Where are You on Your Journey to Understand Systemic Racism? Reflection with Barbara and Hedreich

Hi there, this is Barbara Bray and I am with Hedreich Nichols You got it right? That’s the good part. So I’m good with that Oh, I just i’m really excited to be with you and we’ve been talking a lot lately Yeah, we really have. It’s been good stuff. It’s really been good Well, it’s just that you know, there’s so much going on with the pandemic and now This has exposed so much that has always been there We just never talked about it and so we should talk about what we’ve been doing and sharing and what we wrote about Yeah, I mean, I think that you know That’s a good segway to the whole being on a journey kind of thing because for the black community This is something we live with all the time. You know what I mean? And there’s sometimes this feeling Oh now you see it. Oh really now? and just that feeling because it’s something that we all live with every day, but I think everybody is at home and paying attention has made us more aware, There were things posted at several elite colleges and prep schools across the country Who actually has Instagram sites, you know black at…? I won’t put anybody out today, but it’s because of the low diversity campuses do not always treat their minority students well, and you know, It’s always been there. But because we’re all at home, we’re on social media. Everybody’s got a TikTok account and people are paying attention Not only has COVID19 exposed the inequities that disproportionately affect the minority community But also people are on their phones all the time So when things come up people see them, they’re in their own little social media bubbles People are consuming so much more information now I wanted to talk about the phones because without the phones we wouldn’t have seen what happened to George Floyd or eEven Rodney King long ago, I mean we’ve seen it. We just didn’t react then like we are now when this happened to George Floyd It’s too bad because if it means that you have to wait till someone actually videos it, it’s probably been happening all along and we have to do something about this we have to and What I like is that when you and I talked about what it means to talk from different perspectives all of us have our different experiences and it’s maybe sharing some things that are uncomfortable I think it’s so important. We were talking about seeing the end goal the same but we have two very different experiences that have shaped us And sometimes you’re better about stuff than I am I find that that’s one of the things I kind of preach about or at least advocate for is that we don’t get into the whole infighting woke thing because Some people are really just waking up to see what’s going on. But we do we have different perspectives Even though we want the same things and often Need different spaces. I think that’s some of one of the things we talked about in the rethink learning chat being okay with us having Holistic spaces where we are all able to share together and also have spaces where we can retreat into the black community or into the white community and talk about you process things differently when someone says wow, but I mean I, of course, we had black maids and of course, we had a confederate flag in daddy’s truck That’s just how it was That is a statement of fact, unless you carry the wounds of the black community in in which case it feels like an affront yeah, and so I may or may not depending on the day I may or may not be able to react Magnanimously and say yes, I understand that was a part of your history. However, let’s move forward And if I’m not having that good of a day or someone is having nothing today. Do you really think that’s right? Do you really And so you get walls up You know, you need to have spaces where white people say, you know daddy, always had a gun rack and a confederate flag in his fort I mean

That was just normal. I never thought of it But iIm so glad i’m thinking of it now and you need to be able to say that in a space where You don’t get jumped on because how come you haven’t seen that you should have changed a long time ago Those people are hurting Well, i’m glad we can talk about it now, but it’s like there are still people that are very defensive. What do you mean? I’m a racist? What do you mean, you know and the thing is I was telling you about how I grew up because I didn’t even know because all I had around me were white people exactly and the same in school I told you where I grew up In Silver Spring Maryland where I found out that they have a covenant to do the redlining and they actually started that policy there I had no idea But you know what? Barbara, you have this kind of this weird analogy because you not only have that That you say, I was raised in this bubble. But you also were raised with this incredibly You know forward-thinking mother Who, you know was an advocate for people on death row accused unfairly and you went to marches and so on How was it for you growing up with that? Duplicity I talked about mine being a black female growing up in the south in the serious south where you know Hey long live the confederacy You grow up almost with this is just a very duplicit It’s like there’s a wall up between what you learn in school, which you of course hear from the authorities and what you realize Oh my god, but if the confederacy had won the war i’d still be picking cotton that’s the truth and long time before I realized because I was broke I grew up in a school system that glorified the south and the Confederacy and I was talking about them quote unquote damn yankees. Excuse my french and that was a part of my cultural heritage as a southerner and It was a long time before I woke up and said wait a minute. Hold up The north might have been the enemy of the south, but the south was my enemy And you’re living it. I mean Okay, so I grew up in Maryland Maryland was part of the south. iIm much older than you and I didn’t even know some things that were happening at the time I told you that I didn’t have any black people around me, but I had great teachers. I had a teacher. I think I was a sophomore This will tell you how old I am Who took us to hear Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and we were way back near the Washington monument After there were a lot of good discussions about this We didn’t have any black teachers. It was all everything was white everything But at that point, I wanted to know more but I still was isolated very much isolated in in my life growing up there until we moved to California and that’s where I saw more because my mother was a courtroom artist And then she was exposed her to so much Her first trial was Huey Newton’s trial in 1968 as part of the Black Panthers and She just kept bringing things home talking about it telling stories and She wanted to fight for certain people that were incarcerated one in particular was Ruchelle McGee I He’s still in jail after all this time for stealing bread or something so my mother has always been an advocate for people who were treated unfairly She passed away over 10 years ago All the way up to her death bed. She fought and But she saw so much Like you said woke up It takes time to get it that you can do something yeah, you can do something and She was exposed to it every day because of the different trials. She did she did. the Angela Davis trials, George Jackson, the Soledad brothers. She did all of those when I was getting married having my little white life. You know what I mean? I moved to Oakland for a reason

because I wanted to live in a diverse community. I wanted my children to understand the different cultures and be part of that. It’s been wonderful Anything we talk about that a lot of teachers do They want diversity, but they live in one community and teach in another and while I understand, wanting something for your family that a community might not be able to provide I also advocate that if you live in another community that you should at least be a part of the community, you teach in. Going to the little league games or Going to a local church service hanging out at the local soul food joint Going to a juneteenth parade that’s coming. Friday The quick history. Is that unfortunately in Texas and Louisiana The owners wanted to get the crops out so they kept slaves instead of letting us be free in January when the emancipation proclamation was signed They made sure that we worked until June 19th And that’s why we celebrate that freedoms holiday on June 19th, and we call it Juneteenth and And and it’s something so big That it wasn’t in the history books Right into it wasn’t in Texas history books or what happened in Tulsa wasn’t in Oklahoma”s books I mean, it’s like oh my gosh That’s one thing that we were talking about that I really want to bring out too that we have to forget. It’s not history It’s histories That’s why it is so important that we’re exploring diverse perspectives You know what i’m saying? You know the people who came over on the the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria did not have the same experience Same with the indigenous people of North America. We are not teaching both of those sides Then we are, you know, we’re covering up a lot of trees Oh As a social studies teacher and then when you go back and look at what we taught and still teach. I mean, there were so many lies the whole thing about reconstruction was a lie it’s just so sad that we taught lies to our students What I’m trying to do now is to learn. I’m reading In fact what we did in our in the post that we created, and in the document is that we wanted to give people resources to help people. I mean I’ve had some of my white friends ask what can we do? And so some of us joined the NAACP You are the second person this week who has said I joined the NAACP And I would say this as a as a little girl the NAACP was because i’m a child of the 70s. So NAACP was still very powerful and well-respected organization and as we got a little more education a little more wealth We kind of I this is my feeling I don’t have any historical data to say this But my feeling was that we moved away from it and largely because the word you know negro or unnaturalized colored people were just those terms that were outdated which made us feel like the organization is outdated. There are still frontline workers fighting for decades, and so thank you for that. That’s pretty exciting I’m writing postcards to make sure voters vote. They have a legal defense fund that supports protestors now I really feel we need to donate to that That and the southern poverty law center. There’s some Some things that we have to do to support this work. We can’t just talk about it Let’s be honest. There are some people who are in some circles feeling completely intimidated and Unable to use their voice. I know that check Yeah You know and so the problem is all centered in the NAACP if that’s the only way that you can find a way To help or to to to use your voice If you are not in a circle where you feel comfortable to go, stand out with your sign then, by all means, We’ve also gotten to a community where l don’t just write a check you have to do something We have to be where we are. it is a journey So as part of those journeys what we wrote which i’m really proud of what we put together It’s an amazing document. It is really Just talking about the stages. Go ahead. Go ahead. You were starting good well Okay. The first thing is the different the stages of the white racial identity That when I first saw it I kind of was taken aback You know, there was one part on reintegration Which i’ll just read what it said. It says believing that they may deserve their white privilege and are superior

That’s scary for me that people feel they’re superior and it’s that feeling that we’re all human 99.9% of us are the same with the same DNA and what happened? What? well, that’s I think that’s the whole thing when people say Systemic racism that sounds like this horrible. Oh, what do you mean systemic everybody? Life is unfair. I had someone tell my child recently Well, honey, life is unfair life’s going to eat you up. If you can’t just get used to that. Yeah. Oh no Yeah, yeah Yeah so But it is a systemic problem because how can you go from saying first of all, if you enslave people you have to really say that these are savages, you know what I mean? it’s okay for me to have my dog go outside and use the use the potty outside because That’s what dogs do they go outside and they use it out there. So i’m a human. This is a dog that is my reality and we had to do that we Well, I’m sure I got some of that in my background as well. We had to do that we had to dehumanize indigenous people or for example, have dehumanized the black slaves that we were brought over To pack them in like cargo because if we didn’t believe that and that they didn’t have the same pain threshold Or if we didn’t believe that they had less inferior intelligence and inferior capabilities of reasoning we could never have done that And well if we couldn’t have done that who was going to pick the cotton. I’m certainly not and so it became a horrible way to just self-preserve And that’s still going on I mean this idea of the white superior race, which is It is something that has happened for so long. Look at the holocaust and what the they with the Jewish people and with gays and blacks and anyone that were not These europeans. Yeah, there is the whole othering is a social construct that makes me available to say that I am better than you are which justifies me treating you poorly and that’s where you get the Systemic part of racism and you can’t go from three fifths y’all are three fifths a man is three fifths and women are just really chatted and then Say okay. We’re equal nobody, you know, nobody We don’t do that. You know, that’s why from women’s suffrage to the 70s with GloriaSteinem and her fishing bicycle To now, we’re st. We still see a pagan spirit I know all about that. During the 70s I was part of the women’s movement women’s consciousness raising I was out there, you know fighting for that, but it’s like it’s almost like It’s sad that we had to go through this pandemic as awful as it is and still is but I don’t want to say it woke us up but it is waking us up in a way that we are having these conversations So one of the things that I love that we put together was not only the resources, but we came up with some scenarios Yes, and so I shared this out with My sisters and some friends and some of them said that try this not this It’s really clear and helps and to me we probably will add to this because we are finding that this is a work in progress We’re learning from this but some of the things people found is that They didn’t know what to say or they didn’t know what to do or they did what if they said the wrong thing Yeah, i’m i’m working on a book And I was going back and forth on with one particular part on with the editor and she was saying I said, you know don’t this is something that you might encounter and I mentioned for example a small child, a second-grader, perhaps saying You know why? Why doesAalicia always wear scarf? and You know answering that in a very neutral Factual kind of way, and she wrote me back He said you know add examples because people really don’t think like that So that’s why our document is so great because it says not only you might encounter this This is a scenario where you can stand up and use your voice and all those big concept words, but no say this Not that so don’t say don’t talk about it. Alicia has to stop. That’s her person. That’s personal. It’s her religion Don’t talk about it. And that’s what we’re so used to doing We don’t say race racism No race is not racism. So you say Alicia wears a hijab. It’s out of respect

to her religion and to her culture. Oh, okay. What’s it called? A hijab? Oh, okay And then kids go on and it becomes like what color do you want to pain your flowers red green purple blue? Yeah, it’s not this Well, see that’s the thing it’s a culturally responsive Training that all of us need. I mean I I love Zaretta Hammond’s book and you know, we didn’t put that in the document. I got to put it in the document There’s a book study going on about it right now. I know so what we’re doing is we just wanted to kind of introduce the document but we also wanted to say that this is an ongoing conversation This isn’t going to be the only time we talk or other people Hedreich is in a panel pretty soon next week The other thing that you’re doing that is so amazing are the “Small Bites” and I love them and I’m hoping our audience goes to the document https://bit.ly/journal-racism then go to the bottom of the document, to the link to her YouTube channel. It’s every Friday i It’severy Friday night at eight o’clock Central time at eight o’clock. That’s in Texas. Y’all eight o’clock They will be posted. I did the live launch and I’ll have one again at Christmas time for sure generally five minutes I think it’s five thirty seconds, including your intro and your outro so two to five minute videos was really just useful information kind of like the things we talked about in the doc document not concepts use your voice Fighting to be an anti-racist involves big concepts. But unless we break those down into actionable steps they are not going to do any obvious good so I’m, just pulling this together. We’re both pulling this together And and what I find is that I cannot do it alone And I I don’t think any of us can do this alone and we have to share Resources and ideas and that’s the reason why we wanted to pull this document together and be able to talk About it with each other and i’m just so grateful to know you Oh you Have had such great conversations and I look forward to having even more it’s funny that uh some they might the reason the listeners might want to know that We actually had a date going to a conference right before COVID 19 had hit as a matter of fact We were going to south by southwest I was going there with my book, Define Your Why. I was going to do all this stuff and we were going to celebrate together over breakfast and and then the virus Oh, should we should I do it? I don’t know. Maybe we’ll cancel and then suddenly everything just started spiraling from there. So yeah Well if we’re not alone in this so i’m not going to take it personally What i’ve found is that i’ve been able to connect with you in so many ways and with other other amazing people who are helping me because i’m learning and unlearning and relearning and It’s been A real journey that I needed to do and I hope others keep you know Come on board and more and more that they get it that we’re not alone in this Yeah, and that that’s for us as well. I mean for the black community as well It’s a time of of healing and learning to use our voices and not just be silent. I was reading about one of those , a senior in high school who had always been afraid to speak out She was at an elite prep school And she never wanted to say anything because she was afraid that she would come under fire And so there are still so many settings that where we’re afraid to use our voices afraid to speak up for what will happen We are also learning in the black community To use our voices and to use them in a way so that we can be heard so that we can all work together and and move forward wow, well i’m going to End this on that That was beautiful Thank you so much. thank you for having me Thank you. All right. Thanks. We’ll come back. All right, bye-bye