#3 Interviews

For my interviews I wanted to get the perspective of the generation proceeding me. Because many opinions and views differ generationally, I wanted to understand their views on equality and how much it affects our society. I had three very lengthy conversations with my mom, my stepdad, and my mom’s best friend. We discussed social issues as well as possible solutions for many of those problems. I was surprised to find that many of their ideas were similar to mine, just seen through a different lens/expressed in a different format.

Perspective has so much to do with the understandings and solutions to social injustice. It was really cool to learn about how my parents’ generation viewed current day issues and what they thought were plausible solutions. They have experienced work, owning a small business, watching change in government, and understanding the importance of voting. All of which are things that I have yet to experience due to my age. My eyes were opened to many different ideas and understandings of the topics.

I had 7 “Interview questions” that stemmed off into further conversation. Here are the responses that I got for each of the questions.

What is your understanding of Feminism? Do you know any feminist icons?

Mom: A woman who has confidence in themselves and feel that they do not have the opportunities that they should. ALSO could mean: think they should get things that they don’t deserve (circumstantial).

Feminist Icon: Emma Watson (Knows this because she is my idol)

Stepdad: Women’s rights, rights have to be earned no matter what gender you are. You are not entitled to things.


Would equality benefit our society?

Mom: Yes, everyone wants to “One up” each other. Everything would run smoother. Equality would take out the emotion of controversy…. not so hostile/angry.

Stepdad: Of course, still has to be earned.


Should people be educated about equality? 

Mom: Yes, it’s tough to teach about equality and not impose opinion. There is a line and it has to be toed lightly.

Stepdad: Yes, there needs to be public awareness and everyone needs to know that they need to vote. They have no right to have an opinion if they did not vote one way or the other.


How does media affect equality?

Mom: “They screw it all up”, the media is the reason that we are not equal. Pits races against each other. Has a HUGE influence on people’s ideas/opinions

Stepdad: Media is based on political parties (FOX, MSNBC, CNN, etc.) and should be based on the good of people. A more neutral basis for information. The media has the ability to spin information any way they would like and it causes fluctuation in truth and opinion.

Mom’s Best Friend: The biggest problem is that it exists. It is the root of all evil and causes all of the problems by blowing things out of proportion and blurring the truth.


Does living in an undiversified region cause prejudice against those who are different than you?

Mom: No, everyone is human. As long as a certain sexuality is not being forced upon me, I don’t care.

Stepdad: No, if you aren’t a good person you aren’t a good person. If you are good, you are good. Doesn’t have anything to do with race, identity, sexuality, etc.


What are the biggest problems in society?

Mom: Entitlement, substance abuse, lack of morals/values

Stepdad: Social welfare -> the belief that it is okay not to work and have taxpayers provide for you

Mom’s Best Friend: In VT -> Gender neutral bathrooms, opportunity for sexual predators to strike. Abuse of welfare system and,  Narcan


Further discussion about government, immigration and, economies in other countries were brought up as well. My views have not necessarily changed due to any of these discussions, but they were broadened to understand more ideas and possibilities. I also realized that I have a lot to learn about all social justice issues and am willing to do research to expand my knowledge. It was a really cool experience learning from my parents and having a structured conversation with them that made me think about how much I know(and don’t know) and how to articulate my thoughts in an effective way.

Katelyn Brown

4 Responses to “#3 Interviews

  • Abigail Bartell
    4 years ago


    I think this is a fantastic start to your research- regardless of the topic you ultimately choose. Being able to really hear multiple opinions (even if you don’t agree with them) is a skill that at best takes years, and in the case of many- never happens.

    You wrote, “I was surprised to find that many of their ideas were similar to mine, just seen through a different lens/expressed in a different format”, and along with your Mom’s comment, “everyone is human” it made me think about how we really are in this together- even when our politics, beliefs and ideas so drastically clash.

    I am excited to see how you might capture divergent ideas to provide a holistic picture of the topic you choose. You are in the prefect position to do this, and have the poise and understanding to pull it off meaningfully and well.


  • Rebecca Holcombe
    4 years ago


    I enjoyed reading this. This is what I took away: doing the interviews helped clarify what you believe, and confirmed for you that there is a lot of common ground between what you understand and believe, and what those around you believe. What I also learned is that the interviews deepened your perspective and let you look at ideas from a different point of view. It sounds as if you find interviews valuable, and I encourage you to do more as you work to figure out what you believe and how you want act on (and in) the world.

    All your interviewees, in different ways, suggested that equality is a good thing, but that rights and freedoms are conditions (not sure that is the right word?) each person has an obligation to work to secure. I learned they feel rights come with responsibilities—that communities should work for everybody, but also that everybody has to do his or her bit to contribute. (And, vote!)

    What your interviewees said reminds me of Bobby Kennedy. Before he was shot, he was working to unite working class white voters and black voters around shared economic and social concerns. He was known for advocating for civil rights, but also for emphasizing what we understand as working class values: hard work and respect for the law. He was both a supporter of Martin Luther King AND perceived as tough on issues like crime, social welfare, and national security. He was from a different time, but you might find some of his speeches interesting. Here is one of his famous speeches, from after the death of MLK, where he called on Americans to come together around common values:

    I hope you had a good weekend! I look forward to learning about your next steps.


    • I loved reading that speech. It was so empowering and the message is so raw and emotional. Thank you so much for all of your resources!

  • Katelyn,

    Well I have read your post four times. Each time I see something new in the complexity of your respondents’ answers. There is much, much there that shows just how complex people’s attitudes are about feminism, discrimination, what’s needed, living in Vermont, etc… YOUR difficulty is that you have to hone your ideas down to a burning question that helps you frame the story you want to tell.

    (I have to also tell you that to me, a journalist of 33 years, the responses to your media question are terrifying. And it makes me think there is an amazing story in there about the media, but I’d never wish that story on anyone. Maybe I’ll corral some of my former colleagues and do it ourselves!)

    Anyway, you are doing some powerful thinking. I appreciated your work, too. And I’d urge you to follow Rebecca’s link (love how she thinks and the perspective she is sharing) and understand, also, that that speech was not prepared; the news had just come in of MLK’s death and he just went out there and delivered the news and said what he believed. It is compelling not just because of the words, but because they came from the heart, unfiltered yet eloquent.

    What you want to think about as you hone your ideas and get to a framing question, is what is the story that comes most from your heart, that can inform and open people’s minds because, I’d argue, that’s the first step towards change.

    I look forward to working with you.


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