You are a good person, you know what is right and what is wrong, right? Most of us do. Despite that upsetting stories of sexual assaults have hit the swing dance scene. ”We don’t have any swing community problems, we have individual problems”, Jamin Jackson says and argues that we all should:

  1. …recognize that we are recipients of swing culture not the originators. This means we have to hold ourselves accountable to “their” standard, the people who created it. We don’t have the right to change fundamental social ethics if we don’t like them, no matter how outdated we project them to be in the 21st century.
  2. …dare to be uncool. In today’s society everything around us is structured to avoid disagreement. For instance, if we see someone serving alcohol to a minor we should obviously say, “don’t do that.” Most people however, don’t want to be seen as uncool, so they will ignore the small evil for personal gain.
  3. …do the right thing, by disagreeing with someone – one is automatically ushered into the unsafe social zone. This is because of the fear of being in disagreement – and we are all guilty of this. In a way we have been willed the legacy of swing dancing and are deputized to steward it for future generations long after we are gone.
  4. …my golden rule for ethics in swing is this: First, do what is right. But, apparently that’s not good enough for the average rapist, or the social climber who ignores what’s right for selfish gain. For me here is the real standard:
    a) Would my grandparents do this in their day on the dance floor?
    b) Would Duke Ellington’s mother be offended if I said that from the microphone?
    c) Could my children be exposed to this at a dance without me having to explain or justify it?
  5. …don´t ignore ethical foundation. This all sounds cheesy, but when people are getting raped in this community, deeper questions of our standard for ethics is mandatory in order to have a vestige of progress. If we ignore our ethical foundation and why, any amount of safe zones, new laws or seemingly positive suggests would be unprincipled and insincere.

“It’s really sad to hear how bad people are doing bad things within the swing community. We don’t have any swing community problems, we have individual problems that effect the community. In saying that, all denunciation of some kind implies a moral standard, and I believe there is absolute good and absolute evil. (That’s a much deeper discussion that demands honest self analysis.) If it were not the case then people would have no guilt or shame in doing anything to anybody whenever they felt like it no matter who was watching. People know what is right and what is wrong, but that doesn’t stop them from doing evil nor make them do good. Both are issues of the heart. And this is why we have laws, and police to enforce them.  In saying that, we have to recognize that we are recipients of swing culture not the originators.” Jamin Jackson

Read the full interview with Jamin Jackson here!