Race

Episode 62: Reflections on Race and Racism with a Black Ex-Police Officer

 

Reflections on Race  and Racism with a Black Ex-Police Officer

Anthony Sturkey, a Black ex-officer from the Long Beach Police Department joins me on this Conversation on race to offer a realistic perspective on what’s happening today in the US regarding race, racism and law enforcement.

 

Key Topics:

  • The fact that we now have cameras that document police brutality means that people see brutalization of Black people at the hands of law enforcement
  • Racism in the police department is not new, is embedded in the system and is systemic
  • The necessity and importance of Black Police Associations
  • Anthony’s experience having to work alongside of another officer who was a KKK member
  • Why he believes that it’s a fallacy that police departments don’t know about “bad cops” and racists
  • His observations and opinion that that there are three types of Black police officers and what they do to survive
  • How Anthony survived for ten years as a law enforcement officer until it was time for him to leave
  • His thoughts on how the police academy programs new officers to just stand by and not intercede when they see brutality, and that people who would intercede are filtered out

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 61: Pink Floyd-Race-Rock Music

In this conversation on race, Durga McBroom shares her experience as a Black woman in Rock music. “Because of racist stereotypes in the US, it was difficult to get work in Rock music. There was the belief that all Black women should be in R&B. I wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix or Donna Summer. I moved to the UK where I became a backing vocalist for Pink Floyd.”

Key Topics:

• Growing up in an  upper middle class Black family in Bel Air. Being stopped by police with her sister in their Mercedes because the cop didn’t believe that two Black women could have a car like that.

• Why it was easier  to be a Black woman in Rock in Great Britain than in the US

• Why Durga McBroom says that while these is racism in Europe it’s not as  entrenched as in the US

• How she is heartened by the response of so many white people today who demonstrate for Black Lives Matter

• Her willingness to engage with people who disagree with her and the importance of getting out of the echo chamber on  only one way to think

• What it was like to work with Pink Floyd

Listen to her new album with her sister, Lorelei McBroom  entitled Black Floyd

Check out their website, www.McBroomSisters.com

Durga McBroom was born on October 16, 1962, in Los AngelesCalifornia. After working as an actress, dancer and singer in the United States, she and her sister Lorelei McBroom worked with Pink Floyd as backing vocalists. She went on to have a long stint with them, being the only backing vocalist to appear consistently on all of their shows starting from the November 1987 concert at Omni Arena of A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour up to the final concert of The Division Bell Tour in October 1994. She also performed on their appearance at the 1990 Knebworth festival and has provided vocals for the Pink Floyd live albums Delicate Sound of Thunder, and Pulse, and the Pink Floyd studio albums The Division Bell, and The Endless River, as well as David Gilmour‘s 2001 solo tour.

Around 1989, McBroom formed the band Blue Pearl with record producer Youth, singing, playing some keyboards and co-writing all of their material. As part of Blue Pearl, she had several hit songs in the early 1990s, including “Naked in the Rain” (UK #4 in July 1990),[1] “Little Brother” (UK #31 in October 1990),[1] and a cover version of Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill“, all taken from the album Naked, released in 1990 on the Big Life label. Subsequent singles included “(Can You) Feel the Passion” (UK #14 in January 1992).[1]

She provided backing vocals to the song “Don’t Wait That Long” featured on the James album Seven released in 1992. She also sang a duet on “Mother Dawn” with  Billy Idol for his Cyberpunk album, a self-penned song that was originally released as a Blue Pearl single. In addition, she sang backing vocals on several other songs on Cyberpunk, including a featured performance on “Heroin”.

In addition to her music career, McBroom performed as an actress in the movies Flashdance , The Rosebud Beach Hotel, the episode “Lullabye” of the TV show “Hunter” (with Gary Sinise), and several other less notable appearances. She also appears in many videos, including “California Girls”, “Yankee Rose” and “Just A Gigolo” for David Lee Roth, “Would I Lie To You” for Eurythmics, “Day In, Day Out” for David Bowie, and “When I Think Of You” for Janet Jackson.

In April 2010, she started to work with the Argentinian band “The End Pink Floyd” show in Buenos Aires, including some appearances with Guy Pratt and Jon Carin. In October 2011, McBroom joined her sister Lorelei to sing “The Great Gig in the Sky” in Anaheim, California with the Australian Pink Floyd Show.[2] 2017 saw her reunite with Gary Wallis, Scott Page, and Claudia Fontaine in several Italian shows. 2019 promises even more shows with her old band mates.

June 2019 kicks off with the first-ever live performances of Blue Pearl featuring both Durga AND Youth in anticipation of the long-awaited release of their new album.

She currently tours the world singing with various bands, and has recorded a second Blue Pearl album with Youth. Another album is currently in the works with her sister Lorelei (produced by Dave Kerzner), including some cover songs as well as original material. She and her sister Lorelei are also featured on Steve Hackett‘s latest album At the Edge of Light, being featured on the chart-topping single “Underground Railroad”.

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 60: White people activists

 

In this conversation on race, LeRon Barton asks.  “Why are white people interested in helping out now? Where were you ten/  twenty years ago?”

We wonder  what is making white folks come out now? Is it because they saw the very public  murder of George Floyd?  Did they understand the systemic racism and murder of other Black people by white racists in law enforcement and white supremacists?

Key Points in this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race

1-  Black people are tired but still have to be active and not let up. White people and other non-Black people need to follow the lead and participate.

2- This is the same systemic racism that puts young kids in ICE camps, separates families and treats immigrants as less than human

3- LeRon talks about his partner Michelle who is LatinX and says that what impact her as a Latina impacts him, and that we have to all take the position that what impacts our friends and families impacts us (if we we have friends and family from different races and cultures.) We have to know what impacts the people in our lives and the people we care about about.

4- The importance of thinking outside of ourselves. This is particularly important for white people, many who are just beginning to think outside of themselves.

5- The time to act is now, we will need to tell future generations what we did  during this time. Be on the right side of history.

6- Inaction is action-it’s choosing to ride with the other side.

7- When people just stand by and do nothing- they help deny Black and Brown people voting rights,  and they help normalize confederate flags

8- Black people going to Robert E. Lee High School can compare to a Jewish person going to Adolph Hitler Higher School. Think about that!

9- The murder of the Rosenbergs and prosecution by Roy Cohen and J. Edgar Hoover

10- LeRon talks about how he used to laugh or get irritated when white people saw documentaries like “When They See Us,” and would get emotional. He says that he realizes it was wrong and that people have a right to feel.  “I will never ridicule anyone again like that,” say LeRon. “I realize we need everyone.

11- Why LeRon doesn’t trust white allies but sees their importance and wants them to continue being allies and stepping up.

 

 

Episode 59: Race, Reconciliation and Transformation

My guests on “Everyday Conversations on Race” are Wanda Whitaker, Peter Rubin and Gaylon Logan from Village Connect. This episode is “Race, Reconciliation and Transformation.”

 

Wanda Whitaker is African-American, a humanitarian, spiritual healer and visionary who brings people together to find their highest potential.

 

Peter Rubin is white, Jewish, 35 years old and an anti-racist facilitator. He was raised in a multi-cultural anti-racist environment but didn’t become aware of this white privilege until a few years ago which is when he was trained in anti-racist facilitation.

 

Gaylon Logan is African-American, a father, grandfather and founder of Village Connect a 501C3 who is a leader of CBTC- Culture Based Transformative Coaching. His mission and the mission of Village Connect  is to build the capacity of people to be self-aware, self-directed and be empowered to have the life they want.

 

All three share their stories of how they came to be aware of race, racism and the need for racial reconciliation.

 

Key topics:

  • Why we need to be human beings as opposed to human doings, and human “havings.”

 

  • The trauma of racism, growing up in the south under segregation, and seeing the humiliation of Black people by racist, disgusting white people

 

  • What Black people had to do in order to survive racism and the total impact of those survival tactics

 

  • How Village Connect works with school age children to raise their self-esteem, and give kids the sense of self that so many lack in how they are raised

 

  • Information alone doesn’t change people’s lives. You need to reach their hearts, engage with them and help them transform
  • The impact and harm of being taught at an early age that it’s not ok for men to show feelings or cry in front of people

 

  • Village Connect is a direct response to loss of humanity and brings people back to humanity

 

  • How Wanda, and Peter are working with Gaylon on the Village Connect program, Race and Reconciliation, how to heal yourself from racism,” for white people
  • Focusing on humanity as we work on race and reconciliation is one of the keys to transformation for all people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 48: How Success and Money Doesn’t Stop Racism and Discrimination

It would be hard to have a conversation on race and not address the contradiction that many successful Black people continue to face; having to deal with racism no matter how much money they have or how much they’ve accomplished.

 

What would it feel like to be a Black man at the highest levels of corporate America, and still feel like you have to leave a large part of yourself at home. How much would racism impact your life during and after work as you rise to the top? How do you talk about race and racism with your family while still encouraging them to reach for their dreams?

 

In this episode of “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People,”  I’m joined by David Casey, Executive Vice-President of  one of the largest global pharmaceutical companies. In this very deep personal conversation, David shares how it feels to be a Black man in a position of power, influence and prestige in the executive suite while being seen as “just another Black man” in the street who can be stopped, and targeted because of his race.

 

In our cross-race conversation on race, David Casey recounts his arrest at the age of eleven, handcuffed and thrown into the back of the police car for bringing a gun to school after he was bullied. The arresting officer was Black but as he was  being taken down to the police station, a white officer pulls up next to him and says, “if I was there, I would have just shot you.”

 

Don’t miss this opportunity to listen in and learn about race, racism and what it takes to get people to talk to each other.

 

Key Topics Include:

  • How to talk about race, racism and ending racism at work
  • Lessons that young people of color in general and Black people in particular can learn about maintaining their integrity, bringing their whole selves to work today and feeling good about who they are
  • Lessons that white people who care about equality, equity and inclusion can learn by listening and hearing experiences about race, discrimination and working across race no matter how uncomfortable it might feel

 

Resources in this show

www.DavidCaseydiversity.com

DavidCaseyDiversity@gmail.com

 

David Casey bio:

David Casey is  Vice President, Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer for the national leader in retail pharmacy, pharmacy benefits management and retail health clinics. He has  responsibility for developing and driving strategic diversity management, equal employment opportunity/affirmative action and workforce development strategies across a Fortune 7 company with over $153 billion in sales and about 240,000 employees throughout the United States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Brazil with over 9600 retail stores in 49 states.

He alsos serve as the president of a public charity designed to help company employees during unanticipated and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies. This fund provides short-term, immediate financial relief to employees who’ve suffered significant hardship as a result of a natural disaster, military deployment, family death, medical emergency or other unforeseen designated events.

 

In his previous role at a Fortune 33 company, he led the development and execution of corporate wide strategies to leverage the impact of diversity management and workplace culture for the nation’s largest health benefits company with annual revenues of $61.1B with 42,000 associates and 36M members.

 

 

Episode 46 : Growing Up Brown in Australia, a Conversation on Race with Ben Stokes, founder of SocialTable

 

Ben Stokes joins me on “Everyday Conversations on Race,” to talk about his experience being a person of color adopted by a white family in Australia. He didn’t become aware of racism until his family moved from a small town to a larger city. That was when he would frequently encounter white people who would keep asking him where he was from and look at him in disbelief when the told them he was Australian. Despite having a strong Australian accent, he was often discounted as an Australian because of his brown skin.

After coming to the US, with so many people of color, the questions still persisted from white Americans who couldn’t believe that someone with brown skin could be from Australia.

Ben has lived and worked in the US for over four years. You’ll want to hear his story of how he was harassed by security agents as he re-entered the US from a trip abroad.

His story is unique and not uncommon. Despite his experiences, Ben is the founder of the start-up SocialTable.

SocialTable  brings people together across differences over great food, great conversation and the desire to connect and build community.

 

Biography

Ben is the CEO and Founder of SocialTable. His personal, academic and professional journey to date is impressive and colourful – to say the least! View Ben’s LinkedIn profile.

Born in Sri Lanka, Ben spent his early years in a rural orphanage before he was adopted by Australian parents who raised him in Tasmania. Ben started his Uni years as a Med student, studying Medicine and then a Masters of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. Along the way, he recalls encountering great mentorship by the then CEO of St Vincent’s Hospital. Funnily enough, Ben’s mentorship with the St Vincent’s Hospital CEO actually prompted his realisation that Med was not where he would be most happy. So Ben took some fairly drastic turns and completed a Law degree. The skilled communicator and leader’s story of becoming a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist (having worked on the success of several med-tech products in the US market, as well his own enterprise SocialTable, along with his building projects for his very own orphanage in Sri Lanka) is too long for me to document here but it is full of insights, intelligence and authenticity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben can be contacted through email: ben@socialtable.co or through his LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bpstokes/

Episode 45: Mass Incarceration of Black and Brown

Mass Incarceration of Black and Brown men and women is a long-time problem that reflects historical and systemic racism in the criminal justice system.  In this Conversation on Race, guests Shelly Hughes and Garrow Vincent share their experiences as African-Americans who spent time in the California prison system and what their lives are like today.

 

You’ll hear how mass incarceration was set up as a deliberate system right after slavery in order to continue white ownership of Black labor, and how that racist system continues to perpetuate.  We go beyond books and theory and talk to individuals about their lives before, during and after incarceration.

 

Topics in this conversation on race and the criminal justice system include:

  • How Black and Brown people are targeted for incarceration
  • Racial and economic inequities in sentencing
  • Racial segregation in women and men’s prisons
  • How two former felons turned their lives around with the help of a larger community
  • From living the drug life to living clean, staying clean and making a difference in other people’s lives
  • The personal side of systemic racism, mass incarceration and economic inequities

 

Listen now to hear another enlightening, real conversation on race and the criminal justice system.

 

Episode 43: Don’t Say This to Black People

Don’t Say This to Black People or Other People of Color

 

In this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race, Selena Wilson and LeRon Barton talk with me about “backhanded compliments,” or compulsions to describe, that are actually racist.

To hear more, download this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People

Here are three examples.

  • Describing a Black or Brown person (usually a man) as being “so articulate.”

It sounds like you’re surprised that a Black man can be intelligent and be understood.

Even if unintentional it sounds racist.

  • Feeling the need to describe every Black woman as beautiful when the topic is completed unrelated.

Always mentioning how beautiful a Black woman is before you talk about her accomplishment or quote her is weird. Why is this necessary? It has no impact on her credibility and reduces yours. Even if unintentional, it sounds racist.

  • Having a compulsion when talking about a Black or Brown person in the business to first mention how qualified they are or how educated they are.

Do you do this with everyone? If not, why do you feel the need? Do you need to reassure yourself? Even if unintentional, it sounds racist.

This is a very deep, personal conversation on race, racism, colorism, privilege and other isms.

We had a few issues with the recording and sound but you will want to listen to the whole episode.

 

 

 

 

 

Selena Wilson

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQQNRv-5cQpuSMLf380E6-g

LeRon L. Barton is a writer from Kansas City, MO currently living in San Francisco, Ca. A graduate of Paseo Academy of Fine Arts, LeRon is the author of two books, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American Drug Culture” and “All We Really Need Is Love: Stories of Dating, Relationships, Heartbreak, and Marriage.” In addition to the books, LeRon is an essayist; whose topics cover racism, mass incarceration, politics, gender, and dating.  These works have appeared in Black Enterprise, Salon, The Good Men Project, Your Tango, Media Diversity, Raconteur, Elephant Journal, East Bay Times, and MoAD.

As a young man, LeRon has had to live with a stutter. At times it was debilitating and confidence hindering, but he has learned to manage the stutter and not let it stop him taking on another passion: public speaking. LeRon has also given talks and speeches at TEDx Wilson Park about overcoming the fear of stuttering, the University of San Francisco on Black and Asian Solidarity, Glide Methodist Church on collective liberation, been a guest of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Story Corp, Dr. Vibe’s Do You Know What Time It Is podcast, and has participated in panel discussions on race and prison recidivism. In his spare time, LeRon mentors young men in San Francisco and loves to backpack around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

www.leronbarton.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/leron-barton-cwna-2b700b1/

Facebook.com/LeRonLBarton

TEDx – How I Overcame The Fear of My Stutter – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrraoSk_j3A&t=16s

Episode 42: An Afro-Latina Conversation on Race

With social media buzzing about Gina Rodriguez, Cardi B, and what it means to be Black, African American and Latina this episode of Everyday Conversation on Race is timely.

If you’re interested in the topic, have an opinion or want to know more, you’ll love this conversation on race with Cessie and Mercedes.

Cessie Alfonso and Mercedes Martin join me to talk about cultural intersectionality and their own Afro-Latina identities. Spanning generations, geography and sexual orientation, they find that diversity, equity and inclusion are more relevant than ever today as more people identify become aware of their own intersections beyond race and ethnicity.

 

Topics in this episode include:

  • What it means to be Afro-Latina in the United States and accept their own cultural intersectionality
  • Afro-Latina identity is complicated and often misunderstood
  • Experiences of feeling not being accepted by either culture because it’s impossible to only “choose one” identity
  • Response to racism and rejection
  • Addressing the claims that someone can’t be Black if they speak Spanish
  • Why they can’t separate and only claim one culture since they are mixtures of all of their cultures
  • More Afro-Latinas, Afro-LatinX are speaking out about their experiences
  • Cessie’s response when people question whether she is Black or Latina, and why she’s speaking Spanish
  • How African slaves were brought to the Caribbean Islands even before slavery in the United States
  • The difference between race and ethnicity
  • Why conversations on race are important and how they are different today than in the 1950’s and 1960’s
  • Growing up in New York vs in the California suburbs as Afro-Latinas
  • The browning of America in US culture and how that will be reflected as more than Black and White but the multitude of identifications
  • How we create space for the multiplicity of backgrounds in our population now and in the future
  • Stereotypes and assumptions about Afro-Latina and Afro-LatinX
  • How to learn more and engage in conversations on race and ethnicity

 

Bios:

Mercedes Martin is a Cultural Accessory Designer, Entrepreneur, and Educator. She runs a successful African-Diaspora inspired brand called Tres Mercedes- designing embellished sunglasses, hats with African Fabrics, Ancestor candles, and statement piece earrings & rings. She self- identifies as a natural curl hair spiritual Black Woman, but if she gotta be more specific about ethnicity: Black and Afro-Cuban American. Born in California and raised in Oakland.

 

Part of the Millennial generation she has had her own small business, Tres Mercedes since 2010.

link: www.tresmercedes.com

Instagram: @TresMercedes

 

 

Cecilia “Cessie” Alfonso, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, is a nationally recognized expert in forensic social work, domestic violence and organizational development in the area of cultural competence and valuing diversity.  She is the founder and president of Alfonso Consultants, Inc. For the past 20 years, Alfonso Consultants, Inc. has provided social work and psychosocial assessments to the clients of civil and criminal attorneys throughout the United States, as well as internationally. As a mitigation specialist, she and her associates have conducted over 700 mitigation investigations since she began providing services.

Ms. Alfonso is a bilingual (Spanish speaking), bicultural (Afro-Puerto Rican-Cuban) social worker who has trained attorneys and professionals to appreciate and integrate into their practices and organizations the ethnic diversity and cultural aspects of their clients’ lives. She is also a nationally recognized domestic violence/battered woman’s expert who has appeared on national television and British Broadcasting Company (BBC) radio and is one of the few African Americans qualified as an expert in domestic violence in the State of New Jersey.  She has conducted training in domestic violence to professionals in the criminal justice system.

 

Ms. Alfonso has received the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association’s (NLADA) Life in the Balance Achievement Award for her pioneering work as a forensic social worker/mitigation specialist. In 2008 she was recognized by Governor Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey as a leading mitigation specialist who significantly contributed to the ultimate abolition of the Death Penalty in the State of New Jersey.

 

In 1987, Ms. Alfonso, along with her associate, Kathryn Bauer, wrote one of the first articles ever written that details how the social worker skill set can assist criminal attorneys in preparing and presenting the life history of their defendants facing the death penalty.  Ms. Alfonso has been qualified as an expert social worker and has testified in the penalty phase of capital cases in states such as Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Her expertise has contributed to criminal defense attorneys obtaining life sentences for their clients.

 

Ms. Alfonso’s ability to educate attorneys on how to engage and defend individuals who are different from themselves in terms of race, class, gender and/or sexual orientation has enabled attorneys to communicate to the jurors why they should give their clients life as opposed to death.

 

Cecilia ” Cessie” Alfonso has received the following awards:

 

Recognition Award, First President of National Association of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists (NASAMS), NASAMS 20th Anniversary Conference, March 2013

 

Life in the Balance Achievement Award – National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, March 2008

 

Recognition Award, presented by Governor Corzine of New Jersey – Leading mitigation specialist who significantly contributed to the ultimate abolition of the Death Penalty in the State of New Jersey, 2008

 

Mim George Award – National Association of Sentencing Advocates (founding member 1995), 2005

 

Outstanding Faculty Member in the Defender Institute Basic Trial Skills Program – New York State Defenders Association, June 2000

 

Contact info: cessiealf@aol.com

(518) 928-8199

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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
Skip to toolbar