Listening and Learning about Racism with Monica and Ricky Washington | Bonus Episode

Listening and Learning about Racism with Monica and Ricky Washington | Bonus Episode

Where do we start to do anti-racism work? What is the fault in picking sides? Are you comfortable and not opening yourself up to having the real, important conversations?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak to Monica and Ricky Washington about listening and learning about racism.

Meet Monica and Ricky Washington

Monica and Ricky Washington

Monica Washington is a solution designer and an instructional coach for BetterLesson, supporting teachers and other instructional coaches across the country as they make positive shifts in instruction and leadership. A decorated educator of twenty-two years, Monica has received honors and awards from a wide variety of organizations for her leadership, advocacy, and classroom instruction. She is a 2015 Milken Unsung Hero Fellow and a 2015 NEA Foundation Global Fellow. In addition to instructional coaching, Monica supports teachers through workshops, speaking engagements, and blogging for Education Week and Education Post. Her, “4 Things Great Principals Don’t Do,” was the most read and shared Education Week opinion post of 2017. She is passionate about creating equitable and inclusive school environments that celebrate teacher and student voice, and she serves as a Leading Educator Ambassador for Equity for the Education Civil Rights Alliance. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Education Association Foundation and The National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Monica is the 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year.

Ricky Washington is an educator of over 18 years. He has taught middle school language arts and social studies in Memphis City Schools, Texarkana Independent School District, and Queen City ISD. He is known for establishing positive relationships with students and families, and his goal is to create a classroom environment in which all students feel respected and heard.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Where do we start
  • Picking sides
  • Getting uncomfortable

Where do we start

Just listen. If you normally are in the blue room, go in the red room sometimes and look around and see what’s there. Pick up something you wouldn’t normally wouldn’t read, and read it.

People feel like they want to ask and want to do things but they don’t want to say the wrong thing. This, however, is a journey of learning, its a continuum, there is no workshop you can attend or one book you can read that will suddenly make you feel like you’ve got it.

  • Have a conversation
  • Step outside of your circle
  • Challenge your own beliefs and surround yourself with people who have different beliefs

Picking sides

We think we have to pick a side, but sometimes there is beauty in the middle. When you look at the positives here and the positives there, and you stay in the middle, that’s where the work happens. It doesn’t happen by staying on one side with people who think what you think.

Getting uncomfortable

Good things come from getting uncomfortable. If we’re going to get uncomfortable about a topic, then why not this one?

Listen to understand, there are voices to be heard. As a human when people are hurting, just extend a hand.

Books mentioned in this episode

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

 

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

 

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Beta Male Revolution Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.-

Podcast Transcription

[BRANDY]:
Hey, Beta Male Revolution. It’s Brandy Eldridge here with Billy Eldridge. And we have a controversial topic today about racism in America, about what’s happening with George Floyd and so many others. So today we asked Ricky and Monica Washington to come and sit at our table. Monica was the Texas State Teacher of the Year in 2014. She speaks all over the country, she advocates for teachers and students. She serves on several national boards. And she’s well respected in our community and her husband, Ricky is a longtime educator and we wanted to have this conversation. And my prayer today is that when you hear the comments, and when you hear what we’re going to talk about, this is a place that you could be easily offended, and I pray that you’re able to put your offenses aside and listen to what the voices of our brothers and sisters are saying.

[BILLY]:
We created this podcast with the idea of having open spaces and open conversations with people about all kinds of topics, and we knew it wasn’t always going to be easy. I remember in my last semester of grad school, a professor told us we had to turn in our final counseling philosophy after the years of going through what we felt like we would lean towards. And I turned in something at the time that they said was a bit controversial because I didn’t use my words, I used another set of words that I wanted to be the guiding principle in not only my own life and our family’s life, but my life as a counselor. And I thought those words were pertinent today. So, I was going to read them before we went into the podcast. This is a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Lord make me an instrument of thy peace. That where there is hatred I may bring love, that where there is wrong I may bring the spirit of forgiveness, that where there is discord I may bring harmony, that where there is error I may bring truth, that where there is doubt I may bring faith, that where there is despair I may bring hope, that when there are shadows I may bring light, that when there is sadness I may bring joy. Lord grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to love than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds, it is by forgiving that one is forgiven, it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. We hope to do justice by this topic today. And we thank you for being with us and being a part of this.

Hey, guys. It’s Billy with the Beta Male Revolution. Thanks for hanging out with us today. We’re gonna sit around the table and have some coffee and sweet tea with some people that we feel have a very important message, especially in the times we’re living in. We want to open our ears and our eyes to things we may not have always been aware of and listen and learn. I have Brandy here with me, and she’s gonna introduce our guests. Brandy.

[BRANDY]:
Thank you, Monica and Ricky Washington for coming and sitting around our table. So, Monica wrote a very poignant Facebook post and out of everything we read in this last week with what last couple of weeks of what’s been going on, this one was brave, bold… I wanna cry.

[BILLY]:
Important.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. So, I asked Monica to come, and Ricky – who are married by the way – and we’ve known each other for about 12 years. They’re just two people I really respect, who have earned the respect of the people in our community. And when Monica speaks it’s fire and it hits you in the gut. I know Monica to be kind and good and just kind to people, but she’s fire. When she speaks, people need to listen. So, thank you guys for being here. I’m probably gonna cry through this whole thing. And I apologize for that, but this won’t be the first podcast I’ve cried, I think I’ve cried in all of them, but Monica, if you would just either read some of it or read parts of it and kind of talk to us about it. We are here to listen, to understand, and to learn.

[MONICA]:
Absolutely. So, I’ll just say, Brand, when I had people asking me, you know, what do you think? What do you think about what’s happening right now? I just couldn’t really engage. But I know that when I feel I have to write. And so sometimes it comes out as an article, sometimes it comes out as it comes out, as whatever, and this time it came out as a Facebook post that was supposed to be just about a few lines long and then once I finished getting out what I need to get out, it was much longer. So hopefully I can quickly read it and just share with you all what I wrote.

[BRANDY]:
Take your time.

[MONICA]:
I will say too, it’s been six days since I’ve looked at this so it will probably feel new to me because this was just what I felt at the time when I wrote it. And I started, “A few things have me pissed and far from the sleep I need. I just picked up takeout from Scotty’s Grill the other day. We haven’t eaten there many times, but we got some bland takeout the other day. Since the owner is calling people hood rats on Facebook, I won’t go back. Trump stood in front of a church and held a Bible in curious fashion after ordering rubber bullets and tear gas on peaceful protesters in front of the White House. He just wanted to take a picture. He makes everything worse. I know some of you love him and call yourselves religious. I guess you don’t ever see or hear any of the racist or sexist… my mom is probably going to read this post and so I didn’t spell out the word S-H-I-T, my students will probably read it too, but that’s what I meant, that he does. Oh, he just tells it like it is, huh? Nah, he just does and says what you wish you could. I get sick of white people who are silent when people of color are mistreated, but loud and full of condemnation when that treatment, whether it’s discrimination or murder, is protested. I have been thinking about all the mistreatment I saw happen to students of color. It’s a post I’ll probably write later because it deserves his own space. Yeah, I saw y’all. I saw it all. What I saw you do to students and cover up with ‘that’s policy’ made me sick then and it still pisses me off today. I saw you when you run the same system that exists in society, but you call it school. Yeah, you prepare them well for the real world, don’t you? I saw you and I can list your names right here. I’m angry that people I used to respect can’t see that Make America Great Again means to take it back to a time when people like me have fewer rights. That’s what it means. Keep saying otherwise in your Red Hat circles, but that’s what it means. I’m angry that so many white people I know can’t understand what the hell Black Lives Matter means. You’re so used to being the center of everything that that phrase makes you choke. Stop all lives mattering me and blue lives mattering me. When have other lives not mattered? I’m angry that the day after a knee was on George Floyd’s neck, police in Connecticut held a press conference about Peter Manfredonia who murdered two people and was on the run. Peter, we know this is not who you are as a person. Please turn yourself in, they said. I’m even mad about old things because it just all stacks up and creeps up on you. I’m mad that on the inauguration day for Barack Obama, I sat in a quiet hallway, in a quiet school, [unclear] day with [unclear] watching the coverage and a faculty meeting was called. I’m mad that when he gave a Back to School motivational speech for students, we set up a spot in the library for students whose parents didn’t want their children to hear a speech from him, even if it was encouraging them to do well in school. I’m mad that y’all never understood that kneeling was never about disrespecting the flag. I saw so many of you I used to work with post that he should just be grateful he makes that much money. I know your names. And I know what that statement means too. I’m mad that you’re racist and don’t know it, or racist and know it, or benefiting from a system built on racism and you think that only your hard work gets you what you have. I’m mad that you carry your struggles too, of course you had them, but you haven’t ever struggled because you’re white. But you don’t even know that. I’m mad because I get tired of smiling at you just to make you comfortable in a system you built to benefit everyone but me. I’m mad because you don’t know that those rallies are just rebranded rallies. I’m mad because you can’t seem to see past the things that make you uncomfortable. The way to not talk about all these injustices is to talk about the violent protesters. That’s much better to talk about. Hood rats, right? I’m mad because you won’t call out your racist friends and family members because you’re a coward. I’m mad because you are somebody’s racist friend or family member. I’m mad because all of this will happen, and nothing will change. You’ll keep on creating racist policies in schools. You’ll keep on being suspicious of black people who just want to go about their way. You’ll keep on saying that you don’t see color. You’ll keep on congratulating yourself because the black high school football player calls you mama and one day you’re going to be his Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side. Lord knows that boy needs you to save him. But who am I to say any of this? I’m just a semi educated angry black hood rat girl from South Memphis, who has been fed up with a lot of stuff for a long time. No, I won’t make this post shareable. I told them to write their own, each. And that was what spilled out that day. And what makes me angry is that I can write probably 10 more of these and not be redundant.

[BILLY]:
Wow. We want to listen and learn today. I know I grew up in benefit from a system that affords me a life and a lot of privileges. You know, people will say to me, yeah, you’re such a successful counselor. And I think, how could I have not been? I practice in a community that I grew up in with tons of connections, friends, people that love and support me, but it stands on a system that was built to benefit me. I’m grateful for the things that I have and I’m not saying that. But I’m also saying I acknowledge that I’ve benefited from that. And so, because that I have, I want to learn and help things to be different. And then guess the big question is, where does a white middle class guy like me, who grew up with a lot of old ideas and is trying to deconstruct some of them, and probably still has some that come out and need to get corrected on – where do I start? What do we need to do as a family? How do I teach my kids different so the world’s better for everybody, not just me, not just us?

[MONICA]:
Absolutely. And that’s a question that I’ve personally gotten a lot this week. I’ve had friends who I haven’t talked to in a while – we still see each other, and we know we’re well just from Facebook posts, but we haven’t had a conversation. I’ve had white friends reach out and say, what can I do? What can I be doing that’s different from what I’m currently doing? How can I be better? How can I teach my kids? And I always start with just listen, you know, if you normally are in the blue room, go in the red room sometimes and look around, see what’s there; pick up something that you normally wouldn’t read and read it. And I know too, I’ll say… I have black friends who – and I am one, you feel exhausted sometimes it’s like, I see this, why is this not being seen? And it can be exhausting to have those conversations, but I personally don’t mind having those conversations. And I told a friend who reached out this week, he said, I want to ask, or I want to do things, but I don’t want to say the wrong thing. And I just told him, just preface it with, I’m learning, I’m on a journey, this is a continuum. There’s no workshop you can attend or one book that you can read and you’re like, oh, got it, I’m all better now. I see the light. That doesn’t happen. It’s continuum for all of us. And we’re all in different places on that continuum. And I think if we realize that we’re all traveling, we can give grace. And I believe in giving people grace.

If someone came to me and said, you know, I just really don’t know X, I’ll have the conversation. I know it makes other people upset to have to have a conversation. But I think just starting with, hey, I’m on my journey, I want to do better. Can you tell me X? And just having those conversations, stepping outside of our circles, and being friends with someone who doesn’t seem like it would be someone you would be friends with. Striking up a conversation with the stranger. And it’s our circles that can be nurturing, but also blinding to us. If we are only with a certain group of people all the time, you’re going to hear the things that you believe spouted back to you and you will never be challenged. And if you’re never challenged, you never grow. And that’s my philosophy, has always been my philosophy as an educator. If it’s easy, what can we be doing to make this a little bit more challenging, so we can grow. Growth comes in challenge, and I think it comes in sometimes making people upset and making ourselves upset and saying, dang it, I used to think this. Could I be wrong? And also realizing the very first thing is what I told my friend is that, because you have a bias or because you have these beliefs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad person. But if you know that you have them and you don’t do anything about them, then that’s when we tread into the bad. And we laugh about it. But if we’re not asking, and we’re not challenging, and we’re not questioning, then we’re stagnant. And if we’re stagnant, that’s no growth. And so, keep moving and we just… it’s going to be uncomfortable, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, well, I think you mentioned Sandra Bullock, of course, the reference from The Blind Side.

[BRANDY]:
Well, everything in her post is controversial. Every line in that is controversial to some group of people. And when we look at the listeners and people who are going to hear this, some people are going to say, oh…

[BILLY]:
We’re gonna get some posts.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. Oh, we’re gonna get lots of them. Oh, she doesn’t support Trump. She doesn’t support the police officer. She doesn’t support education. But if you’re listening, if you’re listening, it’s…

[BILLY]:
I know. And I think the harshest thing I’ll ever have to deal with is maybe a mean text. I talked about our son calling out for you last night when he was afraid, upstairs. Mom, mom, mom, because he got scared in his bedroom, alone, and you jumped up so fast. It was like instinct to rescue him. And there was a fella crying out for his mom, you know, with a knee on his neck, that didn’t have a mother there. I think we can all identify with that pain. That’s a human being, that’s a life, it shouldn’t be controversial. This should be a human issue that we should all care about and it happens all too often. And I don’t want to be that Sandra Bullock, I need to put a cape on and that savior complex, but I want to listen and learn. So, it’s that balance. And I think we’re all trying to figure out how to do it. And thank you for giving us the grace to be messy with it.

[MONICA]:
It’s messy work, it’s definitely messy work. I’m in a book club with mostly white people at BetterLesson where I work, and I know they wouldn’t be upset about the post. They are just all about the work and we’re all in different places. And we meet on Fridays, and we’re reading whatever it is, it’s usually a book. And we ask the tough questions and sometimes it’s like, ah, I can’t believe so and so said that, you know, or can’t believe they… but then we go back to our agreements, we’re all in different places. And we’re all growing. We’re here to support each other. And I think too, Billy, what you just said about the balance; you can say Black Lives Matter and I support police. As an educator, I was telling Brandy earlier, I can call out educators and say like, you’ve got to do better by students. But at the same time, I will go and fight for teachers and make sure that we have what we need. You can do more than what… you don’t have to pick a camp. And I think that that’s what’s wrong is that we think we have to pick a side, but sometimes there is beauty in the middle. When you look at the positives there and the positives there and you stand in the middle, that’s where the work happens. It doesn’t happen by staying on your one side with people who think what you think. It’s going in the middle and looking left and looking right and going, what can I do, what can I bring from here, what can I bring from there to make this better for everybody? And so, absolutely, I support police. I don’t know people who are listening don’t know anything about me. And that’s okay. That’s totally okay.

[BRANDY]:
Well, let me interrupt you. Let me interrupt you because I do know you and I do know how good you are. And I do know that you’re not one to stir up controversy. You’re not one to do that. But you are one to advocate for kids, I do know that. And so, when I read this post, it broke my heart. Because for somebody like you, who’s just so good, and just so nice, and if you guys knew Monica, you’d know, she’s always greeting with a smile and a hug and happiness. And so, for me to think of like, how much you had to repress and how much was in there that had been bottled up, that you just let it out. It’s not you to be that person. So it must have run deep and it was like when I heard this, I was on fire for you, like, thank you for saying that but I’m so sorry that you haven’t been able to say that in the past and that it took someone dying and people to get upset for that to come out when this has been years of it. And that’s why it was so… it was so rough and raw and good. Because I do know you, and I do know that you’re gonna smile and shake hands. But I also know when you see an injustice, you’re not going to sit back. So, I don’t know why I said that, but…

[MONICA]:
I can’t, I can’t. And I think that’s why we are where we are. It’s so much easier to go, ah, but I know so and so, he’s a good guy, he didn’t mean a thing he said, and you just go on, and it builds. And when our beliefs infiltrate our work as teachers, as police officers, as public servants, that’s when we have a problem. And it’s when those who serve alongside those teachers who are next door to the teacher who was really mean to kids who never says anything, I’ve made people mad for calling them out at school, and I have been raised that when you see something wrong, you say something about it, and you always take care of the people. And if you take care of people, then everything will be okay. And so, for me that comes out in nurturing. I took this test called the Five Voices Survey and my number one, my top voice is nurturer, and my second is connecter – I like for people to connect with people. And so, if that is what I’m doing in person, I do it, I nurture, but I also try to nurture with my words, and I try to tell the truth with my words. And it makes this cathartic, it makes me feel better. Like, I don’t even remember half that stuff I wrote. But I know it was real and I know it’s honest. I’m honest in it.

[BILLY]:
Well, that’s got to sting a little bit. I think it’s time to get a little uncomfortable and face some things and, man, of course, it’s going through my head of all the people, like, who’s gonna say this about that or who’s gonna…? But you guys are taking us through an educational process. We sat here and we talked about a subject that’s very… I’m a beta guy. I’m not super into football, but I couldn’t help but miss the kneeling and all of that. You guys are, you know, teaching me. Can we talk a little bit about that? Colin Kaepernick and taking a knee and what that really meant, and it got misappropriated on this thing about the flag and disrespect, but it was really a sign of protest while respecting. And somehow, I think in the beginning, I missed it and I started hearing the real message. And you guys were teaching us about that today. I mean, do you mind speaking to that just a little bit?

[RICKY]:
Well, I’ve had discussions about the Colin Kaepernick kneeling with students and friends, and so many people buy into what they’ve heard on TV or what they’ve heard on radio about disrespecting the flag, but, you know, when I watch soldiers kneeling, saying this is what we fought for – first amendment right, freedom to protest. And to take that and twist it, it was basically just a sign of people not wanting to acknowledge what he was trying to convey to society. Of this is a problem, it’s not going away, it’s getting worse. And so, it’s easier to say, well, he’s disrespecting the flag, than to say, you know what? He’s right.

[BRANDY]:
It’s that symptom again. It’s let’s look at him disrespecting the flag and avoid what he’s talking about. It’s let’s look at the protesters and the rioters, let’s not look about what the root cause is. Again, it’s that avoidance, like, if we can focus the attention on something else, then we don’t have to go back to that root cause. It’s a democratic, republican thing. We don’t have to focus on the root cause and the reason why, if we focus on it’s a police thing then we don’t focus on the root cause. And it’s not a police thing. It’s not a Trump thing. It’s not a kneeling thing. It’s a root cause and there’s a community of people that are saying, I can’t breathe, I’m tired. And we keep saying, well, let’s not look at that. Let’s look at all these other things, the symptoms of it, right? Let’s not look at what the real illness is.

[MONICA]:
That’s easier. It’s a lot easier than to look inward. We talk about what America is and I think a lot of times we forget that we haven’t lived up to the is that we say that it is. It is that for some people, it is not for everybody. And so there was a really great article, and I wish I’d brought it, but it talked about how, the writer talked about how kneeling before the flag is a way to say that the ideals that you stand for are wounded right now. They’re not present for everyone. And so, I respect you, but I kneel to say that you are wounded. I still love you. I still support you, but I kneel. I don’t just sit down and stretch out on the field and check my phone, I kneel to still give you reverence, but to say, hey, we’re not living up to what those stars and stripes are supposed to represent. And it only takes a few times to say something that it can be gone. And I think once someone said, oh, wow, that’s disrespecting the military… there have been so many interviews of military personnel saying that that is what you do. There are photos of Dr. King kneeling also that we never… we never talk about that, but he kneeled a lot before the flag with other protesters for the very same reason. And so, yeah, it really, as you say, Brandy, is a symptom. And I have asked the question a lot – do you protest the injustice with the same fervor and indignation that you protest the protest? You’re protesting the protest, but are you protesting why they’re protesting? It’s a problem.

[BRANDY]:
We’ve seen, I think, in this last couple of weeks, some really terrible, horrible things and then we’ve seen some really beautiful things. And this conversation, happening at a kitchen table, is beautiful.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. We have to sit down more. We have to talk more. When you grow up and your lens is primarily white like mine was – I just wasn’t in areas where I hung out with people of color and different backgrounds and cultures and religions. Everybody looked like me and it was comfortable. But I find some of the most beautiful things in life come from getting uncomfortable. I thought that was always a bad thing. Maybe not always, but for a while, it was status quo, was easy. But everything good in my life’s come through a little bit of suffering and getting uncomfortable. I mean, this podcast came from that; struggles with addiction and relationship problems, that’s why we started doing this. And if we’re going to get uncomfortable in an area, why not this one? I want to talk maybe a little bit about your faith background and how that plays into this message. Maybe, if you would feel comfortable talking about that.

[RICKY]:
For me, my mom always taught me to treat people the way you want to be treated. Be kind to people regardless of who they are, be kind to people, because that goes a long way. And I’ve tried to model that in my life. I’ve tried to model that with my students. I always try to get my students to understand that you can always come talk to me, you know, I will be honest with you. You might not like the answer, but I’ll be honest with you. And I’ll be fair. I learned that from my mom and my faith, that’s, you know, what you do to the least of them, you do it to all of us. It echoes in my mind, so just be kind to people and if you can’t, then you got some problems. You got problems in yourself because it’s not them, it’s something that’s wrong in you that you have to address.

[MONICA]:
You never know that… from the Bible, like, you never know who you’re entertaining, and everybody has a story. And I wasn’t even thinking I was gonna say this, but I think even within those settings, like, we’ve been sitting in church before, and some things are said that were really discriminatory against gay people, or against whatever, or something someone says about someone who’s poor, and this is like, this is the church. What are we doing? There’s work to be done on all fronts but I think if we really believe and think about the tenets of the Bible, and we are always decentering self, like, you decenter yourself and you look to center someone else, and as long as you’re doing that, I think, like, for me, that’s the foundation of Christianity, is to put self aside and center other people. And I think that that is what, when we’re doing that, you know, it may not always feel good because we have our stories, and we have our thing that we want to say, and I want you to know about me, but when you step aside and you let someone else shine, that’s what I love most about being a friend, about being a wife, about being a colleague to other teachers, is how can I put you on this pedestal and let people see your talents and let you shine? Because I shine when I help you shine. And I think that we talk about that discomfort. That’s where that discomfort comes from. For a lot of people, it’s like, how dare you not just say all lives matter? Because for so long in our country, we only have centered whiteness, and whiteness is the center, that’s the norm. It’s normal to have your hair this way. Not the way that it grows out of your head, because that doesn’t look groomed. But that’s the way it grows out of my head, but I can lose my job if I don’t do my hair in the way that is centered mostly on whiteness. And so that’s why it’s hard, I think, for people to not say all lives matter. No one ever said that. It’s the invisible ‘too’. Black Lives Matter too. This is where the pain is and so we’re centering that pain. That doesn’t mean your pain isn’t real, or valid, or that you haven’t struggled, but this is the pain of people who we know that we have decentered for so long. And so that’s to me the foundation of Christianity is like, that has to be it, the decentering of self to serve others.

[BILLY]:
It’s an important message. I was so curious just because even my faith community was very separate, you know? And if it’s not good news for everybody, it’s not good news for anybody. And it’s got to be a message that’s palatable for all people. And… thank you.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I took a grad class in 2005, I think, and the class was called White Privilege… or the book we read was White Privilege and it was a diversity class in grad school a while ago – I think it was Rothenberg, maybe. It was the first time I’d ever really heard of it. I was in grad school before I heard the term white privilege and I could easily identify with it. And I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket or never had a ticket. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pulled over and never felt unsafe, never had a ticket. And I always tell Billy that, I’m like, just remember, I’ve never had a speeding ticket. And I look back at all the times that I’ve been pulled over and given warnings, right? And I remember when I was reading this book in grad school and thinking about the opportunities that I’ve had and the opportunities that others hadn’t had, and it wasn’t saying that my struggle wasn’t real, it’s just saying it wasn’t harder because of the color of my skin. And it was just something so easy. It was like, oh, I’ve never looked at it that way. I was so grateful for that, because it helped me lens for the last 15 years a little bit more of that. And it’s not an either-and, it’s both. Nobody’s saying to everybody listening, you haven’t had struggles, your life hasn’t been hard. But it wasn’t hard because of the color of your skin. That wasn’t an extra piece of it that you had to layer on top of it. And I think that’s just so important. When we say all lives matter, they do. Blue lives matter, we support the police. But black lives matter too. And when that building is on fire, you go to the ones that are needing the most help. And I think that’s where we are right now.

[BILLY]:
This is the building that’s on fire. This is where our focus is. And so honestly, I’m glad you came to white privilege with such wisdom and understanding. Me, not so much. When I first heard it, it was offensive. But it wasn’t because I wasn’t getting the message. I had to learn that message. I thought it meant something bad about me. That didn’t help. I started thinking, I’m a bad person, I took in this guilt and shame and started going there which is toxic, not healthy, and doesn’t help anything either. But as I began to get some education, and as they told me in early recovery, take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth. You got two of those, you’ve been talking too much. Listen. When I started doing some of that, and I was like, oh, that just makes sense. That’s not offensive. That’s just the way life is. What can we do to make it a little different? And I think probably a lot of my friends would sting a little bit with that and want to come back with some retort. You don’t have to, if you really understand it, it’s not anybody saying anything other than, let’s level the playing field for all people so we can all participate in. For all my struggles with faith, the call to love my neighbor is not one that I have a hard time with at all. I get that. I want to get on board with that. I want to be on that side of things, on that side of history, on that side of faith, loving my neighbor. And that’s what we’re trying to do with this podcast and what we’re trying to do today.

[BRANDY]:
I do want to say, you know, Billy and I talk about… I mean, we’ll get on here and talk about a fight we’ve had, and we try to be as honest and real, and these conversations are hard and we deal with white fragility – making white people feel uncomfortable, and I love in your post how you said that: I smile to make you feel comfortable. And I think any time we’re defending something the way we’ve defended it, we shouldn’t have to yell. As white people, we shouldn’t have to yell that loud to defend something. If we’re defending something, and we’re not listening, there’s something wrong with us. If we can’t, just like you said, if we can’t just stop and listen and say, I don’t need to make these posts, I don’t need to… I just need to listen for a minute. If we’re not willing to do that, like Ricky said, there are some deeper issues there. I don’t need to defend Trump. I don’t need to defend anything right now. I just need to listen. And I think that’s what we’re asking people to do. So, before you start writing us all hate mail, and I will defend you, Monica, if you get any hate mail. Before we do that, I think we’re just asking people just to listen, listen to understand that there are voices that aren’t being heard. Maybe not everybody is doing it in a way that we all feel is right. But as a human, when people are hurting, we should extend a hand, right? I mean, that’s all we’re asking people to do, is just look across the table and reach out and say, hey, I hear you. I see you.

[RICKY]:
I think what Billy said speaks volumes to one of the, probably, the largest underlining problems of people getting open and, you know, understanding this issue. When you say you heard the title, you know, white privilege, you immediately want to start defending, how dare you say, white privilege, but just stop and think for a minute. Let me just dive into this first and see what the topics are, [unclear] saying, and I think if you open your eyes and open your heart, then this makes sense. This has been happening. So, if you’re not willing to approach it with an open mind and open heart, then you’re gonna always be defensive. You’re always gonna see the problem with the other side. And that’s not helping the issue, that’s compounding this problem.

[BRANDY]:
There’s no ‘others’. We’re all one.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, there are no others. Why would I not want the same beautiful things for my neighbors that I’ve benefited from? Why would I not want the same life that I’ve gotten to enjoy for my friends, and the people in my community, and the people in this great country we live in. I want us to all… there’s enough. It’s scarcity, there’s fear, there’s not enough, we got to get… There’s enough. There’s enough. Let’s share.

[MONICA]:
I know we’re probably getting close on time, but I could just say a couple things. So, I think there are three, like, three steps. If we start with self and say, let me just do some internal work. It’s okay to not be ready to go talk to your black neighbor across the street who you never talked to. That may not be your first… So, if you just start with self and say, what don’t I know? I’m just gonna humor these people and let me just read White Fragility by Robyn D’Angelo, which I happen to have learned a lot from, it doesn’t matter if I’m black. You don’t have to be white to read that book. But let me just start with So you want to talk about Race with Ijeoma Oluo. Let me just start with doing my own work first. And so that internal piece, and then connect with someone else, and then share it. So, we stop trying to do it all at once. Nobody is saying… don’t change the world right now and go be a civil rights leader. We are all in different places. We’re all on this same continuum of we’re moving; as long as we’re moving, we’re doing the right thing. And to have a bias does not mean you’re a bad person. As a black person, I have biases. If you’re a human, you have a bias.

I was at a training once and not to equate human beings with animals, but she’s like, I want to take it away from people just to show you all what I mean by having a bias. And she flashed up these pictures and one was a little lady in a kitchen baking cookies and, like, first impressions, what do you get? Oh, my grandma, I used to go over there, you know. Let me flash up this other picture and it’s like, oh, that reminds me of summer vacation, and we would go on these trips. And then the next picture was a pit bull, and it wasn’t snarling or anything, it was just a pit bull. And then somebody’s like, ah, danger, this, and that, and that. And she says, why? Because all the stories about pit bulls, and how they attack kids, and whatever. And so, then she showed the video of it, and this pit bull’s a big baby, just like rolling all over. It’s like, but that’s what you thought of and when you saw the picture, and why is it that you thought that of the pit bull? It’s because of the things that you were fed, you didn’t even know that you were being fed, or things you were breathing in you didn’t even know you were breathing in. Do you think that a fish in a tank knows it’s surrounded by water? That’s just the way it is. It’s the way here. So, you don’t have to… you’re not a bad person that you don’t see these things, but when you continue to not look, that’s when I think there’s a problem.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. We’re breathing it in today, your story, your truth, the things that you brought into our home today. Thank you. Their messages will carry on to our kids and I hope to have more of these.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, thank you for giving us permission to be learning and messy.

[MONICA]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, we’re fumbling forward, but we’re trying to get there. Thanks, Beta Male Revolution. We’ll talk to you soon.

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This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guest are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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