opinion

Truth requires equal scrutiny for all extremes

By Elena Hooper
Opinion Editor

It’s no secret that the culture and society we live in is becoming steadily more progressive by the year. While the election in the past year has disheartened many and has taken us steps many back in terms of progressive government, the majority of progressives in this country still have not abandoned their progressive ideals. In many respects, it’s been for the better. Gay marriage is now legal. The number of educated young people is higher than it’s ever been (with even more women than men pursuing an undergrad). Career paths have been opened to both sexes that they were not able to pursue before, such as a female welder or a male nurse. Equal pay for both sexes, just to name a few. But within the past five years or so, with popular spearheads of the liberal movement like Anita Sarkeesian, Hillary Clinton, and celebrities such as Beyonce and Madonna, liberalism has taken a very self-centered turn and has become much more focused on the insecure needs of individuals who follow the movement and their desire to be accepted regardless of their shortcomings instead of fighting for political justice. Many who are part of the liberal movement have become much more focused on body image and identity, two things that are highly personal and have nothing to do with political progression. And because many who are part of this movement are overly concerned with their personal image and identity issues, it’s now seems to have become everyone else’s problem and is blamed, not on their own views of themselves, but mysterious outside forces whose existence is questionable.

But this progression has reached a point where it’s no longer leading us up a mountain to victory, but driving itself and anyone who associates with it off a steep cliff. I say this because I have a feeling that some who may have read the previous sentence before the last where I made a remark about the equal pay between men and women may have become frustrated, maybe even offended. “But that’s not true!” some may cry. “A woman makes 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Her salary is more than 20 percent lower than a man’s just because of her gender. How can you say we have equal pay?” While many people believe this statistic, it’s been proven many times to be a complete myth along with a few other widely regurgitated “facts”. Many liberals argue that women making 77 percent of men’s incomes on average is evidence of a sexist economy and therefore, a generally sexist western culture. However, this statistic does not take into account variables such as careers and degrees that women are more likely to pursue.

The gender pay gap myth has been debunked by numerous economic studies, a credible one being from the Foundation for Economic Education, and when the data is looked at more closely, it’s evident that there is a different story to be told. What the data actually represents is the median salary of women working full time divided by the median salary of men working full time. These numbers do not take into account occupation, education, or hours worked per week. When you consider these variables, you will find that the “gap” is largely influenced by choice. Women, on average, are more likely to pursue jobs and careers that are not particularly high earning like child care or public education while men are more likely to pursue high earning careers like careers in STEM. Women are also more likely to work part time and be less willing to work overtime when in a full time job. They are also not as likely to take big risks when it comes to career decisions and prefer stability. These are all choices women make about their careers, and even if it may be influenced by social expectations, they have almost nothing to do with the decisions made by employers and companies and certainly has nothing to do with what the liberal collective likes to call the “wretched patriarchy”.

Yes. The patriarchy, that boogeyman in the closet that liberals want everyone to fear so that their ideology will gain favor and thus more power in society. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting your ideology heard, it’s completely different when you use your ideology as a force to control others with for your own ego stroking and validation. This is the case in many of the situations where such statistics are brought up. They are used to scare women and brainwash them into thinking that they’re more oppressed than they actually are, and those who believe that they are not oppressed to begin with are ostracized and verbally abused, sometimes even physically attacked. For example, popular political YouTuber Lauren Southern was covering a free speech rally and the University of Toronto for her channel. Southern is outspoken against fourth wave feminism and the radical left collective and an avid supporter of free speech. At this rally, she had numerous encounters with people on the radical left who shouted obscenities at her and would refuse to talk when she would question them about the event, until finally a man she was questioning (but I’m pretty sure the fellow went by some other sparkly gender identity) punched her directly in the face. All because she didn’t share the same radical opinion as them, even though Southern is not a conservative in the least. I don’t know about you, but I think type of behavior should at least raise some questions. But apparently, it’s done the opposite in many places in our country, especially on college campuses.

This very vocal group of people have single handedly dominated the conversation on identity politics and social issues on many of our country’s more progressive campuses. With each passing year, campus after campus has submitted to this vitriolic ideology in order to please its growing popularity. It’s taken over many classrooms where civil discourse was meant to educate, but now has many students putting their fingers in their ears not wanting to be offended. It’s even found its way into our own campus, unbeknownst to many of its students.

Have any who may be reading heard of the Women’s Center at CCM? I’m sure many were confused by that question as I was, too. It’s a curious situation, too. There’s been further investigation done by our Editor-in-Chief Brett Friedensohn on another article, and he’s uncovered some interesting information. It turns out that CCM’s Women’s Center is not even technically part of the school. The school allows them to use office space but is state funded and geared towards women in the community, not on the college campus. And even though the claim is that the department is open mostly for women in the outside community, the Women’s Center has its own page on the CCM website and calls itself “The Women’s Center at CCM,” as well as using grants from the state made out to the school, an annual one of approximately $130,000 to be exact. On top of that, the school gives them supplies and free HR support. When questioned about the exact reasoning behind this odd arrangement, Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management, stated that one of the main purposes of having this arrangement is to make draw more people to the college. To make the college appear humanitarian, giving the college a specific image to draw in more revenue. It’s no coincidence that the desire for the college to have this image coincides with our current social and political climate. Many colleges have now adopted this image because they know it’s profitable. The demand for “equity” and ridiculous accommodations for all groups of people (some whose legitimacy is questionable, but that’s a discussion for another day) has many campuses in a death grip, “give us what we want or we’ll make you look bad.” This ideology has the power that it does because it’s become extremely popular, especially among young college-aged people, and while there are fewer people in this collective that will enact physical violence on others, there’s still an alarmingly large number of people who accept this ideology and dismiss the more extreme actions without question.

The behaviors of some of the subgroups within this collective border on a cult mentality, and it’s become incredibly dangerous to the safety of our free speech and our social discourse. “But wait!” they cry again. “Our ideas are trying to improve society. We’re trying to create a safe environment for people of all races, sexualities, and genders to live in. We’re trying to protect the marginalized against those who oppress them, like the alt-right. How can you say that our ideas threaten free speech?” While those efforts are admirable and liberal ideas have improved society in the past, thought policing is still thought policing. Censorship is still censorship. Propaganda is still propaganda. And it happens on both radical sides of the political spectrum. No matter what the ideology is, these actions are used when the party in question wants to exercise control over people’s actions and thoughts, silence opposing ideas, and keep those who follow ignorant by feeding them false information about the world around them. This is all done when the organization wants to gain power for personal gain, often monetary and/or social.

Neither radical side wants to admit to this since both will always claim that they “just want to make the world a better place” (yes, even Neo-Nazis are technically trying to make the world a better place), but really the majority of their beliefs are centered around self-interest, egotistical gratification, and insecurity. They fear the majority of what the world has to offer, so they feel much safer in their confined little bubble with people who parrot each other’s ideas. Many of these people just want to feel important and accepted in some group and can often get addicted to the power it gives them. Yes, the radical left and the alt-right have two very different ideas in mind for what they want for the world, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that they are both rotten to the core.

Now I do want to make one thing clear: I am by no means a conservative, or even a centrist for that matter. I’m actually quite a left-leaning person, most likely a progressive, but I can still see things wrong with how people on the left treat others. It’s just as wrong as if a conservative person did the same thing. It’s not about what your goal is; it’s about why you’re pursuing it, and it’s about time those on the radical left were exposed for their selfish and trivial interests since there’s been plenty of exposing done to right wing. Maybe they’re not the only problem.

Opinion: President Trump: The First 100 Days

BY EMILY ELIZABETH BETZ
Contributor

On January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will swear in as the 45th president of the United States of America and begin the crucial period know as “the first 100 days.”

Trump’s win has come as a shock to many, as the polls showed Hillary with a fair lead heading into the election. Not only did the country get Trump, but they got a Republican House and Senate, giving the president-elect an assumed sympathetic Legislature for at least two years if not four.

There has been some fear at the news of a Trump presidency, coming off almost apocalyptic, with protests breaking out all across the country, Californians even going as far as petitioning to secede from the United States. We have to wonder what a Trump presidency is going to be like. Well, if it is anything like his plan for the first one-hundred days, people have reason to worry.

In Trump’s plan for his first 100 days he lists out some very big changes he has planned for America. This includes lifting oil and fossil fuel restrictions, canceling any future payments to the U.N for the Paris Agreement.

The agreements which took effect a few weeks ago will help dozens of countries including the United States cut back greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in the next twenty-years. He also stated that he will be pushing through with the construction of the Keystone pipeline.

These policies send a strong message about his stance on global warming and clean energy, even more so with the possible appointment of Myron Ebell as administrator, who once said talking about global warming was a waste of time and “the vast majority of scientists think [global warming] is silly”.

Trump ran his campaign on immigration reform, deportation and building a wall. So it comes as no surprise that those things are listed as top priorities on his plan. He plans on beginning deporting illegal immigrants, canceling federal funding to sanctuary cities (cities that protect illegal immigrants), creating laws that would put jail sentences on immigrants caught entering the United States illegally multiple times, and suspending any and all immigration from “terror prone” regions. In interviews this has been specified specifically as a possible ban on Muslims entering the United States.

In health care Trump plans to abolish Obamacare which has lead to some concern over birth control, now free under Obama’s health care policy. And if there was any comfort in the fact that Obama’s administration ruled to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding, Trump has stated that he will turn over every executive order Obama has made that he views as unconstitutional. And when asked what his plans were for Roe v. Wade, the case decided in the supreme court to legalize abortion nationally, he said he would pick Supreme Court Justices who were pro-life.

And during his term in office that could be as many as four. Trump in an interview with 60 Minutes said the state’s should be able to decide abortion laws, and that women who wished to get abortions may have to “go to another state”, however in presidential debate’s he went as far as to say there should be “some sort of punishment” for women who get abortions. Vice president-elect Mike Pence has also taken a strong stance on repealing abortion laws.

The people have spoken, or at least the electoral college has, and President Donald Trump will be sworn into office in just a short 55 days. As of right now that presidency looks like one of racism, sexism, and ignorance over proven scientific fact. A Trump administration seems to be attempting to time travel back to the 1950’s where everything was great and prosperous—for white-anglo-saxon-men. From breaking the Paris agreement, banning muslim immigrants, deporting millions of people, canceling healthcare for millions, to attempting to reverse Roe v. Wade. It seems that maybe Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan should have been “Make America Polluted, Suppressed and White Again”.

EDITORIAL: Join the Youngtown

The Youngtown Edition has been a staple on CCM campus since 1968 when its first issue asked its readers to choose its name. While we no longer need to build the paper using clips of typewritten text, our production meetings are still one of the best ways for students to learn the practical realities of journalism.

The staff of the Youngtown is made up entirely of current CCM students who, with the help of our faculty and technical advisers, are responsible for everything associated with the paper. We choose which stories to run, we write them, we edit them, we take the photos, we layout the pages, and we love it.

There’s a lot of freedom in having a student paper. It encourages the writers to use their voices and develop their senses of independence. We try new things – this semester, we are initiating a parking feature to run all the stories that are submitted to us regarding the less-than-ideal parking situation on campus called “Parking Pulse.”

Some people seem to have a fear of judgement when submitting their writing to their peers. But after last spring, many of our staff members have moved on from CCM and submissions are the best things to see. We love the participation. We love interaction from our readers, our peers. And right now, we could use the help.

It’s a commitment to write for the paper. We only have meetings every other week, sure. But they run for nearly six hours. And every member of our staff is a volunteer with responsibilities outside of the paper. But they give so much of their time and effort to bettering the Youngtown, creating a paper that would not otherwise be possible.

That’s not to say that there are no other benefits to working for the paper. It gives you concrete practice on writing and editing. You will learn software skills. You will walk away from the Youngtown with published clips of your writing that you can show future employers. You could even get a job – our previous Editor-in-Chief, Derek Allen, and former Senior Layout Editor, Drew Notarnicola both work professionally for a newspaper, The Progress. They would not have had the necessary skill set for that job without their experience on the Youngtown staff.

Writing for the Youngtown is one of the most rewarding experiences. It takes hard work, but we have fun. Stop by and see what’s going on at one of our biweekly production meetings, or email us at youngtownedition@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.

PARKING PULSE: Commuting concerns

BY KELLY BROWN
Contributor

Coming to terms with the conclusion of summer and trading all day pool parties for three hour classes makes the first week of school stressful from the start and the current parking situation on campus can make it more so.

Then comes the afterthought of 16 weeks of heavy workloads and intense studying, as well as retraining one’s self to operate in a timely fashion to prevent any tardiness or absences.

Setting an early morning alarm and preparing everything one needs the night before seems like a bullet-proof strategy towards success on the first day, right? For many students driving onto campus at the County College of Morris, that is not necessarily the case.

“It was really hard to find parking,” said Zehra Zaidi, a first-semester computer science major. “It took me more than 10 minutes to find a spot.”

For the first few weeks of classes, finding a decent parking spot on campus will be a next to impossible task. Seasoned students of the heavily populated commuter school have learned to take into consideration the extra time it takes to find a spot, but freshman like Zaidi driving to CCM for the first time may not have had that luxury.  

“If I had only gotten here 10 minutes before my class started I would have been late,” said Zaidi. “It would be a good investment for CCM to add more parking spots that are accessible for students.”

Recent renovations to the Cohen Hall cafeteria, the newly built music building and the additional exit added to access Route 10 show students that CCM is working on upgrading the quality of the campus. An additional parking lot for students would make it easier for commuters rushing to find a spot before class, but limited land space on campus poses a problem for an entirely new lot to be built.

“The employee lots are almost always half empty while we’re out here fighting each other for spots,” said returning exercise science major Joe Rossi. “CCM should be maximizing the space that they have already to try and reduce the parking problem.”

Limited spaces is a huge problem for students that needs to be addressed. Circling the same lot for 10 or more minutes becomes extremely frustrating, and tensions run high between the multiple commuters having to fight for the next empty spot.

“People are very aggressive in the lots,” said freshman Liam Shamhart.

Like many other students, Shamhart has experienced first hand how people’s frustration while spot searching can escalate into a hazardous situation.

“I had been driving around for 15 minutes and finally found a spot when a woman who had passed by [the spot] stopped as soon as she saw the person was backing out,” Shamhart said.  “She had blocked them from getting out while also threatening that if I took that spot she would key my car.”

Concerns over race go beyond Oscars

BY BETH PETER
Managing Editor

A very exciting announcement was made over winter break – Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger were cast in the upcoming West End stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. A thrilling moment for Potter fans worldwide, the play covers the lives of the Golden Trio as they struggle through adulthood, along with examining the tribulations of the Potter children, Albus in particular, as they bear their family legacy. In an unprecedented move, the actress cast to play Hermione Granger, previously played by Emma Watson, is a black woman named Noma Dumezweni. Many people have made arguments for a black interpretation of Hermione, but this is the first time they will be canonically recognized. People have often criticized author J. K. Rowling’s inclusion of minorities in the Harry Potter series. The books are more ambiguous about the races of the ensemble but as video “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in the Entire ‘Harry Potter’ Film Series”  created by Dylan Marron shows, the 12 characters of color in the Harry Potter films speak for a total of 5 minutes and 40 seconds (some offscreen) out of the 1,207 minute run-time. The cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, scheduled to release later this year, has no speaking characters of color though it’s set in New York City, one of the most diverse places on the planet. Further, does anyone else remember the time Jennifer Smith, a girl of color, played Lavender Brown with no lines? Probably not, because when she was upgraded to Ron’s love interest in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince she was recast to Jessie Cave, a white actress. But surely this isn’t a trend, right? The race of the characters was ambiguous in the books, so they just cast white people because they were best suited for the job? It’s not like if a character was explicitly stated to be a certain race they’d change it, right?

Wrong. This happens all the time.

Take Tiger Lily from Peter Pan, for example. While already a terrifically racist character playing on harmful racial stereotypes about Native Americans, the latest adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s character, in the 2015 movie Pan, Tiger Lily was played by Rooney Mara. She is a white actress.

Jesus and Moses are played by white men in countless films, including Willem Dafoe in The Last Temptation Of Christ and Christian Bale in Mary, Mother Of Jesus TV Movie. Elizabeth Taylor, a white actress, played Cleopatra in 1963. For those confused, Jesus and Moses were Middle Eastern men, and were probably more olive toned than white. Cleopatra was Egyptian, a country in Northern Africa whose inhabitants range from olive toned complexions to dark brown skin.

This is not a new phenomenon, and is one with considerable range. The Oscar nominees this year are also conspicuously lacking in actors of color – in fact, it’s the second year in a row when no actors or actresses of color are nominated for an Academy Award. This is a beyond insulting blow to the community.

Actors of color have always been an essential part of film, though were usually given roles of slaves or servants. Today, however, the blockbuster of the holiday season stars an actor of color.

In October 2015, there was talk of a Star Wars boycott as fans were outraged in the casting of John Boyega. His parents immigrated to England from Nigeria, and Boyega was nothing but proud of his heritage in the face of the racism directed his way.

“I’m grounded with who I am, and I am a confident black man,” Boyega said in an interview with the New York Times. “A confident, Nigerian, black, chocolate man. I’m proud of my heritage, and no man can take that away from me. I wasn’t raised to fear people with a difference of opinion.”

The problems with casting primarily white actors are many and varied. Firstly, it furthers a toxic mindset that white is the norm, and that any other race or culture is uncommon and non crucial. Secondly, by refusing to employ actors of color, film studios imply that white actors are inherently better at their trade than actors of color. A common excuse for the whitewashing of a film is usually: “Well, maybe White Actor was just the best for the job.” This is the effect the Academy had when they refused to nominate any actors of color for an Oscar this season, making it the second year in a row such a decision was made.

Hiring white actors in roles with more lines and greater screen time is harmful to the actor of colors pursuit of equality in a profession that refused to give them roles above slaves and servants for one hundred years. In fact, the first time an African American woman ever won an Emmy award for Best Actress in a Drama was 2015 when Viola Davis won for her role in How To Get Away With Murder.

The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis said in an interview. “You can not win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there.”

Representation in media changes so much about the psyche of a developing child and can determine their confidence level through life, as well as the careers they see as possibilities for themselves down the line.

Whoopi Goldberg said upon seeing Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek for the first time when she was younger, she went running and screaming through the house,

“Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid,” Goldberg said, in an interview. “I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

That is the important part – casting more actors of color in no way negatively affects white actors. Yet not casting them hurts people of color on so many levels. Equal representation of minorities matters. With media such a prevalent factor in normal development it is becoming increasingly important to be inclusive of all races and genders when casting lead roles. Media is often meant to be relatable and more importantly reinforces or opposes stigmas that plague minority groups. Without the inclusion of minorities, all forms of media are only showing parts of a story.

When actors of color are only shown occasionally, especially if it’s just to perpetuate stereotypes, all people of color are implicated.