By Kelly Lehua
I’m sitting in one of the plastic chairs in our Thursday Youth Cultures work group. I had decided to shake it up a little bit today by sitting on the other side of the room today. I was feeling dangerous, young, and alive.
We were discussing the state of youths in today’s society. Listening to other people’s comments, I got that itching in my finger and up it went. Taking a deep breath in preparation to drop some major knowledge, I chimed in with a Hawaiʻi-related comment. I spoke with confidence because I knew what I was talking about. After I had finished talking, I remember the room being silent for a second. It was just enough time for me to start feeling a little uncomfortable when Yatun, my Youth Cultures instructor, looked me dead in the eye and said in her ever-calm voice, “You’re an activist.”
In that moment, you could have told me that I was the next Miss USA and I would have believed it more. I was absolutely floored.
By Maddie Dimarco
As a university student in Southern California, I am a daily witness to the effects of racist immigration policies against Mexican and South American immigrants. Many Americans fear that their “American culture” will be lost amidst an influx of foreigners, and this fear is used as a reason for implementing harsh border control and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Immigration as a political topic is highly controversial because it engenders strong feelings of patriotism and national identity. I have participated in rallies and large events both at my school and in my Los Angeles community, showing support and solidarity with immigrants and hearing personal stories. Continue reading
By Sabine Vidal
In April 2015 at the University of Cape Town, the movement #rhodesmustfall (RMF) – calling for decolonisation at the university – gained momentum. It brought to light the reality of white privilege, and the fact that few have the freedom to feel comfortable in a space where the statue of a man who stood for slavery, racism and homophobia sits a celebrated position, at what is supposed to be an equal and liberal university. RMF is a black student led movement, predominantly fighting for the people of colour’s (POC) right to feel comfortable in a space, to have their voices heard, and in the end to decolonise the university space. This had the effect of causing many white students (and white non-students) to feel attacked and confused, a feeling I definitely experienced at the beginning of this unfolding movement. After years of South Africans being told we were a ‘rainbow nation’ where everyone was treated equally, we were suddenly confronted with the fact that people were hurting, and that it wasn’t from a few racist words, but from the very structure of society itself. I had unknowingly been living in this space of white privilege, where I could choose to ignore the small daily inequalities. Continue reading
By Sophia Schoderer
“Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are.” – (Brillant-Savarin, 1949)
Food, glorious food
Food habits differ all over the world. The availability of resources and geographical characteristics has led to the evolution of different food and eating traditions around the globe. In some parts of the world, food might only be important in terms of ingestion- a source of energy to get through the day. And in certain cases, food gets of an importance that goes beyond our current “western” notion of it, it gets a basis for life. For others, who live with the privilege of having plenty of it, food can have a meaning and importance that goes even further then kilojoules and calories. Since a lack of it will never threaten their existence, people can assign other values to it or even use it in terms of self-portrayal by posting their meals on social media with a “foodporn” hashtag. The latter can be seen as an example for the various changes that have occurred over the last years in how food is perceived by a part of the world population. These changes can´t be understood without linking them to the shift in food production in the last decades. Today, nearly everything we eat is industrially produced and that has consequences beyond the always filled-up shelves at the supermarket. Continue reading
By Tania Uruchima
Introduction: Why Tumblr?
The summer I returned home from my first year at college, I dealt with the beginning of a long run of growing pains. I am a first-generation college student from a low-income immigrant family that was thrilled, and a little perplexed, at my enrollment in a prestigious liberal arts college. My first summer break, I spent days telling my family everything, trying to put into words how vastly different were the things I saw, the people I spoke to, even the things I ate. To my increasing disappointment, I realized that those I had left back home didn’t have the context to understand what I was going through. I learned to pull back, learned that talk of structures and theories had to stay at my college. Home was not a place where I knew how to translate this new knowledge. Continue reading
By Liselot Kattemölle
While studying in Madrid during the spring semester of 2014, I became increasingly interested in radical student activism. I was stunned by the high visibility of student protest within and outside university grounds; from anarchist slogans spray-painted on walls and communist symbols carved into tables, to massive study strikes promoting student participation and political awareness. This vibrant and prominent form of protesting against the university system was completely new to me. In Amsterdam, my university hometown, I thought there was no such thing as radically resisting and challenging the university’s operating principles. Although student activism in The Netherlands has been on the rise since the government announced reforms in higher education in 2011, it generally remains within the bounds of institutionalized forms of student participation, established by the university itself. There are student representatives in the university board, and student unions have organized demonstrations against the proposed reforms, which were attended by thousands. Yet, these protests have been sporadic and political engagement remains fairly invisible. When I returned to Amsterdam, though, this seemed to have changed. Continue reading
By Hoiying Ng
The figure above is an example of Egao in Hong Kong. The original design on the top was created for the official campaign of the 2012 Hong Kong election reforms. The government promoted its position as ‘Act Now’, to garner public support for the draft plan for the reforms. Because some Hong Kongers felt that the plan was actually a step backwards rather than the democratic reforms they were presented to be, an Egao picture was created as seen in the bottom picture. In this picture the original design of the official campaign was adopted and then re-created to present an opposite message in a vivid manner. The Chinese characters (the slogan) had been changed from ‘Act Now’ to ‘All Wrong’. The picture went viral on social media, and prints also appeared on the streets. Why has this cultural practice known as Egao become so popular in Hong Kong? What does it signify for Hong Kong youth? How does it express their structure of feeling? And can serious political issues really be turned into fun, and vice versa? Or can we do it ‘just for fun’? Continue reading