The Prism: Every Side of the Story

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Most people are conscious of the substantial wage gap between men and women. On average, for every dollar a man earns, a woman makes earns only seventy cents for that same job. However, an important aspect of the wage gap that a bulk of people are not informed about, is that race also factors into the wage gap.

The comparative rate between how much a woman makes for the amount that a man earns is the same for how much a white man earns compared to how much a black man earns for that same job. According to TIME Magazine, that is twenty-one dollars for the white man and fifteen for a black man.

There are various and controversial reasons for the difference in pay. One of those reasons according to The Atlantic is, “The persistent inequality of educational opportunities (of African Americans).” Without there being the same level of education, employers are not paying for the same level of work, which in turn means that employees get paid less.

Another contributing factor to the difference of pay is, “The result is a black populace that tends to earn lower wages, which keeps the cycle going.” Without being able to break away and earn more, the amount they earn will remain constant rather of increasing as it should.

Initiatives that can be taken to prevent the continuation of the wage gap are to combat poor levels of education and to fight back against unfair hiring practices that are carried about by some companies due to certain biases. All aspects of wage gaps between all people are unacceptable, all people regardless of race and gender deserve to get paid all the same for the work the preform.

pointe shoes

Pointe shoes are shoes worn by dancers in ballet and contemporary dance to allow them to dance on the tips of their toes. These special shoes are extremely strong and durable,  while creating a weighless illusion of the dancers, being that their entire weight is placed in the tip of the pointe shoe.

In the professional world, it is expected that all dancers wear pointe shoes within their  numbers. The shoes are supposed to make the dancers seem light and as though they are flying,. They  should blend seamlessly with the dancer, so it appears as an extension of her, not an attachment. But, until recently, pointe shoes have come in only light shades; the most popular of those being, “European Pink,” leaving dancers of darker complexions shoeless.

Gaynor Minden has been of the first companies that has manufactured shoes for dancers of darker complexions. Up until now, darker dancers have been painting or “pancaking” their pointe shoes with paint  in an attempt to make it match their skin tones.

Being forced to do this, and with companies not stepping up to make the necessary changes, these dancers feel like they don’t belong. Dance is an art and a freeing form of expression for many people, so these dancers feeling like they don’t belong is unacceptable.

Even Misty Copeland, the first African-American woman to get a principal role in the American Ballet Theatre, struggled with  not having shoes for her complexion, but with her dancing claim to fame and powerful influence, she had been a catalyst in the community. She is continuously pushing for more companies to make darker colored pointe shoes.


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Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were originally founded in the United States to allow black Americans the opportunity to pursue higher level education. Attending these universities was essentially the only way to receive a college education as a black American. However, today these universities and colleges exist in a time where schools are no longer segregated. Nonetheless, they are wonderful places where students can be surrounded by their culture, empowered, and supported.


The popularity of makeup is a phenomenon used by people worldwide, regardless of age, gender or who they are. People  use it and apply it on their faces for various reasons, whether it is to express themselves, cover a blemish, or to boost their self-confidence. It has been steadily gaining popularity over the past few years, with social media makeup trends coming in and out weekly. Social media icons such as James Charles and Kylie Jenner’s have made makeup’s popularity soar even more. It is no secret that the makeup business is at an all time high but the makeup business isn’t as inclusive as it should be. People of darker complexions constantly  find themselves limited in foundation shades and brands they can purchase from.

International Day 2019 (473)

The Lawrence Woodmere Academy Multicultural Assembly is an annual tradition participated in by the entire school. It is held to celebrate and recognize all of the cultures that together form the LWA community.


Within the most frequently used drugs in America,  marijuana falls at number three, behind alcohol and tobacco. It is a relatively safe drug according to NORML (National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) compared to cocaine and methamphetamine, which are highly addictive drugs and easy to overdose on.  Around 64% of Americans in fact, are in favor of the legalization of marijuana. In 2018, 10 states including our capital, passed bills to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21, while 33 states have legalized marijuana but only for medicinal purposes.

Although medicinal marijuana is legal in more states than it is not, the practice of it for recreational purposes is quite different. Studies show that using marijuana for medical purposes can lead to pain relief for nerve damage, stopping nausea, movement disorders, HIV/AIDS and dementia. Out of the 33 states that have legalized medicinal use of marijuana, each individual state has their own specific sub-laws regarding its legalization.

In New York, only medical marijuana is legal, and it is illegal for cannabis plants to be grown in homes. In Rhode Island, however, residents are allowed to grow 24 mature cannabis plants and 24 saplings. Patients are allowed to have a 30 day supply in New York, but in Rhode Island, patients are permitted to have two and a half ounces of cannabis on their person. Organizations that are registered under New York State, of which there are 10, are allowed to sell non-smokable forms of the plant that can come lotion, patches, ointment, and lozenges.

Just like each state has their own laws and legalities regarding marijuana usage,  they also have different penalties. In New York, if it is your first offense, having anywhere up to 25 grams, is a fine of one hundred dollars but doesn’t result in any jail time. Growing marijuana, however, in any amount is a felony charge and the minimum time sentence is 15 years. Selling to a minor is a class D felony and can be punished by up to seven  years with a five thousand dollar fine.

California was the first state that made medical marijuana legal in 1996 and they legalized it for recreational purposes in 2016. Adults 21 and older can purchase up to eight grams of weed at a time and grow up to six plants at once.  In Colorado, the most popular state for legal recreational use of marijuana, there are more marijuana dispensaries than there are Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.

There are many misconceptions where it comes to the dangerous and varying effects of marijuana. As we step into 2019, more and more states will pass and decline bills to legalize and regulate the use, selling, and growing of marijuana. Doctors and business will reap the reward while politicians go at it with one another to make up their minds about the legalities and use of marijuana.


The PRISM Press

The PRISM Press is the student written, edited, and published newspaper of Lawrence Woodmere Academy © 2019