Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Name:
Location: North Carolina, United States

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Discrimination at Diversity Scholarship Dinner

Note: This article is in response to the event detailed here.

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People typically form expectations for future events by using the information available beforehand. When I had been invited to the Celebrate Diversity Scholarship Dinner held last Wednesday, I fully expected an event that encouraged equality and celebrated diversity—of all kinds. What I received is the most insensitive and discriminatory university-sponsored event I have ever witnessed.

Listening to actor Terrence Howard give his keynote address was an enormously uncomfortable experience. One of Howard’s messages about recognizing equality focused on the idea that we are all creations of God and that we are all descendants of Adam and Noah. Howard referenced Jesus multiple times, noted that he used to be a Muslim but converted to Christianity, and even asked the audience to repeat the following message after him (among other messages): “I am made in God’s image.”

Again, expectations are key: if I had been attending a church service or any other Christian event, I would have had no qualms over Howard’s rhetoric. However, this event’s theme focused on equality and diversity, and diversity is not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.; religious diversity is key to a person’s cultural background and beliefs, and to address other important types of diversity while overlooking religious diversity is simply unacceptable. Doing so is roughly akin to saying: “It doesn’t matter what race, ethnicity, or gender you are, as long as you’re a Christian.”

I felt discriminated against during this dinner, and some of my friends in attendance expressed similar displeasure. I urge the coordinators of university-sponsored events, especially those events that focus on equality and diversity, to invest more effort into addressing religious diversity and regarding religious minorities with the respect they deserve.
 
~Neil Hester

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Featured Poet- Lynsey Jenkins

Heya everyone,

Today, I'm posting two poems by an acquaintance of mine, Lynsey Jenkins, for your enjoyment:

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Channels

The mind is a mirror.
You whet your image till it draws nearer.
You wipe with your finger till it comes clearer,

then press your thumb into that place.
You push but when at last a face
gleams back, you slowly release

the pearl that tremors
as in a mirror
turning like the sky over a river,

of which you are a courier.

~~~~~

Sonnet To A Plummeting Lover

Is this what I meant: the glittering
pavements rising, the fictions
of your breath, my face
once arranged, then fleeing away
each nostril, each frightened kick
returned - now thrashing grip, quaked
by clutch nor ardent plea? Is this how
wind ravels your vices from me?
Or clasps us finite, as a sea
veers our ear and turns away?
You glide on disarray, your shape
mocking: at such pace beyond the now,
bending to memory, what lingers
of our sleep, when, at last, we wake?

~~~~~~~

Lots of nice music and interesting phrasing abounds. The first poem really comes full circle from the first to last lines, and the second poem is a sonnet that has some basic resemblance to the form (in line number and subject matter, though the latter is not approached in a typical fashion), but veers from convention.

Enjoy, and if you have thoughts/comments, make them known!

Take care,
~Neil