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aria

I am a young writer and poet with the strong conviction that young people can and will change society to be a more fair and positive place. I aim to engage young people in the conversations we are often shut out of or choose to be absent from. My faith in young people sparks my creativity and energizes me to produce art that I hope will inspire other young people.

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How Soul Food is at the Heart of Our Culture

I spent the past weekend in Georgia, Macon to be exact. It was my first real experience being down in the South (besides being stuck in the Atlanta airport for 3 hours) and one I will honestly never forget. Of course the high 80 degree weather kept me smiling the whole weekend, although it couldn’t […]

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Gendered Toys and the Effect They Can Have on Kids

As I babysat for a three-year old boy last night, I admired the way he played so carefree. I reflected on how playing is a child’s only real duty – with the exception of eating and sleeping. When I asked him what he did at school that day, he answered “played”, with the sort of […]

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The Idealization and Demonization of Blacks: How it Affects Us

Blacks in American society have been understood in either demonizing or idealizing ways as represented in society or the media. Some blacks are idealized for their “coolness”, sexuality, beauty and athleticism. On the other hand, others are demonized as being lazy, sexual monsters, ugly and animalistic. It seems that when a black person has something […]

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Hooked on Ebonics: the controversy that swirls around this “language”

I was shocked to recently learn about the Oakland, California school board’s 1996 decision to classify Ebonics as the official language of its African American students. At the mere age of four, I was ignorant to the political and social controversy this decision stirred up nationwide. Now, at 19, I can understand the problematic implications […]

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The Black Matriarchal System: A Common Culprit in the Black Community

For decades, the existence of the black “matriarchy” has been studied, scrutinized and depicted in an effort to understand its causes and effects on the black family system. The term is contestable because while some schools of thought determine there is no black matriarchy, others who believe the matriarchy is the cause for the issues […]

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LGBT Tolerance in the Black Community: Have We Turned our Backs?

When my mom first told me she was a lesbian, I was 16 years old and in my Junior year of high school. I remember she asked my older sister and me to come into the living room because she wanted to talk. She looked so serious and slightly concerned that my best guess was […]

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What Women’s Magazines Are Really Saying: You Need A Boyfriend

It was from television shows that I learned men leave for work to make money as women stay home to take care of the children. It was from movies that I learned women play the victim as men come to their rescue. And it was from magazines that I learned women need certain products and […]

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Are We as Liberal as We Like to Believe?

Within the black community, many critics would answer with a surprising “no”. Historically, African Americans especially since the Civil Rights Movement have been loyal to the Democratic Party for its social welfare programs and professed strife for equality. However, as Ron Christie, Republican strategist and former special assistant to President George W. Bush puts it […]

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Can a Black Name Affect Your Dating Life?

In January, I posed the controversial question, “What is the effect of a ‘black’ name in America?” I explained the effect that “black” names can have on job searches, finding that black named applicants wait an average of 15 weeks to find a job while white named applicants wait 10. I now question the effect […]

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One Ohio School Is Paying Kids to Stay in Class

I recently learned of a charter high school, Dohn Community High School, in Ohio that actually PAYS its students to attend. Seniors can receive $25 a week while younger students receive $10 a week in VISA gift cards for coming to class every day, beingon time and behaving well. $5 of the weekly amount is […]

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