Empathizing with a Criminal

To what extent can you justify crime? What does this show us about empathy? We have all heard about the “nature vs. nurture” argument. How important are individual qualities compared to individual experiences? Can you put a brilliant child in an unstable, impoverished, and uneducated family and except him or her to be fine? When looking at this question of criminal justice, it’s important to recognize that certain individuals are biologically predisposed to certain aggressive tendencies. Moreover, these tendencies can by augmented by substance abuse. Add on mental health issues, and the idea that what your born with and what environment … Continue reading Empathizing with a Criminal

Trenton: Day 1

(Late update, but better later than never!) Distance from Princeton University to Trenton: 20 minutes. The difference? Incomparable. The cookie cutter, suburban homes, high-end shops, and the demographics of the pedestrians were completely different. They were suddenly replaced by abandoned homes boarded up with rotting wood, small local shops, and a prison in the center of the city. We arrived at our host site, El Centro, a center for family resources affiliated with the Catholic charity. We stayed on the 3rd floor, spreading ourselves on the floors of ESL classrooms. Safe arrival–check. Housing–check. Food? Yes, please! To prepare for the … Continue reading Trenton: Day 1

A Gentrified (even Glorified?) Trenton

Portraying diverse narratives is one way to give full context when telling another group’s story. In her TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, the Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie warns about the dangers of single stories, whether they be in literature or in real life. According to Adichie, single stories pose imminent dangers by stereotyping groups of people and by pushing a single, and often incomplete, narrative onto individuals in that demographic. The only story I knew of Trenton was one of poverty and helplessness. I imagined abandoned buildings, trash on the streets, and broken down cars. Though Trenton’s … Continue reading A Gentrified (even Glorified?) Trenton

The Plight of Food Deserts is Real

  When was the last time you were hungry? I’m not talking about your stomach rumbling at four in the morning as you pull an all nighter to finish that PSET. I’m talking about real, painful hunger. I personally have never had to think twice about food — which has been a gift of being raised in a life of privilege. For the most part, I’ve been able to drop food into my parent’s shopping cart without ever thinking twice. Plus, I’ve been indoctrinated with a palate dominated by fresh fruit, lean meat, and plenty of vegetables. So when my Breakout group went … Continue reading The Plight of Food Deserts is Real

Reflections: Shaka Senghor

It’s difficult to explain to non-Americans how idealized the notion of the United States is in Macedonia and similar developing countries. The US is thought of as the pinnacle of development and opportunity, where those with poorer backgrounds can climb up the social hierarchy and lead fulfilling lives. Princeton doesn’t really try to dispel that notion. For many students at Princeton, the American Dream is quite real – after all, one of the richest universities on the planet sure does try to send off its students to high-paying careers. Yet, the American Dream is not applicable to many from poor … Continue reading Reflections: Shaka Senghor

Ayushi’s Thoughts on Senghor’s Talk

Before attending this talk by Shaka Senghor, I read an article in the Guardian titled: Shaka Senghor: the man with the American story no one wants to tell by Rose Hackman. This article discusses Senghor’s story and some of his accomplishment’s since being incarcerated. In the article, Hackman describes Senghor as “deeply intelligent and caring human being.” After listening to Senghor in person, I completely agree with this description. Here are a few of my thoughts in response to Senghor’s story and some of the themes he discussed.  First, I was touched by Senghor’s opening. By orienting the audience to his story, … Continue reading Ayushi’s Thoughts on Senghor’s Talk