Forum Comments

Let down your hair, Rapunzel. You're safe here.
In Forum VI - Safe Spaces
mlee20
Jul 26, 2020
I love how this discussion is going so far, and I know that the idea of exclusion/inclusion of allies can be a tricky line to walk. An example of safe spaces I've been thinking about a lot are gay bars. Maybe its name in itself is exclusive – all members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome there, as are allies – but the sentiment still remains. It can be weird to try and sort out strangers on the street to see if they're gay too, because you really can't tell if someone is gay or not based on how they look. You'd start to question the validity of your own sexuality, who's part of your community and who's not. Right now, society is slowly beginning to move away from heteronormativity, but until then, it's easy to feel alone. I imagine that at a gay bar, there doesn't need to be room for discrepancies or furtive, uncertain looks or anything like that. Another under-18 example I can think of was the Choate Spectrum Conference I attended a few years ago. I went with my friends, who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, and when we got there, their entire mentality had changed. They were more relaxed, happier, and were elated at the chance to discuss things about the gay community with other gay people. They returned to school the next week more assured and confident with their identity. From experience, a safe space is somewhere I can recuperate, reconnect with parts of my identity without being gaslighted or having to question myself, and find the confidence I need to exist unapologetically. I've often heard and thought that while allies are undoubtedly welcome in safe spaces, the space exists for the people of that identity to be together for validation and in solidarity.
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Demographics
In Forum IV - E-cigarettes
mlee20
Jun 04, 2019
Mir website, JUUL has claimed that they only aim to target adults over the age of 21. They also have a subsection on their website titled "Youth Prevention". They have claimed that they are attempting to curb their number of underage consumers with their dedication to the T21 (Tobacco 21) laws in each state, despite the fact that their webpage and their online shop have no actual security for those consumers under the age of 21. In addition to this, they have said, "JUUL LABS IS COMMITTED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF THE WORLD’S ONE BILLION ADULT SMOKERS BY ELIMINATING CIGARETTES. WE DON’T WANT ANYONE WHO DOESN’T SMOKE, OR ALREADY USE NICOTINE, TO USE JUUL PRODUCTS. WE CERTAINLY DON’T WANT YOUTH USING THE PRODUCT. IT IS BAD FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, AND IT IS BAD FOR OUR MISSION" and that "We know that “social sourcing”—obtaining tobacco products from friends or siblings who are of legal age—is the main contributor to youth use". As much as JUUL is sending this message to their consumers, it's hard to say or to confirm that they're actually implementing concrete policies against underage consumption. They also haven't said anything against nicotine, other than the fact that their website says, "These alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency". JUUL might only be using nicotine to keep ex-smokers hooked on e-cigarettes to give them a different rush than how it might feel to smoke tobacco or a regular cigarette, so that, if anything, they don't get lung cancer from inhaling nicotine. (It's also interesting to note that, throughout JUUL's website, nicotine is the one ingredient that they warn users about, and not any other potentially harmful chemical.) To this extent, we can only say for sure that JUUL (but at this point in my rabbit hole deep-dive, not any other e-cigarette company) is specifically targeting smokers above the age of 21 who want to put their cigarettes down. However, we know that just sending the message of "we don't want young kids to be addicted to nicotine" isn't enough. More needs to be done, both on the corporate side and the social/individual side of the issue. https://www.juul.com/youth-prevention
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The Science
In Forum III - Marijuana
mlee20
Apr 25, 2019
But I'd also like to address the final question in the prompt: are there any potential problems with basing an argument entirely upon scientific facts? Usually, I don't think there would be, but since we're expanding the scope of legalization past medical usage of marijuana and into the recreational usage of marijuana, this topic is already leaning towards a social issue. In politics, legalizing marijuana isn't as prevalent of a topic as immigration or foreign affairs, but it is a topic nonetheless. In homes, especially in the very state I'm getting my education in, the legal age for smoking marijuana is 21, and parents are encouraged to sit down with their kids and have "the talk". Following closely behind is the trend of what's cool and what's not: when I asked one of my friends what she did over spring break, she told me about how "people were just out smoking weed in one of the public parks; it was a little bizarre but pretty sick". Like all other controversial topics in this day and age, the usage of marijuana is becoming a political issue, a social issue, a cultural issue, a countercultural issue, and an issue that will definitely become more prevalent in our generation for years to come. The problem with basing an argument entirely on scientific facts is that this argument isn't just about marijuana anymore, but it's about people using marijuana. Inevitably, the legalization of marijuana will have an enormous impact on people's lives, and while understanding the science and the research of marijuana can go a long way in supporting a position, it wouldn't be the wisest thing to base an entire argument purely on scientific fact. (Thanks for posing this question, I had a lot of fun thinking about it!) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/08/science/review-stoned-a-doctors-case-for-medical-marijuana.html?searchResultPosition=7 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/health/politicians-prescriptions-for-marijuana-defy-doctors-and-data.html?module=inline https://www.mass.gov/info-details/health-effects-of-marijuana#mental-health-
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The Impact of Cultural Views on Geriatric Depression
In Geriatric Depression
mlee20
Feb 25, 2019
I can speak to the stigma against retirement homes in East Asia; one of the things I've heard growing up was to "get a good job so that [I] can take care of my parents when they get old", but if I'm the one who ends up taking care of my parents, who are my parents going to take care of? One of the most commonly discussed causes of geriatric depression is, simply put in adolescent terms, "fomo", or the feeling of missing out, except that in this case the elderly might feel a loss of purpose. It's generally understandable, because I know that if I spent more than a decade or two of my life raising an individual and teaching them to be a good person in society, I'd definitely feel confused or puzzled after the job is done. From my perspective, the East Asian view of family is that we take care of each other: the parents and the adults are the breadwinners, and the children take over that role when they get older, but the elderly, although highly revered and respected, don't have much of a role other than to impart their wisdom on the youth. Caring for the family is a hard job, and the reward at the end of it all is to, in turn, be taken care of by the family. It's especially visible at the dinner table: my parents serve food to their parents, and when I reach "that age", I will be the one serving food to my parents, like in a pattern or a cycle. But suddenly being thrown into a relatively inactive life can be, disorienting or confusing, and might even seem less important. In some cases, this leads to geriatric depression. At this point in my life, I'm speaking from the purely theoretical point of view, but I'd like to hear what others have to say.
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mlee20

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