We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this urgent call to action. Rodney Reed has been on death row since 1998 for a crime he did not commit, and he is scheduled for execution on November 20th. Anti-racism educator and social justice activist, Tina Strawn joins Jen to discuss the details of the case and what you can do to help. We need to amplify this story and do all that we can to stop this execution. Please listen, share, and take the steps we’ve outlined in the show. Show notes coming…
In this episode, Brigette Jones, Historian and Director of African American Studies at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee joins Jen to talk about the importance of increasing African American representation in historical settings, the power of looking to history to heal our nation, common misconceptions about the North vs. the South, and much more.
Join Jen and Marcie for part 2 of their conversation. Marcie Walker is the writer, creator, and creative behind the wildly popular website and Instagram page- Black Coffee With White Friends. In this episode, Marcie talks about having parents who grew up during Jim Crow and how that may have impacted their parenting, what happened when she shared honestly about race and racism with a larger audience, how to engage conversations about race with healthy boundaries, and an exciting new project that she is preparing to share with the world!
Many people ask me (Jen Kinney) how I got started podcasting on anti-racism. It’s a long story and I am long-winded, but the following is a word-for-word excerpt from an online conversation I had with a then new-to-me Facebook friend (Noah Lomax) who has now become a regular contributor on this podcast. He asked me what led me to do the work I do and to explain my deconstruction. Here was my reply:
“On one hand, I would say my deconstruction has taken decades, but the bulk of it has really taken place over the last few years.
I’ve claimed myself as an “anti-racist” for decades, and I truly believed I was. But now that I have gone through the bulk of this deconstruction, I can look back and say that I was very mistaken. My intentions were decent, but I had zero understanding of how much I had been shaped by external narratives. I had no real knowledge of history in this nation. I grew up raised and heavily relating to my Native American ancestry, so I had a solid amount of dislike for our founding as well as a severe distrust of our government, but even that wasn’t enough.
I held firmly to the ideology of individualism and subscribed to the idea that being “colorblind” was an enlightened perspective. I became a Christian in my early 20s and felt a strong call to racial reconciliation within the church, but I had absolutely no idea how to approach it. I didn’t understand race, the creation of the concept, the deep roots of white supremacy and how it absolutely saturated medicine, academia, our justice system, and the way we live and relate to one another to this day.
I truly believed that we lived so segregated out of preference. I thought that we could just get along if our minds were open enough. I saw people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as opportunists, Malcolm X as a hateful man and I blamed them for the division. I looked up to the whitewashed view of a peaceful, docile MLK Jr. I never once questioned how or why I came to those conclusions, and if I’m honest, I probably just assumed it was by my own brilliant, enlightened thinking. But I understand now.
My most significant turning point came when I started learning about the difference between American Christianity and the Bible. As my entire concept of “church” shifted, as I came to the realization that we are so bound to tradition simply because it’s the tradition, other things started to fall away as well. Cultural norms, race… all of it. It was perfect timing really. My white family had moved and was living in a predominantly black neighborhood, I was questioning everything about what formed my perspectives and why I held the beliefs I did, I was being moved into more in-depth work on racism, and my eyes were open to injustice all around.
The icing on the cake was when I was finally given permission to get off my butt and start speaking out. Until then, I didn’t really know where I fit. I actually needed my friends of color to tell me that they were tired of taking on the fight, tired of talking to people and hearing the same old crap and that they wanted white people to start doing the heavy lifting.
Since then, I’ve been hosting dinner party/discussions, speaking openly about racism, and most importantly-reading, listening and learning from people of color.
Here’s the thing that blows my mind. It took me moving my white family into a predominantly black neighborhood, spending years listening and observing, developing deep friendships with people of color (I can’t tell you how many white people ask how to even meet people and do that), going to events and classes, and being part of a racial reconciliation group- to even begin to see what my friends of color have known all their lives!
It’s breathtaking, and I know it will be my work for the rest of my days on this earth. But I know that reconciliation is the heart of god, and I have experienced a depth of love and grace and beauty, heaven on earth, as I have pursued this work, bridged gaps, and worked toward unity. “
On this episode, Marcie Walker from Black Coffee With White Friends joins Jen to talk about her life, her passions, and the inspiration behind her wildly popular website and Instagram space- Black Coffee With White Friends. Marcie shares her passion for human connection, truth-telling, and authenticity as she navigates life as a mother, storyteller, and peacemaker. You can find her website at www.blackcoffeewithwhitefriends.com and follow her on Instagram @blackcoffeewithwhitefriends.
The time has come for our April book discussion. On this episode, Jen speaks with the author, Jaqueline Battalora about the book, early Colonial history, the creation of whiteness as an umbrella identity, and so much more.
Jacqueline Battalora is the author of, Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today, and numerous articles. She is an attorney and professor of sociology at Saint Xavier University, Chicago and a former Chicago Police Officer. Battalora is an editor for the Journal of Understanding and Dismantling Privilege.