But Fried Chicken

But Fried Chicken

Apparently being black and a vegetarian are mutually exclusive.

For two years now I've been vegetarian. I made the decision because I love animals and do not agree with the way they are treated in the mass food industry. Many disagree with my decision but that's not where I'm going with this. I'm not PETA here to throw paint on your fur. I'm here to ask why in the living hell is being black and a vegetarian such a paradox?

Yes, I know. However will I be accepted among the black masses if my plate does not both have fried chicken and collared greens? My chicken and waffles is lacking in chicken! Oh God! Oh Lordy! How can I be black?

Now that you've had time to soak in how utterly stupid that is you now understand my feelings in this situation. I tell someone I'm a vegetarian and they say "but you're black."

Yes. I am. Thanks for letting me know. What does my dietary lifestyle have to do with my ethnicity again? Oh that's right.


Not only have I gotten "but you're black" but also "you're not black." Not white black person but I simply am not black. After quickly giving myself an inspection to make sure all these veggies hadn't depleted me of my pigment(it hadn't) I wondered why anyone would say that. Then glass shattered and light bulbs lit up around the world as I had the most enlightening question hit me like a soul food induced heart attack.

Is my entire race defined by our fried chicken?

Don't get me wrong. When I used to eat meat my dad's fried chicken was a religious experience but I have several friends that will tell you the same. Oh and guess what. They're not all black.

Oh and guess another thing.

There is no race restriction on being a vegetarian.

Black Card Intact.

Cover Image Credit: gunaxin

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.


It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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10 Reasons It Is Hard AF For Native Americans To Carve A Space In College

Everyone knows that the struggle is real in college. BUT not everyone knows about Native Americans or their struggles. Less so about Native Americans in higher education. Here are some reasons why it is hard for Native college students to feel comfortable in places that were never meant for them.

I grew up being surrounded by Natives and now I'm in my second year of college with less than five Native American students on the entire campus. Here's a few things that I've noticed in my efforts to reintroducing Native students to primarily white institutions.

1. Minority-Minorities

It is no secret that Indigenous people are the smallest population almost everywhere. In the U.S., Native students in college are spread out across the country while only making up less than 3% of the entire U.S. population. To have enough Native students to form a cohesive and relatively large community is hard to do. AND there's so much cultural diversity within the Indigenous community (560+ federally recognized tribes with different languages and cultural customs).

2. Other POCs don't get ALL of it

Natives are people of color too and we have so much in common with Black, Latinx, and Asian students. We understand one another... but to an extent. While we can share inside jokes about the shocking things that white people do, we can't joke about things that happen in Native communities with them.

We can't turn to other POCs and expect them to joke about accidentally dating our clan cousins or tease one another in our Native languages. Yes, we are connected, but still disconnected. It's an annoying constant reminder that you're still different from people who are also different.

3. Educating vs. Enjoying

Okay, say you establish a club that is Native oriented. Who can be in it? Everyone is welcome, but you have to teach students. No, we're not teaching people how to be Native American (Just NO).

We are trying to make a space where we can be ourselves and feel connected to our lifestyles.

How do you do that? Native Americans have been exploited since European contact, how do you explain who you are without fear of exploitation?

It's hard to celebrate yourself and people similar to you without excess emotional labor to educate people you want to share it with.

4. Getting a club, but not knowing how to grow it

Adding to the idea of a Native American club, there's a form of identity politics that occurs. (Keep in mind the small amount of Native Americans in college.) Now imagine if those natives graduate and there's a long gap between admitting new native students. Who will continue the club?

There's limitations to what Indigenous people choose to share with those that are not part of the tribe/nation. Don't forget, there's a small native student population but we want to include others into our community, yet still careful not to give them power to exploit us. How do you grow a club with so many limitations?

5. Visibility is still Invisibility

This is probably the most interesting point. Natives look phenotypically white, Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Eastern/Western Asian, or however we look externally.

People do not see us as Native American first unless we dress in traditional regalia or until we choose to say or show who we are - people assume what they want.

When you're invisible, you hear other people's voices more than your own. Micro-aggressions which probably don't seem like a big deal. For example, seeing dream catchers, hearing offensive/stupid phrases ("Let's have a powwow!", "Oh you know, I'm part Native..."), or just general cultural appropriation by other minorities (i.e. native designs on EVERYTHING, dreamcatchers, "Indian" themed Greek parties, spirit animals, stealing spirituality, etc.).

The point is, we're a small group and we feel even smaller because we don't feel seen as we are, unless we dress Native.

6. Tokens

Anthropology, religion, philosophy, and other classes study what happened to the natives, but forget to mention that they're still here. But when native issues come up, they look at you automatically. (I have no hard feelings to any of these classes BTW.)

OR when you speak up and say you're native, you're instantly tokenized.

Honestly, I'm not sure how to best address this, but I can tell you how annoying it is.

7. "Rez Kids" are a whole other kind of kid

Okay, I'm going to try to explain this as best I can. Reservations are their own separate worlds and anything outside of it is hard to feel connected to.

Rez kids come from rural areas like "country kids," but know that struggle of people trying to touch your hair.

Rez kids can sing a song by George Jones then change to George Strait, and change it up to Mike Jones all the way to J.Cole and trap rappers. Oh you thought that's all? Give them a playlist with some hair band, rap, RnB, hip hop, metal, Western country, pop country, pop, and maybe some reggae - they'll know 80% of that.

Rez kids ran far and unsupervised like you probably did and have some crazy asf stories to tell.

Rez kids work hard. They're outside in that 100 degree heat, herding livestock, hauling water, building fires, planting, taking care the land, etc.

They can flip tortillas by hand and bake their traditional foods underground or in their outside ovens (@my Latinx and Hispanic people).

I say this because Rez kids can blend in any situation and talk to someone who will assume their identity. It's a strength, yet in some ways it feels like a barrier in getting someone to understand you.


There's Asian restaurants, Hispanic/Latino food sections, organic stuff, Caribbean foods, a lot of different variety of foods... BUT there's no Native food stores!

Understandably so, no one else but Natives would buy it. Regardless, when a college kid is homesick sometimes all we want is a home cooked meal from home.

Nope. Can't get that until they're home for break. The dining hall won't serve anything similar so these babies are SOL.

Another reason why it's difficult to make a space that feels like theirs.

9. "Walking in two worlds"

*eye roll* Everyone I know has heard this. Though I'm tired of hearing it, it's still true.

You have one foot in this Western world of competition, education, and constant change. While also having one foot in your traditional world of healing, traditional knowledge, its own issues, and a place where it seems like nothing really changes.

You gotta be the best Native while being the best student you can be. It's hard to maintain both without one slacking more than the other.

We have to navigate two opposite worlds and try to walk simultaneously in a straight line to your goals and dreams. Navigating both becomes hard when you want to be yourself at college, but people do not understand that.

10. Hopeless feeling

I know in the end it's supposed to be worth it because our ancestors overcame worse, but damn… college is on a whole different level of having to prove yourself not just to others, but also to yourself.

Native students want to be more and do more than what we were given, but at times - it's too much.

To my Native kiddos - I feel you. I know what you're going through, trust me.

If I could, I would "buss out" my Rez accent and make jokes with you. I would laugh loud enough to make you smile. I would give you hope that we'll get through this together. I'll reassure you that this pain of loneliness will pass and we'll be home to embrace our true selves once again.

So stay strong. Raise your head. Pray. Hold your medicine close. Smile past the odd looks and be who you are.

Click here if you need more encouraging words. I know it's hard.

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