13 minutes 2 ans

(English version without translation)

Here the first episode of our new project called : « Enough Is Enough ». During the next weeks, you will be able to read a testimony of someone living in Detroit-area or Michigan about many current topics : racism, US society, police brutalities, social injustices… The Pistons France Team wanted to give a worldwide stage in order to denounce some facts about America.

Today our guest is Lazarus Jackson (/lazchance) writer and editor for DetroitBadBoys.com

Pistons France : First of all, can you present yourself for our followers who don’t know you yet. A short presentation because obviously it’s not our main topic today. Who are you and what do you do in Pistons community?

Lazarus : I’m Lazarus Jackson, a writer and editor for DetroitBadBoys.com, the Detroit Pistons website under the SBNation banner. I also host two podcasts on the Pistons – the Detroit Bad Boys Podcast and Pistons Vs. Everybody. 

P.F. : As a huge NBA Fan, how did you react when you have learnt the decision by the Milwaukee Bucks of boycotting their Playoffs game? 

L. : I was surprised. The NBA and the players had already come to an agreement about the promotion of the social causes by the players (the slogans on the back of the jerseys, “Black Lives Matter” being on the court, etc.). I thought that, even after the Kenosha Police shot Jacob Blake, those efforts would intensify, but I did not expect a full strike on the part of the players. 

But it made sense, especially that it was the Milwaukee Bucks. Not only is Kenosha in Wisconsin, but the Bucks have a player who’s had a personal experience with police brutality on their roster in Sterling Brown.

P.F. : Do you think this kind of protest – boycotting events – could be extended in others sports or arts such as cinema, music…? Do you think it’s a good solution to change things?

L. : I do. The strike made global news – you are asking about it from France! – which shows the level of influence players wield. I think that, if nothing else, it’s better than closing your ears and eyes and pretending everything is fine.

P.F. : As NBA Fan, do you think we can make some noise at our scale even though we don’t have the power of NBA players? What could we do to help the BLM?

L. : This is an EXCELLENT question. You can demand accountability from your political representatives when the police commit acts of violence. If that fails, you can demand higher quality political representation, voting for candidates who will hold police organizations accountable when they commit acts of violence. You can support the black individuals and black businesses in your circle, in your community, in your cities.

P.F. : You are a former MSU alumni. Do you think the system of American universities is good enough or well-prepared to prevent from racism? Or racism is very expanded in these universities?

L. : That’s interesting. On one hand, college is an opportunity to familiarize yourself with individuals with different life experiences than your own, which can show you how racial stereotypes are not the full story. On the other hand, if you’re white, there are few universities in America you can go to and be in the minority – to have the racial hierarchy reversed, which I think is one of the best ways to sympathize with racial minorities. On another hand, the college admission process in America arguably perpetuates racism

Ultimately I think colleges and universities do more good than harm, but they’re not perfect. 

P.F. : You are one of the most active guys in the Pistons community on Twitter. How this social network – particularly Pistons community – could help or sustain the Black Lives Matter movement? Do you think some actions could be done with Twitter?

L. : I think so. Members of Pistons Twitter were out in the streets protesting police brutality in their respective cities, which is good. Perhaps Pistons Twitter could be pushing voter registration a little harder.  Because Twitter is a more loose association – just because we follow each other on Twitter doesn’t mean we’re friends in real life – it can be harder to push people, but I think it’s possible to spur people to act on social media. 

P.F. : What do you think about the current movement in the USA? We saw many confrontations between citizens and police officers in several cities. How do you feel when you watch it? 

L. : It saddens and exhausts me. The initial demand of black protestors – “Hey police, stop killing us” – doesn’t seem like a difficult request.  But oversight and accountability are apparently too much to ask for from police departments. But as the protests keep occurring and, especially this year, grew in size and urgency, I do think that real change on that front is coming. 

P.F. : As a black American, do you have a personal testimony to share with us? A bad moment where you saw or lived the racism against you? Maybe during your childhood or your career?

L. : …Sadly, of course I do. My neighbors called the police because they thought I was robbing my own home a few years ago, which was very stressful and has made me more distrustful of those neighbors. It was very frustrating – I had been in the house for over a year, and my own neighbors didn’t recognize me, and presumed that my presence as a black man in the neighborhood meant I was a criminal. 

P.F. : How do you describe the current atmosphere in Detroit? Do you believe Motown could be one of the main cities to help and support the Black Lives Matter? 

L. : I don’t live in Detroit, so I can’t say about the current atmosphere, but I do think that the history of Detroit lends itself to understanding what is at stake with Black Lives Matter protests. 

P.F. : As American citizen, how do you protest against the inequalities, injustices? Do you participate in the massive demonstration in streets? For you, what is the best way to protest and change the US society?

L. : I support the protests. I have not participated in street demonstrations – I would prefer to be as far from the police as possible at all times, and protests do not accomplish that. I have donated to restorative causes, charitable causes, and local and national political candidates. For me, the best way to change American society is through government. So, I encourage people to vote for candidates they believe will bring the change they want to see. 

P.F. : The US Elections will take place at the end of the year. Joe Biden should face to Donald Trump. Do you think Biden could be a great POTUS to calm the social situation Trump has created? 

L. : I’ve been alive for almost 30 years, and I am sure that Donald Trump is the worst person that has been president during my lifetime. I appreciate that you properly attribute the social turbulence to him. 

I think Joe Biden, if elected, will undoubtedly be a better and more effective President than Donald Trump. Although that is a low, low bar to clear, America has to clear that bar and return to something resembling competent leadership, or else this turbulence is going to turn into true turmoil. 

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