Four Perspectives on the United States and Racial Inequality

An issue that used to escape my understanding was the complexity of racial disparity in the United States. The knowledge that the life expectancy in some low-income African American communities is lesser than parts of rural Algeria seemed irreconcilable with my image of the U.S. as the world’s most powerful and free nation. To that … Continue reading Four Perspectives on the United States and Racial Inequality

On Rising Tides

As John Steinbeck’s East of Eden would put it, “Samuel may have thought and played and philosophized about death, but he did not really believe in it. His world did not have death as a member. He, and all around him, was immortal. When real death came it was an outrage, a denial of the immortality he deeply felt, and the one crack in his wall caused the whole structure to crash. I think he had always thought he could argue himself out of death. It was a personal opponent and one he could lick.” 

The Quagmires of Quarantine

When I read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne a few years ago, I thought it would be interesting to spend a ridiculous amount of time in a confined space and watch myself become more and more psychologically unhinged. I have since discovered that this literary daydream was in fact highly context driven (context being a romanticised submarine) and living in my house with little human interaction and an abundance of instant noodles is really not the same thing.

Unpacking East of Eden by John Steinbeck

"The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay. I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich."

What I Learned from “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff

When you live in a well-off community, it’s all too easy to ignore the reality of drug addiction. We look at the two thousand homeless addicts in Vancouver with contempt or with pity, but very rarely with understanding. Some vote for politicians who advocate harsh minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. Some comment that drug … Continue reading What I Learned from “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff

“Slacktivists”: a Critique of Social Media Activism

It’s become commonplace to frequently be confronted with a flurry of angry (and frequently ungrammatical) posts filled with buzzwords every time Trump posts something stupid (so, fairly often). In fact, it’s become so accepted that people appear to view posts on social media as a legitimate alternative to tangible contributions to the community, such as … Continue reading “Slacktivists”: a Critique of Social Media Activism

Technology’s Role in Democratization

Recently, the largest ever election in global history occurred in India, with 600 million voters casting ballots all over the nation. In light of the rise of authoritarian right-wing governments in the past year, India’s election is a refreshing reminder that democracy is very much alive. In fact, democracy has never been as vibrant as … Continue reading Technology’s Role in Democratization