Let Voices Be Heard

Let Voices Be Heard

Have a conversation rather than a judgmental argument; you'd be surprised what you get out of it.
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Although it seems to be one of the "quieter" periods in the media's coverage of events regarding racism, BLM, and protests for equality, there are still people out there discussing and spreading their knowledge of the situations. Every now and again we see a video shared on social media, posed to cause an argument or catch the eye of someone who will undoubtedly be offended. I will not deny falling into these traps here and there, but recently this led me to a conversation with a man I at one time attended school with. This conversation was not an argument, nor was it on social media for everyone to read and insert themselves into. It was respectful and led me to believe that if anyone's voice should be heard, he should be one of them. He very graciously allowed me an interview, and I sincerely hope you can take a moment to see what he has to say.

Give a little insight of who you are what you do:

"My name is DeCarlo Jackson. I’m a freelance multi-instrumentalist and session musician, I play trumpet with Hippo Campus, Nazeem X Spencer Joles, and Improvestra. I also play bass with Ayvah, Rajitheone, and Doks. I also offer my talents through freelancing with a full roster of other jazz, rap groups, and recording projects. I’m a co-founder of a group called ROQA that organizes Art galleries, and concerts for social awareness around the Twin Cities. I also work at Walker West Music Academy as an Administrator/Teacher."

In your personal experience, what is life like today as a black man?

"As it is for most, I experience my fair share of ups and downs. I have a stark distrust in policy makers, law enforcers and lots of traditional aspects of the government. I’ve had a couple of experiences being pulled over, or harassed by police officers for fitting the description of someone they were looking for. However; I’m fortunate enough to live a very fun lifestyle, full of music, and diverse smiling audiences. But sometimes I just have to act like a lot of the negative energy in the world doesn't affect me. This is an incredibly taxing effort."

What is Black Lives Matter?

"It’s proclamation. Born out of the fact that black people have been systematically dehumanized, degraded, and abused for the entirety of American history. To me “Black Lives Matter” means, we are here too. We should matter as much as you, but we don’t. We never have, and we’re sick of it."

Have you attended any protests? How many?

"Yeah, I went to the 4th precinct after the murder of Jamar Clarke twice. And I went to the governor's mansion after the death of Philando Castille thrice."

What is the purpose of the protests?

"At the precinct it was about releasing the footage, and crucial details of Jamar Clarke’s death. While the governor's mansion was about speaking our voice, and letting a VERY wealthy, essentially all white neighborhood know that there’s a huge problem with the way that minorities are being policed in their communities."

What is the atmosphere at these protests?

"They were very chill. 'Alright' by Kendrick played at least three times at both of them. For the most part people were just kind of hanging out, greeting each other, and talking about what was going on. There were usually some people who seemed to be appointed as “in charge” of things like food, and water, and gathering people when someone decided to speak on the megaphone."

What role does the media play?

"The media should serve as a realistic insight into situations that everyone faces day to day. While it mostly does that, it also largely reflects the ideals of its specific customer base. Which in turn leads to great amounts of misrepresentation, and the perpetuation of toxic ideals through very specific language, and video editing."

How do you respond if someone tells you that "all lives matter"?

"I usually don’t have conversations with people who feel that way. Most people I associate myself just aren’t in that lane. But usually on the internet I just don’t respond. Because it’s only meant to verbally slap down some who says “black lives matter”. Because all lives are supposed to matter...that’s the point of saying “black lives matter”. We matter too. Same with people who say “blue lives matter”. It’s like “lol yeah duh”."

Besides protests, what actions do you, or anyone that is a part of BLM, think should be taken to make a change?

"As a nice, considerate person, I take it upon myself to try and teach people who wanna argue with me, which has about a 60:40 success ratio. As an event curator, I put together events that raise awareness to societal injustices, and give a platform of expression to those who are often talked over, and ignored. I think we as a society need to bring awareness to the fact that our laws and institutions are rooted in classist, sexist, and racist ideals, because they were made to serve and protect the wants and needs of the people who founded this country. White guys...with tons of money."


So, there you have it folks. This is not about a "battle of race". This is about equality among all, whether black, white, teacher, cop, etc., we all matter. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding these topics, and I think it should now be very clear that we ALL need to open our hearts and our minds to what our world entails. Everyone has a voice, and everyone should use it respectfully. Agree or disagree, there is no hiding that there are still many things that need working on in our society.

DeCarlo, I thank you very much for the opportunity of communicating with you, and for your willingness to answer questions among your busy activities!

Cover Image Credit: JenMan

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

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2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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Criticism is Patriotism, Not A Lack Thereof

Don't let bigoted ideals become the defining characteristics of our state; stand up, speak out, and don't let your voice be trampled by those who fail to accept dissent.

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In the wave of political polarization following the 2016 election, this idea of the President and federal government being these untouchable figures emerged among Trump supporters and self-proclaimed patriots, chasting protests and dissenters for being anti-patriotic. I, however, do not subscribe to the ideology that criticizing the institutions that govern you equates to a lack of patriotism; in fact, I believe it to be just the opposite.

Taking to the streets in act of protest is a blatant expression of the first amendment rights we are granted. Constitution warriors are adamant about upholding the 2nd amendment (despite its desperate, life-threatening need for revision -- but that's a story for another time), but fervently refute those who defend the first amendment with the same admiration.

Take former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, for instance. After kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and the lack of justice of black Americans in this country, he received several death threats and was repeatedly referred to as "ungrateful" or "unpatriotic." This, as Kaepernick so eloquently puts it, is an example of "racism disguised as patriotism" -- a concept that is quickly becoming the norm among right wing extremists.

On the other hand, while President Barack Obama served one of the most controversial presidential terms in United States history and was repeatedly attacked with racist remarks, rude inquiries about his birthplace, and criticisms that deviated from being toward his policy decisions alone, his dissenters were not dubbed as "unpatriotic." Instead, this group is usually considered the quintessential, America-lovin' type; however, if your patriotism isn't characterized by a love for all of the different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds of people your country encompasses, it isn't patriotism -- it's antiquated, racist, problematic nationalism.

Disclaimer: This is only directed toward those with racially-charged hostility toward Obama, not those with legitimate issues with his administration and presidency itself.

I think it's time to redefine our definition of patriotism. In recent years, I have become increasingly disappointed with a country I grew up being told is the "greatest in the world." My parents' experiences, who migrated to the United States from India when they were 18, provide me with the perspective to understand the privilege being born in America holds. However, this privilege comes with a responsibility -- the responsibility to advocate for those who do not have the same privilege as me and to exercise my rights to criticize and improve the powers that be. Similar to how I am simultaneously proud of my Indian culture and critical of India's islamophobic and nationalistic tendencies (I'm looking at you, Modi), I can be thankful for my American citizenship while actively trying to better my surroundings.

Patriotism is more than fireworks on the fourth of July or American flag bumper stickers -- it's a constant desire and determination to improve the society that you live in. Being proud of our "americanness" is not the same as refusing to recognize the problems in the bodies that govern us and ignoring the blatant corruption present in the federal system.

If you care about your country, act like it. Don't let bigoted ideals become the defining characteristics of our state; stand up, speak out, and don't let your voice be trampled by those who fail to accept dissent.

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