Racial Trauma

How Women of Color Heal Racial Trauma With Deepa Purushothaman

Deepa Purushothaman joins me in this conversation on race to talk about the racism, isolation, and trauma many women of color experience in corporate America.

What is it like for a woman of color to get promoted up to the executive suite and still have to deal with microaggressions, blatant racism, and trivialization? What is it like to be the only person of color in your school and to hear people say how much they hate you? What is it like as a woman of color to constantly have to prove your accomplishments while white people are never questioned?

Hear the answers to these questions in this episode with Deepa Purushotaman as she shares her experiences and those of other women of color in the workforce.

Key Topics:

[2:30] Growing up as the only Indian-American in her school in an almost all-white town.

[4:35] First experience with racism and speaking out at the age of eight

[7:30] The trauma of racism and its effect on physical and mental health.

[10:29] The importance of women of color getting together, sharing their experiences, and helping to heal each other.

[13:14] Letting go of feeling responsible for your “whole group” or race.

[16:22] Coming to terms with burnout from microaggressions, trying to fit in, and feeling alone. How Deepa began organizing dinners with other senior women of color across the country to heal together.

[31:00] How to practice scenarios as an ally, and speak up as a woman of color. Know what to say and take care of yourself and be able to express pain. How not to feel responsible for other people’s reactions.

[41:27] Address systems and structures that have never included women of color.

[44:51] How losing everything and having to go on public assistance was a turning point for Deepa Purushothaman and intensified her consciousness and empathy.

[48:08] Issues of colorism and why some Asian women are uncomfortable talking to Black women about race.

[51:52] While there are differences amongst women of color, there are also similarities that need to be addressed together. 

 

Deepa Purushothaman Bio

Many women of color have scars from climbing the corporate ladder. Sixty percent of WOC feel their companies are not properly prepared to handle racist incidents in the workplace – it’s time to eliminate those incidents by creating unbiased and accountable corporate cultures.

As the first Indian woman to become a partner at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman experienced isolation and burnout firsthand. And then came the overt workplace harassment. Her new book, THE FIRST, THE FEW, THE ONLY: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America (March 1, 2022, Harper Business), lays the groundwork for how other women of color can redefine success on their own terms. It’s the book she says she needed when launching her own career.

Contact Info:
https://www.deepapuru.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepapuru

 

Simma Lieberman, The Inclusionist helps leaders create inclusive cultures. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator and the host of the podcast, “Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People.”
Contact Simma@SimmaLieberman.com
Go to www.simmalieberman.com and www.raceconvo.com for more information
Simma is a member of and inspired by the global organization IAC (Inclusion Allies Coalition) https://inclusioncoalition.info

Episode 79: Racism and Emotional Well-being in a Conversation on Race with Katara McCarty

I’m joined in this conversation on race by Katara McCarty. Katara is an emotional well-being advocate for BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, Women of Color) She developed an app called Exhale for BIWOC to support their emotional well-being and manage their particular stress.

 

Key Topics:

 

• How Katara was born bi-racial (white mother and Black father) in 1972 and left by her mother in the hospital and then adopted and raised by a Black gay woman and her mother in 1972. Why she identifies as a Black woman instead of bi-racial.

 

• How systemic racism has resulted in stress, trauma, and life-threatening illnesses for Black, Indigenous Women of Color.

• Why Katara McCarty got involved in wellness after seeing that the wellness industry was primarily white.

• How she came to understand that the needs of BIWOC are different than white women who have not had the same trauma.

 

• How the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and the resulting trauma to Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Femmes caused her to develop her app to deal with their stress and anxiety that white people don’t have.

 

• How many coaching programs in organizations are geared towards white people with white coaches who are not conscious about racism and the issues that non-white people have to deal with to navigate the corporate environment?

 

 • What is in the app, meditations, breathwork techniques, coaching talks, and daily affirmations? They are in 45 countries.

 

 

• The need for everyone to practice anti-racism. Systemic racism is pervasive. How white people must play a key role in dismantling racist systems that they benefit from. What that will mean.

 

• Katara McCarty talks about the increase in her anxiety level, how the app helps her. The importance of people unpacking their own biases. She suggests people take the 20-day anti-racist challenge by Layla Saad.

 

• Suggested resource Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad.

 

• Her Exhale app empowers Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Femmes to do self-care and teaches them how to meditate, breathe and feel good.

 

• Advice to people who want to talk about race:

1- Do your own work.

2- Know yourself.

3- Don’t ask Black people to be your teachers, or educate you.

4- Unlearn, learn and relearn about racism.

 

Tweetable Quotes:

“We have to create practices in our lives, to help manage the stress, anxiety, and trauma brought on by systemic racism, anti-blackness, micro aggressions, because it is killing us, there are resources to help us get that trauma, that stress, and that anxiety out of our bodies.” – Katara McCarty

 

“Most of those people were white that were paying for my services. So went from 20 years of work. Working with people on the margins to now I’m a coach and I have an all-white clientele, which didn’t resonate with my values and how I want to show up for my community.” – Katara McCarty

 

Bio

From out of the realities of abandonment by her biological mother, being bi-racial and growing up in a Black home, Katara McCarty realized early in life that the color of her skin mattered. After becoming a single mother at 19 and finding the courage to leave an abusive relationship, Katara became an entrepreneur holding leadership positions in both non- and for-profit organizations.

 

Today, Katara is a sought-after coach, author, and podcast host dedicated to cultivating brave spaces where all Black, Indigenous, Women of Color (BIWOC) belong. As a Black woman, she is committed to amplifying the richness of BIWOC and their stories, while also advocating for and providing emotional well-being resources for BIWOC, through her app EXHALE.

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