“Listen and Stop: Racism in the U.S.” story transcript
Tony Dombrowski: All right, welcome, everybody, to the journalism 3290 Oakland University Diversity and Media Storytelling podcast. My name is Tony Dombrowski, I’ll be your host today. Joining me, my guest is Oakland University senior, Jaylen Horne.
Jay, thanks for joining me. How are you?
Jaylen Horne: I’m good, man. Thanks for allowing me to do this.
TD: Thanks for coming on. So, the topic of today’s interview is going to be racism in America. And the first question I want to ask you is, when you think about the racism we see in America, especially today, what sorts of emotions come to your mind?
JH: Disappointment I guess you could say. And frustration to an extent because, um… growing up you didn’t really see much of what was going on. You just heard all of the stories going on and stuff like that, and then uhh, what happened? Was it the Trayvon Martin thing, I think that happened first? And that’s where the whole BLM thing kind of poofed up, or whatever. But it’s just, it gets worse, it seems, like as the years go on. This past year was kinda… it was very rocky. You know, so… I don’t really… I’m not surprised anymore. Just disappointed.
TD: And speaking of this past year I know back in the summer you actually attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Detroit. Talk about what that was like for me a little bit. Um, what were you hoping to… express, if you will, by attending that protest?
JH: Like, usually, like, I don’t ever go to stuff like that because, like, I’m just not… I don’t like being out there in stuff like that. But I went this time or whatever, you know with the camera just to get like some pictures of what was going on. And well then it just got like, you know, interesting because people were speaking about life and stuff, everything about what’s going on, and I think we walked… about like… two and a half miles, three miles almost. And it was, it was wild, like I’ve never seen stuff like that before. You see it on TV and stuff like that but it was really intense, it got to that point where like, police were there, and like people were like breaking like car windows, the police cars, like I have a whole video from like doing it. It wasn’t really bad, I guess you can say, because of what really, like, what happened before that. But it was just different because, you know, I wasn’t about to go out there and, you know, start breaking stuff but… it was pretty… it was pretty cool in a sense.
TD: Looking back at it, were you glad that you attended that protest?
JH: Yeah, I think if I didn’t go, I would have missed out, on like, the whole experience because I… even watching TV, seeing all the George Floyd stuff like that but being there, it’s kind of like, you see like the raw emotion in every single person.
TD: Now I understand that this could kind of be a… tough question to ask and answer, but has there ever been an instance in your personal life where you experienced racism?
JH: Um, I wouldn’t say like, hard racism… but, I mean I’ve gotten pulled over a couple times and I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, like I was in Ann Arbor one time and um, I was driving, it was about like two in the morning, one in the morning, and the police pulled me over and said my music was to loud. And for the one time, I wasn’t even playing music. I was on my phone just, like, chillin’, I wasn’t doing anything, and I’m just like “OK whatever.” It was a white security guard, or white police officer or whatever. I went “OK that’s cool,” then I got pulled over downtown because we looked suspicious or whatever, it was like twelve o’clock after a party we had did.
Um, besides that though, that’s really it, I can’t… playing sports too, man, like… we played sports uh… in like Oxford, and stuff like that, and it was just real sketchy. I’m talking like, really like, they hated us. They were… they were… the people in the crowd were saying like stuff to us that I can’t say on this right now, but like, they were saying like all types of wild stuff. Mind you, we were like fifteen. So it’s kind of just like, “what the heck?” But yeah, that’s really it though.
TD: To go back to that instance where you had with the police officers pulling you over, both times, what was going through your head as you experienced that?
JH: Well, when I drive or whatever, I usually have my stuff, you know, my stuff like right in front of me, like my license or whatever like that so, I don’t have to reach far for anything, but it’s just like… you’ve seen videos, like you don’t gotta do much to you know, then they’ll start acting up or whatever. So I was just like, if I get home I get home, but if not, that’s just life, it is what it is because like… I can’t I cant’ fight a gun, you know. I don’t have anything.
TD: So the final question I had for you, Jay, and again, I appreciate you for doing this, what steps do you think society needs to take in order to combat racism in America?
JH: I think they need to just wake up, like… everybody says they’re woke with like what’s going on, or… they wanna be politicians and protestors but you just gotta wake up and listen, like… there’s 400 years of this stuff. You can’t… you don’t see me and you out here, you know, arguing over, like, you know, black or white stuff because like that’s not, that’s not it. So, you got to listen and stop– we have a lot of people with power, you know that persuade certain things, you know, you know… have us doing a lot of stuff but, you just gotta listen, bro.
TD: Jay, thanks again for doing this, I really appreciate it.
JH: No problem, bro.
TD: His name is Jaylen Horne, my name’s Tony Dombrowski, and thanks for listening to this episode of Journalism 3290 Oakland University Diversity and Media storytelling podcast. We’ll catch you all soon.