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I have a disability, but I’m not disabled

As an international student from the United Kingdom, I am no stranger to familiarising myself with the subtleties of language that differentiate my native tongue from that of the United States. In addition to the “chips” or “fries” conundrum and “pavement” versus “sidewalk” debate, I have recently become aware of another linguistic nuance that appears to carry much greater significance: person-first language. A phenomenon that has not yet reached the UK with such widespread impact as it has in the US, person-first language is a type of linguistic prescription linked largely to the disability community which seeks, as far as possible, to place the person before their diagnosis or impairment. For example, in this framework it would be preferable to use “persons with disabilities” over “disabled people”.

Razing the bar

You’re at a club with your buddies, nursing an overpriced craft drink — your treat to yourself as a reward for that B- on your math midterm — and chatting about spring plans, summer plans and planning to plan. You lose touch with the conversation for a moment as your gaze wanders and you see…

The self on paper

Stanford’s regular decision applications were just due last week, and the flurries of eager high schoolers visiting campus are beginning to slow as they hunker down for the excruciating wait for admissions decisions, coming out around April 1. Like most college students, a big part of me assumed that upon being admitted to my dream…

On being mixed

It’s Lunar New Year, and the sun has just set over the terracotta roofs on the horizon. With dusk comes a cool, cleansing breeze into the sprawling neighborhoods of Santa Clara and through the screen door of my grandparents’ home. Here, in the city of my birth, the immigration site of my ancestors, my family…

Warranting Native Americanness

Last week, in a rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s derision over her self-proclaimed Native American ancestry, senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren published the results of a DNA test strongly suggesting Warren had a Native American ancestor between six and 10 generations ago, the equivalent of having 1/64 to 1/1024 ancestry. The test was…