<![CDATA[The Daily Tar Heel: Opinion]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 22:52:55 -0400 Tue, 25 Jun 2019 22:52:55 -0400 SNworks CEO 2019 The Daily Tar Heel <![CDATA[COLUMN: Remembering big things is easy, remembering little things is harder]]> Hello, new Tar Heel. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Here comes another seasoned upperclassmen trying to give me sage advice about 'remember the good times' and 'make the most of it.'"

Well, guess what? You're right. Clearly, you're very smart; that's why you're here.

And while I am here to talk about how important being mindful of your Carolina experience is, I'm not here to be sappy about it. In fact, let's get brash, shall we?

In truth, I don't remember a whole lot of my first year at UNC. I can recount two or three big moments, but the only thing left to fill the in-betweens is a generally positive feeling. It's a warm, hazy remembrance, bereft of specificity, but full of chuckles to myself about nothing in particular.

For example, I can tell you about how I got a police escort to UNC Hospitals on Halloweekend because my friend had imbibed a bit too freely. I can tell you that it was a lovely experience chatting with the friendly officer who let me ride in the front seat of her cruiser so I could lie by my friend until we lumbered home in the fog at 7 a.m., hours before campus would wake to their own horror or fantasy stories of the night before.

I can tell you about awaking in the middle of the night to a girl who was not my roommate rustling around in my room. I can tell you that she kept asking into the dark "Where's my phone?" as she was guiding her steps with her iPhone flashlight. I can tell you that the hilarity ensued even still as I woke up the next morning to shorts, undergarments and a retainer on my floor left by the pantsless punk in her hurry to flee. I can tell you that my friends and I laughed about it for weeks.

I can also tell you about the first time I got a -50 points (out of 100) on a journalism assignment because I miscalculated a source's age. I can tell you it was the moment I said, "That's it. I'm going pre-med." I can tell you that was a very brief stint and that a CHEM 101 'withdraw' on your transcript is a trifle hardly worth fretting over.

I can tell you about the two or three times I cried harder than I'd ever cried before in a crumpled mess on the floor of my room with my suitemates around me, feeding me all the love I thought I didn't have.

What I can't tell you, but what I wish I could, was how I felt on my first FDOC, or during my first exams, or on spring break or even on the last day of my first year. I can't really remember whole swaths of that school year because so much happened. So much.

Every day of your college career is exceptional, and you don't register that until they are all behind you. I wouldn't put such an emphasis on mentally snapshotting every single day if this time wasn't limited. But it is.

Not every day is a celebration, but every day is worth celebrating. You don't, and will not, have everything figured out by the time you get here, or even by the time you're done. But if you've done it right, you'll have some wild stories to tell that might make you feel strong for surviving them.

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<![CDATA[COLUMN: Honoring the memory of Our Three Winners]]> Four years, four months and two days. That's how long it took to bring the tiniest ounce of resolution to the Chapel Hill community after it fell victim to the horrific, xenophobic slaughtering of three Muslim students: Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Is this what justice feels like? Because it sure as hell doesn't feel like much. Three life sentences isn't enough. It just isn't. Honestly, I don't have a proper solution for it because there should be no reality in which this should have happened.

How can three life sentences repair the broken hearts of the victims' families and loved ones? How can this punishment combat the deep rooted fears instilled in the surrounding minority and Muslim communities for being persecuted based on their faith or skin color? Perhaps worst of all, how can it replace the rich lives of these three distinct, incredible, accomplished students, robbed of the chance to succeed and make their own way in this world?

The America I believe in is the one President Barack Obama established a commitment to in his statement days after the shooting: "No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like or how they worship." And yet, that idealistic vision of America is chipped away every day when innocent college students are brutalized for speaking out against injustice, marginalized for any minority identity or in this case, gunned down for their faith.

At the very least, the successful conviction was a step in the right direction, finally legally validating the racist and xenophobic aspects of the murders. Expert testimony confirmed it to be a hate crime in no uncertain terms: "These were not random victims of a parking dispute... these victims were seen and interacted with differently because of who they were." And in turn, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue finally admitted the shortcomings of their case handling four years ago, striking down their originally peddled narrative that the deaths of Yusor, Deah and Razan were over a simple parking dispute.

Because of their religion and physical appearance, they were executed; and because of those same characteristics, their truth was systematically disbelieved. And yet, the Muslim community responded swiftly and compassionately, channeling grief productively into creating the Our Three Winners foundation to "to honor the short, but rich lives of Deah, Yusor and Razan and to develop systematic and lasting solutions and interventions to mitigate prejudice, bigotry, and hate crimes."

For those reasons, tonight, in honor of Yusor, Deah and Razan, we ultimately celebrate this proxy for justice as a way to reclaim their narratives into legitimate institutional change. In the words of UNC's Muslim Student Association, "While our three winners are gone, their legacy continues, and we must harness their spirit and ambition to make life better for all, and to do so with compassion and empathy."

Thus, we remember them as the bright young individuals they were. Everything we accomplish in the coming years, we do it for them. We carry them every day, in our minds, in our hearts, in our souls. And alongside our own hopes and aspirations, we fight for lasting systematic change that confirms equality and justice for all. In that way we always honor their memories and ensure their legacies continue.

Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Our beloved community members. Our beacons of selflessness and kindness. Our champions of the American Dream.

Our shining lights.

Our three winners.

Please consider donating to Our Three Winners.

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<![CDATA[Letter to the Editor: Writers shouldn't be afraid to be uncomfortable]]> To the Editor:

Recently, I was interviewed by a writer at the DTH as the director of the poetry program at Blackspace Chapel Hill and Durham. Blackspace is a Black and Brown autonomous space designed for young people ages 13-18 years old to manifest their dreams through any medium necessary. Blackspace's foundation is rooted in Afro-Futurism, which is simply the idea that Black people exist in the future.

The pillars of Afro-Futurism enclose self-determination, self-efficacy and being the ones to tell our own stories. Students have the freedom to dream, create and produce art of various forms sans the White Gaze, which is born when social pressure and white supremacy collide.

For Black and Brown children, this often looks like their creativity being stifled or completely misshapen in order to fit standards that don't value Blackness, the culture we create or those we come from. This is why Blackspace is an organization reserved for children of the African diaspora.

I brought up these points when the writer who interviewed me asked for a definition of Afro-Futurism and how I discovered it. The questions I was asked suggested that he did not conduct research on Blackspace and was only aware of its existence.

Based on the format of these questions, I asked if the writer was Black or a person of color. While it's true that a reporter of any race could fail to do their journalistic diligence, I doubt that a Black reporter would have asked me to explain the basics of the idea that Black people exist in the future. I then asked if the writer knew who Charlene Carruthers was. He did not.

Charlene Carruthers is the founder and former executive director of BYP100, my political home. Her first book, "Unapologetic: A Black Queer Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements," has quickly become a staple for those of us in movement work, or those that want to report on it, who want to get it right. In a talk on her recent book tour, she shared a bit of knowledge that I decided to also share with the writer: Just because you are passionate or interested in something, doesn't mean you should necessarily be leading the work that needs to be done.

I shared this in hopes of getting the writer's cogs turning as to why, and should they be the person writing this article? How would the writer use their voice to amplify the purpose and mission of Blackspace?

Instead of my offering having its intended effect, I received an email informing me that the writer had chose not to publish the article based on my discomfort with him writing the piece as a white man.

I'm confused for various reasons: I'm confused how educating this young, budding reporter on the impact of voice, the importance of perspective, and inquiring his reason for writing the piece morphed into me feeling uncomfortable with him writing the story. I'm particularly baffled since the last thing I said to him was I'm interested to see how the article turns out.

I simply raised a point for an aspiring reporter to consider when writing his story. I, unfortunately think fear is the real reason why the writer decided not to publish this article. Not fear of me, or of some imagined repercussions but fear he wouldn't do the article justice. And, to be frank, that's a valid concern. Fear, while a normal human reaction, has no place in responsible reporting or good journalism.

A question for a writer to consider when doing their job should not prevent them from doing so. I understand that he may not be aware of the nuances of movement work, but it is vital for journalists to educate themselves as deeply as possible in the subject matter they are reporting and to heed advice from those who reside within the communities being covered. The consequence of not doing so could easily become a case where good intentions aren't good enough.

The good news is that the reporter is still young, and fear can be conquered. I'm hope that the writer has a plethora of mentors at the DTH and elsewhere that will encourage him to lean into discomfort and guide him on lessons in discernment. Once the fear is overcome, the reporter should still consider Charlene's words. That being said, when he has figured out his role and responsibility as a reporter on doing a profiles on organizations that don't center his experience, he knows where to find us.

Mariah Monsanto

University of North Carolina '14

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<![CDATA[Editorial: We stand with UNC Charlotte]]> On Tuesday, a gunman opened fire in an academic building on UNC Charlotte's campus. Two were killed, and four others were injured.

It's hard to believe something like this could happen so close to home, at a university that reminds us so much of our own. Many of us have friends and family there who just as easily could have been the victims of this senseless violence.

We mourn with UNC Charlotte as they cope with this loss. So much has been taken from them - not only the lives of two of their classmates, but their innocence, their sense of security and peace of mind. Nothing will ever feel the same again.

It's a feeling that far too many students in this country are familiar with. April 20marked 20 years since the Columbine shooting. And on April 16, students at Virginia Tech remembered the 2007 tragedy that killed 32 of their own. In the aftermath of those shootings, we were angry. We wanted change. But it never came.

In the two decades since Columbine, more than 226,000 children have experienced gun violence at school. Their place of learning -a place where they ought to be the most safe - is now a place associated with their worst nightmares.

"Run, hide, fight" should never be a message that students have to receive while at school. Active shooter drills should not be something our students have to practice. We can no longer allow our gun laws to be influenced by lobbyists. These people literally benefit from the continued leniency with which we govern the possession of firearms in this country. We deserve better. Our children deserve better.

It is absolutely despicable that elected officials value the NRA's blood money more than they value the lives of their constituents. In fact, North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis both rank among the top five recipients of NRA contributions in the Senate.

These were real people. They had lives, families, friends. They were students just like us. And they were taken from us far too soon, on their last day of classes - right before finals. So close to celebrating the end of something they have spent the past several months working toward.

This shooting took place at a campus that isn't plagued by racial tensions and white supremacy. At a place like UNC, where non-students are allowed to tote arms in faux authority against the law and white supremacists can speak openly about harassing students, the likelihood feels so much greater. After this shooting, we feel like sitting ducks on the grounds of our own University.

One of the victims, thankfully now out of surgery, was Drew Pescaro, a sports writer for their campus newspaper. For the Board, it's hard not to picture any one of our own at The Daily Tar Heel. And despite a writer being in critical condition, the Niner Times staff reported on the shooting on their last day of class through their smartphones. Their strength and bravery should set an example for all student newsrooms.

Gun violence forms an inexplicable link between people of our generation. It might be student journalists like you in surgery for bullet wounds, it might be college students from your hometown, it might be you watching, horrified, as your classmate's presentation is interrupted by gunshots. This a bond we don't want to have, nor is it one we deserve.

Mass shootings are absolutely terrifying to think about. But we have to, because gun violence is what will define our generation for years and years to come. It's on us to act, to speak out and to make change happen on behalf of those who can't. Those who never deserved to die. We cannot and will not let their deaths be in vain.

No matter how often this has and will continue to happen, we cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized. These aren't the first victims of gun violence, and they most certainly won't be the last. These victims deserve every bit as much passion, anger and attention as we gave to those who came before them. They and their families deserve justice too.

Fight for them. Remember them.

Drew Pescaro. Sean DeHart. Rami Alramadhan. Emily Houpt.

Ellis Parlier. Riley Howell. We grieve for you and will not allow your deaths to be in vain.

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<![CDATA[Editorial: A year of the same institutional flaws]]> Don't get us wrong. We love UNC.

We love Carolina when the leaves are turning orange in the fall and during the first snowfall. We love our men's basketball team when they beat Duke (twice!) and we love them during the most heartbreaking losses. We love Carolina blue, especially when it matches the sky on warm, spring days like today. We love the education we're privileged enough to be receiving, and we love the faculty and staff that make that possible.

But Carolina has major institutional flaws. And we believe the greatest way to show your love for a place is to encourage it to the best version itself - to make it an inclusive space for everyone. Everyone should be able to find a home at Carolina.

What the Board has learned time and time again this academic year is that those in power at this institution don't love Carolina like we do. The administration, Board of Governors and UNC Police have consistently put the needs of outside forces ahead of the students and faculty they're supposed to be defending.

There's only so much the Board can write about. It's time for these institutions to be held accountable, and for them to step up and protect its students and faculty from dangers such as white supremacy before something drastic happens.

The Unsung Founders Memorial was defaced. Armed Confederate groups have walked around campus with no consequences. Confederate livestreams have brought threatening comments. With the continued controversy surrounding Silent Sam hanging over our campus, such occurrences will undoubtedly continue, and someone will - at the very least - get hurt. The University needs to take final, definitive action regarding Silent Sam and work to protect students as long as extremists who support its presence continue to pose a very real threat to campus safety.

We believe in a brighter future and a better Carolina. And we will always be here to fight for it.

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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<![CDATA[Column: Alec Dent has left the building ]]> I don't know how to start this column. In large part, I assume, because I don't want to write it. My final article for The Daily Tar Heel. This is the last time my byline will appear in the paper, on what will be my final LDOC. When I go into the office the night before this runs to read it over with my editors, it will likely be the last time I walk into the DTH office.

As someone who is by nature wildly over-nostalgic - I'm even nostalgic for things that haven't happened yet; my wedding, my retirement, accepting my Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace between Seth Newkirk and Paige Masten - this article and the sense of finality that surrounds it, that surrounds my college experience as a whole, has put me in a downright funk - so much so I couldn't even come up with the Misha Maruf disses that so many now expect from my articles. For that, I apologize.

My time at UNC, this idyllic place I've called home for the past four years, is at an end. Attending college is a privilege, not just for the education it provides, but because it presents a rare opportunity of semi-adulthood, a fleeting few years where you possess most of the rights and privileges accorded to adults with few of the responsibilities. The perfect time, and UNC the perfect setting, for one to, as Thomas Wolfe put it, "loaf comfortably and delightfully through four luxurious and indolent years."

And those indolent years are soon to be behind me.

How utterly depressing.

This would be the point in the article where you'd expect me to suddenly turn and say something like "but new and exciting possibilities await my post-UNC life." I will not. I am defiantly sad at the moment, melodramatically mourning the passing of my youth. Life will carry on, of that I am well aware, and it will improve in many ways. I will, in all likelihood, experience much greater, more fulfilling happiness in the future than I have now. But there's still something melancholic about knowing that a period of your life is coming to a close, that the habits and routines that comprised your lifestyle for four years will soon be out of reach. Even if they aren't as good as what's to come, they can never be revisited.

I don't know how to end this article either. I don't want it to have to end. But, well, this is it, that's all I've got. Alec Dent has left the building.

P.S. To my fellow Editorial Board members: I only believe roughly 30 percent of the controversial pop culture topics I've tortured you with throughout the year. Good luck finding out what I actually believe. Ok, now Alec Dent has left the building.

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<![CDATA[Column: Fighting institutional racism isn't easy]]> As I sat on the grounds of my beloved university, listening to anti-racist heroes share personal stories of institutional racism and police brutality on campus, I noticed dozens of students walking past, not caring enough to stop and listen. I overheard people behind me loudly discussing LDOC and the impending stress of finals as Tamia Sanders, co-chairperson of UNC Black Congress, nearly broke down in tears while speaking about the emotional weight of being a Black student on campus.

To remain ignorant in the face of injustice is an easy choice, but it's also a cowardly and selfish one. As white people, we don't have to think critically about racism because we have never been the victims of it. And especially because doing so often reveals an uncomfortable truth: that privilege and racial bias exist in all of us. They're ingrained into the framework of society in ways we will never fully grasp - through microaggressions, through patterns of white dominance, through exclusion and othering.

I have spent most of this year listening, learning and thinking -trying my hardest to be a better ally for marginalized students who have suffered at the hands of this University for far too long. Others within the community and the administration have opted for complicity and willful ignorance, unwilling to confront the inherent privileges of their whiteness. But I will not.

I love UNC. But since the very first day I set foot on campus as a first-year, I have watched this administration invalidate and ignore the concerns of anti-racist activists and students of color. I have watched fellow white students turn a blind eye to institutional racism on this campus, lacking the motivation to change a system that was always meant to benefit them. More than anything, I want this school to be a place where my peers feel safe and valued. But it's not.

Oftentimes, loving something means holding it accountable. It means acknowledging the role that it has played in upholding a status quo of whiteness and the subjugation of marginalized communities. It means seeing it for what it is and wanting to make it better, and it starts with taking a hard look at who we are, who we have been and who we want to be.

UNC has a long history of white supremacy. The names of white supremacists are plastered all over our campus. Pictures of former students in blackface adorn the pages of old yearbooks and the grass has only just begun to grow in the place where a Confederate monument stood for 105 years. And today, UNC Police brutalize activists who attempt to fight back against the status quo of UNC's racist past and present.

Fighting back against an institution as powerful as UNC isn't easy. Activists and people of color on this campus have sacrificed so much in ways that I can never begin to understand or imagine - they have given everything to a place that has given them so little in return. They are the ones protecting us, each and every day.

But they can't do it alone, and they shouldn't have to. To say you were unaware of the injustice that takes place on this campus is no longer an acceptable excuse. Marginalized students have been speaking their truth all year long - all you ever had to do was listen.

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<![CDATA[Column: Remembering the busiest year of my life]]> I am notoriously forgetful. It is not a great quality for an editor-in-chief to have, but it's one that I'm stuck with. Over Thanksgiving break, I left my keys in the DTH office; I have lost so many pairs of earbuds over the years that my parents once bought me five pairs for Christmas. I've consistently (mostly accidentally) ghosted people since way before ghosting was a thing.

But there are so many things about this year that I know I'll never forget - things that will join falling in love, coming out, graduating high school, getting into UNC. My first night as editor, I sent the newsroom out when we heard about Silent Sam. For five minutes, we all rushed to the statue to see history be made. I'll remember that, and every protest that came after. I'll remember rushing Franklin Street from this office - a VERY short trip - after the first Duke game, revelling in the knowledge that the next Duke Chronicle would be painted Carolina Blue. I'll remember hundreds, if not thousands, of editing sessions with new writers, who I've watched learn AP style and gain confidence in what feels like the blink of an eye.

I'll remember watching the Bachelor with Bailey and Sarah, my managing editors, every Monday (except the one when Chancellor Folt resigned). I'll remember driving to D.C. with María for six hours, seeing Dear Evan Hansen with Anna and sobbing, learning that Molly and Haley also played Dungeons & Dragons. I'll remember sitting in the office stairwell with Myah, talking about witches with Maddy, playing iMessage 8-ball with Chris, holding a light for Emily and Taryn in a last-minute photo illustration, listening to Misha evangelize for Pub Subs. I'll remember all of my talks with Erica, our general manager and one of the smartest people I know. I want to cry just thinking about how I won't do this again on Sunday, the way I have for the past three years.

I am so proud of the work we've done this year. I'm responsible for almost none of it - I have been uplifted by the geniuses around me at every turn. This is not to say we have done everything right. I have made so many mistakes this year. I have let my newsroom, my readers, my friends down. But I hope that you and I can remember the good things with the bad. And now, on my last day of class, I remember so many good things.

The DTH raised me through college. I'll carry it with me everywhere. And I cannot wait to read this paper next year, see new bylines above excellent work and hope that they remember me.

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<![CDATA[Column: Stop posting your Paris pictures]]> I am French. My mom was born and raised in the south of France, and all of my family resides in a small vineyard town, including my lovely grandmother and her garden of beautifully-tended flowers. I have vivid childhood memories of running around her backyard with my little sister, of picking cherries with my grandfather. I have memories of taking the train to Paris with my parents, holding their hands as I walked through the Louvre, dancing to the sweet music floating throughout those cobblestone streets, and, ever so stark in my mind today, of posing in front of the Notre Dame.

All of these experiences drip with privilege. That's exactly what they were - privileges of a young girl who was advantaged enough to be of both American and French nationality, to travel abroad and visit family, to be free and joyful in a twirling dress in front of arguably the most renowned Catholic Cathedral in all of Europe.

But when a fire broke out throughout the Notre Dame earlier this month, I did not post a picture of the church with the hashtag #RIPNotreDame, or mourn the loss of the monument with an ~artsy~ picture of my face in front of it like I witnessed others doing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Within minutes of the cathedral catching fire, people across the world started posting vacation photos of the iconic building from a series of all-too-familiar postcard-worthy angles.

We get it people, you went to France.

Technology, and the social media it has inspired, revolutionized our society. Don't get me wrong - I love the way it's inspired creativity and allowed humans to express their individuality. But the incentive of achieving likes, loves, retweets and comments from those in our online environments have created platforms for us to focus primarily on...us. Our impulse to connect has ensured that tragedies are no longer just sad events - they are opportunities to assert bragging rights, to ensure that everyone else knows that *INSERT YOUR NAME* "was here."

And that also, drips with privilege.

Several have united to pledge almost $677 million to help rebuild the building, and companies like Apple and L'Oréal have also donated funds. I do not intend to moralize, or give the impression that I feel self-righteous for not posting my Paris pics. I want to draw attention to the reality that is our world - the sorrow the world dedicated to the burnt portions of a historic building, while, just a few days later, over three hundred people were killed by suicide bombers in Sri Lanka. Where were people's social media posts then? Where is the union of billionaires to help rebuild the infrastructure and survivors' lives in Sri Lanka?

As a society, we need to evaluate our priorities - what do we place our value in? Lives, or likes?

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<![CDATA[Column: You can go home again]]> Twenty years ago, I graduated from the University of Southern California. Things were seen, jobs were done. I moved through London, New York, June Lake, California, Auckland and Los Angeles again, doing mostly live audio engineering with a two-season stint as a ski instructor thrown in for fun.

Ten years ago, I moved to the Triangle to pursue a Ph.D. in Communication Studies at UNC. My wife and I were a bit nervous about the move, meeting as New Yorkers and previously living as Angelenos. We came to love this area deeply, and will keep our home in Hillsborough for retirement. In June we are moving to rural Chautauqua County, New York, westernmost in the state where I grew up. There, I will start as an Assistant Professor of Audio / Radio / Sound Design while staying on as Head of Audio for the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, a job I have held for now 20 summers. Turns out, contra our local hero Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again.

In truth, you never really leave. Home is in you. I heard once that the best songs are about running away from God or running toward it. The worst of all possible art, and life, ignores the Divine. And as all things are God, home is God.

Seventeen-year-old me would have never predicted going home. In my mind, it was where I was stifled, mocked, limited. The real world, the world that mattered, was out there on the shining coasts, where those who mattered did that which mattered. I came. I saw. I kicked ass. Yet every summer I returned home to the job I have held the longest, in the place I treasure most, with the people I treasured most. Now I get a second job there. My wife and I get to raise my daughter there.

My experience around the world is a permanent treasure that cannot be taken away. But I remember a thought that ran in my head at the end of my sojourn through Europe: There are only so many churches, museums, drinks and cuisines that can be sampled before they all blend into each other. Sooner or later you may have to choose one place, and sink roots into it. I have found mine. In truth, I never left it.

Our younger readers have choices to make about where home will physically be. Yet make no mistake: you never escape home, because you are your own home. Once you realize that, and realize what you want, life becomes easier. The bright shining cities beckon to our best and brightest constantly, but there are other places that need you too, and will welcome you if you give them yourself in full abandon. Make your home and inhabit it with your full heart. It will never leave you.

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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<![CDATA[Guest column: My culture is not a fad]]> Recently, a group of friends and I laughed and all shared our "lunchbox moments." For the uninitiated, the "lunchbox moment" is a ubiquitous experience for Asian American schoolchildren: the first time our parents pack for us delicious jiaozis and dandanmian to eat for lunch, only to have our classmates sneer, "Gross, what is that?" and, "Is that dog?" Mortified, we threw our lunch boxes away and asked our parents that night to prepare us things like PB&J to bring to school.

I don't think the author of the article last week featuring opinions on bubble tea ever had such a moment. It could be argued that she didn't know the sensitivity behind highlighting a case where a student threw up from ethnic foods. But that's what privilege is. To not have that lunchbox moment. To not have to think about how your culture's food is portrayed. Finding all ethnic food to be delicious or even somewhat palatable is not a requirement. I'm sure the experiences of the student that drank boba tea and vomited did happen and are valid. To share that experience as representative of a general opinion, however, is being color-blind to a subject that isn't.

Equally infuriating is reducing cultural food to a new "fad" that white people are enjoying. Bubble tea is not a fad. I grew up in one of the major Chinatowns of NYC where there was a bubble tea stop every block and a half. I remember my first time having it: my mother took me to a place and ordered a taro milk tea for me. When I asked her if she was going to have one, she replied "No, it's too sweet. It's for Americans."

This is one of the defining aspects of bubble tea and ties in closely with how it has become a cultural phenomenon amongst Asian Americans. It's a drink that we remember growing up on, but one that the generation before us wasn't too fond of. It's a drink too Asian for our white friends, and too white for our Asian parents. It's a drink that we found our reflections in - torn between our Asian upbringing and our American schooling.

It's almost become a nuisance for me, as it seems as though it's all any of my Asian American friends can talk about. On social media, they share memes and jokes about their obsession with bubble tea, which makes it more curious that not a single East Asian person was interviewed, even though plenty (including myself) had expressed interest in talking to the author about their thoughts on bubble tea.

My culture and my food are not fads and are certainly not things for you to vomit all over. Or openly call "exotic." Or "not normal." Or "a trend." You aren't the center of this story. You are an outsider and you can't hope to understand our experiences if you continue to approach us as an exotic novelty instead of the center of a complex, dynamic narrative.

Jacky Wang

UNC '20

Philosophy and political science

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<![CDATA[Column: Thank you for reading!]]> When I sat down to write this column, which is my last for the Daily Tar Heel, I decided to re-read my first piece, "SOS: I have a crush!" Reading it again transported me back to the day I wrote it. I was at my beloved Open Eye Cafe, half-expecting my crush to walk in at any moment. I remember imagining him reading my column and realizing he felt the same way. He would become so overwhelmed by my eloquent words that he would have to ask me out.

But that didn't happen. To this day, I have no idea if he did read it. Despite many conversations since, he's never mentioned it. Nor have I.

There is something wondrously bittersweet about getting a version of what you wanted. I wrote that piece wanting a relationship, expecting my big, bold, romantic gesture to be greeted with one equally exceptional. But, alas, my expectations were not realized.

My columns have allowed me to share very specific experiences in the hope of illuminating something universal. All I've ever wanted to do with my writing is connect - whether it's with a crush, a friend, or even someone I've never met. Writing this column has taught me life rarely follows the chapterly rhythms of my favorite romance novels. No matter how hard I try, my emotions do not obey the comforting story structure of beginning, middle, and end. Over time, I've become grateful that they don't. Because it's given me the greatest gift: a story to share.

There is a quote from my favorite show "Girls," in which its protagonist, Hannah Horvath, says: "I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did. I want to make people laugh at the things in life that are painful." I don't think I've ever felt more understood than when I heard Hannah utter those words.

Five weeks ago, I sat down at Linda's with my friends Corey and Carolyne. As the end of senior year loomed, they asked how I wanted to spend our final weeks. They looked with expectant eyes, anticipating a crazy bucket list. Instead, I said: "I want to spend less time alone."

College can be a very lonely place. I think if we were all more honest with each other we'd admit to spending far more nights in bed wondering if everyone is hanging out without us than we do actually going "out" in Chapel Hill (whatever that means). The entire reason I wanted a boyfriend was because I thought people in relationships didn't feel lonely. Obviously, that's not true. We all feel lonely. I don't think there's ever going to be a cure for loneliness. But through sharing our stories, we can connect. I hope this column has done that. I hope it has made you feel less alone -it has for me.

So, thank you for reading.

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<![CDATA[You asked for it: in which we graduate]]> Kent McDonald (Tar) and Annie Kiyonaga (Heel) are the writers of UNC's premier (only!) satirical advice column. Results may vary.

Well, dear readers, here we are. The end of the road. The horizon. The bottom of the ocean. The surface of the sun. We, your beloved YAFI writers, will be leaving Chapel Hill in a few short weeks. In reflecting upon our time at this lovely, light blue school, we've come up with a few tenets of advice for young, foolish underclassmen such as yourself. Good luck and good night. (I've always wanted to say that. Seems appropriate here.)

  1. Spend as much time as possible with friends. Friends are important. We love them. We want them to feel our love. To this end, we have made it our collective mission at YAFI to infringe as constantly and annoyingly as possible on the lives of each & every one of our dearest friends. For example, when I, Annie, know that one of my friends has a VERY IMPORTANT test the next day, I make it my mission to hover around them as much as possible, asking them dumb, stupid questions. Some good examples include: "What's your favorite thing about me?" "How good do you think I Heart New York Pizza is? Stop it. Don't say that. I love that place." "What's the best dog you've seen recently?" Etc., etc.
  2. Enjoy the weather here. North Carolina weather is appallingly, almost creepily perfect. I mean, sometimes the heat is borderline unbearable, but the winters are mild and the springs and falls are absurdly beautiful. This isn't even a joke. The winter here is SO pleasant. And people who are from North Carolina are always like, "Oh, it's 40 degrees, I'm dying." NO. You shut your mouth. The weather is perfect and comfortable and temperate.
  3. Befriend the couple that owns I Heart New York Pizza. One of the more touching experiences I (Annie) have had this semester was during a recent trip to I Heart New York Pizza. My boyfriend and I went at 1:30 a.m., as is our custom. I wasn't hungry, so was going to abstain, until the I Heart New York Pizza guy greeted us with his characteristic enthusiasm and said to me, "We have Hawaiian pizza tonight! You want some?" There are layers to this story. First layer: my love for Hawaiian pizza. Second: my love for I Heart New York Pizza. Third: my gratitude to I Heart New York Pizza guy for knowing my order. That place is my home.
  4. Pull down all the Confederate statues within arm's reach. This is also not a joke. Sometimes, radical inaction demands dynamic action.
  5. Take LFIT your first semester, wait patiently for three and half years, and then run into someone from your LFIT during senior bar golf. Make sure this is someone who you shared several thousand conversations with during LFIT. Perhaps someone who you even studied for the final with at Alpine Bagel. Perhaps you even shared a large chocolate chip cookie while studying (this was before Alpine changed the recipe and significantly reduced the size of their formerly glorious baked treats). Perhaps while discussing carbohydrates you two made awkward flirty eye contact (this was before you decided you were a firm 5.75 on the Kinsey Scale). Remember this person because you do not want to run into them at Bob's while ordering a Miami Vice and talk to them for a solid six minutes while internally panicking because you have no idea what their name is.
  6. Check out books from the library. Did you know libraries are not just places to pretend to do work while clandestinely watching Netflix? Did you know those stacks and stalls of books are not just tasteful, artsy decor but actually real and available to you as a UNC student? Did you know in the adult world libraries are a lot less accessible and people end up using their well-earned money to purchase these literary delights? These are all things Kent is realizing for the first time. So, follow the advice of my Dance Mom alter ego and "flaunt it while you got it!"
  7. Dye your hair platinum AT LEAST once. My biggest regret is I only had platinum hair for one year -and it was the year I went abroad! None of you fools got to fully appreciate my flowing, blondish-white locks. I don't want to point fingers (except that I do, I live for the drama) but I invented this trend. I invented gays dying their hair platinum instead of going to therapy. This is my thing and I want it to be documented that I did this before all of you copycats. 2017 Kent McDonald was ahead of his time and he deserves to be recognized!
  8. If the DTH asks you and your best friend to write a satirical advice column, do it. We promise it will be trip well worth taking and possibly life-changing. Annie and I are now satirists. In fact, we were just inducted into the satirist hall of fame. We now get brunch with our esteemed peers - Jon Stewart, Amy Sedaris and Jonathan Swift -every month. Best of all, speak your mind. Satirically. Speak your mind in a satirical advice column. No one can hold you to any of your opinions, because they're all, ostensibly, jokes. Haha, we're just kidding! Or are We? You'll never kn-
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<![CDATA[Column: Morehouse College's new gender identity policy has its flaws]]> Morehouse College, an all-male, historically black college, recently announced that they've updated their gender identity policy to allow for the admission of transgender students.

"Since its founding in 1867, Morehouse College's mission has been to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service." With notable alumni such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee, it's clear that Morehouse has adhered to this mission and prepares not just Black men but Black leaders, academics and public servants.

With that in mind, it is encouraging to hear that, "in recognition of our changing world and evolving understanding of gender identity, Morehouse will now consider for admission applicants who live and self-identify as men, regardless of the sex assigned to them at birth."

This progressive policy change is particularly notable considering the ways in which the Trump administration is taking steps to restrict the rights and recognition of transgender individuals. According to an article by the New York Times, "The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth..."

In a seemingly intentional response to the anti-trans policies and attitudes being propagated by the Trump administration, Morehouse announced this new policy the day after the United States military implemented its restrictive policy for transgender troops.

The only slight wrinkle in the policy is that it might actually push a few students out of Morehouse with this new definition. "If, during a student's time at Morehouse, a student transitions from a man to a woman, that student will no longer be eligible to matriculate at Morehouse."

Realizing that this means some students will have to find a new school, the college has committed to providing resources for students who no longer live and self-identify as men. While this support is important, it complicates Morehouse's supposed commitment to the development of their students.

The college's choice to adhere so strictly to their identity as an all-male institution sends the message to students that they will support them in their development as a leader, academic and public servant unless their development involves a change in gender expression.

College is a crucial time for the evolution of one's identity whether that evolution involves changes to one's gender identity, sexuality or what have you. Therefore, it is important that the institutions committed to helping students reach their full potential continue to do so regardless of these identity-affirming changes.

That said, I am not completely in agreement with Morehouse's decision to prohibit the matriculation of students who feel more authentic presenting as female after they've enrolled. Perhaps this is rooted in my skepticism of the merit and rationale behind gendered educational institutions in general as someone who went to an all-male high school.

At the end of the day, the benefits of this new policy outweigh the costs. While this policy is not perfect, Morehouse's decision to accept trans men is an encouraging one that other all-male institutions should take note of in their efforts to build more inclusive institutions.

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<![CDATA[Letter to the editor: Weeknight parking fee harms the whole community]]> To the editor:

UNC's weeknight parking plan represents a blow to the University's night staff, volunteers and status as a public space for the Chapel Hill community. Parking fees are an inherently regressive funding mechanism that ignore disparities in individual financial resources.

There is a big difference between asking a business school alumnus to pay a parking fee to attend a multi-night program in one of Kenan-Flagler's buildings and asking maintenance staff or circulation desk workers to pay fees every night just to do their jobs. Chapel Hill is a national model for free public transit in a small city, but that unfortunately does not extend to 24-hour service, so third-shift workers often rely on free night parking.

Additionally, as an alumnus of WXYC as well as the University, this plan would place an undue financial burden on the many off-campus DJs, both students and alumni, who maintain this gem of an experimental, freeform 24-hour radio station for no pay at all.

Finally, free weeknight parking at UNC helps to keep Chapel Hill's downtown and the University campus open, public spaces for the whole Chapel Hill community. In a country suffering from excessive privatization of public space and growing wealth inequality, Chapel Hill's extensive green and public spaces are part of what makes the town special. Putting in place regressive parking fees that disproportionately affect low-income people would undermine this key aspect of what makes Chapel Hill a true oasis.

Sam Schaefer

Opinion Editor of The Daily Tar Heel, 2015-16

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<![CDATA[Letter to the editor: Jewish community needs better representation]]> To the Editor:

The recent weeks have been alarming for Carolina's Jewish students. I have been an active Jewish leader for four years and have never before felt unsafe or uncertain about UNC. The Conflict over Gaza conference, which should have educated students about the very real humanitarian crisis in Gaza, instead featured numerous presenters who staked out political positions, routinely demonizing and delegitimizing Israel - the one Jewish state. The conference also featured a rapper who encouraged attendees to join him in mocking anti-Semitism and joking about being "in love with a Jew." Unfortunately, anti-Semitic flyers were then found in Davis Library, threatening the safety of Jewish students. While there are a range of reasonable opinions about Israeli politics, do we question the right of any other nation to exist? Certainly not our own.

The article, "What the Chancellor's Advisory Committee said about the Conflict over Gaza conference" published on April 17, provides little comfort that our campus community supports us. I am outraged by your choice to imply that professor Ariana Vigil, who denied that the conference was anti-Semitic in any way, represents UNC's Jewish community. Vigil is obviously free to identify herself as Jewish, but your decision to include hers as the sole Jewish voice suggested that her fringe perspective is normative for American Jews. She proudly supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement and opposes Zionism. While she is entitled to those opinions, she does not represent the majority of UNC's Jewish community. Where is our representation?

Alexandra Doniger

Class of 2019

History Major

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<![CDATA[Editorial: Investigate UNC police conduct]]> In a meeting Monday, the Faculty Executive Committee discussed a petition signed by 101 UNC faculty members concerning police presence on campus.

Jay Smith, a professor in the Department of History, created the petition, which calls for an external investigation of UNC Police and its handling of recent campus events.

The petition appears to be a direct response to accusations of a UNC police officer giving false testimony against history graduate student Mark Porlides, who spoke at the meeting.

The Editorial Board has always believed in standing with student activists and holding the University accountable. Time and again, the actions of UNC Police have endangered student activists and the student body at large. Whether it's lying under oath, shaking hands with armed white supremacists or antagonizing student activists, these actions are simply not acceptable - they represent a complete abdication of responsibility, a lack of morality and an utter disregard for student safety.

UNC Police has one job: to keep students safe. Their job is to protect us, yet they are doing exactly the opposite.

This isn't the first time the Board has spoken out against UNC Police, and unfortunately, it probably won't be the last. We will not stand by while members of the Carolina community are threatened repeatedly by UNC Police and its gross misuse of power. We will not remain silent while UNC Police continues to provide more protection to white supremacists than the students they are meant to protect. We cannot ignore the escalating pattern of police violence that plagues our campus.

Respect is not simply given - it must be earned. It's a two-way street. And through their excessive use of force, complicity and dishonesty, UNC Police have shown they have little respect for students, activists and people of color on this campus. Being in a position of authority does not guarantee immunity to criticism or investigation.Even those who enforce the law have to follow it.

Thousands of students call UNC home - but home is a place where you feel safe and protected. Or at least it ought to be. And it is both devastating and terrifying to watch the school we all love so much become a source of danger and fear for so many.

Students and their safety (not donors or white supremacists) should be the University's number one priority. If UNC Police has truly done nothing wrong, as Jeff McCracken claims, then an investigation will prove that. But as a community, we deserve answers that only an investigation can provide.

Let's hope we get them.

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<![CDATA[Letter to the Editor: Goodbye, McCracken]]> To the Editor:

It was only after the announcement of his early nominal retirement that UNC Campus Police Chief Jeff McCracken felt emboldened to to lash out against student activists in an embarrassing guest column in this very paper.

McCracken's claim that his officers are "assaulted, both literally and figuratively" is demonstrably false and dangerous. It equates legitimate and credible critiques of campus police, who create a hostile and unsafe working and learning environment as proven through video footage and eyewitness accounts offered under oath, with physical or spoken assault. Criticizing the police is not illegal; calling them out on their lies is not an assault. Rather, it is a pedagogical imperative.

I never saw police on the ground in chokeholds. I never saw them with tasers held to their necks. The sounds of skulls hitting pavement were not made by the heads of campus police officers. It was not their blood on the bricks outside of Graham Memorial. Students and community members lived (and continue to live) through actual violence perpetrated by police and white supremacists on our campus.

The incidents over the past few months where police broke the peace demonstrate the sheer incompetence of UNC Police and beyond that, prove that policing generally, and campus policing in particular, is fundamentally unable to do something as simple as keep people safe.

One less cop on this campus sounds good to me. Don't let the door hit you (and your $210k/yr salary) on the way out, McCracken.


Annie Simpson
Class of 2019
Studio Art & African American and Diaspora Studies

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<![CDATA[Guest Column: 'The only crime UNC Police has committed']]> I can no longer stand by while the good men and women of the University's Police Department are assaulted, both literally and figuratively.

Recently, individuals who identify with the organization Silence Sam have made numerous false allegations via social media stating that UNC Police have:

1) protected a violent racist who called for "lone wolf" attacks against UNC (we don't pick sides on this issue or any other- freedom of speech does not apply only to the things you agree with),

2) lied under oath to get an anti-racist undergraduate sentenced to jail time (just because a defense attorney makes a claim in response to a guilty verdict does not mean the claim is true; in fact the validity of the officer's testimony has been reviewed by the District Attorney's Office and determined to have been truthful),

3) fabricated charges against an anti-racist graduate student (charges are often dropped prior to adjudication for various reasons, in this case the Assistant District Attorney simply felt that there was not sufficient evidence to achieve a conviction- not that the charges were false),

4) allowed armed white supremacists to wander campus for a full hour before shaking their hands and letting them leave without consequence (once UNC Police Officers were made aware of this situation, they immediately responded, made contact with the individuals, and escorted them off of the campus - the person who had a handgun in plain sight has been trespassed from campus).

I was disappointed, though unfortunately not surprised, to learn that some of these false allegations have been included in a petition for submission to the Faculty Executive Committee. Repeating false allegations does not make them true.

The only "crime" UNC Police has committed is to have desperately attempted to keep the peace and prevent people from hurting each other. These intentional, slanderous fabrications are an attempt to recruit for a cause that for some may have begun as an anti-racism campaign, but has now devolved into a concerted effort focused on the opposition to, and destruction of, all forms of campus authority.

Jeff McCracken

Chief of Police

UNC Chapel Hill

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<![CDATA[Letter to the editor: An apology for the bell tower climb]]> Climbing the Bell Tower has become, as The DTH noted April 14, a rite of passage for seniors each spring, with the event being offered for more than 15 years by the UNC General Alumni Association.

This year, the Bell Tower Climb did not go as it has in the past.

The GAA staff sympathizes with seniors who experienced long wait times to make the climb. We apologize for this outcome. We welcome your feedback, and we will use your feedback to improve this experience for future graduating classes.

This year's Senior Week activities -including Night at Sutton's, a private show at the Morehead Planetarium and the Last Lecture delivered by Tanner Award-winning chemistry professor Brian Hogan - along with the Bell Tower Climb were intended to celebrate your undergraduate years. We host these events, as well as a Champagne and Dessert Reception, because we believe these days should be filled with joy and with warm memories of this place. We are hopeful that our alumni go forward and can forever tell everyone they meet, "Yes, I graduated from Carolina."

The GAA regrets that any of these beautiful days were marred in your memory of this place. We hope that your many interactions with us in the future will replace this negative experience.

The Bell Tower's been standing since Thanksgiving 1931. It'll be here every time you come back, and it'll be open for climbs - at no charge - before every home football game. Hope to see you then.

Doug Dibbert

UNC Class of 1970

UNC General Alumni Association

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