Invisibility Among Black Women with Dr. Sam and Edairra McCalister

Today’s topic is one that is going to be important and valuable to many, but especially to black women. In today’s episode, I’m joined by Dr. Sam of DSRD Consulting and Edairra McCalister, CEO and co-founder of Black Girls, We See You to discuss invisibility among black women.

This is Season 2 Episode 7 of Here’s the Tea with Akua

Here’s the Tea with Akua is a safe space to learn about hot topics, gain a new perspective and have a greater understanding of the people around us. You’ll hear amazing stories of everyday people like you and me. They’ll be spilling the tea and giving us an honest look into their lives. As we discuss topics such as race, relationships, mental health, and how to just figure out the thing called life, we’d love to have you subscribe on Apple PodcastSpotify, or your favorite podcast player!

Important Parts of the Conversation:

Meet Dr. Sam (1:13)

Meet Edairra (3:10)

Invisibility Among Black Women (5:56)

First Experience of Feeling Invisible (10:21)

Colorism in Jamaica vs. Racism in America (15:26)

Deconstructing Invisibility of Black Women (20:14)

Showing Up Authentically (27:09)

Deconstructing Anti-Blackness (30:21)

Battle for Equality (33:24)

Microaggressions (41:27)

Connect with Dr. Sam:

@dsrdconsulting

Linkedin

dsrdconsulting.com

Connect with Edairra:

Linkedin

Facebook

Instagram

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Apple Podcast

Spotify

Invisibility Among Black Women

Review the Transcript:

Akua Konadu
Welcome to here’s the tea with Akua. That’s me, and this is a place where we have candid conversations about various hot topics. Each week, you’ll be hearing some amazing stories of everyday people like you and me. There’ll be spilling the tea and giving us an honest look into their lives. I believe that our stories are powerful, and when shared they can change not only our perspectives, but also our lives. No topic is off limits. So have a seat and get ready because we are going to be making uncomfortable conversations comfortable.

Akua Konadu
Hey, everyone, welcome back to the latest episode of here’s a tea with Akua. And today’s topic, I as every other topic I’m super, super excited to talk about, but I think this one is just very important to me. And I know it’s gonna be important to a lot of other people, specifically black women. And so today that we are going to be talking about the invisibility among black women. And so I have two amazing guests here with me today. Dr. Sam of DSR D consulting and I also have Edaira McAlister, CEO and co founder of Black girls, we see you so Hello, ladies, how are you doing today?

Dr. Sam
Hi. Excited to be here and talk about this topic. Yes,

Edairra
yes. Yes, I’m well and excited to Yay.

Akua Konadu
Okay, sweet. So ladies, for both of so for our audience, share with us who you are, how you show up in the world, like what you do, how and how you’re showing up in the world. Dr. Sam, you go first.

Dr. Sam
Awesome. I’m Dr. Samantha Ray Dickinson, founder of DSR D consulting a consulting firm, where we specialize in helping companies be intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion by creating three year di strategies. I recently founded di offload, which is an online community for di practitioners to enhance their mental health and emotional wellness. So we focus on maintaining or prioritizing our mental health, and just building community and having a space to offload from the experiences of working in Di. And I also am the founder of d i blueprint, a six month online program designed to teach di practitioners and work with them with developing three year di strategies with the companies or clients that they have to integrate into their operations. Besides that, I am in a very transitional period of my life where I am redefining who I am in this moment. So I have been exploring what it means to pour into the AI practitioners and work with di practitioners. And so I recently started venturing into business process automation. So helping practitioners like independent di consultants, outline their business processes and get them automated, so that they can reclaim their time and get freedom and operating their businesses.

Akua Konadu
I love that so many like amazing, cool, important things that you’re doing. So that was super, super dope. And Edairra, how about you?

Edairra
Yeah, so I this was a phenomenal connection here. Just because in my everyday life, I’m doing kind of what Samus is talking about. So I am an educator. I just transitioned out of the classroom last year prior to that over two years, and just the education system here in Minnesota for over 10 years and things like that. But I’m out in the Osseo Area School District. And my day job is to kind of be a dei person as I became an equity teacher, when I transitioned out of the classroom. And so those strategies that I’m like, yo, I need the playbook just because of one what we’re going to be talking about today, but to simply because it is not an easy road to travel when you’re doing that kind of work. And so, the other part of me, I guess, is the CEO and founder I think that’s what you said Akua of black girls, we see you which essentially is a educational consulting company. It’s I guess it’s mine, that’s the vision. And so excuse me, if I feels like I’m stepping you know, lightly as I’m treading lightly as I explain it just because 2016 When that that dream kind of was birthed from getting my master’s I found out that I was going to have two little twin girls and so life and dreams have just been pushed back quite a bit, but it’s right to fulfill other dreams which is mothering. And so blacker Lucy, although it’s I’ve gotten to put a lot of or kind of what I guess, what was my master’s work into practice when I was teaching at Osseo senior high and I had to like actually practice unity circle, which is the foundational component for black girls, we see you, which is really about a ton of what we’re going to talk about today. So I guess I should just say that perhaps.

Akua Konadu
Well, number one on it like on black girls, we see you even though, right?

Edairra
Yeah, my name is on the names on the certificate I own that you do.

Akua Konadu
But just the amazing work that you have done in the school district and specifically with young black girls is truly, truly phenomenal. So I’m just so thankful for both of you here and your time. And so let’s just hop right on into it. So can you just share? I mean, it’s already in the title and visibility among black women, but I feel like it’s, it’s, we, I don’t think people can fully understand or grasp, like, as a whole, like, what does that mean and visibility among black women? Like how is that showing up in in different spaces? Either you can go first?

Edairra
Absolutely. Because just because I’m sorry, I’m an English educator, English teacher. But, you know, by birth, and visibility of black women, I think is more descriptive of perhaps what we’re because it is something right. It’s a something so we are invisible. It’s not something that’s happening amongst us. But the fact that we are and so this is something that’s like every realm of life, like legit, I don’t know how to even explain what for me is almost like, what’s understood doesn’t need to be explained. But a lot of people don’t understand that, unfortunately, in, right, the greater society that we are made in visible in many, many different ways. And it impacts us to like push out factors and so on, so forth. Not sure if I necessarily answered that question. But I was just being my English teacher, so yourself.

Akua Konadu
No, I think that’s a really good point, too, because invisibility of black women, I think, yeah, that’s just so important to what you just like just even the change in that language really does like also to change the way that you’re like viewing the topic. And so Dr. Sam, do you want to add to that at all, too?

Dr. Sam
Yeah, there are what you said, like heavily resonates with my first thoughts when you ask that question. Oh, cool. The first thing that came to my mind was that we’re not even considered, it’s not even like we are allowed to take up space to then be invisible, like we’re not even considered or incorporated. So that was my first thought. And then my second thought was, we’re also like our individual identities. As a black woman, like outside of being black women like culturally, we don’t even have the capacity or the room to cultivate that individual identity. Because we’re always placed in a box. We’re always told police, we’re always controlled people’s ideologies of what it means to be black, that’s influenced by society, society’s constructs, are placed on black woman as soon as they are born. Like we don’t even get a chance to be children, where whenever someone sees a black femme presenting person, they immediately have all these biases that they placed on that person. And so the identity isn’t even there is no room to cultivate that identity. Well outside of like your immediate community. But in the world, generally, there is no space for that. So to their point, we don’t even get to exist really.

Edairra
We are like shaped

Dr. Sam
so much by what society has defined us to be. And it’s very hard to like one, unlearn that. And then to break out of that and be confident and centered in whoever you rediscover yourself to be outside of what society has told you. You should be.

Akua Konadu
This is, first of all, both of y’all just said this so beautifully. Because there’s especially like for me personally, I grew up in a predominantly like white neighborhood, I went to predominately white Institute. So for me, I have been in this journey of really deconstructing which, especially they’re like, You have helped me walk along that which I’m so grateful for. But I can it’s so hard for me to find the words. And so both of y’all just explain this so beautifully. So thank you for that.

Edairra
Parents just snap in. And I’m just like, Yes, Sam because, for one I get so anxious talking about the experiences of black women or even the fact that we’re invisible because I know how people will respond. But also because I’m not about to defend myself like you got to relax. But that part about the space like we don’t get the space and that leaves that capacity and I’m just like, oh my gosh, this is my life. But it like really it’s my life right and in it. It was a reminder to pause right and slow down because like this podcast in this episode is amazing because of those pieces. Right and This is where it myself even being a part of this, this is a part of me building my capacity to continue to do the work. But as you spoke, I just couldn’t help but think about like, my, like, why I do this work and like truly my little, little brown skin babies. And so I’m gonna let a call for most of those questions because

Akua Konadu
yeah, no, I love Thank you blood please y’all share whatever is on your heart on your mind. Like I love this. And so what was your first memory of feeling invisible? As a black woman? And how has that affected you? Either? Why don’t you go first?

Edairra
Okay, cool. So as a very, very young child, for one, I am an extremely light skinned black woman. And I have a had a relationship with my dad to some degree, meaning like, I’ve met him, and been around a few times, but in a general sense, he, I didn’t grow up with him, he was another huge part of my life. And so I questioned my identity because of the color of my skin, but both of my parents being brown skin. And so I was the lightest person in my family. And I would try to like figure out like, why that was the case. And so for, you know, on one end, it was my dad, the mixed with multiple things. And that’s why I’m so light, and it’s Asian, or it’s this or that. And as a young child, I thought, I guess I have to be mixed with something. But really just that idea of not knowing, right, so part of my identity being solidified or having a foundation in some way. And then the other part not having one at all, because of that missing link, but it for me, it was that like skin color. And so I had a family member, that would call me white girl, and it completely. I didn’t really I didn’t really know as a kid, but like, it felt really, really painful to hear that family member say that to me, and my sister, all the time never called us anything different. And like it hurt, like physically, I can remember myself, like having this feeling in the pit of my stomach, like that doesn’t feel good, or I don’t like what he you know, says that. And I didn’t know as a, you know, as an adult, it would manifest itself or like, basically, I would become this person that wanted people to know right away that I was black. So don’t question my identity, right? Because I have this light skin. And we don’t we talk we talk about it to some degree, we talk about, you know, blackness in multiple shades and this and that. But I was judged a lot because of that. But it started in my family. And so my invisibility was if I didn’t have these markers, right to let people know that I was black, then I felt invisible, because I would treat it as a mixed person. Right? That was my perception as a child. So immediately, I was like, no anything to make sure that nobody questions my identity. And in turn, I became invisible because of that. So I had to, like fight in many spaces, but never never had been uncomfortable piece for me, obviously, around people that look like me, right? Because kids were different. Kids were absolutely different. They weren’t those mean adults said white girl to me. But they were super accepting, you know, and allow me to show up as my authentic self as a child. So, yeah,

Akua Konadu
that is so such an interesting dynamic, obviously, because I am darker skinned. And so even just hearing from your own perspective has been, that’s huge. You know, because I think, for me personally, like where I have felt invisible is just even, like, when we moved from the Bronx, where I see people that look like me every day, to now moving to Minnesota, being placed in a all white Elementary School, and people started to point out at the fact that I was dark, like, very dark, where jokes are starting to be made and stuff like that, where like, I just, I couldn’t cope. So I, I would either, like join in on the jokes, like be the butt of the jokes, because then I felt included but like, I would feel like shit. You know, going home. So anyways, like just hearing your perspective as well of like, being a lighter skinned individual and like not feeling black enough. And then like on the spectrum.

Edairra
That’s the thing, though, it’s not that I didn’t feel I felt like I didn’t present present yet, but like, to this day, like I am very, very rooted in my journey as a black person. And I think that more of it comes from the fact that I have an older sister who was like my mom growing up and she has brown skin. And I knew that people treated people abrasca differently because I had a different color skin right and my own child experiences. So a lot of like my drive for this word comes from I mean, knowing that as a brown skinned woman, I could be in public where her and people will brown black people will speak more to my sister and I when she’s with me, versus if it’s just me alone. And vice versa in regards to just different, different experiences based on our skin tones.

Akua Konadu
Dr. Sam, how about you? When was the first time that you felt invisible as a black woman?

Dr. Sam
Um, it’s very interesting to hear both of you all’s experience. And to be honest with you, I never sat and thought about how different my experience was coming from Jamaica compared to someone who is from a black person who’s from America. So in Jamaica, oppression and like racism is a little bit different. We definitely have colorism so I definitely they call it brown in or, yeah, it’s like brown. And I used to get called. And I’m also like, darker in Jamaica because you know, the sun. But I was still always lighter. So I would get called Brown in and that kind of stuff. But it never it wasn’t negative. To me. It was just like, Oh, you’re really light. And then in Jamaica, we have white people that are Jamaican Asian people that are Jamaican Indian people that are Jamaican. So growing up, I thought everybody was just like, one thing, like I said, black because I’m black. So I just felt like everybody was like Jamaican, everybody in the world was just Jamaican, there was no difference in black, white, whatever. Because in my experience, that was the case everyone was Jamaican. And that was our culture. We were all rooted and centered in that culture. And then, because I was lighter skin, I didn’t have negative experiences. Growing up. I didn’t see anything tied to colorism. I mean, being older now. And I know what it means and how it looks and shows up looking back I can I realize it was around me, but I didn’t have those experiences. And then when I moved to New York, so there’s privilege and being light skinned, and I just explained how when I moved to New York, I mean, there are so many different people there and I grew up when I first moved, I was in the South Bronx, it was hella Spanish, Hispanic people from Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, different shades, skin tone, black people everywhere like it again, it didn’t feel. I didn’t sense that. Now I will say, being from another country and moving to the Bronx. That was the first time I realized that I was different. People would and at that time, people used to make fun of Haitians, people from different countries in Africa, like they used to get made fun of. I think Jamaica has always been Jamaican culture has always been a part of the scene or culture in New York, specifically, like in Brooklyn, a little bit in Queens, and definitely, there’s a part of the Bronx, there’s a lot of Jamaicans, so it wasn’t, I didn’t have that negative experience. But people did call out my differences a lot like the way I spoke, how I dressed, just everything that I did, who I was as a person, it was noticed and called out a lot. And so it made me question like, who am I even really, but I’m proud to be Jamaican, I’m proud of my culture. And so that didn’t do anything that didn’t like, disrupt who I was, I will say, I did try to conform because I got tired of everyone kept asking me, How do you say this? Or Why do you sound funny? Or why do you do this? So I did assimilate. And I the longer we talk, you will probably hear some sort of like New York mix with a load Jamaican kind of sorta in some words. And that’s why like, I forced myself to have a New York accent. So I would say, like middle school, I started to question like, my identity and who I was, I did not feel invisible, though. It did make me go in and figure out like, who I am and how I show up and present in the world. And, but to answer your question about when I did feel invisible, that happened, because I also went to an HBCU. So I was around a lot of black people. My experiences have always been around a lot of black people. So I’m very fortunate in that sense. And it has shielded me from a lot of negative experiences. But once I got out of that, I went to for my master’s I went to a predominantly white university. I still I still wasn’t I didn’t feel like that but once I got my first job after my master’s, I was the only black person at my job. And that’s that’s that’s what I saw

Edairra
him was that your first time experiencing like, that part like being the only one. I want to say I’m sure wasn’t look, see and like I’m from Minnesota, baby girl. Like that’s day one, we used to be the only I remember I used to write poetry and I wrote a whole poem about being the only one because it was so painful. But that’s my regular experience in Minnesota. So that sounds like it’s I first time,

Dr. Sam
I was 24. My life. Yes, um, and again, like my experiences being younger, and living in Jamaica has shaped how I navigate spaces. So being the only person or feeling marginalized in the space wasn’t familiar to me. So I was never on card, I knew about it, because everyone else around me talked about, like microaggressions, and racism and all that stuff. So I was aware, and I looked at it from a very educational, and like, theoretical, and I’m also light skinned. So that’s another layer of privilege. So my experiences are a little bit different. But when I got in that job, and I also switch my hair a lot. So I got into the job. And the turnover rate of black people were so high people, black people stayed in, in at that company, for Max, like two years or a year and a half, and they will just revolve, I was the person that I was one of the only black people that stayed past three years. And I almost made it to four years, but then I quit. And it was in that moment where I realized what it truly meant to be othered and not understand like, your place your how you fit into a space, and then not be recognized for the space that you take up in that environment, I was recognized for my hard work, I was recognized for the things that I could do for the company, which also reinforced like some mindset stuff within myself on a personal level. So like I defined who I was by, like my accomplishments and that kind of stuff. So that kind of reinforced that for me. And then I started experiencing microaggressions and doubting of competency and like questioning my age, and it was just like a lot all at once. And at the end at that time I was in my doctoral program. And it just shaped the rest of my life, really, because that’s when I dive deep into my research for my doctoral program, which is the racial microaggressions that black women face at work and how that influences their work performance. And what companies can do to be like intersectional and create policies that make black women feel more included, which, if I could do it over, I would not focus on inclusion, but I would focus on equity. And we could talk about that later if you want. But yeah, I would say like, I felt it, I felt it for different reasons when I was younger. But the context of being a black woman in America, I did not fully have that experience until I was 24 at my first job, and I was literally the only black person and everyone else was white women.

Akua Konadu
This has been phenomenal just hearing everybody’s experiences. Truly, yeah, like I’m just like, holy smokes. But to eat. There’s point like, we’re both in Minnesota. So like, it’s very, it’s a lot more common, but it really gives them another layer just for other people who have grown up in black communities where they do feel seen, but of course, they’re called out for other different like, you know, so called out with other differences and whatnot. But how shocking it is of like, okay, like this is at any point in time, it does not matter. It doesn’t have to be really young, like any point in time, we have all felt invisible. And so another question that I wanted to ask is like, what does it look like to deconstruct the invisibility of black girls and wit and women professionally and personally? So Edie, I’ll have you go first.

Edairra
I think that for one, both of what we do is a part of that work of deconstructing the invisibility of black girls and women. Right. But I think on a whole nother level, like truly getting into things crazy. We really have to talk about anti blackness All right, and womanism Okay, womanism I’m not a feminist, I’m a woman is because feminists did not include black women. We were invisible, truly, during the feminist, the all these feminist movements, we want to talk about we were invisible. And so that experience of being a black woman right. I think that going back to Sam’s point in regards to space, right, like, oh, that’s I think that’s resonated with me so heavily because I don’t and community use community earlier to at some point, and I have come a very long way in regards to my own self and mental health work. But as you as you spoke, I thought about what was key for me in regards to deconstructing my own invisibility and it was grounding myself with community with other black women. But it also was awareness, right, like other people being aware of the experience of black women, because that’s the first step like, if I don’t know something, then I have to learn it. Right. But community, being that first piece, and then what was the other piece, it was community and the space and the space. So the, the, the lack of opportunities that I have to connect with, with other women, oftentimes, like everything’s getting buried. So when I have the one opportunity, and I was like, Oh, we only got 40 minutes. Shit, I got so much to say kind of do. You know, and just and I’m like, you know that this is, that’s why I love academia. Because we know that another key to deconstructing arm visibility is to put some respect on my name with this master’s degree, right with this doctorate, which is like, yeah, I speak like binocular, but you show can learn how to write this, this paper in Standard American English, and it’s no different, you know, so that kind of having to prove the worthiness that comes from the realm of academia. So, you know, the research, only reason why I was able to remotely implement uni circle in that high school space, which was super phenomenal for all the girls who attended, and there was a ton of interest, which is why I know it would be impactful as a regular program that goes experience, but the only reason was because I did a master’s degree and I said, Hey, here’s the proof. I did my thesis, I’m sorry. And that’s it. Here’s the proof, right? And I did this research, and I had the voices of black girls in that work. And even going into the high school, it was that as well. It was the voices of those girls who were really really struggling, who were a lot of them were African American first generation, or second generation students. So I know I mentioned the keys up in there. I didn’t go linear at all.

Akua Konadu
But we love it. Love it. That was That was great. Dr. Sam, how about you?

Unknown Speaker
When you were asking the question, the first thing that came to my mind was just exist and take up space. Literally, that’s it, we don’t have to do anything. One, there are systems in place that restrict us from showing up in certain spaces anyways. So like, you mentioned, research, and the whole research process is very, it’s rooted in white supremacy. I’m gonna just be frank and say it.

Edairra
Okay, because you know what, I was just typing in the chat, like, legit, because when you said that, I smiled. I was like, Oh, yes. Because at my core, I’m a radical being I say, yes. That is that is it? That is blackness? That is, right. And so I was typing that it was my white racial frame that answered those first questions. And I’m okay with that. Because I have to exist in a society. Right? So yeah, yep, thank you for bringing balance. And that’s why I need black women like you.

Unknown Speaker
But I also feel like for those of us who, who do have the access to those types of spaces, we still show up, we still do the work on racial microaggressions, or the experiences of black women. And we write how we want to write and we show up in our, in our authenticity, so that we redefine what it means to be a black woman out, like redefining from what society says being a black woman is. So that’s what I mean, by taking up space, wherever you are, whatever access to whatever spaces you have, exist, authentically, don’t try to conform to what society will have you believe you should be doing or how you should be speaking or what you should be saying or how you should look. Where your long as nails, where your big hooks, where your afro, where your long as braids, pasture, but like, show up how you want to show up. The only thing I think we need to do is just be respectful. We don’t need to not use a VA, we don’t need to. I mean, some people are offended by curse words, I am not. So I mean, again, be respectful of who’s around you in the spaces that you’re in, but just show up, like, don’t try to conform to what society says you should be or what So through my research, what I found was that because we’re aware of the stereotypes and biases that people have about being black in general, specifically for black women, we show up in a way to disprove those stereotypes, which erases our identity because that’s not who we are. So that’s why I say show up, however you want to show up what in a way that feels most comfortable to you. And I will also say that there’s a lot of work that has to be done for you to show up authentic authentically. Like we have to unlearn a lot of anti blackness that we’ve internalized because I I mean society, society conditions all of us to be anti black. That’s just the system that we live in the system is white supremacy. And that is just, that’s just reality, we all have it, it takes work for us to unlearn that and figure out like, who we are at our core outside of the parameters that society has set. Once you do that, you show up

Akua Konadu
this damn. This is so powerful and so true. Like, even for me being in my 30s, and really trying to deconstruct like, I always had straight hair, like I always would put in extensions, or, literally, I would be crying to my mom, I have to get my soul when like, you know what they mean? Just because just being in these predominantly white spaces, you know, you’re more attractive if you have straight hair. And so I was terrified of my natural hair even just being seen. And so I didn’t even start wearing my natural hair until mid to late 20s. And now I flippin love it. You know, I love it. And it’s, it feels freeing. So even just those type of things where, you know, people that are not Black can just wear their hair however they want to, but again, like, I felt like I didn’t have that luxury. And so how much again, like just even what you’re saying with whiteness, and how like we all have, like, we are all deconstructing like anti blackness, even within us, like I’m still working through that, to like, through this day. And so like I just this conversation is, is absolutely amazing. And like just affirming, like just showing up with I’m allowed to take up space 110% where I am, I am no longer going to shrink myself in order to make you feel comfortable. And even with me now I’m a lot more intentional to with who I allow in my space, if you are not a safe place for me as a black woman, especially as I am still trying to deconstruct a lot of these things within me that I don’t want you in my fucking space. Like, I really emphasize with the F word they’re like, I can feel it like anyways, but like, I just am now a lot more of protecting my peace because I, this is who I am. And I am proud of who I am. I’m proud to be dark skinned. I’m proud to be first generation Ghanaian. I’m proud of these things. And I don’t want I no longer want to be in spaces where I’m tolerated. I want to be in spaces where I’m celebrated. So I just absolutely love what you shared.

Unknown Speaker
Sorry, go on. I also want to add, so we’re saying all of this. And it sounds nice. And it sounds easy. But it’s not let’s talk we also hold privilege because we’re aware of these things. Yeah, we can easily say, Oh, just show them yourself. So that’s one piece of it. And then the other part of it. Well, there’s two other parts. So the other part is that, you know, we are ancestors, even if you’re not from America, all of our ancestors, if they are black, which they are because we’re black. They’ve had to assimilate for safety. And that ideology and those behavior patterns have been passed down through generations. So and even though society isn’t as bad as it is, I’m doing quality offensively. But as bad as it used to be. The systems in place are still harmful to black people. So there, there is a little bit of a simulation that we have to do.

Edairra
to like push back, like truly, I think it’s more than we actually realize that although we are privileged, because we we are aware of this is still a battle, right. And like I think for me personally, it’s more of a battle because I’m not the kind of person that’s gonna make it and leave my people that it’s like, oh, I made it, we all made it. I’m about to bring all of y’all with me and you feel me so now I know that I have even more work to do, just like our ancestors did to make sure that we was good when we got here they have to assimilate for safety for their own for ours as well. And so I think about that and that’s part of the the weight that I think black woman carry as well. Especially if you are mothering or other mother and you’re bringing all of that with you because you know that you gotta they’re not aware yet you got to equip them either with the skills or like me as educators like you’re gonna be running to work, I’m teaching out in a very white suburb, right? Is your home need to learn about racism? The most, right? We know this feeling, right? But I mean, Giada understand how to be ABC and D, right? Or how the system serves you and not others at the same time. So I hear you, I received that and, you know, want to get that that’s very real.

Unknown Speaker
So, two things can be true at once. Like just because you’re aware doesn’t make it easy. We just know what we have to do. Like with therapy, just because you go to therapy and you learn like why you do what you do don’t mean that you’re instantly healed. You just know what you you know what your next steps need to be. And the last one All right, I wanted to add was to give ourselves grace. I was I recently made a TED talk about this, I’ve been noticing like a lot of people who are part of the global majority. So I know we’re talking about black women. But using the lens of intersectionality, if you’re a part of a of many intersecting marginalized groups, you you’re aware of how oppression affects you in many different ways. And so those people have taken on the burden of unlearning, and deconstructing colonial mindsets. But were the ones that actually actively experiencing the oppression and the effects of colonialism, not the ones who built the system. And so I just want to say, yes, we should be on learning. And we should be changing our behavior and trying to be better, but also be patient and give yourself Grace like this, these systems have been in place for hundreds of years, the way we think, act and show up have been influenced by our ancestors who had to be under the oppression for years. That’s not something you just magically unlearn in, like, two years, because you’ve been going to therapy, and then you read some books. Like it’s gonna

Edairra
take, are you sure? Because that’s where I’m at? Aren’t you sure? Because that’s where I’m at you. I’m like, Oh, I didn’t know I’m just kidding.

Unknown Speaker
I was thinking it’s like, very layered. So like, there’s stuff that we have to unlearn that tied to our racial identity, then when using an intersectional lens, like tied to our gender, how we how we show up, based on gender, and then if you’re a parent, if you’re a sibling, and then you think about capitalism, and how capitalism is, um, influences different classes, like your experience based on the class that you’re in. So if you’re rich, or middle class, or poor, or whatever, like so there’s so many layers of things that are coming out of that influence how we show up, and it’s not only tied to our racial identity, it’s tied to all of who you are. So those things have also influenced our parents who have their own set of intersecting identities. So it’s, that’s a lot of shit to go through. And unlearn and, like, understand the root cause of so I just want to offer up a reminder to like, give yourself grace and like, be patient and do the work. But you know, give yourself grace. That’s a lot of things to work through. Yeah,

Akua Konadu
that’s such a such an important important piece. Anything I know you wanted to say something so go ahead.

Edairra
I was going to ask with that being said, Sam, because you’re over here dropping the gyms, Sire. Because you’re definitely making me get in my way. I’m not getting them my bag on this audio, but in my spirit, all the things are happening. So as you spoke, I’m like, Okay, I hear you. And yes, it’s so you’re intersectionality I think earlier, you were talking. And I typed in the chat epistemology, right, that as black woman showing up as we desire sort of thing that definitely expands people’s understanding of, you know, like acceptability and so on and so forth. What, obviously, it’s deeper than that, but because of what you just said, what are the most important pieces of your core when you think about all those layers, right? I know two is, is heavy. When I’m like, Oh, I gotta quit my four and five year old my five year olds, as they go to school next year. One is, one is your complexion, Sam, and the other is brown skin. My children are darkened Emami. And so equipping them with kind of like, the first day of pre K, my child was like, Yeah, this girl was touching my hair. And I was like, what? And I was like, what? We don’t touch hair. Didn’t you watch comedies? Where? You know, I’m just like, well, actually, let me back up. I had to think, you know, which, which layer? Do I want to navigate this way? Or what is it that I’m trying to instill in her in this moment? You know, because if she was okay with the child touching her burette you know, or touching her hair, then that but but legit. I was like, holla. I we went over this? Yeah. Oh, man, because we are in a very white space. I know it was the kid of color. Something like that. Besides. Yeah. So I asked the question of as you as you talk about those layers, it makes me think, you know, what, what are those core parts?

Dr. Sam
That’s a really good question. And I like it a lot. I like stuff that makes me like think critically, I would say what’s coming up for me is stripping away the social constructs that people in society have created. So like social constructs, gender, sex, race, even ethnicity. I kinda want to talk to my wife Misty, but yeah, all the social even age like all the things that people use to define us on whatever when you fill out a survey, and they asked those demographic questions, those things trip away. All of that, and figure out who you are without all of those things. So if you weren’t, I’m I’m turning 32 In two weeks, if I wasn’t 30 to 32. If I wasn’t very so if I wasn’t light skinned if I didn’t have lots, which I still have baby locks, but if I wasn’t locking my hair if I wasn’t Jamaican, if I wasn’t five, seven, if I don’t know if I didn’t have a doctorate, if I didn’t have a business, like if I didn’t have any of those things, who am I, that’s when I told you earlier, I’m going through this, like transformation rediscovery, that’s what I’m trying to understand who I am outside of all of these things outside of material things outside of my accomplishments, I think when you get to that level, that that should be the priority. And then all the other stuff falls falls in line, all the other stuff, because like when you have that as your base or foundation, it doesn’t matter. What society tells you, you should be. Because you can you can get back centered and grounded in that initial thing that you discovered about who you are. So like your soul, your essence, who is that outside of all those constructs. And I think that is the that should be the focus. So to your example with your daughter, as you were saying that I was like, you know, the lesson there is like personal space

Edairra
period. But then I find that

Dr. Sam
there’s like you said, there’s so many layers, because if it’s a white person, and they’re like, Oh, you look different. That’s how microaggressions start. And she can internalize that as if she’s different or other. And then there’s another layer, because if she is in a community with black people, like traditionally our community is closed and like hands on, and that was okay, because we felt safe, and it’s our community. So like, there’s so much layers and context to take into consideration, which is why I loved your question, but I think yeah, I think like if you asked her how did you feel when she touched your hair? I feel like kids are smarter than all of us. And they don’t they’re not as socialized because they haven’t been on they’re not exactly right. Yeah, ruin them. Oh, yeah. She has all the answers she she knows she just needs a little guidance. So when you asked her like how did you feel and allow her to process that she now has the tool of processing her own experiences being able to communicate how she feels and understanding at her core? Like her feelings and how things affect her and how she wants to show up outside of all the constructs.

Edairra
No no, and I think that for one it’s beautiful it’s beautiful that you are where you are low key I was like you’re describing me except the doctor was like five seven and stuff but the part that that question and the your response and knowing that you know if you choose that because I don’t know you know all those personal pieces but that journey is happening in the right way you see my quotation marks just because right the white what right way is whatever works for other people, or whatever, but I have my children before I really got to examine that part. And so as I hear you speak I’m like yes, I am doing quote unquote, the right thing, because I know this feels right for me. And I also understand are these super intricate layers and intersectionalities of my little brown skin baby versus you know, myself in school right? And what you’ve just said about equipping her with that language right? Teachers are always talking about language and making sure you can express yourself and this and that and that’s a core for me with my babies because you are black in America. It’s real so so I love that I love that part about just nothing that’s socially you made me think about the identity Well, it’s like well, where you can see it outside but what’s on the inside? Yeah, yeah. Also awkward this is not enough time that’s this is the guy No I honestly

Akua Konadu
no good like I have been enjoying this conversation and like either I loved how you also stepped in and just asked it’s really great critical questions phenomenal and so I hate that oh we reached out but honestly if you’re open to it we could definitely do a part two okay.

Edairra
I think we have absolutely insane I’m gonna have to connect with you like I want to celebrate all of it because yeah, I not only do I get chills from meeting phenomenal black woman but just to hear about just the gyms and the crushing it and just you being your authentic self and showing up again that really does expand you know our ways of how we can show up so yes, my all my craziness like a you know, welcome to 32 Stuff like that. Like, I mean context, I just lost a nephew a few months ago like if I had to, you know, I’m saying like everybody ain’t gonna go to college and do A, B, C and D. But you know, that insight piece that being able to, and your black joy, you know, I’m saying a shout out to the baby locks because I used to have those.

Akua Konadu
When I first met her she had that that was so long ago, too. Yeah, I do remember those days. I love them, though. So far I listed so he did. This is where you can figure out where Sam is for our listeners. How can they connect with you? Dr. Sam, you go first.

Dr. Sam
Yeah, I’m on Instagram, at DSR D consulting. I’m on LinkedIn. If you type in Dr. Sam, re ra E, I should pop up. I don’t know. If you’ve come across my tech talk, you come across my tech talk. It’s some gems over there. I don’t really like to share my tech talk. Because I feel like that’s my space. And I just like I’m talking to y’all now that I show up. LinkedIn is very like business. And

Edairra
that’s not how you just kidding. We just talked about Sam, I was just kidding.

Unknown Speaker
No, no, that question. I do want to address that I do show up authentically. But there are pieces of myself that I don’t just share with everybody.

Edairra
So that’s what I understand Sam, I was yeah,

Unknown Speaker
like when Tiktok I be having like, I just looked at and kind of wait on LinkedIn. There’s companies and people and so it’s a little bit. It’s not polished. I don’t polish myself or I don’t like not wear my hoops or my app or anything like that. But I’m not gonna be talking about certain things. There’s a parts of my identities that are like, No, these are my ideas or my friends and like my intimate circle. People that I don’t know. Yeah, totally. Um, so you have to find my you can find my tech back. If you find it. You find it cool. No, no big deal. But I am on Tik Tok. And so LinkedIn, Instagram, and then my website, d s rd consulting.com. Everything that I do is on there. So if you have like questions about anything that I said, You can reach me through my website, LinkedIn, or Instagram, I respond to messages on the social media platforms.

Akua Konadu
So you didn’t work on our listeners find you.

Edairra
You know, honestly, we’re out here, bringing dreams to fruition. So we just gonna wait on them details. I mean, I do have my profile on LinkedIn. I’m not very active on social media. Honestly, I’m not because that part, you know, many people are in the space of recreating and redefining. Yeah, they asked me and social media is scary right now. So yeah, I’m on LinkedIn. I have the pages are active Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. They’re all there. But yeah,

Akua Konadu
that’s okay. That is a okay. So, thank you both so much for this conversation. This has been phenomenal. You so

Edairra
much for part one. I’m so excited for part two.

Akua Konadu
This has truly been truly been amazing. And I’m just so thankful for both of you and your time. Yeah, no, we are absolutely for sure. Gonna do a part two. And if you are listening, I really hope you learned a lot today. Yeah, until next time, everybody. Thank you. Thank you so much for tuning into here’s the tea with a cooler. If you are loving the podcast, I’d be so honored if you’d go ahead and hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast player and leave me a review. This helps grow the podcast so more people can be impacted by the story shared by powerful guests like in today’s episode. Until next time, go make uncomfortable conversations a little more comfortable.

 

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