On today’s episode I’m humbly rejoined by Dr. Yabome Gilpin-Jackson. We discuss what’s changed since she was last on and how winning the International African Business Woman of the Year (2017) and BBPA Harry Jerome Award (2018) propelled her further into writing and storytelling. We explore her latest book, Ancestries: A Short Story Collection, an ode to belonging and rootedness.
On today's episode, Yabome shares deeply about safety and certitude, racism in the Vancouver school system and black history month not being just about the month.
I am deeply honoured to have a seat at the table with Yabome. Please consider purchasing her self-published books available on Amazon.
To find out more
Hey, what's up? This is Ashley and I'm your host of the kilter and mint podcast. On today's episode, I'm humbly rejoined by dr Yabome Gilpin Jackson. We discuss what's changed since she was last on and how winning the international African business woman of the year award and the BB P a Harry Jerome award propelled her further into writing and storytelling. We explore her latest book Ancestry's, a short story collection, which is an ode to belonging and rootedness Yabome shares deeply about safety and certitude, racism and the Vancouver school system and black history month being not just about the month. I'm deeply honored to have a seat at the table with your boom and I would highly encourage you to consider purchasing herself published books available on Amazon. So before we get into today's episode, I wanted to ask a favor of you and that is to leave a rating and review wherever you listen to this podcast.
So when there are reviews left on iTunes, it helps this podcast move up in the charts, which means getting it into more ears and sharing more of people's stories like your booms. And if you would like to show another way of you showing your support, showing all the shows please check out my KO-FI page linked in the show notes. KO-FI is a Canadian sourced support, which allows me to financially be able to afford this podcast and to be able to transcribe it. So Lincoln show notes by a book on Amazon and leave a rating and review. Okay, cool. Well, without further ado, let's get into today's episode featuring dr Yabome Gilpin Jackson. Yes, I am ready. I'm so happy you're back on the podcast. I'm excited to be back. Thank you for having me again. My you pleasure. I'm here with dr Yabome Gilpin Jackson. Who I like to think over the years has become my friend.
Yes, Yabome was one of the very first people to ever be on this podcast and trusted me and allowed me to ask quite a few ignorant questions. Good question. Yeah, they were great questions. I did. I mean, this was even before I learned what emotional labor wise and the conversations we were having. So I hope that this conversation might be a little bit more advanced than our first one. And you and I have some like very important, serious things to talk about. So I'm excited that you're here. Thank you for welcoming me into your home. I'm glad you're here. Yeah. And I wanted to start off with like, what's changed or what's happened in the last like I guess it's been almost two years since we sat last. [inaudible]
What has changed? A lot of, not a lot. So first I would say what hasn't changed is my drive to tell my story to the extent that it connects to the broader issues around identity. And so, and so that has been reinforced maybe a bit of a change in terms of the ways in which that has been reinforced. And and so in that time, I have, in the last two years, I have published another short story collection. I have done a bit more work on, we will lead Africa. So just those sort of emotional labor, hearts, labor for me as well. Passion passion work around what it means to be a black African woman who's, you know, I think of myself as a global African navigating the world and you know, how my experiences have have changed me, shaped me.
I think, you know, there was also a documentary that I had the pleasure of being in called cool black North that aired full black history month last year. And I actually just heard it was Erin last weekend or the weekend before it just cause I kept getting messages about it but I didn't realize it was back on TV. So, but those kinds of things have just reinforced for me the important of the importance of telling us stories because in inevitably some of the people that have contacted me has been to share resonance and to share the impact that my speaking or my sharing has had on them. So yeah. Very cool.
Why don't you give us, I mean, when we sat down last, I felt like I got like the full [inaudible] experience, learning all about your life for people maybe who are new listeners, maybe sharing like a cliffs note version of who you are and a little bit about your life and how it got you here today.
Yeah. where do I see
Speaker 3 (00:04:56):
Good? No, it's good. It's good. Well, you know, I, I like to say to save
Fundamentally there's something important to me about my names or my name in my ethnic culture from in my family Ancestry's from Sierra Leone in West Africa and my family is from Northern Sierra Leone, from the Timney tribe who are next to the Mondays part of the majority groups. I insert him, but either way my name means woman, but it also the yard part is actually a title. So it means wise woman, like older woman. It's sort of a title ascribed to an older wise woman that eventually became a name. It was my grandmother's name as well as a bit of a title. For her and so, and so, yeah. My, my name basically means woman with the connotation of wise older woman. I used to laugh about that, that I had a grandma's name was sort of having one of those old English or [inaudible] names and Gail or Gertrude or something.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. [inaudible] In that culture is, I used to laugh about that and I think as I, I as I've matured into my old woman herd, I have cherish that name. So who I am fundamentally is, is a woman seeking after wisdom and, and trying to navigate the world as best I can to have impact. I was born in Germany when it was West Germany cause my parents were working there, spent my influence years in sort of Germany, Belgium. And then we moved to Sierra Leone when I was about five. And so I, I often say my formative years were in Sierra Leone, in West Africa. And then I left and came to Canada. Why Canada? Because my parents had actually studied here. My father did his masters and PhD at the university of Alberta and they had three children. While they were here, those children had sort of two of them had returned to Canada at the time and one of them was living in Vancouver and was, you know, was here alone.
Everybody else was sort of out East. And so the circumstances at the time was also, it was around the time of this early and civil war. I was actually already going to come to Vancouver for grad school, but because of the escalation that happened, my family was able to privately sponsor me. Cause like I said, a number of them were already here and had friends in the community that helped them get together the numbers they needed in terms of people to sign off that, you know, they would privately care for me type thing in the government's care for me terms. Yeah. So and so I, I landed actually in Vancouver as a refugee, although I was intending to come to Vancouver as a student. Right, because this was during the conflict, correct? Correct. So I landed as a privately sponsored refugee and then I, I sorted out a schooling and I went to Simon Fraser university finished my undergrad, did a masters there, and then I had the opportunity to go to the U S to fielding where I did my doctorate in human development. So I think that's the cold notes, close notes. I think, you know, the other things will become obvious in terms of how all of that has impacted.
I'm like, there's so many things that we can go off of because you've worked with Ebola survivor as you've worked with people, you know, dealing with PTSD and conflict trauma and there's just so much, and not to mention you're also like my mom's favorite person and her boss. So there's something that I do want to touch on before we kind of get into it. And I think that you winning international African business woman of the year in 2017 when we sat down, recorded, I think that was just announced and has a really big deal and I just want to know kind of what's, how has that potentially changed your trajectory or how that shaped you to us now in 2020?
Yeah. it's actually, thank you. It's interesting. I mean it's been, it's been an honor. Awards are always interesting for me because I, I often think there's so many people working hard and I know I have a tendency to dismiss, to dismiss my own accomplishments. And, and again, in the, in the way that people in the community have responded and connected with me, I'm beginning to understand that it's not insignificant in our community for a black woman, an African woman to achieve certain things because it creates a certain possibility for others that otherwise seems far reaching. So, so I've come to grips with that. What happened was I was awarded, it's, it was called international African woman of the year up there somewhere. And that was a complete shock colleagues of mine that I had been working with in the leadership, I know D community who are also sort of global Africans. We had gotten together at a conference and we're literally griping about you know, some of the NCDs ways that we felt our stories or marginalized and we sort of were at some point all looked at ourselves because we also you know, believe where we really ascribed to those organization development, humanistic, appreciative ideals of looking for solutions, looking for what's working and amplifying that. So at some point we looked at each other and went, okay, we're going to do something right.
Speaker 4 (00:10:24):
And that led
To the, we will lead Africa series. Emerging was very much on the ideals of look for what's working, amplify that and, and all of us ascribing to the importance of narrative and story to create social change. So that was the Genesis of that. And they, I you know, their story is the, the watched me amplify that, work with them and move it forward. And, and they decided to nominate me for this award that I had no idea about. So it was a complete shock. It's one of those things. I got the email and deleted it. I thought it was bad.
Speaker 4 (00:10:58):
But to your point, what happened quickly on the heels of that, again from completely different avenues is that I also got nominated by somebody who had seen me speak, but I didn't know intimately for the emerging organization development practitioner award, which was an award that had been created by the organization development network in the U S that's a pretty global in membership, but hadn't been awarded to everyone because they hadn't felt that the find found someone that exemplified the ideals of that particular award. So here I was like from a completely other source. So international African woman happened in the spring, I think in the fall. Yes, early fall I got the emerging OT practitioner award and then the following spring in 2018 I received the hiring Jerome professional excellence award, which is huge in Canada. It's the black excellence awards in Canada. I think the closest comparison I can think of is the NAACP awards in the States. And so again, from a completely other source these three awards all happen in close succession. And, and what that did for me was actually help me pause and reflect even more. It made me think about why any of them were important. And, and actually what was really significant for me is in some ways I was used to getting academic awards. I have you have your PhD.
Speaker 5 (00:12:33):
Yeah, that's a nice way. I've
Been lucky enough like I've, I've worked hard. It's not just you know I had a, a social innovation scholar award at fielding. I had, I won the Dean's medal at Simon Fraser when I was graduating with my masters. So in some ways I was used to getting like academic merit based awards. What was significant to your question about the international African woman and the Harry Jerome's especially, which Harry Jerome's happened on the same day that the 13 and community of BC also gave me an award in absentia cause I wasn't in town because I was into after receiving the higher Jerome was this idea of being recognized in my own communities. You know, for the married but not just for the merit but as a role model because what you know has become increasingly important to me as I mature into womanhood as I have children is being a role model to others.
Not in any kind of egotistical way, but again to the point of I have often and again underestimated the impact for people in this North American context in the Canadian and the U S context of seeing a woman of color, a black woman, African woman achieve certain things because my formative years were in Sierra Leone, in West Africa. Cause there's a certain amount of distance I have that I've realized is an advantage. And I also had to, it took me a while to understand the systemic issues prevalent here. But that distance I think afforded me a kind of a kind of internal locus of control. Not that people who grew up here don't have that, but in a way where almost ignorance is bliss. Almost my oblivion allowed me to not be tentative in certain ways, to put myself out again and again in a way that I, you know black Canadians and African Americans have said to me, it's not as simple.
For me, I grew up with these insidious oppressive experiences, the microaggression, my curricular actions, the blatant racism, blatant reasons, other constants low greed and messages that you don't quite belong. Which, you know, I often tell the story of taking a sociology class for credit, just, you know, simple credit at SFU just cause I was filling up credits and it was the class on social inequality. And I walk in oblivious and then of course they start putting the social categories that are marginalized in Canada and in the U S and in the European sort of Western context. And they're putting like these, these factors are going up on the screen. You know, women black or African ancestries, immigrants, refugees, religion, like, you know, the different things that are going up. And I'm like, wow, I'm checking off. Like I'm, you know, my heads [inaudible] going one way as I'm doing now.
I'm like, I'm checking off like five of the seven or eight that were on the list or whatever it was was, and I remember this sort of stillness that happened in the classroom. It was a class where we did a lot of group work. So by that point in, this is mr we tended to gravitate and sit with our sort of group and I was sitting next to people in my group and then as it hit me and I'm looking at the screen like that's describing me, that's not me. Like, aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. I don't consider myself you know, marginalized in those ways, right? That that place where your personal identity gets smacked with the systemic social categories where even if I don't identify with them, this was seen out in the world. This is how you're seeing. And this is how people might respond to you in stereotypes and prejudice and over it racism because you, you are seen a certain way.
So as that collision happened for me internally, I look around and my group cannot look at me. They're all looking down, they're looking away, they're looking in front, nobody's looking at me and I'm sitting there, I'm the only black girl, black person in the classroom. And all of a sudden I'm like, nobody can look at me because it's uncomfortable and people don't know how to deal with it. And then I am left exposed and conspicuous and vulnerable and trying to figure out what does this even mean. Yeah. Right. Cause that would've been one of the first experiences of racism, not difference in other forms. Right. Which we'll talk about, you know. Yes. I'm a woman in the world who grew up in a patriarchal society. Right. So, so not different but different in this way. Yeah. That impacts you a different way and in an yeah. In a way that that sort of just continually keeps on giving in and not very pleasant ways. Yeah. And for, for you recognizing and seeing that
At that time to where you are now, you want to be able to provide what for the next generation of women of color who are coming up.
Yeah. And I think this connects to, this is how this connects is the, the idea that that distance gave me a Bolivia and gave me a certain boldness that, that sometimes others have to dig deeper to find right? Or have to dig deeper to have the courage to speak up in a way that, that I don't. And so I want to provide the context that provides the kind of safety and certitude and courage and support that allows people to speak up. Cause if there's one thing again that I've learned to appreciate in the North American context is the importance of having community that sees you and recognize you, which is why like all the way through receiving the more sort of community oriented awards, it's sort of hit me like, you know, this is a try by most one to speak to. I want to speak to everyone. Hello, everyone listened to the podcast. And in particular, I want global Africans, like people teaching me who's the target audience, why identities and ancestries it is absolutely first global Africans and people of African descent all over the world who have those kinds of experiences. And it is secondarily everybody else, right? Yes.
So why don't we talk about what's been happening. Talk to me about why you wanting to come back on the podcast this time round besides for us to be able to sit down and chat. But
Yeah. Yeah. Well I'm, one of the reasons was st a bit more about my work on ancestries, which I know the last time we talked we talked about, you know, some of what we've already said, the question of what's changed and all of that. And I think you have a great question in terms of, you know, why keep documenting freight, which is, which brings me back. So part of coming back is to, to talk about ancestries and the continual urge I have to, to keep document documenting. And I think that's twofold. One is just personal passion. I did a book signing this weekend as you know, I had a great conversation with someone who was seeing, you know, I kind of think people who have the creative urge like you, no matter, you know, whether it's the visual arts or the performing arts or writing, I almost sometimes think it's not a choice.
And, and, and I was like that's an interesting way to put it. Cause you know, again, in sort of my organization development lens and leadership developments, like everybody always has choice. However, what resonated for me is this idea of feeling compelled to do something. So I had a quite the conversation with her about how I get these urges or some raw interaction will happen. Some random dinner, you know, cocktail party interaction that will stick with me and I'll just get this almost obsessive urge to, to write it out and, and to write about all the new ones in those moments that's not possible to convey in the interaction. All the new ones that was missing. When someone crosses the room line street for me and my heart's already beating because I know without the person even getting to me that they are here to ask me questions about my identity because I am the most conspicuously different person in the room or among the most conspicuously different person in the room or they're talking to me and I can see them get curious about my accents.
And this is like, you know, immediate conversation. That first small talk is to interrogate my identity. So where are you from? Where are you really from when I say Canada? Right? where were you born and we talked about this last time. Questions that never have satisfying answers cause it's not so simple anymore. So simple for me, but I am one of millions the world over at this point that live outside the country of the ancestral lineage. The stats are showing, and I haven't looked at the most recent, but up to last year the global migration starts is if, you know, if you put all the numbers together, you're looking, if those people will call located, they would be the fifth largest country in the world. That's the number of people who live outside the country of their ancestry and that live global. And so, you know, people who don't be to you for living in a global world that is entirely interconnected and interwoven, that's your push sailed a long time ago. And so I run into people all the time. I run into other people of color and other people would just diverse identities. Not only people of color, I, I run into, you know, European descent people all the time.
Speaker 4 (00:22:46):
We're like, are you born in Germany? I was born in Germany. I have a [inaudible]
Colleague, was born in Germany, but has lived in New Zealand, Australia does work with indigenous people. And she just connected completely to my experiences of you know, never living in the police of her birth.
Speaker 4 (00:23:02):
And then looking at me, I go you about that too. I never lived there too. I left young and [inaudible]
That kind of thing. But that's like Bob is a true sincere connection. Correct. Wanting to find that source of connection. Correct. Not looking at what's different, what is making you different? Finding a connection. Correct. Yeah. So then people often say, well what do I do? What do, what do you do is get to know people first before you start interrogating them. Because understanding this is where the sort of insidiousness of what people often think of as well meaning, but becomes micro-aggressive think about the fact that for me, I get asked that question at least once a day, maybe multiple times a day over the months, over the 20 something years that I've lived in Vancouver and which to me then says, why is it not okay for me to say I'm from Vancouver when I've lived here the longest portion of my life, longer than anywhere else and have been Canadian for, you know, just as long.
So, so how is it then that that it is not okay for me to just see that and then we get into a conversation where you get to know me. And these are some of the, the, the privileges that that I think people of European descent I like to say here rather than white. And we can talk about language later. These are the privileges that, that you might be blind to because you are not asked every name where you from, even though your historical background is just as much an immigrant background as mine is. [inaudible] Right? Yeah. Yeah.
So with Ancestry's, a short story collection your most recent book, tell me more about that. And I mean, we've, we've touched on it and you and I have talked about this off air you know, some of the stories that you share in it, but I'd love to give listeners a little bit more of a snapshot of what this book is. And if you're listening, you can also buy it on Amazon and chapters.
Yeah. For those of you local, it's a chapters, Metro zone and Coquitlam. So ancestries it is fundamentally an ode to belonging and rootedness to the conversation. We're having what gets stripped when you're a person of African descent, whether you, you come to Canada or the U S Y or the Caribbean or via the original descendants of peoples that were enslaved or a newer immigrants group. What gets tripped is this sense of rootedness and, and belonging because of being in a context where you're not as represented and and you are subject to, to you know, these microaggressions or these constants, subliminal messages. There's this picture I like of an artist that does that does counter pictures. So, so pictures that, that flip privilege. So they show, for example, I think it's a little white girl, European decent girl looking at a rock that only had dolls of color, right?
Like, I, I love that imagery and I don't know the artist's name in this moment, but you know, those, these, these three different pictures like you know, the, the nail salon, having women of European descent doing nails and the women of Asian descent in the chairs. Right. So flipping the stereotypes. Yeah. and, and so that impact of not being afforded that constant representation and validation strips not just identity, which was the subject of identities short story collection, but she's your mom's first, my first short story collection. That was also also an Amazon, but in ancestries it's really about rootedness and belonging. The quest for rootedness and belonging. It is you know, people of African Canadian descent you know, on a quest for belonging and, and traveling to look for it. And then coming back and finding home is still here.
So how do you navigate both belonging and not belonging? Which is, which is a, a personal impact of the, of the macro system, right, of the systemic inequalities that, that sort of state in you, and that you as a person of African descent or a person of color then have to navigate right? Or as an indigenous person that you belong and yet socially have been ostracized and marginalized. And, and, and this idea that you can leave, but there's a part of you that's still actually is rooted here and belongs here as much as to your ancestral roots. So, so how do you navigate that? So it's those kinds of stories, especially for sort of that global international African perspective of being everywhere and nowhere. So, so, and this might also people see how much of this is autobiographical. Some of it I own the all fictionalized, but, and I often say, you know, there's bits and parts of me all over these stories.
And I think fundamentally it's the idea that for me in every context I've sort of had inside, outside of status, and I actually have grown to love it or use it to my advantage. So in Sierra Leone when we showed up, I was, you know, the, the little girl with Sterling and parents who spoke with a European accent and spoke English. Of course early on was a British colony. So we spoke English in schools, which again is a question I get asked here. How come your English is so good? Quite apart from the fact that it was quite apart from the fact that I'm English was my first language only because I was born in Europe to a family that was speaking English at home because my siblings all went to the British schools because my parents were anticipating going back to Sierra Leone where we were on a British educational system, you know, still a colonize, you know society ongoing even though Saturday and has had independence since the 60s.
So they weren't anticipating going back and they kept all the, my, my siblings, I was little, you know, just kindergarten age, but in British schools, so one of seven, one of eight. Pardon me? Pardon me? Yes, I'm the baby. So so you know, I was the, the little 30 Indian girl who spoke English of the European accent. So you know, there were issues with that in school. There will be people who didn't consider me necessarily Sarah union or considered me privileged or washy in some way because we had come from Europe back to Sierra Leone, none of which I aligned with. Other than I am very aware of the privileges I do have because you know, in that context I do have privileges by the socioeconomic status that it was born into. And I never want to dismiss that in the same way that I ask people here to recognize the privileges they have and the impacts of that on people who don't have those privileges.
I have always held that I want to be responsible for the privileges that I have. And, and I think my parents were instilling that in me. But the point here is that I think that part of my own identity that's always been inside or outside, I wasn't inserting in context, although I fully identify as early union just to say for the record. And equally fully identify now as Canadian. But in Canadian society, this is where I came to understand racism or my the ways in which I'm socially classified as a black woman, a woman of color, you know, named the language you want to use
[Inaudible] set of like you know, as, as the label
Peoples of color. I understand, you know, it holds the umbrella for the experiences of people of color. There's the part of me that's that understands the importance of language. Something about people of colors that sounds like prisoners of war to me. Yeah.
And the quantitation, the connotation of we're a group of people that's like almost also overly piece, I don't wanna say like overly PC, but like, why are you taking away from saying a black woman and even myself, like I indigenous woman or a woman
Descent or whatever. So there's this umbrella categorizing that sort of grates on me a little bit in terms of what it does to make this whole group of people a monolith, which is also not okay. To minimize experiences, which is also not okay. And also that that umbrella is also categorizing and hear me. I also understand the importance of naming things, but I think naming things in a way that allows greater access to the experiences and the issues and the solutions is, is useful. And, and sometimes I wonder if you know, people of color has not created more of a way in which the different groupings within it has become essential ISED and therefore experiences minimize and were just grouped by the suffering of being marginalized.
Mm. And I, there's something too about that I think about the, the internal, not internal racism, but the racism that exists between marginalized groups as well. So when you blanket it and it, yes,
Yes. Women of color, people of color, it takes away from that individual's experience with being a black woman. Yeah. Yeah. A woman of Asian descent and be in, being able to see here is where we powerfully connect and here is where we absolutely need to powerfully organize together for anti racism of all forms. And here is where we need to also have a conversation between us. Right?
Look for places where we need to also bring our own walls down. That too many of them, which is also reflective of the system we're in. Anybody who studies this work from a human development lens, from a critical social sense lens and anti racism lens. Anybody knows that splinters within marginalized groups happen because in being stripped of power, our human tendency is then to look for power and where we can have power over. And that's a direct impact of being in a larger system where your identity, your belonging is, is stripped and you don't have power over. So then you go to who do I have some power over within the [inaudible]?
Yeah. Fight with you. Cause I got pick a fight with God, you know, the institution, the institutional powerful groups that I am probably going to feel against. So, you know, let me, let me pick a fight. Yes. It's the same thing with feminism and intersectionality. Yeah. Right. So it's the same. Yeah. I mean different about the same. Yeah. So speaking of systems, I think it's really important that we talk about what's happening right now in Vancouver and what's been in the news. I know you're posting later this week, but I think it'd be really valid for people to hear, like something that you and I've talked about is hearing Vancouverites say, Oh, there's like there's no racism in Vancouver. We don't deal with the same racism down in the States. Right? Like, Oh my gosh, we're so much burned out. We're not even around. We're not carding or the fall neighbors.
Yeah. Like, Oh, sure, we've got like a little bit here and there, but nothing to that extreme. But yeah. And systemically there is racism here in Vancouver and in the British properties, and correct me if I'm getting this wrong there is language in about owning property that where it's, can you help me out with it? It's peoples of African and Asiatic descent is what the language says. I'm not I believe allowed to reside and own property. They're entitled to fairs unless they are residing there as servants. Yes. Of owners. So the gist of it is, is that the British properties still haven't written down that you essentially can't be black or Asian to own property. And that it, it, it's coming up more and and it's not even popular or a big news in local media outlets because they're saying that it's just, Oh, I'm just like, it's just like one line. It's, it doesn't even matter. Like look at what's happening to everyone of all different races, own property in the British properties. So it's like, you know, we don't need to change it. So there's one chancellor, chancellor, no, that's only in Germany. I love narco [inaudible] counselor. Yes.
I pulled it up. It's looking to remove their racist language from the land titles in, in British properties. And the issue is, you know, it's not the, the argument is the language is not actually enforced, but to the city counselor who's of Asian descent, to his point it's disturbing to think that someone like him could be barred from sound sign sign in Atlanta title because of who he is, the language specifically. And this is in a global news article is that no person of the African, no Asiatic race or African or Asiatic descent except servants of the occupier of the premises in residence shall reside or be allowed to remain on the premises. And that's just a clip from it. I don't, I don't have the rest of it, so, so here's what I like to say about that.
Thank you for that question. My experience in Vancouver has been that I want to differentiate the levels. So there's the, the individual cool orientations to, to, you know, other people and other races. And then there's the institutional and the systemic. My experience has been that w when I tell stories of things that have occurred to me that points to similar systemic anti-black racism here in Vancouver here in Canada is I'm often on the receiving end of yeah, but it, you know, to your point, it's not, it's not as bad here. It's not as systemic here. I am not racist. I, you know, my, you know, I, I, I hear the stories all the time of, you know, my sister's married to a black man or, you know, I have a black nephew or, you know, I personally took in whatever Haitian child when I grew up with an Asian child when I was younger, whatever it is.
Or you know, there were no black students at my school and I never felt racist towards them. What that does is a re eraser and a denial, a consistent in my experience, denial of the issues that makes it difficult a to have a conversation B to do anything because dealing with the issues here in Vancouver or here in Canada, all of us to be able to face the risks, the issues, and to be able to do our part. And so the constant denial, which again is classic. If you look at you know, inclusion, empowerment, systemic racial issues from a human development lens, which as you know, is part of my doctorial studies. It is, it is part of the thing where the, the instinct is to deny it because it's painful to face, right? It's painful to face if you know, you're Canadian of of European descent that, that you might be benefiting from serious harm and atrocities that have been done to indigenous peoples of Canada or that black Canadians, African Canadians might be saying these other experience.
It's difficult to face. And I get that. And until we are all willing to hear and listen to each other and to understand the sources of the issues the denial, we'll just keep the conversation going because people like me, I'm going to keep speaking up to what my experiences are. You know, institutional issues and we'll, we'll talk about this cause I know you're interested in asking about the experiences my children have had in schools, for example. Or the systemic issues. I'm I'm very lucky to be on the mirror's advisory board for the city of Vancouver's black history month celebration. And this is the first year I didn't realize how much I was impacted by that. But this is the first year that that is budget for anti black racism for addressing anti black racism in the city of Vancouver.
Those are the kinds of things that if you know, people who are activists and advocates out there way more than I am on, on these issues. If they're not out there advocating with the mayor's office, with the city, with others, it's not going to happen. And then in the everyday interruption, what will continue is this conversation about, but I'm not racist. Therefore it is much, it must not be true and that is an invalid argument or I'm not racist, therefore I've done my part of the work. Correct. Just by not being racist. Correct. And not being in allyship. Yeah. Yeah. And, and this is a, it's about prejudice of all forms until any of us can see the ways in which I here as a black African woman, I'm also benefiting from serious atrocities to indigenous peoples. I am here as you know, a newer immigrants, but no last enjoying the privileges of, you know, this very well developed, wealthy place that I live on, on CVS.
And traditional territories of indigenous peoples. That's something that I am coming to grips with and thinking about. Wow. And then as somebody who has had a background, a colonized background historically as well as a background coming from free her in your own right on the West African coast of the slave descent history. I'm married to Freetown, Creole Creoles are descendants of freed slaves that return to the African continent. So, so those things are not as far away from me even if I, even if I want to distance myself. And then coming to grips then with knowing the historical impacts you know, it took leaving. Sometimes you have to leave a context to really understand the context it took leaving Sierra Leone and leaving the privileges that I had there a to come to grips with what it means to be a black woman in the world outside of that context.
But B, to understand the impacts of, of my own colonial heritage. The fact that I am the general, the generation of the first generation after the generation of African leaders that went everywhere in the world to study on scholarships during the cold war, you know, East, West, whether they went to Russia or came here to the U S on scholarships to study, but then went back to build their newly independent nations and were a lot more organized, a lot more colonized, a lot more, you know, people in that context will seem more British than the British. So I'm that generation of, of West African open children that don't actually speak my language very well, if at all, my local language. And that's a direct impact of that colonial heritage, right? Being removed from that context and Western education being privileged, even in that context over my own identity, belonging and ancestry.
Again, like I said, bits and parts of me all over these books. So, so those impacts are with me and I'm coming to grips with that here in Canada because, you know, by leaving that context, likewise, all of us, right? Who live on these unseated and ancestral lands have to come to grips with that. We have to come to grips with all the other ways that, you know, people of Asian descent were treated in Vancouver and in Canada. And, and that black peoples of African descent have been treated in, in Canada, in Nova Scotia and Ontario and, and here. And until people are willing to look at that and not just dismiss that, Oh yeah, we're not as bad. Then it's not possible to, to make the changes, to make the reparations to even just see, you know what I own a piece of this cause I'm now living off that privilege. And it's not like I don't want to make this, this is not about looking only for apology or reparations, but we all know someone hurts you. Like, you know, playground stuff somewhat hurts too. And they continue to do that. Well, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry, but then they do it the next thing. But I didn't mean it. I'm sorry. Right. I can [inaudible]
[Inaudible]. And I think there's, what comes up for me too is like this piece around like what I can tie to you with my experiences of also seeing that white fragility and the guilt and shame. And I would hope that we're at a point now where we can move past that fragility and being like pleased Yom. Like, please see the work that I'm doing and, and recognize what, like look at what efforts I'm making. Like our whole, we can just get past that point and like, what does that next piece after that shame and the guilt. Like for me, it's like, okay, moving into action. But a lot of it's also really listening. Like when was the last time that you felt really hurt?
Right. Outside of my own communities. It's hard. There have been moments, right? And they're absolutely there. Many people like yourself right now will be listened to and heard. So thank you. As you were talking about having me on at the beginning and not understanding emotional labor, I would say to you that this for me is a joy. It's an opportunity. Yes, there's an emotional aspect. I know the last time we talked a lot more about my work experiences and how I got into research on posttraumatic growth. You know, so there's always, you know, that that sort of hard piece. But for me it just fuels my sense of we've got work to do. People we've got stories to tell. We've got injustices to speak up for. And for me, I want to speak up for the ones I'm connected to, right?
Because that's where I can most share my heart. That's where I can most hopefully have an impact by telling stories that are not out there, but personally have impacted me. I know leaving and realizing that the same call, as I said, the same colonial forces, but the same economic forces that drove you know, African descent people being this limbed here are the same forces that led to Africa being divided up and colonized to European nations so that the wealth could be removed. That subsequently led now to this disintegration and all these Wars. But then the narrative here is, you know, African people are always tribal and fighting each other because of ethnic and religious reasons. Ah, okay. Yeah. Do your research. Yeah. Understand why. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There's some of that. And what are some of that come from? It comes from all of the divisions and all of the colonial heritage. And I am the first one to say, let's understand the history and then let's look for solutions now and for the future. But I'm never want to say, let's just, let's dismiss the context of the past and the impacts and the pastas had on the present. Because again, until we understand that we can't move forward.
What I liked, what you had mentioned was you want to impact communities here and now. And I, for myself, our listeners are a lot of young families or people who are starting to explore Parenthood. And I think there's something really powerful when you and I chatted on the phone a couple of weeks ago about recognizing what we can do within our own context. So some people might not go and support your super awesome Sierra Leonean gala that happens every year, like in that as well. But I think that if people are thinking of becoming parents that they also have a responsibility to look at where there is systemic racism and what role they have in raising their kids to become members of it being an ally ship. And my friend Justine and I, we've talked about this because she's a mom to two young boys, so she recognizes that she's going to raise two little feminist young boys and for them because they are they're white and she's like, I, I want them to be the ones who will stand up for other people at school and really be listing as well. So my question for you is maybe sharing a little bit, yeah. Sharing a little bit about your children's experience and also divide that into there is racism in the Vancouver school districts, correct?
Correct. And I notice your Eden earrings as you were saying that mom to Eden.
Wait, what quick quick things. So shout out to my girlfriend Jen Katsuya. She actually ordered these and they're from a black woman down in the States who has this company that makes custom jewelry. And so she had these made for me. There were little Eden earrings and also like supporting black businesses around the world. So just want to shut that out. Black history month as well. Awesome. Yeah. So how are we doing? Okay. The kids were at a movie. We've got quiet time. This is Ray talking about kids. So, so here's where I was, I was
Going with earlier around, you know, the conversation about individuals seeing, you know, it's not as bad here. There's no racism here. Here's where I came face to face with this at the institutional level. For me, that became when my children went to school, remember that I grew up in my formative years inserting. And so that's predominantly black context and society, you know, multicultural. The business community tends to have like Indian summer unions Lebanese seminarians because my parents worked in international development and diplomatic service. I hung out in a lot of sort of multicultural communities in that context. But predominantly white teachers. The pilots on, you know, the regional flights we took would be black. You know, my doctors were all black, so I didn't have this kind of, I don't see myself representation during my formative years. So that as I said, afforded me some distance initially and then slowly I started to realize like that sociology class, okay, wait, there's a social narrative and categorization that puts me in other and then my children went to school.
And that by far has been the hardest wake up call for me. What I can tell you is that they've been instances explicitly of my daughter being told nobody wants to play with you because you're black. I don't want to be partnered with you because you're black. I am sorry for the language. Somebody has told her you look like shit, and if, you know, I don't want to rub up against you so I don't get Brown. And, and I, and I said that explicitly, you know, me, I'm not one for explicits, but I just want to share what actually happened. In the, in the trueness of it. And so in context, this isn't university. We're talking about, we're talking about elementary school. Yeah. And so we had to have conversations at the school and what's, what was disheartening for me was the dismissal of the issues and the relegating of the issues to behavior.
So it became, well, you know, it might be that, you know, your daughter is a very strong personality and very intelligent and very bossy. So maybe the children are just getting mad. So again, I say how those of you who are teachers, please listen. Imagine me as a parent being told that essentially it's okay for other kids at a school to be racist to my daughter because she's bossy. So, so again, this begins to read into the narrative of, you know, angry black woman almost on a child, right. On a child. And, and, and fundamentally not having policies at the time or a way to effectively deal with, effectively deal with racial issues among children. You know, I was told maybe the kids are just being curious, okay. At the expense of my child. And what message are you sending when you say to these other children that if you're curious, it's okay to say something that's inappropriate, racist and rude to another child and you'll get away with it.
So of course we pushed a bit and the parents got involved and it got so bad in this one year that the, the owner, the black kid was a black boy in the class. And because there was so much weirdness surrounding my daughter in terms of other kids not being kind to her essentially. And he also started distancing. She started gravitating to him to play me. I didn't explain all of this to her, but essentially I believe that's what was happening. She started gravitating. So the only other kid that looked like her, because she was feeling excluded and he started to distance himself and one day actually pushed her. So her parents will call, his parents will call in and bless these parents. I loved them. And also unfortunate because they get it right. They called us at home right away. They Apollo, the parents, they apologize. They were like, this is not acceptable. We are talking to our son about it and I was here defending this ongoing, listen, this [inaudible] good. We're probably equally on the other receiving end and trying to find his own space. Yes. Not at the expense of my daughter. And you know the, the dad was like, no, he's supposed to look out for her.
Thank you for being understanding. But that's the kind of response I would expect from all parents and from the school. So those of you that are teachers please listen and create spaces for these issues to be dealt with appropriately and properly. Yes, children can be curious but they need to understand very early on what's okay and what's not okay in their curiosity because I also think that this is the way in which I'm here is PMD sense white Canadians. Excuse themselves from constant curiosity cause I often hear, well I'm just asking where you're from cause I'm curious. I want to learn. Okay. Do you want to tell the Ghana story? Yeah, yeah. I'll tell the gun a story. Yeah, I think this curiosity and then again that ends up smacking. Like you've told me that this is not appropriate and it's hurting you.
I'm poking your knee cause it's like, you know, there's a spot that aches and I'm just going to keep poking it and see. I don't, I mean, well and I'm just curious. So let me just keep poking it. So anyway, long and short we need parents that are part of parents parents associations at schools to experts that they look out. We need a forum for these issues to bring in education on microaggression like Russia and, and on ways to deal with you know, anti racist racism for even with children and how to educate our children to, to be embracing of all people. We need this for parents. We need it for teachers. We need it in the school system at an institutional level. What has saddened me about this story is you know, as you know, I refuse to tell my daughter a story from, for her.
She has spoken up for herself. Bless her. I'm, I've just been supporting her to speak to build her own courage, especially as I become aware that she's growing up in a context where she's dealing with these issues younger than I had to. So I'm wanting to develop that backbone early. Right. So, so I'm parenting her in that way now and you have like, she has big shoes to fill with you as her mom. She'll find out, you'll find her own shoes. I wanted to find out when she was in her own strength to end these issues cause the expenses already different than mine. Yeah, right. I experienced this already any different than mine. So I'm, I am, you know, just once I want everyone across the board to to be attentive and to teach your children younger. What I was going say is what has been disheartening is people hearing the story or the from when she shared it or when I've told friends and colleagues in the community, you know, social change, not just organization development, sort of social change community who are applying these things or working in diversity and inclusion in institutions, organizations and schools.
We often get into these conversations and I do some workshops is the number of times black women, people of African descent, newer immigrants or older we have described the seams, things happening to their children if they're sort of first generation immigrants or talking to a colleague who grew up as a multiracial child with African ancestry. And she heard me telling the story and started to tear up and said, you know, all of that happened to me at school. I just, I just wasn't. I didn't realize it at the time. And hearing your daughter's story reminded me that, that was my story and saddened me because here it is happening all over again in another generation. And what's changed? So to the question, is there no institutional racism? If it's insidious, if it's quiet, if it's constant, it doesn't mean it's not here.
It does mean that there are people that are impacted in not very positive ways and in ways that that could impact their own sense of worth and identity in the future. If they're not able to have that countered with a strong sort of, you know, community that provides that safety and support and role modeling, which is why that has become important to me. So the gun, the story, yes. The question of is it okay to be curious? Just because you know, someone's different, it's okay for me to just go and constantly ask them sort of with no filter who they are. So I have a colleague who's from Ghana new immigrants, newer immigrants, so this generation, immigrants to Canada. And, and I work in healthcare. As you know, one of the places I work mainly is in, I'm Canadian healthcare and BC healthcare specifically.
So she's within our Fraser health community as well. And also also a friend outside of that context. So, you know, the friend I would have over for dinner, those kinds of friends. So, and so, somehow at some dinner party conversation, we get into the conversation of, Oh my goodness, all the ways we get asked where you're from, who are you and the ancestry. And we got talking about this. And she was like, Oh my goodness, I have to tell you. She was like, I finally, I used to laugh about it, right? I used to say, Oh, it's an opportunity to educate people and so share about Ghana and Nana NA. And she's like, I finally understand the people in the activist community who would say it is not my job. And I get that it's strong language, which is what people off often object to.
But you know, people who are active, anti-black racism activists will say, it's not my job to educate the oppressor or painting. Right. So, so she said, I actually get now why, why the language is used so strongly. Because I got to the point of fatigue. I literally got tired of being the pleasant, happy African that shares my heritage and what's beautiful about Ghana to counter the stereotypes over and over again because he doesn't stop. And I, you know, I sit in admin, so I'm sitting in this counter, so I'm very visible. So multiple times a day. She's like, I don't, I have this one coworker who would always come in and my hair. I'm like, Oh my God, you're so cute and you're so pretty. She was like, so it's starting to get annoying. And then she'd often ask me questions again and again about my background and about Ghana. And then this one day she walked over and she was like, so remind me again, where is Ghana? And she was like, I looked up and I had just had it and I looked at her and said,
Speaker 4 (01:00:37):
[Inaudible] like I said, Google it. We got into this conversation of yes, like how is it that you know, there's a level of [inaudible],
Which for me, if I'm asking the same questions or like digging deeply into someone's heritage, that should be common knowledge. I start to feel a bit ignorance. So to me, I wouldn't actually, at some points, you know, if you say you're from lots of, yeah, I don't know a lot about lots VF,
Speaker 4 (01:01:03):
But I'm going to come home and Google it. That's actually what I wouldn't do. You know, I'm looking up in some, you know, the last national geographic article about lots of yellow look up the culture, what I would do
Literally look it up. Yeah. So then the question becomes, what is it about our society that makes it okay for you know, people of African descent, of visible minorities. This is where people of color is appropriate. What is it that makes it okay for for those of us who are co categorize that way to be constantly interrogated about or identity and heritage. And yet the reverse isn't true because the little game I play now and, and listen to these again, don't think that you can never ask me where you're from because I do a full talk about this. And I often say it's about context and relationship. There are oftentimes, and the work part of my work has been thinking about the times that I'm asked about my background inherited that is not triggering and what's different. And that's the answer is simply because there's relationship there and it's appropriate.
Or as I say again, when I'm speaking to mostly white audiences, which happens in my world a lot. And when I'm doing the, where you from talk what I often say is then you go for it first, right? An example I often give is cruise ship. So it's international. People are often asking where you're from. But even in that context I have noticed more often where you from being directed at me off the cuff, like passing in the stairway. This is not where sitting down at dinner and everybody's comparing what the international background first off. Yeah you go on cruises. I've gone on a couple of
Speaker 3 (01:02:53):
Like two or three but we did for like big celebrations like that 10th wedding
Bursary or the other one was my mom's 75th. We wanted to do something different and special. So my family of siblings and spouses and you know the older kids, which you know, just us alone, you're hitting 30 something by now. So we wanted to do something that wasn't your traditional, you know, big loud African heritage party. So we did a cruise, which she really appreciated cause she had never been in one. Well there you go. So, so those kinds of things I do but not as a regular vacation thing for all the obvious reasons.
Speaker 3 (01:03:31):
So you know, on on, on the cruise we went from, that anniversary would be on deck and people would be lying to us. Oh you're so beautiful. Where are you from? That's triggering sitting at the dinner party, you know, got to know two or three other couples and we're all, okay, you're from Ireland, you're from here, you're from, that's appropriate. Right. You know, being in the sauna and somebody just sidling up to me, Oh I saw you walking earlier. Where are you from? Oh that's not okay. So the little game I play, which is why I started that spar example would be one does this one side and I could see it, right? I could see her smiling at me, that smile that says I'm about to be curious and I'm about to ask you where are you from? And sure enough, she sidles over and says, where are you from? To me and my sister was sitting with a sister that was sort of around me when I was doing the research that led to the, where you from? Academic article that's published. It was like, Oh no,
Speaker 3 (01:04:26):
It's coming up to the way you brought police run black woman smile.
And I respond to what she wants to hear. I'm like, Oh, we're from Canada, but our family hurts it just 30 on because I know that's actually what she's asking. Or at least I assumed and it checked out because she was like, Oh yeah, well it's, Oh, where in Africa again? You know, the usual. Yeah. So then I look at her and say, how about you? Where are you from? Oh, I'm from you. You turned. And I said, Oh, before that, where is your family ancestry from? She went red. She was like, well well I, I'm actually not sure. I think maybe Scotland. So, so it's this little game I play now where I ask it back and watch the reaction and the sort of, you know, how people step back or get red in the face. I wish I could get red in the face. I could count how many times I do what I'm thinking by the question. But that's the point. And people get it when I do that. Right. And so, so it's just getting relationship people go first, share yourself because then people want to share that many times. I'm not even, I'm not triggered by any of it because people are in relationship. I mean, you could ask me about my hair right now. I might even let you touch my hair and it'd be okay
Speaker 4 (01:05:41):
My girlfriend. Sharifa cause she was on who taught me. Don't you ever touch a black woman's head? Don't touch any, just don't touch anyone's hair. Well, yeah. Well because black women's hair has been so politicized against something that I had to learn to understand in this context. Remember I grew up in Sierra Leone, braids, Afro twists and knots, whatever. It was all normal. So to come here and be told early on actually that I shouldn't wear braids to interviews, that I was probably better off going with straightened hair. And me going, what's, no, I'm good with my braids. Right. but again, it's because I didn't grow up with that sort of insidious internalized wing, which Harris bullets sites again in Canada. There's stories of girls in Ontario being kicked out of school because of their hairstyles, black girls. So again, institutional racism is here in Canada as well.
And so it's, it's about context and relationship equals story. Like my counter to where you from. I love this story from my mom. Who again, they were in Alberta in the 60s. Oh God. What was she doing? My dad was a scholarship student, so you know, she was there. She was working and preparing to go back to school herself. Well, she has this story of being at the mall. You know how it's not a common pregnant women, all of you who are young parents, as Ashley said, or growing families. You know, if you've been a woman who's been pregnant, you know, this tendency for people to touch your belly. And at first it's cute and then it stops being cute. It's the same kind of thing, you know? It's the way you from, or the constant questions about hair. So my mom was both pregnant and, and African woman in Edmonton who also likes to wear like her African shirts, so her outfits.
So she went to the mall and this European descent woman comes over and says, Oh, it doesn't say a word to her. Just, you know, big smile and amazed and puts her hand through my mom's hair trying to feel it and see what it's like. So my mom says, you know, I had just about headed and maybe I was pregnant and you know, had no patience for being politically correct or whatever. She's like, I just lifted my head and ran my fingers through her hair. She was like the shock and horror. This woman stepped back. She was like, Oh, Oh my goodness. My mom said, I just looked at her and said exactly and walked away. She was like, Oh, stop expecting you have to call the cops. You know, she touched my hair first. Yeah, right. Same thing. It's not like I'm not going to go run my hands through your hair.
Speaker 4 (01:08:23):
I'm a stranger because we know each other. Yeah.
Well I'm talking about stranger interactions in which you're immediately interrogating identity or you know, trying to touch people's hair that you don't know. It's not okay. No. And as society has made it okay and it's made it okay for people to say, well, I'm just being curious, just so different. Well, your head is quite different to me too.
Speaker 4 (01:08:52):
So fuse different than mine. You go to their friends. So I mean, I could, why I wouldn't
Likewise do that. But the thing is people of color, black women, you know, women of African that you don't, or black people in general, you don't think like, that's not the first thing you think because again, it's just not a it's a privilege is the wrong word. It's not a it's almost power dominance, right? It's that power and privilege interaction that comes with it. It's the power over like I, you know, society has told me that I have the privilege and the power that affords me the right to expect you to explain yourself to me. But you actually don't expect it in the reverse. It's a one way. It's a one way street and that's the issue. So mutuality matters going first matters relationship and context matters. And that's what I would say. Beautiful. One thing I would add to note too is not every black person's DNI consultant.
No. Also, exactly. And I see this too because you are in the work and I have other friends who have no interest in that. So why does it always have to be, become politicized, correct. Correct. And each interaction, but that's not up for a professional. And I would say I am, I am in the work on the margins compared to my colleagues who are fully in DNI practice in their organizational working the institutional work. I am in the work from the perspective of identity and story and connecting the social issues to the personal. And that happened, not because that's where I started my work, but because I started as an organization development person who kept, again because of who I am getting, being pulled to using those skills in community and in social context where inevitably race and social inequalities would come up. And so I, I came into specifically the work on diversity and inclusion just in case anybody's wondering what DNA is. Diversity and inclusion conversations. Because I'm bringing my facilitative skills to it, right. And because I'm bringing my IOD and social social science lens to it
And for people to know, ODI is not overdosed
Speaker 4 (01:11:18):
Organization development. Thank you. Thank you, mom. I took me, I swear to God it took me at least six months. Yeah. Oh, hi.
Do you want to say hi on the podcast? It's good.
Speaker 4 (01:11:46):
Hi. Hello. Hi. You're all positive for a sec.
Yes. We love when families come home. That's my favorite. Do we want to just finish off with the last couple of questions? Yeah. And I think was something that you and I have talked about is that black history web has been traditionally more for focused on the U S and also how convenient. That's the shortest month of the year. So I think that there is some works to be done to bring up awareness and really honor black history Mark here in Vancouver and Canada. Even when we were at, when we moment I stopped by at the book signing how we saw when we looked at all the books that are featured, that there was only three Canadian authors, including
Speaker 4 (01:12:38):
I've been in independence
Author, right. As well. So there's, there's also the space and the voice for,
Yeah. Yeah. So so I just want for you to maybe share more with listeners about this and like your opinions.
Speaker 4 (01:12:54):
Yeah. So I have this, as you can hear it, I have this
I love, hate for lack of a different words, relationship with black history month to the extent that I often see. I really, really wish that we were at a stage in history where it was irrelevant, right. Where I'm Wade was E irrelevance, complete B. And, and it's, it's not something that has to be separately focused on. However, I don't believe we're there yet for all of the reasons we've already talked about on the podcast today for the interpersonal work that still needs to be done for people to recognize the impacts of ongoing power and privilege that comes with being socially classified in a, in a, in a dominant category of some form versus a marginal category of some form to the institutional impacts to the social systems. Right. The, the, the fact that, you know, my nephew got his license and was stopped by police within weeks of getting his license because he was driving his parents' car and they had questions about the car.
And this was before marijuana was legal in Vancouver and there was some kids smoking. And he's, his story is here. I was, the kids were smoking, the cop could smell ed. And you know, when I put two and two, I think he thought that I was the Dina. And I kept saying to him, there's nothing in my car for. So of course his car was searched and everything and I kept saying, you might want to check with those kids over there. And the officer just said, okay, here you go. Here's your license, have a good day. And drove off. [inaudible] So, so again, systemically do those things happen in Canada is the fact that black, black peoples of African descent and indigenous people are overrepresented in our criminal justice system. We're only two to 3% of the BC population. I just heard from a colleague who's on the black history month advisory committee that they're now seeing four to 5% of black women that are sex workers using services on the downtown East side.
And those numbers are that because, and that also even the housing situation that this, they're seeing numbers that are indicating that black people are getting displaced, right. And therefore ending up using services on the downtown East side. So all that to see for me, those are the reasons why we still need something like black history month. It's not about the month. It's not about the multicultural celebration. I hope that we always have multicultural celebrations of heritage of all people in Canada. That's the other one. By the way. I often get hit with at schools, I've had a teacher say to me, but I celebrate heritage in my classroom and multiculturalism. I do not. Why do you have everyone dressing up as [inaudible] to represent Japan probably or you know, they bring in food. So yeah, just as, as their denial and excusing of, you know, it must not be a racist incidents with what happened to your child because I support and talk about multiculturalism and heritage in the class as opposed to being willing to look at that situation and be very clear about what's okay and what's not okay.
And teach children that now. Because if they're not taught that now, then the work to overcome those prejudices and racism in the future is harder. And that's why it, it becomes a vicious cycle. Yeah. So, so for me, that's the work. I think hopefully we can always celebrate heritage, all of us, right. And more more so. But the work around specifically anti racism around acknowledging where there is systemic racism around not arguing with the fact the land title in British policy should be changed. That makes black history month still important because it's, that work is done as well as the celebration of black and African cultures during this month. You know, I've heard people I know JIA Jean Augustine, I've had the pleasure of meeting who advocated for black history month in the Canadian legal system and she, you know, she was the first, I believe, the first black MP in Canada and she's also a Harry Jerome award winners.
I had the pleasure of meeting her once before and she's also in the cool black documentary scene. She's featured specifically also because of that role with black history month. You know, and it's, it's, I think the jury's out on whether it was intentional that it ended up being February. That's the shortest month. But for me it's the subliminal, to your point, it's the, you know, conscious, unconscious, subliminal messaging. It could mean nothing. And it could be, you know, part of the ways in which it's just, okay, let's just put it there so that it will be and over or whatever. I don't know, when was it
Officially set up? [inaudible] 94 95 actually, I was just about okay. Cause I'm like, it's, so it's newer for Canada for sure. Okay. Cause for me, where my mind goes as on February 14th and March and then, I mean, and this is very specific to Vancouver, but on February 14th is a March in the downtown East side for the missing and murdered indigenous women. And that seems like it's, it's all compact into one month. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so what happens is then you hear a lot more about like [inaudible] indigenous women, men also as black history month and then, and then there's nothing. And then we move into March and then we move into the widest holiday of st Patrick's day. And that's the other thing I would see 'em in
Closing about black history month is that for me, it's not about the month. You know, as you know, I love to tell these stories anytime of year. And part of what has the reason I'm doing this podcast in February is I love to do it in recognition of, you know, being part of putting content out there during black history month about why these things happen. But for me, it's not only about February you know, there's been people that have reached out to me to say, you know, can you do a talk? Can you come on our, our, you know, monthly zoom call or whatever. And some of them have asked to move, move it out to March or April eight, because there's not enough days in February and B because I like prolonging the conversation and, and continually making sure that, you know, whether it's from the perspective of identity belonging, the personal impacts or the institutional conversations where, you know, I've been on panels where, where it's about, you know, what, what, what has been your experience as a, as a black woman professional or you know, other black women professionals looking for craving for you know, what are the strategies that have worked, which I am also, I'm always encouraged and saddened by, by just the impact of people feeling like I'm qualified, I've done everything and you know, I'm overqualified and I don't seem to be moving.
So whether it's those kinds of conversations, as I say, coming into the diversity and inclusion work from the perspective of my, my professional work and that applied social science is always speaking to, this is how a connects to
These personal issues around identity and belonging connect to the social system. I'm happy to have those conversations all year and I make sure that I do. Okay. So if you want to hire your Bome, she's incredible facilitator. She does have a full time job and she is a doctor, like not medicine. She has a doctorate and is a published author. Her most recent book ancestries wait part two though. Was it ancestries and histories is the short story collection or short story collection. Is her most recent book, which when did this one come out? Just fall 2019. Fall 2018. Yeah. She's also the author of we will lead Africa volume one and volume two. And then there's one more book. I'm blanking on the title of what you want to say. I think maybe you're, you're thinking about the posttraumatic growth floor. Yes. Which we talked about last time. Yeah, I do have a book
Tentatively titled transformation after trauma. The power of residence again, which is the power of story to strengthen identity, which helps people move into posttraumatic growth. Yes. Instead of being stuck with posttraumatic stress disorder kinds of impacts when they've had significant trauma and was able to do research and find transformational leaders who've had some traumatic social traumas like war traumas phenomenally exhibit, this idea of posttraumatic growth because they're very anchored in by identity and resonance of their stories. So that book I don't have the release date yet, but it is with the publishers and I'm looking forward to it.
Amazing. And where can people find you? They, I am on all social, most of them.
Speaker 3 (01:22:42):
The main social media is at this point. I just don't see something obscure like flicker. I know
And I'm not, what's the popular tween one now? Oh, tick tock. Tick tock yet. Are you on ticktock? Not yet. No. Okay.
Speaker 3 (01:22:59):
Not yet. But I am on
Linkedin. I am on Instagram. I am boom on Instagram. I am on Twitter at support develop and I am on, what else am I on Facebook? I have a public writers page at album writer and then your website as well. I want, I don't want to say LSD consulting, but that is not supporting learning and development consulting
Speaker 3 (01:23:24):
And not the drug, not the drug. That's right. You know, my name is pretty unique,
So if people just use my name, they can probably,
Speaker 3 (01:23:35):
Okay. Any of the above. Yes.
So LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Perfect. Yeah. Is there any final words that you want to leave people with? Hm. Last words, Mike, drop. Making good. You ever make it good?
Speaker 3 (01:23:55):
Let's would say, you know, there's this piece we talked about as we were getting set up. So often times, you know, people will ask the question, you know, how, how can I help? How can I be an ally? And we've talked a lot on this podcast about leaving the denial and, and facing the reality. Again, from the perspective of organization development practice, you cannot design for a future that you're not when you're not very clear about the current reality no matter what that is like, you need a realistic view of today in order to design a compelling future that simple. Like that's just group and social dynamic period. And so, and so people often say to me, how can I be more of an ally? So first of all, I think do the things we've described face the reality, you know, check yourself for your own privileges and the ways in which who you may be using those in ways that have negative impacts on people that are marginalized and think about, and this is not blame or shame.
This is again about facing the reality to think about how can I, in that interpersonal context start to be and show up differently and show up supportive, show up in a way that people have space to identify and to be and belong no matter who they are. So there's that. And one of the things that I think is important, a way that might be helpful for people to come to grips with the audit impacts of intersectionality, that idea of the more labels of social inequality or social classification that's placed on a person, the more acute their experience is. So to this, I want to speak specifically to women, right? I also know that women of European descent, white women have been on the receiving line the receiving end of a lot of direct controversy related to impacts on people of color because the, the, the evidence being, and I'm using evidence specifically in terms of data, even some criminal justice, a lot of the of, of the issues in the criminal justice system have to do with what people in the anti-racism communities would say. [inaudible]
Systemic discrimination communities would say is the easiest way for a person to get attack twine castrated is to be seen to have harmed a white woman. Because then what happens for white men is then the urge to protect by power overing. Right. And and again, not to say there's not instances where that may be has, will have happened, whether it was an abuse situation, not overly, it is over the evidence from the evidence that, you know, even that people can get in trouble by simply doing, being with existing, existing with a white woman in a way that's seen as unacceptable in the broader system. So speaking specifically to women, I love becoming Michelle Obama's book becoming, and she talks about when the politics in the U S was changing and when there was a lot of this power over and dominance behavior starting to show up in politics.
There's a paragraph I really like that she talks about speaking specifically to how women were being talked about in politics. She's like the constant way in which that was happening says I can hurt you and get away with it. And women know that experience. She says, and I'll read start quote women and your entire lifetimes of these indignities in the form of cat calls, grouping, assault and oppression, these things injure us. They sup a strength. Some of the cuts are so small, they're barely visible. Others a huge and gaping leaving scars that never heal. Either way. They accumulate, we carry them everywhere to and from school and work at home while raising our children at our places of worship. Anytime we try to farms. So imagine then that based on identity, this is acutely more so if someone is also a black woman and a woman of African descent someone with a refugee or immigrant background.
And this is not to discount that as a person of European descent or a white person that you know, you may have suffered discrimination and oppression and say because you are poor because you've had some form of abuse in your background. That is true and equally not to be discounted and imagine that adding more layers and that's what this conversation is about. Do not discount the pain of others simply because it feels like you've also have pain. We all the human condition, we've all had pain and this is a call outs to understand the specific pain that's amplified for people when they have many layers of social categorization attached to them that is marginalized. That's my last word. Dang.
Mike. Drop. Oh, Yabome. You're just the best. Thank you so much for coming on today's episode. Would you like to say hello? Say bye everyone.
Youngest baby boy say by not BB anymore.
Next time you've reached the end of another episode of the kilter and mint podcast. Thank you so much for listening all the way through and considering we're at an hour and a half, almost on the dot. Then I'm you take a wild guess that you have a couple of minutes, probably like two minutes to leave a rating and review on iTunes. The more reviews that this podcast gets, the higher up it goes in the charts, which means stories like your bombs can be shared more widely. Check out the show notes for where you can purchase your Boams book, and then also the link to my coffee and my coffee is a support page that helps me transcribe today's episode and provides financial support to keep this podcast alive in a wall. So if you have anyone cool that you think would be a great guest on the podcast, shoot me a message over on Instagram, Instagram at kilter and mint. Otherwise, if you have any feedback, comments, whatever find me on the Tinder web. Okay, well that's it. That's all. Okay. Bye.