Between Theory and Practice

October 12th, 2017

As a student, I’ve always enjoyed reading and dissecting theory. Abstract concepts of power, race, and gender always interested me, and I enjoy coming up with creative interpretations of their inter-relationships.

But talking isn’t enough. To enact social change, I must be willing to practice theory on the ground. So I’ve tried to get moving, to put what I’ve read about into action. As years of messy practice have shown, practical application is much more difficult than mere theory. I make mistakes, I feel uncomfortable, and I often just want to retreat back into theory.

I’ve developed a metaphor for my attempts to pursue social justice. Theory is like English- it’s my native language, it’s familiar, and it’s much easier for me to implement. On the other hand, practice is like Spanish. I learned it later in life, and because the sounds and words did not embed themselves in my brain as a child, they come much more slowly to mind. I will never be fully fluent, nor as confident in Spanish.

But Spanish (and practice) are a necessary component of social justice work. They stretch my mind, add to my vocabulary, and guarantee that I am not too comfortable. They remind me of my limits, and open up larger segments of the population to me. I’m able to meet people where they are, to speak their language rather than forcing them to speak mine. It’s a small way I try to right the very unequal power dynamics between Spanish and English speakers. When non-native speakers make mistakes in English, they are looked down upon, derided. But when I speak Spanish, even though I’m far from fluent, I am complimented. My attempts are praised, and my learning Spanish is seen as going the extra mile, while speaking perfect English is considered a requisite for anyone living in the United States.

Of course, pursuing justice is a lofty goal. Those who attempt to bring about justice either get overwhelmed by the impossible task, or become consumed by their own accomplishments. It’s hard to strike a balance between giving up and becoming prideful. Even though I can’t save the world, I need to at least try to ensure to mitigate the negative effects I evoke by doing nothing. Just by being on this planet, I am creating a carbon footprint. By living my relatively privileged life, I am abetting systems that perpetuate racism. By seeking my own satisfaction, I am depriving others of resources. To counter these realities, the best I can hope to do is to impact one little corner of the world as best I can.

Audre Lorde, a Black Lesbian Feminist scholar, emphasizes the potential positive uses for anger. She writes, “Anger expressed and translated into action in the service of our vision and our future is a liberating and strengthening act of clarification” (Sister Outsider, 127). For people of color, anger is often their only weapon against the oppression they experience daily.
Whether through speaking Spanish, pursuing action, or expressing anger, practical implementation is the enactment of true commitment to social justice.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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What is Wanderlust and How Can I Cure It?

October 10th, 2017

When you think of the word “travel,” most people think of going to a faraway place by catching a bus, train, plane, or driving for hours outside of town. They are overwhelmed by the thought of saving money, clipping coupons, and living off of ramen just to see a new concrete jungle. However, once they come back, they are suddenly overcome by the “travel bug,” otherwise known as wanderlust. But can wanderlust only be fulfilled by going away? Is there a way to satisfy this craving for adventure without leaving the confines of your own town? I would argue that you can.

The definition of wanderlust by the Merriam-Wester Dictionary site is a “strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.” What this definition doesn’t capture is paired illusion of feeling stuck where you are, both in your location and in your routine.

https://burst.shopify.com/photos/city-woman-exercising-outdoors

https://burst.shopify.com/photos/city-woman-exercising-outdoors

When I came back home from studying abroad in South Korea for a semester, I almost immediately felt trapped. Suddenly access transportation was slow, I couldn’t make it to the other side of the country without a lot of money or even more time, and the burden of a new, rigorous quarter at school made it impossible for me to mimic the freedom I had almost 7,000 miles away from home. “Wanderlust” had become a prison that no one warned me about in the pre-departure presentation months before.

One thing I’ve learned in my time in college is when life gives you lemons, you don’t just make lemonade; you make lemon tarts.

There are three options you have when it comes to handling wanderlust. One is simply ignoring it, which is kind of like eating the lemons. The second, the lemonade, is taking a vacation during a break and exploring as much as possible. My favorite option is the third: adopting the explorer’s mindset, and turning everyday life into an adventure. Lemon. Tarts.

https://flic.kr/p/cwd1Q9

https://flic.kr/p/cwd1Q9

What do people do when they travel? It’s not all about the Statue of Liberty, the Space Needle, the Reading Terminal Market, or Time Square. People look for new experiences that they don’t normally have in their day-to-day routine. By acquiring the explorer’s mindset, that there is an adventure hiding everywhere, you can work on your wanderlust every day. Take a new route to class, check out new restaurants, or go on a date in a new neighborhood. You don’t have to become a tourist to shake up the monotony.

Humans are resistant to change, and I’m completely guilty of this. My first few months home were just me stuck in my old routine before traveling to Korea. But one day I decided to visit a friend in a neighborhood I had never been to. Then I went to another part of the city for happy hour with my best friend from middle school. And yes, I did make a couple of bus trips to nearby cities during long weekends over the summer. As time went on, I found that the bugging wanderlust that had cornered me was getting what it wanted.

I’m not saying that you don’t need a big trip to Europe or a backpacking road trip across Southeast Asia. At some point, you will want more than whatever you’re doing. If watching videos on YouTube is like a bandage, scaling your hometown is a painkiller, then that big trip abroad is the trip to the doctor’s office.

I hate to say this, but wanderlust is completely incurable. In my travels, I’ve met people who have explored the world and still feel that pang to keep moving. The best strategy to keep wanderlust at bay is to constantly challenge yourself to see new places, experience new things, and maintain your thirst for knowledge. And maybe bake a tray of lemon tarts.

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By Jada Gossett

Jada is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is majoring in Psychology and working on a Certificate in Creative Writing and Publishing at Drexel University. After traveling to South Korea for study abroad in the Fall of 2016, she has undertaken a new side venture as a lifestyle blogger determined to get college students to get out of their comfort zone. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter or Instagram. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings.

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New York, I love you

October 9th, 2017

“I know my New York City by heart,” she screamed over the phone; sliding her fingers between her black curls with a force that lead me to believe, she could at any moment, rip them apart. Rest assured, she didn’t hurt herself at any point but stood up, took deep breaths and walked towards the observation deck. I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

She may be gazing at the ripples or rejoicing at the sight of Staten Island from afar, breathing in the silence of the chaos. Whatever she may have chosen, wherever she was headed, her sudden declaration of authority, self-declaration of possession of the city, made me wonder how much of it was mine if all of it weren’t hers.

And then I remembered that each person makes her own New York. The 70,000 passengers that the Staten Island Ferry carries everyday make their own New York. The 60 million tourists that come flocking into the city live and relive the fantasy that is New York. And no matter how different your New York is from mine, we are all united, in the exact moment when someone utters the word, “New Yorker.”

 

Onlookers gaze at the skyline

Onlookers gaze at the skyline

I have been living in Manhattan for about three years now but had never been able to get myself to take the Staten Island ferry – the only form of free transportation in New York that runs around the clock – or explore even a little bit of Staten Island, the “forgotten borough.” But when I did, there was nothing like coming back home, to my Manhattan.

I am quite a frequent traveller and the same annoying economy class passenger you might encounter every now and then, who continues to fight for her right to occupy the window seat, even before standing in line for the check-in counter.

Yet, I had never gotten weary of staring out of the window, waiting for New York to approach me, or maybe reject me. With New York, you never know, you can never be sure. But today the sight I witnessed, I had never seen before.

Traveling in an airplane or in a subway is quite unlike traveling in the Staten Island Ferry: the struggle, the wars, the history, you see all of it looming over the sea. And then you see the Liberty. “It is gorgeous,” says the middle aged-woman from Texas.

It indeed is, for her and for thousands of tourists like her who visit everyday quite easily seduced and compelled by the city’s charisma. For immigrants like me, it is what New York is: a symbol of hope: an open invitation that reminds me that I can mold it, make it my own.

 

Manhattan Skyline from the Ferry

Manhattan Skyline from the Ferry

I have never had a bad narrative to offer after moving to New York. I have been catcalled, yes. I have had mice problem in my house, yes. I have waited for the subway for more than 20 minutes, yes. I avoid Times Square, yes. I think I should move to LA, get a car and a big house, yes. But does that ever make me love New York any less? NO. “It’s a bitter sweet love affair,” my classmate had said.

And the fact that she called it an affair instead of a melancholy one-sided love story, tells me she knew the city loved her back. Just like I do and just like the millions of others who come to the city and engage in an ever lasting love affair.

By Sushmita Roy

Sushmita Roy is a Campus Clipper intern and a junior at NYU majoring in Journalism and Psychology. Her research interests includes immigration, human interest stories and social psychology. When she’s not studying, Sushmita enjoys catching up with friends, binge watching TV shows and cooking for anyone and everyone. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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Decolonizing Media

September 28th, 2017

This semester, I am taking a class called “Decolonizing Media.” Those invested in decolonizing work acknowledge that colonialism, even after it has been dismantled, continues to deeply impact countries in which colonization occurred.

We are focusing on South Africa, where apartheid fell only recently, in 1994 (the year I was born). Even though the country is attempting to integrate black and white citizens into the same spaces, stark inequality persists. Black South Africans continue to struggle with racism, access to resources, and other instances of disenfranchisement. Aware that attending university is most likely the only way out of cyclical poverty, black students make sacrifices to enroll. However, a hike in fees and the general cost of attending college prevents many black students from completing their degrees. Although black South Africans comprise 86% of the country’s population, only 19% of university students are black.[1] South Africans students, including white allies, have rallied to protest fees and other obstructions of justice.

The South African education systems remain rooted in their history of oppression, racism, and colonialism. Students are pushing for the “decolonization” of curriculum, which involves rejecting a white-washed approach to education. Most university curriculum remains a cache of works by upper-class, white, straight males. By passing only this information on to the next generation of students, the injustice and one-sided perspectives established by the ruling class of colonization is upheld. Students are calling for a greater diversity of not only faculty, but also in curriculum, one that better reflects their lived experiences as a majority but marginalized population in South Africa.

Protests of oppressive symbols and structures is central to decolonization. For example, in 2015, the #RhodesMustFall protest resulted in the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town. A white supremacist, Rhodes was the Prime Minister of the Cape colony at the end of the 19th century. The Rhodes statue was a symbol of the worst part of colonialism: Rhodes’ racist policies toward the indigenous (black) South African people upheld apartheid. The removal of the statue is a small victory; there are still several battles to truly decolonize all aspects of society. [2]

A #RhodesMustFall protest. Courtesy LeftVoice.org.

A #RhodesMustFall protest. Courtesy LeftVoice.org.

Personally, I have been trying to practice decolonization by inspecting how I live. Do I benefit from racist or otherwise oppressive systems? The answer is an overwhelming “yes,” so I’ll try to break it down into some questions. Do I ever read books by authors of color? Does the money I spend support worthy institutions? It’s difficult to trace the impact that our actions have. While trying to practice justice in my life, I feel paralyzed by the complexity of the issues. Merely by living, I am propping up unjust systems and perpetuating colonialism. In response, I’m attempting to be aware of how my actions contribute to various systems, and try to mitigate the damage as much as possible.

My peers of color suggest that white allies try to make space, and not take it up, when discussing issues of race. By minimizing myself, I can allow others to speak. The willingness to listen is the most valuable asset found in an ally, and I’m trying to train myself to speak only when appropriate and listen much more often.

[1] Statistics as quoted in “Metalepsis in Black,” a short film on the struggle in South Africa. https://vimeo.com/193233861

[2] Further reading on Rhodes Must Fall can be found here: http://bit.ly/2xBTSpX

 

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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Keeping a Journal

September 28th, 2017

HOW I USE MY JOURNAL

 

Whenever I see people keeping journals I deeply wonder about them. In my head, they must be extremely deep, have existential thoughts and powerful opinions which force them to be set apart from other “normal” individuals like all of us. They are the type of people who have another side to them, which they keep hidden from their friends. Perhaps, they will end up being great people who change the world and their journals will be found and published long after they have passed.

download

http://wheretoget.it/explore/hipster-notebook

 

Though keeping a journal is an idea that I feel can be very much romanticized in today’s society, they can also be used as a practical tool for planning and keeping track of one’s life. In fact, I myself have been keeping a journal for the past few years. As you may have guessed, my journals will never be read by anyone, they aren’t anything exciting, filled with deep philosophical problems. More often than not I write about my feelings, make some long-term plans of where I’d like to be, or simply plan my week and give myself a to-do list.

Though they might not be grand, keeping a journal has helped me have clearer thoughts, know where I stand in life or even simply during the week, and helps me navigate my life where I would like it to be.

images1

https://www.christina77star.net

 

Here a few of my tips for keeping a great journal:

 

First off, I like to keep two journals. One is a small pocketbook agenda and the other a thin notebook which usually has a beautiful thin cover. (Though it’s the inside that counts, it never hurts to look at something you find beautiful.

The agenda is used for remembering important deadlines, travel plans, appointments and different miscellaneous events. Really, what goes in the agenda is anything with and expiration date, that has to be executed in a timely fashion. Specific things that always find their way into my agenda are lunch dates, application deadlines, job requirements and homework and exam dates.

Now that I’ve gotten the logistics out of the equation, I get to focus my actual journal on more substantial issues.

 

Emotional Support

To begin with, I make an effort to write in my journal every morning. This might be as soon as I wake up, after my morning workout, with my breakfast, or even in my first class of the day. I like to document my mood, and go quite in depth about how I feel that day. This doesn’t mean that I psychoanalyze myself every morning, but rather that I try to understand if what I’m feeling is sadness because I feel lonely, or because I feel incompetent, for example. The way I benefit from this little exercise is that I now become more aware of how I feel and can place myself into a certain perspective, in the right frame of mind. If I’ve understood that what I’m feeling is sadness because of loneliness I find a time in my day where I can reach out to friends and socialize. Similarly, if I feel incompetent, I try to understand what it is that makes me feel incompetent and fix it. A recent example was the fact that I was behind in readings and went over my weekly budget. As soon as I’ve identified the issue I can now move on into organizing my following week into being more budget friendly and limit my outings to give myself more time to study.

images2

http://www.powapowa.fr

 

Though this is not rocket science and people can usually go through these thoughts without a pen and paper, putting it on paper actually makes the thought more concrete. Seeing it on paper immediately makes it a fact rather than simply an idea. I find that when I simply think of these issues instead of writing them down, I find myself thinking of the same things all day, even though I’ve concluded countless times on what it is that I’ve had to do. On the contrary, writing it down and closing my journal gives me a sense of closure, as if now, I have to move on, stop wondering and simply act.

It might be that sometimes; the feeling you have cannot be dealt with actions. In such cases, my journal stops being a planner and transforms itself into a diary. Instead of expecting myself to do things, I simply let go, pour my heart out, close the journal, and proceed with a little less weight on my shoulders.

 

http://faithlovebooks.blogspot.com/

http://faithlovebooks.blogspot.com/

Budgeting

As a college students, I’ve come to the realization that budgeting myself and keeping track of my finances can be pretty hard at times. New York is definitely an exciting city and the numerous activities, countless hours of window shopping, and parade of new restaurants make it difficult for me to set my priorities and decide where I wish to spend my money. Because of that, I keep a page in my journal dedicated to all the things I wish to do that week. Whether that is getting a new pair of pants or trying out a new restaurant, seeing my “wish list” on paper helps me easily choose my priorities and helps me understand how much money I have to put aside for each activity.

In addition to my wish list, I keep a tab on things I hadn’t expected which caused me to spend money I hadn’t planned. For example, my phone screen cracking on the first week of school.

 

Meal Planning

Meal Planning ties in with budgeting if you prepare your own food in school. I’m lucky enough to have an apartment with an equipped kitchen I love spending time it. This means that there are plenty of things I would love to make daily, making my trip to the grocery store quite an expensive one.

download (2)

https://www.christina77star.net

To deal with my cooking ambitions, I have devised a journaling technique to keep me from spending too much, while keeping me interested in my cooking and my food.

More precisely, I go to the grocery store every Sunday night, give myself a budget and pick out a number of different ingredients I would like to eat that week. Then, I write all my ingredients in my journal and devise a weekly plan of what I will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week. All the while making sure that I use up all my ingredients during the week, as I do not allow myself to go to the grocery store again that week.

What I strive for is creating a meal plan that is both exciting for me to cook, time sufficient, budget friendly, and healthy.

 

Overall, keeping a journal can be a great way to organize your thoughts and your life. Of course, you can fill it up with a simple to-do list that you enjoy checking off every time you complete a task. However, as you have seen from above, I enjoy planning in my journal even more than that.

 

 

By Marina Theophanopoulou

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Marina Theophanopoulou is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is studying Philosophy and Sociology as a junior at NYU. Passionate about healthy, food and wellness, Marina aspires to make others think of food in a more holistic way. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

 

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NYC: On the Street

September 21st, 2017

I’ve been in New York for about a month now, and what an overwhelming month it was. Between cramming everything I own into my tiny car and driving from Michigan, to meeting my ten (ten!) new housemates, to getting scammed, to getting scammed again by the stupid transit system, to navigating the New York University campus, to getting off at the wrong subway stop, to getting utterly lost while on a run– it’s been anything if not exciting.

One of the most immediately striking features of New York City is the swirl of languages, food, and dress on every corner. Of course, it would be silly for me to see this diversity as proof that NYC is post-racial or completely harmonious. New York has issues, as does every city.

A metaphor I’ve developed for thinking of the city’s culturescape is the subway. Essential yet hated by most New Yorkers, the subway is dirty, unreliable, and overall frustrating- but it’s most people’s only option. NYU is exactly 6.1 miles from my house in Brooklyn- it takes 50 minutes to commute into Manhattan, and that’s on a good day. After dodging drips from the sagging ceiling, I jump the gap between the platform and the train to squeeze in with the other haggard commuters. The subway is the great equalizer: in the dark damp, it’s hard to be superior to others when you’re lumped into a mass. Fancy clothes are at risk of being soiled, and uncomfortable shoes don’t lend themselves to the constant walking required to transverse the city.

One of the stations I frequent. Courtesy Tumblr

One of the stations I frequent. Courtesy Tumblr

 

In the subway, there are no barriers. The privileged cannot use tall gates, expensive cars, or newfangled security systems to distinguish themselves from the “rabble,” us common folk. We are the human condition, pressed into a small, shabby subway car together. We are all subjected to the same delays, the same discomfort, the same noises and smells. We all pay the same price (3 bucks a pop!) to push past the turnstile and descend.

The only method of separation available to subway passengers is a bit of flimsy plastic: earbuds that provide music, but also sound barriers against the din of the subway. Our earbuds denote a small pool of personal space- a little island of privacy in the dense crowds of people, not to mention the sometimes alarming squeal of the train on its tracks. This personal space, however, is an illusion- someone can sway into and bump you when the train jerks to a stop. Also, safety is at least at the back of each passenger’s mind- especially if the passenger happens to be of the female variation. At any point, the 1% of the crowd that harbors unsavory intent might slip a hand into a pocket or worse.

Every time I curse the faulty public transit system, I know I should remember that this is how most of the world travels- via feet, bicycle, bus, or creaky subway train. At the very least, I should take it as a reminder of privilege, and that my entitlement is as illusory as that personal space we try to claim when crushed in amongst the crowd.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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Interracial Relationships: Do Those Count?

September 14th, 2017

As a part of my white-denial phase as outlined in my previous post, during late high school/early college, I decided that I was only attracted to men of color. No more blondes for me- I liked dark skin and eyes, and definitely only dark hair was going to cut it.

This impulse arose from a mixture of factors. For one, part of denying my whiteness involved asserting that I wasn’t attracted to white men. Secondly, I was just exiting that thrash-around-and-shock-other-people-until-you-figure-out-who-you-are stage that many teenagers go through. I rather enjoyed announcing to my friends that I didn’t date white boys- not that boys of any type were lining up to date me. Of course, thinking about those conversations now makes me cringe, but I suppose it’s all a part of the process. And finally, I had a vague sense that I was fighting white hegemony and homogeneity by turning my attention to men of color. If I had kids with and married a non-white man, not only would I avoid contributing more white people to the world, but I would also have a life partner who would constantly be able to check my privilege and curb any racist tendencies I might have.

Of these impulses, the last one was getting at something important. It was good that I was able to see men of color as potential partners, as desirable. However, despite my good intentions, there was a dark side to this instinct that was very dangerous. By only giving attention to men of color, I was risking fetishizing them- wanting them because of their color, not for the people they were. Furthermore, I was elevating myself through my association of people of color. Because I only like men of color, I was determinedly “not-racist” and, thereby, better than most whites. Rather that pursuing justice, I was feeding my own ego, upheld by my identity as a white ally to people of color.

Once I realized this, I tried to evaluate my intentions each time I met a potential partner. Was I interested in him, or had I trained myself to only look for dark skin in a crowd of white? I eventually found that I was attracted to a wide range of men- black, Latino, Asian, and more (remember, identity is complicated!) And yes, the joke’s on me: I fell for a white guy, hard. After that, I had to admit that it was stupid of me to try to cut white guys out of my spectrum of interest.

During my senior year of college, I was talking to one of my Mexican friends. A self-professed dater of white girls only, my friend commented, “You know, I feel like several of the white women I’ve been with have only dated me because I’m Latino and speak Spanish.” I had always made fun of him for only dating white girls, but this made me think- wasn’t that exactly what I had done when I refused to date white guys?

These past two years, I have been able to reconcile my openness to white guys while remaining aware of my tendency to fetishize men of color. Even though I had fallen for a white guy, my history was statistically stacked against him- the majority of my interests just happened to be men of color.

Given this fact, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when, upon meeting my current boyfriend, he happened to be an Asian man with olive skin and dark features. His dad is white and his mom moved to the States from Japan, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by merely looking at him (phenotypes can be reeeally misleading). He was born and raised in Los Angeles, and with his affinity for guns and cars, I joke that he’s more American than I am. We sometimes talk about identity and race, but it’s usually not in the context of our relationship. When we do discuss it, I’m certainly not as obnoxious as I used to be. The more I get to know him, the more I feel confident that I’m with him not because of the misguided ideas from my youth, but because of the wonderful person he is.

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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How to Navigate White Identity

September 8th, 2017

When I was first exposed to racial justice work, I went through a serious white-guilt phase. I was learning about institutional racism and other obstacles people of color faced, and I became uncomfortably aware of how I might be indirectly contributing to oppression. I dealt with that guilt by trying to distance myself from other whites. This of course wasn’t really possible, given the amount of white people surrounding me on a daily basis, but my friends started to notice. In response to my denouncement of white culture, my friends would say, “Anna hates white people.” I would weakly deny it, but they did have a point.

As a 14-year-old, I was confusedly trying to compensate for white privilege by clumsily embracing other cultures. It was a little misguided, but I was on to something. By distancing myself from white culture, I was able to better understand other cultures. Being stuck in white guilt was debilitating, but it was a necessary step in my growth as an ally. If I had stayed in that phase, bitterness and a skewed sense of the world would have kept me from forming friendships with not only whites, but with everyone. I had to come to terms with my whiteness because it was something that was never going to change. At the same time, because I had distanced myself from white culture, I was able to see more clearly the parts that were problematic. White culture becomes problematic when it is so dominant that all other cultures become the “other,” standing in contrast to the “norm,” white culture. The “othering” of non-white cultures results in the alienation of people of color, leading to stereotypes and discrimination.

During college, I realized that I could claim the majority of my white culture, while dismissing the problematic aspects. For example, I could acknowledge that I was white, but challenge the privileged way I was treated simply due to skin color. I could protest when my friends of color were mistreated, and use my privilege to help rather than hurt. Of course, this is a broad commitment which is difficult to enact in concrete ways, and I’ve struggled to find a way to respectfully do this work. For example, I reject the idea that the only acceptable form of “family” is a nuclear (mom, dad, fewer than 4 kids) one. However, it would be playing into stereotypes to assume that all Latino families are extended (including grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) or that all black families have only one parent in the home.

As you can probably tell, there are several lines to toe here. If you’re a wypipo (white person,) the best guiding bit of advice is to do a lot of listening. Every one of your friends will have a different opinion, and it’s a good idea to gather knowledge from each of these perspectives. Also, prepare to be uncomfortable! Part of the white privilege I try to surrender is always being the majority. This involves putting myself into situations where I’m in the minority. Although I’m still protected by my white privilege, I need these moments in order to understand what it feels like to the outsider. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re doing something right.

My apartmentmates and I poked fun at white culture with our Basic White Culture shoot (note the pumpkin)

My apartment mates and I poking fun at white culture with our Basic White Girl shoot (note the pumpkin).

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year Master’s student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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Steps Toward Cultural Competency

August 30th, 2017

The previous week, I detailed my transition onto the Grassroots Living/Learning Community. Only a few months on Grassroots proved that I did not know as much as I thought I did. Despite my parents’ thoughtful engagement with all cultures, I needed to begin building cultural competency on my own. Here are some steps I’ve found helpful as I’ve stumbled through experiential learning:

  1. The process does not have a definitive end point. No one is ever fully “culturally competent;” there is always more to learn. This is how I think of it: when I first entered college, I was on Step 4, due to my parents’ efforts to expose me to racial reconciliation work. Those first two years on Grassroots pushed me to Step 10, and the past three years have put me at Step 12. But the number of steps are infinite, and it would be foolish for me to become proud at the measly amount of steps I’ve taken.
  2. If you’re a white person hoping to ally yourself with people of color, understanding white culture and privilege is crucial. White culture exists; because it is the dominant culture in the United States, it is often invisible. However, whites have to acknowledge that we are just as culturally biased, if not more so, than those rooted in all other cultures. In the United States, our institutions and structures were created primarily by and for white citizens (and not to mention the male, rich, and straight). This means that people like me have been benefiting from systems since before we were born, and that our children will likely continue to benefit for generations.
  3. As you gather knowledge about other cultures, use it as a means of connection, not as a way to show off. I botched this several times, and it’s all a part of the processes. For example, if I meet a Latina and assume that she’s into Prince Royce, it’d be really awkward if she’s actually into country and hasn’t listened to bachata a day in her life. Even if, on the off chance, she’s a huge Royce fan, if I use this as an opportunity to impress her with my bachata knowledge, she’ll see right through it. People of color are used to being reduced to stereotypes and having uninformed people blabber on about China to someone who looks Asian but is actually Japanese-American and knows absolutely nothing about China. On the flip side, don’t pretend like you don’t know who Royce is, but rather, if a potential new friend brings him up, use it as a way to connect with her in a normal (and not reductive!) way.
  4. On a related note, phenotypes (people’s physical features) can be very misleading if you’re trying to guess someone’s heritage. Identity is complicated, and for all you know, someone who looks African could have been raised by a white family in the Midwest. People also choose, to some extent, how they wish to identify. This is especially true of multi-racial people. Having a multi-ethnic background makes it nearly impossible to guess one’s racial make-up based on phenotypes, and creates a quandary for all involved. Unable to place said multi-ethnic person in a box, people get frustrated and try to force them to choose one identity. Of course, someone who, for example, has a black parent and a white parent can’t decide between identities. Both are essential to one’s personhood. 
  5. A caveat on choosing identities: be aware of cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation can be understood as wanting people of color’s culture, but not the struggle. For example, while people at Coachella wear feathers similar to those present in Native American culture. Whites wear them because they’re pretty, or stylish, or something. But most of them have no connection to the spiritual or otherwise personal history of many Native groups, nor wish to suffer alongside Native people who continue to this day to face discrimination while fighting for basic human rights and representation in the United States. This is problematic because it diminishes Native people’s experiences and pain, all out of ignorance. Similarly, whites cannot “choose” to identify as Native American because their culture seems oh so romantically quaint compared to “cultureless” whites (see above point number 2). Again, this minimizes people of colors’ experiences and makes them uncomfortable/angry, and rightly so. A white person cannot even try to embody POC’s because with their phenotypes, they will be seen as whites and treated thus.

Again, all of this can be hard to process, especially if you’re white and just starting along the cultural competency path. A general rule of thumb is to find situations where you can respectfully listen to POC on their own terms.

Winter banquet

All those steps seem overwhelming but the friends you make? Worth it

 

Further resources:

Peggy McIntosh, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. A list of privileges you might not have considered before: 

http://bit.ly/2jSNfcn

Nell Irvin Painter, “What Is Whiteness?”: A history of the creation of “whiteness” as a social construct:

http://nyti.ms/2iZMrU9

Dr. Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism. An article on white privilege, white culture, and institutional racism: 

http://bit.ly/29DzJAH

Slavery to Mass Incarceration: A short video on the history of slavery and why it impacts us today: 

http://bit.ly/1CmPdGh

Tate Walker, “We Can’t ‘Get Over It'”: 4 Ways Understanding Past Wrongs Can Create Better Indigenous Allies: Provides insight into Native American groups’ histories and struggles for justice:

http://bit.ly/2w2AHl7

By Anna Lindner


Anna is a Campus Clipper intern and a first-year student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program. Her research interests include critical race and gender theory and their resultant intersectionality. When she’s not studying, Anna enjoys visiting friends, catching up on TV shows, and lifting weights. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings. 

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From New York to….Home

August 29th, 2017

I think there are only a few places in your life that you can call home when it comes down to it. Hopefully you’ll get to go to a lot of places and see the world everything that it holds, but home, that’s special. I’m sure for most of you, who are reading this during or just before your college experience, home is where you grew up. It’s your high school, your childhood friends, your first love, and the good times with your family. It’s hard to leave all of that.

Taken by Jainita Patel.

Taken by Jainita Patel.

Vadodara, Gujarat Taken by Jainita Patel

Vadodara, Gujarat
Taken by Jainita Patel

But it’s worth it. Coming to New York was one of the best experiences of my life in that I started to realize that home can be more than one place. The longer you live somewhere the more comfortable it becomes, the more wrapped up you become in everyday life. In New York especially, you become jaded and tired. And I think that’s when it’s important to remember those initial feelings you had right before coming to NYC. The fear, the wonder, the bewilderment. The first article I ever wrote for the Campus Clipper was trying to recreate that small-town feeling in NYC and I think that though that’s helpful initially, you’ll find that in a few years you won’t need it anymore. Though this is a wondrous thing at first—you’re finally a real New Yorker!—this city wears on you if you don’t find novelty in its diverse number of activities.

I find that when I go back home—the Jersey Shore, in this case—I’m hit with the nostalgic feeling that only accompanies places you can no longer call home. The places where all of the adventures have been had and all the memories made, laminated, and bound into a book you only open on rainy days. Though this is a harder feeling to accomplish in NYC, sometimes it can feel that way.

And that’s when its important to get out—physically or mentally—if you can. Just for a little while.

Adventures don’t have to be thousand-dollar expeditions to other countries. Even just taking the train outside of NYC for a day can be an adventure if you make it one. Adventure is a mindset, not a physical act. Distancing yourself from the monotony of classes and workdays can be freeing in ways that are unimaginable. Because New York is a miracle and a curse for those of us who live here.

 

View of New York.  Taken by Jainita Patel

View of New York.
Taken by Jainita Patel

Vadodara, Gujarat. Taken by Jainita Patel.

Vadodara, Gujarat.
Taken by Jainita Patel.

The best time to have this mentality is as a student, when loans cover most of your expenses and though you’ll have to pay them back eventually, for now you’re free to do as you please. Studying abroad is something I would encourage to anyone that can find the means to do so. That is one of the reasons my articles have been so Euro-centric. I went to London for 6 months and ended up traversing around the continent instead of going to class. It was worth it. It’s very stereotypical for a middle class person under thirty to say “I went to Europe and it changed my life,” and I’m not saying that Europe itself changed me, but it did give me an appreciation for the adventures that I have already had and the adventures that I want to have in my home city or wherever I end up in the future.

Before I got into college, I used to go back to my parents’ hometown of Vadodara in Gujarat, India a lot. This was, in a way, my home away from home. Very soon after my taste for adventure blossomed, I quickly realized that Vadodara would always be my parents’ home even if the Shore is also their home.

What I mean to say is that one can have multiple homes and that you don’t have to go to a certain place to have an adventure. Adventure is all around us and if you’re willing to put in the effort to go, it could make you realize things about the world in all its vastness and yourself in all your infinites that you would’ve never thought of until you got lost in Wales or had to take a 14 hour bus from Paris to Berlin. These stories eventually become a part of you.

As much as I love New York, I think it’s important to get away for a bit. Whether it’s a couple days or a few years. Right now, home for me is New York. But it’s also the Shore. It’s also every month I spent in India growing up, playing with my cousins, and feeding stray cows. It’s walking the streets of Edinburgh like I grew up there and getting angry at the trolley in Prague. It’s cozied up in the Paris Shakespeare and Co. and freezing to death for the view in Vik, Iceland.

Home can be a few places, but the world is too big to just stay in one place. So get out there and see what it has to offer. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Me and my cousin circa 1999 in Vadodara.

Me and my cousin circa 1999 in Vadodara.

Me! Taken by Jainita Patel

Me in my tiny NYC apartment cerca 2017.
Taken by Jainita Patel

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By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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