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Since we are nearing the end of spring semester, Mount Holyoke Radix will not be accepting applications for new staff writers until Fall semester 2015

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Race & Ethnicity

Kosher Salt

Radix Admin

By Augie Burg '17

As the only Jewish kid in my small private preschool, my mom and dad would come in every Hannukah to teach my class about the holiday. They brought latkes and applesauce, and read us a children’s book. It doesn’t even matter that Hannukah isn’t an important holiday; it’s just the easiest one to commercialize because it’s during Christmas time. 

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Pokemon Go, Contested Public Space, and the Long-Lasting Influence of Jim Crow

Radix Admin

By Sarah Ramírez '17

Over the summer I became obsessed with Pokemon Go. When the app first came out, I was pretty ecstatic to see that my neighborhood had several Pokestops for my roommate and I to explore. I lived in an apartment in South Hadley Falls right here in Western Massachusetts, just walking distance away from the bridge that spans the Connecticut River, joining South Hadley to Holyoke.

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Our Lives After the Confirmation: How Anita Hill's Story Reflects Our Own

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By Courtney Brunson '16 

As a political science nerd, I readily jump at the opportunity to watch interesting political biopics. From Milk to Marie Antoinette, I thoroughly enjoy entering into a political climate different from my own through the television screen into stories of significant political events that altered the course of history. I am also simultaneously a devoted citizen of Shondaland. Therefore, when Kerry Washington first announced her role as Anita Hill in Confirmation, I anxiously awaited its release. 

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Sweet Like a Rice Cake, Bitter Like My Tears: When Nobody Cared About the Mixed Kid

Radix Admin

By Sasha Braverman '16

No matter what mixed kids experiences, deep down, nobody really cares about them.

Can you say you do with confidence to my face? That every view you hold doesn’t contradict a mixed person’s experience? I can’t either.

Let me tell you five stories:

One day, my grandmother was taking my sister and I to her monthly trip Korean supermarket in Tampa, Florida.  We picked the packet of red bean rice cake from the supermarket. I would take a bite, and in the crater of my bite, would be a small hole, a cave of red bean paste. I would squeeze out the paste like an old paint tube, until only a white shell remained.

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Kiss Me, I’m [Pretending to be] Irish: St. Patrick’s Day Drinking Culture in Historical Context

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By Guest Writers Eileen O'Grady '18 and Sarah McCool '18

Flashback to kindergarten. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and my teacher has just announced that to honor the special day, we’ll be baking a traditional Irish Soda Bread. I remember the excitement I felt bubbling up inside me – Irish Soda Bread was a tradition in my family. In fact, the teacher had borrowed the recipe we were going to use from my own Grandmother’s cookbook. I felt proud to share that small bit of my heritage with my classmates. But my excitement quickly turned to confusion when I saw that my teacher had put green food coloring in the bread dough.

“Why is it green?” I remember asking her in bewilderment. When my Irish grandmother made soda bread, she never made it green. 

 

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I Refuse to be Your Costume

Radix Admin

By Mac Chambers '19

Let me tell you about the first time I wore cornrows in school. I tried the tightly braided hairstyle out the summer before middle school, when I spent two weeks riding horses at camp. My mother and I came to the conclusion that there was no way my hair in its current state would fit beneath a riding helmet, especially when I was taking care of it by myself away from home.

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Why You Should Not Be That Excited About "Formation"

Radix Admin

By Danielle Brown '18

When this article is published, it will have been just over a week since Beyonce released the song "Formation" and its video. Shortly after she released the video, the Formation tour was announced. People were excited per usual. It is Beyoncé after all.

Admittedly, I laugh when I imagine the white people who realized this song was not just another club anthem they could pretend to twerk to. Instead, they were greeted with a pro-black anthem. Something appropriately released during Black History Month on the day of Trayvon Martin’s birthday and a day before Sandra Bland’s.

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"Dear White People"- Stop, Look, Listen

Radix Admin

By Maddie Cook '18

**Disclaimer: This article is not to negate biracial or white passing identities, but it is for people who identify as fully white and consider themselves a white ally**

I don’t really know where to start this article. A series of thoughts run through my head as I think about what I should say. Where do I begin? Is it my place to discuss this topic? Should I even articulate my frustration? When looking at a number of recent events as far away as the University of Missouri or as close as Amherst College, I feel a number of emotions. I am sad. I am frustrated. And I am truly infuriated that these events have transpired.

 

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Your Racism is "Too American"

Radix Admin

By Sasha Braverman '18

DISCLAIMER: I want to note that the feedback from the individuals interviewed were based on their unique personal experiences and may not speak for all students. Some of the respondents interviewed would prefer to remain anonymous. Therefore, the people who are named should be treated with consideration and respect of their anonymity.

You could say I was a bit surprised when my friend said that to me. Well, actually, I was a sobbing mess. I admit, not my crowning achievement of adulthood, but I digress.  “Your racism is too ‘American’” It’s been month or more since she made that comment, and yet it still felt fresh, uncomfortable and unsure. Of course, I completely disagree with the aforementioned statement, and emotionally I am satisfied with my conclusion, yet, here I am.

 

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The Strangest Person in the World

Radix Admin

By Sarah Mayela Ramirez '17 

 I was born into an invisible conflict. I would not learn it until I was much older, but my mere existence was a direct challenge to social constructs and stereotypes of social identities. Because of this, my conflict was both internal and external, in many ways very simple but too often incredibly complex. My mother is a white woman, born and raised in the United States with an upper-middle class upbringing and an educated background. My father is Latino and an immigrant from Costa Rica, where he was dirt poor and the first of his family to make it past high school. It was from these two people that I was created, and thus where my conflict started. On one hand, I have relatively fair skin; I am within white privilege, a structural aspect of United States culture that continues to hold tightly in modern day. But on the other hand, I am also Latina, a racialized and stereotyped identity. In dominant United States rhetoric, a Latina is a “wetback,” an undeserving freeloader, and a victim to her volatile emotions and poor life choices. These socially constructed ideas do not go hand in hand; rather, they contradict each other almost completely.

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Our Modern Day Civil Rights Movement

Radix Admin

by Courtney Brunson '16

Picture it.

You’re sitting in that mandatory American History class you have to take and you reach the section in the syllabus where you’ll begin to discuss the mid 20th century. The discussion would include the height of Jim Crow Laws, the beginning of housing practices such as redlining and blockbusting, the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, and perhaps even the tragic end of young 14-year-old Emmett Till’s life. The professor would first lecture on the significant details, important dates, and names of historical figures. Then they might ask for the class’s opinion. Almost routinely, each student would explain their outrage and dismay over the institutionalization of blatant racism. Shortly thereafter, students might spout some little known facts about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, or – if they’re truly impressive – Ella Baker. Once the class time has expired, all of the students would put all of their textbooks and notebooks back in their backpacks and – if they’re lucky – swap them in for some television shows to binge watch in the comfort of their own rooms and some freshly made fries in the Blanchard Campus Center. Or more realistically you’ll go to the library directly after class to continue your work.

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Diversity is the New Exotic

Radix Admin

By Sasha Braverman '18

I have never hated the word “diversity” more in in my life since I started college. I’m sure if you are one from any ethnic background you will occasionally see your favorite dish presented as a vegan friendly plate at the campus-dining hall. And as you sadly stab your fork into it an Americanized (more bland) version of your favorite childhood meal, you check and realize that Buzzfeed has been exploding with “Diverse Ethnic Recipes to Try!” (How exciting, although you know that the dish you’ve been buying for years just got a little more expensive now) Every event is a diverse speech given by diverse students. Universities and colleges flood students with invitations for clubs that offer diversity or classes that give a diverse perspective.

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The Lion in the Room

Radix Admin

By Courtney Brunson

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a disheartening story trending on my newsfeed. It read that a thirteen year old prized lion in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park named Cecil was cruelly killed by an American hunter for sport. The article explained that the lion was first wounded by an arrow, and after forty hours, was shot by a gun. After visiting an animal reserve myself not one month before in Bloemfontein, South Africa, I thought about all of the passionate conservationists I met that worked to protect animals from poachers or hunters, and how situations such as these prove that despite their valiant work, there is still more to be done.

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The Mental Effect of Globalized Anti-Blackness

Radix Admin

by Danielle Brown '18

The world exists in a perpetual state of anti-blackness. This is neither new, nor has it intensified. The only difference between anti-blackness one century ago and anti-blackness today is how quickly news travels.

I used to wonder what could be done to change this. What was I doing -- aside from being unapologetically Black -- that made people hate me so much? What was lost upon me at a younger age was that the issue was not a product of how I acted, but rather of the people I wanted so desperately to accept me. I surrounded myself with toxic white and non-Black people of color in hopes of being wanted, when often it seemed I was simply an exception to their rule of racial discrimination. I shrugged off their racist jokes in order to pretend they did not phase me and tried to reason with their dichotomy between “Good Black People” and “n*ggers.” I was brainwashed, whitewashed and overwhelmed by the pressure to fit in.

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On Baltimore: A Letter from the Staff

Radix Admin

By Olivia Janet Papp & Maddie Cook, Founders

During this busy time marked by papers, finals, and meetings, we urge members of the Mount Holyoke community to be with, to stand with, their fellow community members. This is a moment when we must actively choose to value our friends, our siblings, and all community members impacted. 

It is easy to look at the current events in Baltimore on a topical level. There is rioting; there is violence; there is unrest. Mainstream media depictions in the past 24-hours alone have allowed us to readily dismiss why these riots are happening. The for what. The for whom. As a publication committed to providing a platform for individuals to speak in and on their own terms, we direct our readers to a number of sources below that actively engage the voices of those in the streets of Baltimore and providing quality coverage of these events.

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I Am Not Doing Enough

Radix Admin

By Emily Jetmore, Guest Writer

As a white woman, I have the immense privilege of choosing when and how I engage with race. My race is largely invisible to me and the people with whom I interact. Simply knowing that this invisibility is the product of a constructed social system meant to perpetuate the oppression of people of color and maintain the dominance of white people is not enough to keep me from taking advantage of it. It is easy to slip into the neutrality of invisibility, especially under the guise of consciousness fostered by a liberal community. 

This armchair activism is not enough. What is my role in supporting the protesters in Baltimore? How can I be a good ally to black students at Mount Holyoke and to black people everywhere without stealing the mic? What can I do?

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What Does it Mean to Value Students of Color?

Radix Admin

By Sarah M. Ramirez

It has been more than a year since the student-lead group MoHonest first decorated campus with slips of paper detailing personal experiences of racism in our college community. In response to outrage surrounding the unjust arrest of a Mount Holyoke student, the College and Administration scrambled to host residence hall conversations, have open meetings with students, and offer more workshops and opportunities to engage with racism and microaggressions. Since then, Mount Holyoke College certainly has paid closer attention to it’s social climate on paper.


But has anything really changed?

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White (Hall) Passing

Radix Admin

Someone once told me a story about a young man who left his home to go to the market for his parents. He was of mixed heritage and, at the time, war was coming with another country. While he went about his errands, a small mob began following him believing him to be a spy. They confronted, attacked, and mercilessly beat him. In their paranoia and hysteria someone yelled for a lynching, and they began dragging him to a main square where there was a tree. As they took him, they passed an old man smoking outside his shop. Horrified at what he saw, he ran, fought his way into the crowd, and threw himself over the youth. He screamed, “He’s one of us! This is Hussien’s boy! By God, he’s one of us!”

 

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