Opening My Eyes

I grew up in a rural Missouri town where diversity was lacking. The population was mostly white, conservative, church-going folk. Often times growing up it was tough to put myself in others’ shoes when thinking about critical issues. Anything from racial injustice to gay rights to the living conditions in other countries. It was like I had on blinders. I was living in my own world where I was okay, so that meant that everything must be okay.

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This all changed soon after I graduated high school and moved on to college. The atmosphere in which I was in everyday changed drastically as I found myself reaching out to more and more people who were very much different than me. I began to use Instagram to meet the creative people of Kansas City and many of them are a different race or sexual orientation from myself. As I got closer to these people my mind was opened up to the injustices that real people have to deal with.

I never knew how much other people care about certain social and political issues until I started caring for the people that these injustices affected. As I’ve grown since high school I feel completely removed of the blinders that separated me from the real issues of the world. This helps me be more informed as a person to make good voting decisions and to help when I can.

Exercising your right to vote can truly change the lives of millions of people. Putting the right person in office has the potential to change the climate in America for under-represented people of America. Education and experience with real people drive my desire to pay attention to critical issues facing this country.

The “Golden Rule” still applies and is probably more true now, than ever, “treat others how you wanted to be treated.”

 

Acknowledging my White Privilege

It isn’t particularly groundbreaking for a white person to acknowledge the privilege that comes with being white. Peggy McIntosh wrote “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” in 1989, when I was two. Even so, I’d not really thought about my own privilege for most of my life. I’d heard of it, and I never challenged it existed. It made sense, given documented history, that challenges existed for people of color that just didn’t exist for white people – for me. But it wasn’t easy to see, and so I didn’t see it, especially when things were difficult for me in spite of the advantages I didn’t realize I had.

1989 was 30 years ago, and it’s important to acknowledge white privilege is still a privilege. I have never been stopped while walking into a friend’s residence because there’s been trouble in the past with robberies. I have never had to give a report to an on-duty police officer for having a barbecue at a lake. I’ve never had the police called on me because I was on a tour of a college campus. There’s never been a time I was watching someone’s kids and the police showed up to perform a wellness check. I have not once been asked why I’m in the United States while participating in a school meeting. I’ve never thought about driving an older, simpler vehicle than I can afford just to avoid getting pulled over.

I am able to tell my daughter that if she studies hard and works hard, she’ll have an opportunity to do anything she wants, and I don’t have to hope that by the time she wants to pursue her dreams in earnest, enough time will have passed that the invisible asterisk attached to that statement will have dropped off.

And after I’m done writing this, I will probably continue to take for granted what the color of my skin affords me, because I’ve never experienced anything else.

Men’s Mental Health (Guest Blogger: Kamran Sheriff)

Kamran Sheriff is a senior the University of Central Missouri. He will be graduating in May with a degree in Digital Media Production and an emphasis in digital cinema. he currently works as an office assistant in one of the dorms at his college and is currently working with the music department to create videos and online content. He is passionate about directing, filming, editing, and designing whenever he gets the chance to do so.

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In today’s society, there is a stigma surrounding the mental health of men. For a long time there has been this need to push the idea that men are supposed to represent something of a dominant and apex symbol for their gender. This expectation that we push on men has been overused and in all honesty has gotten ridiculous as of recently, along with the people who still believe this to be true.

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Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

Mental health is something that a lot of people don’t want to touch on as some see it more as a personal issue and that the individual lacks to fortitude of keeping their emotions in check. It is incredibly damaging that we need to keep pressuring men that they need to fend for themselves instead of reaching out to others to seek help.

In an article titled “Why Many Men Have a Harder Time Seeking Treatment For Mental Illness” by Leah Campbell, she points out that “Depression and suicide are ranked as a leading death among men, and yet they’re still far less likely to seek mental health treatment than women” (Campbell). I think it is important that men are able to acknowledge that it’s okay to seek help when they know that it is right for them, instead of bottling up their emotions and potentially creating bigger problem for themselves.

Do you think we need to end this stigma in men? Do you think that this is a generational thing and that we should start abolishing these images of what men should be to society?

World Day of Social Justice (Guest Blogger: Alexis Ceja)

Alexis Ceja is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. She will be graduating in December with a degree in Digital Media Production and an emphasis in audio, and a minor in communications. Alexis currently works with KD The Photographer and The Dream 816 as their Social Media / Visual Content Coordinator. She is passionate about creative directing, and loves being behind the camera or in the studio.

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Did you know there was a such thing as World Day of Social Justice?

The big day has been observed globally since February 20, 2009. This day is to raise awareness about social injustice done throughout the world and to promote solutions/improvements.  Some of the social developments are aimed at social justice, solidarity, harmony, and equality among and within countries. world justice

Social Justice observers are encouraged to raise their voice against social injustice and promote social justice to bring various communities internationally together. One of the main goals is to eliminate poverty, gender and physical discrimination, illiteracy, religious discrimination, etc. to make a socially integrated society. This day is not to be celebrated as a holiday, but more to be observed as day for protestors peacefully fighting against injustice.

Social justice is an important principle for any possibility of peaceful and prosperous coexistence within/among nations. The theme for 2019 is ‘If you want Peace and Development, Work for Social Justice’  how would you like to see this theme captured? How about a film, or artwork, what about poetry?

Mark your calendars for February 20, 2020 and show your support/awareness for social justice around the world. Don’t just wait for February, use your voice to fight against all social injustice creating barriers for peace TODAY.

 

Social Justice in Sports

Andrew Griggs is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Production with an emphasis in Radio. He currently works for Prepcasts LLC as a play by play commentator He has started his own channel on the broadcasts by signing Sweet Springs athletics to a one year contract with Prepcasts LLC.

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Seeking equality in sports dates back to 1963 with the march on Washington. Bill Russell participated one the march and conducted integrated basketball clinics in Jackson, Mississippi and was an outspoken activist of segregation. USA track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised a gloved fist to support and represent the civil rights movement during the struggling time for equality, to honor the death of Dr. Matin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy. In 2016 the death of Muhammad Ali reignited the time of when black men had to fight for their country while being denied civility and civil rights at home. Ali’s refusal to serve in the Vietnam War became a defining historical moment for the Black athlete-advocate. Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the national anthem represent some of the modern ways Black athletes have used their respective platforms in sport to draw attention to the cultural illusion of meritocracy in America Despite this, their courage and resilience opened doors for Black athletes to speak out against social injustice todaykapAdvert.jpg

What are some of the things you have seen athletes use to draw attention to their beliefs of social justice in sports?

Sports And Social Justice Expert Speaks About NCAA Legislation – (Guest Editor: Evan Holmes)

Evan Holmes is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate in May 2020 with a degree in Digital Media Production with a minor degree in Sports Communication. He currently works as a color commentator for high school football on The Prepcast Broadcasting Network. Evan will also be commentating high school basketball for Warrensburg High School in Warrensburg, Missouri. Evan also enjoys music, editing videos, and being with his friends in his spare time.

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There has been a question in college sports that has sparked debates for many years. The question is, should NCAA athletes be able to make money while playing their respective sport while they’re still in college? In October of 2019, the NCAA Board of Governors answered the question by voting to allow athletes to benefit from the use of their name and image. The board says that they would like to put these new rules and regulations into place by January of 2021. But there is one person who has a different idea on the matter.

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Richard Lapchick is president of the Institute for Sports and Social Justice at the University of Central Florida. Lapchick is no stranger when it comes to dealing with social justice when it appears to him in the form of sports. At an early age, Lapchick learned about issues of race and sports. His father Joe Lapchick coached the New York Knicks in the NBA. He signed one the NBA’s first African-American players Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton in 1950. Richard Lapchick says he remember seeing his father hang in effigy from a tree. He also heard the N-word for the first time on the phone at his house.

Richard Lapchick was attacked himself over his efforts to lead sports boycotts against South Africa during the apartheid era. Late one night at his office at Virginia Wesleyan College, Lapchick was assaulted by two men who carved the N-word into his stomach with a pair of scissors. Lapchick says “In the hospital that night I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life using the sports platform to address social justice issues.”

Lapchick says the NCAA is reacting to legislation in California and other states.

“The colleges themselves have made money off using the likeness of their athletes, and I think fairness here is that those athletes should get it as well.”

Lapchick says while he thinks it’s fair for athletes to make money off their name or image, he’s not in favor of schools paying athletes directly:

“If they get a real education and a genuine degree from the university, that’s a fair trade for the use of their talents on the field.”

What do you think? Do you agree with Lapchick’s views on paying college athletes? Why or why not?

Child Fighting In Thailand – (Guest Blogger: Tim Griddine)

Tim Griddine is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate in December of 2019 with a degree in Digital Media Production with a focus in audio. He currently works as an audio/video technician for the University of Central Missouri. He also enjoys recording and engineering music in his free time.

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Muay Thai, also known as “the art of eight limbs,” is a several hundred-year-old form of kickboxing that works to utilize the entire body as a weapon.  A wide variety of punches, elbow strikes, knees, kicks, and foot thrusts are used in each bout.  Many are asking, should children be subjected to the bruises, kicks, and head punches that come with it?gareth-harrison-XuzZfn6oVqg-unsplash Photo by Gareth Harrison on Unsplash

In November of 2018, Anucha Tasako, a 13-year-old boy, steps into a ring to fight another boy for the equivalent of 60 U.S. dollars. In the video, Tasako is seen knocked to the ground multiple times before he is knocked out with a delayed stoppage by the referee. Two days later, Anucha died in a hospital due to a brain hemorrhage. Prior to his death, he had fought 174 bouts since the age of 8. Does this high number of fights sound bizarre? Well it’s actually quite normal. You see in Thailand, young fighters do not make much money, and they often must fight multiple times during a week, or even during a single day. As you can imagine, these numbers can quickly add up.

In Thailand, Muay Thai is the national sport. Children start training as early as 6 years old. according to an article on nytimes.com there are around 200,000 kids in Thailand under the age of 15 who compete regularly. For many, the sport is a ticket out of poverty, for others, it is a ticket to international fame. In Thailand, doctors have been saying for years that Muay Thai is dangerous for kids, but unfortunately people tend to ignore the specifics until something bad happens. Many local politicians and doctors have been pushing for new laws that protect kids from child fighting, yet fans disagree, and change remains slow. What will it take for new laws to be made that protect the young from fighting? What are your thoughts?

Guest Blogger – Dan Harbaugh – “Credit Where Credit is Due”

Dan Harbaugh is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate in 2020 with a degree in digital media production with a focus in audio. He loves recording and contributing his efforts to interesting soundscapes and audio experiences. He also is a professional voice actor, and enjoys a good bit of art in his free time. Something that some people don’t fully understand the rules for –

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Artists work hard on what they make. This isn’t your everyday doodle kind of art, but artwork that takes time to develop and master. With the rise of digital art online, one can expect some funny business to occur to say the least. What I’m talking about it a form of art theft. Basically put, it’s when a person posts artwork that doesn’t belong to them and doesn’t credit the original artist in any way. This was the story for Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, a few months back.

This was the original work that Elon Musk “refused” to credit. The story goes that the billionaire tweeted just the image with the text “2B” [a character from the NieR:Automata series] and left it at that. When asked about why he didn’t credit the artist, he stated, “any fool can find out who the artist was in seconds.” and then went on to say that doing so is whats destroying the medium. Funny enough, these tweets were deleted later.

This issue continues to  happen online and its negatively affecting artists. Not crediting the artist is what destroys an artists brand and makes it undeniably difficult for them to be recognized for their work. Any form of art theft damages not only the mentality for sharing art online, but it further scares new artist from sharing their creativity as well. This, if anything, can be a reminder to give credit where credit is due. Ask permission, or at the very least give some indication that the art  belongs to someone else – and I guarantee if there is no link to the artist, someone will notice and let you know.

A Time of Change (Guest Blogger: Danielle Sachse)

Danielle Sachse is a senior at the University of Central Missouri.  She will be graduating in December with a degree in Digital Media Productions, Musical Theatre and a minor in Sports Communication.  She is currently the sideline reporter for Central Missouri Mules Football on 98.5 The Bar/1450 KOKO and Warrensburgradio.com.  Her passions are sports broadcasting and singing in the UCM Concert Choir conducted by Dr. Adam Zrust.

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Today, America celebrates Christopher Columbus, otherwise known as, “Columbus Day.” But wait; Columbus is not being celebrated today, he is being put to shame. Another form of celebration is taking place today, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

In an attempt to permanently replace “Columbus Day”, Washington D.C (and many other locations) have decided to celebrate the people that were native to this country, before they were erased off of the map. According to npr.org, “the D.C. Council voted to replace it with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent.”


The day is to be recognized as a time not glorify people like Columbus who commit genocide, but to bring awareness, celebrate and acknowledge the Native people of this country.

Although this new day of celebration is bringing light to those who have lost so much, there is of course much backlash being received by this gradual change. To some, specifically Italians, “Columbus Day” is a time to celebrate Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Americans to the United States. “For many Italian Americans, Columbus Day isn’t just about the man but about what the day represents: a people searching for safety and acceptance in their new home.” (NPR)

So far, at least 10 states now celebrate some type of version that is ” Indigenous Peoples’ Day” on the second Monday in October. Similar holidays celebrated on this day are “Hawaii’s Discoverers’ Day” and “South Dakota’s Native American’s Day”. Multiple college campuses have made the switch and 100 plus cities, towns and counties across the country have joined as well. (NPR)

While Native Americans are pained to hear the term “Columbus Day”, Italian Americans celebrate their freedom. How will you be celebrating?

 

Fadel, Leila. “Columbus Day Or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?” NPR, NPR, 14 Oct. 2019,  http://www.npr.org/2019/10/14/769083847/columbus-day-or-indigenous-peoples-day.

Guest Blogger-Mark Tanner-Game Over? Are toxic video game communities ruining video games image?

Mark Tanner is a senior at the University of Central Missouri, he is graduating this fall with a major in digital media and production with a minor in theatre. He loves mixing audio in both the studio and with live bands. He also has a strong passion for video games, which as of recently, have been through some heavy controversies lately.

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We’re not talking about “video games cause violence”, that can be saved for another day. We are talking about how harmful the gaming community can be when interacting with new players and those who are not familiar with how the game works. People who pick up a game of Overwatch or Counter Strike and queue up a game alone and as soon as they pick up the headset they are bombarded with very toxic behavior. This is a problem and video games are not the only place this type of toxic behavior exists, but the thing about video games is that it significantly impacts the credibility video games have when it comes to tackling social justice issues and makes steps forward. In an article by Ray Garcia of The State News, they discuss social issues and representation in video games with an abundance of developers and creators. They speak with two student coordinators, Dan Fandino and Ronny Ford, are Ph.D students studying history and medieval literature. One of them says as follows.

D7356EE4-493F-4B43-BAC2-70955DE4BE82“It can be quite a hot topic, it can be very toxic,” Fandino said. “There’s a lot going on, but at the same time, these games can reach so many different people. I think that’s part of the importance — to be able to look at it both as something speaking to the moment, we’re in, and to the way they think and the possibility to reach so many more people.”. In every competitive game that is really big right now there is a way to communicate with your team, you can also talk to the enemy team. This tool that is being used as a way for people behind a screen to talk trash with zero repercussions is going to need to change. Esports is in its very early stages and we want to see it grow. If we continue to be held back by this toxic gaming community, we will not be taken seriously and will remain insignificant. What alternatives do you think we as a gaming community could look into that can remove such toxic behavior from what we enjoy more than most things in our lives?