Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Justin McDaniels Oral History Interview, February 19, 2019

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Please introduce yourself?

Segment Synopsis: Justin gives the spelling of his name, pronouns, place of birth, and a short family description.

Keywords: Biracial; Family; Mixed Race

00:03:15 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: Can you share what your life was like growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how discussions of race were not part of his household dialogue despite being mixed race in predominately white spaces. Many of the things he experienced growing up he did not realize were microaggressions until he was older.

Keywords: Confederacy; Oregon; Racial Identity; Racism; White Supremacy

00:06:45 - Explicit experiences with racism

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Partial Transcript: You described the microaggressions that you were unaware of as a child, but did you ever have explicit racist experiences?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about one physical altercation in high school when he was called a racial slur. He also shares how a nickname given to him was a microaggression.

Keywords: Pacific Northwest; high school; microaggressions; racism; racist language; violence

00:09:38 - Physical altercation in high school

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Partial Transcript: Did you receive support from family or friends after this event took place?

Segment Synopsis: Justin states that another fight never took place but there was still a lack of conversations around race in his home.

Keywords: Community; Race; Racism; Support

00:11:15 - Adolescence

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Partial Transcript: As a teen, were you aware of the struggles of people of color?

Segment Synopsis: Justin describes his high school education surrounding historical events that affected people of color. He also shares how his peers would react when the topic of slavery was discussed in history classes.

Keywords: Awareness; Dialogue; Education; History

00:13:30 - Local and National Awareness

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Partial Transcript: Do you recall any local or national events surrounding people of color that had a direct effect on you?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about the election of President Obama, his father's reaction, and how he wasn't aware of how much race mattered when he was in high school.

Keywords: awareness; politics; race; representation

00:16:05 - Dialogue about race at home

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Partial Transcript: Did Obama winning the presidential election start discussions around race in your household?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how he talked about the importance of having a black man in office with his father but the conversations around race still lacked an exploration of the societal complexities.

Keywords: Dialogue; Politics; Race

00:17:25 - High School hopes and dreams

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Partial Transcript: What did you have planned for your life once high school was over?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses how being involved in the Model United Nations and leadership roles in high school gave him a passion to study Political Science in college.

Keywords: Activism; Impact; Leadership; Life Plans; Student Government

00:19:30 - Student government in high school

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your inspiration in running for office in high school student government and what you hoped to achieve?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about how he has a desire to help people after learning more about the global community due to participating in the Model UN.

Keywords: Awareness; Global Community; Inspiration; Student Government

00:22:00 - Leadership skills

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel that participating in the Model UN and student government gave you the leadership skills that you carried into college?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how these extra curricular activities, along with theater, gave him the confidence to use his outspoken personality for positive change.

Keywords: Leadership; confidence; social change

00:23:16 - Collaboration

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Partial Transcript: From a young age did you enjoy collaborating with others?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how working with other people that share the same passions can make the work for social change more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Keywords: Collaboration; Fulfillment; Growth; Social Change

00:24:36 - Reflections on high school

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else from your high school experience that you want to share or wish for others to know?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how he hopes that people watching his interview will be inspired to have hard conversations about race in their homes. Having a stronger sense of self with discussions around identity can make a child better prepared to deal with microaggressions.

Keywords: Dialogue; Identity; Microaggressions; Race; Racism; Support; family

00:26:33 - Family dialogue

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Partial Transcript: Now that you have the dialogue to have the conversations around the complexities of race, are you going to have these conversations with your family?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how becoming more language equipped hasn't made having conversations about race with his mother any easier. Social identity is a constant spectrum of learning with a continued need of conversation surrounding it.

Keywords: Dialogue; Family; Race; Racism; Social Identity

00:28:22 - Sharing experiences with family

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Partial Transcript: Are you now able to have an open dialogue with your father about race?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how his father and him are now able to have conversations about being black. His paternal grandmother has also become a source of support and learning opportunities.

Keywords: Inter-generational experience; community; family; identity; race; shared experience; support

00:29:59 - High School Graduation

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Partial Transcript: Where did life take you after high school?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about coming out after high school and finding a new sense of individualism.

Keywords: Coming Out; Empowerment; Exploration; Self identity

00:31:34 - Coming Out

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever consider coming out in high school?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses how he intentionally waited until after high school to be open about his sexuality.

Keywords: Coming Out; High School; Safety; Sexuality

00:33:27 - Family and friend reactions to coming out

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Partial Transcript: Were your family and friends supportive of your sexual identity?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses how his sexual identity was mostly a secret from friends until his senior year of high school. Although he waited until later to share this with his family, he feels fortunate to have stable relationships with them.

Keywords: Community; Family; Friends; Identity; Relationships; Sexuality; Support

00:35:49 - College

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Partial Transcript: What was your initial college experience and did you maintain your passion for activism that you had in high school?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses how he first went to a community college before transferring to Oregon State University where he is a Political Science major with a focus on International Relations.

Keywords: Activism; College; Education

00:39:09 - Oregon State University

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Partial Transcript: How did you find community on the OSU campus?

Segment Synopsis: Many of Justin's high school friends attended OSU and arrived there before him since he went to community college first. Justin also shares how working in the residence halls allowed him to grow his network of friends.

Keywords: College Life; Community; Friendships; Networking

00:41:23 - College life

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Partial Transcript: Did you intend on making a difference at OSU when you began your studies?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about how at the start of his time at OSU he focused a lot on the social aspect of college with the Pride Center becoming a place of support and comfort.

Keywords: Community; Oregon State University; Pride Center; Social life

00:45:32 - Social climate at OSU

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Partial Transcript: Can you openly express all your identities at OSU? Or do you feel you need to leave some at the door?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about the idea of diversity is discussed on this campus as a selling point but the actual retention of students of color shows that the diversity plans in place are not sustainable.

Keywords: ASOSU; Diversity; Racism; Student Retention; Students of Color; White Campus

00:49:40 - Formation of Justin's activism at OSU

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Partial Transcript: Was the campus climate the part of what lead to planning the solidarity march at OSU?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses how his leadership positions on campus exposed him to social justice, complicated dialogues, and social identity. I, too, am OSU was a movement created in response to the lack of administrative support for students of color and the university should be responsible to students.

Keywords: OSU; Racism; Social Identity; Social Justice; Students of color; University Administration

00:56:37 - Microaggressions, history of racism, and activism at OSU

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Partial Transcript: Were you surprised at what you experienced at OSU?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses that it wasn't until college when he learned that racism occurs consistently. The dominant narrative at OSU is to act like racism doesn't happen but students of color are tired of that. The history of racism and activism is talked about in some of the cultural centers but it isn't something discussed by the community at large.

Keywords: Activisim; History; Racism

01:00:51 - Use of social media

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Partial Transcript: Why did you decide to use social media in your activism?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses how social media is efficient and accessible to all people whether they can be on the campus or not. Being inclusive allows for more narratives and stories to become part of the movement.

Keywords: Accessible; Inclusive; Narratives; Social Media

01:03:03 - I, Too, Am OSU and the Solidarity March

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Partial Transcript: Was the I, Too, Am OSU movement lead to the Solidarity March?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares that the first event he helped create was letting students and staff write microaggressions down on paper that they experienced on this campus. The photos of the messages were posted on social media to give voice to their experiences. The idea of the march come from the collaboration with the black cultural center. They wanted to demonstrate openly that people of color are here and won’t be silenced. We want representation on this campus and the administration should do stuff about this. The message was that they want intentional dialogue about what people are experiencing on this campus.

Keywords: Dialogue; action; activism; experiences; microaggressions; speaking up

01:06:50 - Responses to I, Too, Am OSU and the Solidarity March

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Partial Transcript: Were people supportive when you began to plan these events? What was the response from campus administration?

Segment Synopsis: Justin talks about how mobilizing students for these activist movements was easy due to his supportive networks. Beyond President Ed Ray showing up to the march and making a sign for the I, Too, Am OSU movement, there was not an effort from administration to create a sustainable dialogue.

Keywords: Community; Dialogue; Student Activism; Support

01:16:40 - Feelings in the moment of activism, media coverage and impact

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Partial Transcript: How did you feel when all your planning for these events came to fruition and was the campus social climate different?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares how all the events happened so fast but he remembers feeling empowered since it was a show of force in having so many students participate. Media coverage was accurate and extended beyond Oregon. However, Justin also shares that despite taking a break from school for four years before returning, the campus and Corvallis feel as if nothing has changed.

Keywords: Activism; Disappointment; Media; Social Change; Social Movements; Solidarity; Students of Color

01:30:32 - Returning to OSU after an academic break, current student activism, and awareness of national issues

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Partial Transcript: When you came back to OSU after 4 years, was your new focus on your studies as opposed to activism?

Segment Synopsis: Justin discusses that it is difficult to not want to get involved in activism at OSU because there is still so much change that is needed. The dominant attitude of complacency creates an environment not focused on protections of marginalized students. Justin also shares how the campus feels as if students are quietly angry or finding quieter spaces to be themselves now. As for national issues, Justin shares how he is very aware and emotionally invested, especially given his chosen area of study.

Keywords: Activism; Marginalized Students; OSU; Racism; Student climate

01:47:28 - Reflection, sources of inspiration, self care and final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else you want to share?

Segment Synopsis: Justin shares his self care tips for surviving the emotional work of activism, the many people who inspired him and his plans for after college. He also gives a message to students that they have the power to make change despite the administrative hurdles put in place.

Keywords: Activism; Future Plans; Inspiration; Self Care; Student Change