Friday, March 27, 2015

Children Treat War Memorial Like a Jungle Gym

Recently a picture has gone viral of two children climbing on a Vietnam War Memorial as if it is a  jungle gym. Matthew Munson captured this shocking image which can be seen below:

I find this picture to be honestly appalling. The children are showing no respect towards the veterans and all those lost during the Vietnam War that the memorial is honoring. The worst part of this picture is the fact that there were veterans present that witnessed all of this, Munson said,"Then the veterans showed up, and they looked hurt more than angry. They were quiet." 

It is easy to point fingers at the kids and say that they should have known better then to climb on a memorial but I actually think the blame falls more on the parents. I think that a good portion of today's parents have become more lenient with less disciplining and therefore their children lack a general respect for not only material things but also for people.  

Some people argue that the children were completely justified in climbing on the memorial because they are practicing freedoms. Critics claim that this is exactly what we fought for so the kids should not be restricted but I couldn't disagree more. It is about the veterans in my opinion and clearly their facial expressions allow me to infer that they were generally upset about what they witnessed. The veterans seem to look disappointed, not with the kids but more with the parents and the way our society is treating their time at war. 

Do you think that this demonstration by the children was innocent or disrespectful?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Is Racism Prevelent amongst Young Students?

        Recently some chilling videos of students in the Sigma Alpha Epilson Fraternity at the University of Oklahoma have surfaced and really taken off on the internet. The reason this fraternity is in the spotlight is because in the video they were reciting racially charged chants. A picture of the fraternity can be seen below: 

These racial epithets are clearly very offensive and not remotely okay for anyone to say. I was initially shocked that students in this day in age where demonstrating such racism and it made me wonder: Does a lot of racism still occur amongst millennials? Although we are supposed to be a more uniquely tolerant generation I am beginning to question if this is truly the case. 

In theory we would love if when all old racists die out their place is taken by young progressive people but this is not our reality. Millennial in my opinion have a very confined view of what racism is. We see racism as the Klu Klux Klan and other specific Civil Rights events and people when really it seems our country struggles with deep structural stereotypes and racism. For example, black and Latino men are disproportionately caught up in mass incarceration, which affects their families and their earning for a lifetime. The mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos seems to just be an inevitable cycle that needs to be broken in order for our country to move away from the stereotypes and towards becoming a racially tolerant population.

One reassuring sign that came from this demonstration of racism is that our society as a whole can recognize and shame racial animosity. Hopefully within the next couple years our world will become more tolerant of different races and begin to attack the structural stereotypes that plague our society today.  

Do you think that millennials are more or less tolerant about race than previous generations? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A is for Adderall

    Recently I was watching Good Morning America and a segment came on about how prescription drug abuse was increasing amongst teens in America. Amongst some of the most abused substances was Adderall, a prescribed stimulant that is used to treat ADHD. As a result of attending New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois I have definitely heard conversations about people taking this addictive substance without prescription because it is said to help you focus while doing school work. It is very prevalent in the community because parents are willing and able to spend money to get their children tested and medicated. These teens will often times deal Adderall and thus the prescription abuse issue is perpetuated.

    An article done by The Partnership for Drug Free Kids highlights a study that is ongoing at the University of Michigan. The "Monitoring the Future Study" tracks teen drug abuse and revealed that non-medical Adderall abuse has increased by 7.4% this year. “The rates of Adderall misuse and abuse among high school students remains unacceptably high and the new data make it very clear: the abuse of all prescription medicines is an immediate threat to the health of America’s teens,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Pasierb is passionate about the fact that Adderall misuse has gone too far and another year of data must serve as a call to all families to address the issue of intentional medicine abuse.

    After reading this article that bashed the effects of Adderall I wondered why do students even take it? Do the positives outweigh the potential health threat? Is there a true benefit to using this controlled substance?

    An article written by "Iowa State Daily" suggests that similar to how steroids are used to give athletes a leg up in their field of expertise, Adderall may be doing the same thing for students in the classroom. Adderall should be considered a method of cheating when it comes to performance for people that are not prescribed the medication. Do you think students should be tested for these kinds of medications similarly to how athletes are tested for steroids?

    This specific prescription drug abuse issue seems unique to townships with demographics similar to New Trier's. I believe that people are misusing '"study drugs" like Adderall as a way to cope with the high standards of our community. The expectation placed on us as student's by our peers and many adults around us is that we will attend top colleges after our time at New Trier is up.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Starbucks Serving More Than Just Coffee

This weekend I was waiting in line at Starbucks when I heard an interesting conversation between the two men in front of me. They were talking about Starbucks' new initiative called "Race Together".
  The "Race Together" initiative was started by the company's CEO Howard Schultz in an attempt to get people to talk about the increasing racial issues America has been faced with the past few months. The barista simply will write something on the cup like: "In the past year, I have been to the home of someone of a different race ___ times." These questions serve as conversation starters. According to an article done by the Washington Post, Schultz believes: "It is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society. One conversation at a time.”
While this in theory sounds like a wonderful idea, I have little hope that it will have much success. Starbucks has become such a such a large chain that you can be in and out of the place in minutes therefore people rely on it when they want a quick coffee fix. I believe the clientele just doesn't have a ton of spare time to stop and talk with the barista about race relations in our country. Also, allowing the barista to stop doing their work to chat seems like it would kill the chains productivity. 
Additionally Starbucks isn't just doing this because they care about race relations in the United States, I believe they are doing this also to get good publicity and catch the attention of the public to help improve their overall business. 
In general, I like the idea and I agree that if done the correct way it definitely could develop conversations that need to be had but I would argue that Starbucks isn't the right setting to hold these conversations in a productive manner.

Do you think that this initiative is promising or is it disruptive?