I remember distinctly a time in my professional career when cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were too radical for my workplace, that the extent of multiculturalism was food fairs and performances, and that diversity meant geography — look at all the different ZIP codes we come from! — without ever looking at how the ZIP codes signified redlining, housing discrimination, police occupation, food apartheid, and the unforgettable legacies of structural racism and violence designed into cityscape maps.
Looking back now on the five years I spent at a predominantly white institution (PWI) as the founding Director of…
Building on Part One, I want to begin by briefly writing directly to white folks:
Racialized trauma also lives in white people — you.
As Lama Rod Owen details (and I’m paraphrasing below), the trauma of whiteness looks and feels like:
Listen on all the places where podcasts live. Transcript of the conversation has been slightly shortened, though we did keep the transcript as close a mirror to our original conversation, which means a lot of run on sentences. Enjoy!
Nicole: Here we are Dena with Episode Two and we have another guest. So just might take a moment for us to introduce ourselves. I’m Nicole Raines, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Dena: And I am Dena Scott, licensed clinical psychologist.
Connie: Hi everyone. My name is Connie Chiu. And I am a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion practitioner.
Nicole: Welcome Connie…
Admittedly, we’ve been quiet on the internet lately, navigating our personal and political storms. Within these storms, we’ve noticed a lot of noise on (social) media — some are violent and triggering, some performative and empty, some vulnerable yet hopeful, some patronizing and shaming, some quick-fixes and WTFs, some comical (in good and bad ways), some artistic and tender, and all considered a version of truth by their creators.
Yet to us, everything still felt like a spectacle, a performance of who we wanted to be wrapped up in transactions, not transformations.
We were/are overwhelmed.
We started looking for the…
We are back with part two and not gonna lie, this one is even sassier than the first. You know that feeling of getting angrier and angrier cause you keep thinking about it? And how you start to spiral and get stuck in that negative energy?
Yeah, that’s us.
And we’ve decided to let ourselves spiral and get stuck for a bit, to go all the way through the emotional tunnel (thanks Dr. Emily Nagoski). We can only see and feel the light at the end if we go all the way through. …
Our advice this week is a list of ten things we hate about — okay, it’s not you, unless you fit the bill. It’s actually ten things we hate about how “diversity work” is described and (sometimes) actualized. These are our pet peeves, work rage, eye rolls, WTF texts, and angry emoji faces.
Consider this a series on “what not to do” — seriously, don’t do these. So here we go:
ONE. Calling any form of racial injustice and violence against BIPOC — “race relations.” Nope. Delete that from your vocab cause there are no “relations” here. None at all…
We’ve been waiting to exhale.
As we exhale, we’re not here to add more commentary, analysis, or noise to the election outcome (are we still waiting?). We wrote this Tuesday morning and we’ve been scooping ice cream straight from the tub since. #ben&jerrysforever
What we’ve learned from historical and personal experiences is that the pain and sadness creep in during a catastrophe, and hit deep in the aftermath as things quiet down into closure, settling in like one finale of many.
This aftermath is when our internal rumblings quake and unfurl, a release that is both needed and all consuming…
We’ve been wondering:
What does it mean to be radical?
What makes our actions and approach radical?
If we’re not radical in 2020, are we simply being performative in our allyship and DEI work?
Or has radical become another way of virtual signaling our “wokeness” to others?
To be honest, we’re nervous that radical will be co-opted into the next hashtag activism or performative justice trend. And of all people, we — Dena and Connie — can’t stop a trend when we can barely begin one. So this our humble PSA.
To echo Angela Davis, we believe that being radical…
Don’t bring people in as “neutral” identities; bring them in as people with historical ties — this changes the way we relate to each other.
No matter what your role is in your team, organization, or community, always push deeper on what diversity means. Reject the notion of neutrality and objectivity. We are all people with historical ties that matter.
In a white supremacist society, there is no such thing as a “neutral” identity. Why? Cause neutral = white. And yes, whiteness has historical ties. Be accurate and #DontWhiteWashHistory
Similarly, being objective (aka a version of being colorblind) is so…