Week 10 Music Journal

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  1. Final journal of the course and it has been a wonderful ride for the course ETHN 177. I felt so ecstatic to learn what I believe was to be presented in this class. At first, I felt that the class would be about music that spoke a social message for injustice and common speeches made by popular visionaries, such as MLK and Malcolm X. The class seemed to be obvious on the purpose of what was going to be taught, yet misconception can be a valuable lesson once you realize the reality.
    Every class taught me way more than I ever knew before I started the class and I enjoyed every single piece of knowledge learned. Whether knowledge came from an obvious message of what was spoken or came from an analyzation of the message spoken, there’s always something to learn and utilizing for a better understanding of society. For example, rap songs have an obvious message within its lyrics and the performances/music videos make the message a greater, powerful tool to send the message in a way where people who view them gain a true understanding of a song that means more than just hype. Learning these new forms of analyzation of the subjects gives a new meaning towards the right understanding by the people who speak or rap.
    My favorite piece to learn and discuss about was James Baldwin’s piece, “Baldwin’s N*****”, because of his ability to speak to a large crowd and teach something that isn’t only an existing story, but an audience’s existing story. The most important quote he mentioned involved how people would approach him and ask him his place of origin and as he mentioned that he was an American, but the constant question asked was, “Where are you really from?”, which insisted that the person asking him that didn’t believe that he was an American and that he looks to be an African. When hearing Baldwin’s input of this certain encounter, I see it similarly with my life because, as a Latino, I encounter the same thing where people would assume that I’m just a Mexican because I’m brown and look like I can speak Spanish. This is not fully correct because I’m also Salvadoran and I’m not fluent in Spanish, so my perceived identity isn’t exactly what people expect. Listening to what Baldwin explained over his input of misinterpreted identities, I can relate closely to what he explained and that is the power of learning the piece in relation to the class; the class taught me to learn about the different sounds and I learned through Baldwin about something that is very closely related to me.
    My favorite week of discussion was the week involving rap songs because I’m a fan of rap and not only do I like listening to the different songs, but learning from them makes it a better experience in the class. I love Kendrick Lamar and a lot of his songs, whether the song is meant to hype you up, get you in some sort of mood, or to listen to something important that can change your idea for society. His songs, like “Alright”, “The Blacker the Berry”, and “m.a.a.d City”, inhabit a lot of personal experiences and encounters in his life throughout his hometown of Compton. I can see other rappers that inhabit the same narrative in their songs, like Chance the Rapper and J. Cole, and all these people allow me to engage society into different experiences by these people. AS much as they are highly advertised for mainstream media, I like to listen to them and connect with all their songs for the enjoyment and the messages they instill in their music. I can feel the purpose of the course closely connecting towards how to interpret the lyrics that many of these rappers, including the ones mentioned, since a lot that they advocate in social media or in performances links closely towards what was being discussed that week. With Kendrick Lamar, the idea of a message in his lyrics was a strong example for discussion that I loved to talk about the whole week.
    I believe with every positive outcome of anything you encounter, there always exist something negative as well; in this case, I believe the hardest piece to touch upon was the week of podcasts. The main reason is because podcasts are really monotoned a lot and can really drown my ears out to the point where I’d fall asleep on my chair listening to people talking boringly. What I can take out of it that’s good is the creativity in the stories and the interesting aspects discussed through the news podcasts, such as the OnBeing piece, “Listening Beyond Life and Choice.” I was able to grasp the various content discussed in the podcast, including the talk over pro-life and pro-choice, the talk over choosing sides, and the talk over gay and homosexuality. The only problem is that I’m not as smart in the field she’s discussing about, so most of the stuff she talks about is something I get lost easily in and lose attention. I believe there are many people, like myself, that don’t find some sounds interesting or worth attention to listen to and I can state my opinion that I wasn’t at my best to discuss the various things in these podcasts.
    In conclusion, I thought that ETHN 177 was one of my favorite classes I’ve taken throughout my time at UCSD. It was the one class that allowed us, as a class, to communicate, bond, and get to know our ideals over the different sounds that exist in the world. I love how my professor was so passionate over the different discussions that we talked about and learned from what we all had as ideas for the discussion. As for the journals, I loved to write them, and criticism was a separate factor I didn’t recognize. The journals meant one thing to me: open your mind and write down what you can imagine with what has been given as sources to enhance your thinking over the different sounds in society. I connected the class to that purpose and now I leave this course with a greater knowledge and approach towards listening to the world.

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