podcast on race

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 84: Conversation on Race and Racism With Omar L Harris

 

Omar L. Harris, former General Manager of GSK and Allergan, joins me in this conversation on race.  He has more than 20 years of experience as a global pharmaceutical executive. Omar is the founder and managing partner at Intent Consulting, a firm dedicated to improving employee experience and organizational performance. He is the author of “Leader Board: The DNA of High-Performance Teams“, “The Servant Leader’s Manifesto“, and “Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss”.

Omar shares his journey to the top, the cost to him as a Black man in America, and how he came to speak out and no longer compromise his identity and his beliefs.

Key topics:

  • Omar’s first experience with racism was when he was voted Prom King of his high school in Louisiana. The principal told him that he was “allowed” to be the Prom King to “snitch” on the other Black students. Harris refused, stood up to the principal, and kept his title.
  • What happened when Omar L Harris met Ku Klux Klansman David Duke while in high school.
  • How he was the only Black product manager, the only Black Director of Marketing and the only Black General Manager outside of Africa, and the only Black General Manager of a global company in the world.
  • The psychic toll of assimilation and having to whitewash himself without even realizing it.
  • Why he now feels responsible for opening the doors for other Black people.
  • How he refuses to compromise his values and will always speak out against racism and discrimination of any kind.
  • Why people who are not Black don’t understand the full gravity of racism and the dangers of working while Black.
  • Why white people who call themselves allies must be willing to speak out and take a stand with friends, family, and colleagues even if parts of their lives unravel as a result
  • How white allies can be more prepared to take action if they practice and prepare for different situations.
  • His books on leadership and how they are different than white leadership books. Why it’s essential that every CEO needs to take action against racism, or they are not real leaders.
  • Check out his playlist, the TV shows he recommends, and the books he reads.

 

Bio

OMAR L HARRIS (Charlotte, NC, born in Pittsburgh, PA) is the founder of Intent Consulting and TYMPO.io (the world’s first and best SaaS application for employee inclusion), a Former GM (GSK and Allergan), Business and Servant Leadership Thought-Leader, Speaker, Award-Winning Bestselling Author of 5 books, including Be a J.E.D.I. Leader, Not a Boss: Leadership in the Era of Corporate Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion“, June 25 2021, “The Servant Leader’s Manifesto”, 2020, and “Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams”, 2019). With 20+ years of global pharmaceutical executive experience building teams, Omar has worked on 4 continents (U.S., Middle East, Asia and Latin America) for Pfizer, Merck, Schering-Plough and more. As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur and Florida A&M University Alumni, Harris is passionate about leading teams, high-performance coaching, and inspiring the future leaders of today and tomorrow to adopt the servant leader mindset and stop toxic leadership behaviors.

Omar is also the Co-Author of “From Authors to Entrepreneurs F.A.T.E.: The Personal Side of Indie Publishing” (2015) and Author of “One Blood” fiction book (2011, pen name, Qwantu Amaru – currently being developed into a television series). Harris was a featured speaker at the 2021 International Institute of Leadership Conference with his compelling topic: “The End of the Boss – 7 Rules for the Modern Leader”, a keynote speaker at the Leadership Harrisburg Area Graduation event, a featured speaker at the 2021 Rising Leaders Summit, a featured speaker at the BB21 Rise Conference, and a featured coach at the 11th annual WBECS Summit. His work has been featured by CNN HLN Weekend Express, WPXI-TV NBC Pittsburgh, Black News Channel, The Jewish Journal, The Beating Alpha Podcast, The Living Corporate Podcast, Real Leaders, SHRM Blog, Thrive Global, CEO World Magazine, Human Capital Innovations (HCI) Podcast, VoiceAmerica Business, Culture Stew and many more. As fun facts, Omar speaks 5 languages, plays 7 instruments, and started his first company at the age of 7.

https://www.omarlharris.com/

Episode 74: A Real Conversation on Black/Asian Unity with Lee Mun Wah and Dr. Joel Davis Brown


In this conversation on race, Lee Mun Wah, a Chinese-American man, and Dr. Joel Davis Brown, an African-American man, talk about racism against Black and Asian people.

 

Key topics:

  • Stereotypes, and their root causes between African-Americans and  Asians.
  • Lee Mun Wah recounts issues amongst men from different races and ethnicities when he produced the groundbreaking film on race, “Color of Fear”.
  • Mun Wah shares the stereotypes he heard about Black people when he grew up
  • Joel shares stereotypes he heard about Asians growing up from the people around him
  • The problems with Asians being considered “model minority” by white people.
  • Joel and Mun Wah talk agree that communities of color are missing the opportunity to talk to each other.
  •  How white supremacists create, perpetuate and benefit from conflict and misunderstandings between Asian and Black people.
  • Why it’s important for Black and Asian people to not just focus on white people, but spend time becoming better allies against racism.
  • Early movements of third-world unity including Black people, Asians from different ethnicities, Native Americans, and LatinX people, as well as working in a coalition with progressive white people.
  • Racist, stereotypical messages immigrants get about other groups before they come to the US and how those messages cause stress, conflict, and racism.
  • The dangers of Black people being stereotyped as “model activists”.
  • What African-Americans and Asians can do to create unity, learn from each other, and show support to end racism

 

 

Lee Mun Wah is an internationally renowned Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folk teller, educator, community therapist, and master diversity trainer. He is the Executive Director of StirFry Seminars & Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful facilitation, and conflict mediation techniques. His first documentary film, Stolen Ground, about the experience of Asian Americans, won honorable mention at the San Francisco International Film Festival. His most famous film about racism, The Color of Fear, won the Gold Medal for Best Social Studies Documentary and in 1995, Oprah Winfrey did a one-hour special on Lee Mun Wah’s life and work that was seen by many.  His latest film, If These Halls Could Talk, was just released.  The film’s focus is on college students and their experience with racism and other diversity issues in higher education.  Thousands of people from government and social service agencies, corporations and educational institutions have taken Lee Mun Wah’s workshops and partnered with Stirfry Seminars & Consulting on their diversity initiatives.

 

 

Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC, a management consulting and coaching company based in San Francisco, USA, specializing in cultural intelligence, leadership, change management, and strategic storytelling. As a change agent, Joel works strategically with organizational leaders to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully. In particular, Joel works with organizational clients to foster psychological safety, healing, belonging, and transformation. His work spans five continents and his mission is to facilitate liberation for every global citizen.

Best known for his critical analysis, creativity, humor, and an ability to build consensus, Joel has partnered with Fortune 500 Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to help them achieve sustained growth and organizational breakthroughs. His clients have ranged from LinkedIn to the United Nations, and his “sweet spots” have included men’s leadership, LGBT inclusion, interpersonal dialogue, and intercultural communication.

 

Contact information:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Pneumos
Twitter: @joelabrown7
Website: www.pneumos.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedn.com/in/joelanthonybrown

Episode 72: Growing Up Bicultural; Deanna Singh

 

In this conversation on race Deanna Singh talks with me about growing up Asian-Indian, and African-American in Wisconsin.

 

Key topics include:

 

  • Deanna’s experience with parents from two different cultures
  • What it was like to be one of only two kids of color in an all-white school
  • The beauty and joy of talking about race
  • First experience with overt racism at the age of five from another five-year-old
  • Impact of last four years with Trump et al young people of color and vision for the future
  • Founding a publishing company for books with children of color
  • Her life experience- the lynching of her great grandfather who was black, the aftermath of 9/11 on her family with a Sikh father who wears a turban, and the attack on the Sikh Temple in her area
  • Why she believes in the triumph of love and advice for going further

 

About Deanna Singh

Deanna Singh is a highly respected thought leader who travels the world motivating and educating audiences about living with joy and purpose. A gifted communicator, she is a champion to marginalized communities and an inspiration to all those who want to be agents of change in their work, lives, and society.

Singh earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Fordham University, a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell University. She has impacted the world as a speaker, a teacher, a principal, a leader of large foundations, a social entrepreneur, a businesswoman, an author, a publisher, and a mother.

 

 

Deanna Singh Contact Info:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Episode 58: Black Trans Lives

Kairo Jamal Evans joins me for this Conversation on Race to talk about his experience as a 25-year-old Black Trans Man. He’s an entrepreneur who makes tee-shirts to spread the word of self-awareness. Listen in to hear about his transition, his tee-shirt business Kuriosity focuses on self-awareness through self-research.

 

Key Points:

  • Growing up Black in Oakland and not being aware of racism until he was a little older.
  • Having a white grandmother and the fact that his mother had to deal with racism.
  • Transphobia in the LGBTQ community
  • The murders of Black trans women in the US and Black trans men
  • Male privilege as a trans man but also potentially targeted as a Black man because of racism and higher chances of being stopped by police or white racists
  • Kairo shares his experience of being stopped by police while driving
  • He has to always act calm with police no matter what
  • Kairo has a YouTube channel and he’s noticed that YouTubers who are white get more attention and support than YouTubers who are people of color
  • Racism in the LGBTQ community
  • Dealing with being Black in the LGBTQ community
  • Trans man are sometimes targeted by lesbians who can be antagonistic
  • Surprising to me it’s mostly younger lesbians who are the most harsh
  • He accepts that he’s in a different mindset
  • How his family came to accept and support him
  • Why aren’t more people taking up the cry for Black Trans people
  • How heartbreaking it was after the murder of Tony McCabe that he was misgendered
  • The dangers of being trans and being Black trans
  • It takes a whole village to grow the community

 

Bio of Kairo Jamal Evans in his own words:

 

My name is Kairo Jamal Evans. I am a female to male trans man, born and raised in Oakland, CA. I graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 2013 and continued a collegiate education for 3 years at the California State University, Northridge. (GO MATADORS!) My focus in school was on film, which is a career I still plan to pursue. I began my medical transition in the Fall of 2016, which even though was a difficult process, in the beginning, has grown to become the best decision I’ve ever made. I now have started a small t-shirt line [Kuriosity Clothing Co.] with personal designs, and one day plan on opening a studio for kids to come to create, and learn more about the arts! Since becoming me, I have developed an astonishing amount of confidence. I am now ready to take on the world as my true self.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Skip to toolbar