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.

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

Popular Right Now

'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.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

My White Privilege Vs. My Friend's Black Oppression



Now, I know many of you are going to read this article and scoff at the term "white privilege." Well, let me just be blunt and say that you are an ignorant person that needs to wake up and see the world for what it truly is. It is not all rainbows and butterflies for everyone out there because not everyone in this world is given the same opportunities and the same treatment as us.

When I say "us," I am referring to white people and yes, I am including myself.

I am going to get real and for you ignorant people, if you do not get the message after this, then I feel sorry for you and I will pray that one day your stupidity is swallowed by the truth: white privilege, racism and oppression is REAL.

Breyonna Miller is a 21-year-old African American female that attends the College of Charleston with me. I, Lyric Richardson, am a 21-year-old white female. We are both majoring in special education and plan to graduate in the spring of 2019. Our dreams consist of teaching in our own classrooms and helping children with disabilities work towards independence.

We have a ton in common with each other, but our lives are so different just because of our skin color. This is evident with just a few experiences between us being compared.

1. Interactions With Law Enforcement

I was pulled over once for speeding. I was pretty mad about getting pulled over because I really did not think that I had been speeding. Naturally, I got quite an attitude with the officer. I even threw my license and registration at him when he asked for it. In the end, I received a ticket that was dropped in court when I chose to appeal it.

Breyonna and some of her friends were leaving a party two summers ago when she was pulled over. Her car was suspected to be the car of people who were shooting guns in a parking lot. The girls in the car were dressed exactly as you would think girls coming from a party would be dressed. It was clear they were not the people who had been shooting up a parking lot. However, the police refused to allow Breyonna to say a word in defending herself. Instead, they held the girls at gun point and told them to "keep their f***ing hands up before they shoot."

After Breyonna and her friends were forced to sit there and fear for their lives, the police told them to leave after discovering the girls were not who they were looking for. Breyonna drove away with no apology from the officers, and an emotional and mental scar permanently etched into her life.

2. The Educational System

I soared through school with high grades and all the support I could possibly get from elementary school all the way to high school. My teachers constantly reminded how successful I would be in my future. My high school guidance counselor spoke with me once a month to make sure I was applying for college and thriving in my academics.

All in all, I was put on a track that set me up to be successful. To top it off, I was encouraged to apply for all types of scholarships to help me pay for a college education. I was also rewarded these scholarships and three years later, I am still receiving them.

Breyonna was considered the "token black child." Yes, she was placed in classes that were considered honors and even though she deserved to be there, the teachers did not see it that way. In the teacher's eyes, they now had to "accommodate" for this black child that was placed in the classroom because the school needed some way to show that there is diversity among the academic achievers.

Breyonna was motivated enough that she pushed through and fought her way to college. Like most students, she needed some financial assistance. Breyonna applied for ROAR in which she would receive a grant to help her continue pursuing a degree. However, the College chose to discontinue this program, so Breyonna was forced to make up the difference by pulling out of her own pocket.

3. Blunt Oppression and Racism

I can honestly say that no one has ever truly insulted me based on my skin color, age, gender, intelligence, or any other aspect of my life that hurt me. Every now and then I hear a blonde joke or my male friends try to intimidate me in sports. However, none of these things cut me so deep that I could not recover.

In contrast, Breyonna has been left speechless at some words that have been thrown at her. She works in a fine dining restaurant which can be automatically associated with wealthy white people. She once had customers tell her to clear their table "like the servant she is." We all are raised and taught to defend ourselves when such hurtful things are said to us, but when someone says something so blunt and casually like that, you are left with no words to defend yourself with.

This is the sad world we live in today and the unfortunate news is that this type of hatred and oppression is not going anywhere anytime soon.

We cannot force people to change their hearts that are full of hate, but we can certainly educate them on the matter. I know this article will not change how some people see the world and it will not make them want to be a better person, but my hope is that for those of you it did reach, do something about it

Actions speak louder than words.

Do not just apologize for being unaware of white privilege. Do not just recognize that racism and oppression exist. Be aware, use your voice, and take a stand!

Related Content

Facebook Comments