Kanye West and the pervasiveness of antisemitism

DARCY DAENZER
STAFF WRITER

11/7/2022

On October 25, Adidas officially cut ties with Kanye West, adding to the long list of brands and companies that have dropped the artist, who now goes by Ye.

The dissolution of Ye’s and Adidas’s partnership has been a long time coming as Ye has made more and more insensitive and antisemitic remarks, coupled with actions that have been traditionally associated with white supremacists.

This past September, at Paris Fashion Week, Ye showed up at an impromptu show with a shirt that had “White Lives Matter” printed on the back. This phrase was popularized by white supremacists in 2015 as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

In early October, Ye accused the rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs of “being controlled by Jewish people,” said Remy Tumin in a New York Times article.

After being suspended from Instagram, he “tweeted that he would soon go ‘death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,’” said Tumin. Soon after, Twitter also suspended him.

Additionally, he “falsely said George Floyd died from fentanyl use, not from a Minneapolis police officer’s kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes,” said Tumin. These are only a handful of the comments and actions that Ye has said and done in recent months.

In a non-exhaustive list, Ye has been dropped from Adidas, Balenciaga, Vogue and Anna Wintour, CAA (a talent agency) and his lawyer.

Also, his streams, sales and airplay have dramatically decreased, he has been suspended from Instagram and Twitter, his stadium shows were cancelled and his documentary was shelved.

While dropping Ye was a step in the right direction for Adidas, the company only made the decision after being pressured to do so as their stock had “dropped 23 percent over the past month as Ye’s erratic behavior drew criticism,” said Sorkin et al. of the New York Times.

But just because Ye is finally seeing the consequence of his actions does not mean that antisemitism will automatically go away.

Antisemitism is not isolated to just one person, and it did not die after the Holocaust. It is still very much alive and is picking up more traction every year.

In the 2017 report of the Anti-Defamation League’s index, they “tracked 2,107 incidents of vandalism, violence and harassment toward Jews in the United States,” said Michelle Boorstein and Isaac Arnsdorf of The Washington Post.

Today, and every day, it is important to show support for the Jewish community. Some of the ways we can support the community is to “amplify Jewish voices and check in with your Jewish friends, loved ones and colleagues,” said Ariel Loves from her blog arielloves.com.

Furthermore, we can “support Jewish-owned businesses, read up on Jewish history and donate to organizations and initiatives that fight antisemitism,” said Loves.

It is important that we speak up when we hear “antisemitic or stereotypical remarks or jokes…even though [these conversations] may be difficult or uncomfortable,” said Loves.

Fighting antisemitism is just as important as fighting against any other injustice we may know about. We should not become complacent because we believe that antisemitism does not exist today. It does, and it will take all of us to fight against it.

‘Lover’ or hate her, just don’t silence her

ALIVIA GILES
STAFF WRITER

11/7/2022

Following the release of Taylor Swift’s latest album, ‘Midnights’, the singer is facing criticism for “fatphobia” in her music video for the song, ‘Anti-Hero’. For years, Swift was silent about her eating disorder. We owe it to her and to countless others to not silence her again.

At one point in the ‘Anti-Hero’ video, we see Swift standing on a bathroom scale, another “version” of Swift peering over her shoulder. The scale reads one word: Fat. The original Swift’s shoulders drop in dismay as the other Swift shakes her head, disappointed.

Twitter users were quick to bring attention to the scene, calling out the singer for her use of the word “fat” and for implying that she is afraid of being viewed in this way. Less than a week after the video’s release, the scene was edited so the word “fat” is no longer visible.

It is not fair to say Swift cannot or should not speak about body image and insecurity simply because she is a thin person. No matter how others might perceive her, her experiences with insecurities and disordered eating are valid.

When Swift revealed she had struggled with an eating disorder in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, even people who had not considered themselves fans responded with empathy. And yet, the ‘Anti-Hero’ video was met with backlash.

So, is Swift only allowed to discuss her eating disorder in a way that we are all comfortable with? She was considered strong for bringing attention to this issue until she didn’t bring attention to it “right.”

Swift should not have to discuss her eating disorder and insecurities in a way that everyone can relate to or understand for it to be deemed acceptable for her to talk about them. We cannot expect people with platforms to draw attention to difficult topics and then police how they do it.

Many critics of the music video argued that Swift’s use of the word “fat” in a negative way was offensive to them because they choose to identify with the word in an indifferent or even positive way. This perspective is valid, but it simply does not align with Swift’s experiences.

In an interview with Variety, Swift explained that she does not view herself as an expert on the topic of eating disorders or body image insecurities in general and she understands that she cannot speak for everyone.

“I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way. But all I know is my own experience,” said Swift.

In the Miss Americana documentary, Swift describes the way she reacts to the public’s criticism of her body. “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day,” said Swift. “[The pictures and criticism] just trigger me to just starve a little bit—just stop eating.”

Like Swift said, she can only speak on her own experience, and that’s what she has done. Some people relate to these experiences, some people don’t. And that’s okay.

By censoring Swift, her message is lost. This is harmful not only to Swift, whose experiences are being diminished and even dismissed but also to the people who relate to these experiences.

When Swift discusses her history of disordered eating, my heart breaks for her, but I also feel incredibly seen. Having grown up with Swift’s music and influence, hearing her speak on serious issues that have impacted me is very important.

I know not everyone can relate to what Swift has gone through. And Swift knows this, too. But in many ways, I do feel that I can understand and relate to Swift’s experiences, and I know I am not alone in this.

Even if Swift’s message is not one everyone likes or can relate to, she deserves to have this message heard. So, let’s not silence her. Her experiences are valid, and she deserves to share them how she wants to.

The pros and cons of being an education major

LEIA LEHRER
GRAPHIC DESIGNER

CLAIRE WITTLIEFF
STAFF WRITER

10/24/2022

Since I declared my major my freshman year at Alma College, I have been a Secondary Education/ English double major for going on three years now. In that time, I’ve completed one placement and am currently completing another, accepted a work study position within Gratiot County, taken what seems like a boatload of education credits and have become President of the Education Club. You could say I’m rather involved with the education department and all things education related. 

Over the course of my time here at Alma, I’ve heard multiple things regarding the pros and cons of being an education major from my peers. Ash Holland (’23) said that there are both ups and downs to the major. 

“Some pros of being an education major are being part of an amazing community of people and the feeling of being supported and able to ask as many questions as needed,” said Holland. “I like how we have a lot of placement opportunities before we student teach.” However, Holland also recognizes the cons of being an education major. “A con of being an education major is being busy especially when doing a placement. Many times, education students have to drive to do a placement and it is a major time commitment to achieve,” said Holland. An overall change that is suggested to be made is to have students complete less “busy work” and a larger focus on assignments regarding teaching, such as creating lesson plans. 

Dr. Brian Hancock, an Assistant Professor of Education at Alma College, is happy with the work being done within the education department. “The program is nationally recognized and our faculty and clinical partners do an amazing job at preparing well- started teachers who are ready to do great work with Pk- 12 students,” said Hancock.

“The changes to our education program offerings are in-line with the new requirements from the state of Michigan and, especially important for the Pk-6 major, now include a clinical placement in a classroom during the first year of study,” said Hancock. Dr. Hancock also shared some advice for students. “I always encourage education students (and all students, for that matter) to take advantage of any and all travel opportunities during their time at Alma College. So much of “good” teaching is being responsive to students needs and interests and is not scriptable within a curriculum. We collectively can learn so much about ourselves and others when we visit new places, and it’s important to take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves,” said Hancock.

As an education major, I greatly sympathize with other students in the field as I have worried about driving to and from placements, about completing my hours in a timely fashion and awaiting acceptance into the Teacher Education Program since some of the requirements do not fit the content area in which I am going into.

With this being said, I have had an overall positive experience with the education program here at Alma. I have enjoyed going into classrooms early in my years here so that I can determine whether or not teaching is what I truly want to pursue. I have endless gratitude and appreciation to the education department faculty, for they are always willing to answer any questions I may have as well as instruct classes that have given me new perspectives about my field. 

I additionally love being President of the Education Club as I get to connect with members while also acting as a bridge between student and faculty communication.

In conclusion, I commend my fellow education majors that are passionate about what they do. I believe the pandemic has been one of the greatest examples of how overlooked and overworked teachers are, and just how much we impact our students.

When I went to New York City this summer, I bought a pin in Central Park that reads “Teacher Power”. A dear friend of mine asked what that meant. After thinking about what it means, I took a few notes that I would like to share with you now.

Teacher power is inspiring students to become the best version of themselves. It’s acting as a role model when there’s no one to look up to. It’s providing stability when the home life of a student is rocky. 

It’s supporting them when there’s no one to hold them up. It’s motivating them to get what they want out of life and to not let go. It’s shielding students from gunfire.

It’s the bookmark my teacher made me that I use to this day. It’s the sympathy cards I received when my grandfather died. It’s the conversation I recently had with one of my past English teachers. 

It’s every hug I received at my high school graduation and every conference my parents attended. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I could take care of every single child in the world, I would. And that’s teacher power. 

Title IX concerns at Alma College

ALIVIA GILES
LAYOUT EDITOR

10/24/2022

While several Alma College students have voiced concerns about how the college handles Title IX cases, it is also important to consider how misuse of the Title IX system causes victims to suffer. 

One student who chose to remain anonymous has seen their peers resort to filing Title IX cases in instances where they felt it may not have been appropriate. 

“I have witnessed many situations in which friends [or people in relationships] find themselves in an argument . . . and instead of solving these issues interpersonally or even through third-party mediation, one person will choose to file a Title IX case. This usually leads to the second person counter-filing a case.” 

This person believes fewer students would misuse the system if the college was more transparent about what Title IX really is. 

“[The college should teach students] the severity and weight of Title IX. These situations are not jokes, petty fights or minor disputes,” they said. “These are cases of genuine discrimination or abuse.” 

Another student who filed a Title IX case and wishes to remain anonymous also commented on misuse of the system. 

“When students abuse or manipulate the system for their own gain or advantage, it makes it so that legitimate cases are not taken as seriously and are more heavily stigmatized,” they said. 

“I can remember shortly after . . . my Title IX investigation…[people believed] I was lying . . . just for going to Title IX,” they said.

Aware of these students’ experiences, Alma College has made significant changes to the Title IX system. The college recently announced a partnership with Grand River Solutions and appointed a new Civil Rights/Title IX coordinator, David Blandford.

The college also expanded from two to four Deputy Title IX Coordinators: Alice Kramer, Kelley Peatross, Jonathan Glenn and John MacArthur.

“I oversee the process and make sure that we are doing our best to provide supportive measures, ensure the process is fair and timely and I also assign investigators, hearing officers and advisors as needed,” said Blandford.

Blandford wants students to know that they have options when filing a Title IX case. Students filing Title IX cases can choose to undertake a formal investigation, alternative resolution or seek supportive measures without formal action.

“. . . Alternative resolution, which isn’t always appropriate, brings people together to agree on a resolution and requires the parties to work together,” said Blandford. “Formal investigation is a long process that can require people to retell their story and is often the hardest; it is also the option that holds the greatest accountability and has the least amount of flexibility.”

While Blandford does not see misuse of the Title IX system as a major problem at the college, he understands why some students have concerns about it.

“I do not feel this is currently an issue on campus, but I can understand why students may feel that way,” said Blandford. “The process is very prescribed on handling false information and retaliation, and those things are taken very seriously.”

“This process also does not allow for any punitive measures to be taken against a responding party until [a verdict has been reached] at the end of a hearing,” said Blandford. “It does allow supportive measures to be put in place at any time to help support both reporting and responding parties.”

“All complaints filed with the Title IX office must be followed up on, and we will take every report seriously, regardless of what else is happening. We also investigate claims to make sure they are valid,” said Blandford.

For more information about the Title IX system, students can talk to Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator David Blandford in the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO).

Divided opinion on Metz Culinary Management

EMMA FIGLEWICZ
STAFF WRITER

10/3/2022

On July 1, 2022, Alma College partnered with Metz Culinary Management. Metz is renowned for its experience in the higher education industry, which was the major factor in Alma College choosing it over other contenders.

Metz was brought to Alma College with the hopes of it being an improvement upon the previous dining company, presumably in response to student complaints and protests in the past years.

Over the past few years, the student body has voiced its concerns and speculations over the quality and lack of variation in menu items and protein sources. Even after changing culinary companies, the student body still is upset over these issues.

“The change from Sodexo to Metz has severely altered my diet. Many of my favorite foods, such as peanut butter and chickpeas or no longer offered at the dining hall. As a student-athlete, I used to eat these foods as a source of healthy fat and protein,” said Ryan Gray (‘25).

Alongside numerous foods no longer being offered, popular food stations are no longer operable in the dining hall.

“I was confused about the two most popular stations, the Mongolian Grill and the pasta bar, to be removed,” said Austin DeRocher (‘24). “It was a staple of numerous athletes’ diets, providing them with high protein and carb options while simultaneously bringing the best flavors to the dining hall.”

The new culinary management has implemented various nutrition changes emphasizing healthier and alternative food options. Metz prioritizes making vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options more accessible for students to implement into their diet. These new changes have come with contradicting viewpoints.

“I’ve been to the dining hall possibly seven times since the beginning of the year. The only enjoyable thing I can find there is chocolate milk, cereal, and fries. I miss the unhealthier options that were offered before Metz took over,” said Andrew Smith (’23).

“I do enjoy the healthier options that are now offered. After practice, I tend to want to eat a lot of food and when healthier options are available, it makes me feel better mentally and physically,” said Gray.

Not only has the variation of food been questioned by the student body, so has the quality of the food. Numerous students have found questionable items in their food alongside of the question of how thoroughly cooked the food is.

“One day, I went to grab some oat milk out of the fridge, and inside the carton was mold. When I showed one of the workers, she looked concerned and took the carton away,” said Kylie Demarets (’25).

This has not been the only case where the food quality has come into question. Many students have found the tortillas at the deli station to be stale, and at times, different foods are under or overcooked.

Although Hamilton Commons is a small dining hall compared to many other campuses, students still wish more variety was available.

“For the whole month of September, all that has been offered at the Southern Cooking station has been tacos. My friends and I assume it is to commemorate Mexican Heritage Month; however, other Hispanic foods can be served that represent the culture. After weeks of only being offered tacos, it gets a little annoying when nothing changes,” said Grace Ludema (’26).

Overall, it seems that although the college had tried to improve the dining hall and its options, it sadly did not achieve this goal.

The General Manager of Metz Culinary Management was contacted on Sept. 27 but was unable to respond by the date of publication.

Controversy surrounding movie Don’t Worry Darling

DARCY DAENZER
ALIVIA GILES
STAFF WRITER

10/3/2022

The anticipation of the release of Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh, has been fraught with controversy. Any doubts the movie would do poorly on its opening weekend, however, were quickly cast aside as it rose to number one at the box office.

The discourse surrounding the movie touches on a wide range of things from Shia LaBeouf’s involvement to Styles’ acting, to the relationship between Styles and Wilde.

Some have even gone so far as to suggest the controversy has been used purposely by the film’s creators to promote the film and increase its potential viewership.

Whatever the case, most conversations are now centering around Styles’ and Wilde’s relationship. The age difference between the two, how it may have caused tensions on set and how distant they seemed to be from each other throughout the premiere in Venice are just some of the topics being discussed.

In a male-dominated field such as the film industry, female directors like Wilde may face more scrutiny just because they are women.

It would not be surprising if Wilde has faced more criticism as a woman. “[I]t makes sense…that a woman would experience more backlash for a movie like this since they are constantly under a microscope,” said Amelia Price (’24).

On a similarly note, Wilde faces more scrutiny as a female director. “[S]he will continue to be confined by her sexuality, as [the] film exists in a patriarchal society,” said Haden Gross (’23).

Furthermore, male film directors have had a long history of dating their female leads. Some instances included a notable age difference and still received little to no criticism.

Even if Wilde is facing more criticism simply because she is dating one of the world’s most famous male singers right now, it is still important to consider the gender biases that may be in effect.

Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, was received very differently by critics, attaining an admirable 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid seven point one out of 10 on IMDb.

Perhaps, some critics of Wilde have a problem with the subject matter of her newest film. This includes the constraints women of an idyllic 60s-era society are facing.

The movie, however, has not suffered any repercussions from the bad press. CNN reported they “opened to $19.2 million in North America [the weekend of September 23 and] …notched $30 million worldwide so far.”

While Don’t Worry Darling has only received 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and six point three out of 10 on IMDb, it has, nevertheless, pervaded our lives with the sheer amount of press surrounding the actors and creative team.

Whether more people will see the movie is up for debate. “As much as I want to see it, I do not want to support Olivia Wilde, financially or in general, so I will be watching it, but in a less conventional way,” said Price.

When it comes to movies these days, especially with social media, it is no surprise that a movie this heavily promoted with A-list actors and one of the world’s most famous singers could have caused this amount of contention. However, it is evident that some of the topics being discussed are not essential to determining the actual merits of the film.

While it may be fun to discuss all of the drama Don’t Worry Darling has caused, in the end, it really does not matter.

Hopefully, in the future, we can judge movies by their actual content and not the drama surrounding them.

Who deserves the COVID-19 vaccine?

COURTNEY SMITH
STAFF WRITER

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, all of humanity has been searching for a light at the end of the tunnel. That light, for many, arrives in the form of a vaccine. The state of Michigan has administered COVID-19 vaccines for the past six months; however, due to limited availability of vaccines, healthcare administrators released the vaccine in tiers according to age, occupation, and health status.

“Since December 2020, COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan became available for front line workers such as healthcare workers and first responders in congregate settings, and those aged 65 and older,” said professor of integrated physiology and health sciences, Hyun Kim. “Pre-K-12 teachers, school staff, and licensed child care workers were also vaccinated after these groups. The state of Michigan has been expanding vaccination eligibility for those aged 16 and older with disabilities or medical beginning March 22nd, and starting April 5th, everyone over 16 will become eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The public as well as the campus community have expressed mixed opinions on what groups of people deserve to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before others. Much controversy has arisen from the exclusion of college students from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine before the general public, as they live in communal settings in which the virus spreads rapidly.

“Since last year, health inequity has been the topic in the area of public health,” said Kim. “One of the ethical principles of COVID-19 vaccine priority groups was to promote justice and to mitigate health inequities. Alma College is one of a few higher-educational institutions who has opened the campus for in-person learning while many others, especially large state universities, have not. I think the student population cannot be prioritized due to these reasons mentioned above unless they have high-risk underlying conditions or work at the healthcare settings. Again, I believe vaccine priorities should be given to those, no matter if they are students or faculty members, at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.”

Another source of controversy arose when Alma College faculty members were offered the COVID-19 vaccine prior to students, even though many of these faculty members had opportunities to receive the vaccine at prior dates.

“The COVID-19 vaccine was provided first to the faculty of Alma College,” said Kim. “There were a fair number of faculty members with underlying health conditions who did not get vaccinated due to delays in vaccination scheduling in Michigan. I think this was why COVID-19 vaccine was offered prior to students.”

Although many felt that college students should have qualified for the COVID-19 vaccine at an earlier date, various different factors were considered in determining vaccine eligibility.

“Mortality and morbidity data of COVID-19 in the United States has shown that individuals aged 65 and older or with high-risk health conditions have been significantly affected by severe complications such as trouble breathing, heart problems, and additional bacterial infections,” said Kim. “Based on this evidence, I personally think the vaccine could have been offered to students at the same time to faculty, but to those with underlying conditions prior to everyone,

because we, as a campus community, have been working together diligently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus.”

At the end of the day, each vaccine administered in our campus community brings us one step closer to bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to a close.

Harry and Meghan expose the Royal Family

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, exposed the Royal Family for failing to protect them and their son, Archie.

Before Archie was born, Meghan was told by a member of the firm (as she referred to it in the interview) that he would not have a title, which would not grant him security.

When asked why her son–a great-grandchild of the Queen–would not have a title when the rest of the children born into the family did, she received no response.

However, many speculate that this is due to Archie being biracial.

An undisclosed immediate member of the family even voiced concern directly to Prince Harry about how dark his son’s skin would be, fueling a whole new narrative regarding the agenda of the “firm.”

After the interview with Oprah was released, the Royal Family has been criticized for these racist remarks, but Harry refused to divulge who specifically said them, as it would “destroy” their life.

Since Harry and Meghan’s relationship went public, British tabloids were quick to fault her for even the most normal behavior. This put in question the double standard between her and her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, and many wonder if it is due to Meghan’s race.

During one of Kate’s pregnancies, DailyMail praised her for, “tenderly [cradling] her baby bump.”

However, when Meghan was photographed the same way, DailyMail’s headline was, “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump?” and asked whether it was “pride, vanity, acting–or a new age bonding technique.” This is just one of the many examples where British tabloids compared the two and portrayed Meghan negatively. Media have also accused Meghan of trying to take Harry away from his family and criticized her for her behavior, as she should have understood what she “signed up for.”

However, nobody can say what an experience is like until they are experiencing it. It is easy for commoners to say we would adjust a certain way when we will never have the opportunity to be in someone else’s shoes.

“I think if there are issues [about the Royal Family] that the public doesn’t see, it is good for it to be brought out to the public,” said Madee Hall (‘23).

The Royal Family’s inability to stand up for Meghan when inaccurate headlines about her were published is something else that has bothered her throughout her time as a member of the family.

To Oprah, Meghan said the firm was, “willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”

The Duke and Duchess’s purpose for doing the interview was not to destroy lives or expose anyone in their family; it was to speak their truth after being ridiculed for the decisions they have made over the last year to step down as senior members of the Royal Family.

This did not mean that they wanted to leave their family or that they didn’t want to be royals; they did not want as much responsibility as senior members are supposed to hold.

This decision is what they believed was best for their well-being.

Meghan confided in Oprah about her mental health struggles during her pregnancy with Archie. It got to the point where Meghan did not trust herself alone, and told Harry she frankly did not want to be alive anymore.

When the couple asked members of the Royal Family if she could receive inpatient care for her mental health and take some time away for treatment, they told her it would not be a good look for their family.

These are supposed to be her family members. Yet, they cared more about how they looked to the public than how much she was struggling.

“Meghan is a part of the family and they need to treat her more like it,” said Hall.

“I don’t think Meghan and Harry are getting enough credit for doing what they have. [They] are people, too.”

The couple now have a farm in California and are expecting a baby girl this summer. They still actively talk with Queen Elizabeth, but expressed how relationships with many other members of the family will need time to mend.

Ultimately, they made the best decision for themselves and their family.

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