its cult of stress, and its social-justice pissing contests. Grinnell has fallen ill and continues to poison itself.

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Don’t Let Our Action Be Overshadowed

I want to start off by saying I appreciate and support the work that [antifa] and other progressive activists on campus have been doing. The campus political climate, like that of the United States, is becoming increasingly divisive. In my opinion, this is in part due to the reemergence of the Grinnell Republican Club and their refusal to denounce our new president and his administration.

I’d like to respond to an article the GUM recently published, titled “Cut the Liberal Pablum: The Right is Not Your Friend.” I agree fundamentally with the ideas presented; I think conservatism inherently marginalizes groups of amazing people. However, this article, which reflects the sentiment of numerous other people on campus, criticizes the Scarlet and Black for its Features article about the Grinnell Republicans Club, while failing to mention three other stories published last week: “Anti-fascist art vandalized, criticized;” “Immigration ban sparks response from students and administration;” (both of which criticize Trump and/or fascism) and “Grinnell community speaks on President Trump’s Executive Order.”

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Calling for Climate Justice

In response to President Kington’s Campus Memo on Divestment:

My name is Rachel Buckner, and I am a third year at Grinnell College. I am currently studying off-campus in San Francisco, Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia, studying climate change and the politics of food, water, and energy. As I journey around the world, learning about the state of our climate, I cannot sit back as my home institution disregards divestment as a critical step in curbing climate change and ending climate injustice.

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Pressing Unpause

Near the end of July, as I was starting to get ready to return to Grinnell, I got an unexpected email from Residence Life:

“Greetings from Grinnell College!

We are writing today to let you know residence hall and roommate assignments are now available online… students were matched by hand and to the best of our ability according to preferences submitted on your Roommate Form… We encourage you to contact your roommate(s) prior to arriving on campus to become acquainted.”

At first, I was confused. Returning for my second year at Grinnell, I’d already picked my roommate in the spring. This email, which was clearly meant for the incoming first-years, was just the first; I got emails with advice on how to prepare for college and telling me what to expect during New Student Orientation. For a moment, I actually considered showing up during NSO — if no one was expecting me, I would just show the emails I’d received.

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Healthcare, not Selfcare

As a low-income student, I was reliant on Iowa’s Medicaid for most of my time at Grinnell. I remember feeling a lot of fear this past spring, when my Medicaid was suddenly privatized, not knowing what it meant for the future of my health. Lord knows that SHACS is so underfunded that I can barely even rely on it for my physical healthcare needs, let alone my mental health. So I took a deep breath, and had hope that my healthcare would remain stable. I thought lots of positive thoughts.

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Self-Love in Solitude

Many people describe Grinnell as a bubble, and that’s exactly what it is. A bubble filled with people. A self-contained group of individuals who have chosen to follow their passions. Therefore, it’s kind of impossible not to be surrounded by people in classes, in the dining hall, in the natatorium. We’re also plugged into society; our Facebook feeds pulsate with news, our Snapchats with photos, and our phones with text messages. Even if we aren’t in the center of the universe, it’s easy to find out exactly what’s going on with everyone else, and it’s even easier to get bogged down in the crowd.

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