“Whitelash” After Get Out Hits the Screen

“Whitelash” After Get Out Hits the Screen

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” captures a satirical view of what it means to be black in today’s America — but it’s received plenty of backlash from (white) folks who criticize it for disrupting the status quo.

Though it scored a 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, some comments on the review site, an article in Ethics Alarm and others by Debbie Schlussel and Christine Stoddard demonstrate the pushback the film received and the ways its critics maintain white power through “science” and so-called “reverse racism.”

Read More

New Song, Same Taylor: “Look What You Made Me Do” embodies revenge, victimhood, and refusal to take blame

New Song, Same Taylor: “Look What You Made Me Do” embodies revenge, victimhood, and refusal to take blame

Taylor Swift’s new music video “Look What You Made Me Do” set a new record, reaching 43.2 million views in the first 24 hours it was posted to YouTube.

Some loved it and a lot of people hated it.

After weeks of refusing to listen, I gave in. After hearing it a few times, I wondered, “Is this really a ‘new Taylor?’ Is the old Taylor really dead? Or is she telling the same narrative, just with an angrier tone?”

Turns out, “Look What You Made Me Do” is another song in which Taylor refuses to take responsibility for any of her actions. She addresses multiple conflicts throughout the song via her lyrics and cinematography in the music video, calls out anyone who has done her wrong and makes it clear that none of it is her fault. The theme of all these call-outs is, “They screwed me over, but I did nothing wrong. Now, I’m out for revenge.”

Read More

Reflections on anxiety and depression during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Disclaimer: When it comes to mental health and mental illness, I believe it is critical to talk about these things, how they affect us and about how our loved ones can support us. Talking, writing, music etc. helps us become louder than silence. Mental illness affects everyone differently, but this is my story. Finally, may September, which is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, serve as a reminder to reach out and hold the ones we love close. Your mental health matters!

I had a debilitating panic attack a few weeks ago.

Late at night, my palms became sweaty and my head started ringing. When it gets like that, it doesn’t. Stop. Ringing. My breath picked up until I was hyperventilating, which is not like in the movies. Sometimes I wish it was like in the movies.

Read More

Your handy guide to understanding The Forum

Your handy guide to understanding The Forum

In an ever-changing media landscape marked by massive amounts of noise and fake news, it can be hard to know how to engage with news organizations — especially for those of us who may have never been trained on what the news should do and what we should expect from it.

Though Westminster College is small in size, the confusion consumers experience when interacting with the national media is present on our campus, as well. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to understanding The Forum, which is based on misunderstandings about news and the media that we’ve commonly faced on campus.

Read More

Bridging cultural gaps with sparkling water

Bridging cultural gaps with sparkling water

Olivia Wathne said she has always admired her mother, Kelly.

From a young age, she said Kelly—who hasn’t sipped regular water since her twenties, long before Wathne was born—taught her to take pride in drinking the “bubblies.”  Though Wathne said she eagerly soaked up this piece of wisdom, it wasn’t until January that her love for carbonated water developed.

“I was recently shopping in Whole Foods,” Wathne said. “I saw all of these beautiful colored boxes in aisle five and they were all to my left—a whole row—and everything was just glowing.”

Read More

What NOT to do your senior year

What NOT to do your senior year

Hey, there. My name is Christian Anderson, and I’m worried.

Why am I worried? Well, I’m a senior on the cusp of graduation. And I’m still finding myself.

For many of us, this is the first time certainty is thrown aside and skepticism rears its ugly head. Most of us have always had the next step in front of us, with school as a major part of that path.

College, and specifically senior year, is filled with tons of advice. Some of it is completely relevant, but some of it just adds to the list of stress-inducing information.

Read More

Utah Only Pretends to Like the Outdoors

Utah Only Pretends to Like the Outdoors

Utah has a love-hate relationship with the outdoors and the outdoor industry. 

Government dollars go to organizations like Ski Utah, which promote tourism in the state. Yet simultaneously, Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Jason Chaffetz also spend tax dollars drafting bills to regain state control of such areas so they can ruin the same land they spend money to promote, as if they have no shame. Earlier this year, Patagonia famously pulled out of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, a biannual convention that has been held in Salt Lake City for the past 20 years. Many other companies followed suit, leaving the Outdoor Retailer show itself to leave Utah and announce it will be looking for a new city to host the show. 

Read More

In Response to “Living Outside Westminster’s ‘Ski Culture’”

In Response to “Living Outside Westminster’s ‘Ski Culture’”

On March 24, 2017 the forum posted an article titled “Living Outside Westminster’s ‘Ski Culture’.” This article seemed to state, that if you don’t ski or snowboard at Westminster, you don’t have an immediate place at the college; you’re an outsider. According to this article people at Westminster belong to just two classifications, skier/snowboarders or nerds. Well this just isn’t the case.

The great thing about Westminster is that you have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people that have similar interests to you. For instance, I am involved with outdoor recreation but I also really enjoy the theatre department and have several friends that are very involved with it. I am really interested in science and have many friends that share this interest with me. While I don’t ski or snowboard, and probably never will, I do have many friends that enjoy these activities. However, we easily find other things we both enjoy like making vegan dinners, hiking, volunteering, or even just working on homework. It isn’t always just about skiing or snowboarding.

Read More

Utah: where sports fandoms and politics meet

Utah: where sports fandoms and politics meet

If House Speaker Greg Hughes isn’t going to pay back the state of Utah for the $203,000 he wasted, he should at least apologize for leading the first-ever state audit of a single athletic department.

Since neither is likely to happen, the University of Utah should respond by cancelling all future football and basketball games they have scheduled with Brigham Young University.

Let’s begin with a little background.

Read More

Must We Burn Pup Amp? A Reflection on Sex Positivity and Activism

Must We Burn Pup Amp? A Reflection on Sex Positivity and Activism

In “Must We Burn Sade?” Simone de Beauvoir grapples with the legacy of the Marquis de Sade, an erotic writer who stands out to this day as one of the most grotesque pornographers of the West.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Beauvoir’s essay explains that “‘Must we Burn Sade?” identifies the Marquis’s decision to write as an existential project, an authentic ethics and a politics of rebellion. Beauvoir credits Sade with uncovering the secrets of the patriarchal political machine. She is sympathetic to his utopian appeal to freedom. Beauvoir finds, however, that Sade perverted the meaning of freedom and therefore identifies Sade as a great moralist who endorsed an unsatisfactory ethics.”

Read More

Fake news and false reporting

Fake news and false reporting

There’s a difference between fake news and false reporting.

I had the privilege of covering Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s town-hall meeting on Feb. 9. National reporters covered the meeting, and videos of the protests at Brighton High School flooded the internet.

Covering something of this scale was intimidating.

After the meeting, I began to write, taking my time to make sure I got the story right. That’s the importance of journalism—even for a publication the size of The Forum.

Read More

Dreaming isn’t enough

Dreaming isn’t enough

Last month, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King. Now, in the midst of Black History month, it’s important that we continue to reflect on the experiences of black people—our history and recent events.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”  

At the start of the Spring semester, Westminster College held its annual MLK Week of Events. We started the week with a march and a rally that started at Converse Hall and went down 2100 South before returning to Converse.

Read More

Why the Westminster community needs to care about the Muslim ban and everything that comes after

Why the Westminster community needs to care about the Muslim ban and everything that comes after

This past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me as a Muslim, a Hijabi, a refugee and an Iraqi. 

The weekend started off with Trump signing an executive order to temporarily ban refugees and Muslims from seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Iran. Six of these seven countries are fighting terror in their homelands on a daily basis. 

Barely a day after the executive order was signed, a mosque in Texas was burned to the ground. 

Read More

Westminster community addresses President Trump's executive orders on immigration

Westminster community addresses President Trump's executive orders on immigration

After President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending entry of all refugees into the United States for 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and citizens from seven Muslim-majority populations for 90 days, members of the Westminster College community released statements responding decrying his actions as oppositional to the college's core values and mission statement.

Read the unedited statements from President Steve Morgan, ASW President Ben Pok, Faculty Chair Han Kim and Westminster's Hillel for Utah club here:

Read More

Limousines on fire, warm fuzzies, pussyhats and a dash of white feminism

Limousines on fire, warm fuzzies, pussyhats and a dash of white feminism

No protest is perfect. I mean, hell yeah to the millions of people who showed up to the Women’s March. It was empowering, important and incredible, and the world needs more warm, fuzzy feelings right now. That sort of overwhelming support is what we need in this revolution. But I hope these same people can carry the message of intersectional feminism into the rest of their lives. 

If we’re talking about fighting oppression against women (hopefully we know that we should be talking womxn), then we are talking police brutality, systemic racism, economic inequality, the povertization of women—specifically women of color—abortion rights, access to healthcare, freedom of speech, segregation of schools, transphobia, homophobia, etc.

This march filled me with a sense of hope I haven’t felt since Bernie’s campaign, but I also refuse to perpetuate the privileged, white-feminist narrative it sometimes fell into. This is not to dismiss that women are marginalized just because they are women but to say that if we are to fight against the new administration collectively and productively, we need to acknowledge different layers of privilege and oppression.

Read More

The art of being alone

The art of being alone

It’s 4:51 a.m. (to be precise), and I can’t sleep. 

Underneath a mound of blankets and facing away from the sounds of 1300 East, I feel relatively content. The faces of my family, friends and attractive German soccer players stare down at me from photos plastered on my uncomfortably white wall. It’s like they’re all asking me, ‘What are you so afraid of?’

Well, photographs, if you must know, I am alone.

Read More

Campus leaders across the state pledge to create safe communities during Trump Presidency

Campus leaders at Westminster College, the University of Utah, Dixie State University and Salt Lake Community College came together to write a letter of support for safe communities and diverse populations in a Trump presidency. Read the letter here:

In light of the divisiveness of the recent election, as a community, Utah campus leaders choose to stand united and challenge our community to do the same. We have always striven to work in coalitions, but now more than ever, we know our differences bind us together as our rights and communities are threatened by political rhetoric and actions.

We, as campus leaders, choose to stand for justice, equal opportunity, and inclusion. We choose to welcome and accept people as they are and who they want to become without judgment. With an inclusive and accepting campus community, we know our ideas are brighter, our classrooms are more vibrant, and we are stronger together.

Read More

Post-election reflections on my trip to Afghanistan

Post-election reflections on my trip to Afghanistan

In the summer of 2015, a few days before May Term classes ended, I decided it was time to visit my home country. Born and raised in Afghanistan, it had been four years since I’d last visited my hometown, Kabul.

Although I hadn’t anticipated the trip, it felt as though I’d been waiting for that moment to go back to my birthplace. 

However, after the election results on Nov. 8, I might not have to wait too long to return to Afghanistan permanently. As promised during the election, chances are that immigrant students, Muslims, Mexicans and other ethnic groups may be sent back to where we initially came from.

Read More

Thanksgiving 2016: Mixed family, mixed feelings

Thanksgiving 2016: Mixed family, mixed feelings

With only a few weeks left in the semester, I’m sure I’m not the only one who needed a vacation but then I had to fly to California to deal with Thanksgiving in a mixed family.

Coming from a “mixed family” can mean many different things. In this case, my family is mixed in more than one way.

My parents have been divorced for about eight years. Being part of a separated family puts you in the situation of splitting holidays, since you want to facilitate your time evenly.

Yet the divorce wasn’t my first taste of mixed family life during the holidays.

My racial makeup is roughly half Caucasian, a quarter Latino and a quarter Arabic.

Read More

Finding complexity

Finding complexity

It wasn’t my parents I feared most but rather the things I knew they couldn’t protect me from. They never asked me to define myself in any certain way and never pushed it to happen sooner than I was ready. But even their unconditional love couldn’t prepare me. 

Back then, what lined my nightmares (and gym class) was isolation. What lined my day-to-day stagnation of survival was the intentions of well-meaning people. Though I’m now 20 and have been removed from a high school environment for several years, I’ve still been searching for the means to move on. 

Last night I was in a queer space. The kind filled with otherness and light, embodying passion and strength. I left realizing my assumptions of recovery had been flawed. It never differentiated itself to me, the concept of it ‘getting better.’ I’d always been torn between hating that concept and relying on it to make it through. Being with friends and community members while eating Domino's pizza reinvigorated the part of me that wondered what my time ‘in the closet’ had meant. It was okay. I was okay. We were all some radical form of okay.

Read More