The Continuation of Value Barriers

I remember the day so vividly. During the time of 2012 Summer Olympics, I was 16 years old. My mother and I had our eyes glued to the television screen as Gabby Douglas took the floor. I remember the two of us being so happy for this great accomplishment, not only for Gabby Douglas, but African American history as well. After Gabby had won I didn’t stay in the room to see her receive her medal. I can recall the next day my mother having a conversation about some comments made by Bob Costas after Gabby Douglas had won. My mom criticized Costas’ comments as well as opened my eyes to ideas I had not noticed before.

During his coverage for the 2012 Summer Olympics through NBC, Costas made the following statement:

You know, it’s a happy measure of how far we’ve come that it doesn’t seem all that remarkable, but still it’s noteworthy, Gabby Douglas is, as it happens, the first African-American to win the women’s all-around in gymnastics. The barriers have long since been down, but sometimes there can be an imaginary barrier, based on how one might see oneself.” 

Bob Costas of NBC photo taken from

Bob Costas of NBC
photo taken from

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The Doping Dilemma

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season for using performance enhancing drugs (from

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season for using performance enhancing drugs (from

Imagine you have an important exam coming up and are currently freaking out about it. The class itself is curved on a bell. In order to earn a high grade, you must outscore other students which obviously raises the stress caused by the exam. Then you hear from a friend in the class someone stole the answer key and supposedly many students have it. The friend offers to give them to you which would undoubtedly help you in your efforts to get a good grade. Obviously, this would not be a moral decision, but everyone else could be cheating and it is in your best interest to even the playing field. A very similar situation to this is faced by athletes everywhere, especially in Major League Baseball. Players face the pressure to use performance enhancing drugs. In contrast, there are moral reasons not to partake. This predicament is an application of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, to which Thomas Hobbes acknowledges the existence. Continue reading

What is it really?

Have you ever thought about what college really is?

In my Organizational Studies class, we read Robert Birnbaum’s piece, How Colleges Work. In it, Birnbaum elaborates on the idea that the collegiate system is an anarchical system, a model that can also be described as an “organized anarchy.” Defined by three characteristics, the system has problematic goals, unclear technology, and fluid participation. Much like some authors like Homer and A. Bartlett Giamatti, Birnbaum connects his argument to a sports match and games. Intrigued by the comparison, his piece proposes an interesting way to think of what college really may be, whether it be an anarchy or other type of dominant power.

“Imagine that you’re either the referee, coach, player, or spectator at an unconventional soccer match: the field for the game is round; there are several goals scattered haphazardly around the circular field; people can enter and leave the game whenever they want to; the entire game takes place on a sloped field; and the game is played as if it makes sense.”

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