On Point
Trayvon lives on:
On July 13, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Myriad people tried to dirty Martin’s reputation by talking about things like his reported marijuana use in attempts to make him look like a thug. How does this justify the fact that he was killed, unarmed, by a man who happened to be stalking him? Well, if we are talking about criminal behavior, let’s take a step back in time and describe a man who got in trouble with the law and still rose up to become successful. As others have noted, this man was charged with driving drunk, paid a fine, and later became president of the United States: George W. Bush. I believe I would have made a better argument than the prosecutors in the Zimmerman case. Zimmerman was caught in a lie when he explained that Trayvon Martin jumped out of the bushes. That should have been a bigger deal in the trial. In his heart, Zimmerman knew he had done wrong. It would take me a very long time to believe that race did not have anything to do with this case. Apparently, Trayvon’s appearance killed him, because he looked so suspicious in a hoodie that Zimmerman felt he could only live to see the next day by following him like some twitter bird or an animal stalking its prey. What would have happened to the whole neighborhood if Trayvon had walked home that night without a chaperone? Was he going to do something drastic like adjust his hoodie?
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Music is definitely something that fuels and inspires the generation of today. Many people are influenced and molded by what they plug into their ears every day. The rap industry is still alive and well, motivating people to do good and bad. Do the names Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Jay-Z, and Rakim ring any bells in your head? What about Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Drake, and Chief Keef? How has rap changed from back in the day? Seventeen-year-old Kevin Lewis thinks that hip-hop has done a complete 180-degree turn. The message used to tell kids not to grow up brainwashed by the world, some say, and now it targets college students who like to party. “None of these rappers are the same, their style, their attitude, and their demeanor is all different,” says Lewis, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “Rappers today can’t even compare to those back then.” Lewis feels that rappers have tried to adjust to the new era we live in. “Lil Wayne went from gangster rapper to rock star,” says Lewis. Julia Malita, 16, from Boston Latin Academy, thinks the new-schoolers are getting a bad rap. “I don’t think that rap has changed much over the years,” Malita says. “It’s still pretty much the same.” Still, it isn’t uncommon to hear adults complain about the music that kids are into these days, saying it causes them to act recklessly. Chadrick Fennell, 16, from the O’Bryant, responds: “The music I listen to doesn’t define who I am as a person.”
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"There was a time a long, long time ago Chevys and levees played on the radio No cellphones, just 20,000 lights Swaying on a Saturday night, alright Can you imagine that slice of time? Rock and roll was young, people stood in line To hear music that played into their lives That you could carry 'till the day you die" -- "Slice" by Five for Fighting   These lyrics are just one example of how music has evolved since the ’80s and ’90s. Back then, music’s messages were as salutary as oxygen itself. Now, the ways songs are displayed and spread have evolved, and their sounds have shifted. Instead of physical copies of the classics, there’s now iTunes and loads of overplayed songs on mainstream radio stations. Rock’n’Roll radio, once a staple of the local airwaves, is very much consigned to spinning oldies and trying to reach people online or via paid subscriptions. Pop and hip-hop dominate the dial. “The fact is that the general public might be pretty blind to any other form of music,” says Christina Daher, 16, of Snowden International High School. Daher listens to heavy metal and rock, and feels that her favorite bands should have a chance in the audio limelight. “The messages they give us are beautiful,” says Daher. “They put their feelings and emotions into these songs.” With a few exceptions, punk rock, post-hardcore, and other alternative genres are largely silent on local non-Internet radio, except for some college stations. Today, some teens say, it’s all about an artist’s looks, who’s the next big thing, and just selling out. “Radio has no standards or values. The best they do is censorship,” says Ronnica Rogers, 17, of the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “If the radio were less biased towards genres of rock, they’d see that rock, too, is catchy, meaningful, and beautiful.”
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“Excuse me beautiful, can I talk to you for a minute?” “Hey girl!” “You got a boyfriend?” All a girl wants to do is get to her destination without being harassed, young women say. But nowadays, they say, they can’t even go to the corner store without being heckled. The taunting takes place in many neighborhoods, teens say, and can grow more belligerent in areas near liquor stores. “Being approached by a guy on the streets can really be a turnoff and I consider it to be creepy,” says La`Neece Byrd, a senior at Boston Community Leadership Academy. “I much rather be left alone.” Byrd says that when she ignores the hooting, some men become more verbally aggressive. Some guys have progressed to touching. Shayla Carranza, 16, from BCLA, says she was walking one day when she felt someone grab her elbow while trying to hit on her. “I felt so uncomfortable,” she says. “I told the dude, ‘Can you not?’ I had to raise my voice because I felt so creeped out.” Ivana Guity, 16, from Boston Arts Academy, says that she doesn’t respond to the come-ons. “I don’t say anything back,” she says, “because if I do I would…make guys believe I’m easy.” Instead, she says, she puts on her headphones and keeps walking. “I just want to go where I’m headed,” she says.
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Fifteen-year-old Marinela Seiti believes that everyone has a dark side. “Sometimes, the nicest people are the meanest,” says Seiti, who goes to Boston Community Leadership Academy. “There comes a day where they explode.” Seiti knows there is a give-and-take to this dynamic. “I am nice to the people who are nice to me, and I am mean to the ones who are mean to me,” she says. “If someone bullies me, I bully back.” Psychologists say that good people can become evil at their most vulnerable times, when friends and family and tight controls may not be around to keep their bad behaviors in line. Wendy Zheng, 17, believes in the overall good in people. “Some people go through depression, family issues, stress, and can act a bit mean at times,” says Zheng, who goes to the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. Angie Miranda, 17, however, feels that even so-called sweet people have their bad traits. She says she was surprised how mean a friend had become. She was in a bad mood and wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t answer questions. “In order to find out their dark side,” says Miranda, from the O’Bryant, “you have to find their weakest point.”
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