Food: A Taste of Tibet

Coming from a small town two hours north of Madison, I arrived here last August pondering the issue of where the best places were to eat. I didn’t need to eat at the most expensive restaurants…I would rather try something that’s entirely new and different. Up for anything, what better place to indulge in my cravings than State Street? There was just one problem. I was broke. In fact, I’m STILL broke. Luckily for me, opportunity came knocking when my sister and her boyfriend took me to A Taste of Tibet (430 State Street).

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‘Major’ Frustration? Finding a Support System Helps

“Do you ever feel confused or worried about why you chose your major?” Lianne Estrella, Student Life Intern majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering, reflects on the challenges of committing to a major and the importance of having a support system. 

We all had to make decisions in our lives. Some decisions are as simple as where to eat, but some are complicated. How do we decide what major to go into? We can jot down our interests, choose our classes, and then declare a major.  All we have to do is to do well in the class, right? Well, sometimes it’s not that easy. What if we don’t do well in our classes? Sometimes that makes us question why did I major in this again? Why is this class so hard? It makes us lose our motivation in what we’re doing.  I’ve experienced this many times in my Math class, Statics class, Dynamics class…the list can go on, but the thing that has gotten my through this grueling process is my support system.

When hitting a bump in your academic world, you should always remember where your support system and how you can enlarge it.  Whenever I felt frustrated and didn’t know what to do, I turned to my brother.  “What should I do? I’m not doing well, my GPA isn’t the best, how can I even get a job later?!”  It would be easy for him to just empathize with his little sister and say, “Everything is going to be fine, you’re a great person,” but he stepped it up a notch for me.

He referred me to his colleagues so I could email them and learn about their undergraduate experiences.  Brian Staehlin shared his journey from Electrical & Computer Engineering to Economics and then finally into Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. I found out that Anh Thu, who was a  Research Technician at Abbott,  also volunteered in the Peace Corps.  It gave me a new sense of clarity and empowerment, that whatever it is that I wanted to do in life, I could do it.  There might be bumps in the road and turns in the path, but in the end, I’ll get to where I want to be.

I’ve learned how important it is to explore options within your major and start considering your plans after graduation.  Where do I see yourself in the future? What other things do I still want to conquer? As a student, asking myself these questions help me find new ways to achieve those goals and gain support along the way. Through discovering more about myself and my major, I can expand my network. After being constantly challenged within my major, I just remind myself of my support.  I AM NOT ALONE…and neither are you 🙂

Some networking resources:

A very special shout-out to Desiree Alva, Ligaya Estrella, Sean Carino, Brian Staehlin, Anh Thu, and my Posse for being part of my support system throughout my academic career.  Who is in your support system? Who has empowered, motivated and helped you during your time as a UW-Madison student? Give them a shout-out here! 

The Color of Suspicion: Historical Racial Bias and Trayvon Martin

The ongoing investigation on the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has gained worldwide attention and an immeasurable outcry for justice.

President Obama spoke in personal terms on Martin’s behalf, referring to the slain teenager like a son of his own. Both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton delivered speeches to packed church congregations in Martin’s home state, declaring that a new battle in the fight for civil rights had begun. Martin’s parents and hundreds of protestors participated in the “Million Hoodie March” in New York City, a commemoration to Trayvon’s casual attire the night he was fatally shot. Even professional athletes like LeBron James have taken a stand.

From a surface level, the Trayvon Martin case tells the story of a malicious murder–an unarmed, black teenager followed, confronted and killed by a gun-wielding neighbor. Look below the surface and the case unveils a timeless anomaly about race, prejudice, discrimination, hate crimes and racial profiling in America. George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman who deemed Martin a suspicious character by the teenager’s attire, is not the first person to have a preconceived idea about young black men. This is also not the first time in history where a black man received unjust punishment for the color of his skin.

According to the 2006 Justice Department figures, one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34 is incarcerated. On August 28th, 1955, Emmett Till was brutally beaten and murdered for flirtatiously whistling at a white women. Recently, 20-year-old Bo Morrison was shot and killed in Slinger, Wisconsin by a white man who suspected the teen of suspicious behavior. Morrison, who was fleeing from police at a house party, hid on the man’s porch. He was completely unarmed. In each of these cases, the punishment was death. For others, it may be a lifetime of non-stop profiling and prejudice. Geraldo Rivera sparked much outrage after telling Fox news that being a kid of color in America is a risk and that there are instant “gangster” associations made with minorities and hooded sweatshirts.

At what point will a young black man be able to fearlessly walk down the street without the risk of bias “associations” that plague this country?  Right now, the answer seems unclear. Suspicious behavior should not have a race or color. Howard University Students for Justice group produced a video asking viewers to check their biases against black men by asking, “Do I look suspicious to you?”

As long as differences continue to exist between us, prejudice and bias thoughts might never fully be eliminated from society. The key is accepting these differences as neither right, wrong, good nor bad. These differences are unique and innate fabrics of our human species and ultimately should be praised and respected. Eliminating stereotypes and associations (African-American and criminal, teenagers and violence, minorities and hoodies) and fighting for justice may be the first step in having an equal, hate-free world.

Shelby Lewis is Communications and Technology Specialist and Student Life Intern majoring in Broadcast Journalism. 

Recommended Reading: Varieties in African American Religious Expression

Dr. Anthony Pinn defines black religion as the quest for complex subjectivity. Last week, Dr. Pinn gave a public talk on Body Language: Embodiment, Materiality and the Reframing of African American Religion as the kick off lecture for the R3 Symposium. Check out the live stream to hear him talk about how black bodies occupy time and space and how African American religion is about the effort to make life meaningful and ask existential and ontological questions.
 In the final installment of our recommended reading lists themed around Race, Religion, and Representation, we offer a list of books for those interested in exploring African American religious expressions including atheism, humanism, feminism, philosophies, African traditional religions, and earth-based traditions. 
  1. The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
  2. Existentia Africana: Understanding Africana Existential Thought – Lewis Gordon
  3. Reel to Real: Race, Sex, Class at the Movies  – bell hooks
  4. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations – bell hooks
  5. Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self Recovery – bell hooks
  6. Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics – bell hooks
  7. Rock My Soul: Black People and Self Esteem – bell hooks
  8. Salvation: Black People and Love – bell hooks
  9. Island Possessed – Katherine Dunham
  10. Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery – Na’im Akbar
  11. System of Dante’s Hell – LeRoi Jones
  12. The African Aesthetic – Kariamu Welsh-Asante
  13. African Christianity: An African story – Ogbu Kalu
  14. Afrocentricity – Molefi Kete Asante
  15. Selections from the Husia: Sacred Wisdom from Ancient Egypt – Maulana Karenga
  16. Autobiography of Malcolm X  – Malcolm X
  17. Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars – Sikivu Hutchinson
  18. Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism – Patricia Hill Collins
  19. Black and Not Baptist – Don Barbera
  20. The Black Humanist Experience: An Alternative to Religion – Norm Allen
  21. Portal into the Light of Truth: The First Book of Wicca for African Americans and All Seekers – Jeanine de Oya
  22. Metu Netter Volumes 1 and 2 – Ra Un Neffer Amen
  23. Sacred Woman:  A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit – Queen Afua
  24. Master Book of Candle Burning – Henry Gamache
  25. Black Magic – Yvonne Chireau
  26. Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money and Success – Tayannah Lee McQuillar
  27. Jambalaya – Luisah Teish
  28. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica – Zora Neal Hurston

Related posts:

Health Tips: Easy Exercises for Building Muscle

Busy with midterms or not interested in fighting the crowds at the SERF? With spring break just a little more than a week away, here are some fundamental exercises to build muscle and definition that you can do at home and can easily be implemented into your daily routine.  First, picture your body as composed of three different sections: your upper body (everything from the chest up), mid-section (your abdomen), and the lower body (everything from the waist down).

Upper Body – Push Ups:  Push ups force your body to balance itself, requiring muscle engagement from your arms, chest, shoulders, and even your core.  To use your back and neck muscles, you can do wide armed push ups to create more of an emphasis on those muscle groups.

Good Push Up Form: 1. Lay facedown on the ground with your feet together. 2. Prop yourself up on your hands and toes. 3. Place hands directly below your shoulders for standard push ups OR slightly outside your shoulder length for wide armed push ups 4. Make sure your body is in a straight line from shoulders to heels. 5. Now, you are ready to lower yourself to the floor and push back to the starting position.  Remember to not arch or slouch your torso! Continue reading

Music: A Brief Intro to Drum ‘N’ Bass

Drum ‘N’ Bass is a sub group of dubstep with sanguine beats that started during the 1990s in the United Kingdom. I love it because it can be light on its feet or it can be similar to heavier dubstep.  For those of you new to the genre, here is a quick list of artists to check out.

Netsky is by far my favorite DJ with smooth beats will make anyone listening jump off their seat and dance with groove. DJ Fresh has also hit me with some great jamsCamo & Krooked will make you start dancing because they can be pretty ridiculousLondon Electricity is smooth, fast and upbeat.  If the song Just One Second (Apex Remix) were a person, they would be decisive, clear minded, and suave.

Other great DJs are: B-ComplexChase & StatusAndy CDJ HypeNero, and Skynet. Also, check out DJ Okibi, a dubstep DJ with a hip hop tradition. Already listening to Drum ‘N’ Bass?  What are some of your favorite songs?

Related posts for music lovers:

Is God a White Racist? and other Scholarly Books on African American Christian Theologies

As a continuation of our themed book list series intersecting faith and social justice, we compiled another reading list for those specifically interested in African American Christian theologies and traditions.
  1. Is God a White Racist?: A Preamble to Black Theology  by William R. Jones is landmark critique of the black church’s treatment of evil and the nature of suffering.
  2. Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk  by Delores Williams uses the image of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael who was cast into the wilderness by Abraham and Sarah as a prototype for African American women
  3. Black Theology and Black Power by James Cone is an essential read for understanding Black Liberation
  4. A Black Theology of Liberation by James Cone offers a searing indictment of white theology and society
  5. God of the Oppressed by James Cone reflects on God, Jesus, suffering, and liberation and relates the gospel message to the experience of the black community
  6. Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice
  7. White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus by Jacqueline Grant proposes a womanist theology and christology that emerge from and are adequate to the reality of contemporary Black women
  8. Beyond Ontological Blackness: An Essay on African American Religious and Cultural Criticism by Victor Anderson is a thoughtful critique of contemporary African American cultural, political, and religious thought.
  9. Handbook of Unites States Theologies of Liberation by Miguel De La Torre explores the interrelationship between religion, community, and culture in the social context of marginalized groups
  10. Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective by Kelly Brown Douglass tackles the “taboo” subject of sexuality that has long been avoided by the Black church and community
  11. The Black Messiah by Albert Cleague is a presentation on black consciousness and black power by one of America’s most influential Black religious leaders
  12. Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South by Albert J. Raboteau analyzes the transformation of the African religions into evangelical Christianity Continue reading