The Oberlin Review

“What’s My Name, Fool?” Creates Dialogue Around Race, Activism

Jason Hewitt, Columnist

March 2, 2018

Filed under SPORTS, Sports Column

English Professor Yago Colás hosted a discussion Wednesday in Dye Lecture Hall between the ESPN Around the Horn co-host and University of Maryland professor Kevin Blackistone, Grand Valley State University professor Louis Moore, Northeastern University professor Sarah Jackson, and University of Michigan’s prominent Fab Five member Jimmy King. The four panelists are all influential Black individuals who are deeply connected to the overlapping realms of sports and activism. The talk opened with Colás’ introduction of the speakers. He then gave each speaker 10 minutes to share their thoughts on the overall topic. The first to speak was Blackistone, who came to Oberlin for the second time to discuss his ideas after...

OSCA Fails to Adequately Address Needs of POC

Carson Li, Contributing Writer

November 17, 2017

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Alright, white folks, let’s be honest — do you really care that the co-op you’re living in is too white? I was pretty surprised when my white friend, not a friend of color, first raised this question. It initially made me feel good because I felt like white people in my co-op were advocating for more diversity in our community. Later, things turned out to be different than I thought. Co-op diversity for many white people is just a casual topic for chit-chat while hanging out in the lounge. By the way, don’t get them talking about race; those white people can analyze the definition of race from four different angles. As an international student hailing from China, nearly all of my knowledge about race and dis...

Safia Elhillo Delivers Sharp, Candid Poetry Performance

Ananya Gupta, Arts and Culture Editor

September 15, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

“As usual, I was thinking about race; I wrote a poem.” said Sudanese-American performance poet Safia Elhillo as she delivered her sassy wit in a soothing voice last Friday at the Cat in the Cream. Author of the full-length poetry collection The January Children, Elhillo is an acclaimed slam poet who has performed at the South African State Theatre, the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and at TEDxNewYork, and has competed nationally with the New York University collegiate championship slam poetry team and the DC Youth Slam Poetry Team. Having earned accolades including the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize (co-winner) and the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, Elhillo, though young, is truly...

Racial Identity Politics Favors White Candidates

Josh Ashkinaze, Contributing Writer

December 2, 2016

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election highlighted that when it comes to identity politics, the largest and most powerful identity group has a natural advantage. White identity politics help, at least in part, to explain Trump’s success. And insofar as racial identity plays a chief role in political polarization, candidates who promote white identity political movements like “All Lives Matter” and xenophobia-imbued protectionism will continue to wield a numerical edge. In contrast to identity-centered organizing, affinity-based organizing hinges on shared aims and values. Affinity-based organizing should be employed by political parties to avoid the numerical advantage of a candidate just because the...

Framing of Race Series Seeks to Address Oppression

Oliver Bok, News Editor

October 7, 2016

Filed under Campus News, Features, NEWS, Recent Stories

While a distinguished speaker giving a talk on an important social issue might not be new at Oberlin, the event series that sponsored this talk, The Framing of Race, is. Duke Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of Racism Without Racists, delivered a talk titled “The Diversity Blues: Reframing the Diversity Agenda at Historically White Colleges and Universities” Thursday night. The Framing of Race is the 2016 theme for Think/Create/Engage, a new annual series that will focus on a different theme each calendar year. “The major objective of this series is to be a clearinghouse for all the things that are actually happening on campus,” said Wendy Kozol, chair of Comparative American Studies and co-c...

Marathons Inspire Runners to Accept Daunting Challenges

CJ Blair, Columnist

October 2, 2015

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

When you tell someone that you’re a runner, they’re probably not going to say that they’d like to be a runner too. Even though this isn’t always true for short distances, telling someone that you ran a marathon sends everyone but other marathoners and proud masochists reeling in confusion. To 99 percent of the public, saying you ran a marathon is like saying you walked across broken glass: certainly impressive but something they’d never want to do. When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon last Saturday, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I had accomplished a rare feat, one that almost no one even considers. My passion for running has turned me into a gangly scarecrow subsisting on Clif bars,...

Identity Does Not Define Experiences

Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura, College senior

April 24, 2015

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: My name is Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura. I take he, him and his. I am a mixed-race Japanese American. I am cisgender and heterosexual; I am from Ohio and a strictly middle-class background. (I received a federal Pell Grant one year and not others because my family is right on the cusp of certain federal guidelines.) My father is an immigrant with no college degree, while my mother has a Master’s degree. (You might be surprised at who makes more money.) I am the oldest and only son of four children. I am graduating in May and have gained tremendously from my Oberlin education. This introduction is meant to highlight both my social privileges and challenges. (These are in fact relative terms, which means...

By Ignoring Parallels with Present, Audiences Undercut Black Retellings of History

Editorial Board

February 13, 2015

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Fresh from the success of a powerful Winter Term production that filled Hall Auditorium last weekend, members of the cast of Dessa Rose reunited Wednesday for one final performance, this time before a markedly different audience: minimum-security inmates at Grafton Correctional Institution. “I cannot tell you how much [more] this one shortened sing thru version of the show meant to me than any of our performances combined,” wrote College sophomore and lead actress Tiffany Ames in a Facebook post. “More than any show I’ve ever done.” That the musical would take on new meaning in the context of prison should be no surprise. For some of those who took seats in Hall last weekend, however, the story’s contemporary politi...

Online Prejudice Reveals Weak Allyship

Samantha Smylie, Contributing Writer

December 5, 2014

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

When the St. Louis County prosecutor announced late on Nov. 24 that a grand jury found that “no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer [Darren] Wilson,” millions around the country were in shock, outraged at the decision not to indict the Ferguson, MO police officer who killed Mike Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in August. According to Dorian Johnson’s eyewitness testimony, Wilson fired shots at Brown after a confrontation, and Brown then tried to flee the scene. Wilson chased after Brown; once confronted again, according to witnesses, Brown put his hands in the air in an attempt to surrender and show that he did not have a gun. However, no one will ever really know Brown’s true intentions,...

Immigration Coverage Ignores Racialized History

Sam White, Opinions Editor

October 10, 2014

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

In the time since August, when 18-year-old Michael Brown joined the rapidly growing ranks of Black men unlawfully killed by police, several long-overdue discussion topics have graced the media’s spotlight: police brutality, institutional diversity and representation, officer accountability and, above all, the prevalence of systemic racism in 21st-century America. When a disturbingly similar shooting in nearby St. Louis took the life of Vonderrit Myers on Wednesday, many news outlets were quick off the mark in continuing these crucial conversations. Yet the mainstream media has largely failed to extend these analytical frameworks to another primetime news context where they’re no less necessary: immigration reform. For...

Governor Kasich Faces Challenge with Democrat FitzGerald

Madeline Stocker, News Editor

March 9, 2014

Filed under Community News, NEWS

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald arrived at Oberlin last Thursday, addressing an audience of students, faculty and community members in regards to his candidacy. FitzGerald, the Democratic candidate, is attempting to unseat Ohio Governor John Kasich in the 2014 gubernatorial race. “Oberlin has a reputation that’s as long as any university in the country in terms of civic activism,” FitzGerald said in an interview with The Morning Journal. Joining him onstage were Janet Garrett, write-in candidate for the fourth congressional district and State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Ohio. Both executives expressed support for FitzGerald, describing him as a figure capable of bringing much needed change to Ohio, with specif...

Insidious Societal Contructs Dictate Our Lives

Sean Para, Columnist

February 14, 2014

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Social constructs shape our lives in a profound and little-addressed way. Race, class, gender, the state — these are all constructions. They exist because we, as a society, live by their tenets and allow them to shape our lives. Let us consider, for a first example, the state. While the state seems to many a crucial, fundamental part of our society, its legitimacy is drawn only from popular consent and an ability to provide social benefits to most members of society. As Locke would put it, the state exists because of a social contract between members of society. The state’s power isn’t based on anything tangible, but rather the consent of the people living under it and the sense of legitimacy they give to its actions....

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