Saturday, December 13, 2014


Back in April of 2014 the the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama was trending on twitter. High school students would take a picture of their unhealthy lunch, write the hashtag, and post it to twitter. The students involved were attempting to draw the attention of Michelle Obama who has taken on the challenge of fighting childhood obesity in hopes of getting her to help modify the lacking lunch system. Public high school kids all across the country felt let down by the First Lady who was not doing what she had set out to do. 
In July Michelle Obama responded to the complaints by reassuring the kids that she would "fight until the bitter end to make sure that every kid in this country continues to have the best nutrition that they can have." 

Once again in November concerned teens have begun to implement the same hashtag. Some recent pictures are shown below:

Although new school food rules have been set by congress requiring more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, some schools say that they have lost more money as a result of kids not eating the healthy options. The USDA has implemented limits of calories, sugars, fats, and sodium for foods and drinks sold in over 100,000 schools but is this enough? I think that the only way to ensure that kids are truly eating healthy is to put more restrictions on unhealthy foods in schools. By doing this, students will be forced to eat the healthy foods provided and then schools will not feel like they are just throwing away money.  
More than 30 million children in low-income households rely on the free or reduced-price school meals program for their nutritional needs so it is of utmost importance that they are getting full nutritional value. For some students lunch may be the only meal they get a day so the USDA, congress, and Michelle Obama need to keep coming up with solutions to this pressing issue. 

How do you think this issue regarding school lunches should be combated? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Whistling Vivaldi

  With race relations on the forefront in the news recently, it was very well timed that Claude Steele came to speak at Evanston High School in Evanston, IL this past Monday night. 
Claude Steele is the author of a book called "Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect us". This book speaks to a general audience and is very accessible to people of all different backgrounds and it can be inferred that Steele did this because he strongly desired for his message to get out. 
Steele's inspiration came as he noticed the way people treated him as he walked through his neighborhood, Hyde Park in Chicago. At the time of his discovery he was learning how to whistle and he noted that as he whistled Vivaldi when he walked, white people would be less intimidated and less likely to walk across the street or give into other stereotypes. They felt more safe because this African American man was whistling classical music. 
This initial discovery led Steele to lots of research and ultimately a book that provides strong evidence about how situational cues trigger stereotypes that can be potentially damaging to especially students of color.
Overall Steele had a positive outlook. Group Identities and stereotypes affect everyone and he suggests we need to be "identity conscious" in order to improve race relations. out actions whether they are conscious or not do feed into racial segregation and create homogeneous environments with people that are all like us. Our society needs to move past this in order to grow. 


Monday, December 8, 2014

A Shot Causes Shock Across Iceland

        Recently Iceland has been in the news because for the first time since 1944 a man was shot to death by the seemingly non-violent Icelandic police force.
A 59-year old man was shot by police after he fired his gun when the police entered his building. The man had serious mental illness and the police force shot back in defense.
Iceland is grieving over this incident, the nation was completely shocked because this type of behavior is not the norm. Weapons in Iceland are part of the culture with respect to hunting as a sport but other than that, you seldom will see a gun. Thora Arnorsdottir, a news editor at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service claims that the nation does not even want it's police force to carry weapons because it is seen as "dangerous and threatening". Usually police officers will not even carry guns because violent crime in Iceland is not a pressing issue.
The situation occurring in Iceland right now serves as a juxtaposition to what we are dealing with in the United States. We pay money to have our President and other major officials followed around by highly trained men and women that carry huge guns. The police force in America has been in the spotlight recently for killing American's when maybe they should not have been killed. I find it incredibly interesting that our society has put such an emphasis on guns and shootings are not out of the ordinary, but when in Iceland someone is killed by the police for the first time in 70 years it shocks their whole nation. After killing the man the police force involved went through grief counseling and the officer responsible for killing the man personally apologized to the family, regardless of whether or not he was in the wrong. This situation is completely opposite when compared to what is going on in Ferguson right now.
Iceland is currently 15th in the world for per-capita gun ownership so by no means are they anti-gun. Why can the people of Iceland have possession of guns and hardly any violence when America cannot seem to do the same?