This Article Will Trigger You

This Article Will Trigger You

“We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.” - George Orwell
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Many of you who know me personally know that I follow politics very closely and I have previously used Facebook as the medium in which I discuss political topics from gun control, to LGBT rights and everything in between. I’m excited to use my new platform here on Odyssey to interact with the rest of the world and hopefully start some intellectual and productive discussions.

The topic for the day is a hot one, and one that has caused incredible division and strife across the country; on college campuses, on social media and in our everyday lives. The topic is free speech, and it is most certainly under attack in the United States. It’s been a long time coming, but we all live in a world where the things you say and think can be used against you and wielded as a weapon by those who want you to shut your mouth. You’re only allowed to have the “politically correct” opinion and the words you use have to be “PC friendly” or you face persecution from the Thought Police that make sure things like that never come out of your mouth again. Its all about control.

Before we proceed, let me give you an example of what I mean. Earlier this week on my Twitter (follow me, fam @EliForbes56), I was discussing the latest shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana with some of the kids I graduated high school with. I originally tweeted a statistic I obtained from data compiled by University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson and the FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports, talking about how it would take policemen approximately 40 years to kill the same number of African Americans as African Americans did to each other in 2012 alone. My desired intent was to show that yes, black lives do indeed matter, and police violence needs to certainly be minimized, but perhaps we have much bigger problems to tackle than police shootings, whether they were justified or not (for the record, I don’t believe the latest shootings were at all justified.) I did not put any political spin on the tweet, it was a simple stat that I thought was important to note when discussing institutional racism in the U.S.

In addition to about 20 likes and several retweets in the first two hours or so after tweeting, I was met with militant hostility from two young women as well as someone I had played football with in high school. The two women called me racist, told me they had lost respect for me as a person, as well as run my name through the dirt via social media for the world to see. The other gentleman (white) got very angry that I used the word “blacks” instead of “African Americans.” He said that using blacks was “insensitive” and proceeded to call me a “retard” for not agreeing with his point of view. After I pointed out how ironic that statement was, he threatened to kill me. For the world to see. That escalated pretty quickly…

This, ladies and gentleman is the work of the regressive left. I have not seen it manifest itself anywhere but on the left and it is truly a cancer to our society. I was not allowed to provide statistics, because it was “racist” and “insensitive.” They demanded me to be silent and that my opinion does not matter and should not speak it. What a time to be alive...

Does this sound familiar? This happens all over the country, especially between millennials on college campuses. We hear about it all the time, when a conservative student, or anyone for that matter, makes a statement or raises an argument that someone else takes offense to, that student is punished and taught to not voice their opinions, as it can hurt the feelings of those around them. Wow, really? In American colleges, words really do hurt, as conservative speakers (such as the fabulous Milo Yiannopoulos) are protested, students are lectured about micro-aggressions, professors are all progressive and safe spaces are readily available for those who have been oppressed by the hate speech written in chalk promoting the candidacy of Donald Trump.

So what does this teach the young, conservatively minded college student? It teaches him or her that their opinion is worthless. It teaches that they are “racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted” and whatever else the left wishes to label them with. They are either ashamed of their political beliefs and will not admit to them as to not hurt anyone’s feelings, or they simply say nothing, as they know they will be punished for their actions.

Political analysts and politicians on both the left and the right have spoken out against this kind of behavior, and the time has come for us, as millennials, as college students, to take a stand. We will not stand by as you ruin the lives of our professors who are fired or forced to resign because of a difference of opinion (looking at you, Yale.) We will not cater to your feelings and emotions. We will not allow you to hide behind your safe space rainbow wonderland every time you see the face of a candidate you don’t agree with. We will not be silenced.

I challenge you, on the left, to have the courage to debate civilly and freely with your colleagues on the right. Respect their opinions, and they will most certainly respect yours. Try to come up with an argument other than “check your privilege, s**tlord!” or “You’re an Islamophobic bigot!”

And please… micro-aggressions do not exist. Try to act like grown men or women and realize that words and different opinions, do not, in fact, hurt you. Let’s be the generation that can truly work together to accomplish what previous generations could not do. It starts now. Let the discussion begin.


Thanks for reading! Feedback is always appreciated, y’all. Big thanks for all of the support so far! You guys are amazing! Next week I plan on continuing the Bound in Blood series with the second installment. Get hype. Roll Tribe.

Cover Image Credit: New Statesman

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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