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Session 19: Transcript

Mar 24, 2021

Session 19: Transcript

Session Topic: Anti-racism for Allies Q&A Session - Co-host Tina Dyer 

Carrie Sawyer: Hello, how are you? We are going to go ahead and get started. Welcome to the Anti-Racism for Allies Q&A session. My name is Carrie Sawyer and I will be one of your hosts today. This is a session where people can come and ask all of their questions, their most important questions that they have on anti-racism. Today, I would love to invite my incredible guest co-host to come and pop her video on Tina Dyer. Thank you. Thank you so much, Tina. Let me know. Ok, awesome. I feel like I've had some things where it's like no can't start the video. Ok, awesome. Thank you so much. Tina, would you like to introduce yourself to everyone today?

Tina Dyer: Sure. Carrie, thank you so much for the invitation. Excited to be here with you. I guess what I'd share with people about me is that I am dialing in from Northern California and in a city called Elk Grove. And we've been dealing so much with the smoke here. But I have started this new practice when I introduce myself to also acknowledge the people who lived here as the original inhabitants of this place. And so for me and my community, that's the Miwok plains native peoples. So I just want to acknowledge who they are and that they lived in the space that I get the privilege to live in now. And I work with a Fortune 50 company has been doing that for about thirty two years now and just enjoy the opportunity to help people explore their own experience around race and be equipped to be in dialog in that space.

Carrie Sawyer: We are I am so excited to have you have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and I'm glad that we're going to get to have this dialog today. So before we start, I'm just going to share a couple of slides just to kind of go over what the flow is going to be tonight and then do some definitions, and then we will jump into questions. And so today, as I said, we were talking about people's most important, their number one questions on anti-racism. And so tonight we are going to set the tone. We're going to offer some definitions. So it's great for us to be in a shared space of learning and shared understanding as well. Like what is anti-racism? What is allyship? We'll talk about those definitions and then we will jump right into the questions that people have submitted this week to be answered. And as always, we love taking questions in real-time as well. So if you have a question, you can place that into the Q&A or into the chat, and we will pepper those into the dialog tonight as well. Also, if you're feeling like you're having some insights, I want to have some conversations or discussion in the chat as we're going to do that as well. We will pull that into what we are talking about. So. And Tina I know that you've done a lot of you do a lot of great work, and so I bet that you also have some kind of best practices for creating a positive, safe space.

Carrie Sawyer: Today, we just want to let you know that this is a safe space, that all questions are welcome. Any questions that come from a place of wanting to know more, do more, learn more. We welcome them. Whether you think they're stupid or you maybe think you should have already known this or even a little bit racist. We don't care. We're not going to judge your questions. This is a judgment-free zone. No shame and no blame. So one of the things that we also like to do is we're setting the stage is just give you some pointers and tools that you can take out into the world with you as you're having these conversations around race. The first of those is that we are speaking for ourselves. Neither Tina nor I are speaking for all black or African-American people or women or Californians or anything like that. We are just speaking from our own personal experiences and our own learnings and knowledge that we've gathered over over time and over the years. And this is kind of an ever, ever going, ever going process. And we encourage you that as you're having conversations around race to drop all the assumptions, drop all the stereotypes and just talk with that person that is in front of you and listen to what they're saying and take them as they are.

Carrie Sawyer: The next thing that I like to call out is that we don't know everything I know that I don't know everything about being black, about American history, about being a woman. I don't know if there's anything that you want to claim to know everything about. You don't know everything. Right. And so that means that we're all here learning together and sometimes we're going to make mistakes. And that's ok. And it's really how do we stand up and integrity? How do we if we don't know something, how do we go find out that so that we can apply that and keep that in our knowledge moving forward? This is a lifelong journey, right? You don't just stand up one day and say, I'm antiracist and I have my stamp and I'm good. I can go and go off and do whatever I want. Now, it is something that we're continually learning. We're continually pushing. We're continually looking for spaces both outside of us and inside of us where we can kind of obliterate those systems and of racism and racist ideologies. You can tell that I just watch Harry Potter and like, oblivion. Like, that was an interesting word to use. But we're all at different points in our journey. And so there's no wrong place to be. There's no wrong place to start and dive in right where you are. And the last point that I like to bring up and Tina I'm going to invite you to see if there's anything that you want to add to this list. But the last thing that I like to bring up is that your role in driving change would be unique, you are uniquely situated in a family unit, whatever that looks like for you in a community, in a workplace, you can influence the people around you and people are always watching. And so your role and where you can change things, where you can interrupt racism will be very different and very unique. But it's our job to figure out where those spaces are and to step in the way and interrupt and insert better systems, better ideas, better ways of thinking. So Tina what else would you add to this list just to help get us in the right mind frame and create this safe space today?

Tina Dyer: Well, I think you have a great list that you have here, and I really appreciate what you're doing, making a space for people's questions because I find that where people have questions, there's where the real opportunity is for someone to learn to grow or to be open to another experience. One thing I think is always important in conversations like these is to really pay attention to myself, to my biofeedback. So my own body language. And one of the ways I do that is through breathing. So I have some deep breathing that I do. But when we talk about these conversations, it's normative for it to be uncomfortable. This is not something you took a class in school to be good at. And so sometimes when we experience discomfort, one, it's just important we recognize it, and then we have ways to address that. And so for me, that's the deep breathing, paying attention to that so that I actually can stay present in the conversation and not simply shut down in the conversation or some other form of escape. So that's what I invite people to do. Pay attention to your own body language. Notice when you feel expansive and open and notice when you start to feel restrictive. And maybe that's a clue to check in on your breathing. Take care of yourself.

Carrie Sawyer: I love that it's always a good sign, it's a good, good way for us to understand where are we getting constricted, where are we resisting or pushing back on these ideas, and even jotting those down. Revisiting them later will help you to see where we're like and where there's work to do. That's awesome.

Carrie Sawyer: Ok, so we're going to jump right into these definitions. We do this every time, and if you have questions or clarifications, feel free to throw all of that into the chat or into the Q&A. And so this first definition is by Race Foward. And I really like it because it's very simple. Anti-Racism is the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. And so if we're going to break this apart, the first thing that we see is the work of actively opposing racism. The way I like to say it is that in this case and anti-racism, there is no Switzerland, because in your inaction, in your silence, you're allowing racism to happen around you uninterrupted. And so anti-racism is the work of actively interrupting racist systems and racist thoughts when those come up around us. And so the second part of this is really the political, economic and social. So politics, the government, the economy, how money moves, where the access that we have to money or not, and then our social life is basically everything else. Right. All the different systems that exist out there are kind of all encapsulated. And so anti-racism becomes this large thing that really goes through all the different aspects of our life because unfortunately, our country was founded on racist ideas. And so now in this age, in this reemergence of the civil rights movement, we are learning how to identify those and how to interrupt them. Tina when people ask you about anti-racism, what it means, what it looks like, how do you talk to them about it?

Tina Dyer: Well, it's really interesting because I love this expansion from just looking at an individual to looking at the broader impacts and both are important. So I'm also anti-racist when I express anti-racist ideas. And so this is one of those places where I get to acknowledge where I am on my own journey and that I would say I'm a recovering assimilationist. So I've worked in corporate America for as long as I've mentioned before. And what that means is I have, without intending to adopted ideas, supported policies that help sustain policies and ways of being that are not equitable for everyone. And so the idea for me in that is now I have to pay attention to that and be mindful about where did that idea or that thought come from and how do I take action in my sphere of influence in order to address some of those. So I see you have this slide here. I should have known subconsciously like I said.

Carrie Sawyer: Yeah, absolutely. And so we're talking about antiracist ideas and this is the idea that suggests that all racial groups are equal. And so, again, I love the idea of thinking about what does it actually look like in my work and my home in our schools and where are we seeing that play out differently? And I also like to call this out because this has a few different ways to look at it. But first, the historical context, the historical grounding that black people were three-fifths of a person. Right. So initially, when we were measured as when we were actually given status as humans, we were then just three-fifths of a person for counting us as property. Right. And so this is very important in saying that we are all equal. There is no part person. Everyone has this value. And then it also starts to get to the idea of white supremacy and how white supremacy is all based on white being dominant, the best, the ideal racial group. And so this is the exact opposite of that.

Tina Dyer: And another word I'd add there, Carrie is normative, it's the standard by which everything else is measured. So this is normal and anything different that becomes abnormal or deficient or we would say that's the best practice and that is a white supremacist making whites supreme or other ways of being so different is not deficient.

Carrie Sawyer: Exactly. And I feel like white supremacy will likely come up in some of the questions that we have later on. But I know before starting to do a lot of this work, when I heard the word white supremacy, I thought of basically like a KKK person or like an extreme-right nationalist person. But in this case and in this body of work. Right. Diplomacy is not that like. Yes, that's one example. But white supremacy is it's all of the systems and the thinking that says that white is right and white is the best and white is normative to this point. And as a person and even maybe as a white person, it might be like, oh, but I don't think like that. But as we look around the world, we see so many examples of how White is placed over other groups in our imagery and every and every sector. And so this idea of understanding what is white supremacy looks like in our day-to-day world and where am I supporting? That is really a big part of this anti-racist work. And if you have a strong reaction to hearing the word white supremacy, that is a place to begin. Right. Because why are you having that reaction? And what can you do to learn and understand more about what that word means and what it means in the context of your life as well? And we'll talk a little more about it because I think it's going to come up as some of the questions, so I really love this quote about antiracism from Ijeoma Oluo, who's the author of Let's Talk About Race. So anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself, and it's the only way forward. And so this idea that because we grew up in this country, there are racist ideas inside of us, we're socialized that it's normal for us. And so how do we find those and get rid of them and then replace them with ideas of equity and ideas where we are all equal. And we're actually seeing that play out in the world around us as well.

Carrie Sawyer: Ok, the next thing that we want to talk about just really quickly is allyship. And so this is a definition that really resonates with me. Allyship is an active, consistent, and challenging practice of unlearning and re-evaluating in which a person of privilege seeks to work in solidarity with a marginalized group. So Tina when you talk about allyship, how do you explain it to people?

Tina Dyer: You know, a big part of my life experience in many settings is I can be the only one or one of a few in a professional setting or maybe in a learning setting where I'm wanting to dove into something where just the people that are interested in that don't look like me as often. And I think what I have got the most sense of allyship is that when something comes up that has a racist or exclusionary potential that in that group, I'm not the person who brings it up, highlights who advocate for change, or I should say I'm not the first person, but that those in the room who do not look like me recognize those moments. And in those moments, they engage the group in the conversation. And what that allows for me is to just be Tina. I don't have to represent a group. I've just like all of them in that setting. And so that's how I've experienced allyship in ways that have really been helpful for me.

Carrie Sawyer: That's great. And I love this kind of proactive. You don't have to wait for the person of color to call out that that is racist or that's unfair. These are things that people are thinking about already and that they're on the lookout. They're noticing that and then standing up and using their power and privilege to disrupt the systems of racism that they're seeing happen around them. And so very similarly to anti-racism, allyship is an active thing, right? You don't just get an ally stamp and you go off fighting, you're done. It's something that you're constantly doing and using your problems. I heard this recently. I just read it earlier. I just finished reading the book Being White Supremacy by Laila Side. And I recommend that book highly because it really broke down so many aspects of white supremacy in a very simple to understand, yet highly impactful, highly impactful way. And so this idea of allyship being active, anti-racism, being active and not using your privilege for good persay, but using it in a way where you're actually giving away your powers so that other people in the room don't have, that power can step into that space and fill that void and have the power and privilege that they deserve to just as in all races and all people are equal.

Tina Dyer: When you were saying that Carrie a thought popped into my mind, you know, sometimes I've had the experience of people thinking that allyship is, you know, being my friend, that they're doing their work because they have a black friend. And it's like, well, actually, I'm not someone's particular project. And the people that I'm talking about, would be doing their own work. They are involved in those things, whether they've never met me. So I just want to talk about more of a connection for your own journey versus seeing it in separate is something you do for someone else, but it actually is it does support others, but it is for you.

Carrie Sawyer: Yes, absolutely. I think that's such a great point because having a black friend, a black partner, mixed children. This doesn't mean that you don't still have the effects of white supremacy and racist ideas and systems inside of you and opportunities to disrupt them both in your own thinking and how you see the world and also around you. It doesn't preclude you at all. These are two separate things. You can have all the black friends in the world and still have grown up here in these racist systems and have just as much work to do with someone who doesn't have those same black friends to call in. And that's actually I learned so much in this book, how to talk about it. It's called tokenism. When you're like, I have a black friend, I have partly black children, I have a black spouse. You're using that black person to benefit you and your idea of not being racist. But in this way, if we're not talking about not being racist, we're talking about being an anti-racist. And that is the disruption of the systems inside myself and outside of myself. And so that is the subtle yet so important difference. Right.

Tina Dyer: Well said.

Carrie Sawyer: That book rocked my world, I love it. White fragility is my next one.

Carrie Sawyer: It's interesting because both of these books are written for white audiences. And I think it's just very interesting to just hear how things are being talked about in ways that are easier to understand and that are just targeted in a certain way to help people to really look inside of themselves because we talk about racism being a condition of the heart. Right. And this works starting inside of ourselves and the ripple effect that comes when I start to act differently. I'm a powerful person and you are a powerful person, too. And even if your sphere of influence is your family and raising kids who are not racist, that is humongous. Taking that outside into your community, into your job, but starting with yourself. And so this book, Laila Saad's book is really about starting with yourself. And that's where we can all start. We don't have to worry about dismantling the government or what's happening in the NFL. It really is about what's happening inside of us. So. So, yeah. Ok, Tina, are you ready to get to some of the questions that we asked? Ok, so we actually had a lot of questions about Black Lives Matter this week, in fact, just based on some of the things that have been going on in the news. And so we're going to cover that as well. I will, yes. Sorry, I just saw something in the chat. So the name of the book that I was talking about and that I think is great for people to really dig into what white supremacy means in their life and how to overcome that is called Me and White Supremacy. And it's by Laila Saad. Her last name is SaaD. Ok, I'm going to keep an eye on the chats, so keep all that coming. So, yeah, we have a lot of questions on Black Lives Matter this weekend. So we're going to talk a little bit about that. So the first question that we have is, why are people so against Black Lives Matter? Tina, why do you think that is? What's your take on that?

Tina Dyer: Oh, well, the first question I mean, my first response to that is we'd have to ask them personally because I don't know that there would be one answer that would explain, you know, that for every person who has an issue with Black Lives Matter. But again, I think it's very helpful to notice why is there such a strong reaction? And so what is it that people are being resistant to and. Somehow what I've heard some people share. Is that when you elevate one group somehow or another that is at the exclusion of other groups or you're making some other statements so people come back with this well, don't all lives matter, and blue lives matter. And so what I see that as it's a defense mechanism because I am uncomfortable with talking about race. And when you say Black Lives Matter, you put the issue front and center on the table. And if I don't want to sit down and partake that I find a way to push it, to push it away. And why people do that, I think there are just that's based on their individual experience and their level of comfort.

Carrie Sawyer: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think if we think about things, we're not supposed to talk about religion and politics, but I would say that there's a third one and that is race. We don't talk about it so much. It's not even on the list. It's like the invisible third or first being on the list. Yeah, the idea of Black Lives Matter means that other lives don't matter. That is absolutely not what it does and what it means. All lives cannot matter until black lives matter. And so before we've shown there's a really cool rainforest cartoon that kind of explains black lives matter versus all lives matter. But it's just this idea like if I said that my you know, my grandma had cancer, you wouldn't be like, well, my grandma has cancer, too. That's not really a big deal that your grandma has cancer. Like you would never say that to someone. Right. And so in this crisis of black lives, that is why we're paying attention to them and that's why we're calling it out. And it's not just black lives that matter. Right. I think that this in this time, in the civil unrest and the reemergence of the civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter movement is this incredible impetus to make us start thinking about how we're treating people, how the laws are creating safe spaces for some people and not others, and how we can change that using black lives as this very first stone. But these are all transferable skills, right? Like being the skill that helps you to not be racist is the same skill to use to not be sexist, to be not so anti-Semitic, to not be homophobic, all of these different things. Right. And so it is about how do we address specifically the crisis on black lives and then how do we use those skills to not stop there? We don't need to wait for a Muslim person to get killed before we're Muslim Lives matter. They matter now. Make it right. But we want to figure out how are we focusing and how are we helping to really mitigate what's going on and all the craziness that's happening.

Tina Dyer: So much of what you said in there, like the things we don't talk about, so I think that's a real practical way to notice where do we have these agreements? Because the things that we don't talk about are often, you know, are indicators of how we're protecting ourselves. And the other part here is when people share that resistance to Black Lives Matter, you know, it's kind of how do we make it personal, local and immediate. So it's kind of well, tell me what troubles you about that. So people want to talk about these, like you mentioned before, these big grand ideas. But tell me about your experience what are you resistant to? Because behind that resistance is some type of philosophy, maybe a theology or just. An internalization of white supremacist ideas that we're not even aware of, but that are driving these reactions and driving our opinions, but that we often don't actually slow down, reflect and connect that connection to now.

Carrie Sawyer: Absolutely. And I think you make a really great point because that racism is so ingrained in us. We don't even notice it a lot of the time. And so this idea that like racist people are bad and nonracist people are good like it's in everyone. Right. And it's in all white people. Right. So it's not about being bad or good. It's about the fact that we have these things in it, that we have the opportunity to acknowledge that that's true and then go on the hunt to find them. And that's why it's not a one-time thing. This is a lifelong journey because it's in everything. It's in brown people like Brown people who are racist against brown people because that's how deep the racism in our country goes. Both your own race and other races. It's so, so, so, so, so ingrained. And so one of the other things that I think people get caught up in the noise of Black Lives Matter and not wanting to have a lot of resistance to that is that they think of it just as this organization or find fault with what the people or the founders have said specifically. You know, there's this idea that Black Lives Matter, that they're Marxists or these other socialists or these words that most people actually couldn't explain. If you ask them, what does that even mean? But these are all bad things. And so instead of thinking about what the movement stands for, they're like honing in on these little things to be like, oh, that lady said this. And I don't agree with that. So I don't agree with Black Lives Matter, which is crazy, because, at the end of the day, Black Lives Matter just means that it's not ok to kill black people on the street. You can't gun them down. You can't gun down innocent people. You can't gun down, children, it's not ok. And you can't be ok with just that sentiment. And at this point, the Black Lives Matter movement is more than the organization. It's more than the founders. It's more than whatever they're doing with the funds that they have donated from people around the world. This is about the reemergence of the civil rights movement and understanding how we can at this time start to undo the systems of racism and redo a world where everyone can be safe and thrive and have the liberty that is promised to our people and our foundations of our country. Right. So and people nitpick, not nitpick. They just go into the noise like it's not about what that lady said about killing innocent people and not being ok with that.

Tina Dyer: Because of our social structure, the way we all personally choose to live, there are some things that are just invisible to us. Right? So if I live in a segregated place or if I live in a suburb and not some other place, there are some things that are just invisible to me. I will never experience them. I'll never know about them. And so the idea that what the Black Lives Matter movement, in my opinion, was trying to do is to make something visible to people that they weren't seeing. And I think, you know. People being murdered, right? This is not new or shocking, although it is heartbreaking and crushing to people of African-American descent, it often hasn't been visible, which means people can deny it exists. Right in certain ways. And yet we know that's not true, that people choose not to see it. Right, because I was thinking about this like Emmett Till right in his life, he was treated as if his life didn't matter. And we saw that to make that visible. You know, it was published in a magazine so the whole world could see it. So we wouldn't be hidden. And so you think so? We can't say that. We've never seen it before because we've seen it over and over again. Then there was Rodney King. We were like, well, this goes away, right? But we watched it and we saw it. Right. So it's not that. It's that we're not aware that it's happening. And then we have George Floyd. Right. So you think paper print, you think video. And I think now we're up to when we make it to live stream. And what we're saying is it's visible. We can no longer deny it in ways that people choose to turn away because they can. And now it's very prominent.

Carrie Sawyer: Yes, absolutely. One of the questions around like what is the ultimate goal of Black Lives Matter? And so I just wanted to read their mission because their mission is the mission and it's a vision and in that encapsulates so many things. So their mission is to eradicate white supremacy and the local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by state and vigilantes. So that's why the government and then by like that person who walks into a church and kills 12 people. Right. By combating and counter, by combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for black imagination and innovation, and centering black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives. And so really, it is about these improvements in our lives to create safe spaces, to create spaces where we can thrive and live the lives that we want to live. Right. But by building up this local power and national power to intervene in the violence. And so that is really their large vision. And that, again, is in so many ways like even how you define violence. In this case, we're talking about literal violence, but the effects of violence and what that looks like in a school system or in a neighborhood or in so many different things, how do you take that larger meta meaning of violence and expand that to just negative impact? Right. What are the negative impacts that are being placed on black communities, black and brown communities? And if you actually go to the Black Lives Matter website and read about their mission and what they believe they're very inclusive in and what they talking about, they talk a lot about trans lives and different LGBT communities, people all around the world. Right. It's not just black lives. And so I just encourage you to go and check them out. And when you read these articles, it's actually interesting. If you try to see what is Black Lives Matter doing, there's not a ton of information around like they're actually doing lobbying for this thing or lobbying for that thing. And I think it's just because of the fact that there are chapters all over the world. There are chapters in a lot of major cities. There are chapters in a lot of different countries, and they're all doing what they can do in their sphere of influence to disrupt and dismantle the racist systems that are around them and specifically getting in the way of the violence that is happening against black people.

Tina Dyer: Now, a couple of thoughts came up when you were talking about that, but I also think this has it's another defense mechanism is that if we give someone a label, then I don't have to engage. So if I say you're a Marxist, then that's the end of the conversation. If I say, well, that's a Black Lives Matter thing in that and I have an idea in my head what that is, I don't have to entertain that or consider it. So that's the other invitation notice when we're using labels as a way to block or prevent conversation because that's kind of one of the main defense strategies, is I won't engage in conversation. And if I find a shortcut, I just give you a label, put you in a group or a box. And I mean, we do this, right? You're Republican. You're a Democrat. So now I no longer have to listen to your ideas. Right. And as if all those people have only one view or one perspective. And so if we can't get to the conversation, right, we don't get to a place where we can move anything forward. But again, personal, local, and immediate conversation and dialog about actual people.

Carrie Sawyer: Yeah, I think that's really great.

Carrie Sawyer: So another question is the last question that we have specifically around Black Lives Matter, so I'm going to read kind of a whole context of this question, and it again goes back to some of the things happening in the news and the media. So I'm astounded by the number of people, some friends, and family who are anti-anti-racism or anti unity. I was saddened by the boos during the KC football game on Thursday. I see that many white people are excusing their hatred because they say that the Black Lives Matter organization is Marxist. Self-proclaimed, perhaps. But do you think that there is value in clearly separating the movement and the organization? What would you say to someone who cannot separate the two? And so I think that we've spoken to a lot of that already. But just wanting to reiterate that at this time, the Black Lives Matter movement is much bigger than what the organization just started with or what the founders are or are not doing, or what they did or did not say in the past. It's so much better, bigger because we have this opportunity to kind of rewrite the world that we want to live in starting right here with black lives. So I think that it's super-valuable to separate the two. And the thing is, I think about this a lot because I get a lot of questions about how do I convince someone who has some crazy idea or thinks that racism doesn't exist or thinks that black people, it's their fault or whatever. How do I convince them that what they're saying isn't? Is it true? And so I think that one thing just to remember is that as logical as we feel we are, human beings are not logical. We are so irrational and. Right. So you want to bring logic, you want to bring facts, you want to bring these different things to these conversations and arguments. But in some cases, it will not matter at all because that person has an idea, a belief system, and it's very ingrained in them. And no matter what logical, reasoned argument you bring, you're not going to break through that. Right. And so just thinking about is it the best use of your time to try to convince someone who is holding on to racist ideas that they should stop holding on to their racist ideas? Or is it a better use of your time to go and find someone who is open to unlearning their racist ideas and partner with them on how we rebuild this world in these systems that look the way that we want and accept all people and help everyone to be safe and thrive. And I know that's easier said than done in a lot of circumstances, especially you think about family and close friends. But I honestly still believe that the back and forth that people want to do is just noise. It's a distraction from the real work that needs to be done because there's so many people who want to do this work, so many white Americans, so many allies who want to do this work now, fighting or squabbling with people who don't. That's fine. Stay in your corner. You can try to bring them some information. They may or may not hear it, but our work is on building, not trying to bring these people who it's just not going to happen in some cases.

Tina Dyer: And I agree. I couldn't agree with you. More energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be channeled. So if you spend energy there, it's not available to you somewhere else. And what is often can be helpful is a question. What happened to you? Where did you form that belief? And they get to do that work and reflect and you can go off and do something else. The other thing I would mention is a really great resource. I think to talk about this is my grandmother's hands. You talk about racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies. So you've mentioned a couple of times about how this is ingrained in us. I would say it's embodied within us. So a lot of this is our autonomic responses in our grief is reflective now, reflexive, I should say, now to have a reaction around race. And so unpacking what that experience is like is very much like all other traumas. It takes time. And that's a great resource to engage in that conversation. And then the last thing I would say that can be helpful is when people reflect on their own narrative. So in courageous conversations, one of the questions they ask is, what's your first awareness of race? Every person can think of a story when they first became aware which helps us to start unpacking our own narrative and maybe open up a little bit more to the conversation.

Carrie Sawyer: Yep, absolutely. Again, starting with yourself, because that fear that we have the most control over and can have a ripple effect to get bigger than what we even know because I want to say this like I said this before, but someone is always watching you and we as Lightworkers, as antiracist as people who want to make the world better, we're modeling what that looks like. And when you stand up for something, people are watching you and you're giving them permission to do the same. When you stay quiet, they're like, oh, I was thinking I might say something, but they stay quiet. So that also gives them permission to stay quiet. And so even if it's the one you're having an argument with someone in your family or friend or deep discussion about something around racism, then you are not getting through to them. You don't know who else in the room is listening. You know what? That's a good point. I never thought of it like that. We don't know where our words and our energy is going and how it's influencing the people around us for the better. And so being able to be that example at any time that we can have a bigger impact. I always believe that so.

Carrie Sawyer: Ok, so we are going to keep talking, we're going to talk a little bit about a couple of answers, I really like this question. I love all the questions that we get. But this one is so what is the goal of anti-racism? Is it to achieve equality, to achieve awareness, or something else? How would someone know that they are anti-racist, are not just pro-equality? So it's kind of like a second part of the question. But what do you think? What is the goal of anti-racism? If someone's like what is the point of all this anyway? Like, what do you guys want? What do you want to see in the world? How would you talk to them, especially when they talk about equality awareness, like what are the things that we're trying to do when we're engaging in the work of anti-racism?

Tina Dyer: Well, I don't think there's probably a better time, at least in my life experience, to think about what's the point of all of this? What's the goal when you think about we're in the middle of a pandemic? Yeah, and think about how I'm thinking about how our life is organized. I mean, think about how all of our lives are connected, whether we were aware of it or not. So I'm thinking about the essential workers who have been working so that I could have the privilege of working from home and go to the grocery store and still get everything that I need. While maybe that's not the case for them. I'm thinking about the medical system that we have and how that's shown up in the disparities between who gets care and who doesn't have access to care. So I think if what I'm thinking about is if we think about ourselves as a nation or as a country. And the impact that we want to have in the world and the society that we want to have, if we what's going to happen if we continue the path that we're on, I don't see how it continues to work for those at the top. While it increasingly does not work for people who are lower or at the bottom more toward the bottom as the bottom increases, I would say that the ultimate goal is to actually to have a country or a nation that's working for many more people so that we actually can do greater things in the world other than maybe consume and maybe have a better what's the word that I'm looking for, that we can offer something more than what we're offering now, the inequality that people are experiencing.

Carrie Sawyer: It's about more than just survival, right? I mean, if you think about how many people are unemployed right now, 40 million and counting, if we think about how many people don't have a living wage, if we think about everything with DACA and everything with, you know, alien people not having access to what they need, but our full functioning, contributing members of this society and thinking about that group just growing, growing, growing and the unrest in that group growing, growing, growing, growing. I mean, a certain point there is there's a breaking point, right. And bad things happen when you get to that point. And so I love that you parallel this with the pandemic because having this opportunity to pause and to see things in stark relief that we have not seen because we've been moving way too quickly and thinking about, OK, well, what can we create even just thinking about working from home. All right. Well, this is kind of good for some people, right? Like they're thinking about, well, how can I continue this where the benefits I'm getting from this, when we're able to exist in a world where the systems are creating equity for everyone, we're not wasting energy. We're able to be our best selves, come up with better ideas like solve the world's problems. Right now, we spend so much energy just trying to survive and fighting each other. Right. And if we're not doing those things, what are you doing? Like, imagine what if you had an unlimited bank account, what would you do with your time and your energy? Right. That stress sees racism as one of those stressors for people. These are things that people of color fight every single day on large and small loads and not having that on your shoulders, being able to go out and be your best self and not have to worry about the discrimination or the oppression that's happening. That's like that's painting a really beautiful picture of the world that we would love. And we feel so far away from that. We're taking the steps. We have the opportunity now to take these steps to move closer and closer to that. So I think it's creating a world that we all can thrive, like thrive the way we want to thrive.

Tina Dyer: I could not agree more, and so I want to plug another book called The Black Tax The Cost of Being Black in America, and he really does quantify what has cost us as a country in creativity and innovation. So you think about all the challenges that we're facing or how does it serve us to have underutilized potential and creativity and innovation that can help us face the challenges that we're experiencing, whether it's, you know, climate change and or whatever that is. We are losing out because we're not leveraging the gift of every citizen, you know, in our nation.

Carrie Sawyer: Absolutely. And I will make a note to send all of these resources afterward to everyone so that you can have all the different books and resources that we have today because we're getting some good ones. Thank you, Tina. OK, so let's talk about the next question. This is an interesting one. So this one is around work and how we bring in anti-racism. So how can I implement anti-racism work into our daily work environments? And I love this question because, you know, this person understands that this is all the time thing. They're not like, how can we do an anti-racism training and benefit from that the like into our we want to integrate anti-racism work into our daily work environments. And I know that you are working at a Fortune 50 company. What is like I would love to just hear since everything that's happened. Boyd, what has your company talked about? What's the what is it about around like I mean, maybe if you can't hear, that's all we find. I totally forgot. Maybe you couldn't share. But what and maybe also what you've seen other companies doing as well if you want to couch it. But what are people doing around getting anti-racism into their company and making that a part of how they think and how they, you know, how they work?

Tina Dyer: That's a good question. And I think people are doing lots of things. One common thing that we've seen is for CEOs to make statements about the organization's position and making some commitments. And some of those are very specific to being very general.  In our organization, one of the things I did, is I began implementing these listening circles. So we have people all over the country but specifically, in the area of Minneapolis we got people together and we put together a listening circle to give people a place to express what they were experiencing. Also integrated a third thing, a video or something people could watch to help them move forward. But the idea is to increase the capacity for people to have these conversations. It is what is critical. There is training being developed and designed

And some of those are very specific to being very general in our organization. One of the things that I did is I begin implementing these listening circles. So, you know, we have people all over the country, but specifically, in the area in Minneapolis, we got people together and we put together a listening circle to give people a place to express what they were experiencing. Also integrated a third thing, a video or something that people could watch to help them move forward. But the idea is to increase the capacity for people to have these conversations. It is what is critical. There are there is training that's being developed and designed.

Tina Dyer: It's important, though, as we think about that because people want to do that, is to really think through is this training actually getting to the core of the issues, or are people just taking some concepts, throwing something together, and going we checked the box? We did anti-racism training. We are good to go and we can move on from here. Yeah, we really people need clarity. A lot of people don't even understand this concept of anti-racism moving toward action, looking at things more broadly. So setting common language and definitions for an organization is really key to make sure we're all having the same conversation and increasing the capacity. Creating spaces to hold those conversations, I think is also key. Those are some ways to get started.

Carrie Sawyer: Absolutely. And I would love to hear what companies are doing and to look at their policies and their practices and looking at how anti-racism falls into that. Because, I mean, if we think about so many conversations in corporate America about, you know, there's no women at the top, there are no people of color at the top, you don't have enough black engineers, et cetera, et cetera, like that is the direct result of a racist system. Like directly, any time you look at the top of a company and you see that it's only white people, that is because the system is designed that way. And that is a system that is showing that white people are the best, the brightest, the strongest, the smartest. And so they're all at the top. And even if we're like, no, that's not true, we don't think like that. Like you're the proof is in the pudding because that's what you're seeing. Right. And so having a company have the I don't know, the mind, the openness, the strength to actually like, say, hey, these are the racist systems that exist at our company, might just call that out for what it is and then say this is how we are going to actually figure out how to dismantle those systems and build systems that are equitable for all. Because if you look at the makeup of your company and it's X, Y, Z percentages of these different types of people, and that is not exactly reflected or very closely reflected at the top throughout all of the levels and all the rules in your company, then you know that you have systems of inequity and equality and that if you want to take it a step further, if you look at your company and you're seeing that it is not mirroring the census data, then you know that your company is built in a way that is supporting these racist structures and ideas. And so just like going all the way there, like calling a spade a spade and then saying, all right, well, you know, we're not going to fire anyone. Well, maybe in some cases you do need to do that. But we're not firing all the white people. That's not happening. But what we are going to do is build a system so that we can actually see what's wrong with the way that we hire people specifically. For example, maybe starting with how hiring happens, we're going to look at the whole hiring process. We're going to see are people of color coming into our women, coming into it. And I used to work in high tech. That's why I always think about women and people of color. But where do they fall out in that system? How do we fix that? Right. So that over time you can see these changes start to happen so that you do see the equity, you do see the representation. And it's and so many things like pay. Are we paying everyone equitably? Are we you know, is this another company where women are getting 80 cents on the dollar and black women are getting like sixty-five cents to that? That stat is wrong, but it's lower, so don't quote me on that. But, you know, there are these systems that show us, like, unequivocally that something is off. And we've chosen to continue to ignore that. What company is going to be bold enough to say, like, call it out and then fix it? I would love to see that. That would be amazing.

Tina Dyer: I agree with you. Your system is perfectly designed to get the results that it's getting. And John Powell talks about structural inclusion. So there's some kind of structure in place that is creating these disparities. How do you decide on a system that would structurally make sure the inclusion happens? And that's the next level.

Carrie Sawyer: Yeah. And it might not be designed that way on purpose, right. It might be designed that way. Like unintentionally or different gates or structures aren't set in place. I'll give an example. Another one around hiring. I work for multiple tech companies where certain groups and certain managers would hire people from their exact region in the company that they came from in this one department of like hundreds of people would be like twenty-five percent, one region in another country. It's like, so this is like this idea of like nepotism and just hiring the people that, you know, and it's done across all different races at all different levels and all kinds of companies. But why is that a structure? That's OK. Right. Like why is it OK for you to hire 30 people from your neighborhood versus hiring people from all around and doing the work that it takes to find the best candidates and to find diverse candidates who are amazing, just as amazing as the other candidates that you're looking at, if not more amazing. So just an example like you, we see these systems, we see the output, but we don't do anything. We just think it's ok.

Tina Dyer: To be back on that Carrie. And then when we hire people, that people are very comfortable with token representation. But if you give more than three, then it's like, uh oh, that's gonna disrupt things. So that. Right. So, I mean, it's literally I've had someone say to me that they were called in. They had a staff of, I don't know, forty people and they'd hire three black people and another white colleague report it to their manager. This person is hiring a lot of black people. And she was called in to be made aware that people are noticing that. And so that's just an interesting again, this is that white supremacy of that when we are not comfortable, then we take action to limit what others are able to do. And that's structurally kept in place by the people who support racist policies or ideas.

Carrie Sawyer: Yeah. And the total double standard there, how many white people were hired in a row that no one was ever called out for hiring? Too many. Right. And so how to do it's not about too many or too few. It's about how do you have representation? How do you have diverse people? But like, why is it ok to do it on one side and not the other? That's all about white supremacy. Right.

Tina Dyer: So and another indicator is if you're not able to retain diverse talent. A lot of people say, well, they want more money or. Well, they weren't. It's a really good indicator that you don't have an inclusive culture. They're the only one of the few tokenism or things. And eventually especially your top talent. So they'll find another opportunity and they won't spend the time to give you the feedback because purposeful, assertive people aren't willing to listen. And they were there then by the time they leave, it's. A moot point, yeah, absolutely.

Carrie Sawyer: Ok, I want to take one more question. Let's do number six because I think that this is an interesting one as well. So is learning with books or with action better? How would you answer that Tina?

Tina Dyer: Well, I always ask those kinds of questions the same way I'm an and kind of girl. All right. So and that I think it speaks to all of this. When we get to this, everything is a binary focus. It has to be this or that. That's an indicator that we're not really having a very deep conversation. There are so many nuances. There are times when we definitely need to be focused on gaining some information, acquiring some knowledge so that we can walk and wisdom. And there are some times when we need to take action, you know, immediate, personal, local, immediate action. Hey, this is an election year that is some personal, local, immediate action that we need to take. Right. But and we need to be informed as we take that action. 

Carrie Sawyer: Yes, I love that because there are so many resources out there. And I even understand that it can be overwhelming to try to sort through and filter through. But one thing that I would do or what I recommend is first to say that there's no wrong place to jump in. Whatever speaks to you, jump in there. And there are so many organizations that have taken the time to curate different lists of books, videos, podcasts, people to follow, etc. go and find a trusted source, whether that's NPR or PBS or CNN or medium or like, I don't know, Good Housekeeping had a pretty legit list of some resources that you can go and check out. And so just go and start to do that, that personal work, and start to educate yourself. And I love the phrase that you used on Walk in Wisdom. I definitely want to quote that in some of our materials because that's so important. Right. But we do learn so much from action. And specifically, I want to talk about action when we are afraid or actually are unsure if what we're saying is right or perfect. Right. We learned so much from making mistakes. And in this space where we are finally having the courage and the call to have these difficult conversations, these personal conversations around race allow around white supremacy, around these systems and structures, we want to change. We're not going to always say the right thing. I'm not always going to say the right thing. White people are going to say the right thing. Like we're all going to put our foot in our mouth and we're all going to have the opportunity to stand up and integrity, to apologize when needed, to go and educate ourselves, and then to do better next time. And that is really all anyone can ever ask of you. That's all that anyone can ask. If you do that, then you're golden. And this idea of like a lot of people, I get a lot of questions from leaders who are afraid to say something because I don't want to make a mistake. They don't want to say the wrong thing. And I would say that staying silent is far, far worse than saying the wrong thing when you're coming from a place of trying to stand up and speak out for equality, for justice or for anti-racism, like go for it, like try making a huge mistake, take the feedback that you get with openness and with a big heart and with humility, and then integrate that and go educate yourself and go do better next time. Staying silent means that you are siding with whatever racist idea is being passed or you're seeing happen in front of you because you're not interrupting it. And again, anti-racism about actively opposing the racist systems around us, interrupting them. If you're not doing that, you are not acting as an anti-racist at that moment.

Tina Dyer: Relationships, I think, are something else that is really essential, enlarging your circle so that you have more exposure to do what you said, to build those places where you can have the conversation. I think that also helps expedite your growth.

Carrie Sawyer: Yes, absolutely. All right, Tina, we are at a five o'clock hour there. I know it goes so fast, even an hour and a half goes fast. I've been doing a couple of those. It just goes fast no matter what. So, Tina, thank you. Thank you so much for coming into talking with me today. Is there are there any last words or any last thoughts that you want to leave our audience with today?

Tina Dyer: Well, I'll leave it with James Baldwin, his quote, "Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced". This is our moment to face and bring about change.

Carrie Sawyer: Yes, that is beautiful. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much, everyone, for tuning in to another episode of our Anti-Racism for Allies Q&A. You can check us out again next Wednesday, same time, same link, so you can just go ahead and save it. And then we are still collecting one thousand questions, your most important questions on anti-racism. And so please go to and submit your question. You can also do so directly to me on Instagram or Facebook as well. I'm happy to answer them.

Carrie Sawyer: Thank you, everyone. Thank you, Tina. This has been amazing.

Tina Dyer: And thank you for your commitment to this space. Thank you.

Carrie Sawyer: It's my pleasure. We'll see you next time. Thank you.

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