Welcome Back to United States of Race!
In this inaugural episode of Season 2, host and producer, DB Crema, reflects on season one, discussing challenges as old as time, like Identity - how we see ourselves, how we want others to see us, and how others actually see us.
Excited for what’s coming in this season, this episode gives a sneak peek at some of the poignant and powerful moments we will share as we use the power of storytelling to build connections and bridge divides.
This is United States of Race. Personal stories of how our earliest memories determine a lifetime of relationships. I'm your host, DB crema. And we're back with season two, what started out as a spring break from season one ended up extending into a much longer break, I blame 2021. But it actually ended up being just the break I needed. It was a really beautiful time of reflection and a time to connect with so many of you about the power of sharing our stories, and creating a space for conversation and better listening. You know, because when I started this podcast last year, the conversation felt super urgent and very necessary. But I think I needed that time away to really reflect and to feel reinvigorated that this is helping the discussion. So since it's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, what better time to relaunch the conversation. As I reflect on Season One, what I thought would start as an exercise in sharing and creating connection through, you know, better understanding of our range of personal experiences, turned into a journey of reflection for so many people that were involved. What I found most interesting was that we heard from people of various races and backgrounds talk about this difficulty that they experience between fitting their personal sense of self into a larger societal expectation of what their identity should be. Into this kind of societal norms of the identities that have been labeled upon them. And I think about, you know, Holly talking about being a non presenting black girl, but deeply carrying what it is to be black within her and knowing that people don't see that. Or Alex, who is a white man, but just has never connected as an immigrant refugee has never connected to what it means to be a white man in this country and have those privileges that come with it. Or a Akeem, who, you know, did not see himself as white because he was never treated as white, even though on some government form somewhere, he probably qualifies as white. You know, there's this, like dissonance in all of these stories, this dissonance between who they feel that they want to be, and what community they want to be in, versus how the outside world sees them. And it's that dissonance that creates this kind of long term distress, I think an incongruence in people's lives. You know, imagine living a lifetime of incongruent thoughts about who you are versus how people see you based on your skin color and your gender and any other superficial characteristics. And now there's season two. When you think about the world we live in, how we see it, our relationship to it, and how we interact with each other. How we see the world is shaped by all these stories that we've been told by other people, by our parents and our siblings, our teachers and authorities since the day we were born. Basically, everything we believe we've been taught by someone else to see and think. From a young age, I was seen as a threat from the beginning, because of my skin color. When I started to realize this was going to be part of how I walked through the world, man... I was I was a brown kid. I have two little girls and my older one struggles. She wants blue eyes and blonde hair. She has said she does not want to be black, because people don't treat black people well. And she wants people to be nice to her. She kind of has this like mentality like I don't want to be on the losing side. And her understanding right now is that being black is being on the losing side. If this black professor is looking at me, and telling me that this is a community I'm part of, I can't let that go. Because everyone else, you know, teachers, parents, guidance counselors, they were all white and what's white people love to do? Avoid the subject of race. But when I was speaking with this black mentor, I couldn't say no. Because I thought if this person recognizes me, if he's seeing me, that's very different than a white person mistaking me for Black. You'll hear statements where people were like, well, I've had this experience or that thing, or the classic line, I have a black friend, you know, and it's like, well, you could have a black friend, and you could still be racist. You know, I think that's the other thing I've come to realize all these people can make these claims why they can't be blamed to be racist. And I'm like, just because you have relationships doesn't mean you aren't, you don't have tendencies. All of these stories that we've been told all our lives, each story is like a thread, a yarn that gets woven into a tapestry that we carry around with us, this blanket that lays over us. It's this tapestry that hangs between us and the world. And everything we see and hear is through that blanket. And these stories are like an inheritance. You know, through these stories, we've been told who to trust, who to doubt, who to listen to, how to listen to them, and what we're going to actually hear from what they say. So, in season two, we're going to think about how we might go about it differently. I mean, sure, we can't change what we've been taught. But we can change what we do with what we've been told, and what we do about how we treat each other. In season two will have slate format changes. We'll have a longer introduction with some of my thoughts on a topic for the week, you know, specific to the conversations with each guest. And we'll also have slightly longer episodes. You know, we've had such great conversations, and I realized that in season one, I was trying to keep them too tight, too clean in the interest of keeping them short, but they lose some of the humanity that way. And these have been such great conversations with folks who have been so generous in sharing their story, that I just wanted to make sure that we honor that. You know, these stories remind us that we have such a long way to go to reach Martin Luther King Junior's dream, to live in a world where we fundamentally trust each other and we assume positive intent. So thanks for listening. I'm the producer and host DB crema. We'd love to hear from you with any reactions, questions or stories that you'd like to share. You could use the app on your phone to record a voice memo and email it to email@example.com. That's United States of Race at gmail dot com. You might even be included in an upcoming episode. And be sure to hit follow or subscribe on whichever podcast platform you're listening. That way you won't miss a single moment. Until next time