Benjamin Acosta '23
Spiders infiltrating every crevice of your room with thirsty jaws; strips of rotted flesh clutching at yellowing skeletons; once-innocent pumpkins flashing jagged grins; Coraline: are you scared yet? Well, maybe after 17 Halloweens (or 15 or 10 or 64 if you’re older or younger, or perhaps lived abroad awhile), these things have lost their novel horror for you, simply because every yard and storefront flaunts such tokens with relentless uniformity. Well, I’m here to put the wee back into Halloween with the most overlooked yet most terrifying aspect of October 31—politics. Brace yourself.
Well, if the fake webs and jack-o-lanterns just aren’t giving you enough of a jump scare anymore, hopefully I’ve helped you with your options of spooky decorations. Mussolini picture, baby Columbus picture, bloodied printout of the Ninety-Five Theses… take your pick, and, this Halloween, show everybody just how spooky politics can be.
Jack Marino '23
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the all-encompassing American Rescue Plan into law. Among other Covid-relief measures, the plan provided most Americans with $1,400 in stimulus checks. Now, Inflation has skyrocketed to an unprecedented 8.3%, leading to increases in prices of gasoline, food, and other essential commodities. Why have price increases been so pronounced? Because consumer spending has skyrocketed. Rather than saving their stimulus checks for covid-related emergencies or economic uncertainty, Americans are spending more than ever, leading to a sharp increase in the amount of Americans spending more than they earn.
As a result of increased spending (and consequently increased demand), businesses have been forced to raise prices. Additionally, supply chain issues have led to supply shortages, further increasing prices. Therefore, the Biden Administration’s implementation of a plan that effectively gives out money with no strings attached compounded the problem of low supply, resulting in dramatic price increases for consumers. Even Biden’s treasury secretary, Janey Yellen admitted to being wrong about the inflationary effects of the American Rescue Plan. Recently, Yellen reflected that despite her belief that the ARP was poorly thought out, she urged Biden to go forward with the plan anyways, arguing that the Biden administration should air on the side of more stimulus. Yellen also reported to Biden that inflation only posed a “small risk” to the economy. As we all know now, Yellen vastly underestimated the effects of inflation on the American economy.
Much like Biden’s government handouts in the ARP, Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend policy provides Americans with $1,000 a month in government funds. Knowing that Biden’s one-time handout of $1,400 in the American Rescue plan prompted a surge in inflation, Yang’s Freedom Dividend would lead to catastrophic increases in consumer prices. Additionally, the Freedom Dividend plans to pay for itself with increased corporate taxes, leading to further increases in commodity prices as businesses seek to make up lost revenue (from taxes) with further price increases. Thus, as long as the American economy continues to reject price caps and other socialist economic measures, a Universal Basic Income would harm consumers.
Additionally, programs like the Freedom Dividend encourage joblessness. Since many Americans would be able to subsist off of $12,000 a year possibly with the help of a part-time job, a Universal Basic Income encourages joblessness. Besides its clear economic downsides, increases in joblessness will lead to a further increase in mental health issues, since many Americans will lose their purpose. As liberal economist Lawrence Summers puts it, “The fans of programs that accept & even encourage joblessness, like universal basic income [and the ARP’s stimulus checks], forget that human satisfaction doesn’t come primarily from material comfort, but from purpose, a feeling of accomplishment and the social support that often occurs in a work environment.” Therefore, to reduce inflation and prevent joblessness, Americans should learn from the failure of the American Rescue Plan and programs like the Freedom Dividend that give away government money with no strings attached.
Rafi Hume '27
The origin of the “nerd emoji” begins all the way back in the 1900s. The nerd emoji was created to closely resemble the common school nerd stereotypes from the mid 1900s until now. The word “nerd” dates back to 1951 as a synonym or connotation for “drip” or “square”. The term was further popularized by the 1970s sitcom Happy Days. The term has been coined to the stereotypes of large, thick-lensed glasses (sometimes taped together), acne, braces/headgear, pants worn high above the waist, pocket protectors, suspenders, tightly combed hair, and bowties.
The nerd emoji, created in 2015, has become very popular in the past few years. This odd resurfacing is similar to that of other emojis. The skull emoji has similarly experienced a rise in usage over the past year. Originally a simple skull used around Halloween, it has now skyrocketed in use and popularity as a substitute for the “laughing-crying emoji”. It is closely associated with the phrase “I’m dying of laughter." Some examples of the use of the skull emoji: “Bro that was so funny 💀," “I’m dead💀," or simply just “💀."
The nerd emoji’s predominant usage has been to insult others, usually a statement someone has made. For example, if someone is in a debate with another individual, and one person creates a political or scientific argument, the other could simply counter their argument by using the nerd emoji, destroying the original individual’s morale and ego. Putting the emoji into use is quite straightforward. Taking the example from above, say someone makes a long, thought out, and put-together argument with many facts and sources. To put the emoji into use, one simply takes the other individual’s statement, copies it, puts it into quotation marks, and then places the nerd emoji at the end. Another way to use the nerd emoji with the example above is to just send the emoji itself with no text. Both methods have a similar result in embarrassing your online opponent.
Above is a real, online example of the nerd emoji in use between these two fine gentlemen.
Overall, the use of the nerd emoji has become madly popularized over the past year. Its usage has created many humorous trends and posts and continues to do so. Hopefully, the nerd emojis will stay away from this article…
Andrew Liu '25
In 2010, the US population was 4.8% Asian and 12.6% black. Contrast that to the class of 2010 at Harvard, being composed of 18% Asian and 10% black. This is the statistic that many who favor affirmative action look at. If we live in a world where there is no discrimination on the basis of race, then why do Asians have a higher percentage at Harvard compared to their percentage in the US population? Why do Black people have a lower percentage at Harvard compared to their percentage in the US population? This must be because of the previous bias, legacy applicants, or unconscious bias! Therefore, we must make sure that we represent the world we live in today by making sure that we have the same percentage of Asians at Harvard that we have in the US population and the same with Black students and overall African-American population.
The problem with that entire line of argument is that it is based on one wrong fundamental principle: in a world where there is no discrimination, the percentage of Asians at Harvard must equal the percentage of Asians in the US population. This is simply incorrect. The reason that this is the case is a long story, but it has nothing to do with race.
The SAT. Some love it, some hate it. Many studies have shown that the SAT is the best way to predict a student’s GPA in college and whether they will pass or fail. However, many other studies have linked the SAT to wealth, and more have linked it to race. For example, for the Asians who were accepted to Harvard, the average SAT per section was 767 (out of 800). The average for Black students was 704. In another study, researchers found that an Asian had to score 350 points higher than a Black candidate to get the same chance of admission. This is baloney in every sense of the word, hurting Asian applicants because Harvard only wants to accept a certain number of them.
Another reason that people wish to implement affirmative action and one that most point to is again to help those who are underprivileged, giving those kids a chance to lift them out of poverty and into a better life. This is a noble goal, but why do it using race? If you wish to bring up people out of poverty, use affirmative action based on income, not race. College admissions officers are very smart people, so if that was their goal they would have tried using income years ago, so why haven't they? Quite simply, their goal isn't to lift people out of poverty, it is to fill quotas, so they look good in diversity seminars.
So, should the supreme court ban the current practice used at Harvard and UNC? Short answer: Yes. Harvard and UNC are both guilty of Title VI regulations, as they discriminate against Asians in favor of blacks and Hispanics. Long answer: Also yes. Affirmative action hurts Asians by only comparing them to other Asians while hurting other minorities by assuming the only way to reverse systemic poverty is to throw underprepared students into difficult classes. Being racist to atone for racism in the past will not work. As Justice Roberts once said, “The only way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
So what is the admissions practice that a college utopia would have? I would have to fall back onto the university method proposed by one of my teachers. Imagine the perfect college where there is no admissions process, and everyone can come. Rigorous academics, good social life, everything you need. The catch is that if you flunk out, we keep your money. This achieves a student body that is the best of the best, by flunking out those who were not able to survive in that environment. So how can we fit this application style into Harvard and other elite schools? Well, we can. But what we can fit into elite schools is the goals of the admissions process, changing the priority to getting the best of the best. This is possible by basing the applicants almost only on merit, with some judgment rulings coming from the top. Applicants would be in a race against all the other applicants, not only their own race trying to get a higher SAT score, higher GPA, and better teacher recommendations. Of course, colleges will require legacy students and athletic scholarships, and I’m completely fine with that. However, race should have no part in college admissions.
Kacey Frederick '24
When people suggest the defunding of police, they claim it will prevent the horrific actions that we have seen on the news of police violence during traffic stops and arrests. If anything, defunding the police will only increase these interactions because a lack of funding comes with a lack of training. Not only should we keep funding the police, but we should also increase their funding. Investing in our country's law enforcement will offer training that will give officers the tools to respond to high stakes situations, instead of relying on irrational quick thinking based on instincts. De-escalation tactics, domestic violence response training, and body camera funding to increase camera storage are just a few examples of where funding would go in the recent Invest to Protect bill, a bipartisan bill pushing for police funding. We can increase field training and educate our officers on racial bias, various mental illnesses, equipping them to go out into their community with a deeper understanding of their own biases. There’s a reason why Republicans and Democrats alike, including our president, support funding our police.
Simply, we need the police to keep our communities safe. Defunding the police would decrease retention rates and the number of police out in our communities, therefore increasing crime and danger on the street. I can support the argument of funding community outreach, but not at the cost of police funds. Do you plan on seeking help from a social worker when someone breaks into your house or commits acts of violence against you? Police are crucial to maintaining law and order in society. A delayed 911 response, increase in serious crime, decrease in criminal accountability and public safety are all factors at risk if we defund our police. While wealthy people can rely on private security or the inherent safety of their neighborhoods, less fortunate communities rely on police to keep their neighborhoods safe.
We need police funding to increase the amount of police on the streets, therefore decreasing the amount of crime, and in the end actually saving money. America employs 30% less police officers per capita than the world average, while our country also has the largest incarcerated population in the world. This data suggests that America has a higher crime rate, leading to mass incarceration, because we have less police officers out in communities discouraging crime. The Journal of Law and Economics published an article analyzing crime data in Washington DC. The data showed that “an increase in police presence … leads to a statistically and economically significant decrease in the level of crime.” The data is here. It shows the necessity and benefit of having cops, and the need for more. The somewhat small financial burden that may arise from increased funding would all be returned by the diminishing taxes towards prisons, as shown by more cops leading to less crime and incarceration.
Defunding the police would only increase crime, danger in marginalized neighborhoods, improper handling of routine arrests, and mass incarceration. Not only is it necessary to keep funding the police, but we also need to invest more. To better equip our officers and add more cops to our communities, increased funding is necessary.
After years of police brutality and the tumultuous protests of the summer of 2020, one sentiment echoed through the young, liberal population: something must be done about the police. Although most liberals have attempted to reform the police, agreeing that something has to change, tiny modifications are not enough. Communities are suffering. Police brutality, limited resources, and politicians who care solely about profit and upholding the carceral status quo are killing people. Not just any people––overwhelmingly Black, Brown, and/or poor people are affected. These communities are often overpoliced and underfunded in all aspects except for their police forces. Reform is not enough. We must abolish the police.
Won’t crime go up? Who will protect us?
For the 2023 fiscal year, the DC budget approved a whopping $526.1 million dollars for the Metropolitan Police Department, which is double the budget given to economic development, an agenda providing funding for affordable housing, workforce development, and economic planning. Our council’s spending habits manifest very clearly in our city. Despite MPD’s budget being almost identical to the ones before it, our violent crime rate has increased. Homicides and gun violence are increasing, and our police, despite having an extravagant budget, don’t do anything to combat rising chaos. Police often show up after crimes to take notes and write a report, barely doing anything else. FBI data shows that in two thirds of reported rape cases, police don’t make any arrests, which is also true for half of reported aggravated assaults.
Not only do police not prevent crime, but they often are the crime. One third of all homicides committed by strangers are committed by the police, and the top complaints against the police in the US are excessive force and sexual misconduct. 40% of police are reported for abuse against their spouse and/or children. Police don’t keep us safe; they make us less so.
However, what does make us safe is more resources. Crime is concentrated in historically disenfranchised low-income neighborhoods with few resources. Crime rates drop when these communities have food, stable housing, employment, and health and well-being services. The money we would’ve used to fund the police would not just go away; it would be used to fund these services and help communities in need, preventing crime from the onset. All crime has a root, and if we can solve the problem at its root by providing services and support for those who need it most, we can stop crimes before they even happen. As for the crime that does happen, we can make police extraneous by sending healthcare professionals, EMTs, de-escalators, social workers, and more in their place during emergencies. To quote Mariame Kaba, an abolitionist organizer: “We don’t want to just close police departments. We want to make them obsolete.” By taking funding away from the police and giving it back to communities, the need for police will slowly wither away. Our communities will be stronger, happier, healthier, and safer.
What will happen to criminals?
Abolition doesn’t just involve the police, but also the abolition of prisons. What do we do with criminals? Many people believe that abolition lets criminals “walk free,” which is untrue. Abolition simply offers a better alternative to the inhumane treatment and cruelty that happens in prisons. 25% of women’s prison populations and 10% of men’s are assaulted while incarcerated. Within three years of their release, two out of three former prisoners are rearrested, and more than 50% are re-incarcerated. Incarceration strips people of their communities, their resources, and their lives, and when they are released, they are often forced into a life of crime in an effort to stay afloat. The prison system doesn’t stop violence. It simply centralizes it, feeding the cycle while targeting the most vulnerable––the Black, Brown, queer, trans, and poor.
In place of prisons, those who commit crimes should be given humanity and rehabilitation: long-term centers where they can receive the help they need while being unable to hurt anyone else in the process. Therapy, resources, and community support are all things that can be funded with prison abolition. Abolitionists dream of a world where dignity and care are valued over punishment and control. To get to that world, we must abolish prisons and the police.
Why can’t we just reform the police?
We already tried that, and it hasn’t worked.
Modern-day policing at its root is racist and violent. We can trace back the idea of policing in America to slave patrols, a system created with the very intention to terrorize and violently brutalize any slaves who dared to rebel against their masters. After the Civil War, slave patrols turned into militia-style groups, which inspired the creation of the police we see today. Policing has historically been a way for those in power to threaten others and maintain their authority, which will remain true if we keep enabling our notion of “public safety” by tying it to the police.
In 2015, the Obama Administration’s President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing resulted in more training, more feedback sessions, and more money given to the police. What came out of it? Police killings actually increased after this task force made its tweaks. Even a member of the task force, Tracy Meares, admitted that “policing as we know it must be abolished before it can be transformed.” When most people say “why don’t we just do XYZ about the police?” they are suggesting a complete transformation, something that no longer resembles the original idea of police. How much can you reform something before it’s actually considered abolition and the rebuilding of something new?
I’m arguing against “reformist reforms,” reforms that enforce and strengthen the harmful systems at hand. This includes giving the police more money for training or more hires. However, that doesn’t mean we have to abandon the idea of reform completely. Non-reformist reforms, such as gradually taking money from the police or cutting police force numbers, are all things that we consider on the path to abolition. There are alternatives to getting rid of the police overnight. Reform and abolition can coexist and help each other on our path to a better world.
So, how do I get involved in abolishing the police?
Number one rule: don’t call the police. More often than not, police are not necessary for a situation and actually escalate it. When faced with a situation that requires de-escalation and/or intervention instead of violence, consider calling a number from this list of community resources: https://dontcallthepolice.com/washington-d-c/. Doing this could save and change a life.
Most importantly, there is power in numbers! We cannot abolish the police alone, and we must work together. Joining a group or coalition of people who are actively working to abolish the police is one of the easiest pathways to getting involved. Multiple groups in DC are working to defund and eventually abolish DC’s MPD, mostly found in the Defund MPD Coalition. Where you plug in depends on what side of abolishing the police you’re interested in, as abolition is an intersectional and multi-faceted issue. Below are some different types of groups that all relate back to abolition in DC that you can get involved in:
Abolishing the police is environmental justice (https://www.defundmpd.org/why-defund-articles/environment):
The Sunrise Movement DC, the Palm Collective, and ShutDown DC.
Abolishing the police is housing justice (https://www.defundmpd.org/why-defund-articles/housing):
The FairBudget Coalition, Washington Lawyers’ Committee, and the Cancel Rent Coalition.
Abolishing the police is relevant to the decriminalization of drugs (https://www.defundmpd.org/why-defund-articles/decriminalizing-drugs): HIPS, the Drugs Policy Alliance, and SSDP.
Abolishing the police is vital to labor justice, class liberation, and food security (https://www.defundmpd.org/why-defund-articles/food-justice):
Metro DC DSA, Working Families Party DC, Heal Da Homies, and Food Not Bombs DC.
Of course, abolishing the police is racial justice. Some groups organizing around Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian liberation, along with abolition, are Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, the Palm Collective, BLM DC, Occupation Free DC, Justice for Muslims Collective, Anakbayan DC, Sanctuary DMV, and many many more.
(This list is obviously not exhaustive and does not include all of the groups doing amazing work for the DMV community.)
Lauren Lucy Caddell '23
NCS has a class called Politics in America, an elective for seniors that is very similar to STA’s senior American Government. The class is taught by the same teacher who teaches the required eighth grade AmGov at NCS, and on the first day in both classes, students do the same exercise: aligning themselves along a political spectrum across the room, with liberal on one side and conservative on the other. I, unfortunately, am not in this class, but from various accounts from students in the class I gathered that most of the class put themselves close to the middle, but leaned slightly to the liberal side. So, if this class is to be taken as a small sample of the overall school population, one would think that NCS is mostly moderate, but leaning to the left.
I was recently approached by an editor who asked if I could find someone to write the conservative side of a point-counterpoint article. “I don’t know who the conservatives are,” she said. A lot of us would face the same problem. As of right now I think there are maybe six people in the entire Upper School who identify as definitively conservative. NCS’s student body is, to say the least, one-sided.
When I first heard about the Politics in America activity, my friend told me that the class “forced people to be conservative.” I asked her what she meant and she backtracked. “I mean if they were sort of near the middle but on the conservative side we told them to move down. We needed someone to be conservative!” So moderates, or liberals who take certain conservative stances, are the “conservatives” of the school. But here’s the main issue: the last time I can remember having an actual political discussion in a class was in eighth grade American Government. In history classes we’re focused on analyzing the past, and in English class we close-read the stories of the present. We almost never focus on politics. So how can the student body all be supposedly liberal if we don’t know anything?
I’ve been focusing on NCS because I have more knowledge about it, but STA isn’t fully politically balanced either. I’ve heard arguments by many that STA is in a better position than NCS due to the variety of positions on the political spectrum from the student body. There is more intelligent and informed debate simply due to the higher range of opinions on political issues. To some extent, this is true, but from my experience in Government Club I also know that on average, STA students spend more time reading the news and debating politics among themselves on their own time. However, the establishment of a new paper at STA this year is a subtle pushback against the mostly-liberal opinions presented in the independent Exchanged. It might not be as noticeable as labeling moderates as conservative, but there is still an emphasis on liberal opinions that worries conservatives who feel as though the school is becoming too liberal.
NCS is scared of conservatives, and to some extent, STA is as well. I’m not saying that educating ourselves about politics will turn us all conservative, but I do think that more discussion on political issues, especially at NCS, will help to depolarize the student body. There’s nothing wrong with a liberal majority in a student body, but that majority has to stem from individual development of a political identity through researching current debates and discussing them with others. Issues such as abortion and immigration rights, while more controversial, are not the only debates to exist. That’s why Gov Club (as well as classes like AmGov and Writing Politics) was so important for me starting back in freshman year. If I had never started attending meetings, I would have blindly followed whatever I picked up around me and never formed my own political beliefs.
Politics is arguably one of the most important fields for us to know about as we get older. Unlike math, which is perhaps important for future Economics majors and budget calculations, or biology, which will mostly be left to the future doctors and Google in a pinch, we all participate in our political system through voting. There is no one we can hire to vote for us or tell us what to do–we have to do our own research. And yes–there is often a lot of political tension on the Close. That may not change, but we can develop our own mindsets about where we stand politically to lessen the divide and create meaningful discussion.
Note: The author of this article is the liberal president of Government Club.
Maryam Mohseni '24
Following the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iranian morality police, protestors took to the streets. The already unstable country has been further destabilized with calls for the overthrow of the current government and a total regime change, as well as foreign intervention, namely from the United States. This is nothing new. In fact, opposition forces have been growing in the Islamic Republic of Iran from the moment it was established, and in the past few years social unrest has become more and more prevalent. Although we hear that these protests are as a result of mandatory hijab laws and the death of Mahsa Amini, the reality is much more complicated and layered. The country has been suffering from systematic corruption and economic mismanagement for decades now. Social and economic mobility is practically impossible, current inflation rates are at least at 50%, and poverty rates are estimated to be at 60%. So, for the protestors, Mahsa Amini’s death was simply a stark reminder of everything that is going wrong in the country.
As people take to the streets to protest, there is no clear path as to what comes next and what role the rest of the world plays in this social strife. It is highly unlikely that the government will reform itself. However, calls for the intervention of the United States are a mistake. Historically, United States intervention in the Middle East has never resulted in a positive outcome as measured by economic growth, political stability, and democratic governance. Take Afghanistan, for example. In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban. Twenty years later, with hundreds of thousands of casualties, trillions of dollars spent, and a new wave of the refugee crisis, the war seems to have taken us nowhere: the Taliban are back in power. Similarly, the U.S. invasion and later occupation of Iraq resulted in more than one million Iraqi deaths, destroyed the country's infrastructure, triggered ongoing sectarian and ethnic upheavals, and left the country with no clear path forward. History need not repeat itself for the third time.
Additionally, the US foreign policy towards the region has made it clear over the past seven decades that it does not prioritize the Iranian people or true democracy and democratic governance. In 1953, Mohamad Mosadeq was democratically elected as the prime minister of Iran, and he introduced a series of radical policies including the nationalization of Iranian oil. Afraid that Mosadeq would disrupt the cheap oil supply to the West and withdraw profitable oil reserves from the hands of Western companies, the United States and the United Kingdom staged a coup détat overthrowing Mosadeq and reinstating the king, violating the sovereignty of the Iranian people and their inalienable right to democratically elect a leader. For the next 26 years, the US supported and armed the shah’s (king) regime — a monarchy, and since the inception of the Islamic Republic, the United States has imposed various legal and economic sanctions on Iran, which have only toughened over the years. These sanctions do no harm to the political and social elite and only serve to further cripple the working-class people of Iran. So why the sanctions if it is not hurting the elite? Through the sanctions, the US is aiming to make life so miserable for working class Iranians that they would eventually revolt against the regime or at the very least pressure the regime to alter its course.
If the United States truly wanted to help the Iranian people it would alleviate the economic sanctions it has imposed, yet it is doing the opposite. As protests have erupted, the United States has threatened to further impose sanctions on Iran, which would only worsen the economic strife under which Iranian people are living. Additionally, it would be wise of the U.S. to consider its own systematic violence against Black and Brown people before threatening to impose more sanctions against Iran for a similar crime.
In truth, if the United States were to get involved in Iran it would only do so for its own political and economic benefit and if history were any indication, it would leave the country worse off. Ultimately the social strife in Iran can only be successfully solved by the Iranian people themselves, and while I don’t believe in the United States’ intervention in the conflict, I do believe there are many other ways one can support the Iranian people in their fight for democracy and economic prosperity. Educating ourselves about the history of the region, providing material support to those suffering economically (which currently is prohibited under the economic sanctions), and raising public awareness are some possible ways to support the Iranian cause.
Ilias Janus '26
With the issue of affirmative action raging across the nation, I want to provide a perspective on its benefits in this article. Affirmative action is the consideration of race in the admissions process of schools, because certain minorities have faced many issues throughout our history, and they are disproportionately affected by wealth inequality and generational poverty. With black households having one-third of the wealth that white households have, they typically have fewer opportunities leading up to college. White students are also more likely to be legacy students, making it even easier for them to get into college. Additionally, on many campuses, people of color are underrepresented in the student body. There is another major problem: teachers tested for implicit bias usually have a prejudice against children of color, leading to harsher punishments for the same offenses and records that reflect worse behavior.
Affirmative action offers a possible solution to many of these problems, as people of color who graduate college are more likely to get higher-paying jobs than those who do not. There are also benefits to the student body at large. According to the Century Foundation, a diverse student body is less likely to have a racial bias and is instrumental in increasing self-confidence. Diversity, therefore, benefits students of all races. There is another group of thought that believes affirmative action does not promote merit, leading to a smaller incentive to work hard. However, affirmative action still promotes hard work and ability over other qualities. An additional possible problem is that affirmative action prioritizes some minority groups over others. While this needs to be addressed, the benefits of affirmative action far outweigh the disadvantages. While we’re on the right track, the fundamental problem of inequality is not yet solved. For example, even with affirmative action, blacks on average make thirty-thousand dollars less annually than their white counterparts. The whole purpose of affirmative action is to raise minorities' wealth, to a point where it is no longer needed. Some also argue that affirmative action can be a reparation for all of the generations that could not get a decent education. However, others counter that reparations lead to additional interracial tensions.
It is worth noting that affirmative action is by no means a new idea, but dates back to 1961, when President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, requiring government contractors to “take affirmative action” to ensure employers are not treated or employed differently according to their race. Lyndon Johnson later built on this legislature, making workplaces create new job opportunities for minorities and, in 1971, for women. Affirmative action continued to be expanded, with a few hiccups over the next decades, until the early 2000s, when many voters demanded change, claiming that its purpose was complete. However, affirmative action remained in play until the Trump administration came into power. The Justice Department scrapped many programs and battled universities over the issue, leading us to the state of affirmative action today.
Today, affirmative action supports underprivileged kids to get into good schools, helping end countless years of poverty cycles. Although it favors several minorities, it still does lots of good throughout the community and helps to stop systemic racism. Although it should not last forever, it is necessary for now. As we wait for this issue to go before the Supreme Court, it is important for us to recognize that affirmative action can help heal many of the divisions in our society.
Jacob Fife '23
The world sucks. You hate school, the government is falling apart, and you’re incurably single. You sit in your messy room and complain about life. “We live in a society,” you think to yourself.
So, what will you do about it? You're not a politician or the ruler of a great nation, so you certainly can’t do anything that will actually change everything.
Then, you remember something: I’m a human who can complain in amazing, artistic ways.
Lengthy, instrumentally-lead, typically rock songs—known to many as “‘we live in a society’ twenty-minute guitar solo” music—are the ultimate, yet usually pretentious, form of protest music. Perhaps the most well-known example of this musical medium is Pink Floyd, and the band’s album Animals is their clearest political statement with its messaging against capitalism, cops, and corruption. Two other, maybe less well-known, bands I’d like to mention are King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. King Gizzard’s ten-minute-plus jam sessions, full of alternate tuning and non-stop energy, highlight humanity’s destruction of nature and the threat of climate change. Godspeed You’s grim and experimental instrumentation focuses on the hypocrisy of freedom and justice in American society.
But, how do you make music give a message? Of course, it’s easy to get one’s point across through lyrics, but how do you make a song’s sound portray a message?
The best place to look for the origin of most trends in Western music is jazz. As for “‘we live in a society’ twenty-minute guitar solo” music, that finds its roots in spiritual jazz and jazz fusion pieces of the 1960s and 1970s. Highly experimental and highly drugged-out jazz pieces, such as the heavenly Karma by Pharoah Sanders or the action-packed The Inner Mounting Flame by Mahavishnu Orchestra, refuse to be held back by any conventional or “correct” guidelines. These artistic statements are political in that they challenge the evils of the world with the beauty, and overwhelming strangeness, of love. I sound like a tree-hugging hippie when I say that, but whether or not these pieces were made from love, they still are unconventional for the sake of being unconventional.
Instrumental protest songs are some of the best music to ever exist. Anyone who can take a musical risk and make it sound good is a great musician. In order to change the world, you must be able to view it in strange ways. Twenty-minute guitar solos just might be able to make that happen.