Why I Proudly Chose A USA Dorm Theme

Why I Proudly Chose A USA Dorm Theme

My dorm is the land of the free, home of the brave.
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Asking an incoming freshman what their dorm theme is, is like asking someone what their favorite ice cream flavor is. You are guaranteed at least a combination of different answers depending on the individual. Some use their favorite colors, others showcase their creative talents with their inspiration coming from Pinterest or Tumblr. But for someone with barely any artistic abilities, I chose an American theme.

Why? I love the United States. When I told a few friends before leaving for school about my USA theme, their responses were that I was "generic" and that my stars and bars were offensive. I not only wondered why, but more importantly, I wondered, "How?" I thought to myself, "Am I not allowed to love my own country? Is it truly offensive to display American flag memorabilia? And if it is, how would you be able to distinguish that between patriotism and arrogance?"

To set a few things straight, this country is the farthest thing from perfection. I cannot ignore the many injustices and atrocities that Americans and our citizens have encountered throughout our history--from Columbus' brutal treatment of the Native Americans all the way up to the recent attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia. I know that the flag I choose to hang on my wall has history of brutal bloodshed, battle victories, and civil injustices. And trust me, America never will be perfect. That isn't the goal; hanging my flag is not obnoxiously reminding people of these daily horrors. Rather, the goal for a better America is not to be perfect but rather to be a "land of the free"-- to work together with all people from diverse religions, ethnicities, socio-economic status, and cultures, to rid the world of evident racism, white supremacy, and bigotry, and to unite as one to combat acts of terror and violence.

America is NOT Donald Trump. We wear freedom, not blonde toupees. America is NOT Charlottesville. American is NOT the Ku Klux Klan. We do not wear white hoods of racism and bigotry.

America IS Walt Disney. America is creators. America IS Albert Einstein. America is innovators. America is soldiers. America IS Alexander Hamilton. America is immigrants. America IS Eleanor Roosevelt. America is powerful women and men working together.

Whenever I think about what the United States represented to people in the past, I think of my Italian ancestors who immigrated to the United States a couple of generations ago. Their eyes awed at the sight of Ellis Island as they finally completed their strenuous journey across the Atlantic, and their hearts yearned for a new life according to the mirage of the "American dream". To them, America was more than the Red Scare which immersed their new culture in fear.

I think of the families who suffer civil injustices in Syria, who distract themselves from the bomb sirens with the thought of being saved or for a better life in America. My flag is a symbol of hope--not hate--for you.

I think of the armed men and women who sacrifice themselves every single day for the sole purpose of service. To them, I owe the utmost respect and honor; because without them, I could not imagine what kind of life I would have. To all those who serve or have served, and to my friends who will one day serve in the Navy and Merchant Marines, my American flag hangs high in my dorm because of you.

I think of the admirable efforts women have made within the past century. Women like Susan B. Anthony all the way up to Malala continue to fight for women's rights all across the globe. Together, we have truly made progress in a world that was once shut off to our opinions; a world where we were considered second class citizens. Now, we know what equality is like in this country when we marry the person we want, receive our college diploma at the university we chose, and plan the career we have always dreamed of.

However, these rights are not found throughout our global community. Women cannot drive in various parts of the Middle East, women are gang raped in sections of Africa and Asia, women are mercilessly mutilated, and women continue to be sold to much older men against their will. These acts of injustice should not be tolerated, regardless of whatever oppressive culture extols them. And I hope and pray that this generation, including myself, recognizes these injustices and helps to modify these outdated and brutal societies. My Rosie the Riveter "We Can Do It" poster is in my room because of you and the struggles we still face today.

I chose an American dorm theme not because I am intolerant or unaccepting of other nations and their cultures. My dorm is a land of the free, not a place to brag. I am not selfish because I love my country. I am not obnoxious if I hang an American flag. I am simply passionate about the values that my country was founded upon, the values Washington, Hamilton and Jefferson-as imperfect as they were as normal human beings-built this country on. From there, I can only hope we, as a country, work towards a greater community amidst the hate, terror, and injustice of our time.

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Cosenza

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37 Things Growing Up in the South Taught You

Where the tea is sweet, but the people are sweeter.
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1. The art of small talking.
2. The importance of calling your momma.
3. The beauty of sweet tea.
4. How to use the term “ma'am” or “sir” (that is, use it as much as possible).
5. Real flowers are way better than fake flowers.
6. Sometimes you only have two seasons instead of four.
7. Fried chicken is the best kind of chicken.
8. When it comes to food, always go for seconds.
9. It is better to overdress for Church than underdress.
10. Word travels fast.
11. Lake days are better than beach days.
12. Handwritten letters never go out of style.
13. If a man doesn’t open the door for you on the first date, dump him.
14. If a man won’t meet your family after four dates, dump him.
15. If your family doesn’t like your boyfriend, dump him.
16. Your occupation doesn’t matter as long as you're happy.
17. But you should always make sure you can support your family.
18. Rocking chairs are by far the best kind of chairs.
19. Cracker Barrel is more than a restaurant, it's a lifestyle.
20. Just 'cause you are from Florida and it is in the south does not make you Southern.
21. High School football is a big deal.
22. If you have a hair dresser for more than three years, never change. Trust her and only her.
23. The kids in your Sunday school class in third grade are also in your graduating class.
24. Makeup doesn’t work in the summer.
25. Laying out is a hobby.
26. Moms get more into high school drama than high schoolers.
27. Sororities are a family affair.
28. You never know how many adults you know 'til its time to get recommendation letters for rush.
29. SEC is the best, no question.
30. You can't go wrong buying a girl Kendra Scotts.
31. People will refer to you by your last name.
32. Biscuits and gravy are bae.
33. Sadie Robertson is a role model.
34. If it is game day you should be dressed nice.
35. If you pass by a child's lemonade stand you better buy lemonade from her. You're supporting capitalism.
36. You are never too old to go home for just a weekend… or just a meal.
37. You can’t imagine living anywhere but the South.



































Cover Image Credit: Grace Valentine

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When Are We Going To Admit That White People Have The Worst Relationship With Law Enforcement

Minding ones own business is a great stress reliever.

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In March, Stephon Clark was shot dead by police after a neighbor reported vandalism. Clark, who was found not to the vandal, was walking through his own grandmother's backyard when he was shot in the back by police, holding only a cellphone.

In April, two black men waiting to have a business meeting in a Philly Starbucks were arrested after an employee called police on them. In May, a black Yale law student had campus police called on her by a white student after she fell asleep in a chair. Jennifer Schulte, A.K.A BBQ Becky called the police on a black family barbequing in an Oakland park. Alison Ettel, A.K.A Permit Patty pretended to call the police to scare an 8-year-old black girl who was selling water outside of her mother's apartment complex. A 12-year-old boy in Ohio had the police called on him after he accidentally mowed a few inches into a neighbors lawn.

Just recently a Washington priest called the police on a black funeral and threw them out of his church, body-and-all, after someone accidentally knocked over a chalice. Adam Bloom, A.K.A Pool Patrol Peter called the police on Jasmine Edwards and her son at a community swimming pool in her complex after claiming she didn't live there despite her having a key card to use the facility. And a personal favorite, Donisha Prendergast, the granddaughter of the late-great reggae artist, Bob Marley, was swarmed by Southern California police while checking out of an Airbnb after a nosey neighbor reported them for burglary.

What is painfully obvious is that white people have a tendency to call 911 like it's customer service for life's mundane issues. And when I use the phrase "life's mundane issue," I mean the fact that some white people seem to take issue with black people living their lives and minding their own business. Maybe they are depressed, maybe they are suffering the loss of a loved one, maybe they inadvertently talked themselves into a bad mood, but none of these are excuses for plotting to have someone killed.

And please don't think I am being dramatic or jumping the gun. Police have the inclination to shoot first and ask questions never when they are dealing with black people. Ask the family of Stephon Clark, and countless other black men and women slain due to mistaken identity or shaky, trigger-happy police officers. And in the case of Permit Patty, this woman used the fact that she knew little black children were terrified of law enforcement to get an 8-year-old to stop selling her $1 water bottles. Evil.

Now, I'm not particularly a fan of the police, but I would assume that they don't appreciate being called out of their local Dunkin Donuts every time a Becky feels the need to flex her outdated Android and call 911 on every other black person they see.

But what I want to know is when these police officers are going to start arresting folks for wasting their time and resources? I know these folks must be talking up the situation while on the phone with the 911 operator, because I can't imagine these operators sending out cops for every little thing, especially not when I have personally called the police for a legitimate reason and had them not show up.

Actually, I once called 911 after witnessing a car wreck and no one picked up the phone. No joke, I had to hang up and call back twice before someone picked up. But come to think of it, I'm sure they were just busy comforting some terrified white woman calling about a black man wearing socks at the pool.

"Yes, hello. My name is Becky. There is a black man here violently wielding a lawnmower and destroying my property. He looks suspicious and I am afraid for my safety. Also, Make America Great Again!"

And when these police officers get to the "scene" and realize they are being asked to arrest someone for using gas instead of coal (or whatever) on a grill, I really wonder what is going through their minds.

Nevermind the little old lady getting mugged down the street, BBQ Becky's pressing matter must come first.

Non-emergent line or not, if there are penalties for filing a false police report, why are there no penalties for knowingly lying to 911 operators about the severity of a situation and why are there no laws against calling the police for stupid-ass reasons?

Cover Image Credit:

Michelle Dione Snider / YouTube

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