Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Feminism: more to the word than we think

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells Feminism—a word that sends men running and women rolling their eyes. The word was created in the 60s and 70s, during a time when women wanted equality. But since its birth, feminism has elicited a rather negative conotation, even though it means great things. Feminism, you see, is more than not wanting a man to open a door for me or “the death of chivalry.” Feminism, by definition, is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Women in America seem to forget that we make up the majority of the population. As one of the 63% of women aged 16 and up, I know we can make a change if we stand together to make it happen. A unified front could bring about so much change like closing the wage gap. Women get paid less for the same job a man does for the simple fact that their genitalia is different. Being a descendant of various ethnicities increases said gap even further. But even in best case scenarios every woman makes 78 cents to the Euro-centric man’s dollar. Now, I’m all for sugar and spice and everything nice. But when faced with this information, I’m left wondering, where oh where, did my 22 cents go? But feminism is for more than just American women. Feminism is for women across the globe, young and old, who have been treated unjustly. There are young girls in other countries without the proper education they desire because educating women is deemed unnecessary. With the growing number of female college graduates here in the States, it’s a wonder why more educated women haven’t taken up arms for social change when it comes to our foriegn sisters. Lastly, feminism is important due to the rape-culture we have grown up in. When it is not okay for a woman to go topless in public, but it’s okay for a man to buy a magazine of a topless woman on any corner, there is a problem. Women are seen as a commodity, we are mocked for the anger attributed to our menstrual cycles, we are asked not to wear anything that might provoke an attacker, and young girls are married off at unspeakably young ages.  This is what feminism is for. Feminism is for equality. It’s for the equal treatment of women, not only here, but everywhere. But the stigma associated with being a feminist holds a negative connotation. When I tell a date that I believe in the equal treatment of women, suddenly men see that as...

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Social Media: The most annoying things online

Published in the September 28, 2016 issue of The Bells Walk into a college classroom and ask how many people use a form of social media. Chances are, nearly everyone in the class will raise their hand. Social media has completely boomed in the last ten years. In 2005, 10 percent of all internet users used a form of social media. In 2015, the percentage was at 76. Most of them were college and high school age. There are certain things that should and should not be posted on social media. Now, we are not just talking about the classic things that everyone should already know, such as an underage student posting a picture of them drinking at a party. Rather, we are going to discuss what is socially appropriate and what is just plain annoying when it comes to social media posts. The good: There are many good things to post on social media, things that people other than your grandma will enjoy seeing. Something respectable to post would be positive quotes or sayings that will have an impact on your followers’ lives. Another acceptable thing to post are recipes that sound like something people would enjoy making. Also, one of the most impactful posts are from local or national news stories regarding issues or events that could be affecting the lives of your friends and family. The bad: One of the worst habits would be over-posting about politics. Most people don’t care about your personal political views. Another irritating habit is posting too many pictures of you and your significant other. A few of these pictures are okay, but your friends don’t need to see every selfie you take with him or her. Lastly, one more habit that, over time, will get on the nerves of those you have connected with is when you post your opinions over every single little matter. The ugly: These are the worst habits of posters. These are the habits that will make you lose followers, the things no one wants to see. One of the absolute worst things to post about is drama. As a young adult, you should have more sense and maturity to take care of an issue privately. Cursing is also a nasty habit in general. If someone sees a post filled with language, they will most likely skim over it. Lastly, girls, you don’t have to post photos with excess cleavage. Boys, you don’t have to post shirtless pictures. These pictures may be offensive to some people. And honestly, it is unnecessary to overly expose your body to the world. To make the most out of your...

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Misrepresentation on campus
Sep28

Misrepresentation on campus

Published in the Sept. 28, 2016 issue of The Bells In the last year, there have been numerous events surroundng people of color. From the deaths of Terrence Crutcher and Philando Castle to the brutal murder of teachers and students in Ochoa, Mexico who were asking for a better education reform, to Donald Trump‘s degradation of Muslims and Hispanics. Although these event’s are hot topics for American citizens, they seem to pass under the radar here at our university. It feels as if the community of minorities go unrepresented. As a Hispanic woman attending this university, representation means a lot to me. Learning about events such as what happened in Ochoa, or the Black Lives Matter Protest in Charlotte, North Carolina, I expect fellow classmates to feel the same pangs of confusion or hurt that I do, or to at least care to discuss them. Unfortunately, it seems as though these conversations I seek only happen in passing; a name thrown out here, disapproval there. The conversation only goes as deep as conservative values allow, and that doesn’t seem very far. What many of my classmates do not understand is that these names represent so much more than just the unjust system we are under. These names and places represent me. And as a student at this university, I should have the privilege to feel represented like everyone else. The university is a predominantly euro-centric and conservative community, which explains a portion of the reason minorities feel unrepresented. But the school has so many various groups of people (such as the international students) that make up a large part of our community, yet they seem to be disconnected from the larger university population. The Association of Black Students is gaining a lot of speed here on campus, and their main focus is to bring more culture here. The Association has been invited to attend events at Baylor, due to the lack of interest of hosting these events on our campus. Just last week, a peaceful protest was held in front of Bawcom for students in support of the Black Lives matter movement. So how do we fix things? How can we, as a campus, include everyone into the conversation and make sure everyone feels properly represented? Start a conversation. Around campus, it shouldn’t feel wrong to have an open conversation about social issues. Being open about the ideas that others possess can impact us as a community. Host events and seminars. Learn how to be an actual inclusive group. This is how things will change. By sitting and doing nothing, we leave a whole community of people without a...

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iPhone 7 sparks praise and outrage
Sep28

iPhone 7 sparks praise and outrage

Smartphones have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Just take a look around at your surroundings and you are sure to find people with their phones out, staring intently at their screens. Technology companies such as Apple and Samsung release new phones periodically that seem to open doors to unexplored content, such as 3D touch in the iPhone 6 and wireless charging in the Galaxy S7. Apple announced its newest iPhone models, the iPhone 7 (4.7 inch) and iPhone 7 Plus (5.5 inch), on Sept. 7, sparking controversy over the absence of the headphone jack. There are two solutions to this problem – first, according to Forbes, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will come with new ear buds that connect through the Lightning connector port. Unfortunately, that means the user cannot charge their phone and wear their headphones at the same time. The other solution is something vastly different from any headset Apple has ever made, and that is the AirPods. The AirPods are wireless ear buds that play music when they are in the user’s ear and pauses once taken out. The user can also interact with Siri without even taking out his or her iPhone, just by pressing an ear bud twice. They come with a charging case that when placed inside, gives the headphones up to 24 hours of battery life and 5 hours of music with a single charge. The AirPods are set to be released sometime in late October and will cost $159.00. The AirPods are only one step towards the future of the advancement of mobile technology. Despite comments concerning losing the AirPods due to their small size, they will become such an integral part of listening to music that they will not be easily forgotten. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have new features that are sure to please a wide variety of phone users. Camera experts should take advantage of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus’s impressive camera. They both have optical image stabilization, which allows users to take pictures that appear more stable. Also, recording video in the dark will appear better than in previous iPhone models. In addition, the iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras which means that when you zoom in, the photo will not be so blurry. The depth-of-field effect, which is yet to have a release date, allows users to take photos that focus on the central object. Music Buffs can jam out even more with Apple’s brand new stereo speakers in both of the phones, which produces double the amount of volume than the iPhone 6S. Innovators will...

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49-ers quarterback refuses to stand for national anthem

Published in the September 14, 2016 issue of The Bells On August 26, 2016, before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit down during the playing of the US national anthem, going against the age-old tradition of standing during the song. During his post-game interview, he explained his decision, stating, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Currently, Colin Kaepernick is still refusing to stand (he kneels instead of sits) during the national anthem, and says he will continue to do so and until he feels like social changes have been made. Kaepernick has received both support and backlash for his decision. While we could make this about the US Constitution and American rights, I believe the issue is much, much deeper. Critics are not mad because Kaepernick is sitting or kneeling. They are mad that he’s standing up for people of color who have had many injustices perpetrated against them in this country. Kaepernick has a platform that many do not have the privilege of having, and instead of just playing professional football, he is creating conversation—conversation has needed for a long time now. The deadly shootings of Black American citizens, often by police officers, has steadily increased over the last few years and it would be heartless and naive to ignore it. Michael Brown. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Jordan Davis. These names have not been forgotten. However, what is incredibly important is that the issue is not getting better, it is getting worse. Alton Sterling, Philando Castle, and Delrawn Smalls, were all shot in July 2016 by police officers. If you do not know these names, then learn them. If you do not know their stories, then learn their stories. These narratives need to be heard, so no more have to be written. It seems to me that when white and black Americans get together and talk about racism, some white Americans (not all) get uncomfortable. They sweep it under the rug and pretend it is not there. They would rather not talk about it at all because it is easier not to. It is easier to act like racism and prejudice does not exist in our country anymore. But it does. It has been around so long that Americans have become...

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Is race swapping in the media minority biased?

Published in the September 14, 2016 issue of The Bells In the past few years the world of entertainment has seen dozens of comic book and video game adaptations  for television and cinema. With all the new comic adaptations, filmmakers are exploring all casting options, even if it means using race swapping. This happens when a classic comic book character’s race is swapped fora different race on a television show or in a movie. For instance, the traditionally white Johnny Storm from The Fantastic Four comic was portrayed by black actor Michael B. Jordan in the 2015 film. Race swapping is not to be confused with whitewashing, which is when you take a character that is a minority and cast a white actor in their place.So why is Hollywood race swapping characters in upcoming films? Well, most of the comics that are being adapted to film were written in the Golden Age of Comic Books, which lasted from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. During that time, it was hard to represent all races, because of the country’s mindset. But today, comic books and their film adaptations are enjoyed by people of every race, gender, and generation. Since there is a more diverse crowd buying comic books and movie tickets, it has become more noticeable that minority groups are  not represented in primary roles. Race swapping seems to be a positive change that moviegoers and comic book lovers are excited about. Just one look at the much-used hashtag #RepresentationMatters can prove this. It is filled with heartwarming posts of children who talk about how there is someone on the screen that looks like them, and tales of people pursuing a career in the arts because they feel there is now a place for them in the mainstream media. Some recent casting, that has race swapping fans excited, include the addition of Candice Patton as Iris West in The Flash, which airs on The CW, Tessa Thompson as Valkryie in Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The list continues with Jamie Foxx as Electro in The Amazing Spiderman 2, Idris Elba as Heimdall in the Thor films, and Zendaya Coleman who is rumored to be Mary-Jane Watson in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. These are just a few characters that have been race swapped. But all these actors have something in common. They all are the same race. And while there are other minorities that get roles, they are not as common. So this begs the question, are we race swapping to a certain demographic? Personally, as a dark skinned...

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