Opinion – The Cord https://thecord.ca The tie that binds Wilfrid Laurier University since 1926 Fri, 16 Nov 2018 17:57:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://thecord.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/logofavicon-32x32.png Opinion – The Cord https://thecord.ca 32 32 42727683 Editor’s note: Why shopping local outweighs the cost https://thecord.ca/editors-note-why-shopping-local-outweighs-the-cost/ https://thecord.ca/editors-note-why-shopping-local-outweighs-the-cost/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:01:57 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52681

For the past 11 years, I have watched my mom run a successful small business in uptown Waterloo. Since I was young, I’ve spent much of my time at her shop, and now, I even work there part-time.
Having this personal connection to uptown Waterloo often encourages me to support local as much as I can and to make the effort to shop at stores in Uptown. I see the other small businesses in Uptown as I see my mom and her store — individuals who are passionate about their stores and their businesses and who genuinely care about their clientele.
Each one of the business owners in Uptown put forth time and care when choosing what they bring in and sell on their store-front.
These local business owners are what makes Uptown so unique. Their shops are filled with specialty items and their passion for their business make shopping at their stores distinctive.
Businesses in Uptown have endured over four years of consistent construction. As a result of construction, many local businesses have either had to relocate or shut down.
As LRT construction has finally come to an end and the Streetscape project is complete, businesses are finally getting relief from the closures and are slowly seeing customers coming back to Uptown.
As a result, it’s important now more than ever to support our local businesses — especially those who have been affected by the ongoing construction.
However, a lot of the time, the idea of shopping at stores in Uptown can be far removed from the minds of students who are looking for the best prices.
When choosing between shopping online and finding a more affordable price or sale, in contrast to going out to a local store and paying full price for the same product, the choice seems clear to most students who are on a budget.
Most students don’t have the luxury of buying things without worrying about how much money they have left in their bank accounts.
However, the reality is that — in some cases — the prices we pay for things online are almost equivalent to shopping at a physical store. And sometimes, even though prices at places such as Amazon might be lower, the shipping and handling fees we pay often make shopping online more expensive in the end.
But what’s important is that, by shopping at a local business, you’re supporting a local resident of Waterloo. And as an extension, you’re buying an item that has been carefully thought through by the owner of the store before it was sold to you.

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There is no better time than now to impeach Trump https://thecord.ca/there-is-no-better-time-than-now-to-impeach-trump/ https://thecord.ca/there-is-no-better-time-than-now-to-impeach-trump/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:01:46 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52620

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Last Tuesday the midterm elections took place in the U.S. When the dust settled, there was a massive recount needed in some races in Florida, the Republicans took more seats in the US Senate and the Democrats took control of the US House of Representatives.

That last one is a major shot at Donald Trump and possibly at his presidency. Now, the democrats have the opportunity to start impeachment proceedings and look into his tax returns. And if there is a time to really go after this unhinged president it is now.

Just in the last week after the election, Trump lashed out at CNN’s Jim Acosta and had a video of him doctored to make it look like he was hitting an intern, he lashed out at another reporter when asked about Matthew Whitaker and the Mueller investigation and chirped the Forestry service for the fires in California.

In my personal opinion, the democrats’ best hope is to expose Trump for the monster he really is and go after him in a way that will attack him personally. One way to get to a narcissist is to make him/her vulnerable. In the case of Trump, they have to go after his tax returns. Since he ran for president, he has kept them secret and refuses to disclose them. If the Ways and Means committee controlled by the US House can vote to request his tax returns, he will become very vulnerable.

If the Mueller probe shows that Trump has committed high crimes and the unraveling of his psyche is shown time and again in the public eye, it has to be overwhelming so they can flip enough Republican senators to get to the 67 per cent mark.

The trickiest part for the democrats is the impeachment proceedings. Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, says that in order for impeachment to happen, it has to be proven that the president has committed high crimes and misdemeanours in the Senate. For the house, it only takes an allegation of these two things to get a vote on it. That’s why Bill Clinton wasn’t impeached in the Senate while he was in the House. The first part should not be the problem as it takes 51 per cent of the House to impeach. However, in the Senate the allegations need to be proven and the vote must be more than 67 per cent in favour of impeachment. This has never happened before in history.

One silver lining for the democrats to get the proof that Trump has done something very wrong is the Mueller investigation. If Robert Mueller, the Republican-leaning former director of the FBI, can show that Trump was directly involved in high crimes the case for having him impeached will be much stronger. High crimes can include perjury, obstruction of justice, treason, misusing/abusing the office of the president and many others.

If the Mueller probe shows that Trump has committed high crimes and the unraveling of his psyche is shown time and again in the public eye, it has to be overwhelming so they can flip enough Republican senators to get to the 67 per cent mark.

The window to go after Trump is very small, but it is a shot that the democrats need to take if they want to take down this president. Because the consequences of not trying could be disastrous. If you don’t believe me, go watch the Bill Maher new rule called The Slow-Moving Coup. Unless he is taken out of office, it’s really starting to look like Trump isn’t going to give up his power any time soon.

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Editorial: Morality differs from person to person https://thecord.ca/editorial-morality-differs-from-person-to-person/ https://thecord.ca/editorial-morality-differs-from-person-to-person/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:01:25 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52610

We don’t often think too deeply about moral dilemmas, and I imagine you couldn’t care less about what I have to say on any given moral issue. That’s alright.

What I’m interested in is the fact that we undoubtedly have different views — the fact that, presented with the same set of moral dilemmas, you and the person closest to you will almost certainly differ on at least one. Morality is relative. That’s fascinating, but also problematic.

If you haven’t already had a debate with someone close to you because of a difference in moral views, you will in the future.

Those debates, I’ve found, can easily turn into arguments, not about the merits of one course of action over another, but about who is right.

That is what interests me: the idea that some moral views are better than others.

The idea that my moral stance on a given issue is right, and yours is wrong.

I’ve always thought morality was just a product of our society, and that evil for one might be a moral imperative for another. And that always made sense.

I liked that idea, because it meant that I didn’t need to figure out what was right overall , just what was right for me.

Consider AI. If a group of pedestrians suddenly walked onto the road, ignoring right-of-way, would a self-driving car swerve and risk hitting a pedestrian rightfully walking on a crosswalk?

But I realised that a simiple difference of opinion can cause a lot of conflict, and when that opinion is an integral part of one’s identity, as morality often is, that conflict can turn violent.

That was the realization that prompted me to think about moral diversity in the first place. Nobody questions the fact that two and two make four, so why can’t we have an absolute, unquestionably right set of morals?

After all, the rest of the universe has a definite system. The laws of physics are absolute. In physics, there are right and wrong answers.

I once tried to come up with a system like that, to see if morality could be simplified.

I thought that pain would make a reliable metric, since it’s so universal, but it fell short. Everyone ranks the pain of a situation differently.

I tried it using other metrics, too. They all had the same flaw: they were absolute at their core, but were measured differently by different people.

You and I may have the same moral end goal, but the path we choose to get there will almost certainly differ.

So why did I think this was worth writing about?

Consider healthcare. If you are injured and in extreme pain, will your doctor give you strong medication and risk addiction, or let you suffer to ensure your long term well-being?

Consider AI. If a group of pedestrians suddenly walked onto the road, ignoring right-of-way, would a self-driving car swerve and risk hitting a pedestrian rightfully walking on a crosswalk?

A study conducted by MIT, called Moral Machine, asked partcipants to choose a course of action in situations like the one described.

Those answers will be used to program the “morality” of self-driving cars. Our moral system directly impacts which people they will choose to kill or save.

One more scenario. Given our own moral diversity, imagine how different the morality of alien civilisations could be. What would happen if we met them?

Can we accept a wildly different moral system for the sake of peace? Or will we decide that we are right  and they are wrong?

To quote the Doctor, “sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose.” What do you do when you and the people around you choose differently? Food for thought!

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Brazil’s new president is making changes for the worse https://thecord.ca/brazils-new-president-is-making-changes-for-the-worse/ https://thecord.ca/brazils-new-president-is-making-changes-for-the-worse/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:01:14 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52616

Starting in the new year, Brazil’s new president-elect Jair Bolsonaro will take office. Elected in late October, Bolsonaro is a member of the Social Liberal Party, a right-wing conservative party in Brazil. This is the first time since 1985 that Brazil has elected a far-right candidate.

Bolsonaro is a former military officer, and has served on Brazil’s chamber of deputies. He has made controversial comments towards women, the LGBTQ+ community, has endorsed Brazil’s former dictatorship, is avidly against political correctness and has stated that environmental law enforcements will be retracted. Many are calling him “Brazil’s Donald Trump” for these reasons.

Unsurprisingly, Trump has expressed joy over Bolsonaro’s election, and has even stated that he plans on working closely with the far-right leader.

Even with Bolsonaro’s extremist sentiments, voters saw him as a representative for the change they wanted to see. He was elected with 55 per cent of the popular vote, and has drawn just as much praise as he has drawn criticism.

During one of his campaign rallies in September, he was stabbed in the abdomen by a former member of the Socialism and Liberty party who claimed to be on a “mission from God.” Later that month, protesters across Brazil took to the streets and chanted “Not him!” in response to Bolsonaro’s political campaign.

Bolsonaro portrays himself as a political outsider and an active support of family values. This has worked in his benefit, as he has distanced himself from the established political system that many voters are not in favour of.

He has relied on social media to get much of his message across, often promising to “rescue” Brazil, and to make Brazil “great,” which is reflective of Trump’s message about “making America great again.”

Many of these sentiments come from the fact that Brazil has become victim to many political corruption scandals, rising crime rates, and tax increases due to economic austerity.

Brazil’s citizens are done letting corruption slide, and the only way they felt they could unsure this was by voting extremely against the grain. But the benefits don’t outweigh the damage. In the cases of both America and Brazil, the countries are stuck with presidents who have made malicious comments towards their own citizens.

But Bolsonaro has a history of verbalizing his extremely offensive views, and has even faced charges for his discriminatory comments. He has defamed Indigenous Brazilian communities, has said that he’d rather his sons die than be gay, has made sexist and misogynistic comments to female journalists and has made racist comments towards the Afro-Brazilian population.

He has also shown support for Brazil’s former dictatorship, and has also stated that military-rule in Brazil could be justifiable.

Despite his campaign statement about making Brazil safer and “better for all its people,” his past comments openly resist this sentiment.

Brazil’s current president is Michel Temer who is extremely unpopular. The previous two presidents were left-affiliated, but both were connected to corruption scandals. Keeping all this in mind, it almost makes sense why Brazilian voters have swung so far to the other side of the political spectrum.

It’s almost the same thing that happened in America during the 2016 presidential elections, minus the corruption allegations. After a democratic presidency for eight years, Barack Obama had served his full term. Citizens who were extremely unhappy with Obama’s presidency turned to Trump to channel their fear and anger, which swung the voting results far to the other side.

Voters chose Trump because they had a deep desire for “change.” Voters also chose Bolsonaro for the same reason; he promised things that the previous presidents didn’t or couldn’t go through with. This occurs more from an act of desperation than from a positive political choice.

Brazil’s citizens are done letting corruption slide, and the only way they felt they could unsure this was by voting extremely against the grain. But the benefits don’t outweigh the damage. In the cases of both America and Brazil, the countries are stuck with presidents who have made malicious comments towards their own citizens.

Bolsonaro has been able to ride a wave of voter distrust in Brazil’s institutions. But now these same voters have to face a proposed erosion of democracy, further attacks on minorities and marginalized communities and hate crimes — which have reportedly been increasing since his election campaign.

If voters were against political corruption, they should’ve voted for a revolutionary leadership —not someone who is in favour of dictatorship. Progression does not happen by reverting back to the past, it happens through actual change in the system.

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Ariana Grande’s new song “thank u, next” is the self-love anthem we need https://thecord.ca/ariana-grandes-new-song-thank-u-next-is-the-self-love-anthem-we-need/ https://thecord.ca/ariana-grandes-new-song-thank-u-next-is-the-self-love-anthem-we-need/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:01:14 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52618

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Ariana Grande is an artist whose image and music has grown along with her since she began her career in 2009.

Her resilience is what has stood out to me over this past year and it truly demonstrates how strong she is, both as an artist and as a human being.

She certainly comes from a place of immeasurable privilege that people like to use to write off her challenges and experiences, but that shouldn’t override the fact that she’s a person who goes through hardships just like anyone else.

Grande’s romantic relationships have been the focus and object of scrutiny in the public eye and media, particularly with rapper Mac Miller and SNL comedian Pete Davidson.

After breaking up with Mac Miller after roughly two years together, her whirlwind romance with Pete Davidson became one of the most buzzworthy topics of discussion and speculation until they called off their engagement in October.

The tragic death of Mac Miller in September caused an onslaught of online abuse and accusations directed towards Grande that depicted her as the villain who indirectly caused his passing.

This misdirected mob-mentality and witch burning tirade that swept over the internet during the period of grief that overwhelmed fans of Miller’s music and more pointedly, Grande, who knew him intimately — showcased her ability to rise above the unreasonable treatment celebrities are often dished out, simply because they’re famous.

Regardless of whether she moved on “too fast” from Miller into her relationship with Davidson is literally no one’s business and it was never her job as a woman to “fix” Miller, like the internet seemed to expect her to.

Female empowerment has become rooted in her music and with tracks like this and my previously most played on-repeat-ballad, “God is a woman,” I’m really loving the direction she’s taken with her music.

After releasing the massively popular single “thank u, next,” my appreciation and admiration for Grande were cemented even further.

The song, which highlights the importance of self-love, forgiveness and loving without fear of heartbreak, has broken Spotify’s single-day record for a female artist twice.

Accumulating nearly 29 million streams on the platform since its surprise release, her smash hit has taken the online world by storm. I’ve listened to the song myself dozens of times on repeat and I keep falling in love with it the more I listen to it.

It’s unabashedly direct with its mention of her ex-boyfriends by name but it flips the script of nearly every popular song recorded about past relationships by making them positive.

Her self-reflectiveness and gratitude towards the men who have come and gone in her life — each serving their own unique and specific purpose —  touches on her ability to call out the good in the relationships that didn’t work out, whatever those reasons may have been.

More importantly though, “thank u next” celebrates her relationship with herself — because that’s the one that matters the most.

My favourite part of the song and one that’s been quoted by countless Twitter users in praiseworthy agreement is; “I know they say I move on too fast, But this one gon’ last, ‘Cause her name is AriAnd I’m so good with that.”

Female empowerment has become rooted in her music and with tracks like this and my previously most played on-repeat-ballad, “God is a woman,” I’m really loving the direction she’s taken with her music.

Handling and addressing the criticisms she’s given no matter what her relationship status is with nothing but grace and dignity and holding her head high with this song as her commentary on it, is commendable, to say the least.

Pushing a narrative where we can be grateful for our exes because they inevitably teach us lessons about ourselves and hyping up the importance of loving yourself outside of relationships is something that I can get behind just as much, if not more, than a classic angry breakup anthem.

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Readjusting after coming home from exchange https://thecord.ca/readjusting-after-coming-home-from-exchange/ https://thecord.ca/readjusting-after-coming-home-from-exchange/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:01:12 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52612

Graphiv by Kash Patel

In a lot of ways, I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as out-of place as I do now.

A few short months ago, I was spending my weekends gallivanting around Britain to various stage plays and museums, mostly for free through my work with University of Birmingham’s student newspaper, Redbrick.

Now I spend my weekends in Waterloo, desperately attempting to catch up on some much-needed sleep and finding a moment to visit my parents.

I often find myself daydreaming of the simplest things that I experienced when I was abroad. The treks to and from the Guild of Students — their version of the Students’ Union — to meetings several times a week seemed a hassle at the time, but has now become the centre of my everyday wants.

Even the struggles I had with my mental health when I was abroad seem to be sugarcoated now that I’m back to my regular life in Waterloo.

Though I would certainly recommend exchange to anyone who is considering studying abroad, it’s bittersweet coming home.

My heart, my brain, my life is torn between the two countries and I no longer feel like I belong fully in either of them.

I fell in love with Birmingham, the United Kingdom and the culture there at large. I fell in love with the freedom and the more relaxed schooling system, despite the high quality learning from a world-class institution.

Everything seems so mundane now, and seeing the photos from my exchange friends — some still in Birmingham, others graduated and off across new countries of their own, like Germany and Italy — only makes my life seem even more boring in comparison.

I feel like I’m at the part of my story where Frodo returns to the shire or when Harry Potter is standing at the platform 19 years later.

It’s the return home that’s supposed to resolve all of the conflict from the journey, but instead, it’s impossible to imagine them simply making coffee or going to work. Because they’ve experienced so much, it’s impossible to imagine them how they were before.

I hope for each of us that we all never reach our peak and we all keep climbing. I hope that those things we cling to will stay fondly with us as we seek out new adventures we couldn’t even dream of right now.

In short, I’m afraid that I’ve peaked. I’m afraid that my semester abroad was the most exciting thing that I will ever do in my life, and I will continue to look back on those six months as the most important and adventurous I will ever have.

That scares me a lot. I always want to believe that the best parts of my life are still ahead of me, but that’s hard to believe when it seems everything that I want is in the past. On top of that, peaking because of a semester abroad seems to come only second to peaking in high school in terms of the “basic” scale.

Straddling the end of our years here at Laurier, for a lot of us the future is completely uncertain. Like our sports editor, Pranav, wrote in his editorial last week, our university years are the best of our lives that we know of so far.

It’s also hard to see the future from where we stand right now, and with so much uncertainty, I think it’s easy for all of us to latch onto something familiar that we love. Whether that’s a club, a publication, or an exchange experience.

I hope for each of us that we all never reach our peak and we all keep climbing. I hope that those things we cling to will stay fondly with us as we seek out new adventures we couldn’t even dream of right now.

I don’t have any of the answers right now, but I’m sure they’ll come as I look back on this chapter on my life.

If you too feel like you’re in the epilogue of your life, I implore you to keep reading. University — your club, your publication, your study abroad experience — is an amazing chapter, but we all have so much ahead of us, even if we don’t know what that is.

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Editorial: The best years of your life; so far https://thecord.ca/editorial-the-best-years-of-your-life-so-far/ https://thecord.ca/editorial-the-best-years-of-your-life-so-far/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 12:02:56 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52521

I’m seven months away from graduation and even though that seems like a long time, I’m already starting to feel anxious, nervous, excited, and curious — basically what everyone feels when they are about to go through a major change in their life. 

The one cliché that I have constantly heard during my four years so far at Laurier has been “these are going to be the best years of your life.”

Although that cliché sounded great to me in my first, second and third years, it’s now starting to scare me.

If these are the four best years of my life, then every year from here on out is going to be worse.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m starting to put too much emphasis on everything just because it is my last year at university. 

For example, Halloween just passed, and since it was our ‘last Halloween’, my roommates and I tried too hard to make it memorable. 

And this can be applied to so many other situations. I’ve already been through my last Homecoming, my last fall reading week, and eventually I’ll go through my last St. Patrick’s Day and even my last exams.

By putting so much pressure on all these events, I’m essentially making sure that they’re never going to live up to the hype. 

It’s easy to get caught in this trap, and I’m sure there are lots of other students in their last year doing this too; but I’ve realized that it’s important for me to treat these big occasions like I would any other year. 

The biggest reason behind people saying that your university years are the best years is the extreme focus on the positive aspects.

I always hear ‘this is the last time you’ll be around so many people your age,’ and ‘once you finish university and step into the real world.’  

While I don’t necessarily disagree with either of those things, I can point out plenty of negative aspects as well that make university sounds much worse than it actually is.

I don’t like the constant back-and-forth moving that I have to do every year from my home to my student house.  

I’m tired of studying for exams for elective courses that I don’t care about, the constant stress of applying for jobs is exhausting, and worrying about food every day is the worst. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can make any experience sounds amazing or terrible based on what you focus on, and that definitely applies to your university years and beyond. 

So I’ve decided to make a slight change to the aforementioned cliché and turn it into: “these are going to be the best years of your life, so far.”

It’s important to make that distinction because if these are the best four years of my life, then I’ve failed. 

I need to make sure that the next four years of my life are the best

four years of my life.

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Allyship isn’t as difficult as you think https://thecord.ca/allyship-isnt-as-difficult-as-you-think/ https://thecord.ca/allyship-isnt-as-difficult-as-you-think/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 12:02:49 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52539

Graphic by Kash Patel

When you think of an ally, who do you think of? What type of person do you relate the word ally to? Who do you imagine, as Mia McKenzie puts it, “is actively engaging in a practice of unlearning, re-evaluating and using their privilege and power to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group?” 

If this person does not describe you, you may find that you my friend, are a part of the problem. According to trends.google.com, the definition of allyship has mostly been googled in Canada and the United States. 

I’m not sure if this is something to be proud of in the sense that there is a thirst for knowledge or to be disappointed as it points to the bigger problems in our society. Instead, I will leave that for you to decide. 

Whenever I find myself walking away from an event or a situation where I need to determine whether or not my sex or the colour of my skin negatively foreshadowed how the situation ended, I am confronted with a negotiation. 

This negotiation comes as a self-reflection in identifying what could have made the situation better or worse. The sad part about this is that when the hypothesis above is proven to be true, I still feel like the loser. 

I still feel the burden of having been born black and with female genitalia. Now, before you start to think that this is just another one of her rants, bear with me for a minute or two. Maybe you will find something in here that you never thought you needed. 

With everything from #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, #BellLetsTalk to Dr. Blasey Ford, we would have all heard the word ally being passed around like maple syrup on Thanksgiving morning. 

For some of us in marginalized communities, when used properly, allyship is something to embrace as its practice might very well be the determining factor in whether we live or die. Yes, it’s that serious. 

With that said, I also know that there is a lot of hesitation for people to take on allyship. 

I read an article by Sam Killerman, a white, cisgender male, where he said allyship feels like being in between a rock and a hard place especially when resistance comes from within the group you are allied with.

I do not wish to devalue his feelings and in fact, a couple weeks ago I would have called this bullshit. However, in thinking and talking about what it meant to be empathetic with marginalized groups and taking on a struggle as it were your own, I realized that there is no getting around the feeling of discomfort. 

If you want to be an ally, you have to stop using your proximity to a friend’s lived experience as a scapegoat when you are being called in or called out. You have to be accountable.

When you embody what it truly means to be an ally, you realize that this discomfort is only a small fraction of the lived experiences of the very group you are considered an ally to. 

So, when you find yourself being uncomfortable — it’s okay. What is not okay is expecting marginalized peoples to take your discomfort to the forefront of their battles. 

Already, we have so many responsibilities in our marginalised communities to ourselves and those that identify as we do, that we simply cannot take on this role. 

When you are practicing taking on our struggle, we are busy living that struggle. Therefore, a part of your practice is doing your research, taking time to build relationships, learning from your mistakes and holding each other accountable. 

If you find yourself doing these things — great! If you find yourself doing these things just within marginalized communities, you are not doing enough. 

If you find yourself saying “my friend is black, I can’t be racist,” or “I’ve been to a gay bar, I’m not homophobic,” you are not practicing allyship. 

If you want to be an ally, you have to stop using your proximity to a friend’s lived experience as a scapegoat when you are being called in or called out. You have to be accountable. 

In trying to practice better allyship and understanding my privilege too, it is here that I wish to mention that I am a black, cisgender female. 

Some things I have witnessed first-hand because I am black and a woman, others have been through conversations with different marginalized groups, articles like this one, TEDtalks, YouTube, Twitter, etc. 

The important thing here is that allyship does not have to be someone other than yourself. 

Regardless of how you identify, the truth is we all have certain privileges and until we confront those privileges and know how they work 

We will always find the discomfort in allyship as an excuse to not be in between the rock and the hard place.

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The role of vigilante justice in Whitey Bulger’s death https://thecord.ca/the-role-of-vigilante-justice-in-whitey-bulgers-death/ https://thecord.ca/the-role-of-vigilante-justice-in-whitey-bulgers-death/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 12:02:44 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52529

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Last week, something incredible happened that may have missed the eyes of most people. James “Whitey” Bulger, the former mob boss of the Boston affiliated Winter Hill Gang, was murdered in prison on Tuesday, a day after being transferred to a high-security prison in West Virginia. 

According to the New York Times, two inmates at the Hazelton penitentiary, where Bulger had been recently transferred to, were seen beating Bulger with a padlock stuffed inside a sock. 

Other reports from TMZ and other local news sites say that the suspects were also trying to cut out his tongue and gouge his eyes out. When the prison staff intervened, they tried everything to save his life but were unsuccessful. He was 89 years old.

Whitey Bulger had been the crime boss of the Winter Hill Gang during the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. He participated in murder, racketeering, money laundering and a laundry list full of crimes. He was known to be one of the most vicious and notorious crime bosses of the modern era. In 2013, he was found guilty of 31 counts that included weapon charges, racketeering and money laundering and 11 of 19 murders he was accused of committing. He was serving two life sentences and five years when he was murdered. The movie Black Mass was about his life and Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed was based on Bulger himself. 

The question comes down to whether or not his killing was seen as some kind of vigilante justice, or a miscarriage of the prison system in West Virginia. 

According to CNN, two inmates had been killed this year before Bulger at the same institute and letters were sent to the Justice Department bringing up safety concerns for prisoners and if it had enough staff.

A suspect in Bulger’s murder is Fotios ‘Freddy’ Geas, who has been known for hating rats in the Mafia and is serving time for murdering another crime boss in 2003 and another man believed to be an informant.

While he was a notorious crime boss, he was also an FBI informant — or as the Mafia would call him, a “rat.” This would make him a big target in the underworld of organized crime because those who ratted on their brothers were despised.

An opinion piece by the Washington Post’s Editorial Board believes that Bulger’s death was a betrayal of justice because the prison system didn’t do enough to protect him. They poetically noted at the end “Mr. Bulger was sentenced to life in prison, not to death.” 

The U.S. justice system is not always perfect in matching punishments to crimes. But the alternative is the justice of the mob — a ratification of Mr. Bulger’s life work rather than the repudiation it deserved.

Looking at what happened to Bulger, I could argue that the prison system did mess up in protecting a prisoner. But I believe the Mafia used the system’s faults against them. Any kind of organized crime group takes the ratting out of any members of their own as frowned upon. 

It doesn’t matter if you are a low life thug, a consigliere, or the head honcho of a gang, the code of silence applies to everyone. And if you break that code, then you are as good as dead. That’s the way the Mafia or any other organized crime group works and that’s the way it’s been for close to 100 years in North America. 

A suspect in Bulger’s murder is Fotios ‘Freddy’ Geas, who has been known for hating rats in the Mafia and is serving time for murdering another crime boss in 2003 and another man believed to be an informant.

Did the prison system at Hazelton fail? Absolutely. But did they really believe they could prevent the Mafia from closing the book on a man who betrayed many of their own? Absolutely not. There can be all the prison reform in the world, but that will never stop the mob and how they feel about informants and rats.

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Editors note: Loyal coworkers https://thecord.ca/editors-note-loyal-coworkers/ https://thecord.ca/editors-note-loyal-coworkers/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 12:01:31 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52516

As with all workplaces, there are many ups and downs. No workplace is ever perfect. 

There are always the coworkers who you work well with, and there’s always some coworkers who are trickier to work with. 

Navigating working alongside coworkers during times of high stress can be particularly difficult. Especially when work is only one commitment in addition to school, extracurriculars, etc. 

My workplace, here at The Cord, is different than any other job I’ve had during my time as a student. 

The Cord isn’t your typical nine-to-five job. My staff and I know very well that working for this publication is a commitment on almost every day of the week. And because of this huge commitment, we often find ourselves spending large portions of our week together. 

Last week in specific, I came into our weekly production feeling particularly tired and unmotivated from a previous week filled with midterms and generally a busy schedule. 

But amidst the stress and exhaustion, the effort put into this job always pays off. 

Without fail, there are 17 people who work alongside me that make this job worth it. And last week was no exception.

It’s because of my coworkers that Tuesday nights are one of the most memorable and fun nights of my every week. 

My Cord staff and I have made 10 papers so far. With each paper we’ve made, I’ve gone home feeling so proud of all of our hard work. 

Each week, I see my staff improve and strive to do better. Their hard work shows when our issue hits the stands. 

Seeing our hard work on stands every Wednesday is one of the most exciting part of my every week. But I know that the feeling I get seeing our paper on stands come directly from the memories and fun that we have during production.

The people I share so much of my time with at The Cord have become my best friends in this short amount of time. And I’m so thankful to have all of them by my side.

 They make the stress of this job less stressful. And they make the most exciting and rewarding parts of this job so much more meaningful.

So here’s a little shoutout to all my staff — although you all despise my constant calls for more Dear Life’s and for someone to say something funny for quote of the week, you all should know that every Tuesday I go home so happy because I get to do the job that I love with my favourite people. 

My staff still stick around (and still say they like me) even when I play the Monster Mash on repeat on production nights. If that doesn’t scream loyal, then I don’t know what does.

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