The Gazette

The Gazette is Iowa’s independent, employee-owned source for local, state, and national news coverage.

Nichole Shaw is a 2021-2022 editorial fellow for The Gazette. She writes two columns a month, facilitating her keen interest in issues of social and racial justice, particularly as it concerns diversity, equity and inclusion in the state of Iowa.

Canned and boxed goods line the walls of the Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry. (Madison Arnold/The Gazette).

There are different types of poverty — and Iowa must address all of them

In order to reduce the poverty level in the state of Iowa and the United States at large, there needs to be investment in public infrastructure and social welfare systems that streamlines assistance and aid to those in need. Part of that is because the American mentality posits welfare as something to be demonized, painting a false narrative that these people in critical times of need are actually lazy and just want handouts. The reality of the situation is that many of these people struggle to make ends meet because the social system of the United States works against them, clouded by inherent bias, racism, classism and other things they cannot control.

Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. (Vanessa Miller/The Gazette).

The history of Greek life — and a viable future at the University of Iowa, if it exists

Greek life is resistant to reform, deeply devoted to archaic and harmful practices because they are “tradition.” However, calls to abolish all of Greek life take away from those institutions that popped up as a result of exclusionary racist, sexist and homophobic practices…

So, when you say “Abolish All Greek life,” think about those institutions that historically provided people who experienced life-threatening discrimination with a safe space for success. Perhaps the way forward is not by abolishing a broken system but reforming it, starting with the upheaval of archaic rules and traditions that put women and people of color at risk.

Nichole Shaw (Liv Harter/Provided)

A Black-white, biracial life is one of immense alienation

Black-white biracial individuals are discriminated against by both whites and “dark-skinned” Blacks. To some, we are Black, and therefore still belong to that group of “lazy coons” that have existed since 1865. To others, we are privileged and don’t understand the true effects of racism, referring to us as “high yellows” or “redbones” (Huffington Post).

A nurse administers a vaccine in December 2020 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

COVID-19 deja vu in Iowa — it’s almost like we’re in the year 2020 again

Despite the consistent media coverage and available resources, medicine and technology available to protect Iowans and Americans at large, members of the public — about half of the population in Iowa — have still not gotten vaccinated, refusing to not only protect themselves, but also to protect others from infection and the very real possibility of death.

The former Gazette newsroom in Cedar Rapids. (Thomas Friestad/The Gazette)

News media is in a battle to foster diversity, equity and fair storytelling

To succumb to the crippling pressure of white institutions and placate white sensibilities for the comfort of the privileged and the discomfort of the marginalized would be harmful to the entire future of media and would limit the narratives that get told to influence the people of America.

An American flag on display near Central City in July 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Independence Day in Iowa: Are we really free?

The past year, we’ve been in the thick of an intense culture war rife with identity politics. Perhaps the way that Iowans can honor July 4 this year is by reflecting on what it truly means to be an American, to unpack what independence from tyranny and oppression really is, and apply it to their life and policy moving forward.

Gov. Kim Reynolds addresses the Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Iowa: A state not only against diversity, but also support for the unemployed

Policymakers are targeting economic safeholds for disadvantaged individuals like the unemployed, who still struggle to get back on their feet after a grueling pandemic which almost obliterated the economy.

Pride banners in Iowa City. (Courtesy of City of Iowa City)

Plasticity in June: Superficial support for LGBTQ+ Iowans

Pride month is upon us with the beginning of June, and I can’t wait to see what kind of plastic representation companies engage in this year to “show their support” for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

A Pride Parade on June 16, 2018, in downtown Iowa City. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)

LGBTQ Iowans harmed by Legislature’s bad bills

This year has been identified as the worst year in recent history for legislative attacks against LGBTQ+ identifying individuals and groups at the state level, with 17 anti-LGBTQ+ bills enacted into law, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Reports from the ACLU and CNN corroborate this statement, too. And 2021 is not even halfway done.

Iowa postcard from the 1930s.

‘Iowa Nice’ is a myth.

Iowa Nice. It’s the slogan for the state, a marker of the camaraderie and neighborly kindness that supposedly permeates the region…It’s a cultural label of the Hawkeye state based on the perceived stereotypical behaviors of agreeableness and friendliness, similar to that of Southern hospitality…While the sentiment is nice, and there are plenty of people in Iowa that are nice, the label is a superficial one that does not actually reflect the true conditions of the state.