Oral History Interview

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Student Reflection

I learned that a lot of preparation and hard work went into planning an oral history. Not only did you have to come up with questions to ask your interviewee like most people would just assume, but you had to do research to come up with intellectual questions, fill out consent forms, and think of ways to record your oral history. I thought the most challenging part of conducting my oral history was coming up with appropriate questions. Asking questions about protests and specifically black lives matter is a sensitive subject and isn’t taken lightly. I had to make sure the questions I asked were worded properly and weren’t offensive in any way. The part I enjoyed most was meeting and talking to my friend Joelle. She had so many amazing things to say during the oral history and I loved hearing her opinions on these topics.

If I had to take something away from my oral history, it would be how every action of an African American person effects their live. In the interview, Joelle explained tome that often times she’s scared of what may happen to her as she just casually walks down the street. She said she’s even more afraid at the thought of her brother and dad walking somewhere wearing a hoodie because to some people it may look suspicious. Constantly having these thoughts is not a way to live life. What Joelle, along with millions of other African Americans, goes through is not tolerable and we need to change that. We need to change how people preserve others stop prejudging people before many others get hurt.

Conducting the oral history was frightening and intimidating at first but after the first few questions, I felt more at ease and felt like I knew what I was doing. I felt nervous the moments leading up to the interview because I was worried, I wouldn’t meet all of the criteria. I wondered if my interview would belong enough, if I would mess up what I was supposed to say, or if there would belong silences. During the interview itself, I found myself just listening to Joelle’s responses and not worrying about any of those things. I felt like it was more like a conversation then an interview and I was a lot more relaxed after seeing how calm the interview setting actually was.

I would recommend that students have more time to write their questions and that their professor glances over them to ensure they are reasonable and adequate. I thought this assignment was planned out very nicely and accordingly overall.

I would tell them [future FYS students] that this is a useful assignment that teaches you how to not only be more comfortable conducting interviews but be more confident while talking to others and at the end, public speaking while you present to your class. There are many takeaways from this assignment each of them being beneficial to you in the long run. Some advice I would give is to make sure you pick an interviewee that is well educated on the topic you choose. If they do not know much about the topic, your interview will be short and not very interesting. You should also make sure that your questions are valuable and can be answered with in depth responses.