Politics Can No Longer be Swept Under the Rug

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

People usually don’t like to talk about politics. Either it will lead to talking about something unpleasant or just make people angry. However, over the past four years, politics have become a larger part of our daily lives. Since the election of President Trump in 2016, people have been drawing metaphorical lines in the sand when it comes to how people feel about certain political figures. 

Before the election of Trump, I feel like people knowingly stayed out of politics because it was either too confusing or they just weren’t interested in it. Even with something as simple as voting, there are lots of people out there who have never even considered voting in elections until now. A good example of this is Kanye West, who notably ran as a write-in candidate during the 2020 election. On election day, he posted a video of himself submitting his ballot, with the caption saying that this was his first time voting in his 43 years of life, a reality more common than people think.

 Even during the 2016 election, when the call for mass voting first really got underway, there were still lots of people who either chose to sit out or just write-in some nonsense candidate like Harambe. People didn’t take Trump’s candidacy seriously and just assumed he would lose, which was wrong, and the country as a whole had to spend the last four years dealing with the repercussions. 

One reason why people may try to avoid politics is because it just stresses them out. Which is understandable, especially during an election year where candidates are trying to sway voters in every possible way. According to the Pew Research Center, 53% of Americans say that talking about politics with someone who they disagree with is stressful to them. However, due to the things that President Trump has done while in office, it’s become apparent that the people who are to blame are the people who put him in the position in the first place. 

Over the past four years, people around the country have come to the realization that politics affects a large facet of our lives. Which is why it has become so frowned upon when people say that they support President Trump. In a way, they are the people who are responsible for the terrible things that have been going on over the past four years. With the presidential election over and the victor decided, President Trump is doing everything in his power to delegitimize the results of the election. 

I understand the idea of being together and forgiving one another for mistakes that are in the past, but one of the first things President Trump said on his campaign trail back in 2015 was calling all Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Voting for a person who openly questions the legitimacy of a global pandemic, as well as calling his political opponents names like a child, just doesn’t sit right with me. 

That may seem harsh, but politics has become more than just something that you keep to yourself. I feel like with this new generation of voters, politics have become more of a lifestyle choice for people, shaping the way they live and the way they go through life itself.

Depression in the age of COVID-19

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

Jeff Chiu | Associated Press

COVID-19 has changed the way we see the world. Period. Point blank. Just a few short months ago, nobody would have dreamt of society being told by government officials to stay home to slow the spread of a global pandemic. What we’re going through currently is world history and will be looked back upon as such. But what about the people who’re affected by these changes? It’s not surprising that people are falling into depression because of these life-changing events. But I feel like people fail to realize that the circumstances have changed. The kind of depression people fall into during the current pandemic is something much worse. 

I have had to live with my anxiety and depression for a while now. While at school, I often felt like I was looking at myself from a third-person perspective, flowing through my classes and my life in general, all alone. I would mentally check out for weeks, even months on end. When I looked up and noticed I haven’t been paying attention, I realized that I also haven’t talked to anyone for months on end. 

With COVID-19, that downward spiral has become 10 times worse. Now there isn’t even a routine anymore. If I had to describe the change, I would say that I feel like I have been put into a two-dimensional plane, only moving right and left. When I’m so used to being in a three-dimensional plane, it feels like all of the historical things that 2020 has thrown at everyone, was enough to blast me into an entirely different plane of existence. Every day feels the same, repeatedly; I wake up, do my daily task of school and work, and then go to sleep only to do it all over again the next day. With nowhere else to go, I feel like all I can do is go left and right until I stop moving altogether. 

I feel like this is worse than “normal” depression people dealt with pre-2020. Between the election just days away, the pandemic that has been ravaging the world for all but two months of the year and entire industries of businesses being forced to close down for months on end, it’s pretty easy to feel hopeless during this time. Still, it’s never healthy to go through life not feeling anything. 

You cannot just stick your head in the ground and watch as time passes by. You have to realize that you are your own protagonist. You make life worth living. I remember always being told “Look on the bright side,” or “It could be worse.” That would always get on my nerves, but it’s true when you think about it. Start by being thankful for the little things in your life, the things you enjoy doing, the foods you enjoy eating and other things that bring you joy. 

A friend of mine always used to tell me that whenever I was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed about something, “you should step back, take a break, maybe drink some tea or eat a granola bar and just take some time for yourself.” I know that that helps me destress when things start to pile up in my mind and I start feeling like I’m about to crash. Now that may not work for you, so try making a routine that will help you destress during this very stressful time.

Why is America so divided?

Tigist Ashaka | Staff Writer

Shutterstock user Top Vector Studio

A wise person once said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” With that in mind, why are we so quick to speak and slow to listen? This country is very divided because no one is taking the time to sit down and listen. One of the great things about America is that everyone is different. People come from other regions of the world. The diverse American population allows for different beliefs and values which truly makes the United States a great place to live. However, it may be the very differences in American values and beliefs, especially along the lines of politics and race, that burn more bridges than they create.

Many HU students point out that race is one of the most significant divisions in America. HU student Nyasia Parks said, “Everyone has a different background, so there are bound to be disagreements.” Another HU student pointed out that America never addresses the issues. “We just ignored the problem,” said Chris Henderson.“What makes things worse is that people make up their own facts and fiction.” 

Today, with the presidential election approaching, things are beyond divided. You cannot say you support Trump or Biden without an argument. What happened to when we could talk about our disagreements like mature adults and still be friends at the end of the day? We can’t even agree on essential issues such as health care, education and climate change.

Some might say the media has something to do with it. The documentary The Social Dilemma gave a great example of how our brain is being manipulated by what we see on social media. If you only follow people who think like you, you only see their side of the story. You cannot base your thinking only on what you see. That’s not how you grow as a person.

OK, work with me, close your eyes and imagine an airplane. For the aircraft to fly, it needs both wings. When the right wing wants to turn right, the left wing has to change from vertical lift to horizontal lift. The left wing has to accommodate the right so that you can reach your destination. American leaders have to work together so that they can better the country. When it comes to making this a better place for race and gender to live, we have to work together. It is not about Republicans or Democrats; it is about the people. Your hate for the other side should not get in the way of making a decision. Like the name of our country, we should be united to make this a better place for all people. 

Why Donald Trump will win the 2020 election

Miles Richardson | Staff Writer

Unsplash User Library of Congress

Donald Trump will win this year’s U.S. presidential election for one reason and one reason alone: He is the best at drawing attention to himself. 

For evidence of Trump’s mastery of gathering attention, one must look no further than his various tweets and news conferences. Over the years, Trump has proclaimed that Hillary Clinton is crooked, mosques need to be surveilled, Mexicans are rapists, Barack Obama is the founder of ISIS and has even encouraged punishment for abortions. These comments shouldn’t surprise us. Law 6 of Robert Greene’s 48 laws of power says: “Court attention at all costs. For it is better to be slandered and attacked than ignored.” 

Trump knows the more incendiary comments he makes, the more people will begin to feel strongly about him. Whether that feeling is negative or positive, all that matters is that he keeps members of the general public reacting to him. As long as this continues, he remains in power.

During the 2016 election, the focus of many Americans was on resisting Trump. Many people put so much energy into trying to stop Trump from getting into the White House that they forgot to focus on their own agendas. 

What many failed to understand back then, and even now, is that the more you attack Trump, the more his message spreads.  Every time you share his words, post an angry rant about him on social media or discuss his hateful rhetoric with friends, you add fuel to his fire.  

I can guarantee you Trump does not mind you slandering him.  In fact, he probably loves it.  Trump knows that every time he is portrayed in a negative light, he gains just as many followers as he does detractors, if not more.  This is simply great marketing.  

Think of the most successful restaurants and clothing brands you know.  Let’s use McDonald’s and Nike as examples. Don’t you think it’s safe to say that there are restaurants with more tasty burgers than McDonald’s? Aren’t there plenty of shoes far more comfortable than Nikes? Of course there are. So why do so many more people buy more from them than from other companies? The reason for this is that these companies spend millions of dollars each year to make sure their brand is seen in commercials by as many consumers as possible.  

Do you think McDonald’s spends any time worrying about the vegans out there who might be offended by their commercials? Or that Nike pays any mind to the people who hate them because of allegations of the company using sweatshop workers? Of course not. These people were never going to buy from them anyway. If you thought you were changing anyone’s mind by voicing your opinions on Trump, think again.  Every person in America has already made up their mind about Trump. So if you thought you were doing the right thing by exposing him or his racist and misogynistic philosophies, then in the words of Malcolm X: “Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!”

The reason why these great companies don’t pay their boycotters any attention is because they are a business, and in case you didn’t know, so is Trump. Who are his customers?  You guessed it. Right-wingers and confederates who feel they have been underserved by Obama’s presidency.  Those were a long eight years for them, during which they were forced to sit silent as the world around them became increasingly liberal. Trump observed this and rode their pent-up frustrations all the way to the White House.

And now, four years later, he is about to do it again.

The president isn’t a role model

RYLAND STAPLES- STAFF WRITER

Alyssa Pointer Associated Press

With the election just weeks away, the United States is preparing for one of the most pivotal moments in recent history. With the way President Donald Trump has handled relationships with other countries, systemic racism in the United States, his villainization of Mexican immigrants and his response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, people have been very thorough in calling for eligible voters to go and exercise their rights.

Even since Trump won the presidency in 2016, there has been consis- tent rhetoric on social media from users saying that they want four more years of the previous president, Barack Obama. Scroll Twitter long enough and you’ll see posts like, “ I want Obama back,” or people in President Obama’s mentions begging him to make a come- back of some sort.

In all honesty, President Obama didn’t really help push the country forward like most people think.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand President Obama getting elected was a momentous occasion that should and will be celebrated throughout history. But I feel like people try to overlook or sweep under the rug the bad things that President Obama did while he was in office. Two things that I want to focus on are the amount of deportations that took place under the Obama administration, as well as the drone strike campaign in the Middle East.

I understand that people really don’t associate large scale deportation when it comes to President Obama’s administration, but he certainly did his fair share while he was in office.

According to The Washington Post, “Though President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a centerpiece of his first term, his administration lags far behind President Barack Obama’s pace of deportations. Obama — who immigrant advocates at one point called the ‘deporter in chief’ — removed 409,849 people in 2012 alone. Trump, who has vowed to deport ‘millions’ of immigrants, has yet to surpass 260,000 deportations in a single year. And while Obama deported 1.18 million people during his first three years in office, Trump has deported fewer than 800,000.”

When people try to claim that Americans were better off under Obama’s administration, I always think about all of those people who were deported. Do you think they share your opinion? You also have to think about the innocent people who died during that drone strike campaign that President Obama spearheaded during his time in office. He mainly used drone strikes to target people suspected of terrorism in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.

According to The New York Times, “…the Obama administration revealed its estimate of the number of civilians killed since 2009 in coun- terterrorism airstrikes outside of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. In a three-page report that offered little insight into the government’s secret drone campaign, officials said they had concluded that between 64 and 116 civilians died in 473 strikes.”

It’s important for United States citizens to realize that just because presidents are elected to office doesn’t mean they should be looked up to as role models. President Trump isn’t a role model in any kind of way. So why should someone who has deported more people than President Trump be looked at positively in the public eye? I feel like there are better people out there to look up to who have actually done more positive things for the community than President Obama.

Why you need to set boundaries

KAILAH LEE- STAFF WRITER

Ever wonder why every relation- ship you had has just gone south? Or that it has violated the dream that you had for it? Well, this time, maybe it is on you. You see, many people make the mistake of lowering their standards or expectations because they do not want to seem “too difficult,” but you are not actually asking for that much. You are just asking for appropriate respect. Trust me, in the end, being difficult is the least of your worries.

Let’s take this issue back a few steps; the core reason for your possible lack of self-respect may have begun in the home. The way your parents set or did not set boundaries profoundly affects your ability to respect and main- tain them yourself. In some families, parents teach that you have no say in advocating for healthy individualism because it is disrespectful. While this parenting method may have worked in many households, it stems from a place of mental manipulation.

A parent should respectfully keep a child in their place. However, parents should not restrict a child from commu- nicating things that make them uncom- fortable. “Talking back” to your parents is rude if you’re doing it “rudely,” but standing up for something that is just is not. Which is why “talking back” is highly misconstrued. Unfortunately, in homes–especially in black families–we learn that standing up for ourselves is harmful. But this issue goes both ways. Parents should also practice setting appropriate boundaries with their children. A lack of maintained limits in children can lead to them failing to set their own boundaries and struggling with relationships because of not prac- ticing boundary setting.

Well, you are grown now, and you must reverse this way of thinking because it trickles down into friend- ships, romantic relationships and even professional relationships. You do not want people crossing the line, but other people will not know they are crossing the line if it is not established.

There is a way to set a boundary without coming across as rude. You just need to be straightforward, but not harsh. Express the things that make

you uncomfortable in the most genuine manner and be consistent. People will try to test you and, in doing so, estab- lish their ability to infiltrate your peace. Once you fail your own test, it becomes a slippery slope of making exceptions for things you are not OK with. “I was always a ‘yes’ person, but that mess drives people crazy, I just wanted to

do what I wanted to do,” said Richelle Gregory, a working mother from Rich- mond, Virginia.

The idea of setting a boundary might seem rude, but believe me, it is not–it is actually hot! “I used to think that setting boundaries made me a crab, but girl, I’ve been manifesting real men ever since I started catering to my needs,” said Michele Parks from Chesterfield, Virginia. If you are in a relationship, giving yourself the respect to set standards attracts the right people into your life. And if you find that you are losing people you hoped would be around after a boundary building— well, you have just saved yourself some stress, trust me. Setting boundaries can also be a road sign of healthy self-es- teem. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is wholly content with themselves (within reason), “You weed out the bull when you set some rules,” said Darrell Lee from Richmond, Virginia.

Think about this: Say you have a welcome mat which reads “Welcome.” This is inviting but maybe too inviting. Anyone could just step all over it and wipe their nasty shoes all over it. How- ever, if there was a welcome mat that read, “Watch your step,” people would proceed with caution. Granted, some might step on it anyway, but that is on them.

This same rhetoric applies to life and how you get treated with respect when you stand up for yourself.

So set boundaries, voice discom- fort and value yourself enough to know you deserve respect.

Is Daniel Cameron a sellout?

MILES RICHARDSON- STAFF WRITER

Tamika Mallory spoke at a press conference in order to address Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who recently announced his decision to charge only one officer involved in the Breonna Taylor case. During the conference, Mallory had this to say: “Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout Negroes that sold our people into slavery. We have no respect for your black skin.” This is an opinion that many African Ameri- cans hold. According to senior Theatre major Kayla Harrison, “The attorney general should be ashamed of himself.” While I do not agree with these women, I can respect their opinions. With that being said, I hope you can give me the same courtesy, even after I tell you that I believe the decision in the Breonna Taylor case was ultimately the right one.

The New York Times reported that on the night of March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove broke down the door of Taylor’s apartment, attempting to serve a “no-knock” search warrant. The officers, as corroborated by Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, stated that they knocked several times anyway. However, Walker says he never heard the officers identify themselves. Once the officers entered the apartment, Walker picked up his legally owned pistol and shot at the officers. Once Mattingly was hit by Walker’s bullet, the three officers responded by firingseveral rounds, hitting Taylor six times, and killing her.

Now, according to a report given to The Courier Journal by the Jefferson County coroner, the only fatal shot came from detective Cosgrove, who was in the doorway and could clearly see Walker’s gun being aimed at him. Detective Brett Hankison, who fired 10 rounds blindly into the apartment from outside, was the only officer charged. It is also important to add that none of Hankinson’s bullets were found to have struck Breonna Taylor. While these facts could be used to highlight this incident as simply an- other example of a Black person being victimized by a racially unjust police force, I choose to see a much more complicated narrative.

Kentucky is a stand your ground state, meaning citizens have the right to use deadly force to protect them- selves if they feel their life is being threatened. So when Walker had his door kicked open at 12:40 a.m., with no way of knowing the intruders were police officers, he most likely saw this as a legitimate threat to his well-being, and therefore, was within his rights to respond with force.

However, let’s put ourselves in the officers’ shoes for a moment. They have arrived at the address of an alleged drug dealer to serve a no-knock warrant, according to The Courier Journal, although they are well aware of the violent nature of the drug business, they have decided to knock anyway, knowing that they could be giving possible drug dealers inside time to arm themselves and wait for them to make their entry. After knocking and identi- fying themselves several times (as they claim they did), they broke down the door and were immediately met with gunfire, and responded by returning fire.

Some may see the 10 rounds unloaded during the shooting as excessive. I would challenge anyone of this opinion to seriously consider how many shots they would’ve liked to be fired if it was their life on the line.

But beyond this, there seems to be another elephant in the room here. Isn’t it reasonable to presume the officers could’ve identified themselves, but Walker simply couldn’t hear them from his bedroom? I don’t know how big Walker’s apartment is, but I do know there were at least two doors and an en- tire living room between them. Given this insight, I think that it’s safe to say that there is a strong possibility that this could have simply been a misunder- standing.

As I examine the facts of this case, I cannot help but come to the conclu- sion that Breonna Taylor, God rest her soul, was not a victim of systemic op- pression, but of unlucky circumstances. But then again, maybe I’m just another sellout Negro.

Correct Them If They’re Wrong

Jamaija Rhoades- Staff Writer

Photo by Unsplash User @wordsmithmedia


I have a habit of holding my breath when the teacher gets to my name when calling the roll. Shortening my name to make it easier for others when they are addressing me. Letting people slide when they mispronounce my name but are somewhat close to being right, so I just say “close enough” and keep it pushing. 

These are all habits I adopted at a young age when I realized that I have a very unique name or, as I have often been told, “a name too hard to pronounce.”

I have been called EVERYTHING under the freaking sun: Jamaica, Jumanji, Jamelia, Jamysia and even Jamaheeha. Jamaica, okay, I could kinda see how you got that because it has all the same letters, just one different, but Jumanji and Jamaheehaa? Those two just felt like my teachers and peers saw my name and said to themselves, “ehh let me just think of something that starts with a J and sounds pretty crazy.” 

Seeing the difficulty people had pronouncing my name, or being laughed at when the teacher mispronounced my name and hearing comments like “my people, my people” after I muscled up the courage to correct folks when they got it wrong, made me hate my name with a passion.

I went by Jasmine for a while, but that quickly ended when my mom realized I was allowing people to call me names other than the one she gave me. When Jasmine did not work, I started going by nicknames with friends and just prayed that these oh so educated teachers would be able to read what always seemed like a simple word to me. 

When it came to correcting people when they butchered my name, I always seemed to have this inner battle with myself. Of course, I wanted to correct them, but I also always had this fear of feeling like the bad guy if I corrected them. As I got older, I realized that this is a struggle all people blessed with unique names have and that many of us believe the constant hiccups people have with our names just shows they really do not care what our names are. 

“My name isn’t even hard. It’s just Ry-land, that’s it, no special way to say it or anything. When someone mispronounces my name, and I try to correct them, it just makes me feel like they don’t really care,” said Ryland Staples, a Journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland. 

I always found myself longing for a name that was easy for everybody to say, and that did not make me feel like I was somehow being too difficult. Too difficult for wanting to be called by my actual name… Pretty insane now that I think about it. 

After over more than a decade of being called names not even close to my own, I finally sat myself down and said, “sis, this is YOUR NAME, YOUR FREAKING IDENTITY, correct these idiots!” Sounds harsh, I know, but after years of being called Jumanji (a movie about a board game that comes to life), anybody would become a little hostile. 

To all my homies with unique names, I want you to remember you have every right to correct somebody when they mess up your name; it is YOUR name, the one word that is yours and yours alone. If you have to be the bad guy to ensure that people address you correctly, then so be it. Ruffle some feathers if you have to. I bet you they will not forget it the next time around. 

Now, for those wondering “how the heck do you pronounce her name,” it is JUH-MAY-ZHUH. Handle my name and the rest of the unique names out here with care. Sounding out your words will take you a long way.

Cuties: In the Name of Free Spirits

Miles Richardson- Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

After receiving a hefty amount of blow-back from American audiences due to the salacious poster used to market the film Cuties, Netflix was accused of endorsing pedophilia.  Some felt this was unfair to the film.  According to Film Studies Professor James Balls, “Netflix’s poster to market the film undermined the films themes.”  Now, as a black Muslim man, I found this film to be incredibly troubling.  However, I do not agree that the purpose of this film was to encourage pedophilia. 

Cuties is a propaganda film made with an agenda that is based around the demonization of authority.

Despite the controversy around Cuties, many people championed this film, declaring it as “feminist”.  So, allow us to examine that claim.  According to Britannica, “Third wave feminism redefined women and girls as assertive, powerful, and in control of their own sexuality.”  Well, this statement certainly serves as the driving ideology of the movie, but let’s examine how this was applied to the film’s main character.

In the opening sequence of the film, we are introduced to Amy, an eleven year old girl with an unhappy mother who forces her to attend regular worship services.  We see Amy amongst a gathering of covered women, looking around sadly as her worship leader declares, “Where does evil dwell? In the bodies of uncovered women.  Therefore we must strive to preserve our decency and we must obey our husbands.”  This dialogue has been crafted to communicate to us the idea that Amy’s religion is oppressive.  In the very next scene, we are introduced to the girl who will later “free” Amy from these oppressive conditions: Angelica.  When Amy discovers that Angelica is in a member of a “free-spirited twerking dance crew”, she decides she wants in.  Surprisingly, Doucoure does not frame these girls as heroes.  For they are verbally abusive to her throughout the film and only praise her when she begins gaining them attention on social media with her sexually suggestive moves.  In reality, Doucoure cleverly made sure to display the negatives of both authority and sexual freedom, while airing on the side of sexual freedom. 

As Amy’s new dance career takes off, the Cuties face adversity from school officials as well as Amy’s mother.  In an early scene, the Cuties, dressed in tight mini-skirts and dresses, stage a demonstration in the school courtyard, the principal drags Angelica, the group’s leader, away, berating her about her choice of dress.  During this scene, the Cuties verbally object, shouting, “What about freedom of expression?”  This scenario is depicted on screen as if to say, “How dare these officials enforce such strict rules upon these children? They should be applauding them for boldly expressing their sexualities.”  Seeing these themes causes me to think, should there be no law and order in matters of sexual expression? Should we allow our children to dress and behave however they see fit? Is twerking a form of female empowerment? Maybe public nudity should be made legal. After all, isn’t it oppressive for the government to force women to cover their bodies?  I realize that defying societal norms has been a common theme in recent years, however, maybe that’s not such a good thing in this instance.  

This is something Amy ultimately comes to understand, when during a climactic scene, Amy breaks down crying while at a dance competition and runs off stage, realizing this is no longer who she wants to be. 

So, was Amy liberated by this exploration?  According to junior Journalism major Kayla Tinsley, “Those young girls were overly sexualized.”  In the opening of this film we are asked to believe Amy’s religion is oppressive.  I think it’s safe to say the model of “freedom” she was influenced to chase is far more oppressive.

In the end, we see Amy dressed in long sleeves and a pair of jeans like any other Western girl, jumping rope in the street, smiling.  No longer bound by the confines of religion, nor by societies overly-sexual nature.  She is finally free.  By ending this film on a positive note, Director Doucoure is making a clear statement: when authority is lost, self-discovery is found.

TikTok off the clock

Ryland Staples- Staff Writer

Associated Press, Photo by Anjum Naveed 

TikTok has been the polarizing social media app that has had everyone’s attention. Especially the United States government, which had given TikTok (a China based company) a deadline to either find a buyer for their U.S. based operations, or become banned in the U.S. Fortunately for TikTok, Oracle (a United States based tech company) and Walmart have partnered together to make, “TikTok Global” and in response President Trump has, “Given the deal my blessing.” Trump claims that because TikTok is a Chinese based company, they’re using the app to spy on and steal information from American citizens. When ironically, American social media companies and websites in general, already do that. 

Tik Tok is owned by a Chinese company based in Beijing called, ByteDance. Before there was TikTok, before there was Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app that was acquired in 2017. However, in 2018 all Musical.ly accounts were transferred over to TikTok. So at first, TikTok was used mostly for people who wanted to sing or lip-sync, but as it’s popularity grew and grew, more people started creating more unique content. Broader categories like make-up, cooking, advice, technology and overall internet memes were fair game for TikTok users.  As well as taking advantage of the internal video editor on the TikTok app, giving users the ability to use different kinds of transitions and ways to make their videos stand out.  

What makes TikTok different from other social media platforms is how one of a kind and simple their UI (user interface) is. When you open the app, there are two tabs at the top that say, “For You” and, “Following.” As you swipe through the For You tab, you’ll see different videos from different users on the app. As you like and follow different pages that peak your interest, those users that you follow all go under your following tab, allowing you to quickly go to them and see what they’ve posted. As you follow and like more people on the For you page, TikTok uses that information to show you more users like the ones that you already follow. It’s something that seems simple, but really helps when you’re trying to find something that you’re interested in. 

Sounds great right? Then why does it freak everyone out so much when they hear the name, TikTok. Well if you recall that app last summer that would scan your face and turn you into an old person using Russian made artificial intelligence? So the United States isn’t taking any changes with an app that is already so popular with younger Americans. 

The funny thing is that American companies already have trouble with how they manage users’ information. Users are lured in and make an account because  you don’t have to pay in order to use it. 

According to Amnesty International, “The tech giants offer these services to billions without charging users a fee. Instead, individuals pay for the services with their intimate personal data, being constantly tracked across the web and in the physical world as well, for example, through connected devices…This extraction and analysis of people’s personal data on such an unprecedented scale is incompatible with every element of the right to privacy, including the freedom from intrusion into our private lives, the right to control information about ourselves, and the right to a space in which we can freely express our identities.” 

So is it fair to subjugate TikTok to this kind of questioning when companies like Facebook and Google do the same thing, just because they’re a foriegn company? If anything I feel like TikTok has given a reason to look into how tech companies use the users’ information to their benefit. 

However, Senior, Journalism major Jamaija Rhoads knows that it’s unavoidable, “ I would be a fool if I thought they didn’t [use our information], I just feel like it’s a downside of having all this smart technology, but I’m not about to get rid of it so it is what it is, unfortunately.”