• Sabrina Huynh

First Interview: Focusing on everyday mechanisms of oppression

At first, I was worried about recording the oral history because I wanted it to go smoothly, but then I realized that it would come together if I approached it naturally. I think approaching oral history as something that is fluid and dynamic rather than rigid and structured allows me more space to learn organically, which is why it’s something I want to pursue further.

My first interview was with Professor Daniel Martinez HoSang from Yale University and we had an engaging conversation about his professorship and activism. When thinking about social justice work, one of the questions I have is how do people sustain themselves financially and mentally in a capitalist society while simultaneously challenging it? Daniel spoke candidly about the limits of professors when it comes to organizing on campuses because institutional support is not always present; however, this doesn’t deter him from encouraging his students to think critically about the society they live in.

One point that I found the most crucial to realizing racial justice is that we should remind ourselves to move our attention beyond spectacles. Ironically, the saturation of news around a single event can sometimes dilute the issues and messages of the original problem or movement; therefore, he emphasized that it is just as important, if not more, to focus on the everyday mechanisms and structures that uphold racial inequality, which we are all implicated in.

Near the end of the interview, Daniel posed a question that I think resonates with many people who are entering conversations about racial inequality and oppression. He asked, what do people do with this newfound consciousness? This is a question that I think many people, young adults especially, should contend with and the value of answering this question will present itself as we continue challenging these systems.