Welcome to the Heart of the Matter in Black and White with Essence Revels and Becky Holloway. Let's make it clear that Essence is a black woman and Becky is a white woman, and, despite our completely different backgrounds, our deep friendship continues to evolve. In this podcast, we explore some of the hardest and most misunderstood topics surrounding race relations in our country, examining them through our different experiences in an effort to get to the root of the hatred and combat it with love.
We took a week off from the podcast but we are back this week with a big topic, Black Love. Essence begins by defining the term and framing it in the context of the centuries' long struggle in the black community to preserve the family unit. From a time when slaves were forbidden to marry at all and families were ripped apart to the modern struggle of homes headed disproportionately by single mothers, Black Love has been a constant battleground for survival. We get candid about the misconceptions of the term and how, for other races or mixed-raced couples, Black Love may sound exclusionary or even offensive. We also dive into the false narrative of the "fatherless" black family and dispel the myths about the absence of black fathers with their children using data from the CDC. This episode will challenge your unconscious bias and encourage you to dive deep into why representation matters. After all, you can't be what you can't see!
Raising Biracial Children
Today's episode has been requested by many of you, Raising Biracial Children. We have the privilege to chat with two amazing women, Meghann Myers and Rachel Owens, about their experience being mothers to biracial kids. With grace and poise they both share the things they love about it and some of the challenges that they've faced. From issues of personal identity to bullying and racism, Rachel and Meghann are candid and vulnerable about how hard it is to support children who straddle two racial worlds when they themselves are white. Their willingness to learn from their children and see the world through more empathetic eyes is a beautiful picture of what motherhood is all about. We ask them some deep questions about having the "talk", the impact of the video of George Floyd's murder, and how they honor their children's cultural heritage.
Is the Justice System Rigged? (Part 1 - Law Enforcement)
Today's episode is Part 1 of a multi-episode series on the justice system, one of the major systems contributing to systemic racism in America. We are joined by Nickoles Stankowski, a retired corrections officer who served at Trenton State Prison, the only maximum security facility in New Jersey. We start by asking about the socio-economic and psycho-social issues that disproportionately impact inmates, like poverty, illiteracy, and mental health struggles, and Nick talks about how once a disadvantaged person is caught up in the drag net of law enforcement without financial means for a robust defense, it's almost impossible to escape. He points out that not all laws made today are in the best interest of every person in the country. After all, slavery was once the law of the land. We debate the topic of "Blue Lives Matter" and the unspoken code that often exists among law enforcement officers to not hold one another accountable for bad behavior. Nick shares that some of the real issues facing law enforcement are actually themselves and their untreated mental health problems since suicide is one of the leading killers of cops, and we cover how the war on drugs has been a thinly veiled war on people of color. There are ways to deal with the police problem we have in this country, and we discuss the need for community policing, mental health training, and serving as a deterrent for crime rather than actively pursuing it.
Racism in Sports
From Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight fighter in the US who was called the "Big Black", to the rise of the athletic (code for black) quarterback in football, American sports has a checkered history. The lack of representation by people of color at the top of professional sports leagues, whether head coaches, managers, or owners, is a stark reminder of the systemic racism that dominates this area of life as well. On today's episode, Racism in Sports, we are joined by two very special guests, Carl Revels and Pop Little, who have dedicated much of their life to sports and jointly run SML Sports, a FIBA-certified sports agency. Carl shares a very personal experience of racism he had this past year coaching his town's midget football team when he chose to take a knee during the national anthem and the fallout of that controversy. We explore the differing responses various professional sports leagues have had in the wake of George Floyd's murder, and we unpack the complex intersectionality of what black female athletes face every day.
Today's Racial Hot Topics
A lot has happened over the past few months while we were on break, and we are back to talk about all of it. First of all, we have our first black female VP of the United States, Kamala Harris! Let that beautiful truth sink in. Our Capitol was overrun by a mob of angry, predominantly white Trump supporters in January and we talk about how differently those terrorists were treated compared to Black Lives Matter protesters. We discuss how COVID-19 continues to impact communities of color disproportionately and how the life expectancy for black Americans has consequently dropped 2.5 years compared to just one year for white Americans. In the wake of the recent Bachelor racism controversy, our man Emmanuel Acho, and the inspiration behind the podcast, was made the interim host of the show (please be a guest on our podcast, Emmanuel!). And we take on cancel culture around Aunt Jemima and Dr Seuss, addressing when, if ever, it's appropriate to erase history. And rounding it all out, Essence gives her perspective on white people profiting off of teaching other white people how to be antiracist in the wake of Robin DiAngelo publishing her new book Nice Racism. It's an extra long episode because there's so much to unpack!
The topic of white privilege has been the thread that has gone through every episode of this podcast, so it seemed the perfect way to conclude the season. In our final episode, we talk about both what white privilege is and dispel many of the myths about what it is not. Talking with white people about privilege often provokes denial, anger, or total misdirection, but let us be clear. White privilege is not a judgment. It is a fact. Even for those who have grown up in extreme poverty, the advantages and protections that come with white privilege are very real. If you are white and poor, you still experience some of the benefits of white privilege. We reflect on many of the items on Peggy McIntosh's iconic list of white privilege that apply regardless of financial means. And to conclude this season, we provide practical guidance on how to use privilege for good. Thank you for listening and we look forward to next season!