Dwayne James

UMSL Digital Humanities: Oral History
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´╗┐Dr. Obermark 0:00 It's rolling, but I will cut out any of this front matter. That seems awkward. I'm gonna close this door over here.


Dwayne James 0:09 Don't trip

Dr. Obermark 0:14 I'm not actually sure, maybe it doesn't close it didn't close, sort of, might pop back up. There's usually around a Fridays. Not much happening in the English department, but I have noticed there have been a few people are defending their thesis is their master's thesis piece.

Dr. Obermark 0:34 It's dangerous though right because if I lose my phone and I lose all my data, try not to affect the metro pass people don't really want to steal but maybe they do, but you can just if you have a science center membership you get this handy thing.

Dwayne James 0:47 So, do I have to answer every question if I don't feel comfortable you know if

you don't answer these questions just say, No, I dont have a opinion on that and then I don't have like, I have kind of topics that I'm interested in, but I don't, these interviews can be are usually kind of like largely conversational so if you start talking about stuff I'll just probably build on what you say, rather than I'm not going to stick to like a script, necessarily, but, um, could you say your name for me

Dwayne T James

Great, thank you. Um, I guess first. I know that you're involved in public service. I wonder if you could just tell us a little bit about what your role is what it's been like to be a member of city council throughout your life and Ferguson

Ive been in the city council since 2006 to 2006 I was appointed after another council member resigned due to health issues.

Dwayne James 1:48 Me joining Council was not in

Dwayne James 1:55 the way that others, start their career on council appointed and I basically had to run that next April. So, started out just getting 00:02:00familiar with the community figured out what some of the issues were that were pressing budget issues infrastructure issues of course economic development. Then also wanted to work with the community to decrease the linkage between what they wanted what they expected and also what we were deciding on during council meetings and during budget sessions some of it was success started with Community Services infrastructure development. Even a dog park, working through the environmental ordinance to make sure that we think green a little bit more and then work with neighborhood associations to make sure that their wants wishes and hopes were actually that communicated are worked out.

Dr. Obermark 2:51 To find in a position like that, or your skills, like a speaker or communicator to draw on those a lot, because I have seen we have to 00:03:00talk to a different, a lot of different audiences.

You have to know your audience. Okay, when you actually speak.

Dwayne James 3:06 And you basically have to make sure that your message is fine, to put it on the audience, you can't always assume that everyone knows everything, and then you don't want to basically talk over our talk below. You know, I think our residents know a lot. They might not know the fine tuning of everything the the ins and outs of everything but they have a general want and need to to know as much and know all about the facts as possible, so it's best to communicate it is best to basically re communicate it, you said once you say it again. You wrap everything up and then make sure that you do it in every form possible if they sent you an email be as responsive as possible, try to go to the community meetings as possible to, to share that voice to not go in there and share a speech or a message, but more of just deliver the information and 00:04:00open it up for questions.

Dwayne James 4:07 And then they stop you.

Dwayne James 4:09 The residents can stop you Wherever the need arises if you cut your grass is time to basically have a conversation if they have questions.

Wow. Yeah, so you're in a role as Councilman it's not like you're just doing it wouldn't be like, Oh, you're just gonna go out and give speeches to communities that's not at all necessarily what.

No, i.

Dwayne James 4:29 I'm not very good at speaking. I'm not a good speaker speeches so I like to have discussions. Okay, mostly.

I feel about being a teacher. Are you gonna do a lecture I'm like, I don't really know how to do that.

Dwayne James 4:42 So no it's not going out and basically giving speeches and sitting back is more of sitting back in the neighborhood association meeting, and then, you know, providing the council.

Dwayne James 4:56 The council input of the council, update, but not getting up 00:05:00there and speaking in front of this I don't try to do that. I'm sure people probably proclaimed that I do that but I try not to do that make sense.

Do you find that in the last like thinking about how the forms of communication have changed in the last few years, does your job now require like to use technology to communicate a lot.

Yeah, text messages, social media, email, of course, everything and anything to basically communicate some people are very good at emailing and they want an email response. As soon as you send it, because now since it's on the phones and it's everywhere they expect an immediate response, but you still have people that call on the phone and they want to return phone call is not, I'll call you on the phone, then you can email me back or no they want to return phone calls, they want that interaction. And then there's that generation that still wants to meet right they want to have that face to face conversation they don't trust 00:06:00technology is to text messages are too sterile.

Dwayne James 6:09 And then, I've been know people have referred to my text messages as being unemotional.

Dwayne James 6:17 So, I'm short, sweet to the point. And it's like, I don't know if that you're mad at me was the emotion so even sometimes after the text messages. We still end up calling on the phone just to make sure that everything is good. Yeah, yeah. And it's more yes I sent a text message real quick because I was running into a media it's not because I was trying to be sharp, it was, what do you know I hear Yes. Yeah, I was responsive so yeah and Twitter accounts.

Dwayne James 6:50 And then once you're in public office are at any type of media like your Twitter account and your Facebook is no longer your own right, you're 00:07:00representing, and that took me a while to basically figure that out. I want. I still want to have a life so I still want to have that that fun interaction but it's like, oh, Councilmember Chang said this, like no I was joking so you had to be very careful with what you tweet, what you like, what you share what you retweet.

Dwayne James 7:24 Especially now. Right.

Dr. Obermark 7:29 Yeah, we're talking right now it's if you're at any sort of public offices have expectation that you would have a Twitter account, and that some people are really good.

Dr. Obermark 7:40 Some people haven't yet figured out that they're necessarily tweeting to a wider audience or something, shared a very quick rate. Right. Why did you What motivated you in the first place to get into the the city council stuff.

Dwayne James 7:55 It's all goes back to parents, grandparents family members and 00:08:00just to get involved, get back to the community.

Dwayne James 8:05 It wasn't like I went in with a mission our agenda was just like alright this is this next step to get engaged and see how I can better.

Dwayne James 8:15 The community with my little bit of knowledge, right.

Dr. Obermark 8:23 So, and then, you know, since August obviously it's probably been really different to be a community member. Yes, I'm a citizen and a council member since. Michael Brown was killed, and has that how have you felt as a council member can you. How do you balance you know the way you want to engage you know about issues surrounding race versus that you're a public figure and you're balancing all these audiences Is that something that's complicated for you

is very complicated. It's just, you have to be comfortable being in an 00:09:00uncomfortable situation, because when people are saying stuff.

Dwayne James 9:07 You basically just have to sit there and accept it and take on it,the listening role for the community instead of more of a speaking role, and just hear it and try to hear it through, through the filters that they're sharing it. So it's when they're saying something is based on their fact their story their life, their history, and you have to use that as that's their truth. So, it might not be your truth, but it's definitely their truth so you have to give value to that and you have to accept that. And then you can have a communication, beyond that and say all right let's try to have a conversation about a different, different story or a different opinion on the matter. But since August 9 A lot has been said, a lot has been done a lot has been shared some of it is true gospel, some of it is you can't disagree with the facts. 00:10:00Other is based off of people's opinions people's thoughts people's feelings and time. Whatever both sides are both sides of the coin, so to speak, from one polar opposite to the other and this is my car, you have to be in your as a council member you have to be able to accept and hear both sides, and try to understand where you can understand.

Dwayne James 10:25 It's not an easy. Yeah, it's I mean as a community it's not been easy anytime you talk about race, your race conversation is based on your, your life. Right. And you walk into someone else's shoes and assign the truth. Yeah.

Unknown 10:39 Yeah, because anytime you can walk in there shoes you can take those shoes off so it's like

I'm gonna say, when you talk about I liked what you said about like you have to listen and hear in role which seems huge to me, and then the, but you have to listen. Somehow through their filter. So that's, is that kind of how you cope with.

Dr. Obermark 10:58 I would think would be really hard to have conversations with 00:11:00people that you may be disagreed with a lot but not just throw up your hands, so that we're like you comes in that you have to listen through their filter right you have to listen to

Dwayne James 11:12 their speaking out of their own emotions.

Dwayne James 11:15 And it's hard to listen to it, it's hard to hear it and especially when it's directed directly at you or something that you're totally passionate about something you agree with and if you start raising your defenses and raising your, your answer your response, instead of listening, then you're missing that point. During council meetings, people that are doing public comments and start speaking about the unjust of this and the, the, the wrongs of that, and it's.

Dwayne James 11:48 If you don't hear the backstory.

Dwayne James 11:52 And you have to work to hear that backstory, they're talking about generations of things that they dealt with it couldn't be just as one 00:12:00incident, it was about justice one song, it was more of a scene, since they were little kids, and that takes work.

Dwayne James 12:09 And if you don't listen through that filter through that backstory then you're missing the point. Right.

Dwayne James 12:16 I think that's something, especially when we're in a life of 140 characters. Right, so it's quick and simple so that hundred and1 40 characters tells you that tip, tip of the iceberg, when there's below it. Right.

Dr. Obermark 12:34 That's just like I've noticed. Part of why it's one small part of why I thought about Ferguson a lot is thinking about how it really raises my awareness of how hard it is for people to talk about to talk with each other about anything they really disagree with disagree about like I can have good conversations with people about what happened in ferguson if we basically are already on the same page. But if I actually have to talk to someone who totally disagrees with where I'm coming from then the conference pretty much the 00:13:00discourse we have is totally stymied we can't really have a great exchange about it, and you have to force yourself into this situation so yeah and you're all right so you just kind of are forced in that situation by your position right. Okay. But if you're if you're not in that position or if you're not thrown into this situation and why would you have that conversation. Why would anyone have that conversation, unless they want to grow. But how many of us actually deal with all the stuff that we're dealing with on a day to day routine and it says Alright, I'm just gonna go ahead and put myself in a very very uncomfortable situation. So I can try to learn. Some people do it. Some people are doing it more than they were before. And everyone doesn't do it. I think the difference that you see where some of the race issues and some of the gender issues and some of the age issues is that minority group is thrown into those conversations.


Dwayne James 14:02 It's not that they choose to be in those conversations but we're in a room where we're the only stuff is being said that we have to accept and we have to learn and we have to deal with and we have to be flexible about, but if you're in that majority. The, you can choose to go into an uncomfortable situation, I'm not going to go there I'm not going to do that and I'm going to say that because I'll be the only. Well, how many times have we been the only. You've been the only black, the only gay, the only white, I mean the only female The only young person, the only this the only that, and you're forced into that so you can deal with those conversations as complaints like no, I'm gonna make you have this conversation. Yeah, you need to learn me to be uncomfortable at some point, and that Senator has to be yelling and and vulgar and abusive. Right.

Dwayne James 14:52 When I say with that is when you host something and for so long.

Dwayne James 14:56 Unfortunately, the only way it comes out is negative. So if 00:15:00we do more, a little bit here and a little bit there and share some of that

Dwayne James 15:10 junk this ins that that that hurt this in us and we share a little bit more than welcome I'm so, so bad. I think about the Green Mile with that you know he was what you had all that stuff in him, all that cancer inside of him and you know it was killing him inside.

Dwayne James 15:26 You know when he did a little bit of a help here to a little bit of a help a little bit of a help there there was enough to justify so it's the same thing with conversation.

Dr. Obermark 15:40 I think to the way you framed it.

Dr. Obermark 15:42 Here's a new kind of like putting yourself putting people in these uncomfortable positions and they need to lock you out so everyone can see can learn, and I think that so often. And I do this too, like when I think about trying to have a conversation with someone who disagrees with me. I think of the endpoint is the conversation of trying to change their mind, which is different 00:16:00than trying to trying to help someone or learn something new thinking about it more in terms of learning, everybody learning because yeah it seems the goal of a lot of the stuff that I talk about with students and writing classes or classes about rhetoric is all of all of these theories, but somehow getting someone to change to change their mind which and sometimes that's just not a real possibility of a discussion. A lot of times I don't know if that's a possibility for some people but there could be these moments of learning, maybe that would still might do something.

Yeah, I think the learning is the most important part or the sharing of information is the most important because if you are really thinking about the end goal, then you're missing out the, the process and it's funny you say that because I have a stone.

Dwayne James 16:49 And a friend of mine gave me this stone that says, enjoy the journey.

Dwayne James 16:54 We so quick to be ready for the destination that we don't enjoy the path that led us to that destination so if we're going into a 00:17:00conversation I already said I'm gonna convince this person to do X, Y and Z. Then the path and the lessons and the learning that gets us to that point is all lost because where you're speaking, all I'm doing is thinking about how am I gonna convince you, how am I going to convince her that she needs to change. Say something different and it took.

Dwayne James 17:20 This has helped me because I know that I do that sometimes as well as still going it's like alright, Mark, you don't have to go into your basically get the end game I had to figure this out. I have to Be quick because the next thing I know I have to go to something else or something else.

Yeah. And but it's kind of demands to, I don't enjoy it you don't enjoy, like, yeah.

Dr. Obermark 17:42 To me, time is all oh yeah it's easy to get too wrapped up Have you gonna say about that.

Dr. Obermark 17:52 Do you find Have you done like you do like other kind of like civic engagement kind of work you did stuff with like ferguson youth council or something.


Ferguson youth initiatives. Yeah, we started that in 2010 as a way to engage teens.

Dwayne James 18:09 So, FYI is a nonprofit, producing Youth Advisory Board is the, you know, the commission of the city. So we work with teens 13-19 years old, weekly, monthly daily basis at times, and that's that's interesting to say at least their moods their ideas, their wants change constantly. But they have the same wishes as an adult. Even.

Dwayne James 18:41 It was probably october november one of the youth board members was coming present we had to have a talk.

Dwayne James 18:49 Because, in his mind. adult we're focusing on one group and not focused on the entire board or thinking about all teams, and how are we 00:19:00going to fix this you know how are we going to basically help communication so if I'm having this conversation with you, then other board members should be able to have this conversation when you come in, make sure that you acknowledge all teams and not have a just a personal relationship with one or two because you're comfortable with basically make sure that you and I'm, I'm listening to this guy, speak and he's 16 years old this the same conversations that are going on in the community. Yeah, it's the same. You know, you don't feel like I'm engaged, and if I don't feel like you're valuing my opinion nothing I'm just like, wow, this is happening at a teenager. Yeah.

Dwayne James 19:40 It was interesting, you know, you learn from it and teens are teachers. They keep you young.

Dwayne James 19:50 Speak totally different than most is very sharp, it's very quick, very emotional at times. Right. But once they start talking to you that 00:20:00you know that you gain their trust before. Yeah.

Yeah, working with young people do you see like the working with the teens.

Dr. Obermark 20:17 I'm thinking particularly about just like ways that people still use language as a way to discriminate like I feel like there you still hear a lot of like teens people do this about millennials to like they grammars terrible they don't know how to speak proper English, why would Why would anyone listen to them, how did you see any of that kind of like discrimination that yes you should speak this way you should talk this way or why aren't you using proper this or what and I give them a hard time I, I was an English teacher. So it was always the I. Yeah. Okay. And so every time a teen says something that I just know is wrong and I correct them and I'm like I'm sorry, this is ingrained in my head when I was a kid.


Dwayne James 21:04 I shared as well but it's the same thing I tell adults that it's our responsibility to be flexible with teens, it's not their responsibility.

Dwayne James 21:12 We can't, we should be old enough to hear what they're saying, and then to decipher it. If they're sharing something with us and telling us something then, and we go back and tell them that they need to do it better or different, then they're not going to speak shutting down, and not saying that we can't share with them how it could be done, or how it can be changed. But for us to just go in there and like they say oh that's wrong. Who are you to tell me anything so yes Are there some teenagers, they really can't, write, having a hard time writing these days right now even logically, you know, grammatically.


Dwayne James 22:04 And I'm not the best writer but learning and I think it's because everything is 140 characters, everything is quick, so I'm not going to write grammatically correct when I can just say, real quick, right, and you understand why should I basically go in and go through all that effort and my niece. She used to write me stuff in a text.

Dwayne James 22:30 And I'm like, What are you trying to say come on I call when I think no I really can't understand.

Dwayne James 22:34 And so at some point like you said she stopped texting me. Okay, because I kept correcting her. Okay. And eventually I just said alright go ahead and start texting me. And I won't correct on every little thing.

U Dwayne James 22:50 But then her messages got a little bit better because I accepted her halfway. She's like, I'll do a little better so you can actually get it right. Exactly, exactly.


Dr. Obermark 23:02 Negotiate that's like communication a little bit.

Dwayne James 23:06 And then we don't read enough either there

Dr. Obermark 23:11 seems to be Yeah, I think that's hard to read enough for to get people to read enough for.

Dwayne James 23:18 I mean, there has to be communication.

Dr. Obermark 23:21 Yeah, and I think it's another way to to like, learn of it like sort of the learning other's experiences and learning their positioning can make can make a big difference in some of those conversations that we might have later, where we disagree.

Dr. Obermark 23:37 Do you have you had like any relationships with like the activists that have been more like you know the activist groups in Ferguson, is that something you've been able to be involved with at all the city council, like can you be an activist and city council member at the same time can you identify that way, or do you have to stay more say more

neutral, and I'm one I'm, I guess. Yeah, I guess. I never called them, activists 00:24:00I call them demonstrators. But I guess they are activist group I don't like the word protesters and even.

Dwayne James 24:10 Now I don't like the word positive protesters are. Okay.

Dr. Obermark 24:16 Because all language has all this other thing with annotations I always think of rioters and stupid comments kind of like connotations like when people use the word rioters right anything's wrong in Ferguson I'm like well that's totally the wrong word,

but I mean protesters started out good because the groups were protesting the actions but then they started talking about negative. We can even take it at words, they were using bad protests who were the good protested it's the demonstrators let's say the ones that are out there and like activists I'd be like that because they are looking for change. I shouldn't say they because even they have to have a connotation as well. Right, them and they and those people right Oh, that's a different story.


Dwayne James 25:02 But no, I do know people that are out there every day. I know people that are out there. Actively protesting and demonstrating, and I had conversations with them. I was in forms that they were talking about how all of counsel is bad and knew this and that and that's where you're in an uncomfortable situation. So how am I going to learn and and hear what I need to hear, to be a better council member to be a better citizen or resident or be a better person without being in those forums, im not saying they are completely right im not saying were completely right but at some point we decide to have that conversation so some people didn't understand that, you know, why are you out there talking to people that are demonstrating against the city, you know they're they're attacking you. Okay.

Unknown 25:54 And, you know, yeah.

Dwayne James 25:57 I think the other day you were telling me I was wrong too so that's just because you wrote it in a nice little email and letter. Okay, what's 00:26:00the difference between you attacking, what we were doing versus them.

Dwayne James 26:10 The protesters and activists out on the street, saying it

Dwayne James 26:18 was okay. I mean some situations were harder than others.

Dr. Obermark 26:27 Since the city council election, that's just the beginning of April, it was longer about but okay.

Dr. Obermark 26:35 Together, because that excited about the new city council's but I'm it's gotten a lot of coverage.

Dr. Obermark 26:49 Are you hopeful for the future.

I'm always opposed to saying that there's no other way for us to go but up after 00:27:00hearing all this stuff that we heard.

Dwayne James 27:05 I've talked to a number of friends and residents that said that it happened in Ferguson, in North County, because we're strong enough to to do the work. It's been hard, because every time you take one step up, it seems like yeah I would say like two or three steps back.

Dwayne James 27:26 Well yeah I'm hopeful and then the new council members, they're coming in with a lot more energy.

Dwayne James 27:32 You know, not been there for eight or nine months now you get drained after a certain point, so they're coming in with energy, with new ideas that you sometimes get stymied with because you've been in, you know, in the nucleus for so long so challenging some, some ideas.

Dwayne James 27:58 Offering suggestions on others. So I think that that always 00:28:00brings hope out someone that the other.

Dwayne James 28:05 It's not to cut mid sentence but

Dwayne James 28:10 when you're hearing so much negative and you're hearing so much about how bad counsel is or city is and then to have eight people actually say I you know what I'm gonna join you.

Dwayne James 28:25 That's hope. Yeah, because if you're so bad and it's so gloom and doom.

Dwayne James 28:32 Why would anyone want to join that you know if you're drowning, people are leaving, but eight people basically said, All right, let's just go ahead and work this out now. Yeah.

Dwayne James 28:44 Yeah, I want to be a part of this this is gonna work out, thats hope. And I know all three of the council, new council members and I know all of you can bring that energy in there in it all eight people that were running. I think we're ready for the right reasons to bear the community and 00:29:00that to make themselves any better than the next person so that the people in our elected happy relationship with the ones that didn't win so it's not like we're not going to listen to all. Everyone's ideas. So I think that's good.

Dwayne James 29:20 And then even at the last council member at least one candidate came in and said, All right, I'm still here I'm still willing to work. So I think that's good.

Dr. Obermark 29:32 Something you said they're thinking about is thinking about the media coverage of like the Council, the council stuff which was obviously all this has never happened before.

Dr. Obermark 29:44 As we've been kind of talking about a lot like thinking about like how you communicate or how people communicate about Ferguson or about hard stuff in general, what did you as like someone who's lived in Ferguson for a long time, have been really involved with the city. What have you thought about like the media representation surrounding Ferguson and the way that it's been, 00:30:00you know, just from various levels, because that was at the light kind of taken all those kind of.

Dwayne James 30:10 I think the worst stations and the worst part, I think, was when national media came in to try to give a story and they didn't understand the story that they were, you know, talking about, even our former government you know not understanding that the city manager actually runs the city and not the mayor. Okay. So know that before you come in and try to do a story. Understand, to municipalities, understand how. Right, understand how everything is tied together. So before you come in and do your sound bite or do your five seconds, understand what's going on and understand the history of what's going on, even with the Ferguson youth initiative.

Unknown 30:54 Say that we've been here for four years, and some of the struggles that we've had as far as resources are concerned, you know grants, money, 00:31:00volunteers, instead of you say whether makes me more youth programs where there are a lot of youth programs in the area but everything keeps getting cut right so have that story wire our educational system continue to get cut every year, so that causes some of these problems and causes this and causes that there's no jobs and there's no business because of x y and z. If you're going to report report the entire story not just what sounds good on, you know, the 10 O'Clock News or CNN or whatever. So that was the frustrating part. And then when you try to tell that story. I try to give some history so the systematic issues and the processes can be changed a little bit so we can start working on that. That's not glossy and.

Dwayne James 31:49 So, it's frustrating. Yeah, so you have to deal with the sound bites, when you know that there's more to it. Right. And that's and the sound bites are important the sound bites get your attention. Once you have your 00:32:00attention. Let's give them the truth. Let's give them the heart of it so this doesn't happen again right it doesn't happen again and happening again and again.

both 32:13 There's all these other two parts to the story, exactly that. And everything is twined together, right, and then you might be able to bring in more into the conversation. If you tell a story where it links that person into the, into the conversation. If you only tell one part and only talk about

Dwayne James 32:36 what's glamorous, or unglamorous in this opinion, you're missing the people that don't relate to it.

Dwayne James 32:43 And those people that relate to it are the ones that can actually help you make the change.

Okay, so that might actually be part of how we could get more people to be. There's no your own yeah knowing your audience, knowing your audience. Yeah, maybe reaching people who are listening otherwise with different ways of telling 00:33:00the story.

Dwayne James 33:01 And someone told me that with in the company. She was the vice president of diversity, and we were having a conversation and said well, diversity is black and white. Why don't we hit that with black and white and she said well basically

Dwayne James 33:19 the conversation that you want to have about diversity with this group is age discrimination because they're getting to that age where, you know, they're like as being making too much or being too slow and the only way you can get them to basically understand that versity is to hit them with age discrimination. Now when we go to this other group, then we get with this and we have this conversation we have that conversation, and it's not that we're downplaying diversity the important part, we're just making sure that we know what audience that we're talking to. And I thought that was good.


Yeah, I mean, I kind of just are we're all going to be implicated in these systems, no matter our nobody's really outside of this conversation. I mean people talk about, you know, they're not worried about North County, and they're not worried about

Dwayne James 34:17 not saying it but it's more of when you talk about education in North County. They seem to say well that's not my child. The child goes to West County, you know, I'm worried about the ...... being less accredited will hit on when, when you go into the old folks home. It's gonna be taken care of you. It's not just going to be a West county Student thats taking care of you.

Dwayne James 34:42 Right is going to be the entire region so I think you want the entire region to be educated enough to, to help you when you get in that situation. Yeah. Yeah. So, care. Yeah. No one's saying that

I always think about how people even, even in districts or areas where they have 00:35:00seem to have more money in public education people will still vote on like levies and stuff for them like well my kids not in school anymore it's like.

Dr. Obermark 35:14 None of this makes any sense. But yeah so that's even worse about that. Yeah, surrounding counties somehow aren't part of the region.

Dr. Obermark 35:26 All right, this up for you, around me, you know, one final question, because you've already told me lots of good. Lots of good stuff here. Are you gonna be nice day go by boom yeah go.

both 35:39 Great, very touched on lots of things that all sorts of questions I have in here, you see him physically you can see the sort of the video. Why is he always fidgeting all the time.

Do you think that you have like if you had like advice for teachers or educators who are working with students about trying to teach about Ferguson or trying to 00:36:00teach about communication stuff or literacy or English more broadly, of any advice, what kind of stuff we should be talking about in our classrooms are the kind of approaches we might take or, you know, in working with more diverse student bodies and things like that too.

Dwayne James 36:16 Hmm.

Dwayne James 36:18 That's good. I think

Dwayne James 36:24 one thing I'm not sure if this is how you teach about the Ferguson hashtag Ferguson are two different things. Okay. Ferguson, is the city that has its issues and has its wants and wishes and dreams and plans, but hashtag Ferguson has taken on a life of its own. Anything and everything that is wrong an entire nation is hashtag ferguson I think that's, that's media. Yeah that's, and it's basically how do we draw this focus into a national focuses because all we have to do is say hashtag Ferguson. So,


Dwayne James 37:01 the other part of that is to talk about

Dwayne James 37:06 how sound bites, take on a life of their own.

Dwayne James 37:13 Know Black Lives Matter matter. I love ferguson. Right. All good intentions. All Powerful with their with their meanings. But just because of that those three words.

Dwayne James 37:28 They've taken on the good and the bad and who's explaining the true history and a true power behind those words, unless you do your exact you know the research, which ..... oh right is here that soundbite and they already are forming their own opinion. And then, you know, teach.

Dwayne James 37:56 I guess this is community wide is more of understand your own 00:38:00story before you try to judge someone else's story.

U Dwayne James 38:08 When we speak our or speach, and I say this a little before our words are based on our own facts and our own thoughts and our own story and that story. A lot of the times not true.

Dwayne James 38:24 So I understand that before you start going out and speaking and thinking that, what you're saying is gospel, and no one wants to do that. That's why I want to give speeches because it's like, this is based on my own opinion. Who am I to basically represent all that you're putting behind me. I'm a the only African American Council for longest does not mean it actually represented every, every person that without African American descent. Right. But, media, I am.


Dwayne James 39:03 That's how it is. So when I think that the biggest thing is to use the other senses of communication.

Dwayne James 39:14 Reading is is one and hearing, you know, and all that. So then, is that public perception it's actually getting out there and seeing it, and feeling it. And seeing the community and understand the community and learn it that way is is different than just what you've seen on CNN and

Dr. Obermark39:34 it makes sense. I've been thinking, I'm from St. Louis, a group like mature, toss 18 and then I left and went to college to other stuff went to grad school and then just kind of haphazardly got the job here is my second year back.

Dr. Obermark 39:49 Yeah, there was a time, but it was, I keep thinking about how my sense of thinking about seeing the city in different ways. Like I of course when you grow up in a city you have no idea really what I don't know, you pretty 00:40:00much just hang out like within a radius of your mom's house, you know, right, or that's what I did. And now I think that I keep trying to figure this out, but it's like, because I take I pretty much take public transportation everywhere I go. This completely route just because I see so much of the city that I wouldn't see. Otherwise, it's completely changed my way of like moving through the city and understanding the city, but it has something to do with like this. The seeing part of it the kinesthetic part of it, that I can't yeah I haven't quite been able to explain it but it's something about that like that it's a it's a way of communicating living that's just completely reshaped what I thought. St Louis was