Laurier Brantford offers only two courses on black history this year

Although Laurier Brantford is hosting a film series and a public lecture to celebrate Black History Month in February, the campus offered just two black history courses in the 2015-16 academic year.

The campus’s history program offers three courses about black history, according to program co-ordinator Geoff Spurr.

“We do teach specific courses on Africa and African Americans, just nothing is being offered…this year,” said Spurr. He said most history courses are offered on a two- to three-year rotation, except for many first-year courses.

Next year, the history program plans to offer two courses on black history: The African American Experience Since 1871 (HI 331) and War and Society in Africa (HI 306). “Well, that’s the plan, to offer it next year. It’s based on enrollment; sometimes you don’t get the enrollment. But I think that one will be quite popular,” said Spurr.

When asked, Lauren Burrows, education and inclusion co-ordinator at the Brantford campus’s diversity office, said she did not know how many courses the university offered on black history. But she said it was important for the school to offer them.

“I think there should be more courses about black history, race and gender because they all intersection,” said Burrows. “We are all race.”

Spurr acknowledged the university is aware of the small number of black history courses offered and would like to increase them. Spurr said there are a few challenges the program has encountered that prevent it from offering more black history courses.

“We don’t actually have any specialists in African or African American history here. We have six faculty members, but four of them are cross-listed or cross-appointed,” which means they teach in multiple programs, he said.

The lack of black history courses has been discussed inside the department, including when they had the opportunity to hire a new faculty member three years ago. The program weighed hiring a specialist in Asia, Africa and Latin American history. Ultimately, a specialist in Asian history was hired. The program hopes its next hire will address the need for a specialist in black history.

“We thought there was a huge gap in terms of Asia. We didn’t have anyone teaching Asian history and we had very few faculty with any kind of specialty in Asia. It was a tough decision and we kind of went that route. Hoping that if we got a future hire we would do it in Africa,” said Spurr.

A second challenge is the requirements placed on history students to graduate. They must take a certain number of courses in three categories: premodern, modern and global history. Certain black history courses do not fit into any requirements meaning history students will only receive an elective credit instead of receiving credit for a premodern, modern or global history course.

As part of Black History Month, the history program welcomed Dana E. Weiner to the Brantford campus on Feb. 12. Weiner is a specialist in African American history and will discuss researching the topic with students.

To celebrate Black History month, Laurier Brantford student organization SOUL is running a film series on black history. SOUL showed the 2014 satirical drama “Dear White People” on Feb. 8th, as the second of three movies it is showing during the month. After the film, the 32 people in attendance participated in a discussion moderated by student Justin Manning.

“I was pleased with the turnout for the event and the number of people who stayed and didn’t just take food and leave. I hope the people who stayed learned something tonight,” said Manning following the discussion.

The third and final film in SOUL’s month-long series is “42,” the story of Jackie Robinson, the first player to break baseball’s colour barrier. It will be shown on Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. in RCW 202.

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Knife attacks have Ontario residents on edge

By Matthew Burley and Adam Stocker

 Machete and knife attacks are becoming more frequent in Canada, leaving victims in serious condition.

From Dec. 23 to Dec. 31, there were three separate attacks in Toronto. Two of the incidents sent teenage boys to hospital with lacerations on their hands. One of the teenage boys had one of his fingers severed from the attack. The third incident occurred at the Eaton Centre, where a man carrying a 30-centimetre machete and 20-centimetre hunting knife attacked a shopper before being tackled by security. In Winnipeg, Canada Day celebrations were ruined following a machete attack that sent another victim to hospital.

Brantford is not immune to machete attacks. In July and September, two attacks left men in serious conditions. One of the victims was sent to hospital to be treated for a 20-centimetre laceration on his neck. The machete cut through the victim’s neck, slicing the muscles on the right side of his neck and just barely missed severing his nerves and arteries. Police eventually charged a man with attempted murder following the attack on Dalhousie Street.

The first four weeks of 2016 have seen Brantford police respond to four incidents involving knives according to published reports on its websites. Two of the incidents were robberies that saw the perpetrator brandish a knife to hold up a store. The two other incidents involved individuals uttering threats to another person while being armed with a knife. One of the incidents included a naked man waving a knife while issuing threats. In both cases, police intervened and charged both men with multiple offenses.

Machetes are popular tools for bushwhacking, hunting and gardening. Under Canadian law, anyone can buy one, but some stores have policies that prevent the sale to anyone under 18.

Meaghan Hanley works at Brantford Surplus, on Colborne St., where machetes are kept behind the counter to ensure safety and prevent shoplifting. Hanley believes that the government should consider require licenses in the future when purchasing machetes.

 

“We sell one to two a week during the summer,” said Hanley. Machetes sell for $17.99 plus tax at Brantford Surplus.

 

Canadian Tire is one of the largest retail stores in the country. For as little as $30, anyone can buy an 18-inch machete. “Every Canadian Tire carries machetes, not just Brantford,” said Brantford store employee Erin Petelka.

 

The machetes inside the Brantford location, on Lynden Rd., are locked in a glass cabinet. However, machetes in Canadian Tire were not always behind glass. “One was not behind glass. One was stolen just after the summer,” said Petelka.

 

Fellow employee Jamal Chase said machetes are not a high-volume item. “(Machetes are) not sold that often. (I’ve) worked here about a year and only sold a few,” he said.

 

Both Petelka and Chase said there should be restrictions on the purchase of machetes. “There should be a limit. (There) Should really have to enforce (selling to) 18 (years olds) plus,” said Chase.

Petelka said that the sale of machetes should be similar to the sale of crossbows. “Its 18 plus for crossbows, but no licenses or info.”

Sex Before The Big Game

Sex before the big game. It’s a question, a myth that is constantly reoccurring in the sports world. The question continues to live, as superstitious athletes, coaches and media members refuse to let it die.

In popular culture, the question of sex before the big game arose in the latest edition of the “Rocky” franchise, “Creed.” Sylvester Stallone reprises to the role of Philadelphia southpaw Rocky Balboa. But instead of being a boxer, Rocky returns as the reluctant trainer of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). The role earned Stallone a nomination for best supporting actor at the Academy Award, following a victory at the Golden Globes.

As training progresses, Rocky believes Creed is ready for his first fight against rival a Philadelphia boxing prospect. The night before the fight, Rocky tells Creed not to have sex before the fight because “women weaken legs.” The scene acts as a continuation, linking a lesson Rocky learned during his boxing career from his trainer Mickey, in the initial 1976 film.

In reality it is an idea that is held in high regard for boxers and trainers. The idea of weak legs could be the difference between winning and losing a fight. Strong legs allow for boxers to generate more punching power. But more importantly, strong legs play a role in the defense of a fighter. Strong legs provide a strong base for a boxer, allowing for them to absorb an opposing punch if they are caught. Additionally strong legs leads to better footwork that allows fighters to use footwork to move and avoid being hit.

In other sports the question has come up through media press conferences. It is tradition at the annual Grey Cup Head Coaches’ press conference that the question of players having sex the night before the CFL’s championship game is the first question asked. South of the border at Super Bowl media day, players and coaches are routinely asked the same question from all sorts of media members that bombard the host city to cover a sporting event that they normally do not cover. Similar questions have been asked at the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final about players’ sexual tendencies prior to games. The myth exists in soccer and track and field as coaches and athletes believe sex leads to weak legs, fatigue and dehydration.

Scientific studies have been launched to see if this myth actually holds water. Different studies have looked at the amount of energy used during sex, to physiological effects on muscles that sex has. Some studies have looked at the effect sex has on feeling physical pain, to anxiety levels to the level of aggression athletes have when they abstain from sex. Famously Muhammad Ali abstained from sex weeks before big fights because he believed it made him more aggressive inside the ring.

However, in the end these studies provide no definitive answer to the myth of sex before the big game. Results differ from person to person. But one thing is for sure, athletes will continue to have sex before games. While some athletes will choose not to. The myth will live on, and the questions and human curiosity will continue.

Defense Wins Super Bowl 50

The Carolina Panthers have been the NFL’s best team this season. Despite the Panthers winning 14 straight games and finishing the regular season 15-1, few people wanted to acknowledge how good the Panthers are. The Panthers are the betting favourites in Super Bowl 50 for a reason. They are going to win and they are going to win big.

Lead by MVP favourite Cam Newton, and a great defense the Panthers were among the league leaders in points scored and points allowed. In the playoffs the Panthers were more dominate. In their first game the Panthers jumped out to a 31-0 lead eliminating defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks.

In the NFC championship game, the Panthers dominated the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers defense forced Carson Palmer into four interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles. The Panthers won 49-15, punching their Super Bowl tickets.

Cam Newton deserves the majority of credit for leading one of the league’s best offenses. However it is the defense that makes the Panthers a truly special team. The defense is headlined by linebacker Luke Kuechly. The Panthers selected the Boston College tackling machine 9th overall in 2012. Kuechly struggled in coverage early in his career. However, Kuechly has emerged as the league’s best linebacker in coverage, and it’s not even close according to Pro Football Focus. Quarterbacks see receivers being covered by Kuechly and assume that a linebacker covering a receiver is mismatch. It’s a mistake that both Russell Wilson and Palmer made in the playoffs. Both times Kuechly intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown. In Denver’s victory over New England in the AFC championship game, tight end Owen Daniels scored two touchdowns on blown coverages. Against Kuechly, Daniels will not be able to create any separation.

Part of what makes Kuechly so effective, is Panthers dominate defensive line that beats opposing offensive lineman and prevents them from getting to Kuechly in the second level. The Panthers built the interior of their defensive line in the 2013 NFL draft. The Panthers selected Star Lotulelei 13th overall and Kawann Short 44th overall. Both have been disruptive forces in the middle of the line. Lotulelei received the major of media hype early on, but it has been Short that has emerged as the star.

Short was named to the All-Pro team after he routinely beat offensive lineman. Short finished with 55 tackles and 11 sacks. The biggest weakest on the Broncos offense is their offensive line, that Khalil Mack dominated for five sacks in a half. With Short and Lotulelei, the Panthers should win the battle in the trenches, limiting any running game for the Broncos and collapsing the pocket on Peyton Manning.

If there is a weakness for the Panthers defense it is the secondary and an injury to linebacker Thomas Davis. Davis broke his arm in the Arizona game but vows to play in the Super Bowl. His replacement is Panthers first round pick Shaq Thompson. Thompson did not see many snaps his rookie season, but maybe a better athlete than Davis. Thompson played both running back and safety at Washington before settling in as a coverage linebacker in the Panthers sub packages. While in the secondary, Josh Norman has emerged from small school obscurity into one of the NFL’s top corners. For most of the season throwing at Norman was no better than throwing the ball into the dirt. Norman will be in coverage on either Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders and limit their impact on the game. Outside of Norman, the Broncos could find mismatches with Roman Harper who is a good run stuffer as a safety, but a liability in coverage.

Offensively, the Panthers have to counter a Broncos pass rush that hit Tom Brady a record 23 times. Like the Broncos, the Panthers have a poor offensive line. Blind Side tackle Michael Oher maybe a well-regarded player due to the Michael Lewis book and movie about his life. But Oher has consistently graded as one of the NFL’s worst tackles over the past three seasons. Luckily for Oher, Newton counters any pass rush with his size and speed. Newton is similar in size to both of Denver’s top pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. What makes Newton so dangerous is his ability to break contain, extend the play and pick up first downs.

The Broncos possess a very good run defense lead by Derek Wolfe. The Broncos will certainly limit the production of Panthers’ back Jonathan Stewart, but they will not be able to limit Newton’s effectiveness as a runner. Newton’s ability to run makes him extremely difficult to account for. Wade Phillips knows this and will almost certainly place a spy on Newton. But this will leave the Broncos vulnerable in coverage.

The Broncos have a definite advantage in the passing game. Denver has three capable starting corners in Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr and Bradley Roby. The Panthers’ receivers outside of tight end Greg Olsen, somehow form a functional unit, despite being a collection of players no one really wanted. With no star receiver, the Broncos won’t match a corner up with any receiver. However they will likely match safety T.J. Ward on Olsen. Olsen has been Newton’s favourite target over the five seasons they have played together.

When the game concludes, the Panthers offense will not be the unit that wins them the game. It will be the defense. A defense that will create turnovers and great field position for the offense. Super Bowl 50 could look a lot like the Broncos last trip to the Super Bowl two seasons ago when they lost 43-8 to the Seahawks.