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Riya Matta is a first-year who has not yet declared a major. Riya can be reached at [email protected]


Shades of Gray: Evolving perspectives

I was around 12 years old, sitting outside at a restaurant in Santana Row with my parents when a woman in high heels and a black mini skirt walked past, and I said “And that’s why women get raped.” My parents nodded in agreement.  There was nothing particularly distinctive about that evening, but I remember […]


Shades of Gray: When appreciation becomes appropriation

Appropriation remains one of the hardest-to-talk-about phenomena in pop culture, which is, fundamentally, a hodgepodge of widely circulated ideas that originated in specific subcultures.  On Tufts’ largely liberal campus, it has been my experience that there is a wide array of perspectives on appropriation — some view it as a serious issue, some simply aren’t […]


Shades of Gray: Joking ethically

I am a wholehearted believer in absurd, even morbid humor. As someone who’s experienced a fair amount of tragedy and death, I know as well as anyone that humor is perhaps the best antidepressant available to us, especially as college students — it is certainly far cheaper and more accessible than actual therapy — and […]


Shades of Gray: Faux-liberalism and colorblindness

“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re black, white, green or purple. I don’t see color — we’re all human beings!” If I were a betting person, I would bet quite a lot of money that the vast majority of students of color on campuses across the political spectrum have heard some variation of this […]


Shades of Gray: What we, the journalistic community, want

“I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop,” Sirajuddin Haqqani writes in an opinion piece published by the New York Times.  At face value, it’s an unproblematic statement, one upon which, barring a small handful of people, the general population would likely universally agree, in any context. Ironically, when compared alongside the […]


Shades of Gray: Indoctrination versus education

The thing I remember most from the day after the 2016 presidential election, Nov. 9, is my first-period class. Instead of awkwardly pushing through the usual daily routine, my 10th grade chemistry teacher asked us to sit in a circle and invited us to share gut reactions. What still strikes me is how upfront and […]


Shades of Gray: Kobe Bryant and how to remember our fallen heroes

When Kobe Bryant passed away on Jan. 26, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter accident, it seemed as if the whole world was mourning.  In the hours, days and even weeks following his death, social media platforms were flooded with posts paying tribute — painting an almost-godlike portrait of […]


Shades of Gray: Separating art from artist

We’ve all done it: listened to a Chris Brown classic, rapped along to R. Kelly’s “Ignition” (2002) or watched a Harvey Weinstein masterpiece, thinking “I know he’s a bad person and did __ but this [song/art/movie] is just so good!” Pop culture is, it seems, incessantly plagued by the recurring trope of the brilliantly talented […]


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