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by Ashley DeLeon

Deputy Editor

I am a colorful woman with a voice that is colorless.

My racially ambiguous features and non-regional dialect spin the heads of many, as I leave very few hints that point to a clear-cut identity. It’s like Blue’s Clues, minus the clues.

“You don’t sound black but you don’t sound white. You definitely don’t sound Hispanic either. Are you mixed?” 

People want a quick, easy formula when they meet me. However, a  colorless voice does not include clear nuances that point to a demographic or region of origin. Many of us consciously and unconsciously predict one’s vernacular, tone, and use of language based on racial and ethnic makeup, and a shock-factor takes effect when we miss the mark.

What does this shock-factor look like on the receiving end?

It looks like the face you make when called on randomly in class to answer a question, interrupted from your mid-day, open eyed, peaceful slumber. 

These psychological constructs embedded in our minds are based on stereotypes we have been spoonfed for years. Who is the wicked chef stirring this stereotype soup, you ask? Say it with me, everyone. The media. 

Unfortunately, we have fallen victim to the media’s cookie cutter constructs, tunneling our understanding of individuality by predicting someone’s voice based on their appearance and identity. 

From sitcoms to films, the media has cultivated a voice for the face of nearly every race and ethnicity. Yes, I’m talking about the “Valley Girl,” the overrepresentation of the blaccent (defined as an accent characteristic to black Americans), the “promiscuous Latina.” The list goes on and on. Many don’t realize the danger in reinforcing these stereotypes, let alone being blinded by them. Many people associate our non-regional dialects with having a diluted sense of cultural identity, sustaining  the idea of “not being black enough,” or being classified as “‘too Americanized.’” 

Many characters criticize Joan Clayton (played by Tracee Ellis-Ross) about her “siddity” voice in the television sitcom Girlfriends. Aired in the early 2000s featuring four black women and their unbreakable friendship, she is characterized as the antithesis of the blaccent. In the show, Clayton is represented as atypical because she speaks in a non-regional tone using grandiloquent vocabulary. She is also a successful lawyer with a very quirky personality. Ironically, she is the ordinary for many women in real life. 

When my  voice happens to break stereotypical molds, the shock-factor enters center stage. It prompts a sigh of relief and shines a beacon of hope. People can learn that appearance is not an indicator of voice, and we achieve this through cross-cultural interactions. Simply by talking to people who don’t look like us. 

Voice is a child of identity and individuality. It is unforeseeable and unpredictable. 

I am a woman of color with a clear, colorless voice. It is a part of who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Illustration By Sarah Knickerbocker

By Sarah Knickerbocker

Design Editor

Being in a foreign country can have its challenges, but on top of that, Minqi Kong, a media studies, journalism, and digital arts major from the town of Wenzhou, China, had to worry about the COVID-19 pandemic once it infiltrated the United States.

“I first heard about coronavirus when I was here [SMC], and I was really worried about my parents, but now they are more worried about me,” said Kong ’23. She has spent the past seven months in the U.S. during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kong, who is inspired by Japanese anime and shows, aspires to be a creative film director in China.“I came here to study and learn English, but because of COVID-19 it’s so difficult to talk to native speakers in person.” 

Kong’s family couldn’t help but be worried about her safety living on SMC’s campus this fall with thousands of students in close proximity. “At first, my parents were so happy when we were getting tested and that there weren’t any cases. But after that campus outbreak, they are really worried about me and want me to go home,” said Kong, who is currently with her aunt and uncle in New York City. She plans on flying home for break and is uncertain about what the spring semester will look like for her. 

Illustration By Sarah Knickerbocker

COVID-19 has greatly limited the college experience, especially for international students like Nahoko Sugimoto, an international relations and environmental studies double major with a keen interest in food system policies. She’s from the rural town of Kumamoto, Japan, and enjoys watching dramas, horseback riding, and drawing. 

“It’s really hard. I think that it’s not only because of the COVID-19 situation but everything that comes with the new semester. Some of my Japanese friends aren’t here because they transferred or went back home,” said Sugimoto ’23. St. Michael’s has been struggling with enrollment for several years now and COVID-19’s restrictions on travel have not helped the international student population on campus. 

“One of the first things I learned after coming to America as an international student is how hard it is to live as a minority, Sugimoto said, “I’m from Japan and almost all people are Japanese and I never realized that I’m one of the majority in Japan. So I feel like I really should get to know the minorities in Japan and how they are suffering from the pressure of the Japanese people and culture.”  

Illustration By Sarah Knickerbocker

Ethan Li is an art and media studies, journalism, & digital arts double major at SMC from the city of Wuhan, China. When not in the classroom, Li is usually studying at his Winooski apartment or working in his art studio on north campus. He said  COVID-19 has affected his ability to learn especially after transitioning to completely virtual classes. 

“Our first MJD class last year was great. We got to talk and discuss, but now we’re just sitting there with masks and I can’t see anyone’s face,” said Li ’22.“This is the first semester that I haven’t made any new friends.” 

Ethan is still three semesters away from graduating but is already worried about the virus interfering with that plan. “COVID-19 has made traveling so challenging and my parents really want to come to my graduation next year, but I don’t know if that will happen,” Li said, adding that he is trying to stay as optimistic as possible about the future, and “hopes the vaccine will come quickly and stop this pandemic.” 

“I try to read a lot of books out loud so I can be speaking English,” said Baimaji, a biochemical and statistics double major from China.” During the summer, one of the books was written by a holocaust survivor and compared to her story, mine is like nothing. I feel grateful to be born in a relatively peaceful time,” said Baimaji ’21. 

     Baimaji is living on campus this break to guarantee her attendance at her long-awaited commencement in the spring. After graduating, Baimaji hopes to explore a more urban area in the U.S. and study public health. She’s been in Vermont throughout the whole pandemic and has spent a lot of time by herself. 

“Being in a foreign country during a pandemic is definitely challenging; sometimes it’s lonely or I get homesick, but you know there are things you have to get through in your life and for me, this is one of them. I hope this whole experience can make me a stronger person.” 

Illustration By Sarah Knickerbocker

“COVID-19 is so awful in Panama City, they’ve all been in quarantine since March. For me, being away from home for so long is stressful because I have my duties here as a student, but my mind is there worrying about them,” said Jose Aldahir Ortega, a graduate student getting his degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages. He is a teacher at an elementary school in his beloved home of Panama City, Panama. 

COVID-19 restrictions have made his job as a student even more difficult. “I’ve never done online classes before in my life. I feel like I have twice as much work online to generate an online discussion,” said Ortega, “I miss the classroom and to have that cultural exchange with my peers from other countries who are also taking the course. We usually talk before and after class which was really nice but then it completely changed.” 

Ortega’s experience has taught him many lessons about himself and life in general. “I feel like I have to separate my feelings and emotions from my duties on campus which has helped make me more independent and mature,” he said.

Emma is definitely a connoisseur of coffee, and usually takes her coffee as some type of mocha cold brew with milk, and sometimes will throw a sweet-n-low into the mix to make it extra sugary. After working at Dunkin’ for almost six years now, she went into this fully prepared, as she has tasted all, and it was time to rate these drinks.

Photo Courtesy of Emma Shortall

Liz buys coffee almost every single day, her go-to is usually a caramel iced coffee with almond milk. She usually tries different holiday drinks when they come out, but is very picky about her coffee making her a tough critic of these drinks.

Dunkin’

Iced Sugarplum Macchiato 

Emma: This drink took me back to childhood days of grape cough medicine, on first taste. Macchiatos are supposed to be layered, but we decided to mix the drink to improve its taste. This helped, but I still wouldn’t order another Sugarplum macchiato.  

Liz: It seems like it has grapes at the bottom of it. It was like you put fruity cereal milk and espresso into one cup. It’s a super weird mix of flavors and I would not recommend getting this drink. 

Rated:

Emma: 1 out of 5 stars

Liz: 1 out of 5 stars

Photo Courtesy of Emma Shortall

Iced Gingerbread Latte:

Emma: Going into this I knew this wouldn’t be my favorite because I’m not the biggest fan of gingerbread. The taste of the gingerbread was way too overpowering and it did not excite my taste buds at all. 

Liz: It’s a bit overpowering on the gingerbread, so I’d recommend doing one pump of the swirl. If you really like the flavor of gingerbread I would recommend this drink.

Rated:

Emma: 2 out of 5 stars

Liz: 3 out of 5 stars

Photo Courtesy of Emma Shortall

Hot Peppermint Mocha Latte:

Emma: This is essentially Christmas in a cup. This reminds me of stirring a candy cane into my hot chocolate when I was a kid, but adding a bit of a caffeine kick to it. It’s my favorite all-time holiday drink, you can’t go wrong. 

Liz: If you melted an Altoid into a coffee, this would be the resulting concoction. This drink tastes a little like toothpaste. It definitely is better hot than iced because the iced one is terrible. It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely better than the Sugarplum. 

Rated:

Emma: 4 out of 5 stars

Liz: 2 out of 5 stars

Photo Courtesy of Emma Shortall

Starbucks

Hot Peppermint Mocha Latte:

Emma: This is my ultimate favorite drink, a Starbucks just does it right. But the one thing I wish is that there was a bit less peppermint. The strong taste overpowers the mocha a bit.

Liz: This tastes like peppermint hot chocolate to me, but it’s definitely better than Dunkin’, and more “Christmasy”. If you’re balling on a budget go for the Dunkin’ one, but it’s not so much better that it’s worth the price difference.

Rated:

Emma: 5 out of 5 stars

Liz: 3 out of 5 stars

Photo Courtesy of Emma Shortall

Iced Caramel Brulee Latte:

Emma: I get the caramel aspect of it, but what makes this “Brulee”?  I couldn’t really taste the espresso either, which is definitely a big part of a latte, which turned me off. 

Liz: Tastes like caramel milk, but there isn’t enough espresso in it. I’m surprised I don’t love it because I love caramel.  Maybe it would be better hot?

Rated:

Emma: 2 out of 5 stars

Liz: 2 out of 5 stars 

Iced Chestnut Praline Latte:

Emma: This tasted like peanut butter, but not a good kind of peanut butter. But perhaps if you like peanut butter coffee this might be for you. 

Liz: I definitely get the chestnut. It tastes like Ferrero Roche. I like it, but I don’t love it.

Rated:

Emma: 2 out of 5 stars

Liz: 3 out of 5 stars

By Abby Poisson

Contributing Writer 

As of Dec. 1, there have been 225, 946 cases of COVID in both state and federal prisons throughout the United States; things are not slowing down as hoped. 

This past year has been a lot of things for a lot of people: frustrating, overwhelming, devastating, and unprecedented to say the least. As independent beings, we often view the world from a self-centered and self-serving perspective. This year took from many a sense of stability, basic fiscal security, ease in seeing loved ones, and precious moments. It is natural to feel anger. 

However, it is important that we acknowledge the ways in which our most marginalized and vulnerable communities have been impacted by this pandemic. 

Many different communities and populations have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, one of which is the prison population. As is comprehensible, prisons breed infectious disease, as social distancing measures are inherently more difficult. Prisons generally hold large populations of people who are already at a higher risk for contraction, due to chronic disease or substance misuse. 

Illustration by Victoria Zambello

The six prison facilities within Vermont have ensured that incarcerated individuals are practicing social distancing to the best of their ability, although as one can imagine, distancing within a prison is incredibly difficult.

Vermont prisons had a high rate of infection as of broad testing conducted in August; there have been 200 infected prisoners among just over 1700 total Vermont prisoners. Although in comparison to the national prison rate, Vermont only represents a very small proportion of COVID cases, they still had the highest proportion of their prisoners test positive in August, according to the Council of Criminal Justice. 

“The prison system [and the Department of Corrections] in Vermont has been fairly successful in keeping COVID out of its facilities,” said Marybeth Remond, member of Vermont’s House of Representatives.

For a population of people who are already incredibly isolated, the past nine months have been further isolating. According to the CDC, social isolation can correlate with higher risks of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Now take this statistic and compare it to an incarcerated person who has been socially isolated from friends, family, and at times any human being. 

“We have to do everything we can to make sure they’re not further isolated,” Redmond said. “There have been tremendous mental health impacts due to increased isolation.”

Prior to COVID, incarcerated people were able to receive in-person visitation by family or friends; however, since the State of Emergency was placed on March 13th, the only means of contact is now through video chat and phone calls. As we might understand from our own experiences, these do not replace in-person communication. 

Eighty-five percent of women who are incarcerated are mothers, Redmond said. In fact, “it is estimated that there are more than 2.7 million children who have parents in state and federal prisons. According to the Charles Koch Institute, many of these parents were the sole caretaker for these children before they were incarcerated. COVID has not only impacted parents within the criminal justice system but also their children on the outside. Effectively practicing safe and conscious choices in prison facilities is also to seek to ensure the well-being of children and their reunion with parents. 

Since March, rehabilitation and social service programs were put on a hold for these men and women in facilities. While some GED programs are now running again, it is not an adequate replacement for outside social interaction. It is a function of life. 

It is for the above reasons – as well as the importance of containment within the prison system and outward into greater communities – that there has been a substantial argument for vaccine distribution to be highly prioritized for the incarcerated. While it is important that the CDC Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices has made recommendations for the vaccination of correctional officers, we cannot forget that incarcerated individuals must also be vaccinated to ensure a greater likelihood against a mass outbreak in facilities.

It is our job to keep them safe, as they are still members of society who are deserving of rights and well-being. These are also people who may potentially rejoin the outside community as productive members of society; 600,000 people are released each year from prisons, both state and federal. Investing in incarcerated people now is to invest in their rehabilitation and reentry into society. 

However, there is little more to do for these facilities than to make these continued efforts to keep COVID outside of the bounds of the prison. There is much for us to do, those of us in the outside community, who are capable of making conscious and independent choices around our health and well-being. Think of those who have been impacted in unimaginable ways and then make your choices. Because our choices have and will continue to determine the extent to which this pandemic will reach. 

Sarah Knickerbocker

Design Editor 

Religious freedom and the rights of the queer community have always had a tumultuous relationship in the United States. Now, with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the tension has built and left the LGBTQI+ community even more uneasy because of her conservative views.          

Barrett is a devout Catholic and taught at a school affiliated with the “People of Praise” group which strongly believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. While she has a right to religious freedom like anyone else, the fear is that she will bring her conservative, religious beliefs to the courtroom and allow her religious beliefs to influence decisions on individual rights for the LGBTQI+ community. In fact, Pope Francis warned about lay-led groups like People of Praise in 2014 saying that they were “usurping individual freedom” and delegating “important decisions about their lives to others.” 

“Love your neighbor doesn’t have exceptions,” said Oliver Hogan ‘22, who was raised in a Roman Catholic family and advocates for the queer community in the church. 

Due to the bipartisanship of the government, many citizens feel the need to pick a side with these issues leaving America heavily divided including in the Supreme Court. 

“I think that one of the hardest things for those of us in the LGBTQ community is that it doesn’t seem right, fair, or correct that we have to ask people for basic civil rights and liberties. nevertheless, it’s the society we live in,” said professor of political science, Daniel Simmons. 

The legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped pave the way for LGBTQI+ equality in the Supreme Court. But as soon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, President Trump and his administration worked quickly to fill her spot to benefit their political views. Despite being determined “qualified” by the New York City Bar, Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing raised significant concerns such as “maturity of judgment” especially when it came to issues that are considered “politically controversial” according to the NYC Bar. Ten days before the 2020 presidential election, and seven days before RBG’s funeral, Barrett was indeed confirmed. 

“She’s going to walk through all of the doors RGB opened for her and close them for everyone else,” said international relations and Spanish major, Micayla O’Connor ’22. Barrett’s confirmation shows how Republicans can be elected for their religious beliefs to promote a political agenda that they will call a religious imperative. Therefore, many students are worried about the rights of the LGBTQI+ community now that the Supreme Court has a 6-3 Republican majority. “It’s fine to be strictly religious, but don’t take your Catholic views and tell me how I should live my life based on your views,” said O’Connor. 

Once confirmed, Barrett was automatically put on the ongoing case, Fulton vs. Philadelphia which addresses the tension between religious freedoms and LGBTQ rights. The case concerns a Roman Catholic adoption agency in Philadelphia that claims that it can’t match foster children with same-sex households without violating its religious beliefs. 

This is contrary to what Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, has said when speaking on the topic. “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” he said in a documentary released last month. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

“The whole point of an adoption agency is to give those children a loving home,” Hogan said. “People use the Catholic church as an excuse for their own fear and hatred of others.” The addition of Barrett in the Supreme Court may tip the decision scales in favor of the adoption agency which would leave the LGBTQI+ community at risk for discrimination.  

“There are real problems with people using religion as a cloak for further discrimination and I think that’s something that rightly should be focused and called out,” Simmons said. 

The projected results 2020 presidential election gave many people hope for democracy and for the rights of queer people in the future. But, the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is far from over. “It is soul-crushing to have to justify your own existence in what some people would consider a ‘political dispute.’ 

“Who we are should never be up for debate,” said political science professor, Michael Bosia. His advice?, “Be aware, and vote as if your life depends on it because somebody’s life does depend on it.” 

Illustration by Sarah Knickerbocker

By Ashley DeLeon

Deputy Editor

  I connect with people through the art of storytelling. I create stories during the silent moments of conversations when words don’t need to be said, and in the sweet moments of happiness that we can’t let go. Though the pandemic has written a bleak narrative of grief and tragedy for many of us, there is always an opportunity to add color to the story. A digital media class I took this past spring taught me just that. 

     On the first day of class, I walked in with an open mind and an open heart. We often don’t recognize the power of openness to opportunity in our lives, but it has a tremendous impact in the way we view ourselves and the world around us. I became open to the stories that can be told through images, even though I hadn’t been familiar with this mode of storytelling before. Time progressed, and I developed a strong appetite for learning more about digital media and artistry. To satisfy this hunger, I committed to learning two lessons independently for each lesson taught in class. Two grew into three, four, five, then six. However, it was not enough to satiate my curiosity. 

     I was inspired by my professor to pursue digital artistry more seriously after the semester ended, so I ventured to explore what my potential could be if I dedicated every ounce of effort and passion into my work. When we are devoted, passionate, and optimistic, we can surprise ourselves in what we’re capable of. 

     In the midst of worldwide turmoil, it could be difficult to stay motivated. However, motivation is what pushes us forward. Many of us were presented with two options– venture in finding a pastime or new craft, or search endlessly for control over the uncontrollable. My exploration started during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn’t stop me in the least bit.

Illustration by Ashley DeLeon

     Over time, the happiness and fulfillment that digital media brought into my life had bloomed. While honing my craft into the wee hours of the night, I learned about my love for color. Color can powerfully convey any emotion and intermediary imaginable, and by exploring different hues, contrasts, and tonal values, I learned how to manipulate a viewer’s emotional response to an art piece based on a variety of color palettes and combinations. Even though the state of the world would point to a grim color palette, there were hopeful prospects worth highlighting through bright, vibrant colors. Within the crevices of grief and tragedy, there is hope. 

     When illustrating, I characterize myself into the artwork. I jump from corner to corner and slide within curves and into corners, being careful not to bump into sharp edges or fall off of the artboard. I can tap into different emotional minds with the swipe of a digital paintbrush, bringing memories back to life in the ways I best remember them. Though the nature of the pandemic made me shelter at home, in my artwork, I could be anywhere at any time doing anything I wanted. When we discover a mindspace where we can lose ourselves for hours and days, sheltering in place doesn’t seem so bad.

     Discovering my potential as a digital artist wasn’t always easy. Minor intricacies spawned dilemmas that couldn’t be solved by a YouTube video. Hours were spent solving the most minute issues that seemingly made no difference. I found myself wasting time by taking the long haul, without even knowing there were simpler and more effective ways to achieve my artistic goals. When hours and days were spent on an nonviable piece, it hurt the most. Frustration is part of any journey in life, but on the other end is serenity. 

     It’s easy to imagine ourselves in a position where we can supersede the expectations we set for ourselves, but nothing is more worthwhile than turning this into a reality. All this time, I had the tools in front of me. All it took was openness, optimism, and inspiration to open my eyes and see. I am in a place of fulfillment and happiness, always searching for ways to continue expanding the creative possibilities of my mind. 

     With a notebook beside me and newfound passion in my heart, ideas beam through my mind and flow through my hands with ease. For the first time in my life, I know what it really means to be an artist. Now, I can share stories and cherish memories using more than just words.

Illustration by Ashley DeLeon

By Matt Heller

Contributing Writer

On the afternoon of March 11, I found myself walking around the small town of Blönduos in north Iceland. I was the only person outside at the time, but some Icelandic horses were braving the elements in their fields. The plan for the day was to drive from the capital city of Reykjavík to Akureyri, where my group would spend the next week. Instead, a blizzard left us stranded in the seaside town when the roads closed.

A mere four days later I was back home. No more snow, fierce winds, and vast, treeless landscapes; a drastic change of scenery.

Since my study abroad program didn’t start until the middle of February, I only spent a month in Iceland and Finland. While that time was full of learning and adventure, it left many unfilled days in the Arctic North. I was only a few days away from my homestay period, where I would have spent three weeks in a small Westfjord village. I would have spent the rest of the semester working on an independent study project at a location of my choice. Instead, the continuation of classes is held online, and the project will have to be adapted.

Would I have been safer in a remote village than I am in Connecticut, which has more confirmed coronavirus cases than the entire county of Iceland? Possibly. However, I am glad to be safe at home with my family during these uncertain times. Online classes are difficult for a climate change program based on experiential learning, but it is the best that can be done given the current circumstances. I see it as a time to gather and synthesize information and before applying them to the real world when the time comes.

I am sure I speak for other study abroad returnees when I say I wish to return to my location of study sometime in the future. There is a sense of unfinishedness that arises when thinking of the experience cut short. A return will come when circumstances are appropriate, but this time now allows for proper reflection and appreciation for the experiences had and memories made.

By Janvier Nsengiyum

Opinion Editor 

When I need a solution for something, or a conscience, the Bob Dylan song  “Blowin” in the wind” pops into my head. When I hear the lyrics “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” and “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see”? I feel liberated. Every line is powerful; while there is a feeling of sadness, there is also a yearning for possibility and having a conscience.

This brings me to the problem of diversity. Let’s face it, Saint Michael’s College suffers from lack of diversity and it affects the campus environment and everyone in the community. With the current political climate and social issues surrounding racism, students are more likely to fall victim to indoctrination. In such a situation, racism is normalized and begins to feel permissible. The lack of awareness around inclusion perpetuates this  environment.  Let me tell you why diversity matters.

      I am a black student, I live in Aubin Common. Every day, I like to take the elevator from fourth floor to the first and I walk through the glass hallway that connects Aubin and Dion. But when I open the door that allows me into Dion family center, when I look at the students situated in the studying room and those on the right in the Make space my mind goes,  “Everyone is white. ”And I think they are probably staring at me as I walk by to Einstein’s. I find it hard to be in the moment because I feel self-conscious, like there is a light being pointed at me.

      It’s very obvious. When I walk into Alliot,  look at the dining tables occupied with mostly white students I also  think, “It’s always the same every year.”   

Sometimes there’s a double consciousness which can make your life difficult.  I am a  black man in the eyes of white people, therefore I become a symbol of limits; meaning that my presence becomes a negation for how one defines oneself as an American.  This double consciousness coined by W.E.B Dubois is very important in understanding the experience of black people. Imagine a group of black men walking through Dion or in Alliot. For those who have never seen them they might view them as the outsider. As Dubois once said “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

He captured my everyday experiences walking in this environment. As a black student when you start making eye contact, you notice everyone staring at you. Thus, you begin to see yourself through a double lens–through your history as a black man, including stereotypes, and as an American, including being a student. 

Think about what Toni Morrison once said:  “Take away the gaze of the white male. Once you take that out, the whole world opens up.”  How do you turn off the gaze? I would want to keep the gaze insofar we are gazing at the same world; whether I am invisible in your eye, the object of disgust, or the thing that negates your existence, I exist in the same world.

It’s true that everyone wants to feel comfortable and safe. In fact, most of us are insecure. But we have to understand why we’re insecure. If you never try to talk to a black person or anyone different from you, how are you going to grow? We need to step out of our worlds and gaze in one world. The answer is blowin in the wind, all you have to do is listen and understand and don’t turn your head and pretend you know.