Women’s History Month sparks power in students


Many do not realize that the month or March is Women’s History Month. On Monday, Mar. 8, 2020 it was International Women’s Day as it is every year now.

Women’s History Month is all about trying to get equality. Still to this day women are not necessarily equal to men, especially in the work field. Wage gaps range depending on gender, age and the job being done. It is estimated that it will take another 40 years for women’s pay to become even close to male’s pay in the workforce.

International Women’s Day is the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Women still fight for the equality that they deserve. There are multiple topics that people would like to cover during this day and in general.

Female athletes still are not treated nearly as well as male athletes. Not only is the pay different for pro-athletes, but the media coverage for female athletes is not advertised nearly as much as male athletic events. It has been a question if women should be allowed to compete in male dominant sports because some sports do not have women’s teams, for example, football.

Currently, there are female football coaches but still not many women playing football on pro teams. As women continue to fight for equal rights to do what they love, they break the norms of the gender-stereotyped norms.

There are so many stereotypes, in the work place especially, that claim that men can perform better in the workplace. Many women work so hard on a daily basis and shape the lives of the future. Women still go to work while pregnant and dealing with other bodily issues that happen over time.

Empowering women through women’s health education is very important because even as a women you may not know everything about your own health. Many women go undiagnosed with multiple different health problems because they don’t know what to ask at the doctors office. There is a time to draw the line with women’s health because you can only go so long with being in pain due to what you think could be cramps.

Many doctors still do not immediately test for things like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome is believed to effect 1 in 10 women in the world, however, many women remain undiagnosed.

Many women also push to increase visibility for women’s creativity. Women who have chosen careers in artistic fields sometimes feel undervalued and like their work is not as appreciated compared to a man’s according to several studies. For example, female authors are believed to not have their work appreciated due to many hurdles and struggle in best selling genres such as horror and science fiction. Many women, such as J.K. Rowling, have gone by initials and their last name or a made-up name that does not sound feminine just to get their work published and to try and reduce the fear that their work will not be appreciated by audiences.

Women continue to need the support in all different categories, this is just to name a few. Breaking the stigma and stereotypes of being a women continue to get harder as topics get deeper. We all have the power to change this.

Trans students want to see Alma’s actions speak


The lack of restrooms that are available for any student, no matter what gender they prefer, on Alma’s campus is something to question.

You may not have noticed this issue because it doesn’t particularly affect you, but for the students that it does, it is more than an inconvenience.

There are very few all gender bathrooms in common areas of campus, and this problem needs to be solved. There are students on our own campus who have nowhere to do something that everyone does, and no one can help.

It’s time we start growing with society and creating spaces that allow people to use the bathroom if they need to, just like everyone else can.

There is a solution to this issue — we need single use bathrooms that are accessible and plenty around campus. These can be used by anyone, no matter what gender they identify as.

In the end, no one would be inconvenienced. A lot of people would be helped, and a positive change would be made!

I think the first step of this process should be addressing the few all gender bathrooms that already exist on our campus.

The most well-known all gender bathrooms are the ones on the first floor of Dow. These are routinely disgusting. The smell carries past the door, and the toilets are always very dirty.

The point is there, but Trans students deserve the basic decency of having a restroom that is useable.

Another gender inclusive bathroom used to exist across from Tyler Van Dusen but has since been removed and painted over. There are only male and female bathrooms in Saga, as well as the rec center.

There are no public all gender bathrooms in SAC, but students are allowed to use the one in the teacher’s lounge on the first floor if needed.

It is absolutely not okay that a student may have to walk up and/or down three flights of stairs just to use the restroom during class.

This issue has surpassed being just an inconvenience to students who need single use bathrooms. It can interfere with their health and disrupt their education because they would need to walk up and down flights of stairs which would cause them to miss more class time than those who could just use the restroom down the hall.

Because of the fact that I am cisgender, I have spoken to many individuals with whom the lack of all gender bathrooms effects. I then decided to use my voice as a staff member of The Almanian to broadcast their worries.

“If I’m somewhere like the rec or SAC, I’ll have to walk across campus just to use the bathroom,” said Oliver Labuda (’22). Labuda also stated that they sometimes leave SAC during class to use the single use restroom in the Eddy Music Hall.

Other students opened up to me about their struggles with not having a bathroom that is accessible to them.

“I have taken to social media to speak out about the issue,” said David Parnell III (’21) who has spoken with members of administration about the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

“Your Trans students just need your actions to speak,” Parnell stated in a tweet that got several likes and retweets from other Alma students.

The school has taken a step by making bathrooms of dorm buildings single person use because anyone can use and access them at any point.

If we had more areas like this around campus, it would be a step towards making Trans students on campus feel a little more comfortable.

When you have a marginalized group speaking out and asking, “hey, we need this thing to make us feel more humane on your campus,” and the issue only seems to get worse, there needs to be a call to action.

The college should take responsibility for this mistake and allocate more bathrooms around campus to being single use, all gendered and easily accessible. This is a small step that could help many students at Alma who deserve comfortability.

Next time you’re walking around common areas of campus buildings, check the bathrooms. If you see an all gender bathroom, check the conditions. If none are satisfactory, or there isn’t one in sight, realize that.

Alma College, we want to see change. As long as everyone pees, they all deserve a place to be able to do so.

Title IX Visibility


The Almanian Hears YOu

In the coming weeks, the Almanian will be asking the students and employees of Alma College about their experiences with the Title IX system in order to complete a comprehensive and fully independent student-conducted report. You can DM your stories to us on Twitter at @Almanian_news or email us at editor.almanian@outlook.com. And if you prefer encrypted/anonymous communication, you can contact us on Signal at +1 937-768-3045.

The Almanian recognizes that it may be difficult to share your stories for many reasons, and as such we promise to treat them with sensitivity and confidentiality.

You may choose to share your story solely over electronic communication, or you may message us to arrange a meeting with one of the Almanian’s reporters at a location where you feel most comfortable. You may also choose to take a break at any time during the process.

The Almanian guarantees that your story will not be shared without your consent. You will be able to choose whether you want your story to be detailed in the report or whether you want your story to simply inform the overall picture that our report paints of the Title IX system.

If you choose to have your story detailed, you may also choose whether to be anonymous or named. We will provide you a final look at what your story looks like before we publish so you have the opportunity to change your mind.

The Almanian is doing this report because we believe that there are problems with the Title IX process and other pathways to justice. These are not problems merely limited to Alma but ones that exists everywhere and at every level. These are also not problems that can be placed on one person, but are instead the combination of various institutional, legal, and cultural factors.

Perhaps the most prolific and recent example of these problems was the infamous People v. Turner case, better known as the Brock Turner story. Turner admitted to sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in an alley on his way to a party, but demanded leniency in his sentencing due to his “potential” as an athlete and a student. The judge agreed and Turner only faced 6 months in jail.

Although the injustice in this case may seem overwhelming and symbolic of so many other evils, the bright spotlight placed on this problem led to changes to address it. The judge that presided over Brock Turner’s case was stripped of his position in the following election and the state legislature passed laws to prevent an outcome like this from happening again.

Like everywhere, Alma College has problems in regards to how it seeks justice. Experiencing those problems can feel isolating because so much of the Title IX process relies on secrecy. This can make us feel alone despite many of us experiencing similar issues. The Almanian believes that sharing these stories––whether anonymously or plainly––can help us both feel less alone and identify common problems as a community.

Maybe you didn’t report. Maybe you reported but feel like the college did not take the situation seriously enough. Maybe you reported and feel like the college did properly address the situation. Maybe you had a different experience entirely.

No matter what your story is, the Almanian is here to listen.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Small fish, big pond: how transfer students adapt


When I first arrived at Alma College as a transfer student, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was nervous and excited, and I was dreading the Michigan winter, which had a reputation that preceded it all the way back to August. Now, with a semester under my belt and a long, restful winter break, I’ve had time to reflect on my experience.

Transferring to a school like Alma from an out-of-state community college is a unique experience and one that I’m really grateful for. And at last, I finally feel like I have an answer to the question I’ve been asked more than any other, “why Alma?”

Aside from the usual boilerplate answers I usually gave people, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I cherish the time I spent at Salt Lake Community College (or “Slick” for you Salt Lake City locals), but Alma had something unique to offer: the sense of community that comes from all the students who live on and around campus. The community of learning at Alma College is one of its greatest amenities and one that I think goes under-appreciated. However, becoming a part of that community and taking advantage of everything it has to offer isn’t always easy.

As many of us remember first-hand, the first few weeks at school can be overwhelming for incoming freshmen. It is an avalanche of new information—new faces, new places, and new expectations. It really does feel like being thrown into the deep end of the pool on the first day of swimming lessons, except this time you’ve got a $300 stack of books and a hundred other kids splashing around with you.

It’s a lot to handle and the college knows that, which is why there are so many resources available to freshmen, especially in those first few weeks. Things like orientation and the first-year seminar classes that all freshmen have to take are life-preservers to help keep everyone’s heads above water.

Transfer students, thankfully, are equipped to deal with a lot of the stress that plagues first-year students. They have already gone through that crucible, and they know what to expect.

But that doesn’t mean their transition is painless. There’s still a lot to learn and, in some cases, a lot to un-learn.

Unfortunately, most of the resources for new students aren’t perfectly suited for transfer students. Even the resources that would be really helpful can be hard to find. That is why Alma has the Transfer Assistance Program (TAP).

“The transfer program is supposed to give you a sense of belonging,” said Johnnie Upshaw (20), a TAP mentor and a transfer student himself. “The first time I actually left my room in my first semester was for a TAP event and I met like four people that I’m still friends with today,” said Upshaw.

My personal experience definitely affirms that goal. When I arrived Alma, it was immediately clear that I was an outsider. However, I didn’t feel excluded. Quite the contrary—I felt welcomed by both the staff and the students, largely thanks to outreach from the TAP mentors.

For some students, transferring from a community college to a four-year school can improve the experience overall.

“It gives you a transition from dependence to independence. At community college, you’re still under your parents’ roof. You have more independence on campus, and then you go back

home to being dependent. When you come to a university where you stay on campus and you live there, it’s like full independence. You’re learning adulthood.” said Upshaw.

No more war nerds



Do you feel clueless about what’s currently happening in Iran? Have you felt confused about why the US is even involved in the middle east for almost your entire life? When you were young and people told you that soldiers fight for our freedom, were you ever puzzled as to how that even worked? Recently, have you quietly muttered “Who the hell is Soleimani?” Did you ever feel like all of this was common sense, and that one day when you grew up this would click for you? If you said yes to any of these symptoms and we’re afraid or embarrassed to speak up or ask questions, then you have been unfortunately infected by the loathed War Nerd.

It’s not your fault, most people have been infected by the War Nerd (including myself), but the first step to seeking help is knowing more about what bit you. And that starts with finally asking some questions.

So, what is a War Nerd? They are not your average Republican or Democrat voter, people interested in military history, they definitely aren’t your enlisted family members. They’re not even the people who tore down the “NO WAR WITH IRAN” banner hanging in Mac Mall.

War Nerds are the wealthy sell-outs who pretend to be smart so they can personally get richer off of warfare. They are the suit-wearing talking heads who appear on the news to tell you that this war is definitely a good idea and that anyone who disagrees is either ill-informed or a terrorist. War Nerds are parasitic creatures who have one singular goal: making you divert trillions of dollars away from improving your country and instead towards their careers and the careers of their friends, no matter the bloodshed it takes.

They use a variety of tactics, but the most common is making you feel stupid. When Trump launched a missile strike and killed an Iranian commander named Qasem Soleimani which put us on a path towards violent conflict (most likely in order to get reelected), the War Nerds came crawling out of their holes with their thesauruses and hastily scrawled note cards. “Soleimani (whom the vast amount of Americans had never heard of) was one of most evil men in the entire world!” announced the smug War Nerds on their slated cable guest appearances. The clear implication is that if you don’t know who Soleimani was, then it is you who is the ignorant one, it is you who isn’t American enough.

Since you not knowing about Soleimani is a you problem, so you shouldn’t embarrass yourself by asking questions or pushing back. “Prepare to ship out your children and your friends to die in Iran, because we must defend Freedom,” proclaims the War Nerd from his comfortably air conditioned television studio. He doesn’t mean his children or his friends, but that is left unspoken.

That isn’t the only fact that gets left unspoken when War Nerds start calling for violence. Take this article by Stephen Hadley (pictured in the top row, third from the left) in the Washington Post for example. The article opens with a byline that describes Hadley as a former national security advisor, then Hadley takes 914 words to say that these dangerous aggressions might be good because they could lead to the possibility of diplomacy. Nowhere in the article is there a disclaimer that the author also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board of directors for Raytheon, a defense contracting firm that stands to make enormous amounts of money if we go to war.

On NPR, Jeh Johnson (top row, first from the right) was introduced as the former Homeland Security Secretary and treated as an objective source before the host began asking him questions about Iran. Johnson responded by “sensibly” scare mongering about what Iran could do to retaliate against us. Nowhere in the NPR story is a disclaimer given that Jeh Johnson also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board for Lockheed Martin, another defense contractor that has the potential to make serious cash if people die. Both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have seen their stocks shoot up following Trump’s missile strike.

The poisonous effects of War Nerds can even spread to anti-war advocates. On the day after Trump heightened tensions by killing Soleimani, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) composed a 10 tweet long thread in which she talked about how evil Soleimani was before saying that the strike wasn’t strategic enough. In an effort to seem “reasonable,” you may also be tempted to add these disclaimers to your condemnation, you’re actually just further propagating War Nerd talking points. The average American doesn’t care about who this man was, they care about their kid coming home for thanksgiving instead of for their funeral.

“Aha!” says the smug War Nerd, “Did you know that Soleimani killed American troops in the middle east? I did, because I’m smart, unlike you.” This is where the mask of reasonableness completely slips off the War Nerd, because they always seem to forget why our soldiers were in the middle east to begin with. Maybe if they remembered to tell us that we sent Americans over there because War Nerds like Ari Fleisher (bottom row, first from the left) lied to us, the American people wouldn’t keep having War Nerds like Ari Fleisher on to lie to us again. War Nerds want to blatantly use their past mistakes to justify future ones.

If you are a fellow student on this campus, then you know our country has been at war for our entire lifetimes because older generations decided to listen to these leeches. We are not making the same mistake.

You don’t have to be a political science major to know that killing random people across the world––and getting our own soldiers killed in the process––so some corporate tool can make a couple more dollars is psychotic. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. We’re not going to listen to War Nerds anymore, we are going to shove these blood-sucking monsters back in the locker where they belong.

The Bolivian coup is a rerun


Reading the news regarding Bolivia over the past couple of weeks has left me thinking a lot about Jurassic Park. More specifically what the author of Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton, coined as Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. Crichton described this effect as “You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well…You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of the facts or the issues…In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs. And read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read.”

As most of us may know, on Nov. 10, Eva Morales stepped down from his post as President of Bolivia, but this isn’t the whole story. To see a fuller and more accurate picture, we have to know who Morales is in the first place. Morales was born to indigenous farmers in a small mining village where he grew up herding llamas. Later, becoming the union leader of coca growers, an industry that consisted heavily of former miners who had been laid off as a result of mid-80’s financial austerity in Bolivia. Through his life, Morales witnessed the effects of both colonial racism and neoliberal capitalism.

Morales defied all expectations when his campaigned for the Bolivian presidency by opposing corporate globalization and actually won, becoming the first ever Bolivian indigenous president. His supporters celebrated by waving the Wiphala flag, a flag symbolizing Bolivia’s indigenous people. Morales quickly got to work undoing centuries of colonialism by appointing indigenous activists to major positions in government and centering indigenous concerns in the national dialogue as well as the rewritten Bolivian constitution. With the political party he founded, Movement Toward Socialism, Bolivia began implementing recovery measures with huge success. The GDP grew by over 50%, poverty fell from 60% to 35%, and extreme poverty fell even steeper from 38% to 15%. On these popular reforms, Morales was reelected twice.

Like all Presidential administrations, Morales wasn’t perfect. Many have criticized him for seeking a fourth term in office, which was a violation of the Bolivian constitution. The Bolivian legislature narrowly voted to not grant him another term, but the Bolivian courts struck them down and ruled that Morales was cleared to run again. Morales won 47.1% of the vote, a large enough plurality to not require a run-off election against the second-place candidate. The Organization of American States then claimed that there were irregularities in the voting process without any actual proof, with the Center for Economic and Policy Research disputing this claim. Morales, confident of his popularity, offered to run new elections regardless. Despite this, the military asked him to step down. Wanting to stop the ongoing violence against his family members and party colleagues, he did and left for Mexico in order to gain political asylum.

This coup fits a sinister pattern that points to an obvious suspect. The United States has a habit of destabilizing foreign powers if they don’t cooperate in giving American corporations the resources they want or if they get too close to achieving functional socialism. This isn’t a tinfoil-hat conspiracy, these are open secrets that the US government has declassified and admitted. A few notable examples are the following (A more comprehensive list would require one to see Seth Lester’s “U.S. Policy in Latin America” presentation for Alma YDSA): In 1912, the US occupied Nicaragua and installed an authoritarian government for bananas; In 1916, the US began a brutal nineteen year occupation of Haiti for sugar; In 1919, the US engaged in a military intervention in Honduras for more bananas; In 1954, the US carried out a CIA operation to depose the democratically elected Guatemalan president and replace him with a decades-long brutal military dictatorship so the United Fruit Company could maintain profits; In 1973, the US carried out another CIA operation to depose the democratically elected socialist Chilean president and replace him with a 15 year- long fascist regime in order to avoid the positive example a socialist government might set; In 2003, the US started a a war in Iraq for oil; In 2009, the US used the Department of Defense to back coup in Honduras in order to take a leftist President out of office. All of these actions resulted in the unimaginably horrendous torture, rape, and murder of political dissidents that were far too gruesome to ever be described in a school newspaper. Yet all were justified by the American government due to the financial benefits it gave to US companies.

While we won’t know for many years the level of US involvement in the Bolivian crisis, we do know that the Trump administration has very publicly supported the coup. Western media has closely followed in Trump’s example and declared what happened in Bolivia as a victory for democracy.

As coup forces began to assert control over Bolivia and little-known lawmaker Jeanine Áñez declared herself president by ignoring succession rules, western media legitimized the illegal actions and initially downplayed the new government’s atrocities. Instead of reporting on the racist soldiers cutting off the Wiphala flag from their uniforms or how these soldiers were now being deployed to kill indigenous protestors, the media framed them as forces simply trying to “quell violence”. There is no focus on the racist tweets and remarks Áñez made against indigenous people, instead the western media like The New York Times frames the atrocities with calming headlines such as “In Bolivia, Interim Leader Sets Conservative, Religious Tone”.

So why the refusal to acknowledge what this historical pattern or even properly report on what is happening in Bolivia at this very moment? There’s no insidious conspiracy theory here, no shadowy figure secretly pulling the strings from behind the scenes. As I’ve said before, the real truth is that the mainstream media suffers from biases as a result of its structural values. And the structural values of both the media and the US government aren’t truth or justice, but instead the simple generating of profit. And until that changes, we should always take what these two institutions proudly declare with a heavy grain of salt. We might like to tell ourselves that these core democratic intuitions serve the people, but they won’t actually serve us until we really demand it and fundamentally restructure how they independently work. In the words of Jurassic Park’s Ellie Satler, “You never had control. That’s the illusion!”

The mouse and the monopoly


Graphic by MEREK ALAM

Last Tuesday, Disney officially launched their Disney + streaming service. An initially impressive subscription-based service that allows you to watch all the nostalgic Disney works from your childhood along with all the current Marvel and Star Wars movies, along with some new original additions such as The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. I’m here to predictably tell you why this is actually bad upon closer inspection.

One might argue that Disney + is good because it gives people another chance to relieve their younger days by watching classic Disney shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Kim Possible, Hannah Montana and even The Simpsons. Even more importantly, Disney + provides a platform to watch older classics such as Fantasia, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin so the younger generation can properly appreciate classics of the past.

I argue that you shouldn’t even need Disney + to watch these at all.

When the United States Copyright Act was first passed, copyrights only lasted about 14 years. This was amended over time, and soon the original author could file an appeal to extend it. By the time the first every Mickey Mouse cartoon emerged, “Steamboat Willy,” copyright had been extended to 56 years (not including renewal). This would not do for Disney, who began immediately pressuring Congress to extend this. In 1976 Congress passed new copyright terms that gave copyright protections for an author’s entire life as well as an additional 50 years. Then, when the deadline for Mickey’s copyright got dangerously close again, Disney pushed Congress to pass the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which gave corporate-owned works up to 120 years of copyright protection and free reign to sue anyone who hosts or creates something similar.

In addition, Disney has slowly formed a growing monopoly and makes up near 40 percent of all U.S. box office sales. It’s not creatively or democratically healthy to have so many creative works coming out of one corporation. When Disney once again wants more legislative changes to be made in favor of the corporation, they will leverage your love for their unfairly held properties in order to instill in you actual political opinions.

If the government attempts to increase tax margins and it affects Disney shareholders, you’ll get Marvel movies where Peter Parker must stop an evil government from unjustly taxing Tony Stark’s estate. If Disney workers begin fighting for employee rights, you’ll have a Star Wars sequence where Yoda’s ghost explains to disgruntled cantina workers how unions are actually bad for them. If Congress tries to break up monopolies, they will announce a Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars crossover movie so you personally rally for Disney to hold on to their copyrights. Occasionally, a LGBT+ subplot will be added into an animated movie so they still seem “progressive,” but the subplot won’t be too heavily emphasized. After all, Disney will need to edit it out so they can still make money by showing it in China.

Disney is playing a dangerous game. As people realize more and more that the company is solely interested in making money, or that it is coming dangerously close to producing a majority of the art and political messages for our society, they might want to monetarily support it as little as possible. They might install a VPN so they can’t be tracked by their internet service provider or college wi-fi. They might look into how or ask a friend to download these shows and movies through torrents so they can keep these nostalgic works on their computers offline or delete them when they’re finished. They might get into seeding, hostin, and uploading art so everyone can view them without the stranglehold of a monopoly dictating the monthly terms of enjoyment.

Alternatively, they might just use their grandmother’s login.

Regardless, it is important to remember these corporations are never your friend, no matter the friendly content they shove in your face and attempt to hold on to forever. Creative works of our childhood should belong to everyone, not merely the Mouse trying to profit off us.

Mariah Carey remains an icon


On Nov. 3rd, Mariah Carey released the 25th anniversary edition of her Merry Christmas album. The original release of this music proved to be history in the making, as “All I Want for Christmas is You” became one of the most popular Christmas songs of the 21st century. Carey is a Christmas music titan, her voice flooding the airways of every radio station.

Carey has remained popular for a very long time, while maintaining a relatively positive public image. During the live New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show in 2017, she was clearly lip syncing to one of her songs, and eventually walked off stage in the middle of a song because she was off. This caused a lot of people to question her legitimacy as a musician. Much of her career since has been proving herself as a musician.

While people’s opinions of Carey as a vocalist may have been stirred during that performance, nobody can doubt her skill as a businesswoman. She has manufactured herself as more than just a person. Mariah Carey is now her own brand. Her relevance in pop culture has adapted as culture has adapted itself.

I will not argue that Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas is anything less than iconic; however, the re-release of this album can raise some questions. In a time where all music is released digitally and is online forever, why publish an album again 25 years after its original release?

A possible explanation for the re-release of the album is a money grab by the artist. This culminates in multiple different opportunities for an artist to increase their wealth.

Carey knows the influence this Christmas album has had. Die-hard fans will buy the physical album as soon as it drops, and people who missed out on the original release of the album will want it to add to their collection. This is a tactic used by a lot of artists, but now that all music is released on Apple Music, Spotify or any other streaming service, the income for artists has changed.

Re-releasing the same music will increase an artist’s overall plays on streaming services and on YouTube. It will also save money on production, as none of the original songs are being re-recorded. Carey is a performer, but is also an entrepreneur. She knows how to make money and keep her name relevant, and that is exactly what she is doing with this album.

Carey is a businesswoman first and foremost. She has established herself as a brand, distancing the person Mariah Carey really is from the performer. This happens a lot in the entertainment industry. Sometimes it happens when artists have done something to damage their public image, but they still want people to consume their art. Carey experienced that to an extent, but her execution of the business perspective it spectacular. Not every artist that was big in the 90’s has a Tiktok account. She has made herself relevant for over 30 years, and will continue to be relevant for future generations if she continues adapting with popular culture.

Melt down I.C.E


Graphic by MEREK ALAM

I carry my United States of America issued passport card with me at all times. It’s quite cute looks exactly as you would expect it to after some underpaid designer crammed a couple semi-transparent American icons together on a 2×3 inch card an called it a day. When I initially picked it up from the Detroit passport agency the kind woman behind the desk asked me if I had grown out my hair since taking the picture and I had to explain that it was simply tied back in the photo. My only aesthetic complaints about it is that my beard is too long and that I personally believe the background flag should have been flat and not waving in the wind.

The official functions of the card are borderline useless to me. You can use the passport card to drive into Canada and Mexico and get sea-port entry to the Caribbean and Bermuda. I don’t really find myself crossing our northern or southern border all that often and I’m not one for sailing. The real reason I hold on to the card is because of my immigrant mom, who is worried about her son being stopped by the police and detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (I.C.E.). She herself carries numerous documents in order to prove her legal residence and her parental relationship to my sibling and me.

The fear isn’t irrational, ICE constantly detains American citizens. I actually have it pretty good for a first-generation kid, I may be brown but I’m not an explicitly targeted ethnicity. Latino high school student Fransisco Erwin Galicia was stopped at an immigration checkpoint, and he too was prepared with a variety of legal documents including his Texas ID and a wallet-size birth certificate (which probably has even less official usage than my passport card), yet he was still detained by ICE for a month, losing 26 pounds in 23 days and not being allowed to shower. The typical advice to just “follow the law” and “come here legally” is moot when ICE arrests American-born people of color for kicks

Fransisco’s case isn’t unique and even the more infamous family separations are just the tip of the iceberg for the unaccountable agency. While the individual actors inside the system are responsible, it is increasingly clear that the true fault lies with the very system itself. ICE regularly engages in unconstitutional behavior, and the typical process that they rely on can be resisted by local and state governments (In January, the Whitmer administration did not respond when the Almanian asked if they would support similar steps in Michigan). In July, ProPublica reported on a secret Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.) Facebook group contained roughly 9,500 agents who gathered to joke about migrant deaths and referred to immigrants as “tonks,” which is a reference to the sound a flashlight makes when it is used to bash an immigrant’s skull. The federal government has received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse that have been committed against children in detention centers, which ranged from watching them shower, molestation, and rape. This past week, ICE was spotted in New York driving an armored vehicle to make a single arrest.

Neither I.C.E. nor C.B.P. is there to protect people, and they’re clearly not interested in enforcing the law. In reality both agencies operate as an occupying force designed for maximum terror and abuse. Most importantly: they’re beyond reform. ICE was only formed in 2003 under the Patriot Act and since they’ve enjoyed ample opportunity to spread fear under the Bush administration, caged children under the Obama administration, and now flagrantly break the law under the Trump administration. No matter if the person in the Oval Office is Republican or Democratic, the corrupt mandate of ICE and CBP grows larger and larger with each term. They simply can not be trusted any longer to continue to hold some much power under one roof. Last Thursday, Bernie Sanders became the only democratic candidate to call for the complete breakup of ICE and CBP, but even that isn’t enough. We’re beyond simply abolishing them, the leadership of both needs to be prosecuted on national television and individual agents who participated in misconduct need to be tried before a jury. These officials have degradingly used the flag of the American people to commit horrific abuses and now the American people must rise up and reclaim that flag from those that shield themselves with it.

The law is there to protect people. There are no longer any excuses to be made for institutions that abuse the law to dehumanize people or ignore the law entirely when it suits them. Every time I look at my passport card I get a little more angry knowing that millions of others in this country have to carry around a jumble of legal documents on the off-chance we get stopped by an unrestrained institution and have to appease verifiable psychopaths so they don’t detain us in squalid conditions. No more half-measures.


Up ↑