Chauncey Bowden | Staff Writer
Pan-Afrikan week at NC State first began in 1970, making this year the 46th year anniversary of the event. It means many different things for many different people, but I’d argue that for most, it represents coming together and celebrating our history.
This years theme was “Rooted”. It is important that we stay firm in our roots, remembering the people and words that have brought us this far.
As a black student at a PWI it is natural to feel left out. I often find myself envying my friends who chose to go to HBCUs.
Their football games are different than the ones here at State. They don’t have to worry about the performer at the homecoming concert potentially being a country singer that they’ve never heard of. They may never know the feeling of walking into class on the first day and praying to God that there’s another brown person in the room.
While Pan-Afrikan week is highly regarded for its social activities, that is certainly not all that it is worth. This week represents a time of reflecting on the past, embracing the present, and looking to the future.
Pan-Africanism is “the idea that peoples of African descent have common interests and should be unified.” (Britannica) Some of the goals associated with this idea were to bring about self-awareness, unity and celebrating one’s history. Today, those sames goals and aspirations are the driving force behind Pan-Afrikan Week here at State.
Tsharre Sanders, a senior studying psychology with minors in Africana Studies and Spanish, serves as the 2015-2016 Black Students Board (BSB) Chair. BSB is a programming committee of the Union Activities Board (UAB) and is responsible for some of the signature programming that brings the African-American community together; Pan-Afrikan Week is one of those events.
“It brings together our community and gives those of us that choose to participate an outlet to celebrate our culture and history,” Sanders said.
This week is not only for current students. Alumni often come back to participate in the festivities.
Seeing former students who have not only been in my shoes, but have gone out into the world and succeeded is far more inspiring than anyone may ever know. It is almost as if seeing them is a reminder that I can go on, that I can and will succeed.
Many noted speakers such as Sister Souljah and Hasoni Imarobe have been featured during Pan-Afrikan week before. This year, Marc Lamont Hill spoke about “Fighting for Freedom in an Hour of Chaos.”
For me, Pan-Afrikan Week is my “black week of solace”. It’s my “black homecoming”. I get to see my people, my culture, and my history not only represented, but truly celebrated.
Pan-Afrikan week shows that we are here to stay and we will continue to be a strong, positive, and present force on this campus.
Nyna Nickelson | Correspondent
Why is it when thinking about sex and love, the most important person is often left out: yourself?
Sure when daydreaming we think of ourselves with that special someone doing the deed, but we hardly imagine ourselves, alone. After all real love involves another person, right? Wrong! Real love begins with YOU.
Masturbation, to most, is a dirty word reserved only for horny teenagers, tube socks in the hush hush of the night and middle-aged women on late night HBO. This stereotype could not be farther from the truth.
According to Planned Parenthood’s website, seven out of ten males masturbate and only three out of ten women do. Masturbation has been linked to improving confidence and creating a high sense of well-being for individuals.
Unfortunately, the stigma behind masturbation is more talked about than the benefits, especially for woman. While men may not always be vocal about what they do alone behind closed doors there is more of an acceptance of masturbation for them than there is in female communities.
Masturbation is often seen as a shameful act. However, masturbation is sexual autonomy.
Allowing people the express themselves sexually can facilitate positive feelings about sexual awareness and can to safer choices down the line.
Perhaps, you’re thinking something along the lines of: “I don’t need to masturbate for sex because I can get a willing participant any time I want!”
First, let’s come down off our high horse, shall we. Second, it is time to dispel the myth that masturbation equals desperation.
Masturbation is the epitome of self love and taking the time to understand one’s own body and sexual needs on a deeper level.
Sources on Planned Parenthood state, “Masturbation can enhance our physical, mental, and sexual health in addition to the health of our sexual relationships.” Those who masturbate are more likely to have greater sexual experiences and more likely to climax.
Another key point for masturbation, not that it needs much more selling, is how it helps the ability for individuals to understand their likes and dislikes before another person ever enters the bedroom.
This way, sex is less awkward when a new partner is introduced because you will be more confident, and with a little communication a pleasant and comfortable sexual experience can occur.
So go ahead and try it, the only person that has to know is you.
Anahzsa Jones | Correspondent
As a 20 year old female college student that has chosen abstinence, I know a thing or two about the subject.
It’s not the most popular decision, and it definitely isn’t a hot topic for conversation. It seems like people are no longer scared to talk about sex, they’re scared to talk about no sex. Dr. Kami Kosenko, an associate professor in communication here at NC State, noticed the silence and decided to investigate.
Back in 2014, Dr. Kosenko conducted a study to see if talking about abstinence actually helped people stay abstinent. The first thing she had to do of course, was define what abstinence is, as well as its sister term, celibacy. The two are often mentioned in the same breath, so much so that people don’t really know the difference.
According to Kosenko, “Celibacy refers to abstaining from marriage, sexual relations, or both, and it’s usually driven by one’s religious beliefs. Abstinence gets defined in various ways but is usually associated with not having sex until marriage.”
Why someone chooses to be abstinent or celibate varies from person to person, and it’s important to keep that in mind. It is also important to remember that not everything you hear or think about abstinence is the truth.
“Some common misconceptions about abstinence are that it’s not a choice (i.e., that someone isn’t attractive enough to have a sex partner so he or she has no choice but to abstain), that only religious individuals decide to abstain (when, in reality, people make the decision to abstain for various reasons), and that abstinence is unrealistic (when, in reality, many people are able to adhere to their decisions to abstain),” said Dr. Kosenko.
Responses to the choice of abstinence range from “That makes sense,” to “Bruh, couldn’t be me,” and both are understandable. I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum, those that think it’s a good decision, and those that think it’s unrealistic. I’ve been told both ‘more power to you’ and ‘you need to get laid.” Clearly, there are varying opinions on the subject.
The question becomes, in our effort to create a sexually free and tolerant society, have we created a new stigma against those who choose not engage in sexual activity? Dr. Kosenko seems to think so.
“We hope that our findings help “normalize” abstinence. In today’s society, abstinence and virginity are stigmatized, and people who decide to abstain are sometimes made fun of because of their decsion,” she said.
We live in a society where it’s okay to turn on Netflix with one hand and pull out a condom with the other, no questions asked, so of course there’s pressure on people to just go with what’s deemed “normal.” On the other hand, there’s been a real push for acceptance and conversations on topics like slut shaming and sexual assault that emphasize a person’s right to say no.
At the same time, sex has become such a norm that people have come to expect it in a relationship, so much so, that they feel they deserve to be warned of abstinence beforehand. I asked a few students if they were in a relationship and their partner told them they were abstinent, how would they respond?
“I would try to accept it, but I don’t think I would be able to unless I already had serious feelings for this person, like, I love this person. I don’t think I could do it. I think I would have to end the relationship just because having a physical connection in a relationship is very important to me,” said Rebekah Pinion, a junior studying animal science.
With responses like that, I don’t think it’s any mystery why people who are abstinent choose not to mention it. Personally, I don’t think it’s any of your business, unless I decide to make it your business, but that isn’t the world we live in.
It’s all about who you’re with and how much you want to be with them. Trevor Jenkins, a sophomore studying finance, said “Abstinent, if it was like, until marriage, I could definitely respect that. If you care about that person enough, it’s something you would respect.”
We have to find a balance between what we want and what we’re expected to want. Relationships are about both people involved, so keeping an open dialogue and communicating is incredibly important. No one wants to feel pressured, but no one wants to be blind-sided either.
Jenkins put it best in my opinion. “If sex is something someone values in a relationship, that’s just like any other factor they would need, or they feel they would need, so that’s just something you need to think about. And if that’s something that one person wants and the other person doesn’t want, then that might not be the relationship for you, and that’s perfectly fine.”
Tiera George | Correspondent
On any given day at North Carolina State University, you are bound to see hundreds of students hustling and bustling through the campus. However, what you will not see on the NC State campus is a multitude of students of color. Sprinkled in for a dash of flavor like the cayenne pepper that you can’t use too much of, you’ll find the Black, Asian, Native American and Latino students.
Since coming into college, I have heard the word diversity 352,483,000 times. Diversity was pushed at every event, orientation, and sometimes discussed as a trigger word. Although I heard all this talk, I walked onto this campus seeing very few people who looked anything like me. I was in a sea of white students trying to find little pieces of home in every black body that I encountered.
“I believe NC State takes initiative to bring in a diverse set of students, but they don’t take that same initiative to make those students feel welcome or comfortable,” said Caleb Parker, a freshman studying architecture. This statement serves perfectly as an underlying theme throughout the black majority here at NC State.
In our American society, whites are seen as “the norm” and the more that a minority student differs from this “norm,” the more secluded they often feel.
According to Spelman University Professor, Beverly Daniel Tatum, “Minorities, particularly blacks need to go through a process of establishing and affirming their racial identity by securing a community free of negative stereotype.”
This alliance offers a necessary support group, but on a campus made up of over 34,000 students with only 6.6 percent of them being African-American leaves room for misunderstanding, microagressions, discrimination, marginalization, and misrepresentation all in the name of education.
In response to Beverly Tatum’s quote, I agree that it is so refreshing to fellowship with other black souls on this campus who not only understand you, but can give you the support you need to carry on. I understand that I do not look like the majority nor do I want to, I am perfectly fine with embracing my blackness. However, the privilege of being understood more times than not is definitely one of the more underrated privileges that white students are able to bring to the table.
“I personally think that we are a diverse campus, but because we are so diverse we tend to self-segregate,” said Vaani Kaur, a junior studying both Plant Biology and Horticulture.
This statement follows suit of the earlier quote by Parker in saying that although we we have somewhat of a diverse campus, we do not foster the needs of minority students by making the campus inclusive for all to get familiar with students of other cultures, nationalities, and religions.
“We should have more opportunities for people to just mingle without a purpose and educate people on diverse issues,” said Kaur.
Again, this ties into the frustration that minority students are facing with majority students by not being knowledgeable culture or relations.