The Oberlin Review

To Enable Social Mobility, Start Before College

Ben Silverman, Columnist

February 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

A study by The Equality of Opportunity Project recently featured in The New York Times painted a dramatic picture of the socioeconomic statuses of students in elite colleges and universities: Students from the top economic 1 percent outnumber those from the bottom 60 percent at 38 top U.S. colleges, and most others are barely more equitable. The study is a reminder of the work left to do to expand access to higher education after centuries of restriction to the highest classes. Since the 1960s, there have been a string of measures to encourage socioeconomic diversity in higher education, including affirmative action and the Pell grant for low-income students. But the intentions of the ’60s seem to have been washed...

Dakota Access Pipeline Latest Case of Environmental Racism

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

December 2, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

While many students were preparing themselves for a Thanksgiving full of feasting and celebrating with loved ones Nov. 21, law enforcement officers at Standing Rock were assaulting protesters with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been assaulted, terrorized and arrested since April for exercising its right to peacefully protest against the unethical construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, designed to serve as a key link between the state’s oil wells, was originally mapped to cut through Bismarck, ND — an area with more than 92 percent white residents as of the 2010 census — but was instead rerouted through tribal nations. The U.S. Army Corps of...

Public Protest Can Uphold Democracy

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

November 11, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

The U.S. was simultaneously shocked and horrified by Donald Trump’s win late on election night. In an equally alarming turn of events, Democrats failed to win back control of either the Senate or the House of Representatives. With the Supreme Court likely to soon fall into the hands of conservatives as well, many of the checks and balances that were meant to keep our government stable are no longer effective. For all intents and purposes, the fate of our nation rests in the hands of an egotist who has no experience in politics and is currently facing more than 75 pending lawsuits. It’s now time for us, as the American people, to figure out what we are going to do about it. It must be acknowledged that a sizable ...

Election Results Challenge Language of Politics

CJ Blair, Columnist

November 11, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

In the three years that I have been writing this column, I’ve rarely discussed politics. I always found political op-eds to be pretentious and impersonal, as though the writer spent so long digging for facts that they never considered the emotional significance of their story. But now, in the wake of the most disturbing election in recent history, I find myself scrambling to make sense of what happened. This is a rare moment when words feel totally useless, when no amount of eloquence can explain what we’re seeing, much less its significance. It’s impossible to catalog the effects this will have on our future, but at a fundamental level, the election of Donald Trump has called into question our understanding of language. ...

Humanity’s Survival Dependent on Mars Exploration

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

November 4, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

Elon Musk — the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and private aerospace company SpaceX — conducted a question and answer session on Reddit Oct. 23 to discuss his plan to begin a permanent, self-sufficient colonization of Mars in as little as eight years. Using the largest rocket ever designed, Musk hopes to send up to one million people on a trip to the red planet through a series of 10,000 flights. With scouting missions to test the rockets beforehand and establish necessary infrastructure, such as refueling stations on Mars, a full trip for the volunteers could take as little as 80 days. With increasing environmental degradation here on Earth, expansion is increasingly necessary. The colonization of Mars is not m...

Bob Dylan Showcases Radical Innovation in Art

CJ Blair, Columnist

October 28, 2016

Filed under Columns, Commentary, OPINIONS

It has long been rumored that Bob Dylan could win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but when the Nobel Committee announced his win two weeks ago, literature enthusiasts and laypeople alike were shocked. New York Times columnist Anna Smith wrote, “When the Nobel committee gives the literature prize to a musician, it misses the opportunity to honor a writer” (Oct. 13, 2016). In response to Dylan’s win, the poet Alex Dimitrov said, “Rock stars want to be poets. But sorry, not everyone is a poet.” Dylan’s victory renewed discussion about what constitutes literature, and has led many to question whether Dylan deserves a spot in the winners’ circle with literary giants like William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. ...

Cool or Drool: Tebow’s Newfound Baseball Career

Dan Bisno, Columnist

September 9, 2016

Filed under Columns, SPORTS

Editor’s Note: At the time this article was written, Tim Tebow was unsigned. On Thursday, Sept. 7, Tebow signed a minor-league contract with the New York Mets. It’s time for another semester of Cool or Drool. Whether you enjoy spending your weekends watching endless reruns of ESPN’s SportsCenter or prefer to delve into the latest TV obsession like Netflix’s Stranger Things, there’s no denying your fascination with the lives and actions of professional athletes. Their behavior is discussed equally, if not more frequently than Lena Dunham’s latest verbal slip. Each week in “Cool or Drool” you are asked to be athletes’ harshest critic. Feel free to judge, hate, and love the mysterious and exciting wo...

International Political Situation Calls for Democratic Values

Sean Para, Columnist

May 6, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

I’ve written about a range of topics over the past four years, from international affairs to domestic politics to half-baked political theory. This is quite a week on which to end my column for the Review. With Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich dropping their presidential bids, Donald Trump has done what seemed unthinkable and has all but clinched the Republican nomination for president. The past two decades have seen a peaceful liberal democratic world order give way to authoritarian regimes in Russia, Hungary and Turkey — to name a few — where democracies were once in development. Wars have broken out across the Middle East, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Great po...

Video Journal a Chance for Reflection

CJ Blair, Columnist

May 6, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

When I left to go to college, my mom made a simple request. She told me to record a one second video on my phone every day and send it to her. She said these videos could be of absolutely anything, from the most exciting events to the most mundane. What mattered was that I sent them consistently so my family could get a glimpse of my life while I was away. I’d be lying if I said I’ve held up my end of the deal, but in failing to follow through with the videos, I came to understand the importance of making them. My choice to record or not record on a given day told me which parts of my life I wished to remember and which I wanted to forget. At first, I didn’t miss a single day. Whether it was starting my first ...

New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down

Sean Para, Columnist

April 23, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The 2016 presidential campaign has been nothing short of absurd, and Tuesday’s New York primary marks yet another twist in the road to the nominations. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective primaries by about 60 percent each. Trump won in almost every district, with 60.5 percent total, and will receive 89 of New York’s 93 Republican delegates. Clinton’s victory was less stunning, but she still won 33 more Democratic delegates than Bernie Sanders, furthering her lead against him. She is now 246 pledged delegates ahead of Sanders, and the lion’s share of the party’s 540 superdelegates also support her. These results solidify the leads of Clinton and Trump after several weeks in which their cand...

RIO Reclaims College’s Financial Autonomy

Josh Ashkinaze, Columnist

April 15, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Over the weekend, I participated in a workshop led by the Responsible Investment Organization, exploring endowments and how to sustainably and responsibly invest. There are three main reasons why I think students should join RIO. First, there may be no other time in your life when you can leverage more than $800 million dollars for any social benefit. Secondly, reinvestment is constructive and effective: not only are you criticizing the current method of investing, you’re also able to simultaneously suggest a solution. Finally, student participation is needed now more than ever. Everyone knows investment pools aren’t co-ops, but you are normally able to vote on where your money goes. Yet for all funds managed by ou...

Adopting Realist Worldview Helps to Cope with Depression

CJ Blair, Columnist

April 8, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Over the past year I’ve started to notice a feeling that I have never before experienced. It comes after periods of high stress or depressive episodes and disappears before I can make sense of it. It’s similar to the feeling I had while reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, a novel that I mostly hated but deeply moved me in its final pages. In the final chapter, the book shifts its focus from the narcissistic, bigoted minds of the Compson family to their benevolent housemaid Dilsey and suggests that kindness and humility can thrive even in a hostile environment. This optimism is exactly what I felt at the end of a difficult period, but I began to notice the danger of this sensation when I mistook it f...

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