Tell The Uncomfortable Stories And Make Sure People Hear You Just Like Muckrakers In History

Tell The Uncomfortable Stories And Make Sure People Hear You Just Like Muckrakers In History

"All art is propoganda"- W.E.B. Du Bois

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In the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, there were what are called Muckrakers. The term came from a day when Teddy Roosevelt was asked by a few journalists to answer some questions on the street. Journalism was a new profession created in wake of the newspaper's rising popularity, it was not a renown profession and President Roosevelt added to their poor public reputation in a famous quote in response to those journalists; "I will not have them rake muck over my good name!" and thus, coined the term "muckraker" as a colloquialism for a journalist or someone who set out to "stir the pot" by revealing the injustices and discrepancies in society through photography, art, news articles, literature, or other media.

We owe such things as the regulation and inspection of meat, drugs, and food, as well as the progression of the refrigerator to Muckrakers like Upton Sinclair who wrote a book about the horrific conditions of the meat packing industry of his time. Ida Tarbell pioneered investigative journalism and what would become our modern profession of social work through writing and speaking about the pain, mistreatment, and injustice women and children without homes face.

Urban reform, the invention of the garbage collection system, destruction of tenements and implementation of proper urban housing, and more refined sewage systems can be accredited to Jacob Riis and his book called How the Other Side Lives which sought out the stories and faces of people (primarily immigrants and people of color) forced to live in tenements which were cramped, shabbily built city housing that harbored disease and poverty.

So many journalists are being killed all over the world, not excluding the US, for writing the truth of the world around them. We need stories, we need faces, we need documentation of people's lives to keep so we never repeat what they have to have or let their reality die.

Tell stories.

In the words of W.E.B. Du Bois, "all art is propaganda". What is propaganda? "Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause." At the first meeting of what would become the NAACP, W.E.B. Du Bois said this to encourage the people at the meeting to tell their own stories and not let anyone tell it for them.

Everyone is born with a microphone and a story to tell, but the volume is different for everyone. It is naturally turned up or down for you based on your identity and society, which promotes a surplus of the same stories and maybe what is worse, a telling of someone else's story for them by someone with a higher volume on their microphone. Pass mics, don't speak for people. Tell your own story and help others tell theirs but never tell it for them. Art of any kind promotes some kind of message and cause, so do stories and the danger of telling someone else's is taking it from them and using it to promote your cause instead of theirs.

This is not a competition, people telling the stories of the people should not be pitted against each other, but respect the value of their voice by letting them proclaim it but always lift it and back it up.

And rake some muck. Tell the uncomfortable stories and make sure people hear them. Tell the truth, especially if it's uncomfortable, enraging, and scary. But let it be the truth because history is nothing if not the truth. If we do not remember people and their voices for who they truly were, no washing of their stories for our comfort and their belittlement.

Listen, speak, and rake some muck.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Spoke With A Group Of DACA Recipients And Their Stories Moved Me To Tears

An experience that forever changed my perspective on "illegal" immigrants.

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I thought I was just filming about a club meeting for a project, but when I entered the art-filled room located in a corner of the student common area, I knew this experience would be much more than a grade for a class.

I was welcomed in by a handful of people wearing various Arizona State hoodies and T-shirts that were all around my age. They were college students, like myself, but something felt different when talking to them. They were comforting, shy at first, and more driven than the peers that I usually meet.

As I began to look around the room, I noticed a good amount of art, murals, religious pieces, and a poster that read, "WE STAND WITH DREAMERS." The club was meant for students at ASU that are either undocumented or DACA recipients.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

As a U.S. citizen college student, you typically tend to think about your GPA, money, and dating. As a DACA recipient college student, there are many more issues crowding your brain. When I sat down at a club meeting for students my age dealing with entirely different problems as me, my eyes were opened to bigger issues.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program allows for individuals that crossed the border as children to be protected from deportation and to go to school or work. Commonly known as DREAMers, these individuals are some of the most hard-working, goal-oriented and focused people I have met, and that's solely because they have to be.

In order to apply to be a DACA recipient, it is required that the applicant is attending school with a high school diploma, or a military veteran, as well as have a clean criminal record. While being a DACA recipient does not mean that you can become a permanent citizen of the United States, it allows for opportunities that may not be offered in their home country.

It's no secret that the United States has dealt with immigration in a number of ways. From forming new policies to building a wall on our nation's border, we see efforts to keep immigrants from entering the U.S. every day. But what about the people who are affected?

As the club members and I began a painting activity regarding where we came from and how we got to where we are today, I began to feel the urge to cry.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

One girl described the small Mexican town that she grew up in and the family that still resides there. She went on to talk about how important education is to her family and so much so that it was the cause of her family's move to the United States when she was still a child. Her voice wavered when she talked about the changing immigration policies that prevent her from seeing her family in Mexico.

Another member of the club, a boy with goals of becoming a journalist, talked of his depression and obstacles regarding growing up as an undocumented student. Once he was told by his father that he was illegal, he began to set himself apart from his peers and became someone he did not think he would ever be.

All of my worries seemed small in comparison to theirs, and I felt a pang of regret for realizing I take my own citizenship for granted every single day.

Terminating the policy would lead to the displacement of about 800,000 people. We tend to forget about the human aspect of all of this change, but it's the most important part.

For more information about this club, visit https://www.facebook.com/USEEASU/

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