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Don’t Be A Bootlicker

By: Sheyenne White

On July 24, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that “Another stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people.” Not only is this tweet glaringly ignorant but it comes not long after the U.S exceeded four million Coronavirus cases. Although this tweet may appear innocuous, it’s anything but—as it blatantly disregards the millions of Americans suffering financially amidst the global pandemic. While millions of Americans face poverty, Musk’s wealth has grown $20 billion during the last four months alone (Forbes).

However, Elon Musk’s remarks hardly make him unique, considering he’s just one of the many billionaires that lobby, pressure and dangle donations in front of politicians in order to bring down taxes on the rich yet disparage federal welfare for the working and middle classes. Given the staggering 79% nosedive in billionaire taxes in the last four decades, it is questionable if plutocrats’ entirely predictable declarations on economic issues are even news at all (Institute For Policy Studies). Nonetheless, the jump in the sum total of U.S billionaire wealth from $240 billion in 1990 to nearly $3 trillion today demands further examination as it brings attention to the failure of American capitalism (Americans For Tax Fairness). Simply put, capitalism is dependent upon a foundation of economic subordination rooted in class inequality and social discrimination along the lines of gender, race, and citizenship status.

 The absence of institutional safety nets within American neoliberal financialized capitalism work to exacerbate such wealth disparities. In particular, many state unemployment systems are designed to make it difficult to apply for and receive aid through complicated eligibility requirements. It must be pointed out that every person a program fails to help is a reduction in the cost of that program for the state. Such needless complexity undermines the efficiency of social programs, incentivizes dysfunctionality, and offsets the cost of tax giveaways to the rich. With this in mind, we can no longer allow ourselves to be placated by empty promises of reform from establishment politicians and instead accept that the inadequate welfare infrastructure is intentional. Afterall, capitalism is an elitist political-economic system favored by both mainstream political parties.

A capitalist economy is driven by a free market in which both prices and production are dictated by corporations and private companies in competition with one another. The irony lies in the fact that capitalist innovations are publicly funded but the profits are privatized, making the exploitation of marginalized and vulnerable communities inevitable. Behind the widespread misconception that “immigrants steal American jobs,” is the sad truth that migrant labor is preferred because it coincides with neoliberal business strategies to lower costs and diminish union power. The lack of social mobility afforded by destructive capitalist forces is atrocious to say the least. With this in mind, no one can become a billionaire without exploiting other people’s underpaid or unpaid labor—making capitalism organized crime. 

It is important to note that anti-capitalism perspectives are often uncomfortable and unpleasant for Americans to consider given the capitalist propaganda we have been force fed. Afterall free-market capitalism fuels the notorious but elusive “American dream.” The idea that all Americans are provided the same opportunities for success and upward mobility given they work hard. However, in Corporate America workers are working longer hours for less pay and benefits while CEO salaries and corporate profits soar. Yet the exploitation of the working class has become normalized as many scramble to be in false class solidarity with billionaires in the desperate hopes that they too can accumulate billions. Although we’re told by the ruling and political elite that the American dream is incompatible with federal welfare for the working and middle classes, it’s the contrary. As the connotations of equality and equity behind the American dream clashes with the privatization of wealth.

As a class, billionaires exert an insidious influence on party politics and the economy as their “generous” contributions allow them to mold legislation in their favor. Considering their astute ability to protect their wealth from taxation, the burden of paying for public goods— be it healthcare, education, or housing—is increasingly shouldered by average taxpayers. It’s institutionalized theft. Upon reflection, the billionaire class is a moral abomination and must be abolished. Nonetheless, the hierarchical economic structure of capitalism remains the culprit and therefore we must first change the way our economy is organized. Capitalism derives wealth from a system of labor exploitation and concentrates wealth and power within privileged subsets of the population. The obscene hoarding of wealth in the hands of a few imperils the sanctity of our democracy as we know it. Ultimately, justice will only prevail once the laboring class reclaims the means of production.

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An Ongoing Reflection on COVID-19 from Six Feet Away

By: Christina Lee

Our world during the coronavirus pandemic is on hold, yet constantly moving.

As for me, I’ve found it difficult to harmonize my position as someone who stays home (or where I’ve been for the past two months, honestly) while I know that out there, the whole world partakes in a global fight against unprecedented circumstances. I don’t know how to reconcile the stressful but quiet stagnation of my social, academic, and work life with the dynamic bustle of the larger world as they cope with new government regulations, social issues rising to the forefront, and the glaringly global nature of the current pandemic.

As someone who is privileged enough to work and study from the comfort of my home, what I am about to express might not feel justified. I almost feel guilty for having the leisure to reflect, to point out my observations when I know that there are others occupied with holding onto life, risking their health and safety everyday. Nonetheless, I cannot help but believe that reflection might be one of the more productive things I can do as of now, to recognize lessons beyond not panic-buying toilet paper, disinfecting surfaces, and social distancing.

These lessons relate to the numerous social issues that appear unrelated to the virus at first glance but are actually relevant and quite predictable consequences to the coronavirus’s impact on our world. Only now under the guise of the effects of an unexpectedly rampant virus are we starting to shed light on some of the more headline-worthy issues—from increased numbers of daily domestic violence calls to hotlines in Colombia ever since their lockdown to one-dimensional regulations in Panama that failed to accommodate the identities of their transgender population, as well as government orders in Malaysia suggesting that housewives wear makeup and try not to nag their husbands.

The most striking aspect to these headlines are that they are all part of the process of disillusionment; we only let these social issues come to our attention now because firstly, they may give us a new way of looking at the coronavirus, but most importantly, we oftentimes fail to realize that these events actually originated from existing, systemic problems present all over the world. These problems are ingrained in our culture, yet we fail to acknowledge them until a worldwide crisis pushes our limits and the next journalist needs a headline that people will read.

We can’t find temporary interest in issues like these only because they are timely, and we certainly shouldn’t forget about these issues once the pandemic subsides. If anything, the resurgence of these topics is a sign that tells us what values and mistakes society has built up so far, and these are now exacerbated by the virus. Domestic violence, discrimination, or inequality isn’t something that just happens within a day; these are all results of systemic, habitual, and ongoing sociocultural shortcomings that always need consideration, regardless of whether we are in a pandemic or not.

Hopefully, there will come a time where we will be able to view the coronavirus in the same emotionally distanced state as we view the diseases of our past, but we cannot let the lessons we are constantly unearthing and bringing to the forefront become as ephemeral as the virus.

Yes, the pandemic is ongoing, and there are no solid conclusions to be made just yet. But we can only hope that we come out of this more enlightened, aware, and cognizant of the world we have created—and we must carry that with us into the future.

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Domestic Violence Statistics Under Lockdown

By: Megan Broudy

While many other crimes have decreased, domestic violence reports have increased since the beginning of shelter-in-place orders. The increase is likely due to the fact that domestic violence is a crime that occurs behind closed doors, in the comfort of one’s home. Since Americans are encouraged to stay inside, this issue has forced many to spend time with abusive significant others. Domestic Violence has increased 30% under lockdown in America. These statistics are alarming, but unfortunately, not surprising given the statistics that already existed beforehand. Women in abusive relationships would rather be in the presence of an abusive partner than risk exposure to the virus. For many, it has come down to weighing risks, so they have no choice and their children in danger. It’s even more alarming that half of domestic violence cases go unreported, so it’s impossible to even know the full extent of it.


Many structural issues in American society have come to the surface in ugly ways since the dawn of the COVID19 pandemic. These issues include many socioeconomic factors, so those with less privilege and resources have been suffering the most. People of color, women, and children have experienced many injustices recently. They have to rely on a government that was never meant to protect their rights in the first place. The reason why domestic violence statistics were high in the first place was because our government has failed to protect those most vulnerable in society. We need a government that will protect all of its citizens, especially those who have been marginalized.


So, what should the government do to help protect the underprivileged from domestic violence, especially in the time of a national crisis? There isn’t an easy answer to this question, but I think the beginnings of a solution might lie in restructuring the power dynamics of our country. The horrors of domestic violence stem from the fact that many women are reliant on their partners, so in the case of a pandemic, they become even more reliant. If women suffering from domestic violence received more communal support and were less reliant on their abusive partners, it may help. The government must socialize policies like childcare and eldercare to help women more independent and able to stand on their own. The emphasis should be on ensuring the independence of women inside the household, rather than trying to unify them with their abusive partner and protect households from splitting up.


Now is the time for an open conversation about our approach to domestic violence in America. Has it been our goal to protect women, or has it been to keep families together? We need to address these questions, so we can move toward better solutions for victims.

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Positives of the Pandemic

By: Samah Atique

With the coronavirus rapidly spreading around the world and impacting the lives of billions of people across the globe, it’s easy to focus on all the adverse consequences of the pandemic, as much of my last piece did. It’s especially easy when you wake up every morning to news of extended shelter-in-place mandates, tragic stories of people losing their loved ones, and economists warning of an upcoming recession. However, despite the focus on the negative effects of the virus, it’s important to shed light on some of the good that has come about over the past few months as a gentle reminder that things aren’t all bad. By no means is this piece meant to disregard the gravity of the situation or ignore the chaos it has caused, but rather to share some positive news and reasons to remain hopeful during these trying times.

For example, regardless of the strict social distancing measures that have yet to be lifted in many parts of the world, today’s digital age offers several opportunities for people to stay connected online. Whether it be hosting Google Hangout game nights with friends, tuning into food bloggers sharing their favorite recipes on Instagram Live, or de-stressing through yoga videos on Youtube, there are several opportunities for people to feel less alone and maintain virtual contact with their loved ones. Many health and wellness coaches have also developed free workout programs for people to follow during the quarantine to stay active. However, writing this from a place of privilege, I understand that nearly half of the global population does not currently have access to the internet and therefore does not have the luxury to enjoy these means. 

Fortunately, there are also endless offline opportunities that have been keeping people occupied over the past few months. Whether it be journaling, drawing, crocheting, or meditating, the pandemic has encouraged many to take on activities that they were unable to find time for during their normal working hours. It is also the perfect chance to catch up on lost sleep and squeeze in as many naps during the day that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
The shelter-in-place mandates have pushed people around the globe to take up valuable hobbies and activities that they may not have gotten the opportunity to do otherwise. And, just like all other calamities, this too will pass and hopefully leave the world with valuable insights and ways to mitigate the damage of future outbreaks. 

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COVID-19 Pandemic Disproportionately Affecting Women and People of Color

By: Claire Armstrong

We all know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers are shouldering more than their share of the burden to protect our people and keep our country running. What we often neglect to discuss, however, is that women, immigrants, and minorities make up the majority of workers on the frontlines. According to the New York Times, “one in three jobs held by women has been designated as essential,” and women of color are even more likely to be essential workers. Under the umbrella of “essential workers” are social workers, healthcare workers, critical retail workers, medical supplies distributors, food processing workers, delivery and warehousing workers, and more. A study by the New York Times states that over 75% of social workers and healthcare workers performing essential work are women, and over 50% of critical retail essential workers are women. Overall, the study found that 52% of essential workers are women. AP News reported that “in New York City, more than 76% of healthcare workers are people of color.” And healthcare is not the only essential work sector made up of a majority of people of color. AP News also noted that “More than 60% of warehouse and delivery workers in most cities are people of color,” nearly 60% of grocery store workers in most cities are nonwhite, and 74% of janitors in most cities are people of color. This is only a small sampling of essential work industries in which people of color are taking on the majority of the work.

An article in The Guardian found that female healthcare professionals on the frontlines are in greater danger than male healthcare professionals because personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed for men, meaning that it is too large for many female healthcare professionals. The article quotes Dr Helen Fidler, the deputy chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) UK consultants committee, as saying, “Women’s lives are absolutely being put at risk because of ill-fitting PPE. We know that properly fitted PPE works, but masks are designed for a male template, with the irony being that 75% of workers in the NHS [United Kingdom National Healthcare Service] are female.” As a result, many female healthcare professionals are forced to interact with the virus on a daily basis without proper PPE. This is likely the reason that, according to the CDC (as reported by Kaiser Health News), 73% of healthcare workers infected with coronavirus are women.

In an article for The Atlantic, Helen Lewis discusses another burden that women are disproportionately shouldering during the pandemic: childcare. Lewis writes that the pressure to become a new and improved version of yourself while stuck at home during the pandemic is unrealistic for the people caring for children. And, overwhelmingly, those people are women. Lewis also points out that as an economic recession seems more and more inevitable, childcare professionals become less and less likely to find paid work. “school closures and household isolation,” she writes, “are moving the work of caring for children from the paid economy—nurseries, schools, babysitters—to the unpaid one.” 

Not surprisingly, in families where both partners work remotely, unequal patterns around childcare and managing the household have become more pronounced. In April of 2020 scientists decided to study these conditions. They found that just as women had carried the majority of the childcare burden before the onset of the pandemic, it has become even more unequal since. Adding homeschooling to the already long list of tasks necessary to care for children and maintain a home exacerbates this burden. In addition, the “mental load” is carried by the female parent almost exclusively and includes providing emotional support, distractions and stimulation for children, as well as meal planning, organizing social connections, and all of the myriad mental tasks that are part of parenting. Women have always been the default go-to parents, and although more male parents may be working from home, that default status has only become more pronounced.

The world has always been a place where those with less political and financial capital have been forced, out of economic necessity, to take on jobs others do not want, whether because they are dangerous, distasteful, low-paying, or all of these. During the current pandemic, many women and minorities are working outside of the home and at jobs that are, while “essential,” not highly paid or rich in benefits and in which they cannot obtain adequate personal protection to keep them from getting sick. Meanwhile, women who are working from their homes are finding themselves juggling their professional obligations with the mental load of organizing, planning and caring for the family, and even providing home schooling. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate gender and racial inequalities, despite the fact that women and people of color are doing the majority of the work to serve communities on the frontlines of the pandemic.