A Moment of Clarity

December 12, 2008

By Salim Williams

Growing up I always admired older my brother and took after everything he did. When he was in High School I was in Grammar school and yet he allowed me to hang with him and his friends. They showed me the ropes; taking me around the neighborhood and introducing me to people. Some of the people I met were known troublemakers who our parents usually told us to avoid; but parents are parents and ours always seemed to worry about everything. I later found out my brother and his friends were a part of a well known street gang.

I was the only one in my house who seemed to notice a change in my brother’s behavior. Read the rest of this entry »

Build-A-Child

December 11, 2008

By Amarachi Ukachu

Custom cars, custom computers, why not custom kids? A new clinical trial in the United States allows couples to pick the sex of their unborn children in an effort to determine the social effects.The doctors create embryos for the study members using assisted reproduction. Then they figure out each embryo’s sex using a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). The parents then select a male or female embryo to be implanted in the mother’s uterus.

I believe that parents should not be allowed to pick the gender of their children. Read the rest of this entry »

Violence in Media

December 11, 2008

By “The Absentees”

Instructor’s note: This was written in response to an in-class group writing assignment. “The Absentees” are a pair of students who were absent on the day the assignment began.

Does the media want us to commit violence? It’s like everywhere we look there is violence being advertised. From violence in television shows to violence even in kid’s video games, violence is what today’s world is based on. Now, you can even hear derogatory songs on the radio; thus, how far will the media take this? Read the rest of this entry »

Violence: Causes and Solutions

December 10, 2008

By Amarachi Ukachu

Instructor’s note: This is a report on a conversation rather than an essay. Students who missed the last class before the Thanksgiving holiday were required to do a make-up assignment wherein they had conversations with two people, one older than themselves and one younger, on the question “What can we do to reduce violence in our communities?” and then write up a report of those conversations. As Amarachi reports here, her initial interview sprawled into a multi-hour, multi-generational conversation with some very interesting conclusions.

This topic was very popular at the dinner table Thanksgiving day. At first I was interviewing my mother then the whole table chipped in. We ended up talking for hours about violence in black communities, violence in school, domestic violence, and violence against homosexuals. They all agreed that the top ten causes of violence are the media, substance abuse, gangs, unemployment, weapons, poverty, peer pressure, broken homes, poor family environment, bad neighborhoods, intolerance, and ignorance.

After we discussed the causes of violence we talked about how to solve the violence in the communities. First we must realize that there is a connection between language and violence. Read the rest of this entry »

Poverty

December 10, 2008

By “Cleveland California”

Instructor’s Note: “Cleveland California” is a pen name.

The world is changing most people say in a good way but what I see is more people falling into poverty every year. People that used to be middle class are now poor. Most people don’t understand but I live in it. I see people my age who have to resort to illegal activities to feed their families because they’re the only source of income that the family has.

To start off, most people in poverty are born into it. Which means there was nothing they could do about it. To escape poverty you need a good job. These days it takes a high school diploma to work at McDonalds, and it takes a college education to make more than minimum wage. Most times poor families don’t have enough money to put their kids through college. The only way that they can make it is through sports but they have to make it through the streets first. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Benefits

December 9, 2008

By Tineka Montgomery

What does financial aid mean to you? Is it money that is available to anyone, although not everyone receives the same amount? Or is it assistance available only to those whose parents make less than $60,000 per year? Financial Aid is money given paid or loaned to help pay for a type of vocational school or college. Financial aid comes in different forms like grants and scholarships, and work-study. So both definitions are correct.

Just imagine being told by your peers and teachers about this form that could help you receive extra money to help pay for your schooling. You’re sitting around waiting for your results. Read the rest of this entry »

Vegan

December 9, 2008

By Racquel Hamilton

Instructor’s Note: People who know me might wonder, “Did this student choose this topic to please the teacher?” No! Racquel didn’t know I am vegan and thus looked very confused when I questioned her closely about why she had chosen this topic. Later, when I mentioned my veganism while reviewing her rough draft, Racquel was surprised and our mutual confusion was resolved: She had been absent on the day I had mentioned it in class.

A vegetarian is one who eats vegetables more often and excludes meat, fish, other sea animals, and poultry from their diet. Vegetarians who are extremely serious about vegetarianism might also exclude eggs or some products from animal labor such as dairy products and honey. A vegetarian can also be considered as one who thinks about the animals’ life and their rights first before thinking about his or her own stomach. Categories of vegetarianism include lacto-vegetarianism, lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, pesco-vegetarian and veganism. Lacto-vegetarianism includes dairy products, but no eggs. Lacto-ovo-vegetarianism includes both eggs and dairy products. Vegans exclude meat, poultry and fish, eggs, dairy, and honey (www.veganhealth.org).

An important facts that one should consider if one decides to become a vegetarian is that vegetables are much healthier than meat Read the rest of this entry »

Good Things Are Rare to Find

December 9, 2008

By Ashley Ragland

I think friends are wonderful thing to have but true friends are rare to find. A good friend is someone who will be there for you, stick with you, and have your back no matter what the circumstances are. They are loyal and honest to you and they will never lie to you. You should be able to trust a good friend enough that they can keep your deep secrets and never betray you. A good friend will listen to you no matter how many times they’ve come to you about the same situation. They should want to be there for you even when you hit rock bottom. A good friend knows who you truly are and when things happen like rumors they should never have to question your character; they should just defend you. Read the rest of this entry »

Anything Worth Having Is Worth Working Hard For

December 9, 2008

By Alisha Washington

The best things in life are free but majority of these things require a lot of hard work. If you take the time to lay out everything of worth that you own whether it be your job, your education, your house, your car, the relationship between you and a loved one or even your own life, you will realize that it has taken a lot of hard work to get to and maintain the stability of these relationships. The obstacles that get in the way of you getting from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder only make you stronger, wiser, and help you reach a fulfillment of its importance.

For instance, I am a college student working hard to get a degree in biology in order to further a career in medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

Basketball and Education

December 9, 2008

By Dennis Purnell

Instructor’s note: This essay is addressed to other young men who see basketball as the key to the door of a better life.

Basketball is more than just lacing up and performing on the court. Basketball is a way of living. When you are an athlete you should have a sense of pride about yourself. You must respect yourself, teammates, coaches, and others. Especially if you are a student athlete. Eyes are on you in school and on the court. You are a role model for the up and coming athletes in your school and around your neighborhood. Every athlete needs a support team. If you don’t respect yourself no one else will. Your support team will preach one thing. Avoid anything that will effect your game or keep you from playing.

Respecting yourself is simply having a positive attitude and making smart decisions off the court. It is wise to start in the classroom, seeing as that is what puts you on the team. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping It Clean

December 9, 2008

By “The Watchers”

“The Watchers” is a group of young women. This was their response to an in-class writing assignment.

Does money buy everything? Constantly, we ask each other whatever the situation may be “Is it worth it, and am I?” The subject matter is: Is money worth the degradation and exploitation of women in videos? We see them every time we turn on BET and watch a hip hop video. This isn’t being hypocritical, it’s just the fact that these women seem to not care or care very little about themselves and how they are represented on TV. We feel that many music videos exploit women. Read the rest of this entry »

Who Are You?

December 8, 2008

By Ogboru Daniella Oluka

I can still remember my fist day in college, all the different faces. I felt weird; I was all by myself in a place I had never been in before.After a few days I started meeting other Africans, and I felt a bit more at home. I soon started noticing some differences–some good, others bad. I had to sit back and ask some question; one of the question I asked is, “who are you?” I asked that question because I noticed a lot of things around me. I noticed people trying so hard to be like others, trying so hard to fit in or be accepted. Why would you try to be another person? Why would you crave to be accepted by the next person? Why not be yourself and let people see your potentials? Being yourself is different from blending in. You can blend in without losing yourself. One’s identity is very important because it makes people recognize and respect you and it also make people see you for who you really are. It helps you stand out and make the right choices. Read the rest of this entry »

The Divergence of Love

December 8, 2008

By Anonymous

I find myself always over analyzing everything in life, from clothes to my future. I even catch myself speaking out loud sometimes because my mind overloads with so much. I find the most preeminent topics in my thought process are getting through this torturous undergrad experience I’ve had, graduate school, grades, how I appeal to other people, being a good person, my relationship with God, life after school, and traveling. Now in the topics mentioned, the one I’ve left out is the one I have had the most trouble wrapping my mind around and it’s Love. Now my views on this may and probably will differ from most people’s and also I’m not giving any advice, just sharing a personal perspective. I feel the need to vent on this because, although opinions and perspectives may diverge, I believe that somehow we can all relate on the topics of Love.

I once heard a quote where someone said love is an ability, which is different from what we have all been accustomed to hearing, which is that love is a feeling. Read the rest of this entry »

Without Getting to Know Me

December 8, 2008

By “Breaking Point”

Instructor’s Note: The author of this piece says that she “wrote this essay not just as a writing requirement but to make a point.” She has made that point by sharing this piece with people in her life. She shares it here under a pen name, knowing that there must be others who feel the same.

Just because I don’t speak out in class doesn’t mean I won’t speak out in defense. If I choose not to argue don’t assume that you’ve won. People in my life, as long as I can remember, have been judging me. “ I can tell you’re smart because of your glasses.” “You don’t sound black to me.” “ You’re a nice person so I know you can’t fight.” These are just some of the things I’ve heard growing up. As a matter of fact, just recently a guy I know from psychology class told me I didn’t sound black. Even though that wasn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say that to me, it still bothered me. Back then I would have just laughed and let it seem that it didn’t bother me, but for some reason I decided to respond. I asked him what did he mean by that? And to my surprise he said, “ You know, you don’t curse and you sound all educated and stuff.” I looked at him questionably and asked, “ Are you saying black people are supposed to curse and aren’t supposed sound educated?” I must have made him feel stupid because he looked confused and didn’t say another word till the end of class. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the Greats: Big Pun

December 8, 2008

By Carlos Mesa

When people think about the greatest hip-hop artists of all time, they think of great names like Big L, Notorious B.I.G, 2pac, Jay-Z, Nas, Dr. Dre, etc. The one artist people continue to forget is a man from Bronx, New York. Christopher Lee Rios, a Puerto Rican-American known as Big Pun to the hip-hop world should be mentioned as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time.

Stepping on the hip-hop scene in the late 1990’s and emerging as one of the most lyrical artists, Big Pun only came out with two albums, Capital Punishment and Yeeeah Baby, due to the fact that his life was cut short by a deadly heart attack. A third album, Endangered Species, was created in his honor and consists of unreleased tracks, guest appearances, and greatest hits. Read the rest of this entry »