Social Media: Harmless Fun or Mind Control

If you have been on any of your social network sites anytime today or last night, I am sure you are familiar with the infamous white and gold (or black and blue) dress. This dress has caused endless discussion and/or debates all across the world of social media in less than a day. The fact that the color of a dress can spark so much attention is just proof of how powerful social media really is.Untitled-12-660x334

It makes you wonder, does social media control our minds? Every time something is posted that sparks the interest of many, it becomes a social media phenomenon! It is quite obvious that is does not take much for us to be glued to our phones, from the hottest celebrity gossip to something as small as a dress. Social media can be fun and also helpful for networking; however, it is a little scary to see how much buzz was generated over a dress. Granted, this was a test to reveal the differences in how people see images. Nevertheless, this dress took on a life of its own due to how fast we circulate information on these sites. It went from one simple post asking what color do you think the dress is to the creation of memes, heated debates, and questioning whether your vision is up to par or not. social_media_strategy111

That brings me back to the question about mind control. We view these “trending topics” as ways to have harmless fun on social media, but it makes you wonder if it is more to that. Are we “puppets” for social media? It only takes one thing to trigger something in our brains that tells us to join in the “fun” surrounding a particular topic. Is it really just fun or is it proof that social media is gradually altering the way we think? The power of social media is a phenomenal thing; however, it does cause some to reevaluate how much it impacts our minds. No matter what, social media is only going to continuously grow. Only time will tell if our minds are being affected with this growth.

Michaela C., Associate Editor

Attendance

For the first decade of our lives, our parents were the first ones to wake us up in the morning, telling us to get ready for school. We all remember dragging ourselves out of bed because we were still tired. One would think that waking up and going to school would be a routine we all would be accustomed to after doing it for years. Unfortunately, that is not the case.  Many colleges and universities report annually that a large percentage of students do not show up for class.

Sleeping late is one of many reasons students use to explain why they are not attending class regularly.  Other reasons given for not attending class include: I was tired from working, the class is boring, attendance is not computed in my grade, I was sick, again, they are not interested in that subject, as long as I complete the assignments and pass all the tests,  and I don’t need to attend.

What some students fail to realize is that not attending class is a prescription for failure.  There are several reasons why attending class is important.  First, it contributes greatly to students’ college experience and success.  Studies have shown that class attendance has a positive direct impact on a student’s class performance.  Regular class attendance and participation are significant factors that can lead to success in college.  Class absence can be a factor in lowering a student’s letter grade.  Thus, the GPA for students for students with strong class attendance may be one letter grade higher than students with poor class attendance.

Secondly, class attendance facilitate learning (Piero, 2014).  The professor’s lecture is designed to supplement course reading assignments.  Course material may be presented differently in class than in the textbook.  Attending class regularly can help students save time studying.  Students are better prepared for upcoming assignments and exams when they regularly attend class (Lucier).  In addition, class discussion can enhance both the student’s learning and critical thinking skills.

Finally, students are paying tuition to be taught, not to have the right to miss class.  The one thing students need to remember is that when they miss class, they miss opportunities

Today’s Black Women

How do we define America’s Black woman today?  What comes to mind when we say “Today’s Black Woman?  There are two perceptions of today’s Black woman; one very positive and the other very negative.  The positive perception of Black women clearly reveals that Black women are the backbone and champion of their family and the Black community in general.  They have made tremendous progress with respect to economic, business, entertainment and educational attainment.

In the realm of business ownership, Black women have made incredible gains with respect to business ownership.  Black women entrepreneurs make up the fastest-growing segment of business ownership in America.   According to a 2012 Center for American Progress “The State of Women of Color in the United States Report,” Black women are starting businesses at a rate that is three to five times the rate of the general population. The report also reveals that one half of all Black owned business are owned by women.  Sales that is generated by the business have more than doubled during the past decade and is estimated to be roughly $45 billion.

The gains achieved by Black entrepreneur women are essential to developing economic opportunities for other Black women. Studies show 1) Black women are the head od the household in a large number of single parent families; 2) that approximately 53.3 per of wives are the bread winners among Black married households. Thus, expansion of Black women owned business is crucial to the economic well-being of the Black community overall.

Black women are also making their mark on America’ culture. Most noteworthy, of course, is Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States. She is a lawyer and writer and the wife of Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States.  She gives hope to young Black women.  Other accomplished Black women include 1) Candalezza Rice, former Secretary of State of the United States.  She was the first Black woman appointed this prestigious position. 2) Susan Rice, U. S ambassador. 3) Leah Ward Sears, the first Black woman and the youngest person appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court. 4) Denise Young Smith Human Resource Director at Apple Software, 5) Kimberly Stone, founder and CEO of Poshglam.co, 6) Erica Nicole, founder and CEO of YFS (Young, Black, and Self-employed) Magazine, 7) Twenty-six year old Corvida Raven, creator of ShwGeeks.com, 8) Ajilli Hardy, first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 9) Oprah Winfrey, 10) Beyoncé, Scandal’s very sensuous  star Kerry Washington and many others.

However, the media have played and will continue to play a compelling role in the way Black women are perceived and portrayed.  To some, the welfare queen stereotype still dominates mainstream perception of Black women. This is the image many young Black women are accustomed to and the image that is constantly depicted in the media, be it on reality television or in music videos.  The media focuses on the negative things Black women are depicted as being involved with: drug, crime, violence, etc.   They are often described as an obnoxious, angry, finger snapping and head rolling beast who is only concerned with today…what’s happening now.   They seek attention, approval and validation in all the wrong places. This image is chosen from many and is consistently used to perpetuate a stereotype that tend to go on and affect an entire group.

The reality is Black women are strong, compassionate, intelligent and creative.  Lorraine O’Grady, Black feminist theorist and artist writes, “To name ourselves rather than be named, we must first see ourselves.”  The challenge for some Black women is “How can we bridge the gap between how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves?”  It is often said perception is reality.  Hopefully, by the time they mature, they will begin to realize how important and how powerful a positive perception can be.

Cash Money Records STILL Takin’ Ova…

On this day, 16 years ago, rapper Juvenile released his hit single “Back That Azz Up.” Since its debut, this song has been playing on radio stations, in clubs and house parties alike. After all these years, “Cash Money Records takin’ ova for the 9-9 and the 2000” is one of the most recognizable song lyrics and STILL gets the crowd hype.

Check out the video below.

5 Reasons Why (Some) College Students Shouldn’t Complain

If you’re a student in college you’re lucky. I don’t think many college students realize just how privileged they actually are. Yes, school can be a pain sometimes, but if you look on the bright side, going to college really isn’t that bad. Here are five reasons why (some) college students shouldn’t complain:

1.) You still live with (or off of) your parents.

Not many people have this luxury, college or not. If your parents are financially supporting you in any capacity, consider yourself blessed. You don’t have any bills to worry about, you don’t have have to worry about food, and you probably don’t even have to work. If you do have a job, your money goes into all of your wants; you never have to budget for your needs.

2.) You get four (or more) years to experiment before you have to settle into a career.

Some people work straight out of high school. There’s nothing wrong with that, but college gives you the opportunity to test and experiment with different skills, and you can also play around with different interests. If there’s anything I learned from my college experience, it’s that you can go in thinking you want to work in one career field, and come out wanting to pursue something else. Similar to how some business majors go to law school instead of getting an MBA.

3.) One word: Discounts

Man, what?! College students get so many discounts, it’s ridiculous. From clothes to insurance, there are so many deals and opportunities for you to save money! After you graduate, it’s a different story…

4.) Party and Bull…

Yes. You actually have more opportunities to party. Back when I was a club promoter, parties would be in full swing from Thursday night to Monday morning. Tuesday morning for a three-day weekend. But anywho, while parties shouldn’t be the main focus of your college career, you have options. I’m not saying that you don’t have options if you don’t go to college, but chances are, if you go to some sort of university, you’ll always have somebody hitting you up with a move.

5.) You actually have the opportunity to go to college.

Some people really don’t have that opportunity, believe it or not. Due to finances, personal obligations or situations beyond their control, they can’t go to college right away. So don’t complain about how much your life sucks because your professor wants you to write a 10-page essay, you have three club meetings, your on-campus job is boring and your parents took away your car until you bring your grades up. Some people can’t complain about those things, even if they wanted to.

Again, if you’re a student in college, you’re lucky. The experience is what you make it, but don’t make room for unnecessary complaints.

Raena, Editor-in-Chief

The Celibacy Vow

Society now and days has shaped the minds of our generation into thinking that having sex is normal, hooking up is okay and you are free to live your life the way you see fit, but what does it say about celibacy? Now don’t get me wrong, it is your life and I do not approve of slut-shaming, but why are the people who decide to control their bodies shamed for their decisions?

In this new accepting culture, you would think that anything you want to do with your body is acceptable, but going against the norm is not.

I’m saying all of this from experience. I recently decided to make a  change and become celibate. In return, this decision greatly improved my spiritual life. I found that if I wanted to continue to improve that lifestyle, I would have to give up my old one. This meant to stop drinking, smoking (hookah and weed), stop going to parties and stop having sex. While doing this, I was replacing the need of partying and drinking with other things in my life like devotionals, church, volunteering and doing things that would positively influence my life rather than hinder it. I found that in doing this, my “friends” took notice. I was no longer invited to parties or even asked to hang out in between classes. My “friends” wanted nothing to do with me as if my new lifestyle choices were contagious. They wanted nothing to do with the “church girl” because I had made the conscious decision to stop doing what everyone else loved and start being dedicated to the one person I do love: God. Of course I tried to include them on this journey with me and some agreed to go to church with me, but after the first time became their last time, I knew it was time to move on. Everyone has different life paths and I just started to find my own.

It sounds sad, but in this loss, I truly gained my own piece of mind and was able to thrive in my spiritual life.

All of this is to say if your celibate, and not just from sex (it can be from anything that society deems normal), then keep doing what you’re doing. You will find that people will not approve of what you’re decisions, but at the end of the day, if you’re doing whats right you will gain so much more freedom and piece of mind. And you will forget you were ever missing something in the first place.

Dreu Davis.