Dismantle Racism with Rev. Dr. TLC

Thursday, June 17, 2021
Facebook Live Video from 2021/06/17 - To Be Real: Living Authentically As a Black and Gay Man

Facebook Live Video from 2021/06/17 - To Be Real: Living Authentically As a Black and Gay Man


2021/06/17 - To Be Real: Living Authentically As a Black and Gay Man

[NEW EPISODE] To Be Real: Living Authentically As A Black and Gay Man

During a speech at Harvard University in 1982, black lesbian poet Audre Lorde said, “If I didn’t define myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive." Her words are chilling, powerful, and wise. Far too many people live under the constraints and expectations of others, particularly when their very life and livelihood depend on it as it does for many Black Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC) in America. Choosing to live authentically is freeing but not without consequences.


Join Dismantle Racism with the Rev. Dr. TLC as she engages her guest, the Rev. Carlton E. Smith, on what it means to live authentically as a black and gay man. Rev. Smith reflects on the dangers that come with living as a black man such as being stopped and held at gunpoint by the police, the unconscious racial bias that exists within the LGBTQ+ community, the complexities of being a spiritual leader, and the uphill battles of running for political office. Longtime friends and colleagues who grew up in the state of Mississippi, Rev. Dr. TLC and Rev. Smith will share stories, insights, and powerful examples of how to live authentically.

Tune in for this important conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by Clicking Here.

Show Notes

Segment 1

The first segment starts with Rev Dr. Terrlyn introduces today's show and guest. On todays show we will be discussing what it means to live authentically as a black and gay man with Rev. Carlton E. Smith. After a short prayer, Rev. Dr. Terrlyn then starts the first conversation with letting Rev Carlton E Smith go into a detailed description of his professional background. Rev Carlton E Smith says that a lesson he learned in his career is that there's an illusion of race and we should not give into it. He explains that there is an underlying connectivity of the human race and if we decided to focus on that we could start to make some progress in race relations. Rev. Dr. Terrlyn affirms what Rev Carlton E Smith says about race relations, but adds that black people and people of color shouldn't be fooled by the illusion of race. There very much should still be a vigilant approach to their everyday lives in an effort to protect themselves.

Segment 2

The second segment opens with Rev. Dr. Terrlyn bringing the show back up from break. Rev Carlton E Smith then explains what it means to him to live authentically as a gay, black man. He goes into amazing detail of his early life always feeling like the outcast or the kid who never fit in. Rev Carlton E Smith says that him being ostracized at such an early age by his peers, church, and some family, led him to easily transition into a homosexual lifestyle. While he felt he was living authentically as himself, other parts of society were still trying to oppress him. This drove him deeper into his religion because that’s where he felt the most authentic.

Segment 3

The third segment starts with Rev Dr Terrlyn opening the discussion to Rev Carlton E Smith’s experiences living simply as a black man in the United States. Rev Carlton E Smith says that his relationship with racism begins at a very young age. Some of his earliest memories of having to deal with racism go back to the third grade. Rev Dr Terrlyn then goes into detail of some of these specific events and how the world sees and treats people of color.

Segment 4

The final segment starts with the show coming up from break. Rev Carlton E Smith goes right into discussing his experience running for state senate in Mississippi in 2019. Rev Carlton E Smith discusses how this affected living authentically. He explains the biggest obstacle was how he was going to own his identity as a black, gay, religious man. Rev Carlton E Smith says that as soon as he decided to live authentically, his political career changed, but his life changed. While hardships still occurred, he felt like he was better equipped with dealing the societal backlash with this feeling of authenticity.


00:00:32.220 --> 00:00:40.740 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Welcome to dismantle racism, with the Reverend Dr tlc where our goal is to uncover dismantle and eradicate racism.

00:00:41.130 --> 00:01:03.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And to create a world where racial equity is the norm, of course, I am your host the Reverend Dr T lc and today we are going to be talking about to be real living as a black and gay man so as always i'm going to invite us before we start the show today, excuse me.

00:01:05.160 --> 00:01:11.520 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: To just breathe, to take a moment to settle ourselves to breathe.

00:01:12.540 --> 00:01:14.640 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: To be in tune with who we are.

00:01:15.990 --> 00:01:29.400 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And because we are talking about authenticity today, I think it is relevant, that we breathe in these words so breathe, and I am loved.

00:01:31.680 --> 00:01:35.430 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: and breathe out I am divinely created.

00:01:37.740 --> 00:01:45.270 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Just take a moment to sit with that and breathed in again I am loved unconditionally.

00:01:47.220 --> 00:01:48.540 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: and breathe out.

00:01:49.860 --> 00:01:51.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: The divinely created.

00:01:53.850 --> 00:01:56.370 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: just sit with that for a moment, knowing.

00:01:59.070 --> 00:02:01.680 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That you are babe and extreme love.

00:02:04.290 --> 00:02:06.210 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And then you have a divine purpose.

00:02:08.400 --> 00:02:10.170 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That you're in the right place.

00:02:11.400 --> 00:02:18.570 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: at the right time, so take a deep breath and again and breathe in I am loved unconditionally.

00:02:20.610 --> 00:02:23.100 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And just breathe out divinely created.

00:02:26.280 --> 00:02:30.060 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And just take a big deep breath and receive all of that.

00:02:31.440 --> 00:02:41.280 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I am so excited today that we are really going to be talking about what it means to live as our authentic selves.

00:02:41.790 --> 00:02:57.990 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: To be enveloped in this identity that we have and how we navigate that in the world audrey Lord said, if I didn't define myself I would be crunched into other people's fantasies and for me eaten alive.

00:03:00.510 --> 00:03:17.370 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I think about those words crunched and to other people's fantasies for her, and for me and for you and what a horrible feeling that would be to have to live as the world believes that we should live and every day we walk around.

00:03:18.750 --> 00:03:28.740 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Sometimes living as a Shell of ourselves because we are trying desperately to fit someone else's idea of US or expectations of us.

00:03:29.550 --> 00:03:40.440 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And as a person of color, it is often harder because we're walking around, not only with someone else's expectations of us as it relates to family or friends and loved ones.

00:03:40.680 --> 00:03:49.200 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: But sometimes when when the world has an expectation of us of who we should be as a personal color it adds an additional weight.

00:03:51.270 --> 00:04:02.100 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So today i'm so delighted to bring not only a colleague on but a friend who has been dear to me, since high school actually.

00:04:02.880 --> 00:04:18.270 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And so we've grown together and a large part of our lives as friends, but even professionally and we've been able to talk on both levels, about how we show up in this world as.

00:04:19.440 --> 00:04:40.170 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Educated knowledgeable skillful people of color who happened to just both navigate a world of lightness in our religious realms as well, and so we talked about it from that perspective, but we also talk about it from the day to day lived experience.

00:04:41.340 --> 00:04:51.300 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And so i'd like to bring on today my beloved friend and dear colleague, the Reverend carlton E Smith.

00:04:51.960 --> 00:05:01.080 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And he has a great deal to say not only about living authentically as a black man, but as living as a gay man as well, there are a whole bunch of.

00:05:01.320 --> 00:05:16.560 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: subjects we could cover today and we will probably only scratch the surface, particularly because we both walked this from again in the religious world and there's lots to say around being gay and having a religious path as well.

00:05:17.400 --> 00:05:27.600 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: But also just in terms of navigating the systems that we do so, the Reverend carlson he Smith, is the regional lead for the Pacific Western Region.

00:05:27.930 --> 00:05:32.700 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: From 2013 to 2020 he was a member of the you you a.

00:05:33.090 --> 00:05:43.500 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: congregational life staff group and he served in the southern region, there is a great deal that I could say to you about the Reverend carlton Smith.

00:05:43.740 --> 00:05:55.920 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: But I will allow his story to share the story that he shares today to tell you more about him because he's also been a political candidate running for the US Congress for state Senate.

00:05:56.460 --> 00:06:11.730 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: In his home state of Mississippi and he's also been the one of the founding members of the organizing collective for black lives of unitarian universalist he currently serves on the board.

00:06:12.480 --> 00:06:25.260 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: For the Members for the he's a board member for the living legacy project and he's also a member of the campaign board for the LGBT Q victory five but that's only scratched the surface.

00:06:25.590 --> 00:06:33.690 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: of his life, so I want to welcome welcome welcome today, my dear friend of the Reverend carlson ease Smith, how you doing.

00:06:34.080 --> 00:06:43.350 Carlton Elliott Smith: i'm drawing drew Dr tlc how are you today, thank you for having me on and congratulations on your show I know it takes a lot to put such a thing together having done so, a timer to myself.

00:06:43.800 --> 00:06:54.300 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Yes, it does, but i'm so delighted and it's made easier when I have wonderful guests, like you, who are on and who will we can just really engage in this dynamic conversation.

00:06:54.390 --> 00:07:03.630 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Oh yeah so i'm just so very excited today, but one of the first things I want to start with today is is I always like to understand.

00:07:04.200 --> 00:07:12.810 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: where people are coming from from a spiritual perspective and what else to keep you grounded day by day, particularly.

00:07:13.620 --> 00:07:17.640 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: In this work of dismantling racism in this work that we have to deal with.

00:07:18.210 --> 00:07:37.080 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Just in life in general, because we all have issues that we have to deal with, and so I believe that grounded in it being grounded in the secret is something that helps us navigate the world, but your journey with the sacred and your journey with religion has been.

00:07:40.290 --> 00:07:52.980 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I think a lot could be said in terms of what you've had to experience so talk to me a little bit about your journey with the sacred and then how it helps you to live authentically in the world.

00:07:54.780 --> 00:07:55.740 Carlton Elliott Smith: Thank you.

00:07:56.850 --> 00:08:10.620 Carlton Elliott Smith: So I would begin by saying that, I think, whatever our impressions are are of the divine and of God, are derived from our experiences I speak for myself mine was derived from my experience with my parents.

00:08:11.070 --> 00:08:22.530 Carlton Elliott Smith: And my whole life and I happy and grateful to say that there was never a point in my childhood, nor in my adulthood, where I have the experience of being Australian from my parents.

00:08:24.060 --> 00:08:32.310 Carlton Elliott Smith: My mother and father met married at the historically black college and our town holly springs Mississippi.

00:08:32.820 --> 00:08:33.630 Mississippi.

00:08:35.520 --> 00:08:35.940 Carlton Elliott Smith: and

00:08:36.720 --> 00:08:42.810 Carlton Elliott Smith: And they you know, were able to sustain that marriage over you know 43 years until my dad's passing and.

00:08:44.880 --> 00:08:50.580 Carlton Elliott Smith: So I would say, I had that experience of love from very early on and I don't take that for granted as i've.

00:08:51.000 --> 00:09:03.330 Carlton Elliott Smith: You know, gone out, you know into the rest of my life, because I know a lot of people don't have loving memories of you know one or both of their parents so i'm very grateful for that so that grounds me.

00:09:04.830 --> 00:09:11.010 Carlton Elliott Smith: I grew up in the United Methodist Church, which is a predominantly white denomination but.

00:09:11.520 --> 00:09:20.970 Carlton Elliott Smith: After the civil war there were several black historically black colleges that were started by the United Methodist church, as well as black congregations and I grew up in a black congregation.

00:09:21.630 --> 00:09:32.190 Carlton Elliott Smith: And overwhelmingly white denomination and I would say the teachings of Jesus and the stories of Jesus and jesus's example were foundational for me from a very early.

00:09:32.640 --> 00:09:41.280 Carlton Elliott Smith: age as well, coming from the United Methodist perspective there wasn't a lot of talk about hellfire and damnation really not at all.

00:09:41.730 --> 00:09:51.330 Carlton Elliott Smith: It was really more about representing you know that spirit of love and generosity and kindness and justice in the world, and so that's kind of that that was the type of religion that I was.

00:09:52.380 --> 00:09:54.300 Carlton Elliott Smith: raised on and from day to day.

00:09:56.160 --> 00:10:02.130 Carlton Elliott Smith: It looks like my faith walk and what keeps me grounded looks like a spirit of.

00:10:03.330 --> 00:10:04.410 Carlton Elliott Smith: abundance.

00:10:05.580 --> 00:10:11.190 Carlton Elliott Smith: generosity of gratitude gratitude is a huge part of that because I can just you know, look at my.

00:10:11.580 --> 00:10:20.250 Carlton Elliott Smith: Life and you know even for the things that aren't going the way that I might like them to be going there still you know so much to be grateful for, and I keep returning to that and in terms of the racial work.

00:10:20.970 --> 00:10:30.180 Carlton Elliott Smith: What I keep coming back to is that there's no there's the illusion of race that we live inside of and I.

00:10:31.020 --> 00:10:51.840 Carlton Elliott Smith: maintain a commitment not to be distracted by the illusion and to instead remind myself that we we do this sort of process of dividing and conquering and and splitting each other off from one another, but there's a unity that is underneath all about the mouth just.

00:10:52.590 --> 00:10:56.820 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So I want to just jump in there, because I love this idea that you're saying about this illusion.

00:10:57.090 --> 00:11:01.680 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: of race, because one of the things that I try often, particularly when i'm.

00:11:01.980 --> 00:11:11.910 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Working with people in my congregation or even when i'm coaching people just to say we are more than the bodies that we are housed and we are spiritual beings.

00:11:12.180 --> 00:11:20.400 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And if we're spiritual beings that we can begin to see the shared humanity that we have with one another and we don't have to feed into.

00:11:21.390 --> 00:11:27.120 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: The systems that seek to conquer and divide However, having said that that doesn't mean that we don't have.

00:11:27.390 --> 00:11:43.200 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Things in reality that we have to deal with right because their experiences of racism that we have that we must deal with, and we must be aware of what those things are, and we must seek to eradicate those things as well, and so.

00:11:44.310 --> 00:11:50.970 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I definitely appreciate you having this higher level of consciousness is how I like to think about it when we think about.

00:11:51.660 --> 00:12:07.320 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: But think about God source universe, whatever people choose to call it it's a higher level of operating to be able to not say that I am what the world thinks that I am or believes me to be.

00:12:08.910 --> 00:12:24.480 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So we're going to talk a little bit more about that as we go on in our time together but we're going to have to take a break in just a few minutes, but when we come back, I would like to just if we could talk a little bit about your journey as.

00:12:25.770 --> 00:12:39.270 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: A black gay man in the church and what some of those struggles might have been, because while you've grown up in a Methodist tradition, certainly, you are your unitarian right now, how did you get to that place of being.

00:12:39.480 --> 00:12:43.260 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: A unitarian So if you could share a little bit about that, because I think.

00:12:44.400 --> 00:12:58.650 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: growing up in a black church has its own we could do a whole show about that and at some point we will so whether we're in a white denomination or not there is this thing that out there in the world, we call it the black church right and.

00:13:00.000 --> 00:13:16.200 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And their expectations that come with that as well, and so, when we return from our break I would love for us to get into that a little bit your journey, and so this is dismantle racism with Reverend Dr tlc we'll be right back with our guest Reverend curtis.

00:15:45.960 --> 00:16:03.270 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Welcome back today's guest is the Reverend carlton E Smith before the break, we were talking about living authentically and we were talking about your experiences with growing up in church, but also.

00:16:03.810 --> 00:16:14.970 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: To land you where you are now as a unitarian universalist when you grew up as a Methodist I know that you've been Pentecostal and you've had a range of experiences so.

00:16:15.480 --> 00:16:30.570 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: tell us a little bit about those experiences and maybe some of the challenges of living authentically particularly around your early experiences, particularly around living authentically as a gay man.

00:16:33.120 --> 00:16:45.480 Carlton Elliott Smith: So um, as it turns out from a very young age, I was one of those children who was identified as different or maybe not conforming to whatever the.

00:16:46.260 --> 00:16:53.760 Carlton Elliott Smith: The abstract understanding of masculinity was even as a child, so there was never a point.

00:16:54.570 --> 00:17:10.380 Carlton Elliott Smith: From really as far back as I can remember, where I was and somehow identified as other and, specifically, you know the terms that would be used at that time, when we were coming up in the you know late 60s early 70s and into the 80s, would have been like punks if the.

00:17:11.610 --> 00:17:15.930 Carlton Elliott Smith: funny you know, like these are all terms that were used at the time to sort of distinguish.

00:17:16.950 --> 00:17:27.810 Carlton Elliott Smith: That identity, and that was difficult because I just never felt like a quite you know fit in or was quite included into and in many other reindeer games that were being played.

00:17:30.570 --> 00:17:36.480 Carlton Elliott Smith: And I knew that I was interested in things that people weren't you know that interested in.

00:17:37.140 --> 00:17:52.470 Carlton Elliott Smith: So that insight was a very bookish you know and Barry you know into our comic into the comic books and things like that I would have been a nerd I guess by certain descriptions very much into you know choir and drama and you know those sorts activity, some of those that we shared.

00:17:52.680 --> 00:17:55.620 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: i'll bring don't bring up the whole drama.

00:17:55.650 --> 00:17:55.980 You know.

00:17:57.120 --> 00:18:00.120 Carlton Elliott Smith: We have we have one of our one of our.

00:18:00.900 --> 00:18:05.400 Carlton Elliott Smith: One of our colleagues went on to become a famous actress I can name is pat and.

00:18:05.850 --> 00:18:07.800 Carlton Elliott Smith: works with Tyler Perry, so we can.

00:18:08.070 --> 00:18:08.340 Carlton Elliott Smith: You know.

00:18:10.770 --> 00:18:12.240 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Like came out of that yes.

00:18:12.270 --> 00:18:12.570 yeah.

00:18:13.680 --> 00:18:35.700 Carlton Elliott Smith: um so uh it wasn't until I was a way from Mississippi and in Washington DC for the summer working for the first time, this would have been the summer of 1984 that and I was like 19 at the time, but I had my first encounter with a man of an intimate nature and.

00:18:37.020 --> 00:18:41.670 Carlton Elliott Smith: i'm really grateful that by that time it's.

00:18:42.450 --> 00:18:57.270 Carlton Elliott Smith: Because there was this all of this rumor and speculation that have been going on all of my life anyway there wasn't really anything to lose I mean, so I might as well got like whatever benefit there was holding that identity by you know by Expo exploring it.

00:18:58.380 --> 00:19:02.310 Carlton Elliott Smith: And there wasn't really like any backlash around that but you know this was.

00:19:03.450 --> 00:19:08.850 Carlton Elliott Smith: This was just before the AIDS pandemic began to sweep.

00:19:10.080 --> 00:19:17.760 Carlton Elliott Smith: And so there was there was he a lot of tension at this time, you know, because there was still sort of like that, even though things weren't so.

00:19:18.570 --> 00:19:29.430 Carlton Elliott Smith: hardcore on the panel on the Methodist side of my family from the Pentecostal side, it was just a lot more hellfire you know damnation sort of approach to things.

00:19:30.510 --> 00:19:38.730 Carlton Elliott Smith: And I joined a Pentecostal church shortly after I graduated from Howard, and that has some of that same sort of language as well.

00:19:40.200 --> 00:19:51.930 Carlton Elliott Smith: I had a health crisis that you know drew me deeper into the Church, which led to my becoming more involved and then sort of like a spiritual crisis that followed that.

00:19:52.920 --> 00:20:03.510 Carlton Elliott Smith: That just drew me deeper in and sort of like renouncing the you know my sexuality and not really owning that and putting that very much in the past, ended up in seminary.

00:20:03.840 --> 00:20:09.270 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: yeah that's what I just want to jump into because, even in about this, the the.

00:20:10.440 --> 00:20:15.690 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: The other issue, even just thinking about Church and the ways in which church rooms people.

00:20:16.230 --> 00:20:17.910 Carlton Elliott Smith: Which is another one of my passions I.

00:20:17.910 --> 00:20:28.650 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: can remember the church actually saying to you it's okay if you're that way, but just don't show it and in church and that's a whole nother thing by saying it.

00:20:29.760 --> 00:20:35.280 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And they then they were a little bit more specific and some of the things that they said in my memory.

00:20:36.300 --> 00:20:51.960 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What was upsetting, though, is that they're basically saying don't be authentically you because that's what we're talking about in terms of being authentically who we are now, I want to say something as it relates to being authentically who we are.

00:20:52.980 --> 00:21:08.070 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I really mean just living the identities that we happen to be placed in at this moment, because my identity is far more than the color of my skin my gender my sexuality, or any of that so I want to be very clear today that when we're talking about that.

00:21:08.340 --> 00:21:17.370 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Again, I see us as spiritual beings that happened to be just housed in these bodies, and so I want to be very clear to share that but I think that.

00:21:18.300 --> 00:21:33.360 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: When you were engaged in an experience, where they're saying Okay, if you are gay just don't show it in church that's really saying don't live authentically as the person that you are.

00:21:34.440 --> 00:21:34.860 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Right.

00:21:35.280 --> 00:21:36.060 And so, for you.

00:21:38.100 --> 00:21:55.020 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What was the process or what was that moment that you said you know what I have to be me and made a decision to to perhaps switch to something where you felt like you could live more authentically.

00:21:56.310 --> 00:22:11.490 Carlton Elliott Smith: yeah so it was a combination of things that were gone that were going on at the time that I came to that point, I was in seminary and I went to Howard university school of divinity go by son you're also how a Grad.

00:22:11.970 --> 00:22:13.140 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Yes, I am.

00:22:13.530 --> 00:22:14.160 and

00:22:15.180 --> 00:22:24.030 Carlton Elliott Smith: What I remember is that at the school of divinity the Dean very wise man being Lawrence Jones who's deceased now.

00:22:25.290 --> 00:22:44.010 Carlton Elliott Smith: decided it was determined to have a seminary where there was a whole spectrum of Christianity was represented, so we had you know Baptists methodists quaker you know Catholic you know all these all different kinds of instructors who were there as well as across the spectrum of.

00:22:45.120 --> 00:22:51.810 Carlton Elliott Smith: theologies as well, so some of them were very conservative and some of them were very liberal, you know, especially the younger professors who were there, who I.

00:22:52.110 --> 00:22:58.740 Carlton Elliott Smith: sort of naturally fell in with so that became you know my kind of alternative community, while I was in seminary.

00:22:59.580 --> 00:23:07.170 Carlton Elliott Smith: and created the context in which I was able to encounter people who were able to reconcile.

00:23:07.710 --> 00:23:19.290 Carlton Elliott Smith: sexualities that were other than heterosexual and that standard we have you know their understanding, so it's like if they were able to do it, then I could might be able to be able to do it as well and find communities where I belonged.

00:23:19.740 --> 00:23:28.890 Carlton Elliott Smith: And I broke from the Church, that I was with at the point that I was you know just starting to become recognized as a minister in that.

00:23:29.760 --> 00:23:38.640 Carlton Elliott Smith: denomination and there was a sermon that was given on a Sunday that was very anti unwed mother that was very anti.

00:23:39.360 --> 00:23:53.220 Carlton Elliott Smith: gay LGBT Q and so, and all the other ministers were standing up and applauding and egging the minister who was preaching on and it's like I couldn't do that I just had remained in my seat I knew in that moment that that was going to be my last Sunday.

00:23:53.850 --> 00:23:56.190 Carlton Elliott Smith: At that time at that congregation so.

00:23:56.190 --> 00:23:58.770 Carlton Elliott Smith: I turned I want to just pause for a second because it.

00:23:58.830 --> 00:24:04.920 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: is important for our listeners to really understand that to live authentically.

00:24:05.430 --> 00:24:19.710 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Is you have to be able to reconcile who you are and your values with the ways in which you are showing up in the world, and so, if you are involved, whether it be religious institutions or at work or as.

00:24:19.980 --> 00:24:28.080 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: If you are a leader in particular and you're being asked to do things that are not in alignment with your values, I think it might.

00:24:28.320 --> 00:24:37.470 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: be time for you to take a step back and say, am I living truly as I am so I appreciate you saying that that was a very vivid experience for me as you're telling it i'm.

00:24:37.830 --> 00:24:42.030 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: i'm just sort of picturing this and picturing what it must have been like for you to say.

00:24:42.900 --> 00:24:58.650 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: No more, and I think that if we're going to encourage people to live authentically the lessons would be to look and see if it's an alignment but continue with what you were saying, though, about some other things that were shift for you in that moment.

00:24:59.940 --> 00:25:07.380 Carlton Elliott Smith: yeah and the other thing that I would say to him in terms of like living living authentically even before I was.

00:25:07.830 --> 00:25:15.510 Carlton Elliott Smith: invited to be on the rostrum with the other ministers, I remember the experience of going in on Sundays.

00:25:16.290 --> 00:25:24.420 Carlton Elliott Smith: and knowing there was going to be something that's going to be said that wasn't going to agree with my spirit, especially in this case, something that's going to be anti LGBT Q.

00:25:24.750 --> 00:25:29.760 Carlton Elliott Smith: And it was kind of like waiting for the fiery darts of the enemy, you know to come in, you know.

00:25:30.120 --> 00:25:44.850 Carlton Elliott Smith: Someone was going to say something someone's going to you know do some sort of attack, and so I would say that those are things to check in with as well, I mean when you when some when I you know, in this case had those experiences of not being grounded of feeling.

00:25:46.200 --> 00:25:56.850 Carlton Elliott Smith: kind of like constantly sort of like waiting to see like where the next you know kind of attack was going to come from so i'd say that that's something that people need to pay attention to as well it's like they're just their sense of safety.

00:25:59.130 --> 00:26:09.600 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Exactly, but do you know, but you realize how many people live in the world feeling unsafe when they are living in authentically but choosing.

00:26:09.960 --> 00:26:19.920 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: In many cases, choosing to stay in those situations because they put up these barriers for why they can't challenge the status quo, or why they can't leave.

00:26:20.220 --> 00:26:33.810 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And it was no small thing that you decided that you were going to leave this congregation which in some ways, despite the wounding that was occurring, it still was a congregation that in many ways.

00:26:35.550 --> 00:26:44.370 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: helped you during some critical times in your life so it wasn't just an either or it was a both and and you had to make some decisions to say.

00:26:44.670 --> 00:26:56.010 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I have to step out of this and the other thing that I think that was really important that you said for our listening audience to just grab hold of is that I found a community.

00:26:56.820 --> 00:27:05.610 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: A community that supported me a Community with whom I can identify with and often what, whatever our identities are.

00:27:05.940 --> 00:27:18.090 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: There are other people out there who who fit that the same identity that we do, and we need to find support, but not just support any oh support, we need to find the right support.

00:27:18.510 --> 00:27:19.560 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: support that would.

00:27:19.590 --> 00:27:29.130 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: be healthy for us to engage in, and so I loved hearing you talk about Dr Jones and and people who I know from.

00:27:29.730 --> 00:27:38.160 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: The day of school that you were connected with who were able to provide you what you needed in that moment, so to live authentically.

00:27:38.850 --> 00:27:50.160 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: would also mean us understanding that we're not alone, whatever our identity is we're absolutely not alone in there, people who support us so.

00:27:50.790 --> 00:27:58.770 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What we're going to do is we're going to take a quick break again and we're going to come back and just a few minutes because i'd like to spend some time.

00:27:59.280 --> 00:28:19.050 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You know hearing about living as well as a black man and and interweaving that with the work that you are doing now, even in your church so as a unitarian universalist and even in the political world which we'll get into because, in order for us to dismantle racism.

00:28:20.280 --> 00:28:37.110 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: We have to see our stories and other people's stories sometimes and just draw strength from some of the things that other people have experienced and can give us insight and wisdom on we will be right back with our guest today the Reverend carlton east.

00:31:25.470 --> 00:31:34.290 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: hello, and welcome back to dismantle racism, with the Reverend Dr tlc my guest today is Reverend carlton ease Smith.

00:31:35.100 --> 00:31:50.700 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: before the break, we were talking about your experiences as a gay man and particularly as it related to just your spiritual growth and evolution and religion but tell me a little bit about.

00:31:51.180 --> 00:31:57.480 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Some of your experiences as a black man just living in these United States and.

00:31:57.720 --> 00:32:08.070 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: i'm sure that you've had other experiences i'm sure you've traveled the world as a black man, but let's just talk about some of those experiences in the United States because I remember some of the.

00:32:08.400 --> 00:32:15.780 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: things that happened to you very early on, when we were both students at at Howard university so, can you share a little bit about some of those.

00:32:17.340 --> 00:32:32.340 Carlton Elliott Smith: Sure, one of the things that I remember earliest on was when I was in grade school and we would go out to the nearby state park well the state park for like a field trip.

00:32:32.880 --> 00:32:42.690 Carlton Elliott Smith: And you know we would encounter like other children and that's it was, and I was going to like a Catholic based school that was.

00:32:43.500 --> 00:32:45.720 Carlton Elliott Smith: overwhelmingly black at the time.

00:32:46.170 --> 00:32:58.380 Carlton Elliott Smith: And we would encounter like other children, and I must have been like in the fourth third, fourth grade at the time and we encountered a group of younger like white children and one of the little white kids wasn't able to push themselves in the swing.

00:32:59.040 --> 00:33:02.070 Carlton Elliott Smith: And so I you know being, why was.

00:33:02.430 --> 00:33:15.240 Carlton Elliott Smith: Several, let me just help this kid you know, and so I started pushing the kid and all of a sudden, like his friends who were like probably I don't know five or six years i'll start to Chan Bobby touched an inward Bobby test in in word and.

00:33:15.780 --> 00:33:22.740 Carlton Elliott Smith: I just you know I just had never you know, like even occurred to me that you know that that would be something that would happen.

00:33:23.130 --> 00:33:28.650 Carlton Elliott Smith: And I think there were ways in which we were sheltered I speak for myself that I was sheltered you know by my parents from some of them.

00:33:29.520 --> 00:33:39.690 Carlton Elliott Smith: Some of those attacks, I remember as a child, you know going into the into the five and dime store Ben Franklin was the name of it is right on the town Square.

00:33:40.140 --> 00:33:51.930 Carlton Elliott Smith: And being followed around me and my you know black male friends his children and going to the counter at different places and having the change dropped into my hand from you know, like I.

00:33:52.980 --> 00:33:54.720 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: said still happens right.

00:33:54.780 --> 00:33:55.440 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I mean right.

00:33:56.790 --> 00:33:57.180 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: yeah.

00:33:57.480 --> 00:33:58.140 Carlton Elliott Smith: But right.

00:34:00.330 --> 00:34:13.680 Carlton Elliott Smith: So yeah so those were sort of like foundational that you know just to be seen as a problem as or as potential criminal you know, is this from from the very beginning, so so there was some of the early remembrances.

00:34:15.630 --> 00:34:21.840 Carlton Elliott Smith: And you know in and since that time, you know i've been you know, followed by the police and.

00:34:22.890 --> 00:34:30.060 Carlton Elliott Smith: There was one occasion, where I was leaving a choir rehearsal from the charts that I was attending and Washington DC and.

00:34:31.800 --> 00:34:36.000 Carlton Elliott Smith: just waiting at the bus stop, no, no one night no big thing and.

00:34:36.420 --> 00:34:48.330 Carlton Elliott Smith: No slowly, you know this police cars pulling up and then all of a sudden, the light is on splat is shining on me and there's a police officer with a gun, you know get your hands up in the air, you, Mr effort.

00:34:49.230 --> 00:35:02.820 Carlton Elliott Smith: Is what he shouted at me and all of a sudden i'm surrounded by police they're gone through my pockets, you know and the come to find out there, looking for someone and a black jacket and wearing blue jeans who's supposed to have some sort of concealed weapon.

00:35:03.870 --> 00:35:12.060 Carlton Elliott Smith: In on this major thoroughfare in DC black neighborhood very black neighborhood at the time I don't know about now.

00:35:15.090 --> 00:35:16.470 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: it's changed dramatically.

00:35:18.240 --> 00:35:18.780 Carlton Elliott Smith: Yes.

00:35:22.830 --> 00:35:27.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: that's a whole nother show well right gentrification is all entirely.

00:35:27.870 --> 00:35:28.890 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Different show but.

00:35:29.010 --> 00:35:36.510 Carlton Elliott Smith: yeah yeah so um and there's been other occasions, you know as I, you know moved from State to State where i've.

00:35:37.350 --> 00:35:43.890 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: filed, I want to pause there for a second, because I think that oftentimes when people.

00:35:45.060 --> 00:35:52.350 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: See you and I, for instance, and the worlds that we move in and out of and they see us as accomplished individuals.

00:35:52.650 --> 00:36:00.870 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: they'll think well those sorts of things don't happen to you because i've heard repeatedly when black men in particular.

00:36:01.200 --> 00:36:11.490 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Because they there's more conversation about the black man, I feel like who are shot and there are some conversation about like women but because, by and large there's so many black men.

00:36:11.790 --> 00:36:19.740 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That are shot by police or brutalized by plays I will often hear people say well why didn't they just do what they were told to do.

00:36:20.760 --> 00:36:35.850 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Now you're standing at a bus stop minding your own business, and what happens right all of a sudden, you are surrounded by police officers now I happen to know that that is pretty regular.

00:36:36.570 --> 00:36:49.170 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That this happens to white men I traveled with a couple of friends of mine to Jamaica shortly after cause maybe two or three years after after college we travel to Jamaica.

00:36:49.950 --> 00:36:59.700 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And will actually I guess it was more than two or three years time flies but, nevertheless, there was a point where one of my friends, who I traveled with.

00:37:00.000 --> 00:37:08.220 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: was being stopped repeatedly by police officers in Jamaica he happened to be a black man and he had.

00:37:08.910 --> 00:37:30.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: locks and I also was traveling with a white male friend they never ever stopped the white male but they always stopped the black man and at one point I started speaking up and and this black man said to me carolyn be quiet i'm used to this it happens all the time to be in DC.

00:37:32.790 --> 00:37:44.670 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And how sad is that that he's just so used to it that has just become a part of his daily experience and he told me after the reason why he told me to be quiet.

00:37:44.850 --> 00:37:52.980 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: was because he said here, they don't care anything about you, being a woman they'll lock you up just as quickly as they'll lock me up and I don't need that to happen to you.

00:37:53.730 --> 00:38:03.360 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So, not only did he have to think about being a black man and recognizing that this happens to him all the time now he's thinking about what are the ways, am I going to protect you.

00:38:04.440 --> 00:38:05.190 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: In all of this.

00:38:05.280 --> 00:38:17.220 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: A split second so when we talk about living authentically it doesn't mean that we don't deal with the realities of how the world sees and treats us.

00:38:17.520 --> 00:38:30.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: But we still can live authentically and who we are, so the reason why I want to pause on that is because you said that you pushed the little kid in the swing because that's your nature.

00:38:31.110 --> 00:38:38.640 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And what I know about you is that, despite some of these experiences that have happened to you as a black man.

00:38:40.260 --> 00:38:52.530 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You still show up as the loving compassionate human being, that you are, and I just think that is wonderful, I think that for you.

00:38:53.550 --> 00:38:57.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: As you said earlier, is that.

00:38:58.080 --> 00:39:04.650 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Well, you know we've talked about living at this higher level of consciousness and seeing people for who they are so even though.

00:39:04.830 --> 00:39:16.440 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: you're surrounded by many people who don't look like you now you are in a denomination where people don't look like you now those experiences that you've had with other white folks.

00:39:17.730 --> 00:39:20.130 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Do not keep you from being who you are.

00:39:21.840 --> 00:39:30.480 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What can you say about that I have my thoughts about it, and I have to share them anything you'd like to add about your experiences as a black man that.

00:39:33.120 --> 00:39:46.080 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That either in your interaction today with folks who look differently than you or that you've just decided, I have placed them in another in this little box over here and i'm going to keep moving.

00:39:47.100 --> 00:40:07.920 Carlton Elliott Smith: um so yeah, as you know, I was part of the clergy counter protests charlottesville at the unite the right rally in August of 2017 alongside Dr cornel west and the President of my the unitarian universalist association Reverend Susan Frederick Ray.

00:40:09.120 --> 00:40:25.440 Carlton Elliott Smith: And that was a very frightening experience and a lot of ways, and before we set foot out on the street, we were led by Reverend us a sega foo sake, who, who is the leader of our group, a tremendous singer and activists himself.

00:40:26.010 --> 00:40:35.130 Carlton Elliott Smith: He reminded us, you know, time and again that is we're stepping out onto that street i'm doing this there's this big protest against their potential removal of a confederate monument in charlottesville and.

00:40:35.490 --> 00:40:41.280 Carlton Elliott Smith: White nationalist and supremacist from all over the country had converged on charlottesville for that weekend.

00:40:42.180 --> 00:40:56.700 Carlton Elliott Smith: And he reminded us, as we stepped outside of the Church, we could be severely injured, up to and including death and we we went out anyways the crowd the number of participants stand out like a lot from where it was the more, he said that instead of several times.

00:40:58.110 --> 00:41:10.980 Carlton Elliott Smith: And we ended up like you know, right in the thick of you know that action and they were chanting things like you will not replace us or and Jews will not replace us, you know these sort of chance.

00:41:11.370 --> 00:41:27.840 Carlton Elliott Smith: And in that moment it what occurred to me it's like these people are terrified they are really they really don't know how they're going to live in a world where they can't control everything or feel like they can't control everything and can't call all the shots, and so there is a.

00:41:28.050 --> 00:41:32.700 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: or an illusion and right that you're controlling everything right.

00:41:33.000 --> 00:41:49.890 Carlton Elliott Smith: Right right not realizing that just even that idea, you know enslavement in slaves both the person who's enslaved as well as the enslaved or you're stuck in a cycle you're that's it so that's not it's not freedom to be to be able to.

00:41:50.760 --> 00:41:54.780 Carlton Elliott Smith: make these sort of life and death, calls on other people's lives either.

00:41:55.920 --> 00:41:58.380 Carlton Elliott Smith: So that's like one of the things that informs.

00:41:58.800 --> 00:42:13.170 Carlton Elliott Smith: The work that I do as well it's just an awareness that there's they're suffering, you know happening on that side too, does that mean that we don't we don't protest it and we're, not that I don't press the protest i'm not opposed to it, I am I do protest and I am a post yeah.

00:42:13.470 --> 00:42:20.040 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Yes, you you, you are indeed that and and and what's really interesting is because often when i'm teaching.

00:42:20.550 --> 00:42:27.900 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: My programs on dismantling racism, I do try to invite people to see the other side doesn't mean that you have to agree with it.

00:42:28.140 --> 00:42:38.400 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And what I find interesting and what I talked about being under the illusion that they're controlling things is as many of the people who were out there chanting.

00:42:38.670 --> 00:42:47.340 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Those things to you or not even the people who are in power, and so, then there's this whole power dynamic where people get you to believe.

00:42:47.940 --> 00:42:59.610 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That you are losing out on something because because other people want a part of the abundance that's out there in the world and those people, some of those who are in power.

00:43:00.450 --> 00:43:08.520 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: They don't really care about you, they just care about them being in control and being in power and you're serving their purposes.

00:43:08.520 --> 00:43:11.070 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Correct So what we talked about this.

00:43:11.130 --> 00:43:23.940 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: idea of race and racism, that the truth of the matter is is that that that that that people have segregated us and they've placed us in these caste systems.

00:43:25.470 --> 00:43:45.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And so it becomes about more in a way than just race, but but because we're here to talk about dismantle dismantling racism that's what we're going to stick with we do have to take another quick break and we will return in just a moment with our guests, the Reverend carlton ease that.

00:46:04.140 --> 00:46:21.510 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: We are back with my guest today the Reverend carlton Smith and in our last few moments together there's so much that we could talk about, but I don't want to close out today without talking about your bid for U s.

00:46:22.350 --> 00:46:32.190 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Congress for the state Senate and I want to talk about that from the standpoint again of even living authentically in the realm of politics, because.

00:46:32.880 --> 00:46:57.900 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: It is such a trying trying trying process to run for office into I think it's important for us to just tap into that a little bit So what can you tell us about what you learned about showing up as a black gay man in the state of Mississippi running for state Senate.

00:46:58.830 --> 00:46:59.460 and

00:47:00.510 --> 00:47:06.420 Carlton Elliott Smith: So I have two runs the first time I ran for Congress, this was.

00:47:07.440 --> 00:47:16.020 Carlton Elliott Smith: 2000 coming into 2018 and then the following year for state senate here in Mississippi representing the county I live in and a neighboring county.

00:47:17.340 --> 00:47:35.970 Carlton Elliott Smith: And in terms of living authentically it was tricky because, at the point that I put my name in for for Congress, or I you know filed all my papers and whatnot I had not yet figured out what to do about owning my identity as gay and.

00:47:38.130 --> 00:47:53.490 Carlton Elliott Smith: And you know there were opportunities when I would be talking with you know reporter, where I could have come out with it, but it didn't seem like quite the right time or not, you know bite under control and the way that I wanted it to be, I wanted it to be on my own terms.

00:47:54.540 --> 00:48:04.380 Carlton Elliott Smith: And you know, I think that was one of the reasons that campaign was unsuccessful I missed an important deadline leading up to actually getting on to the ballot and so that.

00:48:04.920 --> 00:48:21.840 Carlton Elliott Smith: That campaigns kind of what really fell apart at that point, so what that did, for me, was create an opportunity to figure out like well, so what What if I do want to you know, be more more of an owner not like it was anything that I was hiding so in.

00:48:24.540 --> 00:48:26.100 Carlton Elliott Smith: When it came around to be.

00:48:27.600 --> 00:48:41.460 Carlton Elliott Smith: National coming out day I wrote a piece for our local hometown newspaper, the South reporter on you know owning that identity, and what that meant for me, you know as a religious person as a black person etc so forth, and so that.

00:48:42.420 --> 00:48:50.490 Carlton Elliott Smith: Was grounding for me and opened up the possibility for my running with a greater degree of integrity and authenticity for state Senate, the next year.

00:48:51.270 --> 00:49:04.980 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: mm hmm I love it I love that that you're saying what it what it did was opened you up and so for our listening audience the moment that we step into the fullness of who we are.

00:49:05.640 --> 00:49:12.240 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: great things happen and we can do more as a matter of fact, even if we think about the conversation in the last segment.

00:49:12.510 --> 00:49:28.560 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: With the work that you were doing in the March, and I for one want to thank you, my dear friend, is, I have before for for being engaged in the work it's like saying, well, I know, who I am authentically I can accept how the how.

00:49:29.820 --> 00:49:38.370 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: The world sees me, I can accept that they see me that way that doesn't mean that that's who I am I know what my experiences will be.

00:49:38.850 --> 00:49:49.650 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And with that I can continue to do the work that i'm called to do so, whether it's in your congregation where you continue to form, like a black.

00:49:50.520 --> 00:50:07.680 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: A black lives matter organization to some extent within your that's the best way I can kind of describe it, I don't think that's the exact name in the organization, but but you're saying that i'm still going to live authentically even within this denomination right.

00:50:07.800 --> 00:50:08.610 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Now there are.

00:50:08.700 --> 00:50:18.360 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Some things that we face in the denomination that we might do a little bit differently, but hey So what we obviously love the denominations we've been we've been in them forever.

00:50:19.320 --> 00:50:26.850 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And so what you're saying, I can still show up, and I can still show up and be an activist, but I also can show up.

00:50:27.270 --> 00:50:35.310 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: and be a political force as well, and I think that that's tremendous in a place like Mississippi where.

00:50:35.970 --> 00:50:50.850 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: We know that it has not always been easy to live as a black person and then as a black gay man and a small town and to run for office, and so I wonder, did you receive.

00:50:51.210 --> 00:50:58.860 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I know that there were some great things that came out of that, but do you feel like you received any back lash.

00:50:59.490 --> 00:51:11.610 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Being a i'd say more of a gay man than being a black man, because in that particular area, there seems to be quite a number of black people who are running for office, did you receive any.

00:51:14.220 --> 00:51:14.940 Carlton Elliott Smith: i'm.

00:51:16.080 --> 00:51:29.040 Carlton Elliott Smith: Not so much to my face i'll tell you an interesting thing that you know, for some of the people that I, you know were counted as part of my campaign I would later found find out that there was like a.

00:51:29.910 --> 00:51:30.930 Carlton Elliott Smith: begrudging.

00:51:31.380 --> 00:51:43.290 Carlton Elliott Smith: aspect to their participation so that's that you know for people that I, you know, had trusted before there was sort of this thing like well I should have never worked with you in the first place that they didn't get you know what they were wanting, and what they expected.

00:51:43.800 --> 00:51:58.350 Carlton Elliott Smith: So, even for the people that I counted as my allies in my campaign or supporters during my campaign it's like not all of them were really on my side they were there, you know for more what they could get out of the campaign, then you know, then what what they want to put in.

00:51:58.650 --> 00:52:08.430 Carlton Elliott Smith: I want to say, like a little thing about authenticity even around us Mississippi identity, you know, as you know, we get didn't have the state of Mississippi our home state gets a lot of.

00:52:10.140 --> 00:52:11.850 Carlton Elliott Smith: shade, you know from other parts of the.

00:52:11.850 --> 00:52:14.070 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: country and I was very conscious when I said.

00:52:14.100 --> 00:52:21.540 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Coming from a place of Mississippi but like I don't want to start, though I don't want to feed into that stereotype because obviously lots of wonderful things.

00:52:21.630 --> 00:52:29.760 Carlton Elliott Smith: And people well, this is the thing I mean i'm when I went to Howard, you know, as you know, our calm or Harris, was one of my classmates and she was from California.

00:52:30.210 --> 00:52:40.680 Carlton Elliott Smith: And they were i'll do if there's a good number of students from California there and I, you know wanted to be from California, to introduce myself to a group one time and said oh hey i'm from California to.

00:52:40.980 --> 00:52:44.340 Carlton Elliott Smith: And so, really, what from what part and it's like I didn't have like an answer to.

00:52:44.340 --> 00:52:46.020 Carlton Elliott Smith: that's not like a big fake.

00:52:46.770 --> 00:53:02.310 Carlton Elliott Smith: But I just wanted to say around that I got to the point it's like I own my Mississippi identity now very proudly I mean if whatever you know people things people say negatively about Mississippi Mississippi gave you oprah winfrey and Mississippi gave you I to be wells.

00:53:02.640 --> 00:53:10.380 Carlton Elliott Smith: Mississippi gave you Fannie Lou hamer who turned Democratic Party upside down so it's like I take great pride and being from Mississippi Mike they say.

00:53:10.680 --> 00:53:11.370 Carlton Elliott Smith: If you're a Robin.

00:53:11.430 --> 00:53:15.750 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Robin Roberts I mean Robin Roberts you can go down on on and on, oh.

00:53:16.230 --> 00:53:18.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: yeah listen Smith terrell and.

00:53:19.440 --> 00:53:28.980 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: agree, you know, there are wonderful wonderful day and I appreciate you saying that, because the other thing carlton if we're going to talk about even just.

00:53:29.220 --> 00:53:37.680 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Dismantling racism is really being able to speak the truth about it because the one thing is, I would say.

00:53:38.220 --> 00:53:43.680 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Particularly as adults, we probably experienced more as it relates to racism and micro aggressions.

00:53:44.370 --> 00:53:57.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: says, leaving Mississippi than we did and Mr because I guess truthfully and Mississippi we knew where we stood with people I knew I wasn't going to anybody's house for dinner who didn't look like me wasn't going to go and.

00:53:58.230 --> 00:54:03.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You know, hang out with them at their pool or do anything like that, but here in.

00:54:04.830 --> 00:54:19.500 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: The North you might do those things and people still have their own unconscious biases towards us well Reverend carlton East Smith, it has been such a delight to have you.

00:54:19.980 --> 00:54:29.610 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: With me today, and I do hope that we'll come back you will come back again because there's much more that we could talk about and really dig into around.

00:54:29.910 --> 00:54:39.870 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Our religion and racism, which I hope to have a whole series of that I thank you for sharing your experience and hope that it will indeed be a blessing to people.

00:54:40.320 --> 00:54:53.580 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: who are listening to show up authentically as your true self and to know that there are ways in which you can be supported when you choose to be come fully who you are.

00:54:53.910 --> 00:55:00.690 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Yes, there are some consequences to it, but it actually broadens your mind and your idea and your concept.

00:55:00.960 --> 00:55:15.270 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Of who you are and what you're able to do and to accomplish so thank you again reverence Smith, for being here, I thank each and every one of you for joining us and we're going to close out today with Reverend sniff just offering us a blessing for the day.

00:55:18.330 --> 00:55:27.270 Carlton Elliott Smith: Well, thank you again, Dr tlc I appreciate you so much you've been such a faithful friend over really all of my life pretty much except for the first.

00:55:28.230 --> 00:55:38.520 Carlton Elliott Smith: 13 years so i'm so grateful for you and your presence in this work that you're doing and I wish you all kinds of success, as you continue to go forward in your very wonderful Public Ministry.

00:55:39.000 --> 00:55:48.990 Carlton Elliott Smith: And so, as far as a blessing goes to close this out, I want to offer these words from my colleague Wayne arneson who's another unitarian universalist minister and they go like this.

00:55:49.800 --> 00:56:01.170 Carlton Elliott Smith: take courage friends the way it's often hard the path is never clear and the stakes are very high, take courage for deep down, there is another truth, you are not alone.

00:56:01.860 --> 00:56:03.210 Carlton Elliott Smith: i'm encouraged.

00:56:03.900 --> 00:56:15.810 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Thank you so much for that blessing, I do pray to all the listeners, that you will be encouraged and that you indeed will live your authentic self bye for now.

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