Q&A: Jasmine

(Images courtesy of Jasmine @jasyour)

Q: Tell me about yourself. 

A. My name is Jasmine, I am a 20 year old Filipino-American woman and a senior in college as a Media Studies Major. 

Q: You recently protested in San Diego. Is protesting effective ?  What was your experience like protesting with fellow protestors and police presence ? What persuaded you to protest? 

A. Yes, I do believe protesting is effective. Funnily enough, when I first arrived in Downtown San Diego with my friend, we couldn't find where the protest was for about 30 minutes. We walked around the city alone with our signs, and wondered if there even was one happening. 

We got into our car and drove around to see if there was any activity. We noticed a bunch of cop cars, yet no protestors ... until we turned the corner onto the Broadway, one of the main streets, and a parade of thousands of people were occupying the street. 

The crowd of people seemed infinite. We were no longer alone. 

As we joined them, I felt empowered. I felt like part of a democracy; a surprisingly rare feeling in America. I felt like I was a voice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, etc. They lived on through the crowd of people screaming for justice. 

We paraded throughout the city and caught the attention of people in apartment buildings, cars that were at stoplights, and obviously the police. Issues came with police presence. They showed up and people immediately started to have a reaction. 

Understandably so, the police are the reason why protests are happening. Some people started to yell at them, throw things at them, and it started to get a little unpredictable. 

However, most protestors tried to keep their distance with the police. It was really rewarding standing in front of police and showing them how the people feel about their actions. 

Q: Many people are scared when they hear the word protest and equate it to looting , violence and destruction. Do you feel that is a fair depiction ? Why or why not? 

A. Protesting is not equivalent to looting. Many many many protestors have tried to prevent riots and looting. I believe the outcome of riots and looting come from the interactions between police and protestors, though. 

It's a really huge gray area: police could disrespect protestors, protestors could disrespect police, or both. 

The results of those three things cause a reaction within the protestors, which result in riots. 

In my experience, we were kneeling in front of the police until they tear gassed us without warning. I know it's for crowd dispersal, however, the crowd was doing no harm. It's our first amendment right. 

After that, we ran and hid in a stairwell until the bombs stopped. It literally felt like a warzone. 

When we came out of it, people started vandalizing buildings, smashing windows, and breaking into things. 

I do not condone violence. In fact, I believe that in order to kind of 'win' these protests, we must be non-violent no matter how awful the police get. 

However, I do understand it. If the police can't respect the law, then why should civilians? MLK once said, "a riot is the voice of the unheard." 

Q: Cara Wong wrote an article in 2019 in the Pacific Standard. “If older Americans can learn from the more enlightened racial attitudes among Generation Z, then the country can look forward to a bright future.“  What are your thoughts on generational shift towards race and racism ? Can we all be treated equally?

A.  I believe that in a sense, racism will be present for right now. People who come from racist families pass on that mentality to their children and it continues throughout generations. I believe it is up to the generations to correct themselves, much like we are doing now. But because of generational correction, I do believe the effects of growing out of racist generations and becoming more morally aware of racist issues will have long-term effects in our country. I hope to live long enough to see those effects.

I also believe that the reason why racist mentality has held up for so long is because of geographical consequence. Most people who still have racist mentality live in the Midwest or the South, and it's no wonder why. Based on history, they were, and still, believe in a confederate country. How could they possibly know any better if they've never experienced a place of diversity, like a city? These people live in their own little bubble and willfully ignore the rest of the country. 

Q: In 2016, Will Smith was quoted  that “Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed. “ As a young woman who uses social media, what do you think of this statement ? Do people have to resort to filming our interactions with people to be believed ? 

A. I believe that Will Smith is completely right. Now that we have the technology to record these situations, we can expose corrupt officers. As sad as it is, recording these situations could potentially save a victims life. Because police are the law, they can spin a story however they want and it will be believed. In the case of George Floyd, what would've happened if there wasn't a camera pointed at ex-Officer Chauvin? He would've gotten away with it. Just like the other 18 times he's gotten off of his complaints of police brutality. 

 Q: Do you have a key racist episode that stays visible in your mind to this day? How did that make you feel? What did you do?

A. Luckily enough, I've never had an act of racism directed towards me. However, as an aspiring actress/director, I believe Hollywood has conditioned us to believe that having European (or white) features are desirable. Until I go to professional auditions or job-interviews for film, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't hire me because of my race. 

Q:  We have heard on social media and the news ways to solve systemic racism and police brutality. How do you think we can address this complex and multifaceted issue ? 

A. I believe we can solve this issue by entering the system itself, not abolishing it. Many people believe in abolishing the police, but I simply don't think that's the answer. We do need to police in events of distress, because they are supposed to be trained professionals in handling criminal situations. Defunding them I agree with. They have way too much money to put into incorrect use. I believe that money should go into inner-city neighborhoods where crime rates are high, schools or hospitals. On top of that, the extra money left over could be applied to a reform system. There is already a reform plan that has been adopted called "Eight Can't Wait," a set of rules that can be adopted for police to minimize corrupt brutality. They could also put the money into adopting a joint-system that allows social workers or ethical advisors to join with them, making sure they are doing their job correctly. I also believe it should be mandatory to have body cams rolling and review of footage. 

I also believe to make real change, the people have to vote in federal and county elections. I must admit that even until now, I'm not aware of who my mayor is. Educating yourself on who you're voting for could really help out the community. 

Q: Are you hopeful  for the future? Why or why not? 
A. I am hopeful for the future. I believe Trump's presidency has gaslighted generations of oppressed people and pushed them far enough to start a social and political revolution. And it's no surprise. When the leader of our country neglects the care of his people (the country), his people will find a way to make him listen. I think he's heard us. And he is terrified. (referring to the closure of the White House.) 


Editor's Note: Jasmine is my cousin.


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