You Have Privilege... And It's Up To You To Use It and Help Others

Those With Privilege Have The Responsibility To Speak Out For Those Who Don't

It's up to you on how you use it... Are you using it properly?

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Two years ago, I was chatting with someone from high school that I'd recently reconnected with. The two of us stopped talking our junior year, but we were getting along fairly well. Well enough that we were chatting about the two of us even going on a date, in fact.

Somehow we'd started talking about weird/funny situations in which we were hit on, joking about the strangest ways it had been done and what made us laugh about each. Our stories were fairly similar until I finally got to one about a 30 or 40-year-old man randomly hitting on me via Facebook Messenger. I didn't explain his age, simply the fact that "He definitely wasn't my type."

He replied with a one-word question. I said no, then ghosted him that same day.

Now, the two of us are both white. I could have—and should have—told him off right then and there. I had a privilege others lack, especially in the eyes of my old "friend" who, looking back on it, didn't seem to think that non-Caucasians were equally valid. The signs were there, the opportunity presented itself, and I was in the right position to tell him off.

But I didn't, and I regret that to this day.

Could I have made a difference? Could I have changed his mind? Could I have at least placed a little seed of shame for using that kind of racist language? Could I have at least pointed out that using that word, especially in that manner, was disgusting and inappropriate?

Probably. I was a white woman whose opinion he respected, I had very little personal reason to tell him to stop, and I'm typically open to most viewpoints as long as they don't hurt others... But why would my opinion matter when there were so many black men and women out there saying not to use that word?

Because to him, my opinion held more weight than the black men and women in those videos. In my interactions with him, I have a privilege.

And it hit me a short while later: I have a privilege, but how I use it is up to me. I could absolutely sit there, ignoring the problems of people unlike myself, or I could stop people when I see them saying or doing inappropriate things.

Just because someone may have been told a million times that certain phrases are inappropriate doesn't mean they listened. Just because someone went through all the training doesn't mean they care. Just because someone claims to have an open mind doesn't mean they do. By utilizing the privilege you may have, you can use the exact same speech someone else gave and get an entirely different result.

Take this TEDx; if you heard a woman claiming that domestic and sexual assault was a man's problem rather than a women's problem, there's a good chance you would roll your eyes and call her a "feminazi" or "man hater," regardless of how good her argument was. Instead, you have a man presenting this argument in the hopes that people will listen and acknowledge that we ought to address the root problem. He has the ability to ignore this problem, to laugh at inappropriate jokes with his jokes and take his job at face value, but instead, he is taking the time and energy to speak out and reach men—because he knows that some men aren't being reached by women advocates.

Unsplash- Women's March sign

If you're white, stomp out conversations where people who aren't are being belittled; if you're straight, counter any anti-LGB+ jokes; if you identify as your birth gender, don't let your friends be jerks about those who don't; and if you're able-bodied, don't be unkind to anyone who isn't. The list goes on and on, but the underlying theme is the same:

We're all people. Act like it.

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Not Having The 'Picture Perfect' Body Shape Doesn't Mean You Can't Wear A Bikini

All shapes and size are acceptable and beautiful.

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Summer has finally come again and it's now the time where everyone regrets not working out to get their "perfect" summer body. I'm here to say that these summer bodies everyone has been talking about are an unhealthy way to look at yourself and can hurt one's body image. If you're a size zero, that's great for you. If you're not a size zero, that is still great for you. There is no defined size that is required to wear a bikini during the summer, and there shouldn't be these unrealistic society norms on who can and can't wear them.

My entire life I was never worried about my size or how I look in a clothing item such as a bathing suit during the summer. I had always maintained a small figure from being active in grade school all the way through high school. Now that I am in college with no daily or weekly (and sometimes even monthly) exercise routine, I have gained weight and started to feel self conscious in what I look like in certain items that show my stomach. I don't look like the swimsuit models that are posted all over Instagram and started to feel that when summer came along I shouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit or a shirt that showed any part of my stomach. I was beginning to feel bad about my body image because I didn't have the body shape or size that is considered to be a "society norm" and let it get to me. This is when I knew I needed to change my mindset, and not my physical appearance.

Just because someone isn't a certain size doesn't mean they should be shame into not wearing something they like or makes them feel good about themselves. Summertime is all about being in the sun at the beach or at the pool and getting a tan and getting in the water. This things require a swimsuit of some sort. The size and shape of someone's body shouldn't put a restriction on what type of bathing suit they choose to wear, and no one should comment on how they look in it in a negative manner. For some people, it's hard to lose weight just as it is hard for some people to gain weight. Society is always making remarks about girls being "too small" or "too big" or comments that are similar to those and it's putting a negative effect on how women view themselves which makes it harder for them to have a sense of self love.

Let a woman feel good about herself in what she's wearing no matter her size and leave the rude comments to yourself. Whether she is a size 0 or greater, she is still adding beauty into the world. If you want to wear a bikini, then do it. Don't let the negative people in society harshen your summertime fun.

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