Code Switching

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I didn’t become familiar with this term until after creating Th.Ur.Di. I’ve heard of it, but never gave it any thought. I follow NPR’s code switch twitter account, though I never heard the program or interacted with it’s handle.

When I transferred to the predominately Black District of Columbia Public School system, I got made fun of for “talking white.” My closest friend would always mock me because I said “oh my god” all the time (lol). What’s funny though, is this same friend has the T.I. syndrome where she goes out of her way to use “big words” and takes pride in “sounding smart.” Shit, i’m not mad. Fake it til you make it … I did.  I would purposely “urbanize” certain words and phrases to where now I don’t know how I sound to D.C. folks or MoCo folks. I don’t really care either. All I ever want to be is my authentic self.

But I honestly can say I code switch. I code switch like a motherfucker because of My Urban Dilemma. I code switch back and forth to the point where, I literally “talk ghetto” and “talk white” all in the same breath. To me, it’s like syncretism. It’s about the amalgamation of  two cultures that I absolutely exist in, simultaneously.

I’m still hesitant to say nigga around white people sometimes, mostly in the work setting. Otherwise though, it flies… freely. I call white people nigga all the time. Try it, it drives them crazy LOL!

That’s all. Keeping this one short and sweet.

 

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Big City, Small Dreams?

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When you’re from a small town, you dream big. When you’re from a big town, you dream small. Why? Because in a small city you know there’s more to be achieved. In a big city, everything has been done already. So it seems.

Just a thought. It all depends on who you ask. I could have it all backwards. “Life is all a matter of perspective.”

The leading quote is inspired by a group of individual creatives I look up to. They all currently reside in New York City by way of: Flint, Moncks Corner, Atlanta, Miami and Oklahoma City. As a child, I wanted nothing more to move to New York. My aunt lived up there and every time I went, for more reasons that NYC being NYC, it felt like I was in a movie.

Now what if my quote were true? Because clearly, some individuals I speak of defied those assumptions. But how? (By moving to a big town duhhh!) Why? (because of your quote, dummy!)

I don’t know if it’s because i’m on a high from seeing two of my absolute favorite acts live this week or if i’m just really, sincerely at the end of my working-for-other-people rope.

It gets harder and harder every single day to get up, drive over an hour to work, sit in an office full of fucktard reject misfits (myself included?), do a damn good job at MY JOB, do a damn good job at OTHER PEOPLE’S JOB, twirl my pen, make tea… just to clock watch and sit in another hour of traffic. (At least I can listen to my got damned podcasts in peace in my vehicle.)

I scroll through social media outlets and realize how much of a culture it’s become. If you don’t have anything of substance to promote or sell … then you’re just on there reaching. You’re being fake outraged. You’re perpetuating a fraudulent lifestyle that has you looking ridiculous outside of your circle of followers.

(I wonder if anything I typed up there would get me fired?) (I low-key want that to happen because life begins at the end of your comfort zone). (The only reason i’ve been overworked and under appreciated these past 6 years is because i’ve been afraid to take any worthy risks). (Plus that means somebody is actually reading my shit). (I real live need  my job though because i’m not about that indigent life; I have a wife and we have a child to raise). (Even though all of this is grammatically incorrect, I wonder if that question mark belongs outside of the parenthesis like this)? I digress.

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I come from Silver Spring, MD. Where I come from has both the Big Town, Little Town feel. D.C. is a stones throw away. Because the seat of government is here though, our whole area reeks of corruption. The dreams here are cut short by seeing politics play out, firsthand. The filthy rich and powerful ride the Metro alongside the desolate and impoverished. The way D.C. is being gentrified and “cleaned up” is astonishing. I have mixed feelings about gentrification. I’ll touch on that some other time.

And then all of this begs the question…. What happens to a dream deffered?

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(Again, please don’t fire me. I need to earn your money to fund my dreams so I don’t end up selling ass and crack down by the Shrimp Boat.)

Racists Have a Dog in the Fight, Radicals Don’t.

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Ok so… I don’t particularly have issues expressing my disdain for certain demographics of white culture. (Let me be frank here, racist white people.) I can explain and direct my logical and emotional conclusions to the source.

These racist white people I speak of can’t do the same. Why not? Because it will ALWAYS route back to the same source. THEIR ignorant ass racism.

I’m deliberate with whom I communicate this subject because emotions fly at an all time high when speaking about my actual Black life as if it’s a fucking anecdotal story.

Racist white people don’t realize that what they deny so vehemently, that they have nothing to do with the racism of their ancestors, contradicts the foundation of their white position right here in America today on Sunday March 13th, 2016.

Let’s clear the ambiguity. I’m not asking us to like each other or to “fix” this shit, racist white folks. That’s important for you to understand. I’m asking for blatant honesty and ugly truths.

The Big Ass Mother Fucking Racist Elephant In Middle of the Got Damn Room is just that. We don’t have to get along, just out of each other’s way. And historically speaking, you have to make the first move! But I don’t think you want to.This is why The Donald is flourishing. His blatant honesty & ugly truths.

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Imagine a radical Pro-Black candidate. Who spoke about the criminal injustice enterprise that Black Life has become the poster child for. Who exposes the systematic mass incarceration epidemic. The evil roots of capitalism. WE NEED THAT. Even to just push the envelope. To expose some alternative perspectives. To kick Overton’s Window out the fucking frame. So don’t knock Donald. Knock whoever is pandering our vote.

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My Whole Point:
What you see when these racist white people support Trump is their subconscious mind needing, wanting and yearning for that very racism they deny to exist and thrive! To maintain their unearned positions! The World is Flat! Racist white people don’t want to compete because a lot of the time… they can’t! They have relied on their positions as white people solely and being white is becoming unpopular, even on a biological scale.

Marginalized people have been mastering the art of resilience since day one, not denial.We are patiently waiting, practicing and preparing for the day we have an actual dog in the fight… where my dogs at?!

The Freestyle Approach

It’s a known fact that both Mr. Shawn and D’Wayne Carter don’t write their music. They kind of freestyle and do a copy & paste, patchwork kind of composition. I’m thinking about adopting this approach to blogging.

[Real Quick] I want to acknowledge how i’ve evolved and am okay with being called a blogger. Meh, it is what it is. I was once totally against it though. It held certain connotations that i’ve since gotten over. I touch on that in my Schoolboy Q post. Now back to balling.

So I get caught up on being a “perfectionist” and making sure things come out and are perceived correctly. I start to concern myself with grammar and sentence structure. OH MY GAWD. That’s tiresome and it’s damaging to the type of creativity I posses. As much as I love school, reading and writing essays (I sincerely and genuinely do – I graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors in undergrad and a 4.0 in my Master’s program) I absolutely hate rules, regulations and structure. I can follow them. But I don’t want to. This has stopped me from doing a number of things. Like securing scholarships that I certainly could have. I’ve always been told that I was a good writer, but because I was to be judged by others, who may not like me and my radicalism, I was always like “fuck it.”

So, like my last post “Constant Compromise in the Age of Black Creativity,” or something like that, I decided to – at the very moment I have an idea i’d like to blog about – BLOG ABOUT IT. I said to myself “stop letting it simmer and stop forgetting how you felt right in the moment, the very motivation for the post to begin with.”

Ideas deferred fester up like a sore and run. I’m not letting that happen anymore.

Word to my favorite Bus Boy & Poet.

Constant Compromise in the Golden Age of Black Creativity

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Th.Ur.Di. is a testament to black youth having to constantly compromise. This is a result of being a victim of modern-day colonization. The inspiration for this came from firing up the N.W.A.P. podcast entitled “Was February the Best Black History Month Ever?”

Did or did they not change their name to Nerds With a Podcast as opposed to Negroes With a Podcast? If they did, I would both be understanding and both bothered. This entire post begs the question:

“Who/what/when/why/how does the phenomenon happen where a group of podcasters would change their identity from Negroes to Nerds?

Like, why is the Weeknd making so much popular mainstream music as opposed to all the molly popping music that I loved him for?

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I feel like the identity of Negro is a thorn that belongs in “they” side. Nerds would be the compromise. And being a “black nerd” is a dilemma in itself. Again begging the question –but why?

This particular episode goes on to say how we are A) currently living in the golden era for black creatives… B) How black media is born of trauma…C) we’ve never been able to be ourselves or tell our own stories until now because D) technology has lowered the bar and “everybody is just running over that shit now.”

I don’t feel like i’m extroverted enough to  become as successful as I could be. I also don’t feel like i’ll kiss enough ass to excel in the capacity I envision. This also stems from not having access to capital for a myriad of reasons.

The Shark Daymond John appeared on the Breakfast Club this morning to promote his book “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage.”  I’m going to purchase and read this book because I feel like there are some gems in there. Daymond didn’t compromise. I wan’t to be inspired by his struggles.

Check out their podcast and comment below, let’s dialogue. Let’s build!

Meet Me @ The Crossroads

 

c/o @Raheem_Devaughn’s Twitter

Th.Ur.Di. explores current events from the Contemporary Black Young Culture’s perspective.

Let’s face it, black culture is under attack. It’s up to us to reverse the divide and conquer among us. We must put our differences aside and holistically repair and recapture our true essence. This must be done while not compromising what makes us, us. We yearn to create a cultivating, just environment allowing us to develop into full humans with healthy emotions and expressions. These expressions encompass a large spectrum of lifestyles. “Uncommon Sense,” “Ratchet Righteousness,” “Black Twitter,” “Black Lives Matter” and the like were ubiquitous terms in 2015; Th.Ur.Di. is here to capture the underlying spirit.

We are all products of our varying environments, connecting through the 5 elements of Hip-Hop and Criminal Injustice. Our art exhibits an unspoken bravado and comfort zone where we fully express our plight, artistic abilities and complex lifestyles. This is all accomplished while navigating through a modern-day colony. Hip-Hop is one of the few conceivable economies where we have opportunities to  create and control, but we have to take back ownership! Even if it means war!

The Th.Ur.Di. spirit contains the contribution of martyrs as well as the ink of scholars; this is our battlefield.
Th.Ur.Di. delivers contemporary perspective from the Crossroads of Urban/Black Culture. Discussions are placed within their proper historical context for accurate analysis. Also featured on Th.Ur.Di. will be responsible critiques of Hip-Hop and other genres of Black Art. Artists will be held accountable for their creations, products and services offered for consumption. Projects will receive thorough and honest review of content.

Why does Th.Ur.Di.’s opinion matter? Because the contributors are actual stakeholders of the culture. Its up to us coming of age in Hip-Hop to repair the commercial damage and move it forward.

Crossroads: Sexuality, Demographic, Nationality, Education Level, Single Parents, Married Couples, Religion, Spirituality, etc…

Lets connect with actual artists, entrepreneurs, creatives, producers, bloggers, activist, etc… To provide expressions from the entire spectrum of Contemporary Black Culture. I want to capture this spirit locally, nationally and internationally. I want to capture this from the middle class, the elite and most definitely those residing in the inner-city.

I’m going to need your help, this is the foundation. Let’s build upon it.

Matte Black Lives, “They” Don’t Want Us To Shine.

This blog has become a place where I can map my mental journey.

I didn’t realize how much of a unveiling exercise this was initially. The theory/concept was me coming to terms with myself as well as trying to teach others. I didn’t know enough, though. I had to put preaches into practice. Explore the world. Test beliefs etc.

What I was basically trying to say was; black people, people of color, minorities, etc. aren’t a monolith like we’ve been marketed as. Our lifestyle(s) have been commodified and certain demographics don’t quite understand that.

I was born in 1986. I feel like the world hit fast forward in the 90’s. My generation was caught up in the wild-world-wind.

60’s & Civil Rights
70’s & Economic Shifts
80’s & Drugs
90’s & Technology
00’s & War

2000-2016 is the culmination of it all, happening right now. Most of us have access to information and we’ve been turning it into intelligence.

Th.Ur.Di. was born months before the Trayvon Martin verdict. Take into consideration how society has changed since then.

Just Think: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray .. you recognize these names. Click this link for again, just some of the police brutality victims you haven’t heard of. Ferguson, Baltimore, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, I Can’t Breathe, Black Lives Matter. Like – did all of these people, cities and sayings create themselves in a vacuum?

Matte Black Lives, they don’t want us to shine.
Black Lives Matter, I hear it all the time.”

Th.Ur.Di. was explaining how black youth are scapegoated by the dominant culture’s capitalistic, commercialized, corporate structure. The Black Lives Matter movement is a GLEAMING example of what I was expressing. We need a collective commitment to sink the flawed public policy and institutions fostering oppression.

 

We need constant encouragement and upliftment of ALL black lives, ALL the time. Gay black lives, straight black lives, rich black lives, poor black lives, etc.

Let’s get in formation.

Logic is from Montgomery County, too.

Today while listening to Logic‘s NPR Mic Check interview, Frannie touched on how the “hood” he claims is that of West Deer Park located in one of the richest counties in the country. A lot of critics elude to his representation of it being skewed. Now, any intelligent person knows that what goes on inside the homes of dysfunctional families often time contains itself there.

What Logic experienced may very well have been traumatic and unhealthy for his personal growth and development as a child. I haven’t listened to his project yet (since I started writing this, I have – update at the end), but I gather from word of mouth (and this interview) that his childhood wasn’t as clean cut as he himself may appear at first glance. He is in fact bi-racial, but can pass as white without much effort. I feel like Logic had to deal with some conflict and dilemma coming of age, particularly with “fitting in.”

Because I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood, I decided to do a quick Google search to see what I was missing. The “hood” part of Montgomery County (MoCo) familiar to me was Briggs Chaney, more specifically Castle Blvd. Also, Pepper Tree Farms in Aspen Hill was always known to be a little rough. Aspen Hill is closer to Gaithersburg, Briggs Chaney is closer to Silver Spring. I’d never been, but i’d always hear stories about Lincoln Park, a ghetto ass neighborhood out in Rockville. In my mind I couldn’t fathom anything “hood” in Rockville and never took it seriously. In a nutshell, the “hoods” in MoCo are few and far between.

Langley Park is another not so great area in MoCo with a high immigration population. A lot of newcomers from Latin, African and Caribbean countries seem to put their feet on the ground here. Because of this, it’s one of the poorer and more dangerous places in MoCo. When I lived in the Langley Park Area (University Blvd & Piney Branch Rd) in the late 80’s early 90’s, it was still a good mix of black and white people, a few immigrants here and there. It has since completely transformed into “Little Mexico” – all the businesses in that area now cater to the Hispanic population. The existing infrastructures are all run down and most of the signage is old. Immigrants from Russia and European countries typically settle near Gaithersburg (and further up). Montgomery Village has a lot of Russian residents. One of them is my really good friend. (Hey Rozy!)

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So I typed in “West Deer Park Public Housing Projects” and much to my satisfaction, a forum with a post titled “Rising Montgomery County Rap superstar has people actually believing Gaithersburg is just like Compton.” I read the whole damn thing (if you have any interest in this topic, you should too). I learned so much about MYSELF from this post.

A lot of sentiments Logic shared in this NPR interview I share, like being influenced by mainstream pop-culture as well as underground, fusing both into his own style. He catches a lot of slack for “not being original” and “sounding like a Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole imitator.” A good number of people believe his appearing white and rapping about “hood shit” is appealing to white kids from the suburbs who, for example, can stroll through West Deer Park rapping his music out loud, unscathed. He’s seen as more relatable than a Kendrick from Compton, and this is why the labels back him. I disagree, he is talented.

Logic Gets Disrespected By Vick One

I say all that to say, where we come from breeds very peculiar individuals. Fun fact, Maury Povich and Connie Chung are both from this area. West Deer Park’s crime rate, when compared to say Compton’s – doesn’t. Can’t.  Won’t ever. The conditions of poverty simply don’t exist in the same capacity. But if you compare West Deer Park to Chevy Chase or North Potomac, you can see the major differences between lifestyles of the working poor, the middle class and the extremely wealthy. We are all heavily influenced by the vast socioeconomic conditions that can virtually exist within a 2 mile radius.

I am more than grateful to have grown up in such a culturally diverse, socioeconomically stable area. As a child I couldn’t appreciate it because I was oblivious to it, I was just living. After residing in North Carolina for 4 years, travelling across (and outside of) the country, becoming more worldly overall, I realize Montgomery County is special. I plan on moving to Los Angeles like all real niggas do. But for now, there is no other place i’d rather be than Silver Spring, MD.

(Ok maybe Miami).

After Listening to Under Pressure

For one, I love the production on this album. It’s very sonically pleasing, not a bunch of trap beats or boom baps. The artwork is classy. Now, while I can’t put my finger on a particularly original flow or “rap style” yet.. the boy can rap. He rides the beat if not better than, then as well as anybody worth mentioning. I don’t feel like he’s imitating Kendrick or Cole, personally. I feel like he’s using rap techniques soaked up over the years to tell his own personal story. I must give him his props, it doesn’t sound like he’s fabricating or exaggerating anything.

You can live in the most beautiful neighborhood and get little to no nourishment inside the home. You can also live in the most down trodden neighborhood but have the best resources at your disposal. We can’t choose the circumstances  we are born into.

While West Deer Park isn’t the most poverty stricken, impoverished “ghetto,” it surely has it’s pockets of criminal and drug activities and is not a super wealthy area. Again, do a quick google search and you’ll see the facts. Logic had to suffer from what any child anywhere shouldn’t have. He had drug addicted, absent parents, he lived in public housing, he also mentioned his mother taking medication for mental health reasons. He say’s on one track “these welfare checks wont bounce like like my daddy did.” He envisions a better future for himself and family. You can’t knock him for that. Everybody’s bottom isn’t identical. I’m from Montgomery County and didn’t experience anything even remotely close.

I will definitely be listening to this album over and over again. I’m glad I didn’t let the suckers stray me away from this. Folks like Vick One had me convinced he was trash and a fraud. He isn’t, in my opinion. I could be biased, but regardless.. i’m captivated. It makes perfect sense that Childish Gambino is on this album. I have a special love for Donald.

“Too black for the whites, too white for the blacks.”

 

Know What’s Necessary

I used to want to know it all. Now.. I just want to know what is necessary. Know-it-alls end up under a lot of pressure. Pressure means stress. My ultimate goal is to live stress free. The real kind. Not the pretend, “talk about what I hate all day long” stress free. But the, “why are we even discussing this..?” stress free.

I go back and forth everyday with “what I want to be, what I want to do” .. it’s all relative but i’m learning a lot about myself. Like, maybe I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. Questioning every thing until I realize “nothing really matters.” Do what makes you genuinely smile.

Allison Seymour is a news anchor for Fox 5 here in D.C. and the other day during a broadcast she said something along the lines of “my dream is to have a paycheck every 2 weeks..” I feel you sister. By any (safe and ethical) means. Safe and ethical doesn’t always mean legal. But that’s another story i’ll get into on Th.Ur.Di., Blog.

I’m learning that, I am a hustler. That’s the mentality I have. And not a shady hustler, but an honest hustler. That means doing what’s necessary to get shit done, without stepping on any undeserving toes. I chose my words wisely.

I like to be alone. Or with my fiancee. Doing shit that “niggas” do. Smoking trees. Listening to loud music. Counting cash. Going shopping. I have to stop fighting these urges to “do better” and do what I want. I only have this 1 life to live!

Most things are about aesthetics to me. Dress it up and make it real for me baby.

A Few of My Favorite Things (Podcasts)

 

[From my drafts]

#1. IMiXWHATiLiKE (former* wpfw radio show)

This was the first time I ever heard anyone speak so openly and candidly about things I felt passionate about. I used to think we weren’t allowed a public forum to express these sentiments. I’m speaking about race relations from a wordly perspective, particularly the African Diaspora and colonization of black people across the globe.

#2. MyndTalk (wpfw radio show as well)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t even have to come up on a check. Dr. Pamela Brewer helped me get my mynd right. This program introduced me to experts (and often time their books) from a myriad of professions ranging from recording artists to clinical psychologists. MyndTalk helped me  realize my mental limitations, personal hurdles as well as how to crush them. The book “Why Do I Do That: Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Way they Shape Our Lives” by Dr. Joseph Burgo was featured on MyndTalk and changed my life forevaaaa *cardi B voice*. This show goes hand-in-hand with “The Friend Zone,” focusing on mental health and relationships.

#3. This Is The Read

I literally feel like Kid Fury and I are the same person. We were supposed to be each other. I agree whole heartedly (is that a word or nah?) with his sentiments on EVERYTHING. Especially people (hated it!) The same way I felt about hearing Good Kid Mad City the first time .. is similar to how I feel listening to The Read. I felt like my age group, my era, my generation’s outlook on life was finally being presented. Crissles is my boo, too.

#4. The Friend Zone

As I continue on my journey of self discovery, The Friend Zone helps me realize where I was, where I am and where I hope to go. A lot of topics hit home and I literally feel like this podcast is a safe zone to express taboo or uncomfortable circumstances you may think you’re in alone.

#5. Bodega Boys

Now. This podcast makes me feel wonderful about my future. These dudes have zero chill whatsoever. Political correctness is non existent EXCEPT when it comes to the word “Faggot” – which is highly commendable. As a member of the “LGBTQ” community, I realize how much I use the word (not as a discriminatory or derogatory term). But I use it nonetheless and I just might want to chill. These guys are the future of dirt-bag-cut-throat sketch comedy. I’m here for it.

 

#6. NPR Mic Check

Last but not least, NPR’s Microphone Check is my favorite of them all. It mixes all elements of what I love about the aforementioned podcasts. It’s been the most inspirational and is the tree from which i’d pick a fruit to plant my own seeds. The hosts’ Ali Shaheed Muhammed (A Tribe Called Quest’s DJ) is from NYC and Frannie Kelley (NPR Music Editor) is from my area, Washington, DC. The two of them have in-depth conversations with artists about their recent and past projects, entire bodies of work, behind the scene influences and so on. If you go to my soundcloud page http://www.soundcloud.com/indigawdzilla I reposted my favorite interviews.

Honorable Mention:

N.W.A.P. (Negroes With a Podcast)

Not gonna lie .. these guys are kinda dry. I’ve listed to maybe 2 episodes and haven’t returned since. Still great content from an apologetically black male perspective. These are like, the frat boy kind of black guys.  It looks like they’ve changed their name to “Nerds With A Podcast” …. Makes sense. More fitting.

N.O.T.W. (Neck of The Woods)

I listened to one episode of this and hollered within the first 25 seconds. “Do I have to grab the back of your neck…. to make you eat my ass.” I’m still dead. I just have way too much to catch up on to get into a new podcast, but once i’m in the swing i’m throwing this right up in the mix.

Tax Season

Tax is my mans. Be safe tho, beloved. I mostly listen to this podcast when someone I recognize is on there (The Desus & Mero episode is classic!) I love New York. I wanted to be from New York so bad growing up. I don’t think I could live there now (L.A. & Miami are on my radar – i’m getting the fuck out of Maryland ASAP) but I might as well. I listen to New York radio every morning. I hear the local ads, traffic – all that. This podcast is like being right in the mix of what’s going on in the streets of NYC.

 

The Brilliant Idiots

I almost forgot The Brilliant Idiots! This is a podcast hosted by Charlamagne Tha God & comedian Andrew Schulz. I have a serious adoration and respect for Charlamagne for a myriad a reasons. To sum it all up though, because he’s a real nigga. Period. He’s honest, even about his shortcomings and he’s always willing to learn. He reads a hell a lot more than I do and that’s an inspiration. Andrew rubbed me the wrong way initially because he seemed so distant from the culture. However, i’ve learned to respect his opinion and I understand his perspective. It’s very necessary, even if I don’t agree with it. This podcast