In episode 19, Racial Trauma, Elaina is joined by energy healer and author Adele Wang and academic scholar Cherice Escobar-Jones in a discussion about the impact and effect of racial trauma. Racial trauma is the result of continuous exposure to racism, racial bias, and discrimination.
"Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can't just be on people of color to deal with it," she wrote. "It's up to all of us—Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out."– Michelle Obama
In episode 19, Racial Trauma, Elaina is joined by energy healer and author Adele Wang and academic scholar Cherice Escobar-Jones in a discussion about the impact and effect of racial trauma. Racial trauma is the result of continuous exposure to racism, racial bias, and discrimination. The stress and anxiety which develop can trigger reactions and responses like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When an individual is oppressed, marginalized, and stripped of their human rights, they can reach their breaking point, and their reactions and responses are not going to rational. Indifference and turning a blind eye are just as dangerous. How many more will unjustly lose their lives simply because of the color of their skin?
Elaina [00:20:48] My ancestors experienced that, and we were told the stories and shared the experiences from generation to generation, to generation, to generation.
Adele [00:23:31] It doesn't just go away, and that's true. It lives in the psyche.
Cherice [00:26:07] After time after someone's getting bit, once, twice, three times, four times, five times on the sixth time, they might react maybe a little irrationally because it's just accumulating over time.
Adele: [00:38:00] The difference between bigotry and racism, racism has the element of power.
Cherice: [00:39:16] We can't deny that the effects of hundreds of years of colonialism and slavery is not somehow still present within our language, within our institutions within all of those spaces.
Elaina [00:40:34] When you strip somebody generation after generation, year after year, decade after decade. And you continuously marginalize them, and you continually make them feel less than human. You don't get to control how the reaction comes out.
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Elaina: [00:00:00] Cope Queens episode, 19 Racial Trauma. Hey, everyone, it’s Elaina, first and foremost, thank you for tuning in and listening to this episode. Now you may hear in the discussion, things that you think are right on point. You may hear things that you absolutely disagree with wherever you fall, I encourage you to be a part of the solution.
Our country is in turmoil, and this isn’t new. When you compound it with the pandemic and that stress, and then you have a murder that occurs like George Floyd or an unlawful police shooting, like the one that took place with Jacob Blake. And I don’t believe that all of the protests that we’ve seen have all been violent.
And I don’t know, I believe that the intention was for the ones that are trying to make a difference was for them to become violent. I think that there are other forces that ignites some of that. Now I know. Even after George Floyd and I saw everyone looting. I’m like, what the hell? How is that in honor of him?
But I had to take a step back and I took a step back. And I said, you know, when you’re thinking about PTSD, there are triggers and responses and reactions that occur because of the flashbacks because of the anxiety. And so someone’s responses may not always be rational nine times out of 10 they will not be rational because they’re not in a rational state of mind.
When we explore this topic of racial trauma, we have to understand that there’s only so much that an individual can take. When you oppress people, when you marginalize people, when you hold people down and you hold them back and you prevent them from living the life that they are supposed to be able to live, you do not get to control their reactions to it.
You don’t have to agree with it. I’m not asking you to agree. I will never ever, you will never hear me say that burning down a neighborhood is justice. I will say that there is a problem and we need some understanding. We need some resources and we need some healing. As you listen to this episode, I hope that you listen with an open heart and an open mind, and you think of where can we take this conversation?
Now I am joined by two fabulous women that I hold a high respect for. One is energy healer and author Adele Wang. And the other is academic scholar, Cherice. Escobar Jones. The three of us together barely scratched the surface of this issue, but this is a way for us to collectively start the conversation because we need to understand, and we need to heal.
And so, we need to be able to make those choices and decisions to lead us in the right direction. We can just watch it all burn and we can just burn it all down. I am challenging you if you’ve never thought about racial trauma. If you’ve looked at some of the recent and events were questioning why someone reacted that way, I want you to think about a time in your life, where you just had enough.
Now, maybe you were one of the lucky people who was raised in an environment that you learned, those adaptive coping skills. Maybe you were one of those lucky people who has the ability to seek guidance from a pastor, from a minister, from a priest, from a therapist, from a counselor, from a life coach. I’m a mentor from a best friend, from a mother, from a father.
Unfortunately, not everyone in this country has that support system or resources. And by no means, do I excuse or condone. I’m going to say it again. Not excusing it. Not condoning it, but I do think that there is more beyond what we are seeing and we need to figure out what is beneath the surface, what’s behind the reaction so that we, as a country can heal and learn how to respect each other.
You ain’t gotta be best friends. You ain’t gotta be singing kumbaya, but we need to get to a point where we just all value that we each individually have the right to live. I as a U. S. Citizen, as a human being, as a black woman, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, auntie, have the right to sit on my couch and watch TV without worrying about if a police is going to kick my door in and shoot me.
I have the right to be in a car with my children, minding my business and not have to worry about being shot in the back seven times. I, as a parent, have the right to not worry that if my daughter gets pulled over for speeding, that she’s not going to make it home.
Those are human rights that yes, I am entitled to. Just like everyone else is entitled to. I hope that you enjoy the discussion that Adele and Cherice and I have and we gotta do better. And the only way for us to get better is together.
Intro: [00:04:56] You’re listening to the Cope Queens podcast, where every Wednesday hosting Elaina Jones challenges, mental health stigmas by normalizing the conversation through sharing personal experiences about how seemingly everyday life challenges impact us. This podcast is in no way, a replacement for mental health treatment. To learn more, visit cope queens dot com. Now without further ado, let’s cope together!
Elaina: [00:05:33] Adele, you want to kick us off?
Adele: [00:05:35] Sure. I’m Adele. And I typically work with women who are dealing with a lot of stress, overwhelmed. And this topic is really up in my community. I would say about, about half of my clients are African American. And so, I’ve been sitting with some of the questions we’re going to be talking about today for some time, and then doing my own inner journey around this. And I’m not Caucasian.
I’m not, African American either. And that puts me in this weird category, which in some ways can be very advantageous of getting a little bit perspective. it’s a unique situation because a lot of African American clients have confided in me that there’s certain things they can tell me that they can’t tell their community because they’ll either be thought of poorly or whatever, and the same with the Caucasian community. They’re very often very defensive, very full of shame, and that’s not helpful either. So, this conversation we’re having today, I think is really timely because it is affecting mental health. I thin, in different ways, it’s manifesting in different results.
And so, if you don’t know any better and you, you just watch the news and see people’s reactions, sometimes there’s like, well, why are they doing that? And I, if there’s a saying in the Japanese community, always ask why five times, meaning don’t just take the first initial thing as the answer, well, why is that?
Well, people are upset. Well, why is that? Well, this has been going on for many many hundreds of years old. Why is that? and tracing it back, you might have a much wider perspective. So that’s why I’m happy to have this conversation with you and Cherice today. I think it can be new ground. I think it can be something refreshing that we don’t typically hear in the current conversations, because I think we need more skillful discussions, more thoughtful discussions, around mental health and this particular issue.
So yes, I’m from Atlanta. I work with hundreds of people around the world on Zoom and, helping people get more of what they want personal or professional, make more money, get the man. And, but my thought is much more from a energy and spiritual point of view and not so much for me traditional like cognitive therapy point of view, and they all have value. So that’s, that’s my voice.
Elaina: [00:08:02] Thank you for joining us today, Adele, and then we have Cherice. Hi, Cherice.
Cherice: [00:08:08] Hello, I’m excited to be here. And Adele is a tough intro to follow up afterward. I’m glad Adele brings the cognitive perspective. I come from more of a language perspective. I’m halfway through my PhD program. I studied rhetoric, particularly I’m interested in, scientific rhetoric and medical rhetoric talking about particularly how people and bodies are written about and who they are written by, and how we are codified. so a lot of my research tests deal with looking at language at the institutional level, looking at how race and racism function and impact patient bodies and what types of writing is forwarding, any type of ideas that may be sort of colonial or antiquated.
Sort of things like, for example, a lot of rhetoric has surfaced during COVID-19 that I’m sure you’ve heard where, people say, well, oh, black folks, can’t catch COVID. I’m sure you guys have heard of that one. Or people blaming it on the Asian community, or somehow essentializing this disease that has nothing to do related to race at all.
The only thing that is related to race, they’re sort of the environmental factors that can exacerbate this type of disease for different communities, particularly working class communities, communities who have multiple generational family households and et cetera, et cetera. But oftentimes you see the biological conflated with race, conversations around that are really interesting.
So, and when it comes to mental health, I think right now it’s for anyone, it’s a really difficult time to maintain a very, sort of steady and holistic mental state, especially for women of color. So, and coming from a black and Latina background. within our communities, it’s not something that you really talk about, going to therapy.
I think that a lot of us are becoming cognizant of it now and talking about the benefits of it. but I think that’s only developed recently, at least from what I’m used to. So, I think conversations like these are super, super important and I’m really excited to be here today.
Elaina: [00:10:16] All right. Well, thank you. you both bring value to the conversation and to the table in your experiences and your journeys and your backgrounds. And I absolutely appreciate both of you taking this time out to spend with us today. And Cherice, you mentioned something and I’m going to kick us off this way.
There is one thing when it comes to rhetoric. You have someone somewhere wanting to get this one particular point across that satisfies their own personal need, bias or desire. A catalyst that I think creates the rhetoric, especially here in the U.S. Is the media.
A few years ago, I noticed when I would read a headline when a person in a minority group would be suspected of a crime, the headline would say Hispanic man, black man, Asian man, Indian man, Muslim, whatever that race was, would be in the headline. And interestingly enough, I could tell the difference from the headline, if there was someone in the minority group, or if it was someone that was Caucasian because in those headlines it would just say, a man.
We perpetuate this generation after generation year after year and no one ever questions it, especially when that information isn’t essential. So it’s one thing if someone is wanted and you’re given a description, so the public can be aware, but if they’re in police custody and they’re no longer a threat , why does that have to be in the headline? Have either of you ever noticed that or is it just, or am I imagining it?
Adele: [00:11:48] I don’t think you’re imagining it. And I have been curious about the linguistic things going on. And I think the hardest part of all this, no matter what angle we look at, because it, this problem is like a, it’s like a hum. It pervades everything, wherever you go, there’s this undercurrent. So, it it’s in whoever happened to write the media story it’s in, whoever happens to be the mental health expert.
It’s everywhere. It’s in the physician. it’s hard to describe because it’s not like we got, most people walking around hating anybody. I bet 99% of folks, if you ask them, they honestly, they ping their body. Am I racist? Is there anything in there? And they say, no, I love everyone.
They’re not aware of implicit subconscious bias, this is the hardest thing to convey to someone who’s writing an article. It never occurred to them that they’re biased in the way, the choice of words. Our English language is loaded with terms that imply anything dark or black is bad. Blacklisting, a black look on someone’s face, a dark moment.
Like if we’ve already set up this premise that anything dark is bad, white listing is good. Like just the word choice of, it’s just sort of assumed. And so. Yeah, I think it’s really fascinating how deeply embedded these, this implicit bias is and what I fear is happening right now. If we’re just skating on the surface and putting signs up black lives matter and Whoa, well, the reality is most everyone they’re protesting has a lot of subconscious bias too.
There are no different than the officer. They just in the moment of crisis when people aren’t at their best wits. And I’m sure from your training as a therapist, it’s going to the mine is going to leak to a certain conclusion and unfortunately and ends up dead.
But if you were to put any one of those. BLM protestors. Let’s say they were Caucasian. There’s a high likelihood. The same thing would happen again. And that’s hard for us to sit with because we would all like to think I have no bias. I love everyone. It lives in the shadow. And so that’s why I love these conversations to get people to think a little bit deeper, because right now we got a lot of self-righteous anger. But very few people are charging around hating black people. I don’t see that it’s or it’s implicit or it’s at best maybe covert. So yeah, that’s my perspective. And this is also why I think, you know, cause you’re talking about mental health. I feel that this is the growth edge for the mental health field itself, until you get more people of color who are actually in the work.
Because white people have no idea if you’ve never experienced it, it becomes a textbook example. Like, unless you’ve done a lot of your own internal work. And I also feel, this is my last little bit before I turn it over to you guys. Cause you know, a lot more about this. I feel that therapy in general has a white male tradition.
It was originally set up by Floyd or whoever to treat mostly white men. So the model, even if we go to white women, it has worked, but we take it even further to people of color, women of color or trans or gay, whatever this model that’s been practiced for decades of therapy. I’m hoping that enough of these conversations and awareness mental health starts to think.
There might be other ways of offering therapy that might be more perhaps small group oriented or honor other traditions instead of just, you know, the therapist is here and clients here and once a week or whatever it is, I am excited on what’s possible for the therapy traditional profession.
Elaina: [00:15:48] Absolutely.
Thank you. Adele. Cherice do you have anything you wanted to add or a different perspective?
Cherice: [00:15:55] Sure. I think, I always think about what are the sort of institutional barriers that are preventing different communities from getting the care that we need. And I think I always go back to history. So, if we’re looking at colonial constructs of certain things, it’s embedded within our language, kind of like Adele was talking about.
Even in, I’m going to go back to the medical texts, even in medical writing today. You’ll see researchers write things like the biology of race as if somehow. Adele and I are inherently different people because we have different races, which is absolutely bogus and has been debunked. So, and I also think when it comes to the, the sort of mental health perspective, the way communities of color were portrayed in medicine and within therapy too, like for example, schizophrenia that was considered at one point a black disease.
So marginalizing folks who, who may need actual mental care, mental health, and sort of putting them in a space, which is not necessarily helpful. I think two of the sort of distrust of that sort and communities have of medical professionals, therapist, et cetera, because of the historical context, because of things like the Tuskegee experiments and things like that.
And how. There is a lot of work to be done in all sorts of perspective. So I’m just sort of echoing a little bit what Adele was talking about, but there are a lot of, there are a lot of institutional barriers and I think that we always have to look back to history and what impacts those barriers that continue to live on today.
Adele: [00:17:30] And I love that Cherice because I think people are asking why five times. So, for example, I have cousins who are in the medical field. You do a standard chart on a patient. It’s always. Age, race, gender. Oh, you know, a white male, 55 years old suffering with hypertension or whatever, or black female, 45 or whatever.
And I think the assumption was by knowing someone’s race, it would add value to the physician to know something about somebody. And maybe that’s true. But what I’ve wondered is. Is that really true? I mean, we know, like for example, hypertension runs differently in certain groups of people. So, there is some validity to that, but when it comes to mental health, let’s just say, Cherice would say, oh, schizophrenia is at a higher rate in the black population.
No one asks why it becomes, Oh, it’s genetic. It must be something in the DNA. But my goodness, if you survived 500 years of oppression, you’d probably be schizophrenia too, you know? And so, there’s not enough respect into understanding the why’s. It’s just, it is what it is. They have a higher rate of schizophrenia.
And even if that’s true, how does that help treatment? How does that expand the possibilities we have to ask? Well, why is it, are you assuming this is all genetic.
Cherice: [00:18:56] And when we assume it’s genetic, we take away autonomy from the patient to be able to improve their situation. When we tell them you’re inherently just flawed by your DNA. By Your social identity.
Adele: [00:19:08] Yeah. You didn’t get a good hand at the lottery. You know, sorry.
Elaina: [00:19:12] Blame your parents, like it’s all your fault, it’s all your father’s fault. It’s on his side. if you have a parent who has an anxiety disorder, you have a 50, 50 chance of developing an anxiety disorder.
Now I don’t believe that per se has anything to do with DNA, but yet the environment. I have an anxiety disorder and guess what? My daughter has an anxiety disorder. Do I think that I pass that to her in the womb? No. I think that while I was raising her, I had moments where my anxiety was high and I probably was not managing it well, she saw those behaviors and those became her worries. And so that, I think that is how, at least in that instance, so it just, when it goes into everything is like a default, Oh, it’s, it’s hereditary. It’s like really, it’s just passed through DNA, like, okay, here’s schizophrenia for you. Here’s an anxiety disorder for you.
what I wanted to talk about in this episode included intergenerational or transgenerational trauma, because I don’t know that we talk enough about it to understand it.
Adele: [00:20:24] And I love that because Elaina, what you’re doing is asking, you’re asking why five times by definition, you’re asking, why is that? Well, why is that? No, but why is that? And you’re going to get a much richer portrait of what’s happening. It was someone to be able to sit with them, instead of just telling them to think positive and whatever, you know, So I think that’s really useful.
Elaina: [00:20:48] my maternal grandfather, who was basically chased out of Mississippi in the early forties, was a disagreement with his employer, his employer shorted him and my grandfather being the man that he was confronted him.
And I think that there was an altercation where he either threatened or punched the owner’s son, whatever the case may be. Basically, they threatened to kill my grandfather. Now we’re talking about Mississippi, we heard those from generation to generation and it gives you an impression of the world. I have not once been to the state of Mississippi for that reason. I had someone say, well, why is everyone so upset about what happened in slavery?
You guys weren’t around then? Well, my ancestors experienced that, and we were told the stories and shared the experiences from generation to generation, to generation, to generation. The wrongs that happened, don’t go away because the person no longer exists. Even when you think about black lives matter, that movement is not new.
it’s the same movement for, from civil rights. It’s the same movement after Rodney King. It’s the same movement after Trayvon Martin, we keep going through this vicious cycle. The question after, the incident that, where George lost his life. I had posted on Facebook, the question of, cause someone said that they were looting in honor of George and that confused me.
Protesting. Yes. Peaceful protesting completely understand. But I couldn’t understand how the act of destroying property and stealing goods was honoring someone who was wrongfully killed by the police. And I took a step back and I thought about trauma responses and reactions.
They’re not always rational. They’re not always rational. I was looking for logic in an irrational situation. Like it’s just, there was no logic. a lot of us do not realize that even if we have not experienced a macro aggression, as far as overt racism, We still can develop PTSD responses based on the experiences and information that we’ve carried from generation to generation.
Adele: [00:23:31] I absolutely agree. And I think what’s happened is if you look at countries that have dealt with trauma successfully, and why I think they have been good at clearing this mental health stuff. Rwanda, there’s some, yeah, Germany did a lot after the war that you know, you talk about the, these injustices, you said Elaina, just very beautifully.
It doesn’t just go away and that’s true. It lives in the psyche. People are passing it along. And then, so those descendants there’s a sense of something was really wrong and there was never any redress. There was never any ownership or justice. Right. And. I really feel like the countries that have managed these kinds of problems better are the ones that openly admit we have a problem.
What can we do to fix this? I mean, Germany went through this. Rwanda did this very well, and that’s the only way you take this is Adele going off. But if you’re talking about mental health from a population standpoint, that the cumulative carrying of these traumas that keep getting passed down, and then one day somebody, it happens with George Floyd or whatever, that, that everybody’s stress levels.
Mental health was already there. The load that the average African American has to walk around with every day is much higher than perhaps they even realized because you just get used to it. But what this country has resisted is there the, the, acknowledgement. There is something to said, no justice, no peace.
And there’s, I think that if we go there, then all this trauma can sort of be released. It doesn’t have to keep carried. Cause people go, Oh, we’re finally recognizing, what happened to, your granddaddy or something like that. And then that energy is released. So the discussions about reparations was always around that nobody here was around when these things happen and it’s not my fault, your fault, but something was wronged.
Some people were wrong and there’s been a distinct knowledge that lingers and that’s what it is. It’s hard for some people to understand. There’s a sense of, well, that was then this is now I wasn’t responsible at all, but yeah, some great wrongs were done. So. That’s how I look at the mental health and racism impact on a population level.
It’s not just one or two people. It was like millions of people. And this happened for 500 years. So that’s a lot, you know, and it’s still in the psyche.
Cherice: [00:26:07] Absolutely. I think it’s in the psyche, but it also exists within institutions, systems of oppression, the types of language we use that we’ve normalized to come to use every day. And I like how Elaina brings up generation to generation, how that sort of trauma sort of passes on. But even if we’re just talking within a lifetime, I’m not sure if you guys have heard of the mosquito analogy, but it’s this analogy where a white person is basically really confused. They say something maybe a little tone, deaf.
And so, they’re confused. Well, why are you making a big deal out of it? Well after time after someone’s getting bit, once, twice, three times, four times, five times on the sixth time, they might react maybe a little irrationally because it’s just accumulating over time. I can give an example. When I was very young in elementary school, I would straighten my hair and I’d wear it in a high ponytail. I had, a teacher come up to me and yank my hair and say, wow, this is like horsehair. And I don’t think they were trying inherently to be mean about it. They were, they just. Genuinely felt like they had the authority to walk over, yank my hair and assess its texture. And so, the nowadays, when people ask me, Oh, can I touch your hair?
Can I touch? I’m like, absolutely not. And they might be confused. Like, I’m just, I just want to touch your hair. And it’s like, well, no, this isn’t a petting zoo. And that’s all right. And they might be very confused if I respond in that way. And perhaps I can, respond a bit better. But I think that people don’t necessarily understand the, the accumulation of, of everything that just manifests in a single person within a single lifetime on top of the intergenerational aspects.
Adele: [00:27:52] Beautiful example. I just want to add one more note that occurred to me as you were speaking, if it’s something like, this intergenerational trauma it’s affected white people too. And by that, I know that sounds kind of weird, but what I mean by that is notice how fragile they are, notice how they simply cannot have a normal conversation without losing it.
The shame, the defensiveness that the lashing out, because on some level there is an awareness something is not quite right, because this has been suppressed for so long and they’re psyche too. I’m a good person. I love everybody. And my thought is if we could get to talking about racism as if it were like any other disease, cancer AIDS, but there are some things that work, some things that don’t, but nobody takes it on personally.
So, what’s happening is white people just can’t stand the thought of being thought of as racist. It just sends them off, you know. And I’ve been curious on why that is. So, on some level it’s affecting them too. Because there’s an equal, it has to equalize, right? Like this has to be lanced and because nobody’s nobody hears fault.
So, I just thought I’d share that. But yeah. That’s interesting. What you said Cherice, is that, maybe that teacher wouldn’t think of doing that with a Caucasian student’s ponytail.
Elaina: [00:29:14] She absolutely would not have done that with a Caucasian student.
Adele: [00:29:18] Come on. That’s ridiculous. But where did that idea come from?
Elaina: [00:29:22] That is one of my biggest pet peeves. So, I wear my hair natural. Like, yes, I get braids quite often because. The fact that I don’t put relaxer and chemicals in my hair is actually very sensitive. So, in order to protect my hair, I wear protective styles, but it drives me nuts. When someone asked me if they can touch my hair, I am not a puppy. I’m not a poodle, it’s microaggressions. And I think part of the issue is microaggressions sometimes can be very subtle.
Adele: [00:29:56] That’ll work in someone’s mental health too?
Elaina: [00:29:59] Yes. You will drive yourself crazy. Like, am I overreacting? Maybe I’m being too sensitive. I did an episode, I believe back in February and March called, Back of the Bus. Because the day that we recorded. Kaiya and I were coming from a doctor’s appointment. We got on an elevator and three Caucasian female nurses got on the elevator with us. And as they pass us, one of them said back at a bus woot woot.
And all three of them walked to the back of the elevator and I just stood there like, Oh, wait a minute. I’m triggered. But should I be triggered? Is this big thing. And then the rest of them back it up, and I’m thinking to myself that is so inappropriate, is it not? But the 15-year-old, next to me, as we’re walking now, I’m confused.
And I’m asking myself like all these questions, like, am I overreacting? She was like, I wasn’t, I didn’t notice. I think a lot of times we experienced microaggressions and we put it on ourselves. Like, well, maybe I’m being too sensitive, but it’s kind of, like you said, with the mosquito, it’s like you get one after another, after another, after another and 10 years of that questioning you’re then questioning your own sanity.
Cherice: [00:31:20] Exactly. And I remember that podcast specifically and just thinking about it and it reminded me, of Claudia Rankine has this amazing book called Citizen. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it, but she really captures this moment that happens after an exchange like that. It’s like you’re left in a moment of suspension.
Where you’re just not really sure what to do, which leads you replaying the event during the fact over and over and over. And we immediately think that we’re the ones in the wrong, some sort of doubt that has a more overcome us. Like I’m probably tripping, that takes a lot of emotional energy, I think, to sort of navigate that moment of suspension after each and every one of those events.
And then after the fact trying to replay it and say, well, well, what actually happened there?
Elaina: [00:32:06] the person that is the offender. Sometimes they’re not even aware that what they just said or did was offensive because Cherice similar to your experience. when Kaiya was in. either preschool or kindergarten, she did cheerleading. And for one of their performances, they all have to get these little clip on ponytails.
Well, she became attached to her, so I let her wear it to school one day. And of course, with my wild child running around the school, it started to slip a little as, so the teacher was helping her fix it, but she kind of hit it and she was like, This isn’t your real hair. It’s not yours. And Kaiya was like, it is mine.
It’s like, Oh, my head is so she can, well from school upset. Cause he was like, the teacher told me this isn’t my hair. I’m like, Oh Lord. I said, well, technically it is. Yes, because the pay for it.
Cherice: [00:32:59] I think children have to deal with that from a super early age, whether it has to do with critiquing their writing, if it’s not in a certain type of English or, a certain type of dress or hair, like I’m, I think of my younger brother, Adam, he, it was a big trend in his high school to wear bandanas.
And, one day he wore a red bandana and his friends were all doing it too. But for some reason he was the only one called out saying like, Oh, it seems like there’s some sort of gang affiliation going on here. And it’s hard to want to protect kids. Well, all at the same time, making them ready for these experiences when they enter them.
They’re not stuck silent for long time, because I never talked about a lot of these things for a very long time until I got older and I realized. Oh, there was something kind of weird about that so that they, they get into these moments and they’re able to assess for themselves and perhaps react better and to think more critically about those situations.
Elaina: [00:33:57] when you brought up the situation with Adam, it’s like the conversation that I think every African American parent has with their children now is how to be around police officers. When we watched TV shows, I’d be like, let me tell you all the things of how that interaction could have gone wrong. And let me teach you what not to do. Never in a million years, when I became a parent did I think that I would have to have that conversation with my child. It just was not something that I thought about.
Adele: [00:34:28] And it’s fascinating to me that the police unions have done polls of their members, to find out, you know, do you feel you’re racist? Most cops, honestly. Don’t I feel that they are, they can’t see it. It’s in the implicit bias. It’s in the shadow and that’s what makes it so insidious. If you can’t see it and you don’t know what’s there, it’s hard to fix until.
something horrible happens and everyone has a soul, a little bit of a soul reckoning, but then what do we do? What do we do? And there will be perhaps a small percentage of people that take it upon themselves to dig a little deeper, yay for them. But most others, that was just one bad Apple. I ran into this recently.
there’s always going to be somebody. I live in a fairly affluent, upper middle-class neighborhood here, and we have an app called Next Door. I don’t know if you guys have it talks about, who’s buying and trading in the neighborhood stuff. And a gentleman posted on here. He was Indian and he was walking down one of those streets here and white pickup truck came up two a white gentleman, backed up and they spat in his face and drove off. And so this gentleman posted, I mean, I wasn’t surprised, but he posted, and of course he was disgusted and shocked, but what was it more interesting to me was the reaction of the neighbors who were responded.
So, and there was a whole slew and this I’ve been looking at the data like this is what tells me this is implicit bias because more than half, about 70% were okay. Around the tone of all those, those, those, those guys in the pickup truck must not be from here. They must be traveling. They’re just moving through, must be a bad Apple, or like there was all this denial, but cause I know that if the same thing had happened with a pickup truck with two guys and they, they lean out and they smile at this Indian man walking on the street. Then everybody who posted that’s us, that’s our neighborhood, that’s one of the good ones, right.
Or if it’s another neighborhood, then people would say, well, that’s what you get from that neighborhood, but we’re not. And so, there’s this idea that we have a national problem, but somehow on my block, we’re good. And so that just, it’s so interesting. These things happen. And then the action of the observer is usually one of denial. I want to say if it’s a national problem, whether is it in Philadelphia or Chicago.
Why don’t you think it’s on your block? Do you think there’s some sort of forcefield that keeps its. It’s funny how people are makes me that we don’t see it.
Elaina: [00:37:08] Yeah, I think that’s hard for a lot of people to acknowledge their biases.
Adele: [00:37:11] Yeah, it really is. and I have a lot of empathy for them too, because they’re in my office too secretly wanting to talk about this and feeling like they’re taught, they’re walking on eggshells.
They feel like if they say the wrong thing, they’ll be accused of being racist and all that. And I’m like, I’m on tough now let’s just have a conversation and they feel more supported so that they don’t have to hold their breath. The next time, something like this happens because they genuinely want to understand. They just don’t know how to go about doing it.
Elaina: [00:37:41] I do think that there is a difference between conscious and unconscious bias versus racism. And what I mean by that is I can have a bias towards. People who don’t wear glasses like, Oh, well, I don’t think they’re intelligent. I don’t want to hang out with them. If you don’t wear glasses, we can’t be friends. That’s a bias.
Adele: [00:38:00] The difference between bigotry and racism, racism has the element of power. That’s what makes it different than only implicit bias or bigotry like, oh, I don’t like that group over there. It’s whose is on the school board who sets the tax code. Who’s running for office that power, you can be bigoted on both sides.
Yeah. Well, black people are racist against white people. I’m like, well, not exactly. There’s there’s bigotry. But they can’t do anything about it. They can’t, they can’t do anything back to you. You can do them like, like what’s her face, with the dog, and the birdwatcher what she was doing. Right. And that is a blatant example of when one part, one group has a lot more power over the other. That’s what makes it different.
Cherice: [00:38:50] I think you both had so many different things, that were so good. When I think of the woman who is in the park with the dog, for example, like clearly racism was at work there. Right. But I guess we could talk a little bit about bias, but I think people don’t necessarily understand that racism doesn’t mean that you’re just walking around and saying the N word all the time.
Elaina: [00:39:15] Right.
Cherice: [00:39:16] what does that quote by Malcolm X? It says racism is like, a Mercedes there’s a new version of it that comes out every year. And I think that, I think that maybe people who are perhaps. White folks or white passing folks don’t necessarily, they have to learn these types of things because they don’t necessarily experience it.
And especially if we’re talking about, racism, which is not overt, the woman who was in the park with her dog, who called the police on the man who is birdwatching, she was a liberal. she voted for liberal candidates and progressive candidates. So, I think that kind of demonstrates that, racism comes in many different forms and this is also why Jordan Peele made get out about white liberals.
They weren’t people from the South far. Right. They were liberal. So. I think that in sort of every space that we occupied, we can’t deny that the effects of hundreds of years of colonialism and slavery is not somehow still present within our language, within our institutions within all of those spaces.
Adele: [00:40:22] Absolutely. Absolutely. I think Progressive liberals are often more challenged because they think they’re woke, you know?
Elaina: [00:40:30] Yeah.
Adele: [00:40:31] So, yeah, it’s interesting.
Elaina: [00:40:34] And the thing is, is like the incident, the lady in the park with her dog, it’s not a new behavior. Remember a few years ago there was a mom who, who killed her kids. I think she pushed the car into the Lake and said that two or three black men carjacked her stolen car with her kids in it.
And she knew by saying black men did it. The police were going to react quickly and swiftly and hunt them down. She killed her kids. So, it’s not a new behavior. I think about Emmett till whether he whistled, whether he smiled, this was a baby that looked at a white woman and lost his life. So yes, when it comes to racism, white women have more power than probably anybody else.
Because all they have to do is blame a black man for the issue and it will be swiftly handled and addressed. And it’s unfortunate. So then when we see, when we finally reached a boiling point, we have to consider, it’s not just one incident that people are reacting to. It’s like, the camel’s back was broken five incidents ago, and now we’ve boiled over and we can’t look for everyone to react.
And what would be considered a quote unquote rational or civil manner because we haven’t treated them in a civil manner. Those are all learned behaviors. And you brought up a point, Adele, and you talked about the power of racism and that’s really what it comes down to. The people who are reacting in a way that maybe some of us are like, huh?
I don’t understand it. Let me explain to you why that reaction comes because they have no power. They have no control. They have no voice. This is their way. Of gaining power of gaining control of having a voice. We don’t have to agree. I will never agree with violence. I always see that there’s a better way, but their journey is not my journey.
Their experiences are not my experiences. My experience have taught me that I can find another way, but I get it. It really comes down to when you strip somebody. generation after generation year after year, decade after decade. And you continuously marginalize them, and you continually make them feel less than human. You don’t get to control how the reaction comes out.
Adele: [00:43:18] Yeah.
Cherice: [00:43:19] Mic drop. I just feel like that’s, I don’t think, I think people don’t understand like the. Complexity that comes with, this sort of looting and things like that. Like you can disapprove of it and not engage with it yourself, but you can also understand where it’s coming from. So, it’s a very complicated issue that people like to resort to and point to, and it becomes dangerous when you point to those who are oppressed in certain situation while ignoring.
Everything else that is happening. Ignoring why the protests are actually happening. It’s a huge deflecting measure and it’s extremely dangerous.
Elaina: [00:43:59] Yes.
Adele: [00:44:00] I mean, if you don’t let people vote, cause you’ve got your suppressing or red lining or jury, whatever, you don’t let people kneel. You don’t let people get a job.
You don’t let people have, you know, fair pay or whatever. I mean, all these things, you don’t let them do anything. I can understand why there’s nothing left to lose except blow up.
Elaina: [00:44:20] Yeah.
Adele: [00:44:21] So it’s a symptom more than the problem. I think, I mean violence. No, it’s not the answer, but as why five times, why did people feel like they had no other recourse than to destroy their own neighborhood?
Wow. They must feel that there’s nothing left to lose. Well, why is that? why is unemployment higher? Why are the schools so crappy? Why, why, why? Oh, it, it boils down to who’s in charge of making key decisions and, we can trace these things calmly and go, oh, now I understand why the mental health situation is the way it is. Instead of telling people stop looting. Does it make anyone feel better?
Elaina: [00:45:00] It doesn’t address the issue. there has to be some acknowledgement of the wrongs and then there has to be some healing and it has to be real and genuine. It can’t be this. Oh yeah. You all are right. Let me Pat you on the head. You know, here’s the cookie be a good boy. Go sit down somewhere.
Adele: [00:45:18] Here it is. Hopes and prayers for those folks over there, how does that work?
Elaina: [00:45:24] Hopes and prays.
Adele: [00:45:26] After every shooting hopes and prayers.
Elaina: [00:45:28] It’s not genuine it only fuels the fire when you pacify someone. And when you minimize what they’re expressing. it only makes the situation worse and it does not help that there are third parties who are interfering with the peaceful protest who are inciting violence for their own agendas. And it’s only to distract from the work that the protesters are trying to accomplish out there. That is a whole other topic.
Adele: [00:46:00] We’ll solve all the world’s problems in an hour.
Elaina: [00:46:03] In an hour. You are healed. Peace be onto to you. this water. It’s nine 99, three ounces, and you’re healed. Sorry. I saw the miracle water commercial the other night. We’re not gonna have the answers, just between the three of us. I just wanted to have the conversation to get people thinking about it and not just look at the reaction. To a Adele’s point understand the why behind the reaction. Well, those are my final thoughts. Cherice, Adele, any additional thoughts or final words?
Cherice: [00:46:37] this conversation just reminds me that mental health is often seen or like going to therapy, seen as something that people need to do if they’re lesser than, or if they have a problem or if they need help, but really it’s giving you autonomy to deal with these situations and giving you the power, if you rethink how certain things happen and how you respond and how you internalize those things.
And I think that when we have conversations about oppression, and we have conversations about racism. We must also the conversation of how we overcome those things. Every sort of day moments of resistance that we all do. I’m thinking of just existing today. As for example, an openly gay or trans person. A woman wearing a hijab, a black woman in the workforce wearing her natural hair.
Those are everyday moments of resistance just to be, as you are in those spaces. And I think that seeking out mental health is another form of that everyday resistance, where you’re learning how to engage and how to have autonomy in these spaces, which in many cases, certain situations can, may feel like you have that absolutely no power and that’s never true.
Elaina: [00:47:51] Absolutely. I want everyone to understand going to therapy does not mean you’re weak. It does not mean that you’re not capable. You don’t have to be broken. I feel like we’re never broken. I always tell people I’m not broken.
I may slightly be bent today, but I’m not broken. you don’t even have to be in a negative space. Sometimes you could just is need that sounding board in additional support for guidance to help you make your own decisions. I think if more people embrace it, we would see less trauma in the world. So, alright, now that actually was my final thought. All right, Adele, if the listeners want to learn more about you, where should they go?
Adele: [00:48:37] You can visit me at safehavenhealing dot net. I welcome conversations with people. If you want to have a short conversation with me just to hear what’s going on. I don’t know if I can help you. I have no idea, but if I can’t, if I don’t think I can, I can, I can refer you to someone I’m an energy person, so I’m not a therapist, but I’m very, very good at these kinds of spiritual issues and problems.
if I do think I can help you, I might ask some questions, talk about what would make sense. I do have some online programs just for women. Around feminine presence. And this is excellent, especially for women of color who has been raised to think that beauty, you know, it has to be light-skinned and all this, all this stuff.
If you’re out there thinking you are not attractive, you know, if you feel like you’re at the bottom on the dating scene or whatever it is, give me a shout. I want you to join my feminine presence classes. They’re all over the world. we meet online just go to adelewang dot com, and just get on my waiting list for the next circle.
I’m very passionate about women of color losing this Western idea of beauty.
Elaina: [00:49:54] Absolutely.
Adele: [00:49:55] Cause there’s one figure type. it’s so insidious. Come join a group of women that are all, all races, all colors, body shapes, and discover your own beauty and get some support. So, you’re not just out there by yourself, you know, in this culture that only values a certain look. Give me a shout. Let’s have a conversation around this because it affects women of color the most.
Elaina: [00:50:21] Yes.
Adele: [00:50:23] Obviously, if your Caucasian join me too, but woosh.
Elaina: [00:50:26] It does. And that’s one thing that we didn’t touch on today that maybe we’ll have to do in another episode Adele. So, we’ll talk about colorism because.
Adele: [00:50:35] I’m very passionate about it because half of my clients come in talking about this and I have my own history with it, the Asian communities weird about it too. The Indian continent is weird about it. This colonial idea has infected the world. That lighter is better.
You got millions of people, bleaching their skin and doing all kinds of its. You know, it’s just not groovy. So, beauty feminine presence, adelewang.com get on the waiting list. So, I can at least invite you to the next circle that starts.
But that would be my hope for any woman out there. Who’s feeling the impact of racism she’s alone. She doesn’t feel beautiful. Oh my gosh. Let’s have a conversation.
Elaina: [00:51:16] Thank you very much, Adele. Cherice final thoughts or anything you’d like to call to action for the listeners?
Cherice: [00:51:25] Sure. Well, those are amazing resources that Adele offered. I can offer some art. I’ll plug my sister’s, art page. It has a shop you can find her first on Instagram at smarf dot art. That’s spelled s m a r f. a r t. she does amazing paintings sculptures, and now she’s also making tee shirts and she donates a lot of her profits. So definitely go check her out.
Elaina: [00:51:51] Thank you both so much for joining us today and for the listeners out there, please look into a Adele’s resources, especially if you are struggling because we are all beautiful. If you are a woman, if you’re a woman and you are a good person, guess what girl you beautiful.
Also check out the artwork and t-shirt selections in the links that Cherice provided. And I will make sure that all of that information is in the show notes. And don’t forget to visit copequeens dot com. thank you for coping with us today. Take care everyone.
Intro: [00:52:26] You reached the end of another episode of Cope Queens. We hope you enjoyed this episode. Visit cope queens dot com for additional information and resources. Thank you for coping with us today.