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Opinion

To Be Canceled, or Not To Be Canceled

The argument over political correctness on social media has reached its highest point yet.

Dateline January 8, 2021: The outgoing President of the United States of America, Donald John Trump, is officially banned from his Twitter account…after being accused of inciting the insurrection which occurred at the Capitol just days earlier…where and when, thousands marched on the Capitol in objection to the certification of the electoral college. Politico among other news organizations termed it as a “coup attempt.” And of course, following the insurrection, Trump wasn’t just banned from Twitter. He was also banned from virtually every other major social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Reddit, YouTube and even Pinterest.


If the sitting President of the United States can be essentially shut off from social media, it demonstrates something creepily true: You can have 80 million followers, you can be leader of the free world, and EVEN YOU aren’t exempt from a full social media ban. The ban on Donald Trump is much larger than him as an individual alone. It touches on one of the most heated issues of our times: political correctness.

After social media accounts were restricted in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wore a “Censored” mask while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hyphen Staff Photo
After social media accounts were restricted in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wore a “Censored” mask while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hyphen Staff Photo


The definition of political correctness, according to Oxford, is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” And here comes the catch: While Donald Trump has been “politically incorrect” quite a few times, he’s often been left off the hook, but this time his words didn’t fit the definition of “political correctness.” His words incited “an insurrection,” according to these big tech giants. The controversy the bans bring is pretty explicit in terms of opening the debate for the new question: how far should political correctness go? So here, we’re going to take a look at the history of political correctness, the pro and con arguments supporting it and opposing it (respectively), and why this could have huge ripple effects on the ways you might use social media.


When the term “political correctness” came into common usage in the 1970s (when it was mentioned in a novel), it was really a term of ridicule relating to taboo subjects. The history of political correctness is really summed up by an article written by Richard Bernstein for the New York Times more than 30 years ago. In the article, Bernstein stated, “across the country the term p.c., as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities.” In the same article, Bernstein explained, “The term `politically correct,’ with its suggestion of Stalinist orthodoxy, is spoken more with irony and disapproval than with reverence.”


At that time, if you were politically correct, it meant you were careful not to offend anyone or adopt opinions that may be dismal to other individuals. Colleges were termed as politically correct by conservatives. They accused colleges of “brainwashing” and “subjecting” their general opinions on students, leaving no room for open-minded and objective opinions. Of course, some (or many) of these opinions were in one way or another, offensive.


Today is a much different case. With the introduction of social media, people who didn’t like being “politically correct” gained an entire world wide web to surf upon. From here, it got bigger and bigger. Now anyone could be a conservative talk show host, you could share your opinion with all of your delight. You could now create profiles with different names and some profile pictures of deceased politicians and hawks, engaging in banter of all sorts.


These opinions aren’t just hidden in the dark outer reaches of the internet. They’re everywhere. I discovered this myself when using discord for coding. In various chats, individuals would be discussing why the holocaust was justified. I experimented, heading to disboard.org, (the place to get advertised discord server links), and I ended up finding multiple discord servers of a Nazi background. It got worse. I even found a white supremacist discord server, riddled with memes supporting the KKK, and mentions of streaming “Birth of a Nation,” a 1915 silent-film which portrays the KKK as heroes. And guess what? The non-white population is termed as “an attack on society” and the remnant evil which remains. This is outrageously racist. Of course, the server was deleted not long after for promoting the alt-right conspiracy theory known as “QAnon.” But that’s just discord, a friendly app which lets you create servers for multiple topics and variations. Close it down in one place and it pops up in another, like an internet version of whack-a-mole.


In thousands of forums all the way to the corners of the internet, the alt-right lives. But what I’m mentioning only scratches the surface.


There’s no place for this in today’s society. These opinions are racially charged and one of the highest levels of harassment. People and companies who stand up against such opinions shouldn’t be chided for being “politically correct.” They should be lauded for their efforts. They should be commended for showing respect for other human beings. They should be held up as the voice of reason rather than the voice of hate.

By Yousaf Quereshi

Categories
Opinion

What Do You Want More: Money or Happiness?

It isn’t uncommon to hear the saying, “Money can’t buy you happiness.”  Is this really true? We decided to ask readers of The Hyphen what they think. On an Instagram poll with 32 respondents, 25 said they would choose happiness over money, while the
other seven chose money. Some people say for a successful life you need both happiness and money. Stability is not just present in someone’s life, one way or the other.

Sophomore Claire Storz said, “I want happiness because that is the only thing money can’t buy. I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and sad.” Storz also noted that the whole ordeal is also situational. In fact some people who have an abundance of money can find happiness through donating to charities, or taking care of a family, adopting, running an organization to help real people, etc.

Money can only get you so many places, when you get to much of it, it can bring out the worst in you and the people you associate with. Once you have everything there is nothing to strive for, nor anything left to get. It can drive you insane knowing that you are just stuck in space, with a life controlled by what is in your bank account without a bit of happiness.

On the other hand, some people say that money does indeed create a sense of happiness. Sophomore Dustin Liston said, “I have a lot of great ideas that can bring others happiness but it requires a lot of money.”

With this statement he describes he wants to help others and that would bring
him happiness. Money is something people need to support themselves and others.
According to givingusa.org, in 2017 $390.05 billion was donated in just that year.  People who have a lot of money are big contributors to nonprofit organizations. It is said that giving to others will make you more happy, so through donation and assisting others you can bring yourself happiness.

In a life with happiness you could be poor and make the best out of your life. Strive daily to try to get somewhere to better your life. If you live a life where you do not love your job, it always feels like work. If you truly enjoy your job, you will never feel like you are at work a day in your life.

Categories
Opinion

Opinion: The Flaw in FAFSA

The student aid application process has a fatal flaw: it presumes if parents CAN help with college costs that they WILL help with college costs.

Thinking about college can be extremely stressful. Not just the anxiety that comes with an unknown future, but something even more nerve wracking… money.

bellamadAs we all know, seniors or not, college can be very expensive. With scholarships, however, a lot of weight can be taken off your shoulders. But here’s the problem, how do you get scholarships if your parents make an above average amount of money? Most of the time, you don’t. And I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why would you need a scholarship if your parents make a lot of money?”

Well, not everyone whose parents make a decent amount of money actually gets help from their parents when it comes to paying for college. That seems to be the situation that a lot of students here at Jeffersonville High School are experiencing.

That little question concerning parent income included in scholarship applications assumes parents will aid financially with college, but that is not always an accurate assumption. Of course, they have scholarships for all different kinds of things that don’t require information about your parent’s yearly earnings.

If you’re a senior, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be a big help, but only if you qualify. Part of the application asks you what your parents’ annual income is, which is the dreaded question for those whose parents are well-off.

No one ever complains that their parents “make too much money” until it comes to paying for college. It practically takes you out of the running for these types of things, and that is absolutely awful if you’re one of those students whose parents aren’t contributing.

According to the Indiana Financial Aid and Activity Program Report from the 2013-2014 school year, “…financial need is equal to the cost of tuition and fees minus the expected contribution of the student and his or her family.” This sounds great, truly need-based, but I have yet to run into a scholarship application that asks for income as well as how much support you are receiving from your parents financially.

As reported by the 2017 Indiana College Readiness Report, out of the 456 students that graduated from Jeff High in 2017, only 40 of those students were 21st century scholars. The 21st century scholarship program offers Indiana students a chance to get up to four years of fully paid tuition at multiple Indiana colleges. However, this only applies to students whose family income does not exceed $45,000 (for a family of 4). Who says those parents aren’t providing more financial help than parents who make more than that?

People tend to expect that when your parents make a lot of money, you don’t have to worry about college debt – but that’s not really how it works. Bigger paychecks tend to mean bigger bills. This means that even parents that make a lot of money don’t have enough to save for their children’s college tuition by the time all the bills have been paid.

What can we do? We could just make college kids rack up more and more student debt over the years, or we could get rid of that sickening question and give scholarships based on actual need, not assumed need.

Written by Kristen Jacobs

Categories
News Opinion

Speaking of Labels…What’s the Q+ About?

For many years, people used the term “LGBT” to describe the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender community. In recent years, you might have noticed a new addition at the end: “Q+”. The Q+ is meant to be more inclusive of people who identify with something that’s not in the traditional LGBT framework (such as Asexual
and Pansexual).

While it might not seem like a big deal, the distinction is important to many people —
and has actually become a hotly debated issue. A Jeff High student who wanted to be anonymous for this story says the Q+ isn’t needed: “Trans covers FTM (female to male), MTF (male to female), and non-binary (the feeling of being genderless). Lesbian and Gay cover that, and Bi covers Pan so that’s about it.”

On the other side is Amber Walker, a Jeff High student who prefers the Q+ addition because “Personally, I feel that there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that don’t fit into just four labels.”

On a recent Instagram poll, the votes for the acronym LGBT was just one person while the votes for LGBTQ+ were 17 people. Most of those polled were from the area, but some were not. An LGBTQ+ community member who voted is from a country where being a part of the community is looked down upon and it is illegal to attend Pride festivals and have samesex marriage without punishment.

Is this debate pointless? While representation is important, the LGBTQ+ community, whether you believe in the Q+ or not, is an accepting community for those of different sexualities and genders. Even though LGBTQ+ won our poll, your opinion is your opinion as long as you aren’t hurting anyone with it.

Categories
Opinion

Me Oh My! Xe, Xir, Zye!

When you hear “them” what do you think? Most will think that use of “they” means multiple people. There are occasions where this is no longer the case. They is a pronoun used for someone of unspecified gender, or in some cases, someone who doesn’t identify with a gender at all. They/them pronouns are often used when someone is non-binary and/or agender. Being non-binary is when someone identifies out of the male/female dichotomy, in other words, are outside of the binary. While he/him and she/her are specifically gendered to male and female, they/them pronouns are not.

There is a debate brewing in queer and non-queer spaces about pronouns. “How much meaning should we prescribe to them?” “Are he/him lesbians valid?” You hear the murmurs of these questions constantly. 

Pronouns are sensitive, as they relate exactly to identity. The singular they has been around for centuries. The works of William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen and William Thackeray all include a singular they. However, now this use of singular they has come into question. Why has this use of singular they become controversial? The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides this answer to the question of if you can use a singular they; “The use of they, their, them, and themselves as pronouns of indefinite gender and indefinite number is well established in speech and writing.”

Then it comes to neo-pronouns. These new pronouns take on lists, the time of creation spanning from the early 1970s to yesterday. Ey/em pronouns were introduced to the queer scene in 1973, as an alternative to binary pronouns, plural, or “object” pronouns (it/its.) The queer disconnect from binary is something inherent and unique to queer spaces: the grotesque, the tacky, the beautiful, all smashed together in a revolution of beauty standards. This is apparent in the strict disregard of binary provided by the nonbinary and trans community, the butch/femme lesbian community, and the other sects of identification language in queer spaces. The pronouns are important as a badge of identity, what you call me will be what I’m most comfortable with.

Likely the reason we come to dispute these occasions of singular they, or the use of new pronouns be because this is a use in the context of queer people, and their refusal of typical gender binary. Even if you don’t want to listen to Shakespeare because language changes over time from his version of English, I pose another question: then why can’t it change now? If people are more comfortable using a different pronounーwhether it be they, he, she, or a newer oneーwhat right do we have to say, “no, this makes you more comfortable in expression, but no.” why should we be able to do that, refuse changing our language to benefit others? A simple switch of pronounsーsomething so easy we do it for dogsーwe can’t do for other people? 

Categories
News Opinion

Diversity Among Student Leaders

Diversity has become an important thing around the Jeffersonville community. The amount of diversity in our student leaders has been growing in our community and across America. As individuals, we might not always think about the diversity in our community — but across America, it is becoming more important to people’s everyday lives.

Jeffersonville High School has over 2000 students, giving us the chance to have more diverse leaders in different positions of different clubs. Since our school has so many students, I believe it is important for diversity to happen because diversity helps bring different backgrounds and cultures to our community. People from different backgrounds can bring new ideas to the table that we haven’t thought of before due to their different perspective on the world.

That is why having Amelia Epperson, who is from Australia, and Bethia Busingye, who is from Rwanda, as our student leaders on Student Council is so important to our community. They’re both from different countries, so they both have experienced different things and can offer some great new ideas to Student Council. As someone who ran for office myself (I ran for Class President for the class of 2022), I understand what might motivate someone to seek a school leadership position. I wanted to help make students’ voices be heard, help change things in the school and apply my life experiences in a way that would help others.

The fact that Bethia and Amelia are doing that, while also bringing cultural diversity to our student leadership, is icing on the cake. Some people are on the opposite side and don’t like the increasing diversity in America. The opposite side is the people who want America to stay the same and not change. One person being our president, Donald J. Trump, who has been attacking people of color in America and telling those people to go back to their countries. Diversity should not set us apart; diversity should bring us together. Schools are becoming more diverse because of the changes that are happening. The changes that are happening involve different people from different cultures that are coming to America.

As schools are becoming more diverse, the students’ leaders have become more diverse — here and around America. Increasing diversity is why Jeffersonville High School is one of the best schools in Indiana, in my opinion. We have many diverse leaders who can help the school and change the community in a big way.

The topic of diversity is becoming more important every day to us as individuals and us as students — as it should be, because it is a very important topic. Having diverse leaders is not only going to affect our community but the world as a whole. All in all, having diverse leaders is not only going to help change our community, but change the world for the better.

Opinion by: Nana Spio

Categories
Opinion

Confessions of a high school fast food worker

Dear future customers,

From a high school fast food employee:

I work part-time, full time!

Don’t get me wrong — before you make any assumptions, I’m fully aware that fast food is easy. But understand (and just a heads up for next time you see me): I have someone barking orders through my headset, customers at the front counter asking me questions I can’t hear and drinks overflowing at the machine. Not to mention all of the food being shot out the kitchen in only God knows what order.

When I forget something like putting ice in your drink or a fork on your plate, it is not a personal attack on you.

It’s Human Error!

I’m sorry, but there’s no need to have that many special instructions. If you wanted a plain salad, why didn’t you order one? Don’t ask for my manager; he’s in the back smoking and I won’t be able to find him for 20 more minutes. You’re able to yell at me and blame me for something I didn’t even cook.

Tell me that this miniscule mistake has ruined your night, and make accusations . Have my drive-through time shoot up 12 mins and let the food for the four cars behind you get cold. “I’m sorry the wait was so long; it’s my fault the entire football team came to order before you.”

The customer is always right!

We do charge extra for that! We always have, so there should be no surprise when it isn’t free. Where are your utensils? They’re in the bag, but I’ll grab you more. The register declined your card, but I’ll try four more times.

You asked for no tomato, and the kitchen put tomatoes on it? I didn’t put the tomato on it. You don’t want us to check the boxes, but you’re upset when you drove away with the wrong order. We don’t have that anymore. Yes, our menu has changed. No, I don’t know when it’s coming back.

Minimum wage for maximum work

I’ve never been more conscious of how I treat a fast food place until after I’ve had to clean one. I’ve watched as salt shakers get poured all over tables, trays and bowls stacked ridiculously high over booths. Chairs and tables knocked over. A child’s puke down over and inside the seats. Lipstick smeared on the mirrors, and bathrooms left unrecognizable after a rush.

I was one of these people that never took a second thought that someone had to clean this up after me. But now I think, maybe I shouldn’t consciously destroy or mess up something just because it’s fast food.

The power of a tip

The majority DON’T give fast food employees tips, as that’s just how society works. We’re not the tier of people you feel bad for if you don’t tip, like hairdressers or bathroom attendants.

But on the small off chance we get someone’s change leftover or even a full dollar, we will rub it in our co-workers faces for a week. Our “fast food godmother” just gifted us with extra money to buy food on break. And man, on a day before payday,  it goes so much further than you would think.

Are you satisfied with your service?

In the end, from the time we clock in to the time we clock out and everything in between, we’re human. Even though some of us only work for four hours, our real jobs start at 7 a.m. Our mind set doesn’t begin with how we can take your order, but how we’re going to be able to pay for college.

Fast food is not a reason to berate someone else or spread negativity. It’s so small and irrelevant in comparison to real problems in the world. Do not be that person. An order can be fixed; someone’s day after being yelled at won’t be.

I hope you enjoy your day!