Dear White Liberals, Whose Lives Are We Marching For?

Dear White Liberals, Whose Lives Are We Marching For?

An open letter to the white liberals who can afford to disarm.
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Since 2016, violence in its many forms (police violence, hate crimes, domestic terrorism, war) has been at the forefront of people's minds.

But one stands out among the rest - school shootings. The school shooting is a uniquely American tragedy which has inspired enough outrage, sadness, and fear to deserve the attention it gets. But rather than address the problems at the root* of the school shooting, we as a nation have chosen to ignore this in favor of disarming every person of color, every woman, every member of the LGBTQIA community who doesn't have the privilege of disarmament, of trusting the police with their lives. Once again, white privilege has won the day and the most "progressive" and "brave" movements of our time exist only to uphold the state monopoly on violence.

Before delving into why liberals have betrayed marginalized and oppressed peoples yet again, let's address how conservatives have betrayed basic human decency yet again. No, the Parkland kids are not "crisis actors." Yes, you are a scumbag for suggesting that is the case. Also, they're not communists. Moving on...

Liberals, I'm talking to you directly now, specifically you white liberals, you are and have always been the worst enemy of marginalized communities.

Martin Luther King Jr. himself has said so. You'd know this if you weren't so busy whitewashing the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.

A black man, a father, was shot dead in his grandmother's backyard holding a cell phone. His name was Stephon Clark. Who's marching for his life? Who's marching for Trayvon Martin's life? Who's marching for Tamir Rice's life? Who's marching for Aiyana Jones' life? Admittedly, there are a few people marching for their lives, mostly people of color. But where's their air time? Where are their interviews? When black kids said "never again" they weren't heroes. They didn't get on the cover on Time Magazine. They got tear gas and rubber bullets.

And as more and more Black Lives Matter leaders are being assassinated, where are all the white liberals demanding an end to the violence? As the FBI begins prosecuting "black identity extremists", where are the white "progressives" demanding justice? Because we all know it's not "black identity extremists" who are shooting up schools. It's white men. But white liberals can't touch that; that'd be a challenge to their white privilege. They can pay lip service to it, on some level they understand that something inherent in white identity is violent, but their liberal ideology, the same ideology of the conservatives, will not allow them to do anything which is against their best interests as whites.

This is not the first time this has happened. Gun control has always had a racist history. It was the Black Panther Party which made Ronald Reagan pro-gun control while he was governor of California. And, as a white man, he should have been afraid. That was a direct threat to his white privilege. The Black Panthers weren't going to hand in their weapons to the same police, the same government, which threw them into concrete cotton plantations, which beat and killed them in the streets like animals. They were demanding and asserting their liberty.

Calls to disarm civilians but not the police and the military are efforts only to address the violence which affects you white liberals personally. You were fine with Obama's Shadow War. You're fine with a militarized police force. Why is arming the citizenry, the people of color, the women, the queers, and the workers, the line not to be crossed?


*Note to Reader: I have wanted to do an article about the underlying causes of mass shootings (addressing race, gender, etc.) for a while but never got around to it. Every time I was about to I thought: “the timings not right, wait until the next mass shooting.”

It's absolutely horrific how certain everyone I know and I are that, yes, there will be more violence in schools and, no, we won't even be shocked by it. It's expected now; just as we expect America to pursue endless war (whether we hear about it or not) and cops to keep killing unarmed people of color (whether we hear about it or not).

We are a sick nation which refuses to look itself in the mirror and address reality.

Violence will continue until we recognize that we are a colonial nation founded on violence and perpetuated by violence and choose to do something about it at the expense of our own privilege. Gun control is but a band-aid on the open wound that is colonial and imperial domination both at home and abroad.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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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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