The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

De-Stress December

The infamous finals time is here. With a never-ending stream of papers, exams, and projects consuming Bates students, stress can affect the body in unexpected ways. Everything from sleep patterns to blood sugar can be thrown out-of sorts when someone is experiencing stress. 

Read More

Robbie Montanaro ‘19 and Emma Patterson ‘19: Two senior athletes reflect on their athletic career and experience at Bates

Senior year of college is full of ‘lasts’—last first day, last 80’s, last fall break—and for Bates athletes, also a last game. It is inevitable, but that does not mean that after four years they are anywhere near prepared. The athletes at Bates, just by applying, have made a commitment to both their sport and their academics. And while Bates celebrates its students’ academic achievements with senior thesis, final athletic contests often slip by. In order to break down these final senior moments, I spoke with Robbie Montanaro ’19 and Emma Patterson ’19, of men’s soccer and women’s field hockey respectively.

Read More

Roses Need to Start Sprouting

This past Midterm cycle, Democrats made massive gains all across the country. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Sharice Davids; all Democrats, all women of color, with Omar being Muslim and Davids being queer, all notably further to the left than Democrats of years past. Even the unsuccessful senatorial race of Beto O’Rourke v. Ted Cruz in Texas was historic since O’Rourke managed to win 48.3% of the vote compared to Cruz’s 50.9%. For a Democrat to come that close in the staunchly red state of Texas was nothing short of historic.

And indeed, O’Rourke has not stopped getting press since his noble defeat. Tons of buzz has been going all around Democratic circles in recent weeks encouraging him to run for president in 2020. O’Rourke and Democrats like him are certainly reliably liberals and against the tide of Trumpism. Indeed, I can say for sure that O’Rourke has the kind of charisma that could catapult him into becoming the Democratic nominee. Although I am more want to see a Kamala Harris candidacy, he’d have my vote if that’s where we end up in 2020.

But I fear we are not going to end up there. I fear we might wind up with another Hillary Clinton candidacy, with a centrist like Joe Biden, or if hell freezes over, with a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg. The antidote to far-right nationalism is not centrism. It is not regressive compromise for the sake of “bipartisanship”, and it is not neoliberalism. To put our country on the right path, we need to combat Trumpism with actual leftists and progressives. We need candidates, presidential and congressional, who will abolish and prosecute I.C.E. We need candidates who will push towards expanding Medicare to the point of creating a single-payer system. We need candidates who will stop fanning the flames of war abroad and roll back drone strikes in Yemen. We need candidates who will understand that a New Green Deal is our only hope for even mitigating the impending climate disaster.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t believe a presidential candidate like that could realistically happen in my lifetime. The window of acceptable dialogue for the Right has only become more extreme while it has stayed static for the Left since Bill Clinton. It would take a total overhaul for a presidential candidate to speak like Ocasio-Cortez or Andrew Gillum. While our president and the Republicans step closer to white nationalism and crony capitalism every day, Democrats remain too afraid to tap into the politics of identity and real economic anxiety that affect our country.

That’s why our fight needs to be fought on multiple fronts. At the state level, we need to pay attention to our local elections and demand that our state senators and city council people listen to our voices. At the congressional level, we need far, far more Ilhan Omars and Sharice Davids than we have. With these in our arsenal, we can at least put pressure on a candidate like O’Rourke or Harris to be more bold in their campaign promises.

Ultimately, though, the federal government at any level won’t be enough. Voting will never be enough. Big institutions like government matter, but for better or worse they will always be too mired in bureaucracy and international issues to focus on day-to-day matters. The killings of POC by police, hate crimes, declining health standards, the collapse of local economies: all of these are real issues we must help one another with. We can’t depend on big government and national politics to fully amend these ills.

For the change we want, we need to rebuild solidarity within our communities. But although the Presidency and Congress are never going to fully end police brutality, opioid deaths, or turn our economy green, they are a good place to start the conversation.

 

Wildfires and Marginalized Groups

Wildfires have been devastating California for years. But the Camp Fire that is currently spreading in northern California has marked the largest death tally from a single fire in the state’s history with 86 people dead. These monstrous calamities have left thousands of people displaced from their homes and countless others missing in the rubble. Over 18,000 structures have been destroyed, 400 square miles burned to nothing, and smoke advisories have been issued for all affected regions. California’s response in these situations are Shelter-in-Place (SIP) practices. These include designating shelters, recommending safety strategies for homes, and other methods to address protecting land, evacuation, rebuilding, and safety. However, there is a toll that comes with the practices of SIP that targets marginalized groups and impoverished communities. Private sectors are prioritized for economic and availability reasons. The allocation of resources has become tainted with prejudice and, as a result, has left thousands at the mercy of the fires.

In the article, “The Façade of Safety in California’s Shelter-In-Place Homes: History, Wildfire, and Social Consequence,” author Albert S. Fu argues that “in so-called rational policies concerning firefighting, the inequality between the powerful and the marginalized is clearly visible in the allocation of attention as well as resources.” This article written in 2012 clearly outlines the inherent issues in the response to natural disasters. The reality is that class, race, and income are all reasons for who is brought to safety and who is left behind. Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic communities are 50% more vulnerable to wildfires due to their lack of resources. These disasters have become less “natural” and more of an example of the consequences of social differences between people.

Prevention and the cleanup of fires is directly linked to money. Discussing the current Camp Fire, an article on az.central says, “Communities in the fire zone included those populated by lower-income residents seeking affordable housing.” These people’s priorities are not on a good firefighting department or brush removal, but basic necessities like housing. Stocking up on water and food becomes much harder for certain families, leaving thousands of communities underprepared for turmoil. In the current fire and even those past, people of color have been shown to be much more vulnerable to harm than primarily white communities.

Aside from prevention, the government’s methods of distributing emergency services are flawed. Those who cannot provide identity documents can be barred from shelters and services, which endangers undocumented immigrants and Indigenous people. There is also a lack of financial support for local fire safety, meaning people must take matters into their own hands. However, the wealthy have the opportunity to have secure homes in secure locations, while marginalized groups are left with structures that are less than ideal for disasters. This private implementation of safety has created dangerous differences between all people affected by fires. It takes thousands of dollars to secure a house and keep it up to date in terms of structural integrity and fire safety––dollars that many do not have.

Natural disasters affect everyone, yet some can come out less charred in the long run than others. The factors that create the divide are due to marginalized groups’ inability to receive the same resources and safety implications than others. They are trapped in a burning state where their class, race, and income determine their likelihood of survival.

 

Brexit Busts Britain!!!

God Save the Queen! Yes, it is a symbolic phrase, no doubt. But I think the phrase should be this instead: God save the United Kingdom! As the country prepares to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom is faced with perpetual turmoil as it is on the cusp of major internal implosion. When I think of the UK, I am reminded of a nation emboldened by tradition, formality, and, of course, some delicious tea and biscuits. Even more so, the United Kingdom for generations has exuded a spirit of professionalism, enlightened thought, and iconic leadership. However, with the current precarious Brexit crisis, all of these exemplary characteristics may disappear.

From a United States standpoint, many might believe that we should be indifferent about what happens in the United Kingdom and that we should categorize Brexit as just another foreign dispute. Personally, I vehemently, but respectfully, protest that belief as the current Brexit crisis will have catastrophic consequences for us in the future. The United States and the United Kingdom are two of the greatest superpowers in the world since their economies are overwhelmingly comprised of capital. However, just because these two countries are superpowers doesn’t mean their economies are free from economic collapse and stagnation. Brexit, or more properly deemed “British exit from the European Union,” will be the action of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. For those who do not remember, the Brexit crisis actually began two years when there was a national referendum vote held on June 23rd, 2016. During that referendum, the majority of Britain voted to leave the European Union by a slight margin of 51.9% to 48.1%. It was this monumental vote that has caused a decline in not only the British economy, but the functionality of the United Kingdom itself.

The successful vote of Britain leaving the United Kingdom has resulted in several detrimental effects that have left the country vulnerable and destabilized. One of the main effects of Brexit has been the decline of the UK’s currency, the pound. Specifically, the British pound declined 15% after the Brexit vote and suffered another major 2% percent decline just recently on November 15th. The pound is now under threat for continued decline for next year as the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union. Another effect of Brexit has been the presence of internal political conflicts within the British government. With Prime Minister Theresa May at the helm of supporting Brexit, one of the many controversies of the deal is the harsh reality that British citizens will lose the right to free movement within the European Union. Despite Mrs. May’s claims that she has worked unanimously with the British government to create an effective Brexit deal, news shows that a third of her senior cabinet did not agree with her. Now, not only does a significant portion of Mrs. May’s cabinet not agree with her Brexit policies, but there has also been major support for a second national referendum for the United Kingdom. Labour Party representatives and members, both within the British government and regular citizens, have protested against May and her vision for the United Kingdom.

What is most shocking about Brexit is its deviation from interdependence and multilateral cooperation. The United Kingdom has for many years been a prominent international member of the European Union and has been recognized as a reliable ally. However, Brexit has caused a chasm for British politics and for the future of the United Kingdom’s economic independence. From a United States perspective, Brexit will cause a decline of several alliances as well as a decline to global markets around the world, including in our country. While Theresa May is now trying to garner voter support with public speeches and radio conferences, the chances for a second referendum in Britain might be inevitable. I think it is going to be crucial over the next couple of weeks to see how the situation unfolds in the United Kingdom. But all we can ask now is this: can God save the United Kingdom?

 

Swim & Dive Tally Two NESCAC Wins: Men’s Team Dominated Wesleyan and Trinity, Women Win Meet in Final Relay

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against Wesleyan University and Trinity College in their first meet of the year on Nov. 17 at Wesleyan. Bates came out on top against both teams, starting the season on a strong note against two NESCAC teams. Bates will compete against two more NESCAC teams for the Maine state title on Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m. at Bowdoin College.

Read More

What Can I Do with an English Major?

Even at liberal arts colleges, a common source of contention is the utility of an English Major in light of a future career. There is an element of fear associated with the pursuit of the major, especially if one does not aim to be a tenured professor. However, the good news is the culture of liberal arts colleges is spreading fast and creating opportunity for majors in the humanities.

English majors are constantly asked whether we want to teach literature or become a bestselling author. Often times, both are true. But when teaching or a novelist career isn’t among our ambitions, how portable is the major?

The list of potential careers ranges from writing to business, and everything in between. For domestic students, securing internships in varied fields is an easy task–career exploration suffices as reason enough to pursue any position. For international students, Bates requires official proof that an internship is directly related to the student’s major field. In my view, almost any career field, be it expressive or analytical, is directly related to the English major. Proving this on paper, though, is not as simple.

Marketing is popular among students from most academic disciplines and English is no exception. But, can I enter a marketing job or internship with an English degree? Most likely, yes. Yet, international students would hesitate to agree with that view more than domestic students. Expressing intangible reasons as a tangible argument is key for your average English major, but describing how understanding the psychology of consumerism is related to understanding Shakespeare’s plot lines is not as direct a link as may be necessary.

Education and counselling are also common fields among English majors. What if one prefers administration or social work to teaching? Is it possible to justify how a class on Irish poetry is directly related to working closely with departments that manage student life? How do English classes qualify one to study to be a licensed counsellor? I believe a class on poetry can be related to nearly anything in the professional or social field.

It is this mindset that makes the English major suitable for almost any career. The only problem is that most of the reasons that make English truly versatile are intangible. They often relate to abstract concepts of empathy and curiosity, both of which are not skills that are easily transferable on paper as Microsoft or computer programming. However, these same abstract reasons can be easily justifiable if the listed major is Psychology.

What baffles me is that if students from two separate academic disciplines can express the same reasons for pursuing a particular career and often times develop the required skill sets for that career, then why should the hurdles for one be higher than for the other? I can be an English major and be equally skilled in data analysis as a student studying STEM, yet my justification for wanting to work at a technology firm has a greater chance of being denied.

As quoted by the Bates website, the goal of a Liberal Arts education is “to educate the whole person.” Every class is geared to develop critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity. The goals of the Bates curriculum mean that regardless of one’s choice of major, students leave college sufficiently equipped with the skills needed to pursue a career that overlaps among disciplines. Why, then, must I justify how or why a particular major is portable in a specific field? Each academic major, including English is good enough for whichever career one chooses to pursue.

 

Your Black Isn’t My Black

Although the U.S. is recognized as a melting pot country, the Black community, specifically, is associated with a narrative that everyone who identifies as Black shares the same culture. In the context of the U.S., we tend to look at Blackness as a single story instead of multiple stories with each one having a unique perspective. Due to this illusion that all Black people are the same, we use the terms “Black people” and “African-Americans” interchangeably. But “Black people” is a broad term used to acknowledge all people with a dark skin pigmentation and ancestry that comes from Africa, while “African-American” is only supposed to refer to people with a dark skin pigmentation who have lived in the U.S. for generations.

One of the major problems with associating all Black People with the term “African-American” is that it erases the experiences that Black people from other regions of the world have. When it comes to Afro-Latinx and Afro-Caribbean people, they were colonized by different European peoples than African-Americans, which played a pivotal role in the development of their language and culture. When it comes to people from countries in Africa, they are still more connected to their original culture and language, unlike African-Americans. Due to slavery, African-Americans lost all ties to their original culture and language, but sprouted a new culture in the process. Consequently, with that culture comes systematic oppression that Black people from other regions cannot fully understand, which is not to take away their Blackness, but instead to highlight the difference. For example, when it comes to the word “nigga,” African-Americans were dehumanized with this word, so naturally they would hold some hostility towards it. People from African countries, on the other hand, did not face this type of hatred and therefore are not as affected by the word.

Again, this is not to take away the experience of Black people from other regions in the world, considering they also faced colonization and imperialism, but it is rather to show that Blackness comes with a multitude of experiences. Please also note that the reason I said “people from countries in Africa” instead of “Africans” is because we tend to group them all together as if Africa is a country. Hardly. Africa is composed of dozens of countries with hundreds of different languages and cultures. And since the purpose of this article is to represent the different forms of Blackness, it would be wrong to introduce a continent with such diversity as homogenous.

Some might argue that it doesn’t matter because we are all Black and we all experience oppression, but it does matter when we oppress each other. Too often do we see African-Americans try and determine if a person is “Black enough” because they are mixed race or Afro-Latinx, or if they are coming from other countries and “stealing our jobs,” as many African-Americans accuse people from African countries of doing. We have to show where we differ because only then we can acknowledge the unique oppressions that Black people from other regions face, which recently includes immigration policies as the Trump administration has more than doubled the deportation of people from African countries last year alone. We could also talk about how Black people from other regions may come to the U.S. for a better education, asylum seeking, etc., but are not only pushed down by white people but also African-Americans. We have put our oppression on a pedestal and refuse to see any other form of oppression as our equal. If we were truly all the same, then we would give every Black experience a platform and not just the African-American rhetoric that is constantly shown throughout media.

In order to understand each other, we need representation from Black people from other regions of the world through politics, media, music, etc. We need to understand, respect, and accept that every experience is valid and there shouldn’t be one that reigns supreme over the others. Blackness encompasses many stories, and it’s our job to recognize each story and make sure it is appreciated.

 

Club Spotlight: Snaggletooth Literary Magazine

Before February of 20¬16, Bates College did not have an active literary magazine. Bates has every club imaginable, from the Fat Cats competitive eating club to Knit Wits, a club for lovers of knitting. But as Eden Rickolt ’20 and Anna Maheu ’21, the now co-editor-in-chiefs recognized that winter, even with the abundance of interest-based spaces at Bates, the college lacked a place for the publication of student creative writing and visual art. These two friends quickly launched themselves into the process of starting a club and a magazine with the hopes of ending short term with a published magazine. According to Maheu, “many people approached us and said that they’d also been thinking about starting one, but getting it off the ground had seemed too daunting.”

While the process of starting the magazine was daunting and involved drafting a club constitution, finding a faculty advisor and negotiating a club budget, by March of 2016 the club had a full staff, and by April of the same year, the magazine was declared an official Bates club. During the first semester of last year, the staff worked to figure out how to market the magazine, how to get submissions, and then how to hold writing workshops.

Rickolt shared her goals for the workshopping process: “Our workshops are a place for writers to develop their craft, meet others that are interested in writing, and hone their editing skills.” Snaggletooth was never intended to be solely about the product, the final magazine, but rather was intended to create a space where writers and artists could learn and grow through a community-based creative process.
At the end of short term, Snaggletooth published its first magazine, a collection of student creative writing and visual art, as well as a website with even more. At the start of this year, Eden and Anna expressed to the staff that one of their goals for this year was to create organized, community based workshops. With the hopes of extending the participants of the workshops out from just the staff, the workshop process became more regimented, and was done in front of the writer, the staff, and any community members interested in joining. Snaggletooth has two guidelines: a workshop guideline and a submission guideline. Artists and writers are able to submit their work at the workshop deadline long before it is due for submission to the magazine as a chance to help their work be proof read and critiqued. These critiques happen during the workshop, when the writer is anonymous but present and when the work is read by the staff as well as other Bates students. Having the writer helps keep the staff accountable to make honest, and constructive critique, but also helps the writer watch a reader react in real time. This is where Snaggletooth helps create both community as well as fostering an environment where students can be both writers, and editors.

The production and distribution of the magazine and creation of the website has been another way in which Snaggletooth hopes to reach a wide audience. Rickolt says, “I think the physical magazine and website connect this creative work (that is usually more private) with readers and viewers, as well as put separate works in conversation with each other.” While there is a huge amount of clubs at Bates, Snaggletooth has stood out as an organization which works to create, share, and open up discussion on student creativity.

The Art of Being Creative at Bates

On Wednesday Nov. 7, a few days before Thanksgiving break, the Multifaith Chaplaincy held its yearly banquet in Old Commons, open to students, faculty, and community members alike. This year, the event’s theme was “The Art of Being,” featuring talented Bates student speakers whose crafts have shaped their lives in meaningful ways. The event featured live music, pipe cleaners, and origami activities, and a delicious meal provided by Commons.
Brittany Longsdorf, a Multifaith Chaplain at Bates, opened the event discussing Fritz Eichenberg, a German-American illustrator whose art explored religion, social justice, and nonviolence. While pursuing her Doctorate of Ministry at BU, she would often look up at a poster on her door featuring Eichenberg’s quote: “It takes devotion to create and reverence to enjoy beauty.”

She continued, explaining, “His spiritual exploration and practices transformed the way he approached his art. His wood carving art was his spiritual practice and his spiritual practice was his art. Our crafts, whether they are painting, teaching, meditation, pottery, comedy, dancing create in us a devotion that reminds us of what is bigger than us. What is transcendent in our midst, what deserves our reverence and awe. Tonight seven courageous Bates students will be vulnerable and creative and open as they share stories of their crafts, and the way this practice creates a sense of devotion and purpose in their lives.”
One of the speakers was Mamta Saraogi ‘21 who compared her craft of writing to a way of being. “I do a lot of things. I eat, sleep, breathe, and I also burn the popcorn sometimes. But in the midst of doing all those things, there is sometimes a need for something else that can make an identity. Writing is one of those things. It’s a form of achieving an inner balance in a manner not unlike meditation.” For Saraogi, writing has allowed her to make sense out of chaos, bringing a meaning to seemingly irrational thoughts.

Emma Proietti ’21 found her craft in the circus at a young age. She began her speech with the memorable one-liner: “I ran away with the circus a few weeks before my thirteenth birthday,” although, as she later clarified, her parents were there to take her to circus lessons. There, she found her adopted circus family, who in her words, “have been some of the most supportive people in my life, both literally and figuratively.” Her craft has also brought a new outlook on how to balance life and work. One of the phrases that she picked up along the way is “If you feel like you are going to fall, you probably will.” After pausing while the audience laughed, she stated, “I wouldn’t necessarily want this on a motivational poster, but it is something that I have taken to heart after too many times pushing myself a little too far —suffering the consequences and ignoring what my body was telling me. Reaching your physical limit is not unlike reaching your mental limit. You need to recognize the signs that you need a break. Discovering how to push yourself in a controlled way can make you stronger.”

For some, a craft can be as simple as a daily routine. During his speech, Jack Shea ’19 reflected on the importance of creating a routine in both his school work and in the real world. “I’m pretty confident that not all too many of us look at our day-to-day routine as being something that has been honed and put into regular practice for the betterment of our well-being. I’m not inclined to look at my own schedule and see it as art, because that implies that it’s something labored over, original, intentional, and creative,” said Shea.

“Routines can be craft too,” Shea continued. “This came up in abundance for me this summer when I was with the least self-conscious people around us, children. I was given a teaching fellowship at a public charter school summer program in Brownsville, Brooklyn.” Through his experience teaching, Shea found that success in the classroom relies on the environment a teacher builds. “In a classroom environment, consistency is the key. It takes those shocks from everyday life and absorbs them, giving back both positive reinforcement for good character and a stable environment for developing questions.”

Over his years at Bates, Shea found that to be successful, you have to be your own teacher. As Shea put it, “Have an environment which reacts to you in ways that feed your energy on good days and bounce you back on the bad. Make sure that what you do on autopilot, is put yourself in places that help you by consistently giving you what you need, and point you towards your own success.”

One of the final speakers at the event was Alexandria Onuoha ’21, a woman who struggled with her faith before exploring it through the medium of dance. “I got my start in dance at church and it brought so much joy in my life because not only was I using my body as a vessel of the Lord, but I was communicating a language through my body to other souls that needed just a glimpse of what freedom and happiness could be for them.” Through dance, Onuoha has provided a space for healing, holding dance workshops at a domestic violence shelter back in her hometown.
At college, dance also allows her to open a space for those seeking self-expression: “At Bates, through dance, I am creating a space where women of color are finally being highlighted and their stories are being heard, and black bodies are being celebrated.” Onuoha put it best, as she concluded, saying, “Simply, my art is finding my voice through other people’s voices.”

Page 1 of 233

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén