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March 03, 2021 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Perhaps the most dreaded facet of online

learning is the Zoom Breakout Room, a
wasteland of black screens and muted
microphones and often silent, unrequited
group work in a shared Google Document.
And like Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,”
the Zoom Breakout Room has come to
define itself as a somber event of cultural
permanence. It’s s the ultimate battleground
of the virtual college experience and more
deeply, one of the darkest underbellies of
social interaction. My experiences in breakout
rooms have left me questioning my peers’
integrity, maturity and emotional depth, but
more importantly, have led me to a much
more refined understanding of the human
condition. You see, our experiences are not
always novel or paramount: all of our hearts
begin to race before we enter a breakout room,
our palms begin to sweat and sometimes we
stutter and ramble and overshare about our
love for Jhumpa Lahiri or Audie Cornish from
All Things Considered or Emily Ratajkowski’s
essay on buying herself back. With this in
mind, I have amassed a list of proven tips
and tricks, through a lengthy process of trial

and error, on conquering the Zoom Breakout
Room once and for all. Use at your own

1. Turn Your Camera On. Taking the

initiative to turn your camera on in a breakout
room can often be nerve wracking and
nauseating especially when no one else has
theirs on. People tend to mirror one another
and turning mine on has almost always
catalyzed a chain reaction of cameras turning
on. It’s important to be aware that often people
keep their cameras off because of external
circumstances we may not understand. For
this reason turning on cameras can be a hefty
matter and one that should be approached
with tact and care. Never force cameras to
be turned on, this is a process that is best
undertaken naturally. If you turn your camera
on and no one follows suit, you should probably
turn it back off. According to the students in
my biology discussion breakout room, each
breakout room has its own delightful bags of
tricks and surprises and sometimes we get
handed a smelly bag rotting at the seams.

2. Ask People How They’re Doing. I start

every conversation in breakout rooms I’m
thrusted into by asking people how they are
doing. This is a common courtesy and should
always be asked. “How are you doing?” poses
itself as an even more potent conversation starter

in the midst of a pandemic. People are not often
asked this question with sincerity, nor are we
expected to answer honestly. It’s okay to not be
doing well. It’s okay to be honest and open about
failure. It opens the floor to productive dialogue
and most importantly, renders the breakout
room a safe virtual space for completing group
work. Sometimes I don’t know the answer to the
group work. Sometimes unprecedented events
happen or we lose motivation or the world can
become lean and mean for periods of time and
we fall weeks behind in lectures or readings.
That is OK.

3. Ask People About Their Music Taste.

People love to be understood, validated and
heard in all kinds of ways. Music and sharing
music presents itself as one of the most sacred
forms of friendship and communication.
People love to talk about music and more
importantly, the kind of music they listen to,
because by default it is an extension of the soul
and the mind and the heart. Sometimes this
doesn’t work and I’ll receive vague answers
like I-listen-to everything-but-country but
sometimes I’ll get things like Phoebe Bridgers
(who I discovered through a breakout
room!) and Ms. Lauryn Hill and Mos Def.

Earlier this month, I was walking down

South Forest Avenue with a friend of mine on
a Friday night when two white men drove by
us on the sidewalk. They rolled down their
windows and one of them proceeded to shout
at me to “get off the street” followed by the
N-word. Two weeks later, I can still vividly recall
the fear and discomfort I felt in the moment.
The event, which happened mere blocks away
from my apartment, turned what used to be a
familiar street to me into a cruel reminder of the
antiquated attitudes still existing everywhere
in the United States, including (and especially)
here, at the University of Michigan. It reminded
me that, as African philosophy scholar Mabogo
P. More once stated, “To live under the threat of
non-being is to live in what existentialists call
a condition of finitude, the constant possibility
of disintegration and death and, therefore,
anguish and anxiety.” This immense lack of
control over the way society perceives us, as
Black beings, has a tremendous impact on our
lived experience.

Nowadays, we often talk about racial

oppression on a systemic level, typically
from an economic standpoint by examining
the impacts of structural inequality. But
not nearly as often do we discuss the effects
oppression has on the body, mind and soul
of the oppressed being –– the disparaging

impact that incessantly being perceived as an
other, along with the ongoing relativization to
the white norm, has on the psyche of the dis-
possessed subject.

Steve Biko, a radical South African activist,

wrote extensively on what it means to be
Black in an anti-Black world. Before he was
assassinated by the South African apartheid
regime in 1977, he worked heavily with
the South African Student Organization
and contributed towards establishing the
Black Consciousness Movement. This was
a movement combining ideologies of Black
Power, philosophical notions of (Black)
consciousness and radical Christianity in
order to empower Black people to assert their
own autonomy and self-determination, thus
challenging the white power structure. Biko
believed, and once stated, “The most potent
weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the
mind of the oppressed.” I know firsthand
what it’s like to carry the weight of a lifetime
of internalized oppression. It’s an ongoing
process to overcome the never-ending feelings
of imposter syndrome, coupled with my
increasingly negative self-esteem and body
image after years and years of being socialized
by our anti-Black society to hate myself.

It’s true that a lifetime of racialized


conscious experience of the oppressed
individual. According to Frantz Fanon,
a radical Black political philosopher, this
constant subjugation to violence results in the

epidermalization of inferiority in the mind
of the colonized subject. In other words,
in attempting to subvert and mitigate the
likelihood of discrimination, the oppressed
individual will subconsciously strive to adhere
to standards of whiteness, thus internalizing
their oppression “in anticipation of the
punitive norms.”

Growing up, I felt this internalization daily

without even being aware of it. Living in a world
where you’re constantly otherized, conscious of
your racialized identity in relation to others or,
as Biko referred to in his “On Death” chapter of
his popular text “I Write What I Like,” facing
“a permanent struggle against an omnipresent
death.” And as much as I try to shake it, by no
fault of my own, this omnipresence of death is
always following me, lingering, as a constant
reminder of my sheer lack of control over how
I am perceived in this world.

But even at my lowest, I remind myself that

I have the capacity to rise above it all. To do so,
I often find myself drawing parallels between
the Black Consciousness Movement’s notion
of salvation and deliverance (by going from
non-being to being) with the Biblical notions
of salvation and deliverance found through
Jesus Christ. As Biko discusses in his text, “The
Radical Gospel of Black Consciousness,” Black
consciousness entails a radical transformation
of the ontological status of the individual,
going from an inauthentic to authentic being.
The inauthenticity of repressing one’s own
self in fear of retaliation from the unjust status

quo is stripped away by the
affirmation of one’s own being.

In a similar vein, liberation

theologists such as Latin
American philosopher Ignacio

comparisons of deliverance
in the act of seeking salvation
in Jesus Christ. In his text,


an overwhelming majority
of humankind is crucified
by means of natural, historical and personal
oppression. He claims that the crucifixion of
Jesus Christ on the cross serves as a double
soteriology (salvation doctrine) by tying together
the passion and death of Christ with the

This carries with it heavy implications:

The notion that the Creator of the Universe
–– all we’ve ever known, experienced or
sensed –– came down onto Earth in order to
side with those who have historically been
persecuted and to affirm the existence of their
beings is something that gives me solace as I
navigate a society hell-bent on killing me. As
Black theologian James Cone wrote in Black
Theology and Black Power, “In Christ, God
enters human affairs and takes sides with the
oppressed. Their suffering becomes His, their
despair, divine despair.”

This new life that is given through Christ

parallels this radical transformation from non-

being to being. They both seek for us to live a
life that is affirmative and liberative of the
oppressed, by wrestling with death in order to
receive life. As Luke 4:18 states, “The Spirit of
the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed
me to preach the good news to the poor (...)
To set at liberty those who are oppressed, To
proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

I find comfort in this. The knowledge

that I am not determined by my earthly,
bodily existence and the demonic nature of
capitalism and white supremacy omnipresent
in our world. As Fanon once stated in his
seminal piece “Black Skin, White Masks,”
“In the world through which I travel I am
endlessly creating myself.” With this in mind, I
continue traveling, paving my own path amid
the persecution, and whenever I feel hopeless
over my lack of control in the present, I stop
and think to myself who really is in control in
the end –– and that, in all its glory, liberates me.

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Michigan in Color
6 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

puzzle by sudokusnydictation.com

By Ed Sessa
©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle

Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis



Release Date: Wednesday, March 3, 2021


1 Aussie birds with

mating calls

5 Get in a row

10 Regarding
14 Lucy Lawless title


15 “Take a look”
16 Hit the brakes
17 Once-common

childhood ailment

19 Nomadic quarters
20 Giant whose #4

was retired

21 Rock’s Pop
22 Figures of


24 Saffron-flavored

Spanish dish

26 Embellish
27 Reporting live
30 The eastern half

of a frozen food

33 Writers’


36 Move, in realty


37 Anjou, e.g.
38 24-Across


39 Garson of “Mrs.


40 Summit
41 A lot of time, in


42 Wild party
43 Speculate
44 Corporate VIP
45 Hereditary

information for a

47 Having glass


49 Incan wool


53 Race with no real


55 Cruising the

Arctic, say

57 Fish served in


58 Butter substitute
59 Five-pointed

stars ... or, in two
words, what the
sets of circles

62 Family


63 Tribal leader
64 Maine, to Macron
65 The Dead Sea,


66 Cordial dealings
67 “I did it!”


1 Many a


2 Maestro Zubin
3 Make one out of


4 __ fly: RBI


5 What separates

the men from the

6 Like the mind’s “i”
7 Guessing game
8 Former Prizm


9 Living very close


10 Big name in furs
11 Blended family


12 Vocal quality
13 Gets involved,

with “in”

18 Potters’ needs
23 Oscar-winning

director Howard

25 YouTube clicks
26 Like Van Winkle,

for 20 years

28 Trip to the

market, say

29 “Still Me”


31 Water


32 Greek war god

33 Storied

bloodsucker, for

34 Mozart’s

“__ Kleine

35 Somewhat

revealing T-shirt

37 Journalist Zahn
39 Pot pie veggie
43 __ Heights:

Mideast region

45 Wildebeest

46 Cate with a falsely

accused cow

48 Sprang up
50 Island near Sicily
51 Winning
52 Slangy sibling
53 Ump’s call
54 Forearm bone
55 The Beatles’ “__

Love Her”

56 Editor’s “Let it be”
60 Title tree in six

horror films

61 Understand


Sudoku Syndication

1 of 1
10/8/08 12:37 PM






















© sudokusolver.com. For personal use only.

Generate and solve Sudoku, Super Sudoku and Godoku puzzles at sudokusyndication.com!



“Did you know
‘swim’ upside
down is still

By Bryant White
©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle

Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis



Release Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2021


1 It may break and


5 It has an eye

on TV

8 Slightly open

12 Sea that’s a

victim of irrigation

13 Water park


15 Heavyweight


16 Capital founded

by Pizarro

17 They may draft


18 Saloon door’s


19 Civil War topper
20 Tattoo joint?
21 Folklore monster
22 Move furtively
24 “Breaking Bad”


25 Verne who

created Nemo

26 Dodger rival of

shortstop Rizzuto

28 Bucket of bolts
30 “Evita” narrator
32 Gummy bear


34 YouTube clip, for


37 Prefix with call
39 Meek
40 Tubes on the


41 Sonicare rival
43 Get into a stew?
44 One who digs

hard rock

45 Wedding

reception hiree

47 Pressing
49 Catch a bug, say
50 Energy unit
51 Loitering ... or

how 3-, 5-, 7- and
9-Down might be

58 Magic prop
59 Tech company

that became a

60 Source
62 Harper’s Bazaar


63 Absurd
64 Swear to be true
65 Tap serving
66 California’s Point

__ National

67 Cook Islands



1 Constitutional


2 Disney mermaid
3 Blood-drinking


4 “Seinfeld”


5 High light
6 Delta of


7 Spelunking sight
8 Try to date
9 Support for


10 Love, to Luigi
11 Judicial attire
13 One working on


14 Linguistic suffix
23 It may be tapped
25 Fifth of 12,


27 Place for

shooting stars?

29 Free (of)
30 Shoe that’s full of


31 Dance that may

involve a chair

33 Reddit Q&A


35 Cal.-to-Fla.


36 Gossip
38 Poisonous

flowering shrub

40 Terraced

of ancient

42 Naval lockup
44 Surrealist Joan
46 Magical potion
48 Persian king
51 “__ Trigger”:

Bugs Bunny

52 Stud fee,


53 Hawaiian


54 Anatomy book

author Henry

55 Five-star
56 Smoked salmon
57 Cuckoo clock


58 Baseball glove


61 Vegas snake


Who’s in control?

I think I’m in love with online tests

Valentine’s Day passed and no one bought you a

bouquet of your favorite flowers or the Baby Yoda
chocolate-covered strawberries or a valentine-
edition Squishmallow or even a card.

If you’re anything like me, scrolling through

TikTok and seeing couples go on picnics and being
all lovey, then you also wonder where your version
of that love is. It’s been 18 years of me, myself and I.

So when I took a love language test at the

beginning of quarantine in March, I thought to
myself, “Why the heck are you taking this? You’ve
literally never been in love before.” My result:
quality time. But that’s not what mattered to me.
While taking the test, I found myself answering
things I never really thought about. Do I like it more
when I get a hug or a note from someone I love? Do
I prefer being close to someone I love or getting a
compliment from them?

The more I questioned and learned about the

way I love, the more fascinated I became with these
online tests that seemed to know me better than I
knew myself. I then took the infamous Myers-Briggs
test with my sister. Our results for this test: ESFP for
me and INFJ for my sister. We spent the next hour
and a half reading and reflecting on our results,
recalling memories together that demonstrated
certain aspects of our personalities according to the
test. My sister and I are as close as can be, and even
then, I found myself revealing to her thoughts and
feelings I never let out. The test told me things that
I never let myself think about, because who really

likes to acknowledge that they have weaknesses and
flaws? It put into words all the thoughts I had but
could never put into words myself.

It’s hard to imagine that a test from 1962 could

describe 2020 me with such accuracy. And I know
people who don’t trust these tests because they think
that it only tells you about yourself if you’re honest
with your responses, and some people choose their
answers based on what they want the outcome to be.
Despite this, I don’t really mind because these tests
set me on a road towards learning and loving myself,
as cheesy or cliché as that may sound.

From the start of April on, my growing interest in

learning how to really love myself as a result of taking
these tests led me to ideas like the Law of Attraction,
manifestation and the Butterfly Effect — all that
good universe stuff. I started journaling more about
my thoughts, my feelings and my flaws, and soon
enough my mindset was changing. I was no longer
focusing on why I didn’t have a boyfriend but rather
on why I was so adamant that I needed someone else
to make myself happy.

This change in mindset is why I believe these

online tests are more than tests. In a Facebook
Messenger group for my Vietnamese Student
Association family, my grandbig sends us these tests
to take. Together, we fill out an excel sheet with our
results, helping us discover the more personal details
within each other’s characters. In a boba shop, my
Japan Student Association family and I take the test
together to see how we each respond; they create
ease and a bond.


MiC Columnist


MiC Columnist

Design by Jessica Chiu

A definitive guide to the zoom breakout room

Courtesy of Sarah Akaaboune - American Gothic, Grant Wood.


MiC Columnist

Read more at MichiganDaily.com

Read more at MichiganDaily.com

Design by Jessica Chiu

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