What is systemic racism? Do you know the facts? How can we even the playing field?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Kaity Rodriguez about systemic racism, she shares some of the facts and what actions can be taken.
Meet Kaity Rodriguez
Kaity Rodriguez, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, confidence educator, and empowerment speaker with a passion for educating and inspiring girls and women to live amazing lives. Her counseling practice, Serenity Wellness, and Therapy Services, is located in Montclair, NJ, and specializes in treating individuals with anxiety and stress disorders, as well as self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Kaity is a former Miss New Jersey USA and the author of “Welcome to the Couch: a beginner’s guide to therapy”. She has been featured on outlets such as FOX News, News 12 NJ, and NBC.
In This Podcast
- Systemic racism
- Some of the facts
- Food deserts
- Over-policing and incarceration
- What actions can we take to level the playing field?
- White guilt
- Having the conversations
When people think of racism, they think of Ku Klux Klan, wearing hoods and using the N-word. Many white people would say that they’re not racist because they don’t do any of those things but what we don’t realize is that there’s an entire system of racism that we can’t see, and because we can’t see it, we can’t put an end to it.
Some of the facts
The one area that really oppresses black people, is financial. There is a huge wealth gap in America and it goes back to the systemic racism in over 400 years of oppression. The numbers – median net worths are as follows:
- White family – $135,000
- Hispanic family – $14,000
- Black family – $11,000
- A single white woman – $41,000
- Single Hispanic woman – $140
- Single Black woman – $120
Systemic racism doesn’t just fall in this particular area, it’s pervasive throughout our society – voter suppression, the disproportionate rate of blacks in prison, police brutality, environmental racism, food deserts, segregated neighborhoods, and schools.
Food desert – An urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
Someone who doesn’t understand systemic racism or is looking through a racist lens might respond to black people having diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues, by saying that they should eat healthier but it’s not that simple. In some areas, the only easy access to food that people have is something like a McDonald’s around the corner as there are no grocery stores close by. Kaity believes that this can be tied back to redlining and not wanting to invest in neighborhoods of color.
Around the time of the Civil Rights Movement, redlining was put to an end, but before that, what would happen was that mortgage and lending companies would draw red lines around areas on a map that they didn’t want to invest in and they wouldn’t give loans to people wanting to invest in that area. These neighborhoods were predominantly neighborhoods of color. For some reason or another, they didn’t want to invest in these areas so there was a lack of funding for these areas. Although redlining is no longer legal, there is still less investing in urban neighborhoods in areas of color for those reasons.
Over-policing and incarceration
Over-policing in neighborhoods of color creates a system of businesses not wanting to be there. This is not the fault of the people, it’s the fault of the system of over-policing. This also leads to a disproportionate number of Black and Hispanic men being incarcerated. Black men make up 13% of the American population but around 60-70% of the prison population.
This is not because they are committing more crimes, it’s because there is more of a focus on police presence in the areas where they are. These systems of oppression make it much harder for black people.
What actions can we take to level the playing field?
- Increase your diversity initiatives – if black people make up 12% of the population, then they should make up 12% of your workforce. Not only do you want people who are in your company focusing just on diversity and making sure that you’re not doing anything like a microaggression, but at the same time, you just want there to be more representation.
- Invest in professional development in the education of minorities -This is not just meeting some quota. When we talk about diversity initiatives or investing, it’s just doing the right thing. It’s recognizing that there’s a disparity and doing something as a result of it.
White guilt is the guilt that a white person feels because they have been born into this system, they have family that may have perpetuated this system, or they live in a country that perpetuated it, even though they themselves may not be directly racist or directly discriminating against someone. Where there is white guilt, it’s not just about doing the right thing and connecting with other people, it’s wanting to get this guilt off of their shoulders.
- Performative allyship – It’s being an ally but what are the intentions behind your allyship? Are you doing it so that people can see you? Are you doing it because you feel bad? If you’re not recognized for doing it, will there be some resentment? Are you putting yourself at the forefront? There’s this guilt like, “Hey, I’m not a racist” and that’s from that burden of racism that needs to be lifted. Once the burden is lifted, there’s more self-energy and you can genuinely and authentically connect to black people and people of color who’ve experienced racism.
We’re all feeling the weight of it right now, we have to understand that and be compassionate, kind, and patient with each other as we’re working through this, and really trying to put an end to this.
Having the conversations
If I were a white person who was out there right now, I wouldn’t exactly know what to say, and or exactly how to move, because there is no right way. Or I don’t want to say there is no right way, but it’s a very fine line, when you come to something like racism. It’s a fine line, you know, how do you properly deal with something that’s so improper and so wrong?
Books mentioned in this episode
- What White Therapists Need to Know with LaToya Smith: Black Leaders Matter Series | Part 1
- LEARN: Listen. Empathize. Act. Resist. Never Stop. with William Hemphill: Black Leaders Matter Series | Part 2
- We Don’t Trust Therapy and What to Do About It with Dr. Connie Omari: Black Leaders Matter Series | Part 3
- Love People into Change with Dr. Bernice Patterson: Black Leaders Matter Series | Part 4
- Microaggressions with Dr. Holly Sawyer: Black Leaders Matter Series | Part 5
- Sign up to join the free webinar on Insurance and Billing here
- Podcast Launch School
- Practice of the Practice Podcast Network
- Killin’It Camp
- Next Level Practice
- Free resources to help you start, grow and scale
- Apply to work with us
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok. The Black Leaders Matter series.
Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. This is interview six of our Black Leaders Matter series that we’re doing and I’m really excited to have Kaity Rodriguez. Kaity is going to chat with us about systemic racism. She has a practice in Montclair, New Jersey – Serenity, Wellness and Therapy, and also as a former Miss New Jersey she helps anxious perfectionist and stressed out high achievers. How are you doing, Kaity?[KAITY]:
I’m doing well, Joe. Thank you for having me. [JOE]:
Yeah, hold on just a second. I need a sip of water. [KAITY]:
Mitchel, go ahead and edit that out. You don’t need to leave that in there. That was awkward. [KAITY]:
I was gonna say I love how you always keep it real on the podcast. I’ve been listening for a while. [JOE]:
So, would you vote for me leaving it in? [KAITY]:
I would vote for you leaving it in because you always keep it real. [JOE]:
Okay, Kaity gets the vote. I’m gonna leave it in with that… I was like trying to get through your intro and I’m like, what is happening to my throat right now? All right, I’m keeping it real. So Kaity, so we’ve been doing this series, interviewing some really great professionals, and I love that your topic is kind of where we’re cap stoning at least this phase of the series, in regards to systemic racism. And so, we talked quite a bit before we got started, where do you want to start in regards to this topic? [KAITY]:
Well, Joe, you know, we can really just jump right in. I think, you know, when it comes to systemic racism, a lot of times when people think of racism, they think of Ku Klux Klan and wearing hoods and using the N word, and many of our white counterparts would say that I’m not racist because I don’t do any of those things. But what we don’t realize is there’s an entire system of racism that we can’t see and because we can’t see it, it’s hard to put an end to it. So, I want to talk just a little bit about where some of that racism lies, how we can kind of pinpoint it a little bit, and then what we can do about it. [JOE]:
Awesome. So, yeah, so I think most people often will first think of those areas. What else are areas that we need to be cognizant of? [KAITY]:
As far as systemic racism? [JOE]:
Okay. So, let’s jump into some of the facts. So, we have… let’s look at our net worth: when we look at racism, one area that, aside from health, and that’s a whole separate conversation, one area that it really oppresses black people is financially. There’s a huge wealth gap in America and a lot of it goes back to systemic racism in over 400 years of oppression. So, let’s look at some numbers. The median net worth for a white family is $135,000. Whereas for a Hispanic family, the median net worth is $14,000, and for a black family, it’s $11,000. If we look at a single white woman, the average net worth is $41,000, whereas for a Hispanic woman $140, and a black woman $120. So, this is not, you know, just by accident. It’s not just by happenstance. There’s actual systemic reasons why these numbers are the way they are. If we look at unemployment rates, no matter what’s happening in the country, black unemployment is usually about twice the rate of what white unemployment is. So, we can even look at it now from a pandemic; outside of essential workers that are working at grocery stores and things of that nature, who are the ones that are more likely to lose their jobs? It’s not those who are working in corporate America, who can work from home, it’s, you know, our retail workers, our restaurants workers and for reasons that we can tie back to systemic racism that’s going to affect black people more disproportionately. So this kind of virus of systemic racism, it goes back to our finances, but we see it in almost every aspect of our lives, from voter suppression to a disproportionate rate of blacks in the prison system, police brutality, we have environmental racism, food deserts, we have segregated neighborhoods and schools. So, it’s not just one particular area. It’s pervasive throughout our society. [JOE]:
Yeah, I remember when I was working in Kalamazoo with the wraparound program, especially when you say food deserts, it was something that I had never even experienced or thought of being raised here in Traverse City where you know, there’s grocery stores everywhere, and it’s just the idea of someone having to take a bus like miles and miles and miles just to get groceries instead of having just a grocery store that you can go to. I mean, that alone, as I saw just the challenge of getting groceries for the families I was working with on top of everything else, when finally a grocery store went into that area, it just, it helped in so many different ways in just giving access to groceries. [KAITY]:
Right, right. And for those that don’t understand systemic racism, or if they’re looking through a racist lens, the response to that would be well, you know, if black people are having a difficult time with diabetes and high blood pressure and health issues, then they should just eat healthier, but it’s just not that simple. You know, as you said, if you’re having to drive miles, or if the only access to food you have is there’s a McDonald’s around the corner and then you know, you have to go across town to get to a grocery store. It’s much more difficult to be able to eat healthy and to take care of yourself. [JOE]:
And what’s the background of that? Because just thinking from a business ownership standpoint, it seems like in a desert, no matter like, even just an actual desert, if you have resources, you would have a big market; it seems like there would be an economic interest to even grocery stores to put grocery stores in those communities. What perpetuates those food deserts? [KAITY]:
You know, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m going to say that I believe one aspect of it is we can tie it back to things like redlining and not wanting to invest in neighborhoods of color. So, you know, if we go back to one aspect of systemic racism, there’s redlining and essentially what would happen, this was around the time of the Civil Rights Movement that this was put to an end. What would happen is mortgage companies and lending companies, they would draw red lines around portions of a map that indicate where they didn’t want to invest in, where they didn’t want to give loans for investing. And so, a lot of times these neighborhoods were predominantly neighborhoods of color, predominantly black neighborhoods. For one reason or another, they didn’t want to invest in those areas. And so, there was a lack of funding that was given in those areas. So, if we bring that up to today, now redlining is no longer legal, but there is less investing in urban neighborhoods, in areas of color, for those reasons. [JOE]:
It also reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s recent book, How To Talk To Strangers. He went through kind of the whole history of over-policing in predominantly African American neighborhoods and kind of how that started. And I could imagine that, with that dynamic of over-policing in those neighborhoods, that then creates a system where businesses don’t want to be there and it’s not the fault of those people. It’s the fault of that system of over-policing, of over arrests and all of that as well. [KAITY]:
Exactly, right. And so, when we talk about that, then that’s going to lead into a disproportionate number of black men and Hispanic men being incarcerated. Black men make up 12 to 13% of the population, but I believe the number might be around 60-70% of the prison system, and it’s not because they’re committing more crimes. But if there’s more of a focus on police presence in the areas where they are, then they’re going to be disproportionately, you know, arrested, and sent into the prison system. Unfortunately, we know that that leads to a whole separate issue, a separate set of issues. [JOE]:
Yeah, yeah, I mean, even just looking at incarceration over minor drug charges, and then now looking at weed being legal in so many states and just the discrepancy there between you know how that has happened. It’s just shocking when you start digging into some of these numbers, and I love that you’re bringing the numbers in addition to the stories because you can’t argue with the numbers; to look at those numbers and say, why the heck does a single white woman have that kind of net worth, and then, you know, someone else has, you know, 10 times smaller net worth, like, we’re not talking just a couple thousand dollar difference here we’re talking significant differences in how people are living their lives. [KAITY]:
Right, tens of thousands of dollars. And, you know, I’ve followed you for a while, Joe; I found you when I was looking for a name to name my practice three years ago, and Practice of the Practice and one of your articles came up with how to name your practice. So, I followed you for a while and I know that you’re about entrepreneurship and leadership and you know, just being able to create an opportunity for yourself. And these systems, this system of oppression, it makes it that much harder for black people. You were talking about drug charges, marijuana charges; let’s look at the difference in charges between someone who is in possession of crack and someone who’s in possession of cocaine. Essentially, they’re the same thing. But crack is more associated with poor people and poverty. I don’t know if you remember the interview with Whitney Houston a while back and she said, I don’t do crack. Crack is for poor people, something like that, she said. But there’s more of a stigma when it comes to crack. But the sentence that you will receive if you’re in possession of crack versus if you’re in possession of cocaine, basically the same drug, it’s a huge difference. And, you know, so there’s so many different ways that we can break this down and look at the system, but it pervades everything that we do. [JOE]:
Man, I feel like this could be like a 20-hour interview… [KAITY]:
I know, there’s so much to it. [JOE]:
And the things is, part of this series too is recognizing that even though we kind of have powered through six interviews, that we are only scratching the surface of what is going to take – shouldn’t take a long time – but you know, needs to be well thought out, it needs to be the norms that there are now be pushed. And so, just publicly, I want to say this is only scratching the surface. And so Kaity, we can keep going deeper but I also recognize within this interview, that there’s so much more that we can dig into. Before we started talking, and let me know if you want to go here now or if you want to kind of talk more about the systemic side of it, you had said that you had three kind of recommendations for actions. Is now a good time to jump into that or did you want to kind of stay on the systemic side for a little bit longer? [KAITY]:
Um, yeah, I guess we can jump into it. I think it’s just gonna flow. So yeah, let’s jump into that – into what can we do? How can we level the playing field? I’m assuming your listenership are clinicians, so they’re educated on, you know, the fact that systemic racism is a thing. Once you’ve acknowledged that, then what do we do? How can we level the playing field to make it fair for everyone and to work towards equality, and to just kind of stamp out this virus of racism and systemic injustice?
So, the first thing that you can do is you want to increase your diversity initiatives. So, if black people make up about 12% of the population, then in any given workforce, and if we’re talking about an equal world, an equal United States, they should be making up about 12% of whatever workforce that we’re looking at. So, if we take it to Practice of the Practice, in an equal world, a just world where everything is equal, 12% of your employees would be black or people of color. Or I’ll say black people, people of color doesn’t always… that doesn’t necessarily include black people and separate, in a just world. So, we want to work on increasing your diversity initiative so that you see more representation in who you’re hiring. When we look at over the past five years or so, there have been so many issues that these huge companies have had because they missed the mark when it came to their messages around diversity, from Pepsi, to Dove, to Shea Moisture – these are all companies, [unclear] H&M had a T-shirt with… a little black boy was wearing a T-shirt that had a monkey on it that said something that just didn’t sit well.[JOE]:
I remember that. Yeah. [KAITY]:
Yeah. These were oversights, and most likely it’s because these companies don’t have people of color to say, hey, this is not cool what you’re doing right now. And so, not only do you want people who are in your companies focusing just on diversity and making sure that you’re not doing anything that’s kind of like a microaggression, but at the same time, you just want there to be more representation period. So, as we look at Practice of the Practice, do we have 12%? Can you say how many employees you have, Joe? [JOE]:
Yeah, so we have three people in South Africa – Sam, Sam and Kirsty; we have Jess, who is my director of details, and then we have Jeremy, Whitney, and Alison, that are all consultants, and they’re all contractors. So, all these people are contractors, they’re not employees, so they get usually a percentage of what they bring in. As you say that I’m thinking, like, what systemically within Practice of the Practice has led to how… like let’s just say consultants, for example. So how did Whitney, how did Alison, and how did Jeremy become consultants? So, with Allison it was… she was my first hire as a consultant. She came to one of my conferences, and so just systemically, typically I don’t… like, there’s so many people just in general that would want to work for Practice of the Practice that have offered to work for us. And I’ve just said, you know, unless I have a personal relationship with you and know your style, know your work, feel like I’ve trained you, I don’t want to usually hire you. But then Allison had done consulting with me; she came to a conference. She then kind of stepped out and said, Joe, I would love to consult with you. Whitney, very similar story; she had done a mastermind group, was at Slow Down School, you know, I asked if she wanted to consult. But that system, as you talk, you know, who can afford $1,000 a month for consulting? Who can afford to come to Slow Down School for $3,000? Who can come to gain access, for me to get to know you and understand your approach to therapy or approach to consulting, just so yeah, I want to put my brand on it? I don’t think – and you can push back on this – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to hire people that I know the quality of their work, because I’m putting my stamp on it. [KAITY]:
But how do you get access to me, is through paying a bunch of money, usually. So that’s a problem, then, if the majority of the people that can come to Slow Down School, can come do consulting, can do those things. There’s this economic barrier to even working with me. [KAITY]:
Right. And so that’s going to bring me to another one of my points. It’s going to be investing in the professional development and education of minorities. So, we’re talking about, how do we address this? How do we level the playing field and deal with that system? So, I want to give an example of this. And this is an example that’s affected me personally. So, there’s an organization, amazing organization founded by an amazing woman, Duran Young, Black Therapists Rock. And so, this is a, you know, an organization for black therapists, and they focus on the professional development and education of black clinicians with the goal of these clinicians being able to go out and to heal the black community. And you know, then that goes to another level; the black community needs a lot of healing because of oppression and racism. So that’s the goal of the organization. Now what Duran did, she is a huge proponent of IFS – Internal Family Systems – founded by Dick Schwartz, and it changed her life. She was able to work through some of her own trauma. And so she partnered with Dick Schwartz and IFS, Center for Self-Discovery, Center for Self-Leadership, I forget the name of it, but she partnered with him and they were able to offer the level one IFS training to members of the Black Therapists Rock community for half the price of what they normally would offer it for. So that training is normally around $3500 or so, between $3000 and $4,000. They were able to take half off of that price. So, I was able to become level one certified in IFS and it’s such an amazing training. You know, we talk about racism… through the IFS lens racism is a legacy burden, meaning it’s been passed. It’s a trauma that’s been passed down generation after generation. And it’s something that affects not just black people, but white people as well. Those that are conscious and those that are aware, there’s a burden of white guilt that needs to be lifted. And so IFS works through that, and I’ve seen what a tremendous thing that it’s done for me and for my clients, but I would not have been able to have access to that training, had Black Therapists Rock not partnered with Dick Schwartz, and offered it in that way.
Another training that they partnered with was Brene Brown – the Brene Brown – for her Daring Way training. Now that training is $5,000. A lot of us couldn’t afford that. They brought the price down to $500. And so, as a result of that, I want to say how many people went through that training, about 50 clinicians of color went through that training and were able to become certified in the Daring Way. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without that. And so these are ways that you level that playing field; you invest in professional development, in the education of minorities, and this is not, you know, there’s a lot of kind of controversy around the idea of affirmative action. This is not just meeting some quota when we talk about diversity initiatives or investing, it’s just doing the right thing. It’s recognizing that there’s a disparity and doing something as a result of it.[JOE]:
I want to go back to your talking about the trauma of racism for the white community and the black community. And one thing that you were talking about is white guilt. Can you dig into that a little bit more, and share kind of how you see that, what that means? And then maybe we can talk about more of that trauma within the black community. [KAITY]:
Yeah, yeah. So, let’s think about white guilt. We all are part of this system of racism, but the guilt that I believe – I’m not a white person, but the guilt that I believe that a lot of white people are carrying is this sense of, you know, I’m born into this system. Historically, this system is a part of… my family may have perpetuated it, or the country where that I live in, that I’m proud of, has perpetuated it even though I myself might not be directly racist, or you know, directly discriminating against someone. I feel bad about that. You know, it’s not the kind of person that I want to be. So, what can I do to lift this guilt off of my shoulders? So, it’s not just about… when there’s white guilt, it’s not always just about doing the right thing and connecting to other people, it’s about I want to get this guilt off of my shoulders.
So, what you see now, there’s a term called performative allyship. So, it’s being an ally, but what’s the intentions behind your allyship? Are you doing it so people can see you? Are you doing it because you feel bad? If you’re not recognized in doing it, then there may be some resentment. Are you putting yourself at the forefront? Because there’s this guilt like, hey, I’m not racist, and that’s from that burden of racism that needs to be lifted. So then once the burden is lifted, there’s more self-energy – this is IFS talk – there’s more self-energy and you can genuinely and authentically connect to black people and people of color who’ve experienced racism. Like before the call we were talking about, you know, you said you’ve done protests and things like that privately with your family, but you weren’t trying to put it out there. Because then it could be interpreted as you know, you’re doing it in a performative kind of way. And that’s true, I appreciate you saying that and just kind of having that awareness. But then it also puts you in a weird position, because then people, some people are expecting you to say something at the same time.[JOE]:
And then like, even earlier this week, as I did say things, you know, some people were kind of harsh about it, like, where have you been? And like, a lot of very negative private messages, and I’ve worked through a lot of that now. But yeah, I just didn’t know for all these years, it was like, I don’t want this to seem like I’m using this movement or the things that I believe, to better my business. It just felt icky to be doing that. But then it’s like, there’s a balance there too, because my silence for all those years too was clear to people that were paying attention also. [KAITY]:
Right. Right. And so that’s how it becomes a burden to you because it’s kind of like you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t, in a way. So, you have to walk this line of figuring out, what’s the best way to move that will be well received, but you’re also making genuine, effective change. And it’s a difficult thing so that’s why it’s a burden. And so, I recently said this in a Facebook post, that we’re all feeling the weight of it right now; black people are, and white people are too, in their own way. And so, we have to understand that and be compassionate, kind, and patient with each other, as we’re working through this, and we’re, you know, really trying to put an end to this thing. [JOE]:
Yeah, I love that you frame it out that way, because at least what it feels like to me within the predominantly white community, is that any sense of me as a privileged white male saying, this is hard for me, gets pushed back. [KAITY]:
You can’t say that. [JOE]:
Right, exactly, exactly. Yeah. Like, I have this burden. Often it is other white people that are saying, you think it’s hard like, we have… And so, I think that at least acknowledging how people feel around it, but also saying like, yeah, of course, I have no idea like, these are things that people are growing in and learning on. How should, from your perspective, how should those conversations of, you know, white people growing in their knowledge, African Americans, you know, advocating and growing in their knowledge, like, it sounds like what you’re talking about is more communication back and forth. What would that look like? How can people do that in a healthy way? Where do people need to be challenged? Because there’s definitely things that I think people need to call me out on. I appreciate that you said, how much of your staff is black? Well, zero percent. And let me think through why that is. Those conversations need to happen, but like, how else do you think those conversations should happen? [KAITY]:
Yeah. If we’re looking through an IFS lens, it’s all about compassion and connection. When we’re in the true self, this highest form, highest version of our self that’s absent of any burdens, of trauma, we’re able to be connected, we’re able to be compassionate, we’re able to be clear. So, the first thing, as you said, is communicating and connecting. Us having this conversation, that’s one aspect of it. But at the same time, we have to keep in mind that as we’re communicating with each other, we’re both communicating with different kinds of burdens. You know, I’ve had white clients who’ve been hesitant to speak to me about what’s happening just because they don’t want to put the focus on them. You know, it’s like, I’m your therapist, you know, so I’m supposed to help you with these things. So, for me, I have to walk as, I have to be compassionate, I have to put on that self-leadership. Like I said, all IFS talk, to put on that self-leadership and be compassionate to the fact that if I were a white person who was out there right now, I wouldn’t exactly know what to say, or exactly how to move because there is no right way… or I don’t wanna say there is no right way, but it’s a very fine line when it comes to something like racism. It’s a fine line, you know, how do you properly deal with something that’s so improper and so wrong?
You know, I had a friend of mine when I made that comment on Facebook, that we’re all feeling it right now, she’s a white woman that was also trained in IFS, she said, yeah, but it doesn’t compare what white people… their burden, versus what black people’s burden is. And yeah, it doesn’t compare but I also don’t like to compare hurt either, you know, to say, well, this is what you’re going through, or what I’m going through is so much bigger; that’s not super compassionate. So we want to just be compassionate to the other person’s experience, and we would think that as therapists, as clinicians, we’ve all exercised that muscle a lot, to walk in awareness of our own stuff and how it’s going to affect the other person. And also, just being aware of their experience and how it’s going to affect how they communicate with us.[JOE]:
Yeah, we’ve talked quite a bit about kind of the white burden of racial trauma. For the African Americans, for the black community. What should I know about that? [KAITY]:
Well, I think that’s what we’ve been talking about in terms of the systemic oppression, the systemic racism, and how, like I said, how it pervades every aspect of our lives. As I said, I really care about the economic improvement of black people, the economic advancement of black people. And it’s hard to do that when you’re being oppressed on a systemic level. Now, let’s look at one of primary ways to build wealth. I’m going to ask you, Joe, when you think about the average American person, what’s one of the primary ways that they can build generational wealth for their family? [JOE]:
Oh, build generational wealth? That kind of twists it a little bit. For me, I would say, long term investing in a full market index fund that’s low cost, like Vanguard, so then that can build on compound interest. [KAITY]:
Okay, so you said investing. That’s a little bit more complex, what you just said, index funding, let’s bring it back even simpler than that – what’s one investment strategy that the average American can use to build some generational wealth? [JOE]:
I mean, I think like buying a house would be one. [KAITY]:
It’s usually an appreciating asset. And so, yeah, so if we’re talking average Americans, and how much money, then I’d say, buying a house. [KAITY]:
Right. Right. But if you can’t have access to purchasing a home, if your grandparents didn’t have access to purchasing a home, because they were denied a loan, because of a practice like redlining, and they had no options in terms of being able to enroll in a better school because of segregation, to educate themselves, you know, that sets you back generations. So, there’s no house to pass on, there’s no education to go out and to be able to find a job that’s going to pay you a little bit more. It’s just not an equal playing field. So, you know, just from a wealth-building standpoint, and we’re talking about privilege, black people don’t have that privilege. Most black people, I would say, don’t have that privilege. And so white people need to be aware of that privilege and have some compassion around it and figure out what their role is.
We can also talk about… we talk about a burden of oppression for black people, we can talk about health wise, and this is going to get a little bit more complicated. I’m just going to scratch the surface. So if we’re talking about things like stress levels, if we’re talking about diabetes, if we’re talking about hypertension, a lot of physical or personal trainers, and nutritionists will tell you that even once their black clients have changed their diet, increased their working out and they’re more active, they’re still going to struggle to change their sugar levels and deal with hypertension. They’re going to struggle with that much more than their white counterparts. And what’s the reason for that? We can take it back to some of the genetic changes that have happened over the course of time when it comes to dealing with chronic stress in chronic oppression. So, our DNA is more hardwired to be in fight or flight mode. And when we’re hardwired to be in fight or flight mode, we know it’s… we’re not meant to live that way on a day to day basis. So over time, it changes our bodies. And we struggle more with losing weight, we struggle more with managing our blood pressure and our sugar levels and things of that nature. So, it just affects us in so many ways. So, it’s not just as simple as pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and hey, my parents were able to do it, so therefore, you should be able to do it. It’s just not that simple.[JOE]:
So many good points that you’re making, Kaity. I know this was just the beginning of the conversation. The last question I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [KAITY]:
Hmm, wow. That actually gives me an opportunity to talk on this last point here is, what do we do? How do we level the playing field? Just be aware of your own implicit bias. When we look at black unemployment rates and how they’re usually twice of what white unemployment rates, some research has shown that just having a white sounding name makes you 50% more likely to get a call back for a job interview than a black sounding name. And so that has nothing to do necessarily with the system, but that’s implicit bias; that’s your own internal thing that you might not be aware of that’s going to make you assume that this person with the white name is going to be a better employee than a person with a black name. Be aware of those things, and how they’re shaping your decisions, and then shaping your behaviors when it comes to dealing with your clients. For those of you who are group practice owners, how you’re dealing with job applicants. Invest in our professional development. Joe, if you have your podcast, make 12% of your guests people of color or black people. If you’re someone who’s hosting a conference, there should be 12% black people who are your speakers; you want to work towards that. Those are some of the things that I would leave with your audience. [JOE]:
Thank you so much for all those tips. Kaity, if people want to connect with you, follow your work, what’s the best way for them to do that? [KAITY]:
You can find me on Instagram @KaityBettina, or my website, www.serenitywellnessandtherapy.com. [JOE]:
Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast today. [KAITY]:
Thank you, Joe. [JOE]:
Just a reminder that we are not doing sponsors during any of this. Instead, we are encouraging you to donate to your favorite charities that can help in regards to the protests, in regards to diversity, in regards to the change that you want to see in the world. So, thank you so much for listening to this series and for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.