critical race theory

Episode 85: Conversation on Race with Steve Pemberton; Knowing and Embracing Our Roots

In this conversation on race I’m joined by Steve Pemberton, Chief Human Resources Officer of Workhuman. Steve shares his story of growing up in foster homes with no idea of his background, his identity, or his birth family.  Although he was the biological son of a Black father and a white mother, he didn’t know if he was Black or white until he located his biological family.

He is the author of two books, “A Chance in the World,” that chronicles his life story and “The Lighthouse Effect, How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact on the World.”

Key topics in this episode of “Everyday Conversations on Race,” with Steve Pemberton

  • How Steve Pemberton is mixed race, (Black and white) and but never knew who he was
  • How his life experience has been the driving factor in his work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and social justice
  • The reactions of some of Steve’s family members to him and his racial background
  • How America has fallen short in terms of embracing all cultures, races and faith and not living up to its founding principles
  • After the Civil Rights movement ended illegal segregation, we as a country chose legal segregation
  • Misunderstanding of the definition of “Critical Race Theory,”
  • Policies directed at people of color like voter suppression and redlining and how some white people get offended when racist policies are discussed
  • Persecution of his West Indian ancestors and his Irish ancestors when they came to the US
  • The importance of being aware of all our multiple identities and those of other people
  • How those multiple identities can help people find commonality but too often people stay “above the waterline,” and treat people based on biases and wrong assumptions
  • Understanding common humanity and our complexities can bring people together
  • Why more people aren’t questioning polarization but insist on embracing it
  • How Pemberton’s organization Workhuman helps people recognize each other and feel included
  • Why we need a real framework for overcoming racism and creating a country and world where everyone can live, work, and build together
  • The different forms of recognition that Workhuman promotes and how that recognition supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • How lack of inclusive and recognition holds people back from contributing and doing their best work
  • How Workhuman’s work in ensuring employee recognition  makes a difference in levels of happiness for people of color, and other underrepresented people.
  • The tendency of Millennials and Gen Z to care about social justice in organizations and how they will leave jobs where they don’t see any effort to support equity
  • The role of organizations in social change, and how Steve Pemberton sees the key role they play
  • When employees have to deal with issues like racism, attacks against Asians, lack of support for Black Lives Matter, etc. they can’t do their best work.
  • People who consider themselves allies have to do more than say slogans but need to engage and show support
  • What happens when people of color see their white friends stay silent when they see racism, and why we need people to do more than empathize
  • Allies need to step up and stand next to people who are being targeted and speak out against offensive comments and actions
  • Anyone and everyone can make a difference to support humanity, dignity, and fairness
  • How diversity and inclusion are not the same, what organizations can do to ensure that they have both

 

Listen in to hear more of Steve Pemberton, find out what’s on his playlist, and the books and films he recommends.

 

 

Steve Pemberton Bio

Passionate about building human-centered workplaces that recognize the value and potential of each and every employee, Steve Pemberton has made embracing humanity in the workplace the core of his responsibility.

As the Chief Human Resources Officer of Workhuman, Steve is committed to working with HR leaders and senior management to transform and lead more connected, human-centered workplaces that accelerate learning, engagement and productivity. Steve aims to make the work more human in everything he does by fostering a sense of purpose in the workplace and ensuring equity for all.

Steve also champions human rights efforts to ensure equality and access for all, both at home and in the workplace. This passionate advocacy has earned him honorary doctorates as well as the U.S. Congress’ Horizon Award for his personal contributions and for setting a positive example for younger generations. He is the esteemed author of “The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World” and the USA Today best-selling memoir “A Chance in the World,” following him on his search for his family. Steve is a graduate of Boston College and is involved with UCAN Chicago, Boys Hope Girls Hope and The United States Business Leadership Network as a board member.

Episode 80: Critical Race Theory in Education Racist, a Conversation on Race With Sonia Lewis

Sonia Lewis joins me on this conversation on race to talk about race, racism, inequity and critical race theory in education. She is a consultant and speaker in diversity, race and education.

Key topics:

  • Sonia’s decision to not salute American Flag when she was seven
  • Sonia’s experience growing up in Richmond, California with a father who was one of the founders of the Black police officer’s association
  • Historical background of the US educational system and the perpetuation of systemic racism
  • Why it’s essential to be able to talk about race in schools
  • What really is Critical Race Theory
  • How white supremacists are playing on the ignorance and fears of many white people and distorting the definition of critical race theory
  • The history of racism in the US includes racism against, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans and also antisemitism
  • Jim Crow laws that stopped Black people from voting, owning property, getting education and keeping segregation
  • Could some of the pushback against Critical Race Theory be   due to shame that some people feel about how people of  color have been treated? Or is it just hate?
  • Three ways people can help dismantle racism

If you like this episode of “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People,” please share it with two other people. Help us disrupt the way people talk about race in order to stop hate, eliminate fear of differences and spread love across the globe. Remember to subscribe to the show.

Conversations across race are sometimes hard but always necessary for the health of our organizations. If you understand the importance of creating organizations where everyone feels included and people are creative across differences, contact us now.  Simma@SimmaLieberman.com

We’re here for you.

 

 

Sonia Lewis Bio

She has been described as fearless and unflinching; driven by the integrity of hard work; a dreamer and problem solver; and a bully to the bullies with power and influence. Sonia Lewis co-founded ASCRIBE Educational Consulting on February 13, 2009, while sitting in a booth at Stage Coach Restaurant in Sacramento, CA, while having birthday brunch with a friend. They wrote a mission and vision statement on napkins. Sonia channeled how supported she felt at age 7 when she daringly challenged liberty and justice for all. Core to her dream for ASCRIBE was to lean on equity and resources for the most marginalized in community. A former high school Social Studies teacher and Program Director, Sonia took a leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship. She is a visionary and isn’t willing to accept the norm, as the standard we are forced to accept.

 

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