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Session 16: Transcript

Mar 24, 2021

Session 16: Transcript

Session Topic: Anti-racism for Allies Q&A Session - Co-host Andrea Villa

Carrie: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Inclusion First Project and our weekly Ally Q&A on anti-racism. My name is Carrie Sawyer and I am your host today. I would love to welcome my co-host Andrea Villa. She's going to get her video going and we are going to jump right in. So while she is coming on, I just want to explain to you what the Inclusion 1st project is. The 1st Project is really all about understanding inclusion through the lens of the questions and conversations that come up when allies are talking about anti-racism. So we are here today to answer questions that people have on anti-racism, whether that be about things happening at home, at work and anywhere in between. So, Andrea, will you introduce yourself to the group today?

Andrea: Hi, everyone. My name is Andrea VIIa, and I'm super excited to be part of this. I'm a design researcher, user experience researcher. I am I self identify as a queer Latina with white skin privilege. And I'm also an activist, a community activist in queer and mostly Chicano Latino spaces.

Carrie: Well, Andrea, thank you so much for being here. I'm really excited. Andrea and I worked together in a past life, and we were allies together for many good causes. And so I'm excited to have this kind of conversation in this forum in this way with you, because I definitely value your opinion. I think I know that people will get a lot from your insights as well. So thank you.

Carrie: OK, I'm going to share my screen and we're just going to go over the flow really quick tonight and then we dove right in.

Carrie: So tonight's flow, the first thing we're going to do is just set the tone and we want to really create a positive judgment, free space. And so we're going to talk through exactly what that means. Then we are going to offer some definitions. You know, we're here to talk about anti-racism and what those words mean. And let's get everyone on the same page and then we will go right into the questions that you have submitted. Now, there's another way to get your questions answered, which is to put them either in the Q&A or in the chat. If you'd like to stay anonymous, you can put your question in the Q&A. You do have to go by. There's a little drop down by your name and you can switch that to Anonymous. And that way we won't know who it is. Either way, we're not going to call out who's asking questions if you're in the chat. Obviously, everyone can see that. But we would love to get your questions as we go. So if you have something that's sparked, it's part of the conversation that Andrea and I are having. Feel free to throw that in either of those areas. And we will answer as many questions as we can during this hour that we are together.

Carrie: OK, so the first thing that we like to do is create a positive space, and I'd like to emphasize that this is a safe space and all questions are welcome that come from a place of wanting to learn more, do more, do better in the journey towards anti-racism and really working through all of the different isms that we have. And as long as your question is coming from a place of wanting to learn, I don't care if you think the question is stupid or you should know it or even it's a little bit racist. We will take your question. We will talk through it. We will break it apart, and we will let you leave you with some ways to think about your question differently. The next thing is that there is no shame or blame. This is a judgment free zone. So we really do mean that no judgment at all. We are. Andre and I are speaking for ourselves only. And this is kind of the first tip and trick that you can take with you. And you're having conversations about race in your own life, speaking just for yourself. I'm not speaking for all women. I'm not speaking for all black women or all black people. Andre is not speaking for all that next. People are queer people. She's speaking for herself. I'm speaking for myself. And we're taking each other just as the people that we have in front of us. We're dropping all stereotypes, all assumptions and just listening to understand and connect on a human level. To that end, we also don't know everything. You know, we're all learning in this face and that's why we're here. That's why we're having these conversations, is to learn and to fill in the gaps of our own knowledge. I don't know everything about being black or all the history of black people or everything that's ever happened. And no one does. Right. So as we're working together, as we're talking, we're going to learn new things. We're going to make missteps and all of that is OK, because this is a lifelong journey. This isn't something where we're like just raising our hand right now to be anti-racist because of the recent news or recent, you know, most recent killings versus, you know, the long history of. But we're here on a lifelong journey together. And so we are going to continue to continue to move. And everyone is at a different point. And that is totally OK. So your role in driving this type of change will be unique because we're all uniquely situated. We're in our family units, in our communities at work. And so we'll all get a chance to have an opportunity to play a role. But it's always going to be unique. And that process, our process of understanding what it means to be anti-racist, our process in enacting that in the world is always going to be different than the person next to us. So we're really not looking to compare, but more looking to understand our role, our privilege and how we can use that, how we can use that for good.

Carrie: OK, so we're going to jump into some definitions and I'm just making sure. Sorry, I just saw the chat flashing, so I was going to check in there and make sure and again, if you have questions, feel free to pop that in into the chat and.

Carrie: I wanted to start off by talking about anti-racism, and we're also going to cover we're going to talk a little bit about racism based on some of the questions. But, Andrea, I would love to get your thoughts as we think about definitions that actually work for people as well. And so this definition of anti-racism is from race forward. Anti-racism is really the work of actively opposing racism by advocating changes in political, economic and social life. And what I like about this, like kind of simple to the point definition, is that it really is kind of comprehensive. So like politics, government, economic, how money moves access and then social life, which is basically everything else we're looking at, where racism shows up and then how we can get in the way about how we can interrupt it and how we can rework, redesign, make the systems different such that they no longer create these racist outcomes.

Carrie: Andrea, how do you break down anti-racism for, like, the regular person?


Andrea: You know, I so love this definition, because it is the words actively opposing, it equates any action. Any action equals opposition, it's going to be tiny, like teeny tiny, it doesn't mean that I have to chain myself, you know, to the white the fence at the White House. You know, I don't have to put on a seminar. Maybe it's as simple as me talking to my best friend or my best friend doesn't something that's a little insensitive, you know, even attending at this rate or reading a book and then implementing something small. So anti-racism for me is an. Is an experience, it is an ongoing state of mind. Mm hmm. I think it's because the mind happens before action and then whatever action I take is the action I take.

Carrie: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, I love that. This really goes right into what Andrea was saying, so anti-racism is used to describe what it means to actively fight against racism rather than passively passively claim to be a non racist or not a racist. And if you have been following any of Dr. Kennedy's work in his book, How to be an anti-racist on any of the conversations around that, there's this definite idea of like it's not enough to not be a racist racist because in that you are sitting passively, you are not interrupting racism and therefore letting racism to continue around you. And so we really want to claim this idea of anti-racism actively fighting and actively interrupting. And I love what Andrea said that it can be an understanding more about you and your own privilege. It can be about reading.

It can be about chaining yourself to that fence if that's where you are most called to serve. But it isn't sitting on the sideline saying I'm not a racist because that isn't helping to get in the way of the racist systems that are happening all around us all the time.

Andrea: So this calls to mind something else and folks here today or watching later may have read this. So, Ijeoma Oluo wrote the book You Want To Talk About Race. She says systemic racism is a machine that runs whether you pull the lever or not. It's running, you don't have to, you don't have to pull a lever in order to benefit and not pulling, not pulling the lever doesn't doesn't mean that you're stepping back from it. It continues to put out its widgets of privilege and benefits. And so not interrupting that machine. Means one is complicit in the benefits that it conveys.

Carrie: Yes, yes, absolutely. I have a quote from her a little bit later, maybe even, yes, just after this slide.

Carrie: I wanted to like just to into this just a teeny bit more so this idea of anti-racist ideas. And so this is any idea that suggests that all racial groups are equal in all of their differences and there's nothing wrong with any racial group. And this is directly from Dr Kennedy's book. And so I wanted to pull this up because this is really the foundation of how racism, like it's in the foundation of racism. Right. That like people of color, that black people specifically in this country during slavery were less than a hateful person. Right. We were like three fifths of a person. And so this idea of being like explicitly, authentically, completely anti-racist is to just say we no longer, like, subscribe to any of this idea that one race is better or worse than other. All races are equal and there's nothing wrong. We don't no one needs any improvement. These different stereotypes and assumptions that we have about each other aren't actually based in anything biological or genetic. We are all the same. So I just wanted to just fold that in. So when you hear the term anti-racist ideas, it really is just this just as simple as this. And it might be something that's kind of foreign to people because we don't I don't think like that anymore. But this is like the foundation and people don't think like that anymore.

Carrie: But people who actively are supporting racist ideas, that might be one of the justifications, right? Well, they're not as good. They're deficient. They're lesser. And so this is the opposite of that. Andrea, any any thoughts?

Andrea: Yes, any idea that suggests that all racial groups are equals and there's two things for me in this one is that there is such a thing as a racial group because that's a social construct. It is. It is completely not a thing. And this is not a thing. People made it up like it is a social construct. So there's that. And there's also that I don't need to be explicit, explicitly, consciously be aware of a belief that one racial group is superior to another for me to actually believe that. So we are raised like we are. We are a little tea bag steeping in racism from the moment we're born, because that is the machine that we're living in, you know, here and in Western culture, in many cultures. So so I don't need to identify myself as consciously agreeing with that in order to somewhere have a belief that I or, you know, let's say let's just say white society, white people are superior to other people of different races or ethnicities, even as a person of color that's buried in there somewhere. And so this anti-racist work is actively interrogating that and interrupting that in myself.

Andrea: So, you know, maybe we can add that to the things that people can do to take anti-racist action.

Carrie: Yes, absolutely. And that really speaks beautifully to this quote. Anti-Racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward. And, yes, we know that there are all of these systems outside of us that are racist, but there is racism in all of us because exactly what Andre said, we grew up in this country. We grew up in the Western world. And racism is everywhere, right? It's in every single system that we can think about. And, you know, it's measurable. Right. So how can we find it there? But then how can we find the seed seeds of it inside of ourselves so that we can not only be able to recognize it, but also get rid of it? Mitigate it, transform it into something, something inclusive, something connective to our fellow humans.

Carrie: OK, so we want to talk a little bit about ally ship. And Andrea, I would love to get your perspective on ally ship. I'm going to go through this definition, but just because of the other ways that ship can be used in another context, I'd love to hear how you expand on something like this and what that looks like for you. But I ship an active, consistent and challenging practice of unlearning and reevaluating in which a person of privilege seeks to work in solidarity with a marginalized group. So there is a lot in this activity.

Carrie: I love that it's a challenging practice because again, this isn't we're trying to unlearn we're trying to interrupt the systems both inside ourselves and outside of ourselves. And that work isn't easy and it doesn't happen by accident. And then using your privilege for good to help people who are less privileged or without privilege in the different systems around you. And again, whether that be in your neighborhood, in your community, your place of faith, in your work everywhere. Right. So we have these great opportunities.

Andrea: Oh, gosh. So I have been on a journey, you know, over my life about what does allyship mean? And I saw an earlier session that you did with Bernie Cox, who just did a great job breaking this down, that it is it is a journey. There is no destination here. It's a verb. It's not a noun. There really isn't any such thing as an ally. There's only people who are actively, consistently challenging themselves and the systems around them. That's what that is. And inherent in that, like what this doesn't say with this is definition, it kind of instead of challenging it is it's a great way to practice feeling deeply uncomfortable. It is a great way to practice making friends with someone with one's own humanity. I'm a deeply flawed human being, and even though I think I know stuff, I don't know a lot and I apparently don't know enough to keep myself from parroting and embodying sometimes to my great personal disappointment and shame. Embodying some of the racist principles that I have learned just in weird and weird ways like and this is even this and that's part of the journey is to continue. It's that unlearning and reevaluating.

Andrea: When I say read unlearning, this is iterative. This is a deeply iterative process.

Carrie: Yes, absolutely. And Andrea, we got a question in the Q&A, which I always love based on some comments that we had earlier. And it kind of speaks to what you were talking about.

Carrie: How do we find the seeds of racism in ourselves? How do we stumble upon those? How do we actively identify them?

Carrie: And when I'm thinking about this question, I think that it has a lot to do with like I think there's I mean, there's more than two. But two ways that come to mind for me, the first way is to, like, educate yourself, like, how are you reading and engaging in the discussions that are happening out there and getting more information and not just like information in alignment with what you already know, but reading those books that make you feel uncomfortable, reading those books and hearing these things and then understanding like, how does this go into my mind?

Carrie: How does this match with what I believe or don't believe? Where might I be wrong and where can I be expanded? Right. So there's this kind of external information where we can stumble upon our own seeds of racism. But then how do we actually like when we have these interactions with people? How can we identify that we actually are? You know, to your point earlier, Andrea, that we actually are carrying these seeds in that we're acting and speaking in ways that are harming other people, that are pushing forward stereotypes and assumptions. And I think one of those is when, you know, when we're challenged, when we're called out on these things instead of being defense. I mean, like, I didn't do that. I didn't mean that actually, like, kind of taking that in right now. It's not in our habit to call people out for for these types of transgressions. But I think that that's something that needs to change in order for us to learn, actually, like when we hear people saying racist things or doing racist things, like taking them aside or coming and coming into a conversation with them where we can let them know what the impact of their words were to us and finding a way to do that in a way that maybe doesn't put them on the defensive, but opens up a channel of communication. If we started to do that with each other, like made that a habit, we would I would learn as a black woman when I was being racist against other black people, against Latinos, against Asian people, against everyone. Right. So being afraid to call people out, I think is something that we have to actually obliterate because we're not going to learn and we need to learn how to do it with grace and with understanding and with empathy. But still, how do we change that dialog? So instead of being like, can you believe what that person said inside my own head, like actually finding a good way to articulate that and to interrupt that moment? Because even if that person is defensive and doesn't, like, acknowledge it's still going to stick with them, that happened. And maybe the next time that someone calls them out, it will have more of an impact in changing behavior or bringing more awareness to them. So what do you think, Andre? How do we find these seeds in ourselves?

Andrea: So I think one of you know, as human beings were pattern matchers. You know, we recognize things that look like other things. And so in order to see something, it's important for me at least to have an example like, oh, do I recognize that thing in myself? And so it's been helpful for me in my reading to see to read about examples of micro aggressions scenarios. And there have been times when I've said, oh, my God, I have done that thing. Yes, but I didn't recognize it like no one was around to call me in on it. And yet there it is in the book. And so, you know, so there's that kind of external exploration. What does it look like? What does a microaggression look like? What are the scenarios where those things might happen? Another thing I saw I saw this and I can't remember I wish I could credit this person because I can't remember which. Webinar was on, it was a design, something, something that was about antiracist work, and this person said that what? He talked about keeping a journal of racist things that he saw going on around him that he just wanted to like, where is this happening? How do I recognize these things? And I can't remember what the transition was. But he said what he found, what he decided to do instead was to keep a journal of what he thought or did a racist thing, and that those pages filled up much more quickly. And I think it was the end. I know it's really powerful and I think the intention is one of constant. Self observation and being open because, you know, we just kind of like Odey, you know, here's my day and we just interact, you just interact. And if I am interacting with the intention of observing my interactions and an openness and agreement with myself, that I'm going to be kind to myself and whatever I notice. I'm much more likely to see those things in myself, so I don't know about anybody else, but my points are points off of interactive friction, like driving. Like, I find myself having racist thoughts when I'm driving. If I'm not happy with the interaction I'm having with other drivers, I make assumptions and I hate that about myself and it happens and I can't just close my eyes and say, don't look at that. Andrea, I have to say, oh, be open to how many times you have an assumption because you can't do anything about it. I can't interrupt it.

Andrea: Until I recognize that it's happening, so those are just some thoughts about. Recognizing the seeds. And recognizing that I didn't plant them, but it's my job not to water them.

Carrie: I think that's great and it shows a really beautiful example of this anti-racism and really all the isms are very deep inner work itself reflective, and it starts with you. You don't actually need to go out and protest right now. The best thing that you can do to serve anti-racism and making a better world that's more just and equitable for us all is to start with yourself, start reading, start examining, start observing, because you are the person who all of this energy is going to come out from. And if you can even start to curb a little bit of your own racist thinking and racist tendencies, that's going to make not only a huge difference for yourself and the people you're interacting with, but also the people who are watching around you, because we are all influencers, whether, again, in our family at work. People are always watching us. Right. And so when they see you starting to do these things, you start to check your language, you treat people differently, that is going to just plant a little seed in them. And instead of it being a racist scene, it's going to be a seed.

Carrie: Oh, they didn't seed or. That's interesting. I wonder what it's going to start. Start the wheels turning. And I think we all have a very powerful opportunity to be those examples. But it starts with that deep work in it. You know, Andrea, that it sounds hard and sounds long, but it's iterative.

Andrea: And I just want to say that, not just is interrupting myself, I get to practice compassion with myself and practicing that compassion with myself in that deeper understanding of my humanity makes it easier to have a difficult conversation with someone I care about, even when you don't care about. I am practicing compassion for him, our human condition when I practiced that on myself. So it helps me to enter a conversation from a place of compassion instead of a place of confrontation. Where it is important to win. And be right.

Carrie: Yes, you know, we talk about we can't love others if we can't love yourself, we can't practice compassion for others, if we can't practice it for ourselves in this this work is it's needed the compassion is needed both for ourselves and for other people. And we're not going to get to where we want to go and where we want to be if we aren't able to embody that. So that was great. That was a really good question. The person who had asked that, thank you. So I would love to dove into some of the questions that we have today. And Andrea, I have a video that I think might go well with the first kind of set of questions. So I know that I can probably pull that up for us and we can watch that. But it's a short video. And I'm sure, Andrea, I'm sure you've actually seen it. So it's the one on systemic racism from the little cartoon, because we're you know, we're talking about we're talking about anti-racism, but sometimes we need to have this larger umbrella of racism. And so the first question that we got today is, how do you explain to someone who is really ignorant that a white person cannot be affected by racism? Is racism only directed on people of color and different races than Caucasians? So that's kind of like a two part question. But I think that this is an interesting question because it talks I mean, really, it's talking about power.

Carrie: And does racism only flow one way? Can black people be racist towards white people or is it just because of the systems of power that we're in? That's not possible. What do you think, Andrea, when people ask you that? Because I know that you've had conversations like can we be racist against white people? Is that even possible? Because I don't have power over them in the system, you know, doesn't support me in the way that it supports them.

Andrea: What you've just described, that's prejudice, right? Well, the short answer, reverse racism is not a thing. It is not a thing. And racism is the belief in the inherent differences between races enforced by systems of power, the disadvantage and discrimination of nonwhite people in our instance, that that is backed up by the powers that be, right?

Carrie: Yeah, and I was thinking about this question earlier today and I was like, OK, I'm just like trying to play out the scenario. So let's just say that this is a reverse situation where, like, it's all like all black companies and like the white person is discriminated against. Okay, so like racism is using power over someone in a negative way because of their race. But then I was like, OK, say that happens and that guy sues. Once he gets out of that all black space, he's back in the white system. So there's no longer racism, it's all going to play to his or her advantage again.

Andrea: Racism really requires not just institutional power, but social power. It's not just about our institutions and it's not just about our economy. It is about the social order. Is deeply ingrained and the power that holds in what our norms are is the power of norms as well as the power of laws and rules and regulations.

Carrie: Yes, absolutely, so I want to show this little video on systemic racism and then we can have a little chit chat about that and then we'll take another question. And again, thank you for the questions in the Q&A. Feel free to keep throwing them in there.

YouTube Video: This is Jamal, Jamal is a boy who lives in a poor neighborhood. He has a friend named Kevin who lives in a wealthy neighborhood. All of Jamal's neighbors are African-American and all of Kevin's neighbors are white because Jamal School District is mostly funded by property taxes. His school is not very well funded. His classrooms are overcrowded. His teachers are underpaid. And he doesn't have access to high quality tutors or extracurricular activities. Kevin School District is also funded by property taxes, so high school is very well funded. His classrooms are never crowded, his teachers are very well paid, and he has access to high quality tutors and lots of extracurricular activities. Kevin and Jamal live only a few streets away from each other. So how come they're growing up in such different worlds with such different opportunities for success? The answer has to do with America's history of systemic racism. To understand that better, let's look at what life was like for Kevin and Jamal's grandparents. Decades after the Civil War, many government agencies started to draw maps dividing cities into sections that were either desirable or undesirable for investment. This practice was called redlining, and it usually blocked off entire black neighborhoods from access to private and public investment. Banks and insurance companies use these maps for decades to deny black people loans and other services based purely on race. Historically speaking, owning a home and getting a college education is the easiest way for an American family to build wealth. But when Jamal's grandparents wanted to buy a house, the banks refused because they lived in a neighborhood that was redlining. So Jamal's grandparents were not able to buy a home. And because colleges could prevent them from attending through legal segregation, their options for higher education were really scarce. Kevin's grandparents, on the other hand, at a low interest loan to buy their first house and get accepted into a handful of top universities, which traditionally only accepted white students. This opened up a wealth of opportunities that they were able to pass on to their kids and grandkids. Even as late as the 1980s, an investigation into the Atlanta real estate market showed that banks were more willing to lend to low income white families than to middle or upper income African-American families. As a result, today, for every hundred dollars of wealth held by a white family. Black families have five dollars and four cents in 2017. Study confirms that redlining is still affecting home values in major cities like Chicago today. This explains how Kevin and Jamal inherited vastly different circumstances. Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there. A big part of systemic racism is implicit bias. These are prejudices in society that people are not aware that they have. Let's go back to Kevin and Jamal. Against all odds, Jamal manages to be the only student from his high school to get accepted into a great university, the same one that Kevin and his high school friends are attending. But after Kevin and Jamal both graduate, Jamal notices that his resume isn't drawn as much interest as Kevin's, even though they graduated from the same program with the exact same GPA. Unfortunately for Jamal, studies show that resonate with white sounding names get twice as many callbacks as identical resumes with black sounding names. Implicit bias is one of the reasons why the black unemployment rate is twice the rate of white unemployment, even among college graduates. Today, you can see evidence of systemic racism in every area of life. Disparities in family wealth, incarceration rates, political representation and education are all examples of systemic racism. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge was systemic racism is that there's no single person or entity responsible for it, which makes it very hard to solve. So what can you do? The first thing you can do is work towards becoming more aware of your own implicit biases. What are some prejudices that you might hold that you're not aware of? Second, let's acknowledge that the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws are still affecting access to opportunity today. As a result, we should support systemic changes that create more equal opportunities for everyone. Increasing public school funding and making it independent from property taxes would be a great start so the poor and wealthy districts can receive equal access to resources. Systemic problems require systemic solutions. Luckily, we're all part of the system, which means that we all have a role to play in making it better peace.

Carrie: Yeah, I love that cartoon because it takes something that is a very big concept and it makes it very clear. And they're just skimming the surface, of course. Right. Because, you know, it's in more sectors than just those four that they talked about. So how do you feel like it does and helping people understand systemic racism, like as a concept and kind of it's, you know, tendrils of impact?

Andrea: Well I think it literally connects the dots. Yeah. I mean in it and it is very much an overview. I think it's you know, and I’m definitely predisposed to think this right, because here I am, it makes me curious, I was looking at some of the systemic remedies stopping predatory lending. Oh, we didn't talk about that in the cartoon. What does that have to be like? My next question is, what does that have to do with that? And I know what that has to do with it. But I was pleased to see how that fits in.


Andrea: And it makes it clearer, I think, that just the things that were mentioned in the cartoon are not the only story. So I recently watched a show, it's on PBS and it is available streaming. I believe it's a two part series moderated by or facilitated by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and it's called Reconstruction. And it blew my mind, I thought I knew a lot about reconstruction, which is a heck of a lot more than what they taught me when I was in school. They're still not teaching this. So I thought I knew. So it hung on my DVR for a while. I did not know. And so much of what I learned in watching is directly connected to our experiences now in deep ways. And I encourage anybody who hasn't seen it to see it.

Carrie: Yeah, absolutely no, that's great. I mean, we just kind of go through our lives, like thinking that we don't ask the question, like why how did it get to be this way? Because it's just normal. But there's all of these reasons and it just blows your mind once you start to dig into it. And that's one of the reasons why we're here, is to start to have those conversations and get those little clues. Where are we most interested in digging in and learning more?

Andrea: Yeah, I think and I think that the simple answer when you just said why is it like this? And I think the simple answer that we give ourselves is typically perhaps we say, oh, racism, that's why, OK. And so what's important is to dig into that. What do you mean by that? What does that mean? Why racism? What kind of racism? How was racism operationalized to reach this result? Those are the questions because it's easy to stop it. Oh, racism.

Carrie: Yeah, we can't do anything about that. So let's go to the next topic. Yeah.

Carrie: OK, so let's take another question. I think this is an interesting question and one that I've gotten in different formats throughout this series. So this person asked, when is it safe to bring racism up? As a white male, I feel like I can't know what it's like and I feel like I don't have the right to say anything. But I want to be an ally and a supporter.

Andrea: You are exactly the right person to raise this subject if what if the intention is to interrupt a racist thing or to call in one of your buddies or whatever. A white man. Performing and performing the right, the wrong word, a white man in places of privilege, which is just about anywhere a white man goes, is a powerful embodiment of ally ship to interrupt racism. They bring that subject up all the time, model it like, model it for your fellow white man. Be an example of how to talk about it. It is only a shameful and difficult topic if we allow it to be made. Yeah, talk about it. All the time, I don't remember what the question was, but talking about it all the time.

Carrie: I think a lot of questions have come in around this idea, like I'm white. I don't know what to say. I'm not sure if it's my place or not. What should I do? And I think there's you know, there's we can break that down like, OK, so I don't know what to say. So maybe I'm not going to say anything. And it really depends on like when what, what, when is that moment. Right. There are definitely times where inserting your voice, you don't need to. But then there are times when you're seeing racism happen around you. You absolutely. This is a time to interrupt as a human being. And it doesn't actually matter that you're white. It matters that you see something unjust going on and that you have an opportunity to interrupt it or not. Right. And so I think maybe in some of the dialogs and some of the literature and some of the conversations happening out there, there's this idea like, oh, there's no place for, like white voices in this, but that it actually is completely wrong. Right. Like, we need all of the voices at the table, everyone being vigilant, everyone on the lookout for where to interrupt, interrupt, where to interrupt racism both inside themselves and outside of themselves. And so if you are white, if you are an ally, if you see something like say something, you are the person to Andrea's point because you have that privilege and that potential power and that opportunity. And we know a lot in gender studies, right. Where in order for men to pay attention to the fact that women are being treated inequitably, another man has to tell them in some cases is exactly the same thing, where white people need to hear other white people saying, hey, that is not right, that's not cool. We're not going to do that. We're not going to say that. We're not going to talk like that because they are unable to hear it from a brown person. Right. And it goes back to that power dynamic and that peer and then identifying with, oh, well, that lady that white lady doesn't think that this is OK. Well, maybe it isn't. So we're it's that whole idea of like we have these biases, but we know that like I like you because you're like me. And when you say things that resonates with me more than when someone who's different than me says it. So if a white person says it to another white person, it breaks right through that bias automatically and it has more power. Having that opportunity and taking it the only time, it's not OK.

Andrea: I want to caveat it is if there's a person of color who's speaking about it, like you don't need a plus one is a great you know, it's a great thing to do. That's a good action to take what she said or what he said. And speaking over or speaking for some, a person of color in their presence is. Not a good look for anybody.

Carrie: When we're in places of privilege, we want to amplify the voices that are not of privilege, right? So we want to center there and center and left versus talk over or talk for. Absolutely. This person also talks about this idea of, I don't know what to say. And so this is the point where, OK, so now you know, you don't know what to say. You're in an uncomfortable situation. You didn't know what to say. Maybe you didn't say anything, what do you do next? Well, you go and figure out, like, what to say, right? Like you go and educate yourselves. Then the next time that particular scenario comes up, you're able to speak on it. You're able to contribute a voice because, you know, there's I don't know, there's like this kind of excuse that people give.

Carrie: I don't know what to say. So I didn't say anything. Then you don't do anything about figuring out what you could do for the next time. In order to be in this antiracist movement, you have to you can't sit back and not do anything because you don't know. That's no longer an excuse. You have to figure out what to do. People around you, resources around you. Google is amazing. Like you could literally Google the exact scenario that happened to you and you will get answers. So that's no longer an excuse. I didn't want to, I didn't want to say anything because I didn't know. OK, well, what are you going to do to figure out what to do next time? What to say? How do you make it so that you do know?


Andrea: So I also I don't think it's a place I don't think that it's always necessary to know exactly. Know what to say before you say it. I think it's fine to say that feels icky to me. What just has happened right now. It doesn't feel right to me. And it's about showing up. And this is where I think that compassionate self work comes into play to show up authentically and say, I feel bad about this. This just doesn't feel right to me. Because what I want to avoid in any conversation about race is, you know, the battle of statistics. You know, somebody saying, well, actually, I want to avoid all the while actually both from other people and myself, because nobody wins that becomes an argument and not a conversation. So I think it's OK to just start with. It doesn't feel right to me what's happening here or what you just said there. And maybe we can break it down together. So that's calling somebody in on it.

Carrie: Yeah, and Andrea, can we've been saying call in and call out, can you talk a little bit about what that means?

Andrea: So to me, calling in is a direct invitation to dialog that implies that I can make that explicit safe space to say. I'd like to talk to you about this. Help me understand this. This doesn't feel right to me. A compassionate calling out is, yeah, that was messed up, I can't believe you said that, you know, that was so racist. That is not a conversation and it is sure to cause someone to shut results and somebody shutting down and defensiveness. I'm not going to get where I want to get to that's calling out. And I find it performative. That's not our relationship. That is the performance of a ship in my mind, unless it's followed by I mean, you know, there while there are exceptions for everything, but for the most part.

Carrie: Yes. I was talking to someone earlier today about this idea of calling out versus calling in and very similar things came up, except for in the case where someone has great power and is blatantly misusing it, then like calling out is a different thing. I feel like it's appropriate. Right. But when you're trying to connect with another human being that you know that you have to work with, that you interact with in some way, the calling in does create that space, an opportunity to connect, to understand, to discuss. In a way, you're in the circle of trust, right. Versus like pushed out. And now we know that, like, nothing productive really is going to come from that, because at the end of the day, we want this connection. We want this understanding. We want this empathy. So we need to call each other into those opportunities versus pushing away when there are systems that are creating active harm in some way.

Andrea: Ideally, you know, I think it makes sense to put yourself in front of the train.

Carrie: Yes, awesome. OK, let’s take two more questions if we go quickly. So I want to jump to this one. Is using the word black to describe someone offensive? Is the term African American preferred?

Carrie [00:48:31] We get this question a lot, too. People want to know what is the right thing to say. Then there's also another whole layer buried in there. So I'm going to take the first part so people identify in different ways. I have friends who want to be called African-American, and if you call them black, they get offended because that particular friend takes very deep pride in her African heritage and she doesn't want it to be taken out of her identity. Fair, valid. That is her truth. I have another friend who wants to be called black because he is black and he has a whole reason why he does not want to be called African-American myself.

Carrie: Personally, I actually don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. You can call me either. And so this is one of those where it depends. And the best way to find out what someone wants to be called is to ask them. Now, I'm not telling you to go and ask all of your black friends or African-American friends what they want to be called. But in the opportunity that it comes up, you can just ask, hey, you know, if it's all right, I like to know, I want to ask you this question and feel free not to answer it if you don't feel comfortable. One thing that I left out is not everyone who is African-American. Like there's like we have other black African ethnicities that are in our country. It's not just African-American, right. We've got like Afro Jamaican, Afro, Cuban, Afro, Dominican. We've got a lot right. And so even just thinking about the black versus African-American leaves out like so many other people. And so I feel like it's just good to ask if you're curious, if you have a reason to want to know, just ask. And then if the person does want to tell you, be OK with that. But they might appreciate, you know, your curiosity versus, you know, your assumption. Right. So I don't know. Andre, what do you think about that?

Andrea: Yeah. What you said and I'd like to break it down to maybe make this a little more comfortable. I think of it like asking somebody how they prefer their name to be pronounced like that's not a hard conversation. It's essentially the same thing. We're having the same conversation around pronouns, you know, what are your preferred pronouns? And, you know, and so we're having the same issue with Latino, Latina, Latino and Hispanic. Like, that's a whole thing. Right. So I feel you. Yeah. Yeah. Um, the diversity within the diversity.

Carrie: Yeah. And I want to go to the first part of this question: is calling someone black offensive? And that I'm sorry, I'm having a lot of laughs today. I'm not laughing at any of these questions because this is a judgment-free zone. But I just think it's just so interesting. Black, like I am black. And so it's OK to refer to me as a black person. But because we're so afraid of talking about race in this country, we're not allowed to talk about politics or religion. We're not allowed to talk about race. It's not even mentioned in that list. But I would say it's probably the number one thing. And so even mentioning someone's race. Oh, the black lady, it's OK. She's black, I'm black. It's as a descriptor, as an adjective. It is not offensive because it's a fact. That's how I see it. Andre, I don't know. I don't know how you see it.

Andrea: Yeah. I just have such compassion for that question because it is a thin veneer over...what I read in it is an understanding that as a culture in America, in that in white culture, black is bad, inherent in that question is an understanding and a shame. About that and a deep desire to not want to exhaust, not be a part of that. So the next step in that journey is understanding that black is an identification, beyond descriptor, is a thing of pride, visiting a power like they haven't gotten there yet, and I hope that whoever asked that question listens to this and sees that they're on a journey, too. And it's OK. I just have such compassion for it because it's a hard place to be.


Carrie: Hmm, yeah, I've never thought about it like that for sure, and that was a really beautiful, beautiful answer because there is that fear, right? You can feel the fear in like I don't want to, like, not only be offensive, but I don't even want to say the word. And I think it comes from what you were saying.

Andrea: Yeah. Why is it even offensive? Why do you think it's offensive? It's offensive because we've been taught that it's bad. It's a terrible thing to be. Yeah, I think just right now, so and so we have time.

Carrie: We're going to squeeze in one more question here, but I hope that everyone is seeing, like all of these questions, even ones that seem really simple or short, have so many layers. There's so much depth because there's so much unpacking to do.

Carrie: When we think about race and anti-racism in this country, where it comes from, what it means, how it's affecting us, and then how we're peeling back the layers. Now by asking these questions, everyone that's asking the question, these are brave questions to ask. Right. And then to take those answers and to use that as part of your journey to continue to learn, to continue to grow, continue to figure out where your spaces are in moving this movement forward. So just thank you, everyone, for the great questions. Andre, is there one that you want to cover before we wrap up?

Andrea: I know we're going to go a couple of minutes over because there are none of these questions to be answered in three minutes, but we will not go too much longer, I promise.

Carrie: I'm really feeling the question about privilege, isn't the term white privilege racist or reverse racist to why is this term so heavily used when anyone could be classified as privileged?

Andrea: In the interest of time, I'm just going to kind of break this down. Term white privilege is not racist. Let's face it.

Carrie: It's the same from the question before, like calling someone their race is racist. It's not.

Andrea: Well, OK, that's a whole other question. I recommend that people read. It was in The New York Times and editorial about why it's time to capitalize in our media. It's time to capitalize the word white when describing white people. So as your reading assignments, super insightful. But white privilege is not a racist thing. White privilege is a thing. And anyone who is white or presents is white benefits from it. I once saw a quote somewhere that was probably like an Instagram, you know, one of those things. And it said privilege is anything that isn't a problem for you.

Andrea: Oh, yeah. And why is this term so heavily used when anybody could be classified as privileged? Well, because we all are in many ways, I think, you know, so I identify as I said, I identify as a queer Latina with a white with light skin privilege. I present as both white and I pass as straight. I just do people make that assumption for me. And so it's very important for me to claim my identity and spaces. My light skin has enabled me to escape. Much of the scrutiny and the discrimination that my darker-skinned siblings have experienced. And I also have privilege in my ability, so I'm just going to throw this word in there, intersectionality. I'm a combination of things. I'm also a woman and a woman of color. And like that, I experience disadvantages that other people who are not women of color do not experience so. Yeah, I don't know if that really broke it down much, because that's OK, it is. I mean, it's layered again.

Carrie: You touched on the fact that we all have privileges even living in America, regardless of where you live, you have privileges. Being educated is a privilege. Living in a certain area is a privilege. Having full use of all of your faculties is a privilege. Right. And so what white privilege is, is you. Everyone has privileges and on the converse, everyone has problems. But as a white person, the color of your skin is not creating problems or negative impacts for you. And so one of the pushbacks for people who don't understand what white privilege is, they're like, oh, you know, I'm not like, you know, Donald Trump, who was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and handed everything as people think of privileges like this ultimate like, you know, perfect life. But that is not what privilege is. I mean, that's a certain kind of privilege. But that is not the definition of white privilege. Everyone has challenges, but the color of your skin is not a challenge for you.

Carrie: One of the ways that I saw I talked about was like, OK, so if we're all in a race, white people are getting a head start. You may not win the race, but you absolutely got a head start. And other people aren't getting that same head start. So it doesn't guarantee you're going to win because of all the other obstacles that as humans in the human condition we face. But you are given this disadvantage that has only to do with the color of your skin. And we're not experiencing that.

Andrea: And privilege functions in a system that is a system of scarcity, in the context of an arbitrary understanding of scarcity, that there's not enough and therefore those with privilege are advantaged and those without a named privilege are disadvantaged. So white privilege, white privilege advantages, white and white, presenting people with benefits that those without white privilege don't at the disadvantage of other people. It is as it's a zero-sum game in some instances. And we saw in the racism cartoon examples and the profound ramifications of that white privilege, the way that systems I mean, that is the ultimate white privilege, the fact that systems and social norms are set up to benefit white people at the expense of people of color. I mean, that's how it works.

Carrie: It's normal for people to not realize their privilege because privilege is something that is invisible to you and is normal. And so as we are understanding what it means to be anti-racist, uncovering and understanding those privileges is a huge part of that. Where are you experiencing privileges? And then how can you use your privilege and your power for good? You know, you have the privilege as a white person of not being followed in stores and not being followed by the police and not being passed over because your name sounds ethnic like all of these. But you're like, no, that's just normal. Well, for you it's normal, but for other people, it's not normal. And so it's totally OK that it's invisible. But your job is to figure, to make it visible and then to start to understand where you can disrupt the systems that are negative, negatively impacting other people so that they can have the same opportunities as you and the privilege that you've just had, which, you know, we're not blaming, we're not shaming, but we're just raising awareness because it's time for a leveling off.

Andrea: It's not something to feel bad about. Right? This isn't this isn't just another checkmark in the shame column. This is an opportunity for self-examination and understanding. And it is also a white allies secret weapon. It is the reason why the person who asked the question about I'm a white male, can I talk about a recent example is why that voice is so important because that voice gets to be in places where my voice can't be and where your voice can't be. Those are spaces where I'm not invited and I can't get into without a fight. I use my privilege, consciously when I'm in spaces where I can make a difference to dismantle the system.

Carrie: How can I bring in the voices that are not there? Because I am there because of my privilege. Yes. All the voices are here because they're with me. I'm bringing them with me and they're not silent. Right. And so that is really the biggest opportunity of white privilege, but of any privilege helping to bring in the people who cannot be there because the system does not allow them, right?

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely.

Carrie: OK, any last thoughts, any last insights you want to leave everyone with before we wrap up today?

Andrea: Yeah. So I just loved that reconstruction thing so much. So I want to say that again. I think it's essential viewing. Essential.

Carrie [01:02:19] Andre, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you so much. I know that I would love to have you again. I would love to talk more with you about all of these topics. And I appreciate you spending your time with us today and giving us your insight as well. And thank you, everyone, for coming today. I hope that we answer some of your questions and also spark some new questions inside of you and just continue the journey, continue digging in. We are at the Inclusion First project. We're actually going to take one week off. We've been going since the end of July. We're going to take up the first week of September, but then we will be back with a new day and a new time to continue to answer your questions throughout September. If you like to learn more, you can visit us at the Inclusion 1st Project, and please keep submitting your questions because. Yeah, go ahead with your questions because we are trying to collect five hundred questions from anti-racism allies so that we can actually take a look at them, understand the themes, and then start to create even better answers, more resources, more support for you on your anti-racism journey. So please submit your questions. Andrea, you wanted to say something?

Andrea [01:03:22] I just think that it's an excellent way to practice having conversations about race with the people, with the people in your circle, even with just acquaintances. Talk about this project and give them the link to submit their own questions.

Carrie [01:03:38] I love that. Thank you so much. All right, thank you, everyone, for being here today. We will see you next time.

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