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I spent a lot of time trying to figure out about what I would write here — how can one sum up their four years going through Princeton in the words allotted to a Daily Princetonian column? Looking back through our archives, there are any number of ways that retiring columnists have reflected on that process and thought towards the future.
My sister Maddie texted me at 10:41 a.m. “Don’t come to Nassau right now. There’s cops behind their cars with guns I can’t go outside.”
In December 2014, one of my high school classmates, Paige Stalker, was killed in a hail of gunfire on the east side of Detroit. Police reports suggest that this was a case of mistaken identity in a dispute between drug gangs. But the circumstances of the shooting are irrelevant to the outcome of the case. About 30 shots were fired in the course of the altercation. Three other teenagers riding in the car with Paige were injured. Paige was 16 years old.
Tucked into a basement at the corner of Hulfish and Witherspoon Streets is a new restaurant — Lan Ramen. It’s delicious and affordable, and I recommend that everyone check it out. When you hear a name like “Lan Ramen,” you might think that you’re going to a Japanese restaurant — ramen is Japanese, after all. But Lan Ramen isn’t a Japanese restaurant but instead Chinese. “Lan” refers to Lanzhou, the Chinese province famous for “lan zhou la mian” (兰州拉面), a certain kind of pulled noodle. Ramen, in contrast, is comprised of cut noodles. Although the origins of the ramen noodles are perhaps Chinese, apocryphally attributed to a couple of Chinese chefs in the late 19th century, the dish is now distinctly Japanese, with an entire set of cultural rituals dedicated to its consumption. The restaurant aimed to serve these kinds of Lanzhou noodles once it finished its soft opening; in the meantime, though, the restaurant served non-noodle Chinese dishes, hence affirming its decidedly Chinese culinary identity. In light of this, you might ask, why would a restaurant take on an ethnically inaccurate name?
I had just hopped on the treadmill when three of the TVs in Dillon Gymnasium lit up with the exact same press conference. President Trump’s doctor had just started answering questions about the President’s mental and physical health, and all of the major cable networks gave this press conference priority over other news.
New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait called liberal speech on campuses a “war on the liberal mind.” Conservatives frequently decry “snowflake liberals” on our college campuses. President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding to the University of California, Berkeley, over its alleged suppression of conservative speech. Here at Princeton, some go so far as to allege that the University has become a haven of left-wing groupthink. For its part, the left seems like it will tear itself apart over ideological differences — just look at the Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West feud, or the continued battles in the Democratic Party between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wings.
Incoming Undergraduate Student Government President Rachel Yee has promised to improve USG’s communication with the student community at large. Sadly, far too many students live under the mistaken impression that USG “doesn’t do anything.” My fellow columnist Jan Domingo Alsina went so far as to argue that our Undergraduate Student Government members were nothing but “glorified social event organizers” — and that there was nothing inherently political about the position.
To the Princeton community and administration,
I've wondered what I would write in this column. What would I have told myself three years ago, in the summer of 2014? It feels like so long ago now that I was a starry-eyed prefrosh trying to figure out which classes I’d take, where I’d live, or what clubs I’d join.
Last month, the news broke that an imprint of Simon and Schuster had inked a publishing deal for Milo Yiannopoulos’s autobiography, "Dangerous." Yiannopoulos is an editor of Breitbart News, a conservative news site that has been condemned for publishing anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynistic articles. The Simon and Schuster deal has attracted plenty of outrage, as have many news stories involving Yiannopoulos. The Chicago Review of Books has vowed not to review a single book published by Simon and Schuster as long as Yiannopoulos’s deal is in effect. Many leftist groups have called for an outright boycott of the publisher, to be maintained until the book deal is rescinded.
I’ll admit that I felt very conflicted about President Eisgruber’s statement about the call to declare Princeton a “sanctuary campus,” or a campus that would not voluntarily assist federal immigration officials in the deportation of undocumented faculty, students, and staff. Normatively, I think that he is wrong. Recognizing that I speak from a position of privilege when speaking about citizenship as a natural-born U.S. citizen, I believe strongly in the rights of undocumented immigrants and the need for us to protect undocumented students in our University community and beyond.
It seems that I’m often writing about incidents on Facebook these days; perhaps this means that I’m spending too much time on Facebook, or it might just mean that more of our discourse has shifted out of the campus sphere and onto social media.
Last week, Asian-American social media erupted with outrage over a story recounted by New York Times reporter Michael Luo. While walking from church to lunch with his family, he ran into a woman on the street who angrily yelled at him, “Go back to China!”
Editor’s Note: This article does not representthe views of the ‘Prince’.
For the past few weeks, day in and day out, there has been a man waging a singularbattle in support of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by FitzRandolph Gate or the Alexander Street entrance to the towpath. Armed with a “Make America Great Again” sign and a Starbucks Frappuccino, he attempts to convert students and community members to his cause. He is steadfast in his convictions and firmly believes what he is doing is right. He is subject to all manner of hostility and vitriol from students and members of the community, but he continues his one-man protest anyway. This is a very real, flesh-and-blood person. Yet, based on the way he is discussed on this campus, he might as well be a mystical unicorn. For example, The Tab published an article titled “There was a Trump supporter campaigning outside FitzRandolph today,” as if to suggest that having a Trump supporter on campus should be utterly bizarre. And that attitude is indicative of larger issues in political culture on our campus and beyond this election season.
The discussion of cultural appropriation seems to have hit a fever pitch in American cultural discourse, with a flurry of outrage prompted by every alleged transgression. The discussion of food can strike a particular nerve with its intersection of race, culture, and prejudice, and that’s precisely what happened when last week, a Bon Appétit article originally titled “PSA: This is How You Should be Eating Pho,” kicked off a yet another controversy about authenticity and cultural appropriation, specifically within the Asian-American community. In its original form, the article showcased a white Philadelphia chef, Tyler Akin, discussing what he believed to be the proper way to enjoy a bowl of pho, a traditionally Vietnamese noodle soup. Among other things, he demonstrated what he believed was the proper way to pick up noodles with chopsticks and enjoy the rich soup broth. Following the ensuing online opprobrium, Bon Appétit issued an apology, changed the title of the article, and took down the accompanying video. Though the condescending tone of the original article was certainly objectionable, the much more interesting conversation that ensued revolved around the issue of cultural authenticity.
It is one thing to take to the streets in protest of social inequality, but another to advocate for change using existing institutions. Looking back at the Democratic National Convention, there seemed to be a lot of unhappy people on the floor of the DNC and in the streets of Philadelphia after Bernie Sanders conceded the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. In a recent New Republic article, Emmett Rensin wrote about how many of these Sanders supporters “valued something, and lost it. They believed in something, and have seen it frustrated. They now believe, and perhaps rightly so, that this loss will bring more pain to themselves and others, will make the world worse than it might have been.”
By the time you read this column, the pastel-colored destruction wrought by Lawnparties will have been cleaned up, and the throbbing pulse of the bands will have already faded away. Amidst the fun of the concerts, it can be easy to overlook the actual lyrical content or the background of any of the performers, however, I argue that Lawnparties this year was particularly significant for its selection of CHVRCHES as its headliner, especially in light of Big Sean’s selection last spring.
Last week, I was able to attend a lecture by Jose Antonio Vargas, an immigration rights activist and journalist. Despite the casual air of the event and the enthusiasm of the crowd, the event came with a powerful message: No human being is illegal. Vargas’s point was indicative of a larger problem in American politics about the human ramifications of policy decisions, and the lack thereof in most reporting about immigration.
In their response to my column, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education continues their fight against straw men in the supposed battle over free speech in higher education. I acknowledge that I misstatedin my previous columnthe section of “Rights, Rules, Responsibilities” that FIRE specifically objects to, but the fact remains that Princeton is not and will not be enforcing those speech policies in the way that FIRE believes it could. First, in practice, the University’s speech policies aren’t used as a way to restrict discussions during class or “trash-talking in an intramural sports game.” It’s patently ridiculous to claim that the University or students use the policies in that way. They don’t. With regard to FIRE’s hypothetical critique of the Black Justice League, section 2.5 of "Rights, Rules, Responsibilities" requires any disciplinary action by the University to go through an extensive, rigorous process that calls for “clear and persuasive” evidence and offers the possibility of an appeal. Even if a student were to raise the issue of the BJL, it’s incredibly unlikely that this would pass the test of being “threatening” or “intimidating,” whereas a group of white supremacist Neo-Nazis is, well, just that.