Simma Lieberman

Episode 50: Everyday Conversations on Race with Damona Hoffman

On this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People,  we talk about racism in Hollywood with  Damona Hoffman. Damona is a dating coach & media personality who starred in two A+E Networks’ TV series: #BlackLove and A Question of Love. She’s a contributor for The Washington Post, CNN Headline News (HLN), Match.com, BET.com, and more. Previously, Damona held creative executive & diversity positions at CBS, Paramount, and NBC Universal. Now, she hosts and produces two podcasts, I Make a Living (by FreshBooks) and Dates & Mates with Damona Hoffman.

Damona talks with me about what it was like growing up Black and Jewish with an African American mother and white Jewish father.

photo of Damona Hoffman, a Black, Jewish woman/ talks racism

Damona Hoffman, Black/Jewish/Biracial woman

Her first awareness and experience with direct racism and hate. was when she was 16 years old. “My friend took me to a party where I was the only Black person. A white guy holding a hockey stick kept pointing at people and asking them their name. When he pointed the stick at me, she said, “N……, Bitch that what we call all of you.”

She felt f threatened- scared, and shocked. When she jumped up and told her friend they had to go, the friend said she was over reacting.

For Damona Hoffman, this was the moment for her that every person of experiences when they know that things will never be the same.  And this is another reason why conversations on race are so crucial because too often, people who are not Black or not people of color do not understand how serious racism is.

Key learning

Those of us who are white need to understand that racism doesn’t go away on its own. If you’re in a situation where you hear a racist statement, see a racist action or witness a person of color being targeted, we have to speak up. We have to intervene. If we claim to be against racism or anti-racist, we need to back up our words with action. If we don’t, we are colluding, and if we say nothing, we are colluding. Silence equals consent. Do not leave it up to the person of color to have to be a lone voice. In those cases, you are either part of the solution you are the problem.

It might be dangerous for a person of color to say something

Damona was lucky she got out, but she wanted the friend to speak out and instead her friend made her feel more unsafe.

Being Black, Jewish, and bi-racial helps her connect with people on many levels. There are also times when she gets excluded.

Listen to the rest of the podcast to hear more from Damona Hoffman

 

  • When she feels included and when she thinks people look at her like she’s an enemy.
  • Issues of colorism in the Black community and how she worked through it
  • Thoughts on internalized racism and oppression
  • How she launched talent diversity programs at NBC and CBS
  • Experience and speaking out against microaggressions in Hollywood
  • About her starring role in “Black Love” on A&E

 

 

 

Episode 49: A Different Kind of Conversation on Race and Racism

 

In this conversation on race,  “Julian on the Radio” talks to me about his experiences and thoughts on race, diversity and being the child of Chinese immigrants. We talk Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the need to continuously build a diverse community.

Julian grew up in the Washington DC  area  amongst people from different cultures, races and ethnicities. His parents were originally from Shanghai and came to the US when they were young. Julian says that most people want to spend time with people who are most like them, but he has thrived by being around diversity of people from different races and cultures.

Although he wasn’t focused on race growing up there were times when he felt different from the other kids in high school. He wanted to be accepted but there times when he was left  out, and felt “less than.” There were times when he just wanted to “fit in,” and asks “doesn’t everyone?” As we go deeper, he talks about the seemingly subtle racism he dealt with, and maybe he was even mad at his family for being from China.  He’s gotten more comfortable with himself, and no longer feels that way. Racism is all around us and Julian talks about how he lives his life.

We continue to talk and the conversation on race gets more introspective.

Julian barely graduated from high school and went on to have a successful career in radio.

Key takeaways:

  • Travel outside the US to open perspectives
  • Julian appreciates being raised in a multi-cultural environment and can’t imagine only being around one culture.
  • No group is a monolith and we all have more than one culture
  • Julian on the Radio offers some advice for young people who are having a hard time accepting who they are, who may be different and feel excluded, and who hear negative messages about their groups
  • Befriend, pick people who will be your real friends
  • Look for people who will support you
  • Listen and absorb podcasts that talk about self-acceptance
  • Have good people around you

We want to show that not everyone from the same culture is the same. We all have multiple identities, that make up our co-cultures. Diversity helps us understand the world around us.

If you like the show and want to hear more conversations on race, go to www.raceconvo.com .  And if you want help us grow, please share it with at least one other person.

To join the race conversation and support Everyday Conversations on Race, go to  www.patreon/raceconvo

 

 

 

 

Episode 44: Conversation on Race, Racism and Mental Health


Gerald Chambers, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Dr. Ronnie Siddique, Psychologist, address issues of mental health in different communities of color and race-related trauma.

Ronnie and Gerald talk about stigmas attached to getting treatment for mental health issues.

There are trust issues of the mental health and medical profession because of historical racist treatment by mental health professions.

Ronnie as a member of the South Asian community and Gerald from the African-American community say that too often they hear people say, “Suck it up. Deal with it yourself.”

Gerald says that in drug treatment research shows that the darker someone’s skin the more severe the diagnosis and the less likely to get effective treatment.

There has been a denial of racism as a factor in trauma and other mental health issues related to race and culture. Intake questionnaires need to include questions about race and cultural experiences.

Therapists need to be trained in cultural intelligent therapy and be able to understand how racism impacts people from early ages physically, mentally and emotionally.

While it’s crucial for therapists and the whole mental health profession to understand historical issues of race, oppression and trauma, the need for help is real. At the same time every mental health issue of a person of color is not necessarily due to racism.

Diversity and inclusion have to be part of the conversation and education of people in the mental health field.

Listen to this episode to hear Dr. Ronnie Siddique and Gerald Chambers break down  the challenges, issues and solutions to provide access to  mental health treatment for low income and people of color.

Bios:

Gerald Chambers
Gerald Chambers is a licensed marriage and family therapist who focuses on interpersonal conflict, domestic violence, substance abuse, and 12-Step recovery. He leads a 52-week domestic violence psycho-education group for court-mandated spousal batterers. and frequently speaks to lawyers, psychologists, social workers, as well as middle and elementary school children. Well known for his innovative strategies to reduce domestic violence, Gerald has been a guest speaker at the Boalt Hall School of Law, Golden Gate University, and various community-based organizations.

Contact info: Gerald B. Chambers, LMFT

510-761-6554

www.geraldchambers.com

View my blog

Dr. Ronnie Siddique

Dr. Siddique is a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who works with clients of

all ages representing a broad range of concerns, from ADHD and learning difficulties to depression and anxiety. She is the founders and owner of Embolden Psychology, her practice, with three locations in the Washington DC area. She specializes in community mental health and advocacy, clinical work and assessment, and writing and blogging about mental health.

For the past 18 years, she has run a weekly community mental health clinic in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She is a consultant for Doctors Without Borders, the Suhki Project, and the Pro Bono Counseling Project, in Washington, DC.

In the summer of 2020, her book about anxiety and young people, Fight/Flight/Flow, will be released.

Contact info: Ronnie Siddique, PhD
Embolden Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist/Neuropsychologist
Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC

https://embolden.world

703-973-6534

https://www.facebook.com/Emboldenpsych/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/embolden_psych/

Episode 41: Does Culture Fit Hiring Promote Racism?


This week on  Everyday Conversations on Race, Simma is joined by Barbara Williams Hardy, former head of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging for a large tech firm, and LeRon Barton a well respected journalist and speaker on the experiences of being a Black man in America. The main theme is Culture Fit Hiring and it’s impact on diversity, equity and inclusion.

They offer their perspectives and answer the questions:

  • Does hiring for “culture fit” promote racism and discrimination?
  • Is it only the responsibility of white people to promote diversity, equity and inclusion?
  • What is the role of Black people and other people of color in culture change and inclusion?

Topics covered include:

  • Culture Fit hiring- friend or foe of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • How we’re all capable or making wrong assumptions
  • Breaking up status-quo hiring and with inclusion
  • Where to find Black computer engineers
  • Asking the right questions to determine whether a statement has racist intent or meaning, and opportunities to educate
  • What recruiters and leaders need to do ensure inclusive hiring, making people feel welcome across difference and supporting their success
  • LeRon, Barb and Simma share songs that represent thoughts about race, racism and bringing people together

Barb Williams Hardy and LeRon Barton

Barbara Williams Hardy is a visionary, innovator, connector, catalyst for change and global citizen of the world. She is an award-winning thought leader with a global mindset and is known as a “Go To” leader who develops high-level relationship alliances that foster inclusion, belonging, collaboration and commitment to align diversity strategies with business objectives to accelerate employee engagement, experience, innovation and organizational success.

Barb grows leaders. She is the former Global Head of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at NetApp, Leadership speaker and the creator of the Barb List, Principles for Achieving Success and Living an Amazing Life.

Barb’s mission is to unlock the untapped brilliance in all of us.


LeRon L. Barton is a writer from Kansas City, Mo that currently resides in San Francisco, Ca. He has been writing poetry, screenplays, and short stories since he was way young. LeRon’s essays have appeared in Salon, The Good Men Project, Eastbay Express, Those People, AlterNet, SF Bay view, Buzzfeed, Gorilla Convict, and Elephant Journal. His first book, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture” was released in Feb 2013. LeRon’s new book, “All We Really Need Is Love

Episode 40: How Black and Brown Communities Are Destroyed By the System of Mass Incarceration


Vincent Garrett joins Simma on Everyday Conversations on Race to talk about race, mass incarceration and creating a “prison to school pipeline.”

A former addict and incarcerated felon, Vince has been clean from drugs for over twenty years.  He shares his experience of being released from prison, finding a mentor, getting his BA from UC Berkeley and being part of Underground Scholars, a program for the formerly incarcerated.

We talk about race, racism and mass incarceration and the unequal way Black and Brown people and White people are sentenced for the same crimes.

Vincent and his whole family were caught up in the crack epidemic in Oakland. He saw people around him being arrested and sent to prison for a few rocks of crack, while white people and upper income people in the Oakland Hills using powdered cocaine were ignored by law enforcement.

He is now working towards a master’s degree and is the program outreach and retention specialist for Restoring Our Communities (ROC), at Laney College.

Vincent and ROC are working to advance the “Prison to School Pipeline,” to ensure that formerly incarcerated people get what they need excel in college and in life.

Additional topics are:

  • Racial disparities and inequality in our society today
  • Images of Black and other people of color in the media and how that contributes to mass incarceration
  • Internalizing racism from outside messages
  • Repairing the damage of mass incarceration and race

Episode 39: How a Young Mexican-American Man Navigated the Start-up World – Zach Moreno


Zachariah Moreno

Co-Founder & CEO of SquadCast

Zachariah Moreno is a technologist, author, and co-founder of SquadCast. He and his team are on a mission to amplify collaboration, seeking to empower creatives to engage in meaningful conversations without barriers.

 

Episode 38: Not All Privilege is the Same


 

All privilege is not the same, nor does all privilege provide equitable access to luxury. There is the economic privilege that comes from having financial resources, wealth and position, and then there is the privilege that comes from being white in America. Racism can negate every other privilege when you’re a person of color in the US. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what you own or how many employees work for you.

Luis Martin, a brown-skinned Mexican American man, and his Dominican husband have enjoyed a lifestyle of economic privilege that few can afford. Luis is a well-known artist in New York whose work has been displayed in galleries across the world.

However, when you’re a person of color, economic privilege has its limits to where you can go. When you’re out in the world, you can still be targeted for your race and experience the inhumanity and hate of racism.

When Luis and his husband bought first-class airline tickets on Delta airlines, they assumed they could access all the benefits that came with those first-class tickets. However, when they tried to enter the first-class lounge-like every other first-class passenger, they were barred from entering and told that people going to Mexico were not allowed.

In this episode, Luis Martin shares his experiences as an artist, a brown-skinned Mexican-American and the role that art and culture play in building consciousness around conversations on race, racism, and justice and equality for everyone.

Luis Martin is an artist working in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in Los Angeles California, Martin moved to NYC as a teenager. He received a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from The Fashion Institute of Technology. He has shown nationally and internationally in solo shows and group shows in Europe and Latin America. As a Curator, he founded and directed Parenthesis Art Space in Bushwick Brooklyn. Martin has worked with over 100 artists and curating shows that traveled to the Zhou B art center in Chicago and to Miami during Art Basel. Martin has collaborated with brands like Wix, Mount Gay Rum, and Braven, to create art-centric programming. Martin has worked as an educator with a museum in LA and NY like MOCA, LACMA, El Museo del Barrio and MoMA.
In 2018 he was named a rising star of the Other Art Fair by Brooklyn Magazine.

 

Episode 37 : Being the only one in the room: Laura Cathcart Robbins


 

Have you ever been to an event, in a class or attended a conference where almost everyone was the same race, ethnicity, gender, etc. except for one person? Has that ever been you or have you wondered what it was like for that person? Have you seen been at an event where someone was excluded because of the color of their skin, seen or heard someone be targeted by racism or ignored and wanted to intervene but didn’t know what to do?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if you care about making people feel included then you need to listen to this episode.

Being the only person who looks like you in a group of people can be uncomfortable, awkward and impede participation. Author, speaker, and podcaster Laura Cathcart-Robbins recounts her experiences as the only Black person in the room at a writer’s conference of 450, in classrooms and other events in her life which inspired her to produce her podcast, “The Only One in the Room.”

In this conversation on race, you’ll get to hear how Laura’s mother gave her the tools she needed to excel despite being excluded, stand up for herself and speak out and be heard as a Black woman. You’ll learn what you can do to support diversity in the room and actively support inclusion. Plus you’ll hear what songs Laura and Simma are listening to this week that reflects their thoughts and feelings on race, racism and eliminating the fear of differences.

Help us stop the hate and spread the message of love across the globe by sharing this podcast.

Laura Cathcart Robbins is a freelance writer, podcast host, and storyteller, living in Studio City, California with her son, Justin and her boyfriend, Scott Slaughter.  She has been active for many years as a speaker and school trustee and is credited for creating The Buckley School’s nationally recognized committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her recent articles in the Huffington Post on the subjects of race, recovery, and divorce have garnered her worldwide acclaim. She is a 2018 LA Moth StorySlam winner and host of the popular podcast, The Only One In The Room, which is available on all podcast platforms.  Laura currently sits on the advisory board for the San Diego Writer’s Festival and is also a founding member of Moving Forewords, the first national memoirist collective of its kind. You can find her on Facebook @lauracathcartrobbins, on Instagram @official_cathcartrobbins and follow her on Twitter @LauraCRobbins.
Laura Cathcart Robbins

Episode 36: Millennials: Racist. Color Blind or Woke?



Are Millennials less racist than other generations?

What do people from Africa have in common with African-Americans?

What generation is most in denial about racism?

What’s it like to be the only Black person in your class?

These questions and more are answered on Every Day Conversations on Race. My guests are Mary-Lou Milabu, a millennial black Christian woman, whose family is from Congo, and Sara Bierman a millennial white Jewish woman from California who is also a lesbian.  Both women share their experiences and views on race, racism, and perspectives on white privilege.

Mary-Lou shares what it was like to be one of the few Black people in her school and constantly being asked to be the spokesperson for African-Americans. While learning about Black history, a white teacher kept asking her about her family’s history going back to slavery. When Mary-Lou said that was not her family’s history since she was second-generation Congolese the teacher kept insisting. She had to school the teacher.

Sara shares what it was like for her growing up on a street where she was the only white kid and learning about racism towards people of color. She shares stories of talking to other white people about race and racism.

This exciting conversation on race with two millennial women, one white and one black will open your eyes to stereotypes, white privilege, and racism.

Episode 35: How Living the Principles of Kwanzaa Fights Racism



 

Phyliss Williams co-host of Living the Principles podcast joins Simma to talk about the importance of the principles of Kwanzaa, and how her time in the Marines impacts the good work she does today.

Phyliss shares stories and experiences as an African American woman growing up in the south dealing with racism, and what it’s like to see the racism today across the USA.

We talk about the importance of involving family and friends in the race conversation and having an impact on them.

Topics covered:

  • Why it’s essential that people vote
  • Selfish reasons why people don’t vote and not voting is a vote against equal rights
  • Tactics used today to repress voting particularly in Black neighborhoods
  • Parallels between the past and the present in preventing people from voting
  • During her time attending a Christian College, she experienced racist dog whistles from other students and racism goes against all the principles of Christianity
  • How the Trump administration continues to dehumanize Black people and other people of color, Jewish people, LGBT People and immigrants

What we can do to have the conversation about race, eliminate hate and fear of differences and spread love

  • Be mindful of our energy, share resources and support each other
  • Remember that the holocaust happened because “nice” people said nothing
  • Speak out against gerrymandering which will impact the results of our voting
  • Speak up when people are told “go back to your country”
  • Listen to the stories of Black people and their experiences with racism, police brutality
  • Check assumptions and generalizations
  • Think about how different forms of privilege or automatic advantages impact us
  • Dismantle stereotypes