Welcome to the last episode for Season 6 of the Defiant Business Podcast. This is a Bonus Special Episode that’s an extension of the last episode about Future’s Tapestry. We keep up the conversation with Dr.Gail Hayes and we dive deep into this topic so tune in and let us know what you think about this episode.
Be sure to check out The Future’s Tapestry Part 1.
The Way Information About Their Race Can Put Black and Brown People in Danger
Ruthie: Sometimes it can be used against you. I remember taking a command climate survey in the Army. I tried to offer real feedback, but I had to start over because I knew certain things I wanted to say would make people uncomfortable.
They have you fill out a demographic portion. There’s male or female. I know some civilians don’t like the words “male or female”, but that’s just how it is in the military. You put your age, your rank, and then you put your race.
So I put female, I put my age, and then my rank. And here’s my race. If I can only pick one, I usually put Black. If I can pick more than one, I’ll put Black and white.
But then I realized that just based on that demographic information alone, I was one of two female Black staff sergeants in my unit. And I was like, “Well, I got to throw that away and start over.”
Ensure The Data Can’t Be Weaponized
Some people look at diversity as data and numbers. You have to be careful that the questions you’re asking aren’t going to potentially be weaponized against the person who has to fill it out. Because once I did that, that was the end. I was very close to just turning it in.
And if I had turned it in that way, that could have impacted my career. That was a fear for me at the time, because I realized I was giving away too much information on that piece of paper.
It’s not that I minded saying it, but with it being on the paper vs. it coming out of my mouth, I lost my opportunity to have a counter-argument.
To defend myself or to further explain my perspectives.
If someone was confused, they would’ve had that paper and been able to use it against me. Because they would’ve known it had been me.
Continue Talking About Race Until It’s Comfortable
Dr. Gail: Of course they would have known. We need to continue talking about race until it’s comfortable. Another thing I want to add is that there’s no such thing as racial reconciliation between Black and white. It is a false term.
In order for you to be reconciled, you must first fall in love. I have not been loved, courted, wooed, or made to feel pretty and beautiful. Should that have happened, we would get together and love each other. We’d eventually have an argument, then we could be reconciled.
Black and white have never been in love. I’ve never been courted by white America. So how can there be racial reconciliation when we’ve never been in love? That’s the issue. People are trying to put the cart before the horse.
There is no such thing as racial reconciliation, because we are the descendants of enslaved Africans. And America has never said or really shown that they’re sorry for what their ancestors did. Instead. They say things like, “Well, I didn’t do it.”
Well, you’re sitting on a cushion of privilege that your great-great-great grandfather forced my great-great-great grandmother to make for your behind.
Around your neck is a chain, and there’s a key.There’s also a warehouse with the rest of the cushions. We don’t want your cushion. We just want access to the warehouse.
How Racist Language Like “I Didn’t Do It” Can Be Extremely Harmful
Ruthie: That’s that’s a really good point, and it speaks to the ripples that we’re still experiencing today. No white person today in America has owned a Black person. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the fact that the ripples are still impacting us. And by saying things like that, you’re not acknowledging us.
Dr. Gail: You know what Ruthie? It’s not just a ripple.
Ruthie: It’s like waves from a hurricane.
Dr. Gail: An avalanche. A tidal wave. And every time they say that, they let loose the hurricane. People ask me, “Ok, what can we do?”
Well, there’s a big table in the middle of the room in America. The table is filled with all kinds of medical supplies, because you’ve got one side that’s wounded and bleeding. The other side is just standing there saying, “Why are they over there bleeding? They can come to the table.”
So we come to the table and we wait for you to help manage our wounds. You bandage the wounds, and then you say, “Oh, all better.”
Reopening Healing Wounds
Why are you saying that? We’re not supposed to feel this pain of healing, which rips up in the morning again and we bleed afresh.
It’s almost like the man who has a tumultuous affair, and he wants his wife to get over it. He asks her, “How long is it going to take? How long are you going to make me pay for this?” And every time he asks, his wife bleeds afresh.
The difference is we didn’t get the love. We don’t have the provision, but you want to know when we’re going to get over it. It’s the same thing. It’s a pain that is so deep.
Ruthie: That is true. That would just piss me off.
Black America is Wounded
Dr. Gail: And you have to go back and relive that stuff. Black America is wounded. And every time we believe that we’re almost healed, a white person will say, “We didn’t do that. I don’t understand what you’re saying.” And we bleed afresh. Then you want to know why we’re still bleeding.
It will take as long as it takes. Look at me; I have white blood. I want you to understand that I am a product of your great-great-great grandfather raping my great-great-great grandmother. Therefore, we are brothers and sisters. So I need you to stand there and let me cry. Let me hurt.
You might not have inflicted the pain, but you are a part of the mechanism of pain. That means you have a responsibility to stand there with me until I heal. And when I can trust that you’re not going to rip my wounds open again, then we can walk together.
So stop telling me you didn’t do it. Stop trying to avoid it. You may not play ostrich this time in our society. It ain’t working.
It’s Not About Having All of the Answers
Ruthie: That’s the way I’m going to end this episode. It’s not about providing all the answers. No one person has all the right answers. It’s about providing those talking points and educated perspectives from which to speak.
Interacting with different professionals who work in this space has caused me to have a much more educated perspective. And I’m going to grow up one day and be like you Dr. Gail, where somebody will say, “Ruthie, you just explained that so well to me, and I never understood it my whole life until you said it.”
Dr. Gail: That’s what people say to me. I paint pictures with words.
Ruthie: And they’re wonderful pictures, like the one with the house, the windows, and the fecal matter under the carpet. I could feel a field of light shining through and it was supposed to be beautiful, but I could also smell that smell and how it had seeped through the carpet because so many people had run over it.
Dr. Gail: It’s not a color picture. It’s not a race picture. It’s a human picture. I take human pictures and I apply them to race, so people can see it.
Where You Can Find Dr. Gail
Ruthie: It was perfect. So Dr. Gail, where can people find you? Which is your favorite social media platform? Tell us about it. I’ll put the links in the show notes.
Ruthie: Do be sure to follow Dr. Gail. I feel like I got lucky that I’ve got like this growing but small podcast, and Dr. Gail graced me with an interview when she’s been interviewed by big media networks. I just felt incredibly honored.
You guys are going to want to stay up to date on what she’s doing, because she’s got some really big things coming down the pipeline.
Dr. Gail: Thank you. It has been my honor to do these segments with you. Thank you so much for honoring me by allowing me to share your space.
Ruthie: Wonderful. So that is all for this series. If this is your first episode, you need to go back and listen to the other 4 because. We had some really strong, powerful conversations that I think everyone should have.