Tag Archives: woke

What is a Disenfranchised Student?

college

So, with this whole scandal and debate about college students and admissions, it has got me thinking a lot about my time in college, both in undergrad, and now as a grad student.

On top of that, because of the scandal, I’m hearing a lot of the “White privilege” argument. So it’s got me asking myself a lot about my time in school – This article is not going to try to say that white privilege doesn’t exist, because it does.

This article is actually about me asking, What is a first generation student?

Who deserves resources?

What groups are being forgotten?

Let me explain my situation with college. I am not the first generation of my family to go to college. My parents were the first (which is rather normal in America, so I’m going to make this about my parents being “first gen” or anything)

I am, however, the first in my family to go to what I’m going to call ‘real college’. My parents went to the local university in my hometown. This university is what’s considered a “not ranked” school. Meaning, it’s not competitive and it lets anyone in. Your ACT and SAT scores don’t matter, they don’t require any essays to be written, no recommendation letters – nothing. This university will even have billboards up during the first week of classes that saying things like “Classes have only just begun! You can still enroll! Call now!” 

Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard, the open old heart of Harvard University campus

Back when my parents were in school, college was also much different. They paid their way through full-time school with their part-time jobs – Something that can’t be done today. They both lived at home as they attended school (as many in my hometown do) and after graduating, their part-time jobs turned to full-time and so they never had to deal with internships and applying to jobs “within their field” and all of that.

In recent years, this particular school admits tons of low-income and minority students. To make sure that these students don’t drop out, the university has instated a massive grading curve. So a B- student becomes an A+ student leading the class.

So, my point is this: Yes, may parents wen to “college”. But they had never gone to anything that resembles what Americans think colleges are.

I was the first in my family to have to save up for college while in high school. I was the first to take an ACT test. I was the first to write admissions essays. The first to need letters of recommendation. The first to leave my hometown. The first to live in a dorm on campus. The first to compete for internships. And now, the first to attend graduate school.

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I had no help or guidance on these things, because nobody in my family had ever done any of it before. So, am I a first generation student? 

And if not, what am I?

I think of all the mistakes I made while in school. All the things I didn’t know. I went from being harassed for being gay every single day in my hometown by my peers, to suddenly living in a building with hundreds of them. My parents had never had an internship before and had no idea what and internship actually consisted of. I didn’t know what entering a job market looked like. There’s so much I didn’t know. So much I didn’t understand. And so much I did wrong, out of ignorance.

But because I’m a white male who’s parents technically attended college, nobody ever paid a single ounce of attention to me. There was no help. No resources. No programs. No groups.

Nothing.

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And it’s still hard. It’s hard that in this 2019 environment, anytime I open my mouth about a difficulty I’ve been through, everyone just moans and groans, and gives you this “UGH, ANOTHER WHITE PERSON WHO THINKS THEY HAVE PROBLEMS….”

So, the question becomes: Are we still forgetting about students? 

Is there a group of young people out there that society is assuming is doing fine, but is actually lost? Are there people out who need help but don’t know where to go, and feel as though they have no options?

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I think we can all admit that my college situation is very different from Felicity Huffman’s daughter. So why is it just assumed that all white people are the same?

Our society needs to focus on race. We needed affirmative action to get people of color into schools and jobs. We need groups for minority students who are disenfranchised. We need funded programs for first gen students, I am in no way saying that needs to stop. 

What I am saying though, is that there are disenfranchised white people too. Liberalism and #Wokeness has seemed to become just as blinded by anger against whites as the racists they claim to hate. The world isn’t as clear and simple as “White people get everything, colored people get nothing.” We won’t solve real problems that way.

Oppression comes in various forms for different people. Oppression, discrimination, domination can come in forms beyond race – there’s age, wealth, sexuality, gender, history of abuse, mental illness, religion, and more. It’s complex. It’s messy. It’s shitty.

But it’s reality. 

Harvard campus with brilliant fall foliage

So, I pose this question to the world.

What do we do?

How do we ensure that we’re helping all people who need it. How do we help prevent people from falling through the cracks of society?

How do we help make things better?

 

~ The Dark Horse

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Changes I Hope To See In The Jagged Little Pill Musical

Jagged Little Pill

So, over the summer, Jagged Little Pill premiered at Harvard, and I’ve just discovered it’s going to be on Broadway in the Fall.  WOOHOO!!!!

Let’s get this out of the way right now… The music IS FUCKIN’ AMAZING!  I am a huge Alanis fan and love her music and this musical was everything I could have ever wanted music-wise.

Unfortunately though…the plot was… errrr…um… pretty shit.

The musical focuses on a family and all the problems they have in the Post-Trump era. The musical has only one rounded character (meaning a character that isn’t just a one-dimensional walking stereotype) and that’s the mom who is part of America’s opioid crisis. SHE IS A FUCKING AMAZING ACTRESS WITH AN AMAZING VOICE. The Tony goes to…

 

Aside from her the problems begin, and let’s dive into them here..

The daughter…

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Celia Gooding plays the daughter Frankie, who is black and adopted by a white family. She is also a wonderful actress with a powerful voice. However, her storyline is just fucking crap. She blames every single thing in her life on being black.

Frankie is dating a…I don’t know…the musical doesn’t actually give clear signals about this.  In the beginning you assume Frankie is dating another girl, a tomboy type lesbian. But as the play goes on it’s revealed that her girlfriend doesn’t like being called a girl. Whether it’s a story about her being trans or just gender nonconforming is unknown, all we know is that anytime someone addressed the partner as a girl, the partner has a mental breakdown and runs of crying… (so there’s another problem)

Anyways, so Frankie cheats on her partner with a cis-man. Her partner finds out and gets mad at Frankie, and Frankie is like, “You don’t understand! I’m black in a white family. You don’t know what I go through!”

Dear Jagged Little Pill Musical, I know you want to be all woke, but being black isn’t an excuse for cheating on someone… This play feels like it was written by a bunch of really entitled white people who know nothing about oppression and just thought that all these people’s problems could be sourced from their minority status.  It doesn’t work that way.

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Later in the play Frankie runs away from New York City because she “feels” (With absolutely no proof, because she comes from a very privileged family who love her) that her family doesn’t love her because she’s black.

When her parents find out, once again Frankie goes, “You don’t understand what it’s like to black!” and the whole family is like, “OMG You’re right! How could we be so stupid?”

Once again, Jagged Little Pill musical… THINK ABOUT THIS ONE…

If you were a parent and you had just discovered your child had ran away, you’re not going to be like, “Oh but she’s black…I guess we gotta understand that she’ll never truly feel loved… oh well..”  NO

NO.

NO.

NO.

A parent would be like, “WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU??? I’M COMING TO GET YOU! ARE YOU SAFE? USE THE CREDIT AND GET A HOTEL ROOM UNTIL WE GET THERE, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’D PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER LIKE THIS! DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARED WE ARE??????”

By having the parents be like…. “whatevz, black gurl gonna’ do what she do” only makes it seem like they actually don’t love her.

 

This brings me to Frankie’s Partner:

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Frankie’s gender-unknown partner is just a fuckin’ punching bag the entire show. Someone at school calls her a girl so she cries and mopes and walks away. Her mom tells her to be more like a girl, then she mopes and walks off stage, and then Frankie cheats on her, and she sings You Oughta Know, and the whole audience goes batshit fuckin’ crazy over it…and I’m like….NOOOOOOOOO. NO. NO. NO. This character is such a weak pushover that she doesn’t deserve a stand ovation.  Whether she’s trans or just non-conforming, she still needs to be a human. She needs self agency. She can’t just run around stage crying and being sad the entire fucking play. Give me something more please? 

 

And then… oh lord, there’s the girl who gets raped at a party.

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So this girl gets raped at a party, and of course nobody believes her. Because nobody ever believes women….. And she’s mentally ruined and thinks about suicide and all that stuff, and you know everything ever is the fault of men. And then there’s a rally held for her to inspire her and show her that she’s loved… and people on stage are holding up #METOO signs and #TIMESUP signs, and then randomly these black people come on stage and start waving around #BLACKLIVESMATTER posters, and Im like…. A white girl was raped… why is this turning into a black lives matter moment? 

The point is this, This show victimizes women, victimizes black people, and victimizes the trans (or non-binary…it’s never stated) so heavily, that it’s unreal.  It’s like, White men are bad, and everything that ever happens to anyone is IS COMPLETELY THE FAULT OF WHITE MEN.

Have you ever seen that sketch on SNL about liberal high school kids trying to make a play with meaning, but it just comes off as offensively stupid?

SNL

Jagged Little Pill the musical feels like that a lot.

Me and my friend had literal moments during the show when we had to hold back laughter because it was just so….bad.  Like literally, it was as if the creators of the show had concept of reality.

And I’m not the only one who thinks this, check this quote from The New York Times,

“At least for now, this well intentioned and intermittently thrilling musical makes you want to applaud its efforts at “wokeness” while also wondering if wokeness has become just another form of virtue signaling. It feels like what might have happened if the Tribe from “Hair” had actually made it to college”

Or this quote from Variety,

The real downside is that with so much going on, our interest and empathy are unreasonably stretched.

Or this from the Patriot Ledge,

It’s a lot of heavy stuff to digest and after two-and-half hours, Cody wraps up the conflicts as if to mimic a Shakespearean finale. She ties together the ends of plot strands perhaps too neatly to be believed.

 

THE POINT IS THIS JAGGED LITTLE PILL:  I AM ON YOUR SIDE, AND I LOVED THE MUSIC AND A LOT OF THE STORY FROM THE HARVARD RUN OF THE SHOW… BUT I EXPECT THE BROADWAY VERSION TO NOT BE SO SILLY IT’S LAUGHABLE. 

In the meantime, check out a song from the cast recording that was just released, Ive been playing it on loop in the shower:

 

~ The Dark Horse

(Not proofread #Sowwyz!)