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133: Answering Your Questions about “Color Blindness” and Racism // Dr. Lucretia Berry and Jasmine Bradshaw

Answering Your Questions About "Color Blindness" and Racism, 3 in 30 Podcast, Dr. Lucretia Berry and Jasmine Bradshaw, and Rachel Nielson host of top motherhood podcast 3 in 30 Takeaways for Moms

 It has been a heavy few weeks here in the United States, as our country as been rocked by the murder of George Floyd, and people have taken to the streets and to social media to express their anger – and also to listen and to learn from one another.

Maybe you’ve felt anxious, overwhelmed, heartbroken, confused, humbled, frustrated, or scared. Or maybe, like me, you’ve felt ALL of that.

That’s why I felt it was so important to continue our conversation about racism on the podcast this week by inviting back two women who have profoundly impacted my life and taught me so much over the past year, Dr. Lucretia Berry of Brownicity and Jasmine Bradshaw of the First Name Basis podcast. 

I got to know these two brilliant mothers and anti-racism educators when they each came on the podcast last year (epsiode 101 and 113), and I’m so grateful that our friendships have deepened since that time and they have continued to teach me “off the air” about these super important topics that are dramatically impacting our country right now.

Because we have a relationship of trust, I have been able to ask them my uncomfortable and uninformed questions, and having those heartfelt conversations has taught me so much and, really, changed my life.

Today, I am asking them YOUR questions, which I’ve gathered from emails and messages I received after these two ladies came on the show. I grouped similar questions together, and then chose THREE that we will focus on today:

1) If children aren’t “color blind,” why don’t my children ever describe people by the color of their skin?

2) I have a Black friend who says he/she has not experienced racism, so it’s hard for me to believe what I hear about racism in the news. Should I listen to my friend, or should I listen to the voices of the media?

3) Is ‘reverse racism’ real?

If you are interested in seeing the video of the three of us talking together and hear our entire conversation, which was actually an hour long, I have posted that on YouTube.

As you listen to this episode, I hope that you will imagine that I am inviting you into my home to sit with me and be taught by two of my dear friends. That is truly how I think of all 3 in 30 episodes, but especially this one, and I’m so grateful to be part of a community where we genuinely listen, learn, and seek together.

Major Takeaways

1) Children won’t discuss what they don’t have the language or the permission to describe. Give them the language by teaching them about melanin and describing the different hues of humanity, and try not to react uncomfortably to conversations about race with your children.

2) Listen to people’s experiences and anecdotes, but also dig into the research and the history of systemic racism in this country, and remember that this is not just about overt discriminatory acts; it’s also woven into our country’s major institutions and policies and the way they are enforced.

3) “Racial prejudice” is real and can be harbored by anyone of any race, which is not okay. But the concept of “reverse racism” is not legitimate because racism is “prejudice plus the systemic power to protect or reinforce that prejudice.” 

Next Actions!

Further Resources

Video of this conversation on YouTube

Dr. Lucretia Berry’s TED Talk: “Children Will Light Up the World, If We Don’t Keep Them in the Dark

All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

A Kids’ Book about Racism by Jelani Memory

Related Episodes

Episode 101: Why and How to Talk to your Kids about Skin Tone and Race with Dr. Lucretia Berry

Episode 113: How to Teach your Kids about Racism & Bias with Jasmine Bradshaw

Episode 132: Inspiring Bravery in our Kids with Elyse Beard and Ashley Aikele

Sponsor

Many thanks to this month’s sponsor, Bravery Magazine, an incredible quarterly print publication for girls and boys ages 5-12. Each issue is centered around a strong female role model and includes original stories, fun DIY’s, activity pages and more. 

Use the code 3IN30 for 10% off.

**I apologize for mispronouncing Maya Angelou’s last name in the original posting. This has been corrected for new subscribers.

About the Podcast Host, Rachel Nielson

Rachel taught high school English for five years before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom to her two miracle babies, Noah Atticus, who was adopted, and Sally Grace, who was conceived through IVF.

In her life, Rachel has experienced great sorrow but also great joy--and she loves diving deep into the topics that matter most. Thank you for listening to the podcast and giving her a chance to share her heart.

8 Comments

  1. Angela on 06/09/2020 at 4:14 PM

    I love your podcast. I believe a very large majority (like 99%) of people in our country do not support or defend any kind of systemic racism as part of our culture today. I also think we can all agree that systemic institutional racism was part of our history. What I don’t understand is this narrative that there is systemic racism today, right now. What laws or policies need to be changed? Are there hateful people? Of course, nobody is denying that. But what systems are actually racist? Do we see disparities between races? Yes, there is significant disparities in many areas we can identify and research. But the real question is what can be done about it? What are the systemic and institutional policies that need to be changed if there are any? Nobody is telling me the answer to this question. I have heard over and over again about the systemic racism but nobody seems to know what policies specifically need to be changed. Let’s dive into the law books, the policies. Let’s fix our broken racist system. Again, I am not claiming that there wasn’t such laws in the past like red-lining. Which is illegal today. There were terrible laws in the past like the Jim Crow laws. These are now illegal. If the system itself is racist, the institutions racist, how can any black person succeed? But of course we know that isn’t the case. Some of the most successful people in our country (by the world’s standards) are black. Our top rated musicians, actors, comedians, doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. etc. and even a president of our country have been black. Today there are so many laws that try to eliminate racism and there are policies in companies and universities that favor black people. How can a fundamentally racist system allow those possibilities? Thus, there must be another reason besides race that there are such disparities in education, wealth, and incarceration. Can there be any other possible explanations? Do you know the BlackLivesMatter organization is actually against the nuclear family unit? 75% of black children are without a father in the home. Did you know that having a two parent family is the single most determining factor for success? Not race! This is not to say single mothers cannot be successful, but it is significantly harder. I believe welfare reform would be a better place for social change. I believe the great disparity is more about socio-economic levels than racist laws. Even the example used in the podcast today about prejudice and power referred to Rosa Parks 50+ years ago. Today that could not happen because the system is not racist. Am I wrong? So again I ask, what today as far as specific laws and policies can and should be changed because they are racist? If our system is inherently racist simply because the majority of people are white, how can we possibly enact a better system, how can we as a country possibly remain hopeful? The demographics are not going to even out unless we tell white people that they are no longer allowed to reproduce. We have come a long way in our country. And I think there is more to do to form a more perfect union, I am just not sure what that is as far as “the system”. Let us come together to do the work. Let us get to the point. Let us build bridges to a better way.

    • Sara on 07/09/2020 at 8:48 PM

      In this moment in history, I think it is very important for white people to have these conversations with each other and to stop making black people try to explain it to them. There are plenty of black scholars who have already done that, it is our responsibility to take the time to learn.

      Systemic racism is not as simple as specific laws or policies. It means “within the system” True, overtly racist laws have been overturned (mostly) but the complex systems that discriminate against non-white people persist. Here is a really great video that explains this https://youtu.be/YrHIQIO_bdQ

      There are clear disparities in how individuals are prosecuted and the sentences they receive for the same crime based on race. Mandatory minimum sentences for drug related offenses is a good example. Drugs commonly used by wealthy white people were assigned lower minimums than those used by black people when they were set.

      Red-lining still happens today. Gerrymandering also still happens which is one in the same.
      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/redlining-what-is-history-mike-bloomberg-comments/

      Saying that there are successful black people does not mean that systemic racism doesn’t exist. That’s like saying that since there are some people anointed to sainthood sin doesn’t exist. Neither of these things make sense, these are both absurd statements.

      Again, just because there are measures in place to make things better, does not mean everything is better

      The injustices of 500 years can not be undone overnight. Or even in 50 years. If someone’s parents were the first in their family to attend high school, do you expect that child to instantly have the same stepping ground as a child who comes from generations of education?

      Saying that 75% of black children are raised without a father in the home is untrue. This is an example of a self-confirming stereotype, using statistics with limited information. Based on census data in 2016 38.7% of black children under the age of 18 live with both parents. And who is to say that the ones who don’t, live without their father? How does this make Black Lives Matter organization against a nuclear family? Supporting all types of families does not mean you are against a nuclear family unit.

      Welfare reform would be a great place for social change. This would also be a change for racial inequality because of racial economic inequality.

      https://inequality.org/facts/racial-inequality/

      Just a couple of days ago a white man and woman attacked a black hotel employee unprovoked. The cops were called and they were released. After a lot of media attention there is now an arrest warrant out for them, had there not been a video of this incident, these two individuals would probably be let off the hook. The police officers who did not arrest the white couple on the spot are part of the system, so this is systemic.

      Again I’ll say, Systemic racism is not as simple as specific laws or policies. It means “within the system” True, overtly racist laws have been overturned (mostly) but the complex systems that discriminate against non-white people persist. Our system isn’t racist simply because the majority of people are white, our system is racist because white people held the power for over 500 years. Taking the time to read research articles, listen to sociologists, economists, etc to actually learn what “the system” is instead of making assumptions, is the first step in coming together, getting to the point, and building bridges to a better way.

      • Rachel Nielson on 07/14/2020 at 1:27 PM

        Thank you, Sara, for this incredibly thorough and thoughtful response. Thank you thank you thank you.

      • Sarah Packham on 11/24/2020 at 3:06 PM

        I loved reading these comments back to back. This is a great example of the conversations we need to be having.

  2. […] 3 in 30 Podcast: Answering Your Questions about Race and Color Blindness […]

  3. […] Episode 133 “Colorblindness & Racism”– 3 IN 30 Takeaways for Moms (Episode on Apple Podcasts) This particular podcast was so very good. I highly recommend you listen and then follow Dr. Lucretia Berry and Jasmine Bradshaw. […]

  4. […] This podcast episode from the 3 in 30: Takeaways for Moms Podcast, featuring Dr. Lucretia Carter Berry, founder of Brownicity, and Jasmine Bradshaw. These women answer the following questions that most of us have and are afraid to ask or may even use to attempt to dismiss racism: […]

    • Rachel Nielson on 08/31/2020 at 1:34 PM

      Thank you so much for sharing!

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