EPISODE 117: “Racism And What You Can Do About It”
We are living in a time where people everywhere are taking another look at their beliefs. This is an amazing opportunity for so many to realize that you have beliefs and interpretations that come from your subconscious and that you also have the ability to change those beliefs and interpretations. We also have the opportunity to see that our individual interpretations and experience of the world are not the same as everyone else’s.
This week we held our first Community Roundtable within my Transformational Coaching Group. My team and I invited Black members from our TCP community to share what was on their minds and hearts and educate the whole collection as to how we can best serve humanity going forward.
The intention was to educate, open hearts, and see the connectedness between all souls here on earth through hearing their voices.
We feel that the best way to make a change is by changing individual lives and perceptions that have been manipulated and programmed over the last hundreds, if not thousands of years. We can not go back and erase history, however, now is the time to write our future and create massive change.
Our intention in the group is to make a difference in the world.
Thank you for being part of my community. Thank you for listening to my podcast and taking an interest in your own transformation and being open to looking at your own subconscious beliefs and your own interpretations and perceptions. Here are the questions that were discussed on the roundtable discussion which we turned into episode 117:
What do we say, do or not say or not do so that we can be part of the solution instead of more of the problem?
Is it helpful to know that other minority groups are supporting you and marching alongside you?
What does it mean when young black men have the talk with their parents?
Racism seems to be a learned behavior. How can we better educate or inform our children about racism so we tackle the problem at the root level?
If you could give one tip of advice to a white person who truly just wants to create a better place to live. What would that be?
What term do you prefer?
Black? African American?
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You're listening to episode number 117 of the Transform your Life from the inside out podcast. Plain and simple. This episode is titled Racism and what you can do about it. Keep listening.
Hi, I'm Jim Fortin, and you're about to start Transforming Your Life from the inside out with this podcast. I'm widely considered the leader in Subconscious Transformation. And I've coached super achievers all around the world for over 25 years. Here, you're going to find no rah rah motivation and no hype. Because this podcast is a combination of brain science, transformational psychology, and ancient wisdom all rolled into one to take your life to levels you've never thought possible. If you're wanting a lot more in life, to feel better, to heal, to have peace of mind, to feel powerful and alive and to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life and this podcast is for you. Because you're going to start learning how to master your mind and evolve your consciousness. And when you do that, anything you want then becomes possible for you. I'm glad you're here.
Discussing Racism by Listening to Black Voices
Okay, so Racism. What I want to share and this is probably no secret is that I'm not an expert on racism. As you probably already know, if you've been following me for any amount of time, my approach to life is that we're cosmic beings having human experiences. And I also know that we choose our lives, our skin color, our sexual orientation, where we're dropped off on the planet, and major life factors before we get here. But nonetheless, we're all on the planet. We're all on this air quote, time space continuum. We're all on this, you know, orb out in space and obviously I look at things from a spiritual and cosmic perspective. And in this episode, I want to explore life and racism from plain and simple, a human perspective.
Recently, and currently I'm doing a transformational coaching program. And so this past week when I say recently, we did a panel, we did a zoom call, and we had hundreds of people on it. And I invited the black people that were in my transformational that are in my transformational coaching program to actually answer questions. And we made very clear that this wasn't about anybody casting blame, or anybody's beliefs or anybody's dogma or indoctrination or any of that anywhere. It was basically a conversation, people asking questions about racism, to seven people that wanted to be on the panel. And I also learned that because I didn't know do you call somebody African American? Do you call them people of color and all seven, at least in this, you know, this venue, this conversation all said they prefer to be called Black. So seven black people answered questions. And they were very powerful answers and very heart centered answers.
And what we did basically is I said, here's the question, and then all of you or any of you can answer it to whatever degree or however you want to answer. And I think as you're listening to this, you're going to find that their answers are very powerful, and very eye opening for a lot of people.I also understand, because we get into our human egos is that not everyone is going to agree on racism, or what it is or how much of it is there is in the world or who it applies to. But there's one massive lesson in this call. And the lesson is this and you'll hear it literally it'll go all the way to your heart, you'll hear it is that everyone?Everyone wants to be heard.
And I think when you really you have that epiphany that AHA, if you haven't already in life, I think it changes a lot for a lot of people. I also want to point out, I normally don't have my episodes edited. It's just me and you basically in a microphone and I'm chatting with you. You may hear some edits in this episode. The only reason why we have at it is there was one person on the panel that did not want their comments shared. And I have to respect that and there was really actually I thought they were great comments, but the person would prefer not to have their comments shared. So we edited those comments out and like I said, I thought they're great comments, but anyway, not my call. So you might hear some editing here and there. So what I want to share with you is respond to the episode with whatever is in your heart. And from my perspective, there's no judgment if you like the episode, no judgment if you don't like the episode, no judgment. If you agree, you don't agree it doesn't matter to me. I just want you please to remember this. I'd mentioned I think on the last episode, I'm doing a $5,000 total match to all the donations that come in to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. So that would be NAACP naacpldf.org. And if you want to make a donation, make a donation and send your receipt to my support person Toni, which would be firstname.lastname@example.org and whatever donation you make, and again, up to $5,000 for everyone, whatever donation you make, because we're not at 5,000 yet, I will match. That being said as well if you like this episode,then please share it with your friends.
I know that we're all on the planet, and we're all living out our karma. And we're all living, you know, very different lessons. And that goes and you know, translates into everything from skin color, to nationality, to sexual orientation to just everything in our life. But this is what I know is that we all want a better experience of life. And my interpretation is that whatever I can do, to help as many people as I possibly can have a better experience of life, that I'm going to do it. So I don't use this word a lot. But the word proud because to me, that's an egotistical word when I say ego, human ego, ego. But I want to share with you I am proud to bring you this episode. So listen, enjoy and share if it's in your heart. Thank you for being here.
So what we're going to do is if it's okay with you guys, I'll just read the questions and then just turn them over to the panelists. So the first question was, what do we make sure we're okay, where to record? What do we say do or not say or not do so that we can be part of the solution instead of more of the problem. All right, anybody that wants to take that, please, open up and, and any of you all of you share your perspectives.
I'll go first. And I'll say that I think that part of it is we have to understand, one of the key things that I have learned in TCP is that what people do or how people behave is not based on you, but it's based on their perspective. It's based on what they have learned is based on what they've been told. It's based on what they've seen.So I think we have to kind of come at it from that perspective is that and the very fact that we're having this conversation is that there's so, so many people who don't know, because it's not a conversation that's ever had. And I think, from where we are, the key thing is to listen and to listen from a place of compassion. I think that's one of the things that I've seen has been lacking on social media, especially over the last few weeks is it's been from a place of attack instead of a place of seeking to understand and I had, I'll just share it, I'll make it quick, I promise.
Know what say what you have to say, please.
I had an interaction with somebody. So I posted a video on my personal Instagram. And it was talking about privilege. And the quote was, it's not my quote, it was from Richie Norton, who said that "Privilege is the right to remain silent when others cannot."And I did a reflection a quick reflection about how we all have an obligation to help and so on and so forth. And I didn't name any coolest I didn't name any person. A friend of mine, a white friend of mine shared it on his Facebook. And somebody who is I guess somehow connected to this friend responded he didn't respond with a comment. He responded with a video and the video it will link to a video and the video is from a very controversial, shall we say, black lady who was talking about how she does not agree with what is going on how George Floyd is not her Savior. And I recognized in that moment, I think the old me pre TCP I would have been triggered by that. And I would have, you know, gotten on my keyboard and you know, typed What a horrible person you are. But because I have the perspective, based on having been in this program, I was able to response to him from a place of from a place of love, actually and to listen to his perspective. And it was actually really fascinating to hear he's a white male. And he told me his frustrations on why he's frustrated and why he doesn't agree with what's going on. And I learned some stuff. And so it made me realize that anything that anyone ever says to you just based on their perspective, and if you come at that conversation of there is no right thing to do. There is no right thing to say if you just come at it from a place of genuine openness and love. People see that we actually ended up where he told me he thought I was a kind, sweet human being. And him and I are now together reading a book and we're going to do a book club on race.
I just want to jump in on that word kind of like what Sandra and she said where it's just don't deny the human experience, like we're Sandra said about from the other side where everything is an interpretation where they're coming from. And so sometimes what I see when people say something has happened to them, you know, sometimes people will say, Oh, no, that's not what you really saw or they you know, it's almost like they're denying that and it's like, okay, you know, yes, there's you know, as we learned in TCP, there's very few things that are fact. But, you know, try to step into their shoes and a sense of this is their experience. And so sometimes like you like, it's sometimes it's often denied where, especially in Canadian where, oh, my God, that doesn't happen here Where? Well, no, there's different examples of things happening here. And there's a lot of denying it. So I would say, you know, how you can be helpful is don't deny that human experience for them where, you know, listen, without defending and see that we're in because that's where, you know, when I see feel unheard, which is I think, you know, I'll bring up like that when you brought up that video from before where when I made that comment where like, he didn't feel heard, right, because that was what was triggered so many years of trauma and not feeling heard. And so, just that perspective, and I mean, even what people can say, because I've heard it where I remain silent, because I don't know what to say and like Sandra said that silence. It almost felt like a betrayal because even though I know that you felt something and I remember reading something on my personal page on Facebook about that. And it's actually taken from Oprah where if you don't know how to what to say, for me what helped is just to simply say, I see you, I hear you what you're feeling right now that trauma matters to me and I stand with you. I may not know the full story, but I just stand with you. And then that was just it's comforting, because you don't know how to know that. But even if you say that to somebody, I don't see where there's going to be pushback, because you're just saying, I got you, I am acknowledging you and what do you need? Right? And that, for me has been it's such a comfort because you're not fighting this battle by yourself. Right? Even though we're not really fighting a battle, but, you know, you feel like you're not alone. And you're just you just feeling seen and heard where all these, you know, because I think that's a lot of things. And I get I can't speak for everybody here. But, you know, I still have the black cultures where you don't feel heard and it's always dismissed or sometimes with women, you know, you don't want to be the angry black woman, right? Because it's one of those things. We hear that stereotype all the time. So you're just kind of like all right, right. So because because if you do, then you're like, and you're not hearing that. So that's something I just wanted to bring to the table as well.
Hey, I just wanted to thank you so much for even opening up a forum for us because, first of all, a lot of this, like, a lot of none of this is new to us. What's also not new to us is being a minority in a room, where oftentimes, we stay silent. I think for the simple fact that so many, So many of us in this group, even have spoken up is because we do feel safe here. And because because, we're used to just holding it in and holding it down and
Wait there. So explain to everyone what does that mean? We're used to holding it in and holding it down.
So I'm not seeing
Anything you want.
Okay? So what happened is George Floyd is an occurrence that happens. Like, every other day in this country, it's not nothing is not anything new. It's and we hear it and we feel it and we train our kids a certain way not to experience it. We are conditioned to not speak about it, especially in places like this because we're here for growth and development. And, you know, we wouldn't be here if we're not here to be better people, right? And so we don't want to bring the group down, or, you know, bring that vibe to the group like we're like we're victims because that is, often times, that's what I see the response like, Oh, you know, poor you, but you know, what are you? How are you implicit in this, and at the same time, and at the same time, there are things that we do need to do to heal, but we can't do it alone. We need people. And so let me just tell you like two like really important things that came up to me when I decided to open up and kind of share about it because, like I said, I didn't share about this anywhere, but I shared about it here, because I do trust this community, because I know that the things that I get from here is going to help me grow and help so many other people. And that's the only reason why I even talked about it here. But what hurt me was when people were like, not my story, and I understandon one side.The other side is thatwe continue to be ignored. And all we're saying is, if you help us with this, even just understanding that it's a problem, we can, things can change. AndI see that now for the first time ever in life.My 39 years. I know, I look like I'm 20, but I'm really almost 40.I think that we can change and I feel like this group right here has the power collectively to change the whole world. Like in one second. And when I hear people just saying like,you know, I don't want to get involved like, that's not my story. That's not you know, I can't like I'm not telling you to go ,Right, I'm not telling you to go pick it, I'm telling you to just hear our voices. And if you just put that in one second of the work that you're doing, you can affect change, because it's our perception of reality, whatever you want to call it. But most of us and I'm not, I don't want to walk, I don't want to talk over anybody in this group. But I live in fear for myself. I live in fear for my daughters. I live in fear for my family. And not in living in fear. Like I feel like I'm holding back but for the simple fact that because I can't change this right here. Somebody can create a story about me because of their experiences that can just wipe me off the planet. And, you know, I'm trying to understand karma and I, you know, and all that kind of stuff, but I know that just because of this game that I can't change on the target. That's my reality. That's my reality. I understand. But I need you guys just to listen and hear and understand that that's going on and in any way that you canspeak up. So it's not okay.
Okay, thank you. So the next question would be if you're like, and when I read the question, I'd be like, well, I don't want that question. We'll we'll pick a better one. But there might be a better one for you seriously, but the next question was this, is it helpful to know that other minority groups are supporting you and marching alongside of you? So start there and then go back to the other question, if you want.
Me It helps for sure. You know, I don't think that it's everyone's battle. I feel like this is a foundational issue for our nation. You know, our nation was built on the backs of black people. And so we do value the support. And I want to just touch on one of the questions that you asked Jim, when you said something about silence. When I was growing up, I was always the only one. The only one there might have been a black boy. But I was always the black girl. So it was never safe to speak up. Because you would get comments like, oh, you're playing the race card, or your race baiting, or you're angry. Or, you know, they would make jokes. And I maybe I'm a little bit more radical than some of my other sisters. But I don't want to hear I'm sorry, because those are empty words. To me. It's my perception. I don't want to hear, I will never understand. I really don't want to hear that because I want everyone to understand that we are people just like you were people. And so if you see us worried for our children,I have a 15 year old son, I worry for him every single day he walks out the door.How can you not understand that? How can you as a parent, how can you not understand the fear of will he come back? Will the cop stop him? Will he be handcuffed? Will he be accused of, of something that is at a point of no return? If you can just empathize and understand that we are people of people I don't know what else to say
When I was gonna ask a question of all of you there. I I've always been in human rights. I worked at the Carter Center many years ago because of human rights. There's nothing more powerful to me and all my path and to fight for people's human rights. I asked a lady on Facebook that I knew we had a good bond and I want to get to this question in the bed. What's the proper word African American black people of color. We'll get there in a minute. But she and I connected and I said I read somewhere on Facebook about how young black men, their parents have the talk with them. Okay, so you guys already nodding and I said, Is that true? Does that really happen? She's like, absolutely it happens. Can you It's nowhere in the questions. Can you guys explain what that means for any of your perspectives? Anyone that hasn't even answered yet? Who wants to share? What does it mean when young black men have the talk with their parents?
I mean, I'll jump in right away. Well, I mean, here's the thing, like my son, like playing with guns is out of the question for the longest time, like you can't like you can't play with the guns. And at a certain age, don't put that hoodie over your head. If you're out somewhere, do not put that hoodie on. If it's on, you keep it down. Only because you don't because here's the thing. You know, it's that unconscious bias. You may not necessarily think okay, but have it on right away, unconsciously, threat. threat, we can call them for whatever reason. My nephew I mean, my son. I've been trying to keep the news off, but my nephew, he's he's eight. He was watching a basketball game everyone basketball game. My sister didn't even realize that it was off and we're talking about the George Foreman. She hears him in the other room. bawling bawling. She comes in what's wrong. Mommy, Mommy, are they gonna kill me too? What do you mean? Well, they said they killed him because he's Black,I'm Black? Are they gonna kill me? She's you know, I was like hold it I went over there. And I literally was like Martin teaching him TCP principles because it doesn't matter. But that's the thing that is negative where you know you can't do what your if your friends are out, and they're acting out the police comes in. No. Yes. Yes, sir. But like you have to stay on guard. I don't care if your friends are like mouthing off. That's fine. Because you are going to be seen as a threat. So that's the kind of talk where and even I've met even the block was even as young women were even for us growing up, okay. You need to be polite in your proper rule.Because that's weird because we have to be, you know, someone's like, we have to hold ourselves to that higher standard. And that that's, that's the reality. And the fear is and yes, we can say we create a fear which I, you know, we create a reality which I teach my kids. But at the end of the day, there's that fear factor where if I don't teach him this, he may come in contact with that one, you know, rotten apple, and what is this life? So for us where we need to teach them that, like,
Can I just like start with I mean, interject just for a second and just give you guys some food for thought.
Yes, because a lot of people,are reading comments I've been exposed to this. I've been fortunate A lot of people have not been exposed to what you're sharing right now. They don't recognize that it exists out there. Go ahead, Zuma.
What I was gonna say is that, for a lot of black women, in particular, I think,we love boy, we love our boys, but we for me, I have two girls and it's a little bit of a leap for me, and even to get where I am right now, the only reason why I can't even credit that I'm still alive is because I'm a woman. I grew up in Oakland, California, and most people that most guys that I know, are dead, black men that I grew up with are dead, or in jail. And you know, you can call it whatever, for whatever reason you want. But just being born, a black male is almost a death sentence. And so just if you just even come at it from that perspective, and then how you have to raise that black boy, you know,
I had one thing because I do have a teenage son. And so we had to start having a conversation early. You know, one of the things that just rings in my mind, I can't shake it one day, my husband and I were walking back to our house when my son was outside playing, and he was holding a gun. Play gun. Yeah, I know.My heart just just fell out.Because I thought someone saw that and thought that my 11 year old son was actually holding a gun. My son could be dead. And all I did was walk to target. And I just said, You got Put the gun down. You can't do that. And he couldn't understand. And so it was at that moment where we had to start having those conversations. He loves his black hoodie. You got to take the hood off. Why you have to take the hood off. If a cop stop, shoot, take your hands out of your pocket, be respectful. Use your best grammar don't slur your words. I mean, the list goes on and on. Don't run from a cop. Say yes sir. looking straight in the eye. Pull your phone out Sam gonna text my mother texts me I will do whatever I'm doing. I will drop everything I'm doing to come to your aid. And it's just like, this is the daily thing when he goes out the door. I'm like remember safety first. Remember?I want you home tonight
Do all of you agree that that's just a daily life for you?I'm asking, it doesn't have to be I'm just to all of you have that experience on a daily basis that you you have to live that way.
Jim, you ask the question of is this all of our experience? And first of all, I want to acknowledge a question that you asked a little bit earlier, which is a great question, which is, is our experience all the same? Because much as we're collectively referred to as black, our experiences are very different from my sisters who live in America, their experience of racism is probably maybe a little bit different than what it is for us in Canada. Yes, there are a lot of similarities. And then what it is in the UK, but I would say consistently, there is racism in different forms. I think in America, it is more in your face, whereas I think, in Canada and the UK as someone who's lived in both of those countries, it's a little bit more subtle. It's a little bit morecovert no one's, I mean, I've only had I have actually no, I had a boss who told me he would never have hired me. Because I was black in Canada. I did have that experience. But I wanted to share something with you and say, you know, it's not just America, Canada, whatever. Even so my nephew is 11 years old. And they live in Switzerland. They live just outside of Zurich, and they live in it as an all white neighborhood in Zurich, Switzerland. And when he goes to the store, when he goes to their local convenience store, the storekeeper follows him around the store. He doesn't do that with any of the other kids that go into the store. The storekeeper follows him around the store and he gets his wife to watch the screen the the one of the security cameras when my nephew goes into the store. So it is something so of course, like with my nephew, I don't have a son, I have a daughter, we had to have a different talk with her. And when we talk about like, you know, I was laughing when Nasima talked about, sorry, was it union aseema who has taught me who is talking about when you get stopped by the cops? There is a protocol you put on your best voice you put on your better use your best grammar. My husband, who is a black man who drives a nice car has to make sure all his paperwork is in the driver's box close where it's right on the top so he doesn't have to go rumbling to look for it. And that's just that it just is. It's just part of, you know, to do it.
Guys, you all know me well, all of you. 30 years ago, I mentioned I used to wait tables at a place called chops in Atlanta. Very, very high end. Hank Aaron was in for dinner one night. And you all know who Hank Aaron is. So Hank Aaron left and he didn't go to the valett box to get his to get his keys. I mean, he didn't go to the valet. He just went to the valet box and got his own keys and the valet came racing hand and he goes oh my gosh, a blind guy sold a Lexus. And I'm like, you mean Hank Aaron just hopped in his car and left? Is that what you're talking about? So, on that note, people are automatically profile I told I show on our coach's call her husband is black. And I said, there's no doubt in my mind if your kids, your son walked into a store and my nephew who's white walked in, nobody had watched my nephew who's white, but I tell you what, your kid walking around with a hoodie, he has one on, they're gonna watch him to make surehe's not doing something that he shouldn't be doing somewhere. Guys, it's not universal, but that does exist in the world and I've experienced it. Okay, next question is if anybody wants to stop and back up, we've only got so much time. Next question I want to add I saw was a Pulitzer Prize winning photo that was one of the most heartbreaking photos in my life.It was it's a classic photo. It's of this woman that's wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. And she's holding her grandbaby. And then that goes into the next question about racism seems to be a learned behavior. How can we better educate and inform our children about racism? So we tackle the problem at the root level.
So racism seems to be a learned behavior. And also I, I have a totally different perspective because I believe in the US, I'm not American, and I grew up in the Caribbean. So for me, growing up in a Caribbean, which is predominantly black, I was not a racial minority, because everyone around me is black. I don't become a black person until I came to Canada. Most people don't understand that.I grew up just a guy I never thought about race. I was just on my friends and black policies, black everyone.Since I came to Canada, I actually struggle with this. I became a black man in 1995. So it's racism alone behavior. Yes, it is. It comes from a lot of things. What you see on TV, for example, I have a son and he likes to read. And then he goes to his mom and he says how come every correct in every book is white all I see in box.
Everyone is what?
Every character in every book is white. There's no representation that looks like him. Anywhere. There's a little kid he's observing this.
Right? He goes to school the kids are asking him, what is skin color? What does your skin color different from us?Right now that's not racism. What are curious that difference is focused on skin. I think the kids pick up on it really literally.Right? So that's affected him. He. He's 11 years old, and he's experienced racism at his age and younger. And I never experienced any racism at that at age 11. Not once.Right. So after watch my son before stuff like that, I mean, he wasn't Taekwondo. And he had to quit.Because of racism.Don't say I don't want to do this.Kid.Six, seven years old. Quit.Because of that,I don't know how we can stop it. But I think one of the key things to stop it is stop focusing on people's skin color so much. For me, I think if it can transcend race, I think that's the ultimate solution. I know it's not gonna happen overnight. I know it is going to take a lot of work on all sides, not just within the white community and not just in the black. We all have to work together because I think it's a societal problem. It's nota black problem. It's not a white problem, everyone.And in Canada, for example, when I first came here.One of the things that struck me is all the indigenous people here were treated. So you would think that we arein the States, you see racism against blacks, and it's very different to see it. In Canada. We are no different except it's not so much in blacks. It's indigenous people. And that was the biggest shock I saw when I came here.Yeah, I wasn't no no expecting that one out.
Oh, no, no good for now. Okay, typical guy
I have lots of ideas come out as I go.
Now somebody that's very outspoken to the room and I love her to death, but we've not heard anything that's free stuff.
I yeah, I actually just wanted to give everyone the opportunity to talk first because I don't identify myself as a black woman. But I identify myself as a person of color. So I really just wanted to hear everyone's perspective before. And I would say everything that everyone has said I agree to most of it. And I definitely understand I think for this question, first of all, Jim, thank you so much for doing this. I agree with Ms. SEMA. Like I told people that like, This group is doing this and they were just so amused by it and I was like, yeah, it's like a predominately white, you know, group and they're all very open and like, their minds are open and they really want to hear our perspective. So I I just, I just want to thank you and team fortin and for doing this because I think this is where the change starts. Right to start this dialogue. So I just want to say that but as far as like, racism being a learned behavior, I think there's tons of resources out there, right? So there's books, there's tons of books that people can read. And I actually have a list of books that if people want that later on, I can send it, send that to them. So I have a list of books that you can read that talks about systematic racism. She has stories of people of color and black people in America. So that's that part. And then so the other part I think, is so you can educate yourself, right, based off books and watching videos and all of the things that you do first to learn about something. Now the next component that I'm, I hope that people would get to and I'm not seeing as much of is the actual wanting to learn people's lives and learn their stories and hear from them. And I'm glad that we're doing this here. This is an amazing start. But I don't see that as often. I think that's really where people start to change the way they think. Because when they get to know someone, and they're like, oh, you're not the type of person I thought you would be based off the media or based on all these stories. I've heard growing up. So I think that's really where the change happens. Of course, you're gonna read all the information. But if your mind's not open and you're already thinking a certain way, it's hard to kind of, like have something that you read to really break out of that, especially if it's like, ingrained in you from generations. So, and it's a good example.Well, everyone knows that there's protests going on everywhere right now. Right. And so lots of white people are doing the protest, which I'm really grateful about it. It's like amazing to see this. And I live in Arlington, which in Arlington, and it's a very white and phenomenally rich town if people no mass at all. So it's predominately white. And I knew that coming into this town, I've been here for five years. And they've actually been having protests every single day at the center. So the center is five minutes from being like my route to go to for my daily walk. And every day that I've walked past them, there hasn't been one person of color there. Literally every single person that's protesting there is White, and that I mean, and I think that's a good thing for sure. But for me as a person of color, the first time I walked through them, I felt very uncomfortable. I felt super, super uncomfortable. And I had to, like, I had to like really check in with myself and be like, why did I was uncomfortable, this is a good thing that they're doing. And what I realized after reflecting was that when I saw that it just brought to me the whole issue in the first place as far as like segregation and and redlining and communities being separate. And the reality is, there's just isn't a lot of people of color in Arlington, and I'm assuming that it's all white because they don't have friends that are people of color. So I think it's just really important that people if people really want to learn more about race and get to know racism, and really combat racism, like it has to be a like a one to one daily thing, a daily thing that you do every day and not just something that you read up on for an hour and then say yes, I'm, you know, I'm an expert at this, so it's really just like applying those things. And so, and even when I walked past them, no one even gave me eye contact. And I thought that was really interesting, right? So like, here they are saying Black Lives Matter or diversity. And then no one even cared to look at me or like, you know, just engaged. So I just think that I just thought that was just really interesting. And I've been hearing a lot of friends that are black say that as well. But as they walk past these protests, or as they see people writing spray painting, Black Lives Matter, they're not even acknowledging them. They're not even looking at them. They're not even like acknowledging their humanity. So that's just another layer that I think people should just, you know, I think is is something that we need to dive into and really realize, like we're all humans and really just see the humanity on us. It doesn't have to be you reading this whole 200 page book and telling us the history right. So I just wanted to chime in in there as well about that.
That's awesome. Thank you. Thank you, I hear you. And I've got these questions I have to get through if you could give one to Tip of advice to a white person who truly just wants to create a better place to live, what would that be?
I think as Rita just kind of nailed it, it's hard for you to hate someone up close. I think Michelle Obama said that. And I think it's the fact that we live in these silos, where I believe it was the Washington Post, maybe which who said that 75% of white people don't have any friends who are outside of their circle who are not white. And so it's hard for you to know, like, even for you to understand that there is an issue when you live in this very insular world. And so I think it's just really, I think, if I could say, just expanding your network now, I'm not suggesting like go recruit, you know, 20 black friends, but I think it is just being open to learn new things. And I think part of it, it's okay, I think that racism and if I can't, I just want to read your real quick quote from an article which is written by a gentleman named Scott Woods, and he says, Yes, racism looks like hate. But hate is just one manifestation privileges. Another access is another ignorance is another apathy is another and so on. So I think that most people think, Oh, I'm not racist because you don't hate. But I think as well when you don't open your world to see the world through other people's eyes that in and of itself leads you to be ignorant of some of the issues that are going on in the world.
I've seen a lot of people think white privilege doesn't exist and they're foolish. So would you please tell us what white privilege is from your perspective and how you've experienced it?
Everybody is privileged and I think that's like the, the argument that people are gonna say, Well, everybody has privilege. I got hella privilege. But I'm probably not the best person to speak on that follow like everybody else speak but I'm just saying we're not coming from the thinking that we're not privileged either.
What does it mean? What privileges do I have being a white male that you don't have?
Okay, so I have some really good friends who are white, they came to visit me. Their daughter works at Disney, there's a store called Avenue D or something like that. So we went in there, there are these dresses, and they wanted to try their dresses on but they didn't want to go in the dressing room. So they went over in the corner to put the dresses on. And not only did anything if I was so uncomfortable, because that could never have happened to me. I would have been like me immediately people would have walked over there and would ask me questions, they just would have flanked me. So that's like a tiny little example of white privilege. I was just like, What are you guys doing? What? You can't do that and it was just like, no big deal.
Why couldn't Why couldn't they do it?
Cause I felt I if that were me, I would have felt very uncomfortable. I would have beenimmediately feel like they're watching me. They're thinking I'm stealing. You know,my belief is that people would start to walk over to me and just hang out and see what I'm doing just kind of circling.Because everywhere I go, I'm followed doesn't matter, every store, target my local grocery store, doesn't it does really just doesn't matter,
Hang on, do you all feel that way?
I think one of the best thing I saw, I think there was like a social media meme that came up about white privilege where, you know, it doesn't mean that you've never had like, you know, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or you've never had any issues. It just means that your issues is not a result of the race of the color of your skin. Right. So this is one of the things where you have that privilege of that because, it's not like you've never had anything wrong in your life you could have but if we were to go somewhere like there's going to be privileged that people will see you where, even just we talked about the privilege where you have, you don't have to have that talk with your son right?
You couldn't turn off and not be involved in this conversation or even to listen, for us, we don't have that privilege because our kids are just for ourselves. We don't have the privilege to turn away. So it's not necessarily about the fact that you've never had anything bad happen to you are you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. It's a matter of your whatever you went through your skin, your race. It's not a part of it's not the reason why that happened. That's the white privilege.
Now, I'm going to call on somebody unexpected. I've never met him. I love his girlfriend, Toni's boyfriend, so totally boyfriend. I don't even know your name. So what's your name and speak up? I can't believe I don't know your name. You're just never in the picture. Um, my name is EBISA KEBEDE. I was actually born in Ethiopia. I immigrated here in 2001 with my dad. And Roda was talking about the fact that he didn't feel like a black. He didn't know that meant until he came to America. And as I say, for me and Ethiopia, I mean, there's only so many black people. So I never really understood that until I came to America myself. I mean, I grew up here from a young age. So reading school stuff. I grew up in Schaumburg, Illinois. So suburbs of Chicago, I grew up there most of my life, and I went to like one school there. And mostly everybody in my class was white. It's a predominantly white neighborhood. So I definitely understood that like a lot of my white friends, we just say stuff and I'll be like, Why don't get that like, with the jokes about turning the lights off and smiling and stuff like that. I just, would, I just I just never really understood it completely. Until I got a little bit older. And like, I'm super terrified of getting pulled over because I know what could happen and stuff like that. So just those kind of things like a lot of my friends do not have to worry about stuff like that. When I go in a store, everybody stares at me. It's weird.
Wait, do they stare at you two guys together also?,
Everytime I noticed it a lot like when I'm with Toni, lots of stairs. I mean, if I go on by myself to a store, I remember I went to a Best Buy. And just I was just walking around looking at stuff as a kid, looking at something. And I just noticed two, three of the associates in the store just kind of following me around looking at me and stuff like that. So just little things like that, where I just kind of noticed nobody else has never experienced this stuff. almost on a daily basis. And just kind of that kind of stuff. That's why perfectly Tom again, like I know that a lot of people, everybody goes through things and then we go to this little subtlety those are the things that you know that I want to make aware to everybody and I'm really, I'm really glad that everybody like I see a lot of people online talking about it. And just kind of making it aware to other people because a lot of people don't really know about that. And,now that we're bringing awareness to everybody, I love that I just want everybody to be more aware of the thoughts that they have.When you see a black person and just not go through a certain thought, and just look at it, this is a person and that's it. No stereotypes attached to it. Just a person. That's what I want people to see. I don't want, I don't want people and it's from the young age receiving TV shows. I mean, I look back at stuff that I watch now. And I'm like, Man, it's crazy. How the little subtleties of African American people of color are showing up like a darker way. Stuff like that. Just little things you don't even notice but it just attaches like a little. It just goes into your muscle memory subliminal subliminally, hands up. And like it just it's always there. You have no idea but just those little things I would love for eventually in the future, those things and movies and stuff to go away and just portray it. We want it to be cool. And not, you know, in the ways that portray it now. So again, like being a black man, again, like that's such a weird thing to say because I never looked at myself as a black man. I came to this country.My parents were immigrants, you know, and they didn't really understand it as much as well. So growing up, to try to shelter me a lot trying to keep me away from a lot of things. And just because then they were very afraid of what could happen. So I definitely understand that and that's what you know, a lot of white parents don't have to do that. Because, you know, they're not put in a situation because of the color of your skin. So I just, I would love to know, for people to look at people as people and not attach a bunch of stereotypes to people because of the color of the skin. Black, white, Asian, it doesn't matter. I just everybody, as you look at the person, and that's, you know,
Thanks for having me, sir Jim.
Yeah, Carlos, nice to meet you.
It would be really helpful, I hope to everyone that's listening, especially all of our white folks here. So two things I put a lot of thought into this.
So we're going to keep on going. We've got more questions, so we're going to keep on going. So go ahead.
Okay. So just two things that I feel like I think that questions coming up if we had a lot of similar questions, I saw that. But two things that I think that will be very powerful that white people can do right now, the first thing I think is, you need to really learn about yourself and become aware of your own stories. I mean, this goes back to like, Jim Fortin and everything we're learning in TCP, but really, like, understand yourself, become aware of your stories. Where are some of these thoughts and stories coming from I know, we had someone I forgot her name, who kind of shared that her her fear for black men in the group. And I thought that was really powerful, because now she's becoming more aware. And now she's realizing that these are stories, right? So I think really learning about yourself and becoming self aware and understanding like where are these perceptions and interpretations and thoughts and identities, all these things that come together? Where are they coming from? Because I think once you become aware, you realize, Oh, these are just all things that I've learned. It's not actually something that I believe in.That's the first thing and then the other thing I think, also is you know, I think we have a lot of people here that are business owners and people that have might have influence and power so one of the biggest things right now with people of color and black people is there's a huge economic disparity right in our country and so if you're in a position of power and you are you have the ability to like hire someone who is a person of color or a black person, I think that's really important as well so that that's just something that I thought, oh, that could be really helpful. Obviously, you want the person to be qualified but I think that's really importantly I could share a good example right now. So there is a tech group. There's a tech company that my friend is Pardo, right? She works for she was a career coach for called outCo. and a thing that they did, which I'm just so inspired by them is that the founders of 3 white men founders, they actually decided to step down and let all of the people of color that were coaches step step up in their position, they decided to do that as a way to expand the mission because they want to reach more people all right. But also because of everything that's kind of happening as a standard. Hopefully that can be a thing that other people will follow. But I think as far as like, career and like, what can you really do, especially if you're someone that has power and privilege, please, please consider hiring people of color and black people and really, really helping them get into that leadership role, because I really think that's what's gonna help. That's one of the things that's gonna help them move the needle forward.
So I don't know if you remember last year, Jim, on what I think was my first Hot Seat call with you, I brought up my name, right.And if any of you guys have listened to the podcast, I referred to the issue that I had with my name. And what a lot of you don't realize is that I actually did change my name. So I didn't change my first name, but I changed my last name. And I think you know, particularly in when you start a business that is your name, and where you are front and center. And you don't very often see people front and center inside their businesses, they'll hide behind a corporate name. They'll hide behind stock images. And there's a reason for that. And for many years, I was a very successful business owner, until I decided to go into the online marketing world. And I all of a sudden came face to face with having to put my brown face and my name the Niduk WIJAYASINGHA , as you know, the name of the business. And a lot of people a lot of my white friends were like, oh, but it's just your name. Beethoven didn't have to change his name. Right. And these were the sorts of conversations that I was having. And I think it's important to recognize that, you know, the types of work that we have to do for people of color is we have to go that extra mile to understand how we're going to how we're going to be able to be successful in the world, right. And so when I decided to change my last name to D'Souza, it's still an ethnic name. But it's more anglicised, I hope you understand them when I say them, it's more anglicised in that context.Right. So, you know, that process came about because I had sent out 10 emails to organizations that work with vulnerable populations in the not for profit sector for the record. And not a single person responded to me. And when I followed up with with a phone call, the feedback that I got back was, oh, you sound like me? Oh,you know, I thought it was a scam. And, and so when you hear these things coming back at you, you realize that your barrier to entry sometimes is just your name showing up in someone's inbox. Right? And so if you can't even get them to open up an email,what is the next thing that you do? Right? So I think, you know, it's, it's well said and done to, like, you know, these are tactics you can use, but when you go back to revisit those stories, because we all know these are stories and you helped me get over that, right, because that's also part of the work as I forget, who said it on this call earlier, you know, we're here to be successful. That's why we come into these programs and very often that's why we're also kind of quiet right? It's because we're trying to figure out how to be successful in a world that is white and to you know, the the points the gentlemen and also Sandra, you know, I didn't grow up in North America, I grew up in an Asia where I wasn't, I wasn't a minority. And so when you start to be very visibly treated differently, and having lived in the US, Canada and in the UK, it's, you know, it's it's subtly different, but it's, but it's all there. And so I think, you know, in my experience and having open conversations with friends about this always because I'm very vocal about it, I think it's helpful to understand you know, when you when you do come across even novels written right, as sort of an entry point to think about picking up different types of content so that names themselves are not familiar. And you know, you can throw this back to World War II when a lot of Jews immigrated to North America. A lot of them change their names. right.And so it still happens to this day. It happens a lot in, in Chinese, Asian communities. It happens a lot in Indian communities. It happens a lot in, you know, African communities as well. So these are also some of the steps that we take to try and I don't want to use the word assimilate, but in many ways, you know, gain entry to be able to just have one less barrier to deal with.
Yeah, thank you for that. I want a couple more questions here. Speaking of names, any of you guys know that Ralph Lauren, his name is Lipschitz is his last one of the unfortunate last name, but it's not Ralph Lauren. It's Rob Lipschitz. So see how far that gets him. Okay, so people are asking, what's the proper might be different for all of you? What's the proper term is are you black? Are you people of color are you What what? What might be different for all of you? What'sTake the question. You guys know what it is
Sandra, black,people of color, African American what?
I am, I am black. And I think that this is an important thing as well for you to differentiate because black covers many people from many origins. So I'm from Africa, and Zimbabwe specifically because Africa is a continent. Zimbabwe is the country. Just so y'all know. And I think and please might, my sisters from the United States, correct me. I think that when African American came in, was I read that there was something that happened in the 90s, where a movement led by Jesse Jackson was trying to shift the focus from race to ethnicity. So that's where African American came in. But if I've asked the question, anybody with my skin complexion, generally, it will identify as black, but not all. Not all African Americans. How would I say No, not all black people are African American but all African Americans are black.
You're not offended by that term is what I'm asking you to so far. Okay? The rest of you.
I want to say something. So I identify myself as a person of color. But I just wanted to let you all know I had an incident where I was in high school so this was a long time ago. I had a white supervisor and she was filling out my like my demographic like all that information out I don't know why she was filling it out. I when I'm think back, I'm like, what, why was she anyways? So she was filling it out. And she just without asking me just put black and I saw it and I was like, really confused. I mean, at that time, I didn't say anything. Why? Because I was like in high school. What do I say to her? This white woman who's like by like, supervisor supervisor. So, um, but I just thought that was really interesting that she didn't even like think to ask she just assume that Oh, I'm a person of color than she must be black. So to answer your question, not every person of color identifies them as black as well.
So we'll finish up there. And then I got one more question So Nazima
What are we calling? Yeah.
I'm black. I'm from Oakland. My dad was a Black Panther. But I think, but if you call my grandfather black, it will knock you smooth out. But he's from Texas, you know, yo, yo state. And he was, raised differently. So, it's different for everybody. I think just like, you know, we have the whole sex. What do you what gender identity you want to be called? I think it's different for everybody.
We're in a very ignorant world, guys. We're literally let's go spiritually. We're in a very ignorant world that we live in. And, you know, we're not just fighting racism. We're fighting ignorance. And there's an amount of ignorance in the world that we live in and ignorance about anything. And there are people and I live, I'm in Texas this week, no matter what you do, no matter what you do, they'll never hear you. It doesn't matter what you do, they'll never hear you. And I think that's just a matter of our evolution as a species. We're a baby species, we really are, look what we did to our planet. The way that I look at it. There's a book called The movie called Contact. And Jodie Foster meets her father, when she leaves and she goes somewhere. And she says, Why am I meeting you this way? and her father says, I don't know why you're there in a different world. And her father says, I don't know why you're meeting me this way. But this is the way that it's always been done, and we will be done for now. And that's the way that I recognize on the planet, nothing changes overnight, but it's a it's a progress and things have to progress and people have to grow. And the more of us than wake up, and I'm learning today, the more of us that wake up the more mistakes grow, the more we can change our frequency and the more we can change our planet, our planet, and I'm not gonna say much more. But Don Javier has always said all this hate comes from ignorance. If there was ignorance, you wouldn't have the hate. All right, the rest of you on the panel, you beautiful black people, each one of you have a closing statement.
So something that I've been doing that I think really helps, is,especially like, when I'm at a store, or I'm out in public, I always find something nice or something, something to compliment somebody on that's white or that doesn't look like me. Because that busted stereotype right there. That was their prejudice right there because they're like, oh, man, I didn't know. And I feel like that gives them the power to do that. For somebody that looks like me, you know, I'm saying you kind of spread so what I try to do is just give a compliment or you just say hi or have a conversation with somebody that's white.Or that doesn't look like you because then you know that gives them the power to get the confidence from you will talk to somebody that looks like you because that was the stereotypes or whatever stereotype or prejudice that they had in their head prior to me talking to them. So, you know, just going out there and you know, showing love to everybody on me, or just going on my way to talk to somebody or give them a compliment shows that just gives them a different view of people that look like me, you know, because a lot of times you will experience something and then just, you know, base it on everybody looks like that does that. So I love you know, just busting people's stereotypes and changing the view that they have in their head about other people because, you know, you do that, so why don't you do that? And then eventually it comes around, they're gonna do that somebody else. And slowly.
Exactly. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, we got a couple of more left Uchechi final comments.
First of all, my only comment would just be like, first of all, thank you so much, Tim, for this dialogue. And thank you for everybody that are here that joined in for this conversation, to hear and listen and to reflect. So honestly, I applaud you guys all for being here because it shows, you know, it's one of those things where I said, You know, I, you see me You hear me what we have to say matter. So everybody being here in this dialog showing that, like, what we're feeling I'm have gone through this whole time really matters and I think my final thing would just be like, just embrace us for who we are, right? just embrace that. And even just there's a lot of entrepreneurs here, you know, when you do your blog post, maybe put in find some people of color that you can add as well to it, right, cause I know for me growing up, I mean, all that I saw in the media was Oprah right? And it was like, that was it. So even just like your regular blog posts or social media, ad work is when I only see people of colors ones, are those business owners of color. So we're representing like, it would be so great to have that as well. So that way, it's not this something that's different, right? Just it's just a little things. It's just like those little things so that we show that you're embracing and you're doing that as well. So yeah, that's just definitely one thing. I want to share them even just to just don't deny the existence, of what again, it may be interpretation of stories but to be able to shift somebody, meet them where they're at, build that rapport, and that comes from saying you're safe with me, I hear you. Okay, then maybe shift right. But that's something that I think that it's important. So thank you again for this opportunity,
everybody that's here,
Again, like, I am so grateful for this community. Like I said, I have always been one of few. I'm in higher education and anything that I do to build my business and so and like to feel like I have a voice and that I'm heard and that I matter is super important. And I, I really want to thank you and just everybody who's here listening, because like I said, you being open to just hearing, even if you don't agree with anything for you being open to just hearing it.The first step to change or the first step to addressing a problem and even if you don't, you don't have to fight my fight. I'm down for fighting for myself all day long. But, but knowing that we are acknowledged and knowing that there are so many people here that are genuinely open to just hearing us, means the world to me, so I appreciate all of you guys.
Appreciate you too.
Just like my other brothers and sisters. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. For the first time in my life. I feel hopeful that we can make a huge drastic change. I did a post about 10 days ago. It was kind of tongue in cheek I said, this is your black ask your black friend Q & A day and the number of comments. I got from people who really wanted to use your voice, use their power in a positive way really blew my mind. And so, like I said to you, Jim, change is messy, but I'm up for the fight. And I really feel like this is a really positive change. I just want to say thank you.
So Jim, again, thank you for putting this together, you and your team. And thanks to everyone for being here. I think my final words is just to appreciate that everyone has different experiences of life, different backgrounds, so not everyone is going to be like you. So just be aware of that and just be kind to one another. If we can do that, then we can start to see some real change.
Thank you. And Sandra.
Yeah, I echo what's already been said that I'm so grateful to this community for your willingness to hear us I think that's so important for for so many of us, but frustration comes from not feeling heard. And I want to share as well what I was I was brought up unlike maybe Ron, or I'm sorry, I forgot your name Toni's significant other. I was raised in Africa. But I was born in a country at a time where it was a segregated country. So in the Constitution of my country, it told me that because I was a little black girl, that I was less than, and something that my father always emphasized to me was be excellent, be so good, that they can't ignore you. And I know Oprah has something similar where she says that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism. And I also realize that we in this community, and I'm so proud of you, my my brothers and sisters of color, black, that we have conducted ourselves so well in this community that we've not brought our drama into here because what I recognize as well as for many of the people in this group, this is your first real interaction with black people in your communities in your circles, you don't have many black friends. And so I recognize that I come as one but I stand as 10,000 I represent all those who went before me, I represent all those that you will interact with. And so I have to carry myself in that way. So I thank you are for hearing us and I thank you for the change that I know you will make from hearing us.
Thank all of you, every single one of you here. Thank you so so so much, Michelle. you can stop crying now. Now that we're done. So thank all of you, everyone. Have an amazing day. We'll catch you on the next TCP and in the group and I'm so grateful to know all of you guys and we are making a difference together. Alright guys, I'll see you later. Okay. Bye. Bye, guys. Thank you again, all of you.
Thank you for listening to this entire podcast. If you're the kind of person who likes to help others, then share this with your friends and family. You know, if you found value, they will too so people please share via your social media channels. Also, if you have questions, I'm here to assist. You can email me questions to email@example.comAnd I may even use your question for a future podcast episode. Also, if you want transformational content like this daily, connect with me on Instagram, my Instagram name is @iamjimfortin. Finally I do have a personal request. I believe that we're all here to help others and to grow and evolve ourselves. together, you and I, let's help more people. If you would, please leave a review on iTunes, and a good one by the way. I'd be grateful and through your assistance together, we can transform more lives. Thanks for listening.