Race

Episode 30 : Cross-Race Friendships; Can They Work?



 

Chip Conley and Wanda Whitaker join me on Every Day Conversations on Race for Everyday People  to talk about the evolution of their friendship and bringing people together across race.

Chip grew up in an affluent white family in Southern California. He was the  founder and CEO of  Joie De Vivre Hospitalitythe first group of boutique hotels and is presently executive advisor to the CEO of Airbnb. Chip is also the founder of the Modern Elders Academy.

Wanda was raised in a middle-class African-American family in Washington DC. She is a healer, author and spiritual coach, and also on the Board of the Create Peace Project.

From very different racial and economic backgrounds, the two of them met 30 years ago in San Francisco, when Chip owned Miss Pearl’s Jam House a Jamaican restaurant where Wanda would hang out to listen to Reggae. They’re best friends and spiritual but not romantic soulmates.

I begin by asking each of them when they first became aware of race and racism.

Wanda:“I think, my first experience was when I was in junior high school. I was watching television and there was a commercial about an amusement park. And I said, mom, I really want to go, I want to go. She told me I couldn’t go because of the color of my skin and I was really sad. That was my first kind of experience with racism. And then I’d drive with my father to North Carolina and I couldn’t use the bathroom because it would say white people only.”

And of course in DC during the riots, I saw people taking to the streets. I also saw Martin Luther King speaking and watched on television civil rights marchers racism being attacked by dogs and police.

Chip: “I grew up in Long Beach, California. I was the oldest of three kids. Long Beach is actually considered to be the most diverse city in the US because of the racial mix. I was a white kid in a predominantly white neighborhood but the high school in my district was predominantly Black.

My parents could have sent me to a private school that would be all white but they said they wanted me to go to the public school. It was a huge high school of  about 5,000 students So I went there,  was one of the few white kids and was called curious white boy.

I was a culturally curious white boy, and a minority in the school
I wanted to know people who were different than me. I had the best time with my Black friends and Black girlfriends. Some of my white friends in the school were awkward around the Black kids, but I felt like I could really be myself. I also got to experience being the “other,” the person who was not from the dominant group in the school.

Knowing what does it feel like to be the other is a really important thing that everybody should experience. When you experience being the other, it makes it easier to understand and empathize with people who experience it on a daily basis.

Listen in to hear the rest of the conversation on race with Chip Conley and Wanda Whitaker.

Other topics we cover:

The need to sometimes be uncomfortable when talking about race, racism and other differences in order to later be comfortable.

Wanda goes to a deeper level about conversations on race with white people and how they have to move beyond shame and blame about slavery in order to move forward and take action to stop racism.

The Modern Elder Academy in Mexico, and issues of race and other differences.

How to get past defensiveness in the conversation on race, finding commonalities and making connections to prevent defensiveness and understand privilege and power.

Why diversity, belonging and being willing to make mistakes are essential in bringing people together to change

How to be curious, ask questions and be aware of personal bias.

Ways to talk about race and other differences even when you’re uncomfortable and the role we all play in eliminating racism and fear.

Guests Bio:

Chip Conley

New York Times bestselling author Chip Conley is a rare entrepreneur who has disrupted his favorite industry…twice. At age 26, the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JDV) took an inner city motel and turned it into the 2nd largest boutique hotel brand in America. Inspired by the work of famed psychologists Maslow and Frankl, Chip’s books, “PEAK” and “Emotional Equations,” share his theories on transformation and meaning in business and life. His new book, “Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder,” was inspired by his post-50-year-old experiences as both a mentor and unexpected intern at Airbnb.

Chip was CEO of his innovative company for 24 years and sold JDV in 2010. He accepted an invitation in 2013 from the young founders of Airbnb to help transform their promising home sharing start-up into what is today the world’s largest hospitality brand. In four years as Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, Chip taught his award-winning methods to hosts in close to 200 countries. Today he serves as the company’s Strategic Advisor for Hospitality & Leadership. Chip also founded Fest300 to share his love of travel and festivals (now part of Everfest). And in January 2018, he founded Modern Elder Academy (MEA), the world’s first “midlife wisdom school,” where attendees learn how to repurpose a lifetime of experience for the modern workplace. MEA’s beachfront campus is located in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Chip is a recipient of hospitality’s highest honor, the Pioneer Award, and was named the Most Innovative CEO in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times. He is the founder of the Celebrity Pool Toss that supports families in the Tenderloin neighborhood where he opened his first hotel, and San Francisco’s Hotel Hero Awards. Chip holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University, and an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. He serves on the boards of the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute, home of the Conley Library.

Wanda K. Whitaker
Hypnotherapist, Visionary Artist and Spiritual Life Coach
www.anchoredinspirit.com

www.wandawhitaker.weebly.com
(415) 760-7751 cell
Originally from Washington, DC, humanitarian, healer, artist and author/illustrator, Wanda K. Whitaker, believes that “the best relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”  A certified hypnotherapist, visionary artist and Spiritual Life Coach, she currently spends her time working with individuals and groups on changing beliefs and bad habits that are not serving them, conducting workshops on self-awareness, personal growth and development, creating art that educates and advocates and helping to guide others to lead a more holistic lifestyle with spiritual practices.

Her life spans years of community service beginning when she was in her early 20’s in Washington, DC when she co-founded, Inner City Inner Beauty Productions to build self-esteem amongst at-risk youth to serving and volunteering with various nonprofit organizations. She was President of Whitaker & Associates, an events marketing and cause-related consultancy business she started in 1991 and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Global Exchange, an international human rights organization. Today, she serves on the board of directors of the Create Peace Project.

She believes her life purpose is to promote brotherhood and awaken people to their higher selves and greatest potential.

 

Episode 29 : White City Welcomes People of Color



Karen Nelson shares journey as a young Black girl growing up in the segregated south to become the Chief Diversity Officer of Appleton, Wisconsin.

She had to overcome the sabotage of her career success early on by a white boss who refused to listen to her ideas because she was a Black woman. Karen went on to become an activist for civil rights and met the white mayor of Appleton who is a strong believer in diversity, inclusion and eliminating racism.

A predominantly white city,  of only 13% people of color, Karen and the mayor have created an environment in Appleton where people across all differences, especially immigrants are welcomed and encouraged to succeed.

This Every Day Conversation on Race demonstrates how just a few people can make a big difference in road to diversity, equity and inclusion in whole community.

Episode 28 : How To Create A White Ally Toolkit



David Campt, dialogue thought leader has created the White Ally Toolkit, for white people who want to end racism.

His family was one of three Black families in his neighborhood in Detroit. He talks about class differences amongst Black people and how it impacted him.

He says “instead of being shocked about racial divisions, we need to start changing that.” Most white people he’s spoken with have very little meaningful interactions with Black people.

In this conversation on race, David calls me on my bias and asks about my awareness and transformation. Listen in if you want to know more.

David offers tips on how to talk about race with people who are different. There are three dimensions to think about when having a conversation on race.

1- Cultural Difference

2- Unconscious bias and the science behind it

3- Impact of history

Some people think unconscious bias exists and history matters. Other people think bias doesn’t exist and history matters.

What are the ways we look at each other, and how do we deal with conscious bias too.

We have to talk to people who don’t agree with us, don’t understand racism and don’t see it as a problem. Only talking to people who agree with us on race and racism doesn’t bring about the change. White people who are conscious have to get to know and talk to other white people who don’t believe that way.

Instead of seeing all white people who voted for Trump as a group, we need to each talk to one person and open their minds.

Episode 27 : Will Owning a Passport Make You Less Racist?



Will owning a passport make you less racist?
Lisa Francesca Nand, journalist and travel podcaster shares her experiences traveling the world as a bi-racial women, and how that impacts her worldview, and her career. Lisa is one of the top sports reporters and travel podcasters in the UK, and in this conversation on race, talks about the impact her work has had on reducing bias.

Episode 26 : Why Having an Interracial Family Doesn’t Make You Free of Racism


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In this fascinating conversation on race, John Blake, the CNN reporter who covers race, religion and politics shares his experiences and thoughts on race. You definitely want to hear this episode of ”Every Day Conversations on Race.”

 

Race has always been an important issue to John Blake. He shares his experience as a biracial young man growing up in West Baltimore where the Freddy Gray riots occurred, and where The Wire was filmed.

 

Regarding Governor Northam of Virginia, and the issue of Blackface, John refers to Lyndon Johnson and Abraham Lincoln who had racist histories, but later did great things for Black people., “Some of our best friends have been racist,” he wrote in a recent article.

 

“Thinking about Lincoln and Johnson,” he states “made me ask whether we want someone who works for  Black people who has made mistakes that we can talk to, or someone who is able to successfully hide their racism and do nothing.”

 

He said that social media will destroy people over one wrong statement and there’s no redemption. “We fixate on other people but not how we all have issues of race. Even I do,” he admits.

 

We talk about the myth that if there all you need to get rid of racism, is more intermarriage and biracial children.

 

Listen now if you want to know

  • why you can still be racist even if you have people of color in your family or a Black best friend
  • what’s whitesplaining and how some white people try to tell Black people what racism
  • why John Blake was accused of mansplaining by his wife
  • how reporting on gang activity in Los Angeles affected his thinking on race and systems
  • what he thinks of Rachel Dolezal
  • why we need new ways and language of talking about racism
  • actions we can take to look at ourselves, further the conversation on race, and stop racism

 

Episode 25 : The Truth About Anti-Semitism at the Women’s March – A Jewish Woman of Color and member of the Women’s March Isteering committee


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April Baskin,  a Jewish woman of color joined me for an Every Day Conversation on Race to share her perspectives on Judaism, race, the women’s march and social justice.

 

Her African-American, Native-American and White Ashkenazie Jewish background made her the person she is today, a social activist who has been instrumental in bringing people together across differences. She has had many every day conversations on race, ethnicity, religion, and economic class.

 

April has a very strong Jewish identity and has held several leadership positions in mainstream Jewish organizations.. Even though she was the VP of Audacious Hospitality at the Union for  Reform Judaism, she has experienced racism within the Jewish community. The false myth that all Jews are white, has sometimes led white Jews to question her Judaism, telling her she is not Jewish enough or interrogating her by asking, “How are you Jewish.” This is a question that white Jewish people are not asked, nor are they told they are not Jewish enough.

 

There is another false belief amongst some  more right wing  white Jewish people that there is a “special issue” of Black antisemitism. There is some antisemitism and racism in every group particularly when people don’t know each other.  Instead of getting to know individuals in any group, some people take the “easy and lazy” way out and rely on the media, one negative experience or Facebook and Twitter rumors to generalize a group. It’s a cognitive dissonance that when someone in  a group we are part of (racial, cultural, etc.) we see them as on individual but when it’s an individual from another group they represent everyone.

 

We also discussed her thinking that some of the claims of anti-Semitism are coming from trolls and people who don’t support equality and want to use Jewish people as scapegoats to separate us from Muslims and people of color who have also been targeted and attacked. Their strategy is to make Jewish people feel like they are being attacked by people on the progressive  side and no longer align with them.

 

This has been particularly problematic in the recent Women’s March, of which April is on the steering committee. In our conversation on race, April spoke about the misconception that the whole leadership of the women’s march was anti Semitic based on the relationship one of the leaders has with Minister Farrakhan who had consistently made anti-Semitic statements.

 

 

April made the compared that by saying that if a Jewish person in a synagogue makes a racist statement that doesn’t mean all Jewish people are responsible, and it would be wrong to assume that and condemn all Judaism.

 

It’s important for April and other Jewish women to be part of the women’s march and educate people who may not know about Judaism and what is considered offensive no matter who they are.  At the same time, it’s important for white women involved in the Women’s March to learn about racism. We need each other and the only way we can be successful and eliminate inequality is by education, experience and working together.

 

This is why April feels that open, honest and sometimes difficult conversations on race are crucial to stop hate and fear of people who are different.

Episode 22 : Latin X in the Conversation on Race


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Conversations on Race and LatinX with Bernardo Ferdman and Placida Gallegos

 

What is LatinX? Bernardo Ferdman, a Jewish Latino, born in Argentina and raised in Puerto Rico, and Placida Gallegos, a Chicana woman define LatinX, and talk about issues of race, skin color, and ethnicity in the Latin culture.

 

They share issues of skin color, ethnicity and race in the Latino culture.  Placida talks about her family and how being light skinned was valued more than her siblings who were darker, as well as how men had more power and value than women.

 

Bernardo talk about his experiences as a white Latino who is also Jewish, and what binds LatinX people together.

 

The Spanish language is gender based, and there are different endings of words based on gender. LatinX includes all genders, ethnicities and skin colors.

 

Topics of interest:

  • LatinX- why, how and impact of the term
  • Questions about the term and pushback
  • Origin and meaning of the term Chicano
  • Colorism in the overall LatinX culture
  • Terms that used to be acceptable and is no longer
  • Conversations on race within the LatinX community and outside the LatinX community
  • Generation differences in the Latino community
  • History of Salsa and Caribbean music and new music blends
  • Intersections and complexities of Latin culture
  • Bad Bunny, Cardi B, and the popularity or Latino reggaeton, and trap music
  • Objectification of Latina women
  • The racial aspect of immigration issues today in the US
  • Patterns of racism in the immigration discussion
  • Impact of the media, dehumanization and villification of people from Mexico and countries who are fleeing violence and oppression

 

Bernardo

Placida Gallegos

 

 

Episode 21 : Healing from racial and economic trauma


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Key topics:

Block Chain for Social Justice

Resilient Wellness

Black female entrepreneurship

Racial and economic trauma

Diversity, Equity  and Inclusion in the Block Chain world

 

Daisy Ozim who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Lagos, Nigeria, is the founder Resilient Wellness, a co operatively owned healthcare system that provides holistic medicine and health education to marginalized and underserved communities.

 

She’s also the director of Blockchain for Social Justice that uses Block Chain technology to uplift marginalized communities and eliminate poverty and close the wealth gap.

 

Daisy says it important to talk about race because racism is one of the biggest issues that we’re facing in society as a whole.  It’s also important for us to talk about race because we cannot heal or address racism and  all of its manifestations if we don’t have a conversation about it.

 

Her organization Block Chain for social justice is a collaborative organization and that focuses in three key areas,

  • Block Chain developer training. Daisy helps people of color and people in lower income communities become block chain developers because they can make $250,000 to $400,000 a year

 

  • Education and access that results in creativity

 

  • Equity in the Block Chain community

 

Block chain technology can be used for social justice and to help low income and people of color or it can be used to further nefarious goals that hurt people of color.

 

She wants to ensure that people of color can generate wealth and protect themselves from economic trauma like the Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

Her public health work helps people physically, mentally and emotionally heal from racial trauma and internalized racism

 

Guest: Daisy Ozim

Daisy Ozim