Despite making up just about two percent of the U.S. population, Jews remain keepers of an incredibly varied culture. We see this first-hand in the wide range of Jewish identities which exist in America alone — an Israeli Jew may arrive in the U.S. cooking with chickpeas and pomegranates, only to balk at the copious amounts of “white food” which many Ashkenazi Jews consume. Likewise, latkes and gefilte fish may seem so intrinsically Jewish to these Eastern European Jewish communities that shunning them is to eschew Judaism entirely. Jewish culture is, therefore, dependent upon the interpreter’s own experiences, creating a collection of identities as varied as its people. Yet despite their differences, these groups unite themselves under the larger “Jewish” title, celebrating tradition and commitment to the community in similar ways: Through food.
“But where are you really from?”: An insult disguised as a question. It implies that the recipient is not truly American, regardless of how they identified the first time the question was posed. I’ve been asked this question dozens of times since I started my undergraduate career. In my sophomore year, a classmate asked me where I was from, to which I simply replied, “Chicago.” This answer proved to be, of course, unsatisfactory. She continued to probe, asking me “where I’m really from” to which I replied, once more, “Chicago.”
I once sat in on a college info session, where a stereotype named Jessica gushed about her love for the musicals she’d produced at her university. I don’t remember her major; I don’t remember the others who’d spoken on the panel; I don’t even remember the university where this took place. But I remember Jessica’s presumed willingness to die for her college, and the musically inclined students she led. I remember the life in her eyes when she described the fulfillment student leadership awarded her. It was a true college love story, which inspired and nauseated me simultaneously.
If I’m being completely honest, I hated Cornell when I first started attending. It was nothing personal, it was mainly just a combination of homesickness, intimidation and the infamous adjustment period. Unfortunately, my so-called adjustment period felt more like a chronic state and lasted much, much longer than I anticipated. When I look back at my time here — something that I tend to do a lot these days as it’s my last semester — I realize that the primary reason I got through it, and eventually began to love Cornell, was because of the mentors I’ve had along the way. In my freshman year, against this background of inner turmoil and a sense of not fitting in, I was simultaneously trying to orient myself onto the pre-med track.
Countless times throughout my undergraduate career as a psychology major, I’ve been forced to memorize lists of psychologists’ names and their corresponding theories. These theories are sometimes fascinating and other times mortifying (yes, I’m looking at you, Freud), but they are almost never memorable. Sure, I can generally tell you what Kohlberg’s theory of morality is, or half-heartedly explain what Piaget’s deal was. I’ve never fully understood what was up with Freud, but I could still monotonously recite his psychosexual stages if you really wanted me to. My point is, none of the details of these psychological theories ever stood out to me.
Jiddu Krishnamurthy was a prominent figure in eastern Indian wisdom throughout the 20th century. He believes everything, including all life, is interconnected. He would likely recoil at “eastern Indian wisdom” because it demarcates specific arbitrary groups. “Eastern,” “Indian” and the like. Social psychology tells us that as an in-group becomes more mobilized and tight-knit, the atmosphere is increasingly ripe for conflict with out-groups — individuals seek out similarities and in turn segregate differences.
Should I write about the nine transgender women of color (and counting) who have been killed so far in 2017? Or should I direct to you to Akhilesh Issur’s recent guest column, which poignantly illuminates Cornell’s ongoing mishandling of our international students’ urgent plight, not to mention the hypocrisy and apathy demonstrated by the institution at every turn? Should I write about James Harris Jackson’s premeditated, racially motivated murder of Timothy Caughman — the first, according to Jackson, of many? Should I remind you about the Cornell student who in January found himself on the receiving end of a text by another Cornell student calling him a nigger, only for the incident’s brief flare to be quickly extinguished? I’m not sure what I should write about, to be honest, nor am I sure if I have the energy or desire to do so today.
I recently mentioned Facebook-unfriending a Trump supporter from my high school in a tweet (Can you imagine a bigger millennial stereotype?). One of my former classmates tweeted back, “you unfriended someone just because they had a different political opinion than you?”
His statement reminds me a lot of those sappy social media posts about unity in the face of division. You’ve seen them, or something like them: a Facebook photo of a car that has both a Trump and a Clinton sticker captioned, “My husband and I don’t always agree, but we don’t let politics get in the way of our impassioned lovemaking! Don’t let the media fool you!! We can disagree as a nation and still all be intimately in love with one another.
Cornell has given many students coming from very different parts of the world an amazing chance to meet different people from diverse areas. I never thought I’d meet so many people from exotic locales such as Westchester and Long Island. In all seriousness though, being at Cornell has exposed me to many students from all around the continental U.S. as well as many international students from countries the average American would probably struggle to locate on a map. All these students bring their distinct experiences and characteristics with them — a welcoming thought for all students who feel they may not fit the mold of the traditional Cornellian. While at times Cornell can feel like the whitest place on earth, every now and then you’ll see a fellow non-white person or someone with an accent and feel a little more comfortable with the school you chose to go to.
Thick brows are the new trend and I bet you’re wondering how to obtain them. People have become obsessed with filling in their brows to get a sharper, more defined look. Queen Kylie Jenner often rocks this gorgeous trend along with her notably full lips coated with a layer of nude lipstick that really pops against her golden, bronze skin. It’s something we’re all dying to have and I’m here to tell you the simplest way to have these features: being born with them! This method is quick and easy; you only have to do it once for a lifetime guarantee of beauty!