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Racism, Sexism, and other -isms: The best of News & Society 2016

2016 was filled with events that were so shocking, we almost couldn't believe they happened.

Trying to boil 2016 down to a few words, or even a few sentences, is a challenge.

When I first sat down to choose the four articles that best summed up the year, I wasn’t sure what angle I wanted to take. Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year is “Post-Truth” – and while I’m inclined to agree with the choice, the News Section covers more than just divisive politics.

Looking back on some of this year’s biggest headlines, I can’t help but re-live the roller coaster of emotions associated with them. We stood in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters, criticized the judicial system when Brock Turner got off easy, and mourned the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. We bit our nails as the events of Brexit unfolded, watched incredulously as Donald Trump won the American presidency, and stood at the front lines of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Our hearts broke as the crisis in Syria reached unprecedented levels, and several terror attacks across Europe incited new waves of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric.

2016 was filled with events that were so shocking, we almost couldn’t believe they happened.

But amidst the heartbreak, we’ve had some serious gains. We’ve doubled our writer’s network and now feature voices from over 20 countries. Every email, pitch, and article is a gain in my eyes. It means we’re still fighting.

The launch of the Science vertical, Tech + Money vertical and The Week in Review series brought in a whole new twist to how we reported news. And we promise, there’s more to come.

So without further ado, here’s the #BestofTheTempest16 for News and Society.

1. My deep dark secret about the pledge of allegiance 

Race relations were at the forefront of most of identity politics reporting this year. Cecilia Nowell, Editorial Fellow, tackles Colin Kaepernick and race relations in America as she describes her complicated relationship with the Pledge of Allegiance: “I had, after all, grown up in a country where presidents proclaimed ‘God bless America’ and bumper-stickers exclaimed ‘God bless our troops!’ Believing in God was half of being an American. But what was I if I didn’t?”

This honest narrative gets us all to think about how we practice our patriotism.

2. Dear rapists, I don’t give a f*ck about your future 

Sexual violence is no joke – and young females are especially vulnerable. We saw extensive dialogue taking place throughout Brock Turner’s highly publicized trial – and the nation’s collective dismay when he got let off easy. The horrifying reality of this year’s rape statistics has shown us there’s a lot of work to be done.

Chelsea Hensley spares no feelings in this powerful open letter: “I’ll never forget or forgive that you are a rapist. I wish nothing but bad things on you.”

3. How “Funk Your Turban” can change the conversation about Sikhs 

Mansharn Toor gets honest with us as she describes her struggles as a Sikh woman in Canada. Toor’s experiences relatable on many levels: “Since [9/11], being a brown skinned individual in a dominantly white country meant that with many interactions with the Western world I would be racialized.”

Toor shares with us a secret she’s never told before and stresses the need for increased dialogue, while simultaneously debunking myths surrounding the turban.

4. I always thought politics were too much for me to handle 

It would be an understatement to say that politics were at the forefront of media this year. Editorial Fellow Ryanne Berry sums up the millennial experience in this honest description on her journey to “becoming political.”

Once she started engaging with politics, she realized how important it was to discern the “difference between internet slacktivism and actually being ‘political,'” especially with the rapid advent of social media.

Here’s to the New Year!