Nov 30, 2020
We're going to tackle topics that are hidden in the crevices, that are a lot of times filled with shame and no one wants to talk about. But in order for us to get to where we need to get to and to heal from those pains and traumas, we are going to cover those topics and this being our first film, we couldn't be more pleased
Their film features candid, compelling stories from Black workers across a range of industries telling their working while Black stories. Both Cedrick and Tosca hope that it resonates powerfully.
I would have to say, To Be Us, To work the movie, the film that we did was made to help liberate and to heal. Tosca and I always talk about the healing element of To Be Us: To Work and that we knew we made this movie specifically for Black people.
We know that everybody is going to see the film and take away from it what they want to take away from it of all different ethnicities and races. But we also know that this film specifically was made for us, was made for black folks to be liberated and say, I can identify with what is going on here. I didn't know what microaggression meant. I didn't know that this is what it's called.
And and we believe, like Tosca says, in naming things. And once you're able to name things and pull the scab back, that is when the true healing begins.
And so the authenticity of the storytellers in the film, which at some point we hope everybody gets to see the film because we're currently in film festival mode right now and it's not in distribution and we're looking for a distribution deal.
You know, that that was the the crux and the intent of making this film. And as we move forward, To Be Us Productions, that is the. The force behind what we do is that we're going to tackle topics that are hidden in the crevices, that are a lot of times filled with shame and no one wants to talk about. But in order for us to get to where we need to get to.
And to heal from those pains and traumas, we are going to cover those topics and this being our first film, we couldn't be more pleased about the outcome. We couldn't be more pleased about the storytellers and the courage that they had in telling the stories.
But there was a particular challenge to carrying all of these stories.
Early on, I would have to go out and talk to people and get their stories, write them down. And then, as you can imagine, the next weekend I went out and talked to people. I would kind of regurgitate some of the other stories so they could understand what I was talking about. And then the next weekend, I was telling some of those stories. Right. So invariably what was happening to me was, you know, even when we were having our business meetings with To Be Us Productions, you know, putting our production schedules together to map out how we're going to make this happen and so forth, I was becoming very irritable.
I was, no, not becoming, I was irritable. I was I was depressed at sometimes. I was very on edge. And I literally had to tell Tosca one day. I think I probably called her late one night. It was like, "Hey, Tosca, you know what it is?
I have internalized these stories." I had nowhere to diffuse them, so as you can imagine, I had these 40 stories that I had inside of me that were angering that you just sat there and you said, how could somebody be that cool to somebody?
And one one story, this the guy in particular was there's a young lady who told me the story of she had changed her hair. She had made it instead of, it was straight, it was curly. But maybe she wore natural that day.
And she's on an elevator getting ready, going to work.
And there's a white co-worker that's with her get ready to go into the office with her. And the white co-worker goes up to her and grabs her hair and starts touching the hair. Literally, this is what happened to her.
And she's said, hey, look, don't touch my hair. What are you doing? You know, like, no, don't touch it. Oh, it's not a big deal. I just wanted to kind of see how I felt it. I like your hair and you just tell me you like it, but don't touch it. You have to touch my hair. So she works throughout the day. She gets a call from the manager, said, I need to see you in my office.
The Black woman gets a call from the manager saying, I need to see in the office. She goes into the office. The manager says to her, "Hey, look, I heard you got into a little altercation with X white person that was touching her hair, like, she didn't really like the tone that you used, you know, maybe." And so do you hear that?
So she had hurt. That's dang near an salt. You touching my hair without my permission. She tells them not to touch my hair. And she's the one that got reprimanded for by the manager because of her tone of telling her not to touch my hair.
OK, I mean, I was blown away by that
another story was a young lady who had a degree from an Ivy League type school undergrad, who had an MBA from a Power five conference school.
And she was a director at a at a job where she was co-director with another white man.
So it was a public institution where you can see the salaries of the salaries come out and she sees on the email she's making thirty thousand dollars less than the white male in the same position.
All right, she's been working it for years, that's a difference of three thousand dollars in ten years, that's a significant amount of dollars, whether it's private school or maybe we get a second home or, you know, saving for college or whatever have the money to use. That's three hundred thousand dollars.
The interesting thing about it was she thought she could go straight to her boss and say, hey, look, we need to rectify this.
This is ridiculous. I'm in the same position. I should get this at least equivalent money or even more. We need to correct this. And the boss says, "No, we're not gonna do that. And the boss will have to be a woman, a white woman. She says, OK, I got to go up above you. She goes in thinking, OK, I'm going to HR, is going to get taken care of. It doesn't get taken care of.
She had to threaten to go to EEOC. ABC did ask you to threaten to get a lawyer, then they they finally brought her salary up to here is the new salaries come out on the email. He's making four thousand dollars more than she is and she has to start the whole cycle again.
The caveat to this is, is that the white man didn't even have an undergraduate degree from college.
He had graduated high school. So she had an MBA from a Power 5 conference, undergrad degree from from an Ivy League type university, and she's making still less money than he was making.
Not to overuse the word exhaustion, but just the, having to keep asking is, is this habit like is this habit, that person I think they're treating me that. I think that that would be denied to someone else and like, am I not getting invited here? Or is that specific in
That sense of like the mental reprocessing that has to go on as a subtext all the time? I mean, I just imagine it's that much less attention to give to all the other things in life that we want to demand attention if you're having to constantly run that tape.
And yeah, I just that was something that I perceived as well. I'm like, that's that's just must take so much energy that could be, you know, doing all the other things in life to have to be processing at that level.
Right. And I want that.
I don't think you can overuse the word exhaustion, but if you hit that, you hit it because because we do have less time than white people. We have less money than white people. We have less power than white people. We have less everything than white people. We, we have, you know, the health disparities, the wealth disparity is all because of white supremacy. You know, there could be a there could be in a house that the exact same house, a street away.
What is the black neighborhood? What is it, a white neighborhood and what is worth, quote unquote, two hundred fifty thousand dollars. The other one worth five thousand dollars. That's a disparity in wealth. Just awful white supremacy alone.
Just because white is normal, just because there is there's the assumption that white people are supreme or that they are smarter or they're cleaner or they're the best. That is a difference in two of fifty thousand dollars in wealth.
Everything about living under white supremacy is exhausting and takes away from our we don't ever have pure experiences, we just don't I can't even imagine literally and I have a I have an awesome imagination. I can't imagine what it feels like not to have to wonder if you didn't get something or if you did achieve something or something happen to you because of the color of your skin.
Like what does that even feel like? I've never just in my forty six years, I've never just had pure joy, even even doing something that I love to do, which is, you know, we talked about the top of the hour is watch TV and and watch movies when most of the movies are still white centered and a lot of them have micro aggressions and, you know, jokes that are that are racist even a2020, even as we progress, even though many of the shows I watch are definitely different than the shows I watch in the 70s and 80s and 90s.
But even watching TV, white people are centered.
No matter where I go, white people are centered. Even if I want to move to another country or a city, I have to do research on that neighborhood to see how anti-Black they are, that if they are antiblack, how antiblack they are, and how does it feel to see a house that you want to move to in butt-fuck Wisconsin and as a white person, not have to do research to see if they don't like white people.
That's just not going to happen. But I have to do that any time I move the whether what neighborhood I moved to where if I want to work somewhere, I do research on. What's the scale, do they hate black people this much or this much so that
It definitely takes a toll on you? Because it is it is part of everyday life for me, even if I'm sitting at my home looking at TV.
And. That's that's powerful and well-spoken, and I I can imagine that there's a perspective that you have encountered and you've spoken some to it, that sounds like this.
Is this all just in your head? I mean, haven't we passed the laws? Haven't we had a Black president? Why are you still making a big deal out of it? After all, America is a place where you can be anything you want to be if you just try hard enough.
Cedric, how does that sort of a statement sit with you?
You like for it to be that way of life or for us to have Utopia? But that's not the case. That's that's just typically that is just absolutely not the case. The disparities that are there show it. I mean, I'm about data. You know, we have health disparities. I do a lot of research around health disparities, do a lot of reading around health disparities. And these are actual impactful numbers. We're dealing with COVID-19. We're seeing black and brown communities that are being devastated by this disease.
And there are reasons for that. And a lot of those reasons are based off a systemic oppression, the systemic racism, period. That is the number one factor. You know, when you look at Barack Obama gets elected president, doesn't mean white supremacy goes away.
In fact, you know, even in our film, we have instances where, you know, even the groups that that are oppressed, if you will, even the groups that are affected by the systemic racism sometimes take on the characteristics of the group that oppresses them.
So you even have Black people in positions or Brown people in positions that propagate or are the gatekeepers for white supremacy.
You know, even in our film, I think we have one young lady that was like, you know, I went to this one person.
I looked for it for empathy from this person who was like me thinking that, like, I can find and embrace something with them and they will understand what's going on. And even at that person is not able to give them the empathy that they wanted at that moment. And I have other reasons why that person may not have been as empathic as that person wanted. It may have been the ten thousand the ten thousand story that that person had to deal with when they're working there for 40 years as a mentor and they're just tired that day, it's all about blame them.
And so when I hear this, you know, "You can be all you want to be," there's so many instances where, like Tosca says, you know, the margins are very tight. The risk is greater. My one hundred thousand dollars is not the same as on a thousand dollars as a white board. It just isn't. You know, I got to pay for Big Mama's medication.
Sometimes I help a brother pay his rent, you know, or I help a cousin out who's not as well off as I am.
So it's not like I'm taking my whole one hundred thousand dollars home with me. It just doesn't work that way. And in a lot of Black families it it not that way.
When you're looking at disparities of wealth where the average net worth, depending on what labor statistic you're looking at, is anywhere from nine thousand dollars to, I think, the latest labor statistic may be seventeen thousand dollars for the average net worth of a black family versus one hundred twenty two to one hundred eighty thousand dollars for white family. We're talking upwards of ten times, sometimes twelve times more in net worth.
That is a huge, impactful disparity.
You know, to I remember when I sold my house, I live in a very nice neighborhood here in Houston. And I remember when I sold it, I remember one of my neighbors that I've been neighbors with for eight years. Pretty cool guy, you know, seemed like pretty cool. I remember when he saw that I sold my HOUSE for a pretty, pretty good lake and he said he looks at me and he goes, "So Cedric who bought the house? Were they Black or white?"
I he literally asked this question to me, not thinking. I'm cool with this dude. I'm like, where does that come from? Like, that's the question you're asking me on a block away from my house, too.
And so when we throw out these, you know, everybody's equal and all is great and all is good and you can achieve the American dream list.
This is not the same. The pathway is not the same. You know, oppression hurts. Systemic oppression has impact. The data is clear. And from health to economic disparities. Go ahead, Tosca.
I'm sorry, obviously to say and not to mention the five hundred year head start, like I, I,
I am offended when someone says bootstraps or, you know, you can make it if I can make it. Are you, whiteness alone is a privilege. So you know, the poorest white person has privilege, which is we have evidence based on how they vote. So many people talk about, well, white, poor people, they are always voted against their interests.
No, they're not. They're voting for whiteness. It is a privilege to be white. That's why every century or so white people let and other rules, you know, the Irish, they weren't always white. The Greeks weren't always white. The Poilish weren't always white. But every so often they let people into the club and they become white. So that is a privilege to be white.
And if you've had a three hundred, four hundred, five hundred year head start I really don't want to hear about, we're even an even playing field,
because even, even if we had the same amount of wealth, even if we had the say the best health, you're still white, you're still going to have the privilege over me.
You're still going to get into clubs I'm not going to be able to get into. You're still you're still not going to use a lot of your mental energy trying to figure out, is it because a black is because I'm black? Is it because I'm black?
I would if I didn't get this because I'm black. Maybe I should change my name on my resume. Should I take Tyrone off and put Dan? I mean, what should I do? These are things that we have to do all of the time.
So I'm very offended when anybody feels as though, you know, we are only saying I want equal ground when there are Jim Crow laws there. Redlining, there's voter suppression. I mean, it is it is is offensive.
I mean, I'm angry thinking about it right now.
So for yourself, within the stories that you've collected that are particularly unhelpful as you for for people from a white majority culture as they interact with black people in the workplace, they would say, hey, don't do this. It's really stupid and offensive. Feel free to start wherever you want.
I'm just here thinking about that question, because there's it's not that there's it's not that I don't have an answer is that I have too many answers on.
I think. This is you know what, this is one I don't think a lot of people think about, I, I would like for white people to understand that many times, not most. Not all the time, but many times black people don't trust you enough to be your friends outside of work.
They have information about their private lives and their personal lives have been used against them before. And also, it's very hard to trust the oppressor, just just generally speaking, is very hard to trust the majority culture.
So many times black people are penalized for not going to happy hour or sitting at lunch. Understand that we have a limited amount of time or we could just be ourselves and not perform.
And so, you know, I don't think it matters if you take it personally, but it's not a personal thing. It is a security thing is a safety thing. We don't feel safe being vulnerable with you. And I don't even think we have to go into the reasons why.
I just know that it is unhelpful to assume that someone wants to be your friend and to be friendly. You may have a carefree life where you don't have to think about the oppressive systems, but black people don't have that. And we definitely don't have time to sit with you at lunch if we don't like you or go to happy hour or play golf with you on the weekends. Our weekends and our evenings are our time not to be in an oppressive system.
That that is the main thing I want to tell white people.
Yeah, and I would add to that that, you know, you were saying some like don't do is more like me. Tell them what you need to do. You know, there's a there's a large amount of healing.
I think white people need to do, you know, when it comes to racism, when it comes to the history of this country, if you're you know, we talk a lot about doing these diversity and inclusion classes that are supposed to kind of help, you know, equalize everything and help us understand each other better and deal with unconscious bias.
But and a lot of instances, Black folks got to deal with conscious bias, you know, and so let's deal with that first.
I mean, we know that unconscious bias exists. You know, we know that there is sexism and we know there are some other isms that we have to deal with. Yes.
But to think that in these diversity and inclusion classes that we come into it, you know, equally afoot in the same way is naive and one in which if at some point in your lifetime you're not trying to get a better understanding of the impacts of chattel slavery had on this country and had on Black people, what red redlining had, what what black codes were about, vagrancy laws that were put in place after emancipation of slaves, understanding Jim Crow and what happened. If you're not put in the work to try to understand that and understanding white fragility, then, you know, hey, you can take it someplace else.
There's resources like on the Internet, in video and book and article form. Like I, I think it is worth noting as people are receiving that challenge, it's like, you don't have to feel like there's not a place to start. There, there are actually some very good scholars, activists, artists that have put together some great stuff. And it's not like buried deep in Google. You can just start looking.
There is a there is a very good book that that talks about kind of like redlining, talks about the history of Section eight housing and how it was created. And it wasn't just a black thing. You know, now we look at Section eight, like as a Black problem, like this is not what it was for.
It's called The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. Very good book. I highly recommend it. There are some other books out there, White Fragility and so forth. But that's about the kind of shows you systemically how policies, specific policies were made against Black people. Specifically and the impact that it has very matter of fact book, but very well researched and I highly recommend.
It makes me think of a statement that I have seen in the mix, which, you know, has an aspect of like America is functioning the way it was designed to function. I mean, it's it's not just by happenstance, like there were actual, very purposeful, interest groups and, you know, mortgage associations and bank cabals and like, it's functioning the way it was meant to. Like that, that was not just how it happened.
What are things from white people that you know, that have made you feel most seen and heard
that you would say, OK, these are these are things not true. And Cedrick, you touched on this some, but on the positive side to say, you know, these these are things that were important to me that I received from white people in my life.
I have very few white people in my life, and the white people who are in my life now are very anti-racist, very progressive. They understand that they must give up power. It is not so, you know, we tell people to read and do things like that, but you have to be active.
And so actively giving up power looks like giving up leadership roles, giving, giving the mic to someone else, not centering yourself at all, not being involved at all. And
the number one thing I would that makes me comfortable that I've seen white people do is to give money directly to black women. OK, so one of the things that that bothers me is the performance of white people when they are performing woke or performing anti-racism. If you're not giving money directly to Black people, then you are not woke. You need to give money to Black trans women and Black women. That makes me comfortable because when Black women and Black trans women get everything they need, the world is all in. And when I say Black, I mean we're talking about the United States, then we're talking about African-Americans. But if you're talking about on any continent in the world, on the world, the darker skinned people, if you're taking care of, if those people, are well cared for.
They have everything they need, then the whole world has everything they need. And so that is what white people need to do. They need to give up resources, give up power, give up the mike, give up leadership. That is the only way that we are going to make a more equitable world.
And and to add to that, kind of make an analogy, I am, yes, a Black person, but I'm also a Black male.
And with that, I know there privileges in this patriarchal, hetero normative, patriarchal, ladened society where everybody views everything from their certain privileges I have as a man.
So if I am going to request that those who are of the oppressive group, which men are oppressors to women, which I am a part of that group, then I would have to say that some of the practices that I have had to put in place that I've been called on, that I have been shown that, no, no, this is wrong.
What you did. This is wrong. What you said to to, to Tosca's to tune of saying giving up the might mic and being centered.
I've been centered so much as a six four black male in certain settings to where people thought that, oh, let me just go ask the doctor over here, this tall and handsome, the answer to this question. And I have no idea what the answer was, but this black woman to the left of me knows all the answers. And you should be asking her, so what does someone do in that position? I say the mic needs to go here and you need to center her.
This black woman who knows the answers to these questions and who has more knowledge about this. You just assumed it because I was male
I want to share just one way that I have seen Cedrick share the mic. When I posted the first installment of this podcast, I wrote about “Cedrick Smith and Tosca Davis”, listing Cedrick first on my LinkedIn notification. He sent me a kind email that strongly (and kindly) requested that I reorder the names. He wrote, “we are intentional about tosca (woman) always being placed before me (privileged man)”. Big themes are communicated through a series of small but meaningful gestures, like this one.
Having an awareness of that privilege. As a white person is one of the first steps, and I'm trying to make it analogous in that way from being a man and being more aware of, like, let me not center myself. Let me move to the side. Let me empower somebody. Let me go in my pocketbook and give some money to some Black women who I know are out here doing some things that are going to change this world for the better.
That's what I do. And so that's what the charges would be for white folks. To do that, you need to give up that power, like Tosca says, and decenter to yourself, you know, and we'll be more effective in that in that matter.
It's going to feel odd, because you are brought up in a system and this is what Tosca talks about all the time, is that we are unlearning.
And believe me, once you unlearn a lot of things and have a vigilance to do so, because we're not perfect, we still make mistakes, I still make mistakes and have to say, oh, you know what? And I wasn't as vigilant about that. I need to I need to correct that. And having that that self-awareness and working on it can make things better.
I know that people are listening and they're like, how do I give money to black women? I can definitely send you some grassroot organizations because, again, the the biggest organizations are typically not giving money directly to the people on the ground. So in order to make change, we have to have community. We have to have grassroots organizations who are doing activism or doing social justice work.
And that's typically not your big name, nonprofits that you're where where the CEO is making a million dollars or half a million dollars. So I always send your money directly to the bottom line, and that is how we make a more equitable world. And I'll I'll get some resources out. And you can start from there.
Yeah, we will link those in the show notes.
Thank you. Thank you both for taking time to Put just words and voice to that, a question that arose as I was listening was, I feel in white America that that there can be this interpretation of having Black people in your workforce, that it is either, it can tend towards tokenism of like, well, we need to do it because it's the right thing to do, tinged with an aspect of a fear-based crouch of like we don't want to screw this up.
We know what a hot topic right now. We don't. And it can it can be the sense of, you know, we can vacillate between these extremes of like, well, you're here because we need to, but we're super scared of getting it wrong.
I would love it if you would both speak to the positive side of that equation.
What would you say our workforce's, our communities are missing out on by not allowing black people to flourish and just, you know, not have to be made small.
I would, first of all, let me respond to getting it wrong, if that that is that's the discomfort, that is something you're just going to have to deal with. You have to deal with making mistakes and feeling uncomfortable.
But how you handle that, that is being vulnerable is that I think I made a mistake. I apologize. I will, I will do better. And not relying on that person to teach you , you know, don't ask for labor that you're not going to pay for.
So I definitely want to speak to that. Is that your discomfort is something that you need to get used to.
If you are comfortable white person, you are doing things very, very wrong. OK, you will probably need to be uncomfortable for the rest of your life
to answer your question on what you're missing out on, what you're missing out on by not engaging black folks. You are missing out on a a world, a world that you can't even imagine.
You you may or may not notice that there is a large group of black people who are in the helping field. Black people are typically in the human resources field because we have been socialized to think about other people. We have no choice. That's the only way we get to civil rights. That's the only way we get through slavery. We could not be individualistic. We have to think about other people. So I think that's what I think that's the main thing you're missing.
Of course, you're missing imagination. You're missing all types of solutions to problems because you're not asking the right people that goes without saying.
But but holistically. You're missing out on this wonderful world where we are not destroying the earth. Well, we are not using terrorists to pull these neighborhoods where we are using community as the the basis for everything we need for education, for teaching, teaching people. Some people may say punitive or punishment, but imagine a world without police.
I guarantee you, if you put enough black people together to make decisions, at some point you're going to see that you don't need police because the police are always in our neighborhood. If they're not in your neighborhood, they're in our neighborhood. Let us get together and I guarantee you will find a way to bring down crime, which we know why we have crime, poverty. And so if we get rid of poverty, we'll have less crime. Right.
So I think that's what you're missing by not employing black people is you'll find out how how we'll make this world more equitable.
Mm. And on a more, you know. On a more acute level, I guess, in in this capitalistic world that we do live in. You know, I got to go to a job tomorrow that is rooted in capitalism.
We're starting to see patients as units and you got to see him in 15 minutes each. You know, what you're seeing in these types of settings in this capitalistic world is a creativity that you're losing. I have an instance where I have a buddy in IT, and he talks about how he literally has solutions to some problems that that were happening from an I.T. standpoint in this company. And they were having a big meeting.
And invariably the question goes around and all the supervisors were white guys and they go around and ask, you know, other white guys like, hey, what's the problem there? Like, I don't know what the problem is. I don't know what I don't know what the solution is. I don't know. I don't know.
And if all the white guys don't know what the solution is, they just closed the meeting down and he said there's been so many instances where he had the solution and he just felt like, you know what, if you're not going to ask me, I'm not going to offer it up because you're not validating who I am as a as a human being.
You don't even see my humanity.
You know, you just see me really as an object to be like in the movie we talk about our narrator says, you know, to be surveilled, you know, just to be, you know, surveilled and not even validated as a human being in the setting like a contributor.
So I think a lot of times in corporate America, in any type of setting, I mean, blue collar, the would be even in our movie we have where the guys knew how to fix something in 30 minutes, whereas a lot of guys try to fix it for three hours, some white guys.
And when they fixed it, they were the one that were demonized for fixing that in 30 minutes.
And so acutely in this capitalistic world that we live in right now, you know, you're missing out on creativity that is unparalleled in regard to coming up with solutions that you're tamping out and not allowing to flourish, which would make the environment, the working environment, a better working environment, which would make it a more productive working environment, make it a more creative working environment. And so, yeah, I would say on a on a more acute level, looking at it from that standpoint.
You just missing out.
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I guess I would want people to take away the fact that we are all victims of these systems and that we all have privileges, and I want us to all be super aware of that and that we need to all go an through unlearning. And it will be a lifetime of unlearning.
And I know people aren't going to believe this, but trust me when I tell you this, if you are a straight person, you are very homophobic.
I don't care how you were raised. If you were raised in the United States of America, where straight people are centered and are seen to be valuable, you are homophobic, OK?
If you are, if you have no disabilities, then you're able if you go through your entire day in your life without thinking about how a person in a wheelchair or how someone who has a mental illness, you don't think about how they are going to explore the world, how they're going to engage in the world.
You're not going to think about that at all, as evidenced by how quickly we were able to work out of our houses and how many times a person with a physical disability was told that they can't work from their houses or they can't take classes from their home. But we did it very easily for able bodied people. And so once you realize that you're homophobic, that you're able that you're transphobic, that you're racist, that you're misogynistic, that you're sexist.
If you can't say those things out loud, then you are not going to get anywhere. As a white person, you are absolutely racist. There is no way around that because, because I am a Black person and I happen to have I happen to suffer from internalized racism. I have taken on many of the oppressors behaviors because that culture was centered in my life.
I was taught that culture. I'm embedded in that culture. So I have I have and will spend a lifetime un-learning white supremacy. And I'm a Black person. So if I'm a Black person who has taken on the oppressors behavior, there is no way you escape without being a racist.
OK, I need for white people to stop being ultra offended by being called a racist because you are a racist. I'm a straight cis person. I am very trans-phobic and I'm very homophobic. But guess what I'm doing. I am unpacking all of that. I am I'm learning all of that.
You cannot live in a world that is centered Christian, male, white, able bodied heterosexual CIS people. And not have an “ism” yourself is just not going to happen. So tell yourself, you know, before you are after you listen to his iPod. I am racist and homophobic and transphobic and I am doing my best. I am unlearning. I am listening to people, I am reading, I am giving other people the mic.
I am giving up leadership roles. I am giving up power. If you do not do that, we are not going to move the needle, it is just not going to happen. So I am I am asking you specifically white people to stop being offended when someone call you racist, because you are racist. And if it does, you cannot live in the United States of America and not be racist.
Yeah. And well, and, you know, in the white communities where that I'm a part of that are having these conversations and it's important we need to be having them like not just with black people, but with the other white people, you know, to also have this realization of like the long term commitment of the process and the work and that there will be time like it's heavy stuff, it is heavy stuff to confront. And there will be times where, you know, you'll feel like, oh, man, this is so much.
And it's like know how to care for yourself, know how to go. You know, that's that's an adult thing. That's a differentiator between adults and children, that you can like self soothe and be able to go to bed or take a walk or do some yoga and then like return back to it.
I think I think at times, especially people who begin, they're like, I started and I wanted to learn everything. And then I just got so exhausted and I'm so tired myself and now I can't pick it up again, like with anything.
You know, if you're committed to health, like you don't run, you don't begin running like ten miles. And then when you can't do that four days in a row, say, I'm never going to run again. Like you begin the process and you say I'm committing myself to, like, taking the rest I need and going back.
I totally agree with that, I think because of 2020, there's so many people who are trying to rush and read everything and take these classes, they're going to wear themselves out and they're going to feel like a failure.
Then they're going to go back to the same behavior and they're going to be exhausted, because when you're exhausted, you don't perform well. So I totally agree with you. This is a life, if you don't think it's the lifelong commitment, it's going to it's going to be so overwhelming for you. Again, as a black woman, I know I have a life long commitment to unlearning homophobia. I know this because I know that I'm going to unlearn this for the rest of my life.
So it is a slow process for me. Some weeks I learn more information, some weeks I don't learn any information so or able to behave in a way that is empowering to the LGBTQ community. I am committed to providing resources to the community. And so if you do everything at once, like you said you are, you are going to give up. You're absolutely going to give up. So I totally agree with you on that.
And then kind of piggyback on what Tosca said earlier, I was kind of I didn't mention the word misogyny, but that was the word of the system, that being a male is that I'm a misogynist. And the unlearning of that has been a process.
You know, it doesn't mean I'm this evil person or anything like that. That's not what it is saying, stop being offended by that. It is a fact that I grew up in a system that was was built and designed to be oppressive to women.
That is what Tosca is talking about, that every day or every other day or whatever I can to do and my behavior and and in practice, that I do things and am mindful and intentional about the undoing and unlearning of those misogynistic ways that I have. Not perfect every time, I'm not going to get a quote right every time. But there's an intentionality that says, no, I'm going to do this and behave and change this and do this and do this and do this and be consistent about this.
And as she says, it is lifelong, but I'm definitely better off now than I was 15 years ago. Absolutely.
But and and I'm not done. And it does it doesn't work that way.
And it's nothing it's nothing to sit there and go, oh, well, let me put myself in the back. I've gotten to this point. No, it is still a vigilant, as I say, a hyper vigilance that one must have every day or however the interval is for you that you can tolerate to continue that process.
And you will see the change. You will see it, you'll see the change.
Here are three key take-aways from this second part of my conversation with Tosca Davis and Cedrick Smith.