Week 12: Invisible Users


In Jenna Burrell’s Invisible Users, Burrell relates the rise of the usage of internet cafes in Ghanaian youth to their cultural and non-elitist status. She describes, with much detail, the conditions of these “invisible users” both inside the internet cafes and outside in their impoverished towns. Burrell explains how their social and economic barriers make using the internet more difficult for them; their inequality offline affects their equality online. However, although this inequality can manifest itself online, through internet usage these young Ghanaians can pursue a sense of equality that before seemed so unattainable. Continue reading Week 12: Invisible Users


Devin Gardner: A “CLASS” Act

If indeed a picture is worth a thousand words, the following image may sufficiently replace all of the positive descriptors and superlatives that come to mind when describing University of Michigan football player Devin Gardner. Words like gifted, dedicated, resilient, humble, and genuine to start with.

Devin Gardner consoling an injured J.T Barrett

When Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett suffered a fractured ankle during the 4th quarter of the November 29th Michigan/OSU game, Devin Gardner quickly came to the side of the injured rival. As a University of Michigan student and fan, I could not have been prouder to be represented by a student-athlete who shows such sportsmanship. Few who know anything about Gardner were surprised by his actions and even die-hard OSU fans praised his empathetic reaction. Dave Claborn, Director of Development and Community Relations for OSU sent this letter of gratitude.

Continue reading Devin Gardner: A “CLASS” Act

St. Louis Rams: Jocks for Justice

In response to the most heated and controversial issue in the US right now, the murders of unarmed black men by white police officers, protests have taken many forms.  Violent riots broke out in Ferguson, MO as after Darren Wilson had not be indicted.  After the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, Al Sharpton arranged a more peaceful protest, a national march in Washington DC.  Even those who didn’t physically participate in demonstrations still voiced their opinions via social media; the hash tag #blacklivesmatter began trending on Twitter.  While obviously looting stores and violent demonstrations don’t solve anything, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should be allowed to voice this opinion if not inflicting harm on others.  However, last Sunday, when St. Louis Rams players made a grand gesture during player introductions, there was a lot of outrage. Continue reading St. Louis Rams: Jocks for Justice

Letter from Birmingham to Ferguson

After Missouri police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9th, Ferguson experienced protesting continuously throughout the following weeks. The controversial issues of police brutality and racism turned many protestors violent. The grand jury ruled Darren Wilson not guilty on November 24th and that night, angry citizens surrounded the Ferguson Police Department.

What began as an angry, but nonviolent, protest intensified throughout the night until buildings were burned and businesses were looted. To fend off the violent protestors, police launched tear gas and plastic bullets into the crowd. While protests in Ferguson have not all taken such dramatic turns, this was not the first violent protest. While citizens of Ferguson maintain their right to speak out about what they perceive, or what might actually be, injustice, do they have the right to break the law while doing so? Continue reading Letter from Birmingham to Ferguson

Sports: The Importance of Fans and the Community

On Sunday October 12, I attended my very first NFL game in Cleveland, Ohio. I am from Los Angeles, so there never was a keen focus on the NFL as there is no team in the area. USC football is our version of NFL football. After going to multiple USC games, I though I had gained the feel of the live football experience. There was never really any interest in me to go to any NFL games until I got the offer from one of my new close friends at U of M. As an Ohio native and an experienced NFL fan, my friend really sold the live NFL experience to me. He explained how the intensity of the game and the fans create a unique atmosphere that can only be experienced at an NFL game. I was sold.

As my three friends and I are walking to the stadium and I look around at all the people walking alongside, raging from babies to seniors, I realize that this game is more about the city and the community than just the players on the field. People from all walks of life (socioeconomically and racially) are joined together in this special community.

A view outside the stadium from my perspective
A view outside the stadium from my perspective

I had the privilege of sitting in box seats for my very first NFL game. Given that I am a Los Angeles native and it was around 30 degrees that day, I was especially appreciative that I had a nice, warm, private room to watch this game. But, what I realized later is that the box literally kept me in a box and I was only able to witness the incredible atmosphere and interaction between the fans from afar and not actually experience it. The game was incredible, but watching all of these Browns fans rejoicing in success was an even more sensational feeling. The whole stadium was one, cheering and jeering with one big voice. The Cleveland Browns routed the rival Pittsburg Steelers 31-10, putting a smile on everyone’s face as they left the stadium. Continue reading Sports: The Importance of Fans and the Community

Hes Normal, I Swear..

There are those who go with the flow, and those who go away from the flow. People who go with the flow are usually considered conformists, and those who don’t show their individuality. We see this everywhere in society. Usually it is evident in the high school scene, where the “odd- ball out” is not the one to fit in. In class, we learned and read about John Stuart Mill. He argues that a person, once introduced to the world and society around them, should express their individuality in a way that is positive for a society. There are times where things can get out of hand but lets look at an example of people who do things “differently” but in the end show Mill’s argument.

Hunter Pence being, Hunter Pence

Lets take Hunter Pence as an example. He is an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants. Dude has absolutely the most unorthodox swing and throwing motion in the MLB and maybe even in MLB history. His style of play got him to where he is today. He plays extremely hard and aggressive and plays with a swagger most people do not have. He also just looks ridiculous. In a way it is awesome to see somebody go out there, looking like that, and playing without a care in the world. This relates to Mill. Pence goes out there, doing him, and does well, plays hard, brings positive energy to the park with him and gives the people hope. Sometimes people get bored of normality. Pence brings his individuality and provides a spark for San Fran. Mill wants this kind of player. He wants somebody who acts like they want, not how society wants them to and makes a positive impact while doing it. Now, lets look at somebody who Mill might have a problem with.

Brian Bosworth, also known as ‘The Boz”. Boz was a stud football player at the University of Oklahoma. He was the calling to bring the Oklahoma team back to its glory days. He did just that. He also had this alter ego, “The Boz”. “The Boz” expressed his individuality with his actions off the field, how he talked to the media, and his crazy hair. So far, Mill would be all for Bosworth, with all of these different things about him. Now Mill would start to argue that he is bad because his actions did not reflect in a positive manner. He was arrogant, cocky, and did steroids. Mill, again, would be ideally looking for someone who can express him/ herself that does not conform to society while giving a positive image.

Brian “The Boz” Bosworth

Mill does make a good point I believe. Expressing individuality is something most people should do. As long as it makes a good impression on who you are and can benefit your community, people should avoid conforming. It would make the community more unique and also, could change the world for the good.