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  • Carson
    Sep 29 2015

    Guest Column: What is Dr. Ben Carson Talking About?

    Rupert W. Nacoste, Ph.D.

    When Pope Francis arrived in the U.S. he was warmly and respectfully greeted by President Barack Obama. Seeing Pope Francis on American soil should remind us that Americans once were afraid to have a Catholic as our President. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, had to over and over again highlight his belief in the separation of church and state.

     Verbal expression of resistance to an American President being a Catholic was religious bigotry. The same goes for expressions about an American Muslim. Dr. Ben Carson was an outstanding, groundbreaking neurosurgeon; he is not outstanding as a political leader. In public, Dr. Carson firmly said no American Muslim should ever be “…allowed” to be President. Anyone running for President should know that the U.S. Constitution says that “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    Ben Carson’s statement then, is not a part of our American political structure; it is religious bigotry.  Yet Dr. Carson has been surprised by the objections to his statement about Muslim American citizens. He is surprised because his is a primal bigotry. It is a prejudiced belief so firmly and confidently held that the person does not understand how anyone would disagree or be repulsed by that bigotry. Bigotry can be about any group.  Nowadays too many are confused about that fact. Anybody, you see, can be a bigot. Skin-color does not prevent or absolve bigotry.   

     That is why talking about racism at the individual-psychological level is inaccurate, misleading and confusing. Yes, there has been a long, painful history of racism in America. Yes, there continues to be pockets and remnants of racism in America. But racism is a system of institutional and organizational patterns of law, policy and action that support individual prejudice and bigotry. Through the Civil Rights Movement’s grass root protests and legal challenges based on our Constitution, we have successfully attacked and dismantled the systems of racism, sexism and gender-ism. If we had not, someone who tried to violate the Supreme Court’s rulings on unconstitutional (racial, gender, religious, sexual-orientation) discrimination would not end up in jail like Kim Davis did.

     Talking about racism as if it occurs at the individual-psychological level is what has led some to try to absolve black people as a (once) racially oppressed people, of being able to have racial prejudice that can be expressed in verbal, nonverbal, and other behaviors (bigotry). Yet skin-color does not eliminate the possibility of bigotry coming from members of any group. When it comes to individual’s feelings about people from different groups, bigotry can come from anyone; there are no innocent.

     Social psychologists, like me, have analyzed intergroup tensions this way since the 1954 publication of Gordon Allport’s classic book, “The Nature of Prejudice”; prejudice is not bigotry; bigotry is not racism.  Back then discussions of bigotry focused mostly on race-relations, but now the issues of intergroup tension are multi-dimensional.  In today’s age of neo-diversity, there are so many American groups that individuals can feel prejudice towards; homosexuals, Muslims, transgendered persons, Christians, women, persons with visible bodily-conditions, military veterans, persons with mental-health conditions, interracial-couples, and on and on. Neo-diversity gives all us individuals lots of targets for expressions of anti-group feelings (prejudice) that can be expressed in behavior (bigotry). Especially in that neo-diversity context, anyone can be a bigot. Any college-educated person who believes that skin-color prevents bigotry has been miseducated. Ben Carson is just one example of an apparently upstanding person, who happens to be black, being a religious-bigot.

    Dr. Rupert Nacoste is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Psychology

    Dr. Rupert Nacoste is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Psychology and author of “Taking on Diversity: How we can move from anxiety to respect.”

    Sep 23 2015

    Helicopter Parents: How close are they hovering?

    Threa Almontaser | Correspondent

    A strange play-on-words to describe a parent figure that constantly ‘hovers’ over you. We’ve all faced them at some point in our lives. If not, you most likely have that one friend that isn’t able to spontaneously go out because they have to practically set up a business meeting a week prior with their parents to beg, plead, and do extra chores, before they’re finally allowed out (with a ridiculously early curfew).

    There are many different levels of helicopter parents, from the level 20 extra stern, can’t-even-walk-to-the-mailbox-without-holding-their-hand parents to the level 8 ‘it’s cool, you can go out after I get everyone’s numbers, parents numbers, and background check each ‘friend’ parents. You may think those are equal levels of stringent parents, but trust me when I say they aren’t. It’s socially and globally understood that one’s culture and religion play a huge role in how much noise a parent’s ‘hovering’ can make, whether it be constantly loud to the point that you can’t hear your own thoughts, or just a mild background noise that only gets blasted on certain occasions.

    Multicultural counselor and psychologist Dr. P.J. Adams at the NC State Counseling center agrees. “In many cases, we receive messages about parenting from our own family and from how our family specifically expresses the cultural values of the larger group. Two families who may share the same culture may express those values differently in their own family system.” He goes on to add, “Some families may be perceived as being more “strict” than others, but it’s important to remember that what is considered strict or not is subjective and often culturally grounded. We should be careful not to associate “strict” and “lenient” with negative/unhealthy and positive/healthy.”  According to Dr. Adams, helicopter parenting has more to do with “the anxieties of parents related to the potential success or failure of their child’s future.”

    Overbearing parents are real and terrifying, especially when you finally leave the nest as a college freshman. Some of us get out lucky like Thomas Reed, a zoology freshman here at State. He says he never got any specific rules to strictly follow, with only one call-in when he started getting settled into his dorm. He already has two older sisters in college, so his parents were already used to the whole ordeal of letting their ‘babies’ go off alone.

    This wasn’t the case for Sree Patel a senior in business administration. When she first started off at State as a business major pup, her parent made sure the rules were set down. She wasn’t allowed to dorm, so her dad wasn’t too worried on that front. But he made sure she got nothing below a 3.5 GPA, putting her entire effort and concentration into all that she did. And when she wanted to study abroad in Europe, she knew her dad would never send her off so far away unsupervised. Fortunately, he started to reminisce about his college trip to Germany at the last minute, when he then allowed her to send in the application the night before it was due (not without a list of rules to follow, of course.)

    Don’t freak out- there’s plenty of help and support if you’re dealing with severely firm guardians as you start off your years here at State. Dr. Adams and other mental health professionals at the counseling center can help with that. They’ll make sure to observe your situation in a way that is culturally sensitive to you–the answer has never been a universal one. The counselors and therapists are well-trained to deal with different backgrounds of students. This enables them to find the best path to help you separate yourself from family as an individual in a fitting, cultural way.

  • Sep 23 2015

    How to get away with excellence

    Jillian Smith | Staff Writer

    On September 20, history was made as Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to take home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

    Davis won for her role in “How to Get Away With Murder,” an ABC drama in which she plays Annalise Keating, a brilliant criminal defense lawyer and professor.

    This was a major stride for African-American women, considering that the only other black woman to receive an Emmy for leading actress was Isabel Sanford in 1981. She won for her role in the comedy series “The Jeffersons.”

    While many more doors have been opened for black women in film, television has been a different battle considering the lack of leading roles available.

    “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis said during her speech. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So, here’s to all the writers, the awesome people…People who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.”

    To you Viola, we say congratulations, and thank you. Thank you for breaking down one more barrier and opening one more door, allowing a new light to shine on our culture.


  • Cancel_Netflix
    Sep 10 2015


    VERNON HOLMAN | Staff Writer

    What is the college experience? An experience of juggling professionalism, academic pursuits, and self growth while dealing with different personalities on social and intimate levels.
    One aspect of this experience students have different views on are the stages of a relationship.
    With students living in very close proximity to one another, having a lot of activities going on, and maturing themselves, relationships are often ambiguous and confusing.
    Questions often come up such as, are we dating? When will we be in a relationship? Are we already in a relationship? Do I even want to be in a relationship? If we haven’t said we’re together… then I’m still single, right? Maybe I’m too young and busy for a relationship, can we just watch Netflix and chill? In an attempt to understand the dating scene of NC State, I asked a handful of students about relationships.
    “Few people are a hundred percent serious about the people they are ‘dating’ on campus,” said Brayndon
    Stafford a senior majoring in enviormental sciences.
    “I feel most people don’t want to take you on a date, rather they’re fine hanging out at home, and with this being the case dating sometimes never occurs,” said senior Gabby Murphy.
    Talking defines one of the earliest stages in a relationship to some students, which might lead to dating.
    According to, Nortee Louder a junior majoring in textile enginering, “talking is when you’re getting to know someone … it’s known that you want to be together so you’re working towards that.”
    Stafford and Josh Williams a junior majoring in accounting, disagree. According to Williams, talking is “testing the waters before you make something serious.”
    Some might side with Louder and others with Williams. Opinions can differ on whether going on a date is considered to be talking to someone.
    “You can go on a date with someone you’re talking to, and then when it’s more exclusive and more committed I consider it dating… going together is the same
    thing as dating to me,” said Jaia Greene a junior majoring in nuclear. In contrast, Williams believes that dating and talking are the same thing.
    Even the idea of how exclusivity is established varies.
    There’s a belief that exclusivity is understood, while others say it needs to be directly asked about. However, asking can be confusing because of the conflicting ideology of dating versus taking among students.
    Some feel that a verbal contract has to be established on how one can communicate with members outside the relationship.
    It’s easy to become confused in relationships during college, I became confused just trying to decipher people’s interpretations when questioned.
    I’ve found out that the only way to truly know where you lie is to communicate and find out where exactly you lie, because in college life relationships can be ambiguous more often than not.