The Isis Nicole Magazine (or IN Magazine for short, named after its founder) is unabashedly colorful, vibrant and glittery, often spotlighting women of color: think Tumblr come to life. The Chicago-based publication is the perfect blend of traditional print media and Internet age fervor. Isis and the other half of the magazine, Hannah Black, are not only creative partners but real life gal pals who always make sure to Snapchat each other about their days. The two tell ACRO what IN Magazine is all about and how they balance work and fun.
The Isis Nicole Magazine (or IN Magazine for short, named after its founder) is unabashedly colorful, vibrant and glittery, often spotlighting women of color: think Tumblr come to life. The Chicago-based publication is the perfect blend of traditional print media and Internet age fervor. Isis and the other half of the magazine, Hannah Black, are not only creative partners but real life gal pals who always make sure to Snapchat each other about their days. The two tell ACRO what IN Magazine is all about and how they balance work and fun:Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Isis Nicole Magazine!”
The song pokes fun at Asian stereotypes in a brazen, NSFW way that’s so true to the zany rapper/comedian duo, encouraging young women (and particularly Asian ones) “to embrace their quirkiness, their sexuality, their inner-child and their creativity with passion,” according to Awkwafina.
This is evidenced with lyrics that go, “Yellow bitches in the driver’s seat… We got that bomb pussy/ That Long Duk Dong pussy/ Make you call your mom pussy/ Get a pair of TOMS pussy/ Got that Soon Yi pussy/ Be all you want to be pussy.”
There’s a lot of satire throughout the video, with traditional Asian garb, mock “Asian-sales lady” accents, Japanese horror movie references and so on; all the while, Awkwafina and Margaret show off their nontraditional sides, smoking pot, flashing tattoos and being generally “unladylike,” singing about pussies.
This brought me back to Awkwafina’s song “Marijuana” from her album Yellow Ranger, with the lyrics: “I’m sorry mama, that I am not a doctor/ That I rap about the vag and I smoke marijuana juana.”
Oh, and here’s that classic song all about vags/my livelihood:
My sister Lisa asked me, a while back, why I think we turned out the way we did. While not trying to reinforce stereotypes, she explained that it seems we were always a bit different than our Asian-American peers — more “alternative,” (as reluctant as she was to use that word, she couldn’t think of another one) in our appearance and career choices. We never quite fit in.
We’re both in creative fields, her as a graphic designer and artist, and me as a journalist and writer. While our parents are mostly supportive and encouraging, there have been many times when they’ve expressed doubt. Deep down, they still wish we’d found paths with more financial security and prestige — you know, the doctors, lawyers, engineers route.
Whenever my mom knows I’ll be around other Asian families, she reminds me to remove my septum ring and hide my tattoos. And I’m not nearly as covered as Lisa, who is working on completing full sleeves and has some kind of permanent art on almost every body part. After watching “Green Tea,” Lisa exclaimed how much she loved that Margaret was “tatted up” from head to toe. That’s something that she doesn’t see often with Asian-American women in the media.
Not only are obvious stereotypes, like the China Doll and Dragon Lady, a problem, but never seeing Asian-American women like us made me feel like there was something wrong with us — that our appearances and life choices, even, were abnormalities when it came to the world of Asian-American women. That we couldn’t live up to some golden standard. This only means that we need more Asians (all kinds!!!! every kind!!!!) in the media encouraging all of us to just be us.
It’s certainly harmful to perpetuate the model minority stereotype, and we discussed how we in no way believe that it applies to most Asians. Of course there are hundreds of thousands of other Asians similar to us and far more “alternative,” but it’s just not something we saw a lot growing up, whether it came to our peers or on TV. The Asian women we saw in the media (which was rare to begin with) were generally doctors or Tiger Moms, all with clean, “presentable” images.
Every time I listen to an Awkwafina song or watch Margaret’s standup, I’m reminded that a. traditional Asian-American stereotypes suck and these ladies are working hard to debunk them and b. I shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that my parents may perceive my sister and I to be “different” than other Asian kids and c. these are some boss ass bitches and I want to be more like them.
Leggy is a dreamy surf rock/lush punk trio from Cincinnati, Ohio, all about friendship, chill vibes and inclusive ‘posi’ rock ‘n’ roll with a little party sprinkled in. They are currently on tour in the UK with legendary all-female Japanese pop punk group Shonen Knife, whose 90s alt prowess is in the same ranks as Nirvana, The Ramones and Sonic Youth. Leggy is on the rise too, having been featured in publications such as Noisey and Stereogum, and quickly gaining a fan base far beyond its home circles. We spoke with the members while they are on tour: Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Leggy”
This is a bit of an anomalous situation, but once…my sister and I were on a horseback riding tour in Wyoming, and somehow it was just the two of us with the guide. He was a typical white cowboy-type, kind of dashing in his way, until he opened his mouth to say, ‘What are you guys?’ (Humans?) In this situation, where we were literally in the mountain wilderness alone with him, how sassy could I afford to be? So I just replied, ‘We’re Chinese-American.’ He seemed perplexed for a second before relaxing. ‘Cool,’ he replied. ‘I love sweet and sour chicken, I eat that all the time at this place in town.’ Was this a strange flirtation attempt couched in the language of…food? What was I supposed to say, ‘I’ve eaten mayonnaise before and it’s pretty good?’ Here’s a hot tip: don’t treat someone’s ethnicity as something edible. If you have to reach that hard to find something with which to connect, just use, you know, your shared humanity.
[to] customer service guy, fun fact: my race is not a conversation starter and I don’t care that your ‘best mate’ is getting married to an asian girl.
When I posted this status on Facebook about how a customer service rep unnecessarily remarked on my race, I was kind of surprised by how it blew up with ‘likes’ and comments — but also not that surprised.
Among my friends, including those on social media, it’s pretty common knowledge that these types of comments are unwarranted. But I was reminded that it’s not common knowledge for everyone.
To backtrack, I was at a Verizon store getting a phone upgrade. This guy was helping me along and we were making typical small talk. Then, out of nowhere, he asked if both of my parents were Asian. I was unsure of where he was going with this but answered, yes, only to have him tell me he was surprised I didn’t have an accent.
As those words left his mouth, I felt myself cringing. Really? Did you really say that? I told him, politely, that there are lots of Asian-Americans like me without accents and that his comment was a little offensive.
He seemed taken aback, shocked, even; he immediately apologized and said he didn’t mean offense. Okay, I thought, well good. Glad that’s over. But then he continued the conversation by telling me that his best friend was marrying an Asian girl, as if that were a way to redeem himself.
NPR’s All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish addresses her career, the media’s ever-changing role, the importance of diversity and reporting on racial tensions in this country during a luncheon for member station WVXU.
On our way to a luncheon two weeks ago to hear Audie Cornish speak, my parents and I walked past her on our third flight of stairs. We were going up, and she was going down. I only caught a glimpse of her.
“Oh, that’s her,” I whispered to my unsuspecting parents. We were in The Phoenix, a historic events venue, going up to the ballroom. The event promised to feed us and enlighten us with a questions and answers session from Ms. Cornish, who co-hosts the 4 p.m. news program All Things Considered, along with Robert Siegel and Melissa Block.
“Really? That’s not how I imagined her,” my dad responded, walking up a few more stairs. He listens to All Things Considered almost every day, on his commute back from work. “I don’t know why. I guess she’s younger than I thought she would be.”
Many others at the event, which was a luncheon for supporters of WVXU — the NPR member station in Cincinnati where I work — had similar remarks. They had no idea what to expect. People were excited to finally see the face that matched the voice they hear every day on the radio.
But I instantly recognized Audie because, as a fan, I had come across her photo a few times on NPR’s website or from reading about her online. I low-key check out all of my favorite radio people, because I like associating an image with the voice. While I knew what to expect appearance-wise, I was almost caught off guard by her personality.
It’s not that I didn’t expect her to be funny and candid. I most certainly did. But it’s just as an NPR host and reporter, I could never really get a good feel for her personality. Sure, All Things Considered, like the title suggests, presents a slew of thoughtful, sound-rich commentary beyond just the basic news of the day. But it’s still a professional, scripted program.
More than anything, I could tell her Q&A session that day wasn’t very scripted. Her voice really came through in a way that it doesn’t when she hosts. And the answers felt much more like a conversation, with her even engaging an anonymous question-asker (we submitted questions via note cards) by having him “out” himself so she could better respond.
When addressing how she landed such a ‘cool gig,’ Audie talked about her early days working at the campus radio station at University of Massachusetts Amherst. She joked about how she wanted to work for the paper, but they were all jerks; she found her niche with the radio kids. And then she mentioned something that I’m sure resonates with a lot of young journalists: that she has a mean case of Imposter Syndrome — which is when successful people have a difficult time internalizing that success — and that she’s waiting for someone to tell her, “That’s enough, dear,” at any given moment.
Of course, we know this will never happen, but it’s comforting to think that someone as well-respected as Audie can feel this way. Regardless, Audie has an enormous sense of pride about what she does. She said that one of her first stories at the student station was covering a small protest with a few hundred people. She muscled her way to the front of that protest, got the sound she needed and spent the night putting the piece together. She was proud of the finished product, and it’s a high she’s been chasing since.
“There is something incredibly intoxicating about walking into the center of history each and every time and having the door open, and actually getting to talk to people and having them talk to you,” she says. “What’s it like for this to happen? What’s it like for that to happen? You can ask the dumbest question in the world to the smartest person in the world; to the most famous person in the world; to the most serious person in the world. You get to do that! People pay you to do that.”
She talked about about some more relatively light-hearted topics: her love for almost all of the sources she gets to interview, how intimate radio is as a medium because there are no lights and cameras — just her and her source, how she can’t pick a favorite story, how she has recently enjoyed working on the stories with the Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner, how nowadays training to moderate a presidential debate or work on the campaign trail is almost like training for combat and she doesn’t think it’s her cup of tea even though she’s reported on Congress for NPR and so on.
And then the questions got slightly more real, but Audie kept her composure and gave equally real responses. Someone asked, as the country becomes more absurd and politically divided, how do you maintain your impartiality? This is when Audie called out the audience member.
“Do you feel like you were impartial in writing that question?” she asked.
“It was difficult,” he responded, to some laughs. Audie said the word ‘absurd’ gave it away.
“The way I look at it is, I was hired basically because of my capacity for curiosity and to ask one extra… or five extra… questions where there should be one or two. And so, I don’t see it so much as the monkhood of objectivity… I come to it from a place of inquiry,” she responded.
Like any good journalist, she wants to know how she can conduct a conversation in which actual meaningful information is elicited. That’s the point of journalism, after all: to disseminate information. She spends a lot of her time trying to do that instead of working to insert her own opinions.
“I’m not a commentator. I’m not an analyst. I think there are amazing, smart people who do those jobs but I don’t think I want to do that work. I don’t go to bed at night thinking, ‘I’m really going to stick it to so-and-so.’ I’m just glad I made it home and I actually changed out of my work clothes,” she said. “But I understand why this question is coming up.”
She expressed that, nowadays, people are so distrustful of those conveying information. The idea is they can’t just be asking questions and doing an impartial story. It must come from a deep place of advocacy. And readers get frustrated with you if you do something “unbiased” that they believe should come from a deep place of advocacy. But impartiality is what fuels NPR and makes it a fair, well-rounded news source. She admits it’s a tricky line to walk.
She eventually addressed my question about why it’s important to have women of color and other diverse voices in NPR and any newsroom. Lakshmi Singh. Mandalit del Barco. Korva Korman. Shereen Marisol Meraji. Audie Cornish. These names are not unfamiliar to NPR listeners; they’re names I hear regularly despite the media’s continuing domination by white men.
She responded that, over time, people recognized that there was a certain type of person who was dominant in the news room, who came from a certain kind of schooling, who had a certain financial background — who was essentially privileged enough to do the job. She mentioned how internships were unpaid and that she wouldn’t have been able to work essentially for free in a city like NYC or DC. She was a scholarship kid the entire way, and that carried her through.
“When you have a number of voices who sit around the table, they bring ideas from different parts of the world. So it’s not a bad thing to raise your hand as a veteran and say, “I was reading The Army Times and there was a great story about X” because no one else is going to pitch that story,” she said. “And similarly, there are people who come from Latino backgrounds, or are black or are Asian, and say, “I saw this really interesting protest in this corner of the world…” We had a man who worked with us for a very long time who was of Pakistani origin. Without fail, he kept us on top of news in India and Pakistan.”
She said a newsroom really thrives on the diversity of the cast at hand; different voices and stories and knowledge. She contrasted it with a movie, where everyone is working to tell the same story. A newsroom requires an endless flow of different stories from different perspectives, especially with All Things Considered, which runs two hours of diverse content a day.
“I think that’s one thing that’s always been admirable about NPR,” Audie said. “They are trying to sound like America.”
She was then asked about the role she thinks the media plays in fueling racial tension. Audie responded that the media is like a funhouse mirror for what is going on in America. Right now, it may be “in vogue” to say we are at a point in racial tension that is at the worst it’s ever been. But she comes at it from a different point of view.
“I think that the American people are having a conversion in an explicit way that they did not have with this kind of explicitness before. There is some value to that,” she said. “To give an example, there’s a term that millennials use, which is ‘microaggression.’ The idea behind a microaggression is that this is not your sitting-at-a-lunch-counter bigotry racism. This is not being chased out of a place or being fired for who you are. This is what you have in every day interaction.”
She mentioned that, before, it was about marching and really basic, basic rights. And that’s still something that has to happen. But for this new generation, we are on a whole other level of conversation — one that does not allow people to back away. One that can feel pushy and call out small annoyances.
“Because in the macro level, we can say, “Uh, sexism and racism seem like a problem? Not in my house. I’m awesome.” We can absolve ourselves of things that go on in our culture. I think the media is putting a spotlight on situations when these happen [on a macro or micro scale]. All these stories you hear now are things you wouldn’t hear ten years ago.”
She mentioned that stories about the refugee crisis affect her, but maybe fifty years ago, news of a refugee boat going down in the Mediterranean, for example, wouldn’t have reached us.
“American broadcasters may not have thought it mattered to Americans, and you might not have known it. But now you do. And it’s the same thing with racial incidents,” she said.
There wasn’t time for too many more questions, though a few more frivolous ones were tossed in. It was obvious that Audie had a lot to say and would’ve had a lot more insight to offer had there been more time. I was definitely impressed with the way she presented herself overall. I like her, I thought to myself. She’s as great as I thought she would be.
But I should have known I’d like her because before she took the stage, I got to briefly speak with her, and she was nothing but friendly. A fellow employee introduced me as the assistant producer for WVXU’s “Cincinnati Edition,” a live, local program. I asked her if it was okay for me to record her so I can write a piece about the luncheon; she said that of course it was okay, as long as it was okay with my station.
I tried to stay away from this, knowing she probably hears it far too much, but I slipped in a, “It’s so exciting to see you in person when I hear you on the radio… I know you must get that a lot.” She laughed, and said, “You must be starting to get some of that too.” And it’s funny, because I do, even though you only hear my name announced at the end of the program.
I asked if she remembered my friend Casey Morell from Missouri’s Global Journalist, who interviewed her a few years back, and she said she did. Later, when I let him know, he said it made his day. Before Audie had to hurry off and get ready, I asked if I could get a picture with her, and she willingly agreed. So now I have a piece of memorabilia that inspires me to keep at it no matter how much Imposter Syndrome I have.
For a dedicated screen-potato, deciding to try a gym membership is about loving yourself and being reminded to take stock of one’s well-being, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.
I never thought I’d say this, but the gym brings me a special kind of zen. I find its disorder comforting. The one I go to is especially painful to look at. Its branding is marked by bright, kitschy colors and overly encouraging slogans left and right. You can do it!!!!!!! You feel like you’re in a kids’ party place or some kind of large, interactive cult. Maybe even a carnival-themed dystopian society where electricity relies on manpower.Continue reading “Journey to the Gym: How Exercising as Self-Care Really Works”
“Before the Victorian era in the UK and the Civil War in the US — periods when the funeral industry became industrialized and commercialized — women were the caretakers of the dead. While they were not typically involved in the burial itself, they prepared the body — laying it out, dressing it and washing it. This was seen as an extension of the caring work they did for the household in general, looking after children, the elderly and the sick. Once this private care was moved into the public domain, women were largely pushed aside in favor of men who had gone to mortuary school.”
Now, that’s changing.
“When I was a little kid, I didn’t think I was going to grow up to be a mortician,” says 23-year-old Jess Duval.
It’s something she now not only embraces but is extremely proud of. Her Facebook profile has a short bio: “I study the dead and ignore the living” with a skull face emoji. People sometimes peg her as “looking the part” with her long dark hair, pale skin and mostly black wardrobe — but the profession is not about looking like Morticia Addams. DuVal says first and foremost, it’s a way to deeply care for people. Continue reading “Femme Fatale: Future Mortician Jess DuVal”
Supreme of the Mighty Wu-Tang Killa Beez grew up in the struggle. His father, known as D.C., was prominent in the Black Panthers Party, a Black Nationalist and revolutionary organization pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement. D.C. was instrumental in structuring the widely-known “Free Breakfast for Children” program. This fed thousands of poor inner city kids throughout the country and eventually got the FBI’s attention. They halted the program because they saw the Black Panthers as a threat to internal security.
“[My father] basically got told by our government to shut up. They did that in a way that was pretty bad,” recounts Supreme. “Some people basically entered our house and I was the one who was threatened because I was his only child. So it was like, Shut the f–k up and take this job and retire or else. That’s the other side of the government that people don’t know about.”
The West Coast Wu-Tang producer-turned-rapper says his dad had to make a choice and live under the radar. When Supreme was twelve, his dad told him that if he wants to speak the truth, he either has to be willing to die or go to prison. But that didn’t stop Supreme from lecturing, marching, fighting and “empowering the people.” The rapper has a business degree from UC Berkeley and is soon releasing an album that addresses serious social issues, including racism.
Supreme is finalizing tracks on his album and recording some music videos in Cincinnati, Ohio. Earlier this year in July, unarmed black man Sam Dubose was shot by white Officer Ray Tensing in Cincinnati. Tensing was indicted but is still waiting to go on trial, which should be happening next month. It seems almost serendipitous that as Supreme works on his music here, the trial is upcoming and expected to draw national attention as the shooting and indictment did. I spoke with Supreme about his new project and making the choice to not shut the f—k up:
ACRO: Tell me about your new project:
Supreme: This new project is called “Supreme Life Volume 1.” We’re gonna drop the album in the spring. It’s done but we’re just mixing down and mastering. It’s going to be a set of three albums. The first album is predominantly hip-hop and rock. The next album will transition into more rock. It’s the first album on Wu Rock, the new label that I created, which will be another branch and continue the legacy of Wu Tang. It’s pretty high energy. It’s geared for performance; it’s geared for stage. It’s geared to incite the people to learn, to seek, to open their minds and hearts, and it’s geared to ultimately unite the people through the music and to address issues and to heal. That’s what our mission is. We say Wu Tang is for the children. It’s for the people. It’s for the masses. It’s about the human family. We’re trying to get out of racism and classism and gender issues and biases and get people back down to the basics of humanity, love and peace.
Can you talk about one track you’re working on that highlights all of this?
I have a track called, “White Man.” It’s a song that is greater in content than “Fight the Power.” I won’t say it’s a greater song than “Fight the Power” because all respect due to Chuck D, to Flavor Flav, and to Public Enemy as a whole. That song definitely inspired this song. We came from that. So it’s no disrespect to our elders and to our mentors, our predecessors. We can say the white man this, the white man that, but we have become that which we hate. We have become our own slave masters. So this is what “White Man” is really about. We got classic Wu-Tang stuff. We got stuff that’s entertaining. But we want to address issues. Yes, we did go through slavery. Yes, we are affected by slavery. Yes, there is still slavery today. Yes, there is racism and biases and ignorance, but there still is no excuse [for our own actions]. We’re going to be responsible for self first. These are the things we need to rectify and correct first. Black Lives Matter, you f–king right they do. Why do Black Lives Matter? Because black lives are human lives.
So you’re here in Cincinnati where in July, unarmed black man Sam Dubose was shot by white officer, Ray Tensing. Do you have anything to say about this case?
It’s a tragedy in every sense of the word. Our love, our respect and our prayer go out to the family of not only Sam Dubose but Officer Tensing. Just because a white officer shoots a black person doesn’t mean his family or friends support him; they’re affected by that too. They’ve had a lot of white people fight and die for black people. [However], the fact that [police brutality] is tolerated, the fact that [Tensing] even had it in his mind that it was okay to take another person’s life, regardless of race [is the problem]. Was race a factor? You’re f–king right it was. And you can’t deny that, because he’s had issues and encounters with Caucasian people and he didn’t shoot them. He knows and everybody in the United States and world knows right now what’s happening — how many thousands of black men are getting killed. They know what they’re doing. Why are they putting black men and men of color in jail? But the root of it all is the fact that it is condoned. It’s tolerated. It’s accepted. It’s overlooked. We need to go to the root of the issue and until 350 million correct 8,000 people in power, nothing is going to change. Until people fix this and rectify this in themselves, [nothing will change]. Marching. We’ve been marching. What does that do? These people been killing us and they’ve been getting away with it. The reality of justice in this country is the reality of what has transpired in each individual case. We’re already geared and programmed to expect this guy to get off.
How do you want to address this kind of police brutality through your music?
I was in an organization called Copwatch. I went to UC Berkeley. I had a group back in the nineties called Black Underground Movement — the BUMS. That was before we did the Wu-Tang jump-off. [Cops] shot their 15-year-old kid at the BART Station in 1991 or 1992 for a [having a] Walkman. [The cop] said he had a gun and saw a flash and shot him. He was 15 and had a Walkman. Jesse Jackson came out. We performed. [Jackson] spoke. Nothing happened. What can we do with our music to curb this? We can correct it, speak out against it, educate people against it, confront people with it and convict people. The same issues that we’re facing are the same issues that have been transpiring not only now but a million years ago. We’re occupied! We’re occupied by Europeans. This land belongs to the Native Americans and the Mexicans. We’re in an occupied country but people can’t see. Why is it taking us dying to wake up? We just came out of slavery. Women just got voting rights. People are still getting hung. This sh-t is still here. Music is the universal language so we’re going to utilize music to lead a vehicle and be a medium for us to get to the people, man. Because everybody responds to love, everybody gets hungry, everybody hurts, everybody cries — we’re all one and the same.
University of Cincinnati pre-med student Haneen Jasim had a potential brush with death after a normal study session Monday night, November 16th. Upon leaving the Starbucks at University Square, she was honked at, cursed at and called a terrorist by a man in a car, according to WLWT, presumably because she was wearing a hijab.
The man then drove toward her without stopping. Luckily, three bystanders pulled Jasim onto the sidewalk, possibly saving her life. She is ever-thankful for “three wonderful souls who saved my life,” but was terrified by the experience.
“The fact that an individual could have this much hate for Muslims that he is willing to kill an innocent woman is unbelievable,” Jasim says. “Of course I was scared at that moment. I was scared for my life.”
She is still afraid, not only for herself, but because this terrifying incident can happen to any Muslim child, woman or man. Jasim reached out to Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which called Monday for an FBI and Cincinnati Police hate crime investigator. They still haven’t caught the perpetrator. However, Jasim says that even if they catch him, she won’t press charges.
“I would want him to apologize to me and other Muslims in public,” Jasim explains. “I would also want to make sure that he will never do this to anyone ever again. We, Muslims, were taught to forgive.”
Because the incident was all over the media, garnering national attention, many individuals reached out to Jasim.
“I received a wonderful concerned message from Brianne Cain,” she says. “I had no idea who she was, and she only knew me through my incident. She wanted to make sure I was well and had the idea to plan a rally against Islamophobia. I thought it was a wonderful idea and agreed to organize it with her.”
Cain, a sociology student at UC, has lived in Clifton all of her life and couldn’t believe what had happened. She had heard that Islamophobic violence was on the rise, but never thought it would happen to someone around her.
“It was just too close to home,” Cain says. “I’ve been interning at Planned Parenthood, which absolutely has inspired me to be more involved in my community and stand up for what I believe in and given me some great tools/ideas for how to do it.”
However, the march/rally that took place yesterday, If You HEAR Something, SAY Something: a March and Rally Against Islamophobia, was the first time both women had organized something of that scale. It started at 3 p.m. and went until 4 p.m. The Facebook event reads: Please join us in a march to support the Muslim community followed by a rally. Come learn about Islamophobia, how it affects all of us, and what we can do about it!
“Before Haneen and I met, I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to turn into anything, but her determination was obvious and inspiring, and somehow it came together!” says Cain. “Her ability to turn what happened to her into an opportunity for positive change is incredible.”
The two speak out on the march/rally and how they hope it will help spread the message against Islamophobia.
ACRO: What do you hope is the outcome of this march/rally?
Jasim: I hope to get individuals to want to learn about Islam and Muslims — to understand that we are kind people. I want others to speak out when witnessing hate speech toward Muslims or individuals of other faiths.
Cain: I hope that through this event, not only will the Muslim community feel supported, but the rest of the community will understand that they have a role to play in this. People seem to think not being racist is enough, but that’s just not true. You have to actively fight against hate speech and discrimination to expect anything to change. If we make it clear that no one will stand for Islamophobia, then we begin to have an environment that fosters acceptance, not hate.
ACRO: Why is this march/rally important?
Jasim: This march is very important to explain to others that Islam is not ISIS. The real Muslims around the world do not consider the individuals involved in ISIS to be Muslims. Islam is not a religion of terrorism. Muslims are not terrorists. Islamophobia needs to be stopped. No one should ever be scared of Muslims because of extremists claiming to be Muslims.
Cain: This rally is important because people need to know that this is happening and that it’s everybody’s responsibility to do something about it.
ACRO: Do you think there needs to be more awareness surrounding Islamophobia and why it’s a problem?
Jasim: Of course I do. Educate others on Islam, the meaning of Islam, the condemning of terrorism. I want people to go out and learn about Islam. Give us Muslims a chance to show you how peaceful, pure and innocent our religion is. We are not terrorists. We are the last thing from being that.
Cain: I definitely think there needs to more awareness surrounding Islamophobia. I think the more people that share their stories, the better. It takes tremendous courage to talk to people about something so personal and I admire everyone that is going to do that. I hope that it will encourage more people to speak out in the future. I think spreading the message is exactly how we combat Islamophobia. We talk to each other. We reach out to our Muslim friends and give them support just as we reach out to our non-Muslim friends and give them information. Ignorance is at the heart of all of this and we need to be willing to do something about that. The most important thing I want people to take away from the rally is a personal sense of responsibility regarding Islamophobia. Although there have been events about Islamophobia on campus, this is the first that is a march and rally. The reason we did it this way is for exposure. We know it’s going to be cold and the entire event takes place outside, but we want people that are walking by to stop and listen.
ACRO: Did the event accomplish what you and Haneen intended?
Cain: I definitely think we accomplished what we meant to. I honestly didn’t even think to count how many people, but I’d say around 40… someone said nearly 50 [people showed up]! Everybody hung out afterwards and met each other and talked to each other and that’s what we wanted… to build our community. After hearing our amazing speakers, I was left with such an overwhelmingly positive feeling. If everybody else left that way, then we definitely accomplished our goal!
New Netflix series “Master of None” from Aziz Ansari. “Master of None” Twitter.
Whether you think it’s hilarious or just miss Tom Haverford, there’s no denying that Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None” is important. I haven’t been able to peruse social media without seeing swathes of people and media outlets posting about the show since its release on Netflix a little over a week ago. Among them was actress Diane Mizota, one of my Facebook friends and someone I interviewed for my grad school capstone project about Asian-Americans in Hollywood. She claimed she couldn’t get enough of the show and especially liked the second episode that addressed immigrant parents.