On The Record with Rayvn Manuel

Tech Transforms, sponsored by Dynatrace

Feb 23 2022 • 18 mins


American culture and history is meant to be shared, according to senior application developer at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Army veteran Rayvn Manuel. She talks with Carolyn and Mark about some of her goals in her work at the Smithsonian and the importance of sharing our stories and understanding our history. Episode Table of Contents[00:36] On the Record With an Army Veteran [09:18] A Change of Name on the Record [16:35] Growing up in a Lot of Racism Episode Links and Resourceshttps://www.linkedin.com/in/rayvnkm/ (Rayvn Manuel) https://nmaahc.si.edu/ (NMAAHC) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_fair (Renaissance Fair) On the Record With an Army VeteranCarolyn: We had the pleasure of speaking with https://www.linkedin.com/in/rayvnkm/ (Rayvn Manuel) in November of last year. She’s a senior application developer at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and an army veteran. Following our regular recorded episode, Rayvn spoke to us about her opinion on some topics surrounding our history and culture in America. I went to the museum. When I got there, I felt a little bit like an intruder. It’s like I had no right to be there. Can you talk about that? Have you talked to other people who have felt that? Rayvn: Yes, I have. One of my really good friends, Chelsea, we were talking. I make costumes, and I make costumes for Renaissance Fair. Carolyn: I want to see pictures. Rayvn: I don't even let my kids see pictures of me in my costumes, but I love it. I was making her costume and she was just telling me how uncomfortable she feels. She's not African American, she's Caucasian American. She was telling me how she is confused about what to do because she has so much empathy for what's going on with Black Lives Matter. There are certain people in the African American community that will embrace people who are trying to understand. Then there are also other people who actually will make you feel like you feel, Carolyn. It’s like, you'll never understand so don't even try to understand. She's like, "Well, what do I do? So I don't want to come like I'm condescending and I don't want to feel like whatever." I think that what you do, part of that is guilt. A Big HeartRayvn: That you feel some sort of guilt for something that you had nothing or have anything to do with. You have a big heart and so much empathy that you just want to understand. Not only understand, because I don't think I could ever understand anyone that went through the Holocaust. I didn't feel like I didn't belong in that museum because it was an experience that I wanted to see. And I was in the army and I was stationed, actually, in Germany. I went to Dachau, and that is a place to get a better understanding of the culture, of the society. That culture and that society makes up our culture and our society, and we engage. I engage. In New York, I engaged with people who had grandparents that had to deal with things from the fallout from the Holocaust. I learned that my grandmother, this hurt me to my soul, this is why I became what's called woke. My grandmother told me that they were in North Carolina, her and my mom. My mom was little, and my uncle, they were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. Up until that point I understood that that's what happened. I understood that from an educational perspective. When my grandmother told me about her and my mother, things changed. Mark: It became personal. Rayvn: Yes, I did. I couldn't because that's the generation before me. You can't feel that you don't belong. Because wherever your background is and where most of us are all mutts most of it, we're totally mixed. Carolyn: I'm a complete mutt. Your Background Is Your History on the RecordRayvn: I am, too. My father's side is Portuguese. Carolyn: Well, I feel like your eyes are green, aren't they? Rayvn: They're blue-ish, but they change colors depending on what I'm wearing....