In Response to Tuesday’s “On Interracial Relationships”

The fetishization of people of color in this country has been an issue since before the colonization of the Western world itself. While diversity in the United States is indeed on the rise, the growing political climate has also made white supremacy braver as it infiltrates our executive branch and hate crimes in the U.S. begin to rise.

I am a product of an interracial relationship. My father, for as little as I know about him, was a black and Native American man. My mother is Irish, German and Hungarian with red hair and blue eyes to match. So imagine my surprise, and disgust, when I opened The BG News and read that “interracial couples can make beautiful babies. Interracial relationships have so many benefits, can even be a fun ‘fetish’ for many.”

To avoid getting into semantics, the definition of interracial is actually “of, involving, or designed for members of different races.” The definition itself does not include anything about the interaction of those different races, be it platonic or romantic.

Also, an interracial relationship does not have to involve a white individual to be considered interracial as the column used in its examples. Interracial couples can also involve someone who is Latinx and someone who is Black; or someone who is Asian and someone who is Latinx; or someone who is Black and someone who is Asian.

While it is in the author’s opinion that “interracial relationships have the power to completely end racism,” it is fact that this is not ever going to be the case. Despite popular belief, people who are racist have the capability to be in interracial relationships. Historically, white supremacists have slept with women of color in an attempt to “dilute” the skin color of future U.S. citizens and to “dilute” the people and their culture.

How do white supremacists and racists in interracial relationships have the power “to completely end racism,” when their entire ideology sees black bodies as just a capitalist commodity and want to eliminate those people?

In 2016, there were 60.25 million married couples in the United States. As of 2014, 35 percent of all marriages were interracial and interracial marriage is still projected to rise as the demographics of the United States begin to change. Does this mean that interracial marriage is still the minority? Yes. But that does not mean people aren’t “embracing” interracial dating. In fact, it means quite the opposite.

Of course people are still going to think interracial dating and marriages are “taboo.” In 2016, we saw the case of Loving v. Virginia come to life on the silver screen, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage in 1968.

A movie screen cap of
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving from the 2016 movie, “Loving.” The movie made $7.8 million at the box office.
It is going to take more than “beautiful mixed babies,” tolerance and embracing to end racism in U.S. society. It is going to take action, unlearning racist and white supremacist behaviors, and dismantling our institutions of racism before we can even think about it being completely over.

As an active member of the BDSM community, I found it to be incredibly racist and offensive to my community that interracial dating could be seen as a “fun fetish.” People of color have been fetishized for decades and to promote this through interracial dating promotes white supremacy. “Race play” is a very real thing in the community which is where participants take on the roles/stereotypes of different races to enact a power dynamic. A common scene is a submissive taking on the role of a slave and the dominant taking the role of a plantation owner; white submissives will go as far as putting themselves in blackface.

I agree interracial relationships are to be celebrated and embraced. Without interracial love, I don’t know who I would be as a person. I am a tri-racial woman because of interracial dating. But please refrain from fetishization when celebrating these relationships.

This column was written in response to “On Interracial Relationships.”
This column was originally published in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

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New retro toy store brings nostalgia to BG 

Near the corner of South Main, across the street from Lola’s Frozen Yogurt, two small but bright orange flags hang outside with blue lettering and two blue boxing gloves hitting each other. One with an “M” and the other with an “L.”

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro is a new retro toy and video game store in Bowling Green, Ohio. They opened their doors for the first time on Oct. 24, and held a ribbon cutting on Nov. 3. Co-owner Kayla Minniear said and things are going “really well,” for almost one month.

“I think the hardest part about opening the store was actually getting it opened because you have to inventory,” she said. “We cleaned and tested every single game in here, [and] that took us about two weeks.”

Clean and test every game? Individually? I glance at the wall to my left where shelves of Nintendo64 and NES game cartridges lay. In the glass enclosure, a Game Boy Color sits inside with Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow next to it. The holy trinity of Pokémon games at half the price of the new Pokémon Sun and Moon available for Nintendo 3DS.

“There’s probably over a thousand in here,” Minniear said. “Just out right now. I know we had about 700 original NES cards when we first opened.”

Minniear works in the the store full time and co-owns with her husband Jon, a full-time plumber. A couple nights a week and on the weekends, he comes in to help run the store. He also repairs and fixes video game consoles.

Growing up, Kayla was an avid collector of “Sailor Moon” and Disney’s “Aladdin.” When she and her husband first started dating, they began to collect video games after he noted he wanted to have all the games for one of his retro Nintendo systems. For their third anniversary, she bought him a Super Mario Bros. arcade game, which now sits at the front of the store on “free play.”

Photo taken by Erika Heck; Edited by Jonathan Miksanek
Super Mario Bros. and Smash TV arcade games inside Rock Em Sock Em Retro. The games are set to “free play,” according to Kayla Minniear.

A market for retro video game collecting and collectors exists, and it’s increasingly growing into (as Kayla described it) “it’s own stock market.”

“Most people don’t realize that because they’re not retro collectors. Regular stocks go up and down…it’s the same with video games,” she said. “There will be a game that’s worth like, $600 at one point; drop down to $200 and then shoot up to like, two grand. It just depends.”

A game called “Little Samson,” was valued at $80 when the couple first started collecting video games together. It’s highest peak price, according to Kayla, was $1,600 and it is now currently valued at $1,200. They recently traded this game for a trip to Ireland.

As collectors, Kayla and Jon want to get more known in their local collector community and their online community is already strong. Minniear said people at flea markets would ask about where their store front was, but they didn’t have one. Not only are they hoping to give the collector community a new place to buy quality games, but they are hoping to give the Bowling Green community a new place to hang out and remember the good things of the past.

“We’ll be hosting some free tournaments soon,” Minniear said. “If [a] college kid wants to come and do his homework at the booth, I don’t care.”

The white walls are drawn and decorated with different but familiar characters. Above the window facing the alleyway, Spider-Man holds Captain America’s shield. By the arcade machines, Scooby Doo and the gang are fleeing in the Mystery Machine.

“My mother did [the artwork]. She’s going to start painting it on canvas, so if people wanna buy them, they can.”

Picture taken by Erika Heck; Edited by Jonathan Miksanek
Rock Em, Sock Em, robots painted by the entrance wall of Rock Em Sock Em Retro.

Kayla said many collectors of all ages have visited the store.

With the holidays approaching, Kayla Minniear hopes Rock Em Sock Em Retro will be a place people can buy gifts.

“I know a couple people came in to buy the NSYNC dolls just because their sister had it growing up. We’re just hoping to bring a lot of those people in, and we’re also hoping we can keep the shelves full too.”

Annual NPHC Yard Show kicks off start of school year

Photograph by Rebekah Martin

Fraternity Phi Beta Sigma and sorority Zeta Phi Beta hosted their annual Yard Show on Monday, as part of their combined Blue and White Week for the organizations.

The two Greek organizations hold Blue and White Week for students to “come out and get to know them individually,” Zeta Phi Beta senior Tyler Holliman said.

This year’s theme was “Home Improvement,” named after the newly completed Greek housing project that gave both organizations new dwellings. Zeta Phi Beta had previously occupied a small house behind Falcon Heights on Thurstin Ave., but now they have a new house in the new Greek Village, with Sigma Phi Beta across the walkway from them.

The two organizations, along with the other National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek organizations (also called the “Divine Nine”), have been doing the step show for over 10 years. Multicultural Greek organizations Sigma Lambda Gamma and Sigma Lambda Beta also participated in the Yard Show.

“It is specifically for Divine Nine. We do have them (Sigma Lambda Gamma and Sigma Lambda Beta) participate because they are considered our cousins,” said Phi Beta Sigma member Jay Wells, who participated in his last show as a senior.

“Over the years, other Intrafraternity Council and (Pan-Hellenic) have joined in,” Phi Beta Sigma chapter president A’Davius Chambers said, who’s participating in his third Yard Show. “They got invited for … certain things, but it’s based upon the Divine Nine.”

The yard show displays the Greek organizations stepping and strolling, which comes from African culture. The organizations dance together in various formations as one group.

“The way we look at it is like … a way to just advertise our organizations to … the students, especially the first years,” Chambers said. “Just trying to get them to want to join our organizations.”

Fraternity Omega Psi Phi participated in their first Yard Show in three years. New member Chris McClendon said the fraternity was “happy to be back on campus,” and is ready to serve their community.

For Holliman, it was her final year participating in the Yard Show and said the moment was “bittersweet.”

Historically, the two Greek organizations are the only organizations in the Divine Nine that are constitutionally bound as being brothers and sisters, so the two organizations made sure their houses were close to each other when Greek housing was being planned out.

The next event for Blue and White Week is a money management workshop at 7 p.m. Tuesday in BA 1002. A list of their other Blue and White Week events can be found on their Twitter page, @BG_Elite1914.

This story was edited by the original author.
This story was originally published in BG Falcon Media’s independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Medicinal marijuana legalization requires substance reclassification

On Wednesday, June 8, Gov. John Kasich quietly signed House Bill 523, which legalized medical marijuana for the state, making it the 25th state in the nation to have medical marijuana.

The bill passed in the General Assembly by differing margins: It passed in the Senate 18-15 and in the House 67-28.

The legislation comes after ResponsibleOhio’s Issue 3 failed during last November’s election, where the legalization for both medical and recreational marijuana was up to the people to decide whether or not they would want 10 cultivators controlling over 1,000 dispensaries.

The bill will allow physicians to prescribe marijuana alternatives to patients who have one of the multiple ailments listed in the law.  The law will go into affect in less than 90 days, with the hopes of having marijuana plants being cultivated in the state within a year.

Under this law, smoking and growing marijuana will still be illegal, but alternatives such as oils, patches, edibles and vapors will be legal.

Currently, there are 20 medical conditions on the list that will allow people to obtain prescriptions for medical marijuana. Some of these include epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain that is either severe or intractable.

More ailments can be added to the list with approval.

Three boards will be overseeing and writing the laws pertaining to medical marijuana: the Department of Commerce, the Ohio Pharmacy Board and the Ohio Medical Board. The new law will also create a panel of 12 people to help advise the departments for the rules that are being formulated.

So what does this mean for the average Ohio citizen?

For starters, this new law does not hold any protections against employers taking action against employees for using marijuana medicinally.

If you have one of the 20 ailments currently on the list, you’re in luck! Come September, you will be able to receive a prescription from an authorized physician. Unfortunately, with the laws taking effect in 90 days, cultivation starting within a year, with products hoping to be tested in as early as 16 months, patients will have to receive their medical marijuana products from neighboring states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Keep in mind, marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level. Traveling with marijuana or marijuana byproducts across state lines could cause someone to be prosecuted on federal drug trafficking charges.

But now that half of the states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana medicinally, it is time for the Drug Enforcement Agency to stop procrastinating on the reclassification of marijuana and start working toward doing so.

Presently, marijuana is a Schedule I, which means it has no medical benefits and it is highly addictive. This labeling over the course of the last 20 years has become very outdated.

With the Schedule I labeling comes the inability to research more freely. Currently, the plant can only be obtained for research through one government garden and special grants have to be given in order for the research to be able to take place.

The DEA considers reclassifying drugs annually, but has been reluctant to reschedule marijuana since classifying it as Schedule I in 1970, and have declined on multiple occasions to reclassify it.

The DEA decided in May to consider reclassifying marijuana by the end of summer, but summer has started and we are approaching Independence Day.

With half of the nation, including Washington DC, now legalizing the plant medically, we cannot afford to keep marijuana at the classification it is without being able to have the proper research on it.

This story has been edited and revised by the original author.
The original edition of this column appeared in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

New graduate class coming this fall helps combat Islamophobia

A new graduate course coming this fall will help students understand Islamophobia in the past and present through media, such as film and literature.

Khani Begum, who will teach the course called “Deconstructing Islamophobia,” said the class is to help students understand Islam “is not exactly related to terrorism itself, but that it is something certain groups have tried to move in the direction of making Islam their ‘rallying call’ … for their own agendas.”

Begum was inspired to create the class after speaking on panels about Islamophobia in the Bowling Green community.

Growing Islamophobia rhetoric has made its way into politics and at the forefront of mainstream media. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump callied for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and former opponent Ted Cruz demanded more policing and heavier monitoring on Muslim communities.

Begum, who is of Muslim, said the class shows how certain media and literatures view Islam and how to address Islamophobia in the graduate students’ own communities.

“When you see someone who is being demonized, what do you do? Do you step in there? How do you inform these people who are … trying to profile?” Begum wants to address these questions.

She said the new rhetoric society has seen post-9/11 isn’t particularly new at all, and Islam is not the first culture to be demonized or feared.

“The same thing happened with the Jewish populations in Europe,” she said. “It’s very similar, the way they were demonized by the Nazis.”

She hopes the course will get students to see this through both literature and film made by both the cultures that demonize Islam, but also medias made by others who showcase the lives of ordinary Muslims.

“We’re going to do a lot of theoretical writings that kind of trace the background … of Islamophobia,” Begum said. “When did it start … how was it first considered in the early centuries and now today? What are the different connotations of it?”

Begum also said the course is taking on a new and “innovative” task.

Students will complete a service learning assignment for their final class project. The students will be connecting with community groups such as Not in Our Town, The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, or WBGU-TV to produce a project based on the knowledge they have acquired throughout the semester.

“The students will have a chance to either produce a little short that could be shown on WBGU-TV,” she said. “They could do a panel of discussion with people from the community or they could do a short film.”

Only three students have signed up for the class so far, but she’s hoping for more participation as the fall semester approaches.

She also hopes to create an undergraduate class pertaining to Islamophobia.

“It would have to be more literature and film based, and not as much theory,” she said. “But we’d do a few essays … and maybe some media things.”

Mental Health is on a person-by-person basis

The month of May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and throughout the entire time, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve been doing about my mental health since I first started my journey with depression two years ago.

I have had depression on and off since I was 13. Since I’ve been coming to college it has become more present.

Mental health on college campuses is beginning to be seen as a more prominent issue, as 94 percent of college campuses are reporting an increase of students who are looking for help from counseling centers, from the 60 percent of schools who have either a psychiatrist on staff or a counseling center.

I started going to the University’s counseling center during the fall of 2014. I went to the walk-in hours and was given a wonderful counselor who helped me through what was potentially the hardest college year to date.

My grandfather passed away a day before the wedding of my oldest cousin, and we ended up having a wedding and a funeral in the same weekend. I was able to work through the necessary grief process with her and was able to handle his loss better than I had the losses of other loved ones during my years at school.

In spring 2015, I decided I was comfortable enough to participate in group counseling. I was able to talk to and associate with other peers who were going through or had went through similar issues I was facing on multiple fronts both inside and outside of my mind.

I had gotten so much support through counseling about the importance of standing up for myself and advocating for things I wanted and needed for myself. However, that support didn’t keep me from not wanting to get up in the morning or from not wanting to do menial tasks, such as cleaning, or even doing important things such as going to the bank, paying bills or money orders.

There were (and still are) days that I would be dragging my feet to do something and when I would finally do it, I would not give 100 percent, as much as I would want to and would want to push myself. It was hard to sit down for an extended period of time to take a break to do errands, because I knew if I sat down for just one moment, I would not be standing back up for an extended period of time.

Last summer was my first time in 22 years being independent and on my own. And I thought the depression was from a lack of hours at my job, or a lack of just overall activity and boredom that sometimes comes with the BG summer. But I tried everything: reading, writing, doing overtime for the summer BG News. But nothing worked.

Ultimately at the end of the summer, I decided to be prescribed antidepressants.

At first I was terrified. In my hometown, addiction (especially in opioids which are found in prescription painkillers) is running rampant and it is killing people at an alarming rate nationally. I was also worried the first medication he would give me to try wouldn’t work. But my doctor encouraged me to just try it and if I did not like it, we could always find a different way and that if this pill didn’t work, we could always try something else.

So before fall 2015, I made the decision to take antidepressants and I have not looked back since. Unfortunately, adjusting to the medication this past year has been detrimental to my grades and GPA, (I failed two classes; one each semester), but I am very excited to be back on track to come back from the semester fresh.

I still have days where I don’t want to do anything and I don’t want to get out of bed. I even still struggle with doing menial chores on some days. But it’s all a little more manageable with antidepressants.

If you are struggling with any type of mental illness, I encourage you to not only seek help, but to find the help that works for you as an individual. For me, it was counseling and taking antidepressants that has helped me battle this. Everyone struggles with mental illness differently so my methods of getting better are not the same as my significant other, who has social anxiety, or my friend in my hometown who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Even those who have depression as I do may also find that my method of getting better does not fit them, but my method of getting better is not the same as everyone else’s.

It is always important to find the way that works for you.

This column originally printed by independent student media publication, The BG News, on June 1, 2016 which can be found here.

Unnecessary trash clutters campus, audit finds

One person looks through garbage that is in on a tarp in the Union Oval at Bowling Green State University

Environmental Service Club and Environmental Action Group conducted a rescheduled waste audit on Thursday, April 14, to determine how much was being used in certain academic buildings on campus.

Originally planned for April 6, it was rescheduled due to bad weather.

The two groups wore Hazmat suits and took trash from the Business Administration, Eppler, Hayes and Olscamp buildings, dumped the trash onto a tarp near the Union Oval and sorted through it.

They separated the trash among multiple categories: cans, plastic bottles, disposable cups, paper, glass bottles, bathroom trash, compost, cardboard, plastic bags and general plastic. Five of these categories (cans, plastic bottles, disposable cups, glass bottles and plastic bags) are recyclable materials.

A bar graph from the Environmental Service Club tallying their total amount of recyclable waste found.
The count of waste of all recyclable materials. Now that the audit is over, these items will be taken to a recycling center where they will be properly disposed of.

The groups spent eight hours Thursday in the Union Oval, counting the buildings’ waste and monitoring their count on a white board that was displayed outside of the garbage zone. The board was frequently updated throughout the day allowing students to see the progress throughout the day.

The waste audit is meant to see what people are throwing away that could potentially go to other forms of waste disposal such as recycling and composting.

Environmental Service Club president, Lily Murnen said the Union throws out nearly seven tons of trash weekly, which converts to 12,000 to 14,000 pounds.

“By purely looking at pounds trash (428 pounds in total), 45 percent of the waste stream was recyclable or could have been prevented by personal lifestyle decisions or a revised campus policy,” Murnen stated in an email. “Pounds, however, are deceiving and not all types of waste weigh the same amount per item … We audited categories that could be easily counted, we made sure to count them individually along with the weight.”

A bar graph showing the total amount of waste sorted through by the environmental service club
All of the waste that was sorted by Environmental Service Club was separated into 10 categories. The items that cannot be recycled will be taken landfills.

Of all the categories, bathroom trash had 46 pounds of waste, the most of all the categories. The least pounds of waste was general plastic.

Compost, which is a decayed mix of organic matter (such as fruits, vegetables, grass and leaves), accounted for almost five percent of the audit’s waste.

“If BGSU invested in composting, we would be able to reduce this number drastically, she wrote in the email.

While the University does not have a composting program or policy in place, Environmental Action Group has put in another policy that has helped reduce waste in the Student Union.

“There is a policy that (we) put into place at the beginning of the semester,” President Matthew Cunningham said. “Cashiers no longer ask if you would like a bag. It’s a simple policy; just that policy alone has reduced bag consumption on campus by 18,750 in the past two months.”

But Cunningham knows that this policy isn’t the end of his work in the environmental groups.

“We still have a lot of work to go,” he said. “We’re still using almost 2,000 bags every single day on campus.”

Murnen thanked everyone who participated in the audit and helped engage people during the event.

“We hope that you will continue to think about what you buy and throw away and that you will use your voice to push for sustainable reform here on campus.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to correct the number for bag consumption reduced from 750 to 18,750
This article was updated by the original author and edited for the web.
This article was originally printed by independent student publication, The BG News, on April 19, 2016 which can be found here.

Richard Racette on Running for USG Vice President

I’m running for USG vice president to make the changes that are necessary to the Undergraduate Student Government as well as Bowling Green. It is an honor to be able to be [Amanda Dortch’s] running mate. Amand and I … promise … we will put our everything into our community, Bowling Green State University, a better place. 

Nathan Burkholder on Running for USG’s Senator At-Large

I am running … To ensure that the undergraduate student body at BGSU is well represented during the next academic year …. I love the feeling of community that comes from the student body …. We are all part of a community of achievers, and I want to see this community thrive. The community will thrive if there is proper representation that allows it to thrive. As a Senator At-Large, I will provide this representation so all of our concerns are heard

Zhane Ceasor on Running for USG’s College Health and Human Services Senator

I decided to run because I feel that the students’ needs within my college aren’t being met as adequately and efficiently as they should/could be …. I feel there is a huge disconnect between the students and the higher up personnel in the college …. I want to change that. I want students who belong to this college to … feel like they belong and bring more awareness to the services it has to offer. I want them to see the college as more than just a ‘building with advisers and classrooms.’