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Polar Views

#TakeAKnee : a commentary on patriotism in America

“I get it; you have the right to protest, but you don’t kneel during the national anthem. That’s just unacceptable.” My good-intentioned white male friend made this comment in Thorne dining hall two years ago in light of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to ‘take a knee.’ Simply put, I was shook.

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Make the Orient your platform

We assume that every student has, at least once during their time at Bowdoin, rolled their eyes at something they read in the pages of the Orient. Some students, we suspect, have even felt alienated by the content of this paper.

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There’s no such thing as “female pronouns”

Recently you sat in a circle with a bunch of other students. You recognized some of them, but others were new faces. This group might have been a class or a club or a team. Whatever it was, the leader asked everyone to introduce themselves by name, class year and pronoun.

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Proper introductions: sharing pronouns in every class

Here at Bowdoin, we have a practice of introducing ourselves with our pronouns along with our names. It’s sometimes an awkward and hesitant practice. I first noticed this as soon as I arrived at Bowdoin. On my orientation trip, my leader asked my pronouns, and then quickly said never mind, because he assumed I used “he/him/his.” On my first year floor, no one seemed to understand why we used pronouns, and afterwards, my floormates talked about how pointless it was to ask.

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Out Loud

Past progress distracts from ongoing struggles

“Don’t you think things are better now?” This is not an uncommon question I’ve heard, from people both inside and outside the LGBT community, but it’s always a difficult one for me to answer. Yes, the crowd in 24 College on Thursday evenings is exponentially larger than it had been a decade ago, and yes, I feel safer being out in the majority of situations at Bowdoin than I’m sure my predecessors felt.

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Damn the discourse: a liberal dose of mush

President Clayton Rose published an op-ed in TIME Magazine arguing for the importance of the liberal arts. Roughly, his argument is that today “intellectual engagement is too often mocked,” leaving us in a “distressing place… where facts are willfully ignored or conveniently dismissed” and where “Hypocrisy runs rampant and character appears to no longer be a requirement for leadership.” His proposed solution is one we’ve heard from him before: intellectual fearlessness, the notion that one “can consider ideas and material that challenge their points of view, which may run counter to deeply held beliefs, unsettles them or may make them uncomfortable.” I take issue with much of Rose’s argument, and what I find most troubling is his seeming inability to articulate, with substance, a goal, mission and role for the liberal arts that extends beyond banalities.

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Improving off-campus housing policy

On Thursday morning, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced the recommendations of the committee charged with reviewing the College’s off-campus housing policy. Although the College aims to use these recommendations to “serve as the basis for a clear and transparent off-campus housing policy,” the recommendations themselves are neither clear nor transparent.

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The influence of hurricanes on presidential politics

In today’s world, natural disasters are inherently political. They drastically disrupt and change the lives of countless Americans, and it is often the government’s job to provide support and aid in response. This responsibility falls squarely into my choice definition of politics: “Who gets what, where and why.” Because the need for government action is often so sudden, and so concentrated, there is relatively little room for partisan squabbling in the wake of a catastrophic event.

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