The Color Theory: Symbol of Justice

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Like I said before in a previous post, we are closing in on a pretty shitty year. Although 2020 has been a wild ride for many of us, I know I am not the only one that is super happy that Trump is finally being kicked out of the office.

With our new president coming into the horizon, there are still social issues we face in a very divided country. In this week’s post, for me to talk about politics after this year’s election is only “fitting” (pun intended).

We started this year with uncertainty, but many people can say that we are ending it with a shining glimmer of hope. But with Biden becoming President, we have to realize that this is just the beginning, this country still has a lot of work to do.

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez

One of the biggest obstacles that President Biden will face in his first day in office is racial inequality. Over numerous decades, we have seen tragedies and murders of innocent black lives. 2020 has shined light upon from the events of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other countless names from this year alone. 

More names memorialized here (via CBS News)

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

I digress, but let’s not forget that The Color Theory is a fashion column. Like I said in the past, hoodie season is now in full effect. Hoodies have transcended fashion in so many ways, but also social-political movements as well.

Consider this: in the mid 70s, for some, hoodies were seen as a sign of rebellion and crime. Denis Wilson of Rolling Stone says “from its association with punk and hip-hop to skater culture, the hoodie has a history of being adopted by youth-driven communities once relegated to the fringes, imbuing it with an iconoclastic, sometimes criminal, subtext. Mainstream fashion may embrace it as a practical article of clothing, but it never lost that edge”.

Things like this creates racial biases. For people like George Zimmerman, creates a divide and fuels more to the fire. This negative connotation of hoodies meant that people like Zimmerman think innocent kids like Trayvon were “up to no good” just because they had their hood up – and to call it self-defense is absolutely shameful.

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Nowadays, some can argue that the hoodie can represent a symbol of defiance and progression after the tragedy of Trayvon Martin back in 2012. If you remember the protests at the time, a great number of Americans donned the hoodie. Marching and chanting “We are all Trayvon Martin”. Hundreds of supporters walked in a Million Hoodie March in New York – and then other gatherings in other cities (Linton Weeks via NPR).

So hoodies do not necessarily have to be a symbol of anything – as this particular piece of clothing should be representing your aesthetic and nature. Let’s be realistic, everyone in America owns at least one hoodie. Troy Patterson from The New York Times Magazine puts it best: “A black guy in a hoodie is just another of the many millions of men and boys dressed in the practical gear of an easygoing era. Or he should be”.

All I am really saying is, racism has been passed down from hundreds of generations. It’s up to all of us today to start a different mindset for many generations to come. Everyone owns a hoodie, everyone poops, everyone dies, so let’s learn how to love and forgive each other.

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

What Dave Chappelle said in his most recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, predicates to everything I am telling you now. Watch it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from his monologue:

“All the white people who feel that anguish, that pain, that man, they think nobody cares – Maybe they don’t. But let me tell you something, I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels”

“You’re a police officer. Every time you put on a uniform, you feel like you’ve got a target on your back. You’re appalled by the ingratitude that people have when you would risk your life to save them – Oh man, believe me. Believe me, I know how that feels. Everyone knows how that feels.”

“I don’t hate anybody, but I hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through, I suggest that’s what you fight through”

Although we may have another old white man back in office again, let’s not be mistaken for this: we have to hold him accountable just like any other President before him. We are in an era of progression – an era where we want to love each other and live off the simplicities of life.

In his transition plans, via Build Back Better, it states: “President-elect Joe Biden is working to strengthen America’s commitment to justice, and reform our criminal justice system. As the former District Attorney of San Francisco and Attorney General of California, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has spent her entire career fighting for justice for the people, and equal justice under law”

The Biden-Harris administration will work with Congress to pass police reform legislation including:

  • A nationwide ban on chokeholds.
  • Stopping the transfer of weapons of war to police forces.
  • Improving oversight and accountability, to create a model use of force standard.
  • Creating a national police oversight commission.

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting and writes The Color Theory, a bi-weekly fashion column.

Presidential elections risk drowning investors. Here’s how to stay afloat.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Kevin McHugh.

Presidential elections destroy everything they touch, or at least make them incredibly volatile.  

Provocative headlines, an ongoing pandemic complete with lockdowns, and the sheer possibility of a contested election with most of the country working and still learning from home is enough to send anyone into a frenzy. 

Nonetheless, we find ourselves begrudgingly participating in this ritual of panicking over the security of our money, including the retirement nesteggs held by 6 in 10 American households in possession of a retirement account. 

Many, as a means of protecting their assets, are questioning whether they should withdraw their money from the market, await a crash, and then re-invest in lower stock prices. Doing so, they insist, follows the general wisdom of “buy low, sell high” found from self-help classes to business school classrooms. 

This could not be further from the truth. Moving our eggs too often simply increases the risk of them breaking, especially when we don’t truly understand the meaning of  “high” and “low”. 

In order to prove this point, I analyzed every election year since 1972. This analysis was conducted by taking the beginning and ending price of the S&P 500 Index, starting on October 1, and calculating the average monthly return of the month prior against average monthly returns. Later, I used a similar process for the VIX to be explained further in this article.  

The S&P 500 has an average decline of -0.58% in October’s before a presidential election.  The average monthly return of the S&P 500 is 0.67%, meaning the market historically has increased on average every other month except the month before a presidential election when it declines.  

Furthermore, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), which measures market volatility and overall investor confidence, has always been quite sporadic in the month before a presidential election. During this month, the VIX historically has had an average fluctuation of over 27%; whereas, the VIX’s average change over its nearly 30-year history is just over 6%.  

Meanwhile, after an election, data from the U.S. Bank shows that the stock market increases at an average of 5% when a new party gains power in the White House (in this instance, a victory for Joe Biden) and 6.5% when an incumbent keeps the White House. In fact, stock market averages have steadily increased by 9.5% from 1920-2019 when adjusted for inflation.

This data shows us a lesson that 100 years of data still struggles to teach Americans: we should learn to view major events, such as elections, in the context of long term investment rather than short term volatility. 

After all, research from JP Morgan shows that missing the 10 best days of trading in the past 20 years risks cutting your returns in half with 6 of the 10 best trading days occurring within 2 weeks of the 10 worst trading days.

Overall, the data paints a clear picture of the risks for attempting to time the market. It’s best instead to take the more prudent route: be consistent with your contributions and reevaluate your risks and allocations every 3-5 years. 

Taking these steps will truly help mitigate some of the biggest retirement blunders as most attempts to time the market are risky and lack prudence necessary for a serious investor. 

Kevin McHugh is a M.B.A. student at University of Baltimore and the founder and CEO of Bloombox. He is also SGA vice president.