Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu: Spreading Pandemic Panic in our Country

By Alyce Maddocks

Here in the USA, we’re never short on drama. The latest news is about the swine flu. There have been outbreaks all over the country: New York, California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and Indiana, and it’s spreading every day. According to current news, it began with a Catholic school in New York, when some students spent their spring break in Mexico and brought the virus back with them.

With 68 cases confirmed in the U.S. and the number growing every day, the country is going into panic mode. Government officials began saying early this week that the country has been overreacting to the flu but even more recently, health commissioner Thomas Frieden has been quoted as saying, “It is here and it is spreading. We do not know whether it will continue to spread.” Those with confirmed cases are asked to stay at home along with their families to prevent spreading the swine flu. While there have been a little more than 150 deaths in Mexico, there has only been one death in America. An infant that was only 23-months-old died in Texas making this the first death from the swine flu in our country and also sparking more panic in people.

Do you guys think we’re overreacting to this new pandemic or maybe acting rationally to a crisis?

Monday, April 13, 2009

She Got Her Own...But She Doesn't Have a Man

By Bonita Holmes

With songs like “She Got Her Own” and “Ms. Independent” both by R&B singer Neyo, a woman who appears to not need a man for anything is the new “it” attitude. This much is true for many professional young women who are successful and more than financially stable. With being young and career-oriented, as women, we tend to get wrapped up in creating this ambitious scenario of success for ourselves, leaving no room for male companionship or marriage for that matter. Such an idea raises the question as to why so many professional, sophisticated women are single. Are we too busy for our own good? Or maybe it's that men are too intimidated with our "I got it" demeanor.

Is it worth having a high success drive with no special person to share it with? Or is a career enough to keep you warm at night?

Interracial Dating: All About Location?

By Alyce Maddocks

Love is blind. Or is it? Apparently it is anything but in the southern states that occupy our advanced, open-minded country and I have the personal experience to prove it.

I remember it like it was just yesterday: It was an oven baked, cloudy day in Atlanta when I and my then boyfriend, a sweet and attentive Caucasian guy, decided to visit the underground mall. We were incredibly excited to learn about Atlanta’s history and see all the tourist spots. Unfortunately, when we ventured into the mall, all we saw was the majority of shoppers staring at us. I noticed that we were receiving an unusual amount of attention when we stopped for ice cream in the food area.

The population of people at the mall was African Americans of various ages who were openly ogling my boyfriend and me. I checked the nearest mirror to make sure there was nothing out of the ordinary on my face and then realized why we were the friendly neighborhood freak show: I was the only African American girl accompanied by the only Caucasian person in the mall and to put the icing on the cupcake, we were holding hands and obviously having a good time together. I had no idea how to react!

Why should it be such a problem for me to be happy with someone outside of my race? Isn’t the point of dating to be with someone you enjoy spending time with no matter the color of his or her skin? Even when my boyfriend and I went grocery shopping on a daily basis in South Carolina, people would treat us differently. If they saw us together, sometimes African American men would stand in the middle of the aisle at the store and shoot us dirty looks while blocking our path. I could never understand what would make a person act so rudely to a stranger who did nothing to offend or betray them. Should I be viewed as a traitor of my race because I believe love has no color restrictions?

A close friend of mine also had an interesting experience while she and her Caucasian boyfriend were deep in the heart of North Carolina. When she and said boyfriend were out at a gas station to grab some snacks, she noticed upon their arrival that all the older, male, Caucasian patrons were staring at them with open disgust and in some cases, pure hatred. Made uncomfortable by the unhidden negative display, mumbling, and the suddenly thick, hushed air, the couple left in search of a friendlier environment, feeling no desire to let the situation escalate.

Although the South is clearly not ready for this advancement in acceptance and tolerance, it’s a completely different story in the North, and hasn’t it always been? Interracial couples are more accepted and prominent in places like New York and Chicago where no one bats an eye at a couple comprised of different colors. It seems that people are a lot more open minded and liberal in northern states. What the southern states lack in diversity, these northern states more than make up for with the melting pot of colors and personalities.

Does it still matter if people date outside their race? Is that still viewed as wrong or unnatural in these modern times?