How It Feels…To Be Racially Profiled

4.17.2017

By Nashia Baker

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Four years ago in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, University of Kansas law student Rhavean Anderson was stopped by police and racially profiled during a run. This is what it felt like.

It was about mid-day on Thanksgiving Eve of my freshman year, and as I got ready for my 7-mile run that my coach assigned for the holidays, I saw my mom cooking away to prep for Thanksgiving Day, and I knew I was finally home. It was the first time I’d been home since I joined the KU track team earlier that fall as a middle-distance runner, and it was a much needed break from school to visit my family in Memphis, where I was born and raised.

I let my mom know that I was headed towards the main street in town, stretched, popped my headphones in, and took off. I was about 2.5 miles into my run when I felt eyes stinging my back from a Memphis squad car, creeping up behind me. I didn’t pay it any mind until the police car sped past me and parked in the middle of my path ahead.

Two white police officers stepped out of the car, stopped me, and coldly asked, “Why are you out running?”

I looked at them, took my headphones out, and cautiously stated back, “I’m a track and field athlete. I’m out training.”

They continued by aggressively asking, “…You’re a college athlete? So where do you go?

I looked down at my outfit covered in crimson, blue, Adidas, and a large Jayhawk on my chest, and said back, “The University of Kansas…”

The questioning continued for about five minutes, but all I could think about was what I could be doing wrong. I was running in daylight, because everyone knows not to run in the dark in Memphis, and I was clearly jogging. But I didn’t want anything to escalate, so I kept answering to their satisfaction until they finally let me go.

As they drove off, I looked ahead, put my headphones back in, and got back to my run. When I got home and told my mom what happened, I could feel the anger welling up inside of me and I could see the confusion in her eyes.

Being a Jayhawk, a college student, an athlete, daughter, and more – those things won’t save me. But the color of my skin will not stop me.

Heard on the Hill

4.13.2017

HOTH crop

  • “You look like a young Santa Claus.”
  • “You can never have too much moonshine.”
  • “Microwaving any longer than 3 minutes is cooking. That’s just not worth it.”
  • “You only call her when you need a ride. And it’s not free because you pay her in sex! You’re a fucking prostitute!”
  • “Bears are the seals of the animal kingdom.”
  • “I wanna go to a Chinese buffet, but only, like, a nice one.”
  • Person 1:”I’m just endlessly eating food, I need help.”
    Person 2:”No, you need sustenance.”
    Person 1:”Damn, you’re right I can’t argue with that logic.”
  • “You’ll be a really pretty grandma, not now but when you’re a grandma.”
  • “I’m going to start drinking my own tears to help the environment.”
  • “I’d cut off my left tit to get out of that situation.”

Stick and Poke

4.12.2017

 

By Melissa Yunk

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“You do not want to poke too far to make yourself bleed but far enough to hear an audible “pop” when you pull the needle out.”

Rachel Bennett, a senior from Basehor, cringes at her friend’s words, but continues to wrap her sewing needle with some thread. She finishes sketching a small tree on her wrist, dips the needle in the bright green ink and gets to work. Stick. Pop. Stick. Pop.

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Bennett and her friend are giving each other stick and poke tattoos in her friend’s attic, surrounded by burning sage, discussing witchcraft.

“I was not initially planning on giving myself a tattoo, but I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person so it didn’t take much to change my mind,” Bennett says.

Stick and poke, or DIY tattoos are not a new trend—they’re common in jail cells across the nation—but they are the latest thing in tattoos among young adults and on college campuses.

A simple Google search makes it clear how much of a trend this is. In a matter of seconds, you’ll find quirky how-to videos, endless tattoo ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, and even DIY kits in stores such as Etsy and Amazon.

But you don’t need a kit—it’s possible to do at-home tattoos using common household products. All you need is a sewing needle, some thread and ink.

Caroline Roe, a sophomore with eight stick and pokes, has perfected the process. After cleaning and shaving the area of the tattoo, she does a rough sketch of her design idea. She then sticks the needle in the eraser of a pencil and wraps the thread around the sharp end of the needle to hold the ink.  After putting together her tool, either she or a friend continuously pokes over the sketch until it is finished.

A small stick and poke can take around two hours, approximately four times as long as a traditional tattoo. They also fade faster than professional tattoos and tend to hurt more. Roe says the consistent speed of a tattoo gun needle often helps numb the pain after a few moments. However, when tattooing yourself, the inconsistent speed and depth of the poke makes pain constant and more intense.

Roe also has a few traditional tattoos, but likes the DIY method because of the extremely low cost—practically free—and artistic freedom. “Sure, parlors might be more clean and it is nice supporting artists,” Roe says. “But I really like the spontaneity of stick and pokes and being able to have full control of the designs.”

However, sacrificing the cleanliness of a tattoo parlors is not such a good idea. Kim Ens, director of clinic services for the Douglas County Health Department, talked about the risk of acquiring infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and even HIV when using unprofessionally sanitized needles. The only way to guarantee a needle is sterile, she says, is to use a brand new one. Bennett sterilized her needle by running it under a flame and wiping it with rubbing alcohol.

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“It may not have been smart,” Bennett says. “But it was something.”

Ens added that ink that is not diluted or meant for tattoos can also lead to variety of infections or allergic reactions, so it is important to use the correct ink. “Overall, my opinion is to not do it to yourself,” Ens says.

Despite these concerns, there is still appeal behind stick and poke tattoos, whether it be the elongated adrenaline rush, the comfort of doing it in your own home, or the gritty appearance both girls spoke of.

“I feel brave and accomplished after finishing,” Bennett says. “Sure, slightly endangered but the feeling of doing it and being proud of something I made is worth it.”

How It Feels…To Be Told You’re Dying When You’re Not

4.10.2017

As told by Rick Donnelson to Samantha Harms

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Twenty years ago, project manager Rick Donnelson, 55, was told that he was dying of cancer when he really wasn’t. This is what it felt like.

Sitting on the chair in the doctor’s office, I was told the test I had been given indicated pancreatic cancer and that I had less than six months to live. Pancreatic cancer is incurable 99 percent of the time and has a very quick death rate. I was 33 years old and I had five children.

It was 1994 and I was in treasurer school. I wasn’t eating normally. I had lost about 30 pounds in the last three months. I knew that wasn’t healthy. I came home and went to the doctor for a simple check up. I very quickly though received a phone call telling me that I should come in.

I sat down and as the doctor told me that the tests showed pancreatic cancer, a perpetual state of shock just came over me. I could feel the words “I don’t believe you” come out of my mouth. I asked for a second opinion right away.

The sterile, sickening smell of that doctor’s office as I got potentially the worst news of my life is something that I still carry with me. I told him that I knew it wasn’t the case that I had this. I rationalized, with him and with myself.

I always came back to believing that there was nothing wrong with me. Because how could this happen to me? I was in the best shape of my life.

Because of the limited time they had given me left to live my life, they rushed me to KU Med for additional testing. That testing showed that I didn’t have pancreatic cancer, but I had cancer of the duodenum, which is cancer of the stomach and small intestine. So they scheduled me for surgery to see if that’s actually what I had. The worst part was waiting for my surgery, for two weeks thinking I was might to die soon. I had a chance then to think about my life but I’m a believer in God and I knew I would live through all of it and have a normal life.

The nurses kept coming in while I was waiting, asking me “Are you nervous?” I kept saying, “Nope, because I know nothing’s wrong.” And they kept saying “Oh he’s in denial.” But that’s okay because I got the last laugh.

After waiting almost two weeks of thinking I had six to nine months to live, I went into surgery and had what’s called a freeze plug test. They took the part of my stomach out that they were operating on and tested it right there in the operating room. So when I came out, I got that bit of good news that not only did I not have any cancer but there was absolutely nothing wrong. They couldn’t find anything wrong; they just believed that it was some bug that my body overacted to.  Here I sit, 20 years later as healthy as I can be.

Heard on the Hill

4.06.2017

HOTH crop

  • Person 1: “So Tu served you at Dunkin’?”
  • Person 2: “What are you talking about, speak English.”
  • Person 1: “I can’t, he’s Vietnamese.”
  • “I think Great Britain is an anarchy. Maybe.”
  • “Dude I can’t even name five condiments.”
  • “I’m so high. At this right I’m never gonna have downs.”
  • “I smell like dirty clothes and baked potatoes.”
  • “Treating a nature valley bar like an ice cream cone does nothing for me.”
  • Person 1: “What did you do for Spring Break?”
  • Person 2: “Climb a mountain.”
  • Person 1: “Which one?”
  • Person 2: “Uh, I forgot the name of it.”
  • ” ‘Death by cheese’ the best way to go out.”
  • “Lasagna is a great pasta but a shitty horse.”
  • Person 1: “What’s your fetish?”
  • Person 2: “Respecting women.”
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