Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
His powerful words encourage us to move from places of fear, complacency, stagnation, ignorance and more to conscious, courageous and committed actions. Often people wonder where to start and believe they are powerless to make changes to dismantle racism. Yet if each of us starts where we are, our daily choices can result in radical changes in the status quo.
Join Rev. Dr. TLC and Don Bliss as they reveal the ways in which we can engage in dismantling racism on a day-to-day basis. From his professional experiences as a Social Worker to his personal experiences living throughout the United States and abroad, he has made it his life’s purpose to advocate for racial and social equities. Don firmly believes that every word and deed can make a difference, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant.
00:02:58.560 --> 00:03:10.890 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: hello, and welcome to dismantle racism, where our goal is to uncover dismantle and eradicate racism and we really want to create a world where racial equity is the norm.
00:03:11.160 --> 00:03:29.010 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: i'm your host the Reverend Dr tlc and today's episode we're going to be focusing on do what you can, as always i'd like to get a started by reminding us to breathe, and so, if you would Center yourself just for a moment.
00:03:30.030 --> 00:03:33.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I invite you to find your breath.
00:03:34.770 --> 00:03:38.100 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: To tune into that which gives you life.
00:03:39.600 --> 00:03:46.710 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: take a moment to connect with divine wisdom and your sacred source, whatever that is.
00:03:48.720 --> 00:03:50.100 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Just notice your breathing.
00:03:51.120 --> 00:03:57.720 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And notice how you are breathing and the thoughts that you're having, as you breathe.
00:04:00.450 --> 00:04:05.610 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: As you breathe in and out remind yourself that you are loved.
00:04:06.660 --> 00:04:09.870 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And that you are love itself.
00:04:12.000 --> 00:04:23.640 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: breathe in and out the knowledge that you are a part of a shared humanity and you carry within you the power to heal.
00:04:24.840 --> 00:04:27.510 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And to be a part of changing the status quo.
00:04:29.850 --> 00:04:31.890 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: breathe in and out.
00:04:33.360 --> 00:04:41.190 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Acknowledging the power of one contributes to the power of community.
00:04:43.170 --> 00:04:44.550 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: now take a deep breath in.
00:04:45.870 --> 00:04:47.010 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: inside out.
00:04:52.890 --> 00:04:59.490 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Arthur Ashe once said start where you are use what you have do what you can.
00:05:00.570 --> 00:05:18.000 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: is powerful words encouraged us to move from those places of fear complacency stagnation ignorance and move more into consciousness being courageous and engaging in committed X.
00:05:19.620 --> 00:05:22.410 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: and often people wonder where do I start.
00:05:23.820 --> 00:05:35.310 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And they believe that they are powerless to change or they're powerless to dismantle racism yet if each one of us starts, where we are and do what we can.
00:05:36.570 --> 00:05:42.120 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Our daily choices can result in radical changes to the status quo.
00:05:42.840 --> 00:05:52.860 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So my guest today will share some of the many ways that he has practiced dismantling racism on a day to day basis both professionally and.
00:05:53.130 --> 00:06:06.150 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Personally, so i'd like to welcome my guest on bliss and share with you a little bit about who he is he is a social worker and an activist and he's been so from almost 40 years.
00:06:06.720 --> 00:06:31.770 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: He has been employed or volunteered in the private and public sector worked in government agencies and outpatient cycle therapy clinics and he has experienced working with people with many different types of problems and people who are just different than hey or you or I.
00:06:33.120 --> 00:06:37.080 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And that difference is what helps to shape is activism.
00:06:37.860 --> 00:06:53.820 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: He is an extremely curious person and an adventurous person and he asked a ton of questions, much like myself, because he wants to know more about the individual he's lived abroad and Africa and South America.
00:06:54.510 --> 00:07:03.450 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And in parts of the United States he's actually lived in the north, south, east and west and he is fluent in Brazilian Portuguese.
00:07:03.960 --> 00:07:14.040 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: he's a very passionate person when it comes to human rights and civil rights and he loves working and advocating with marginalized people.
00:07:14.790 --> 00:07:30.030 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: done firmly believes that every word and deed can make a difference, no matter how small what we do matters i'd like to welcome my guest today done bliss welcome to the show.
00:07:31.080 --> 00:07:33.060 Don B.: Thank you so much it's nice to be here.
00:07:34.710 --> 00:07:45.450 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: done, one of the things that I start out each week with is asking my guests, how do they ground themselves, and so, specifically, I want to know that.
00:07:46.380 --> 00:07:56.340 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Whether you have a sacred practice that actually grounds, you and really influences your decision to be an active so severely kind of a two part question.
00:07:58.620 --> 00:08:12.420 Don B.: Yes, my you know I think my my most important sacred practice is actually connecting with nature nature really sustains me and calms me and I find.
00:08:13.440 --> 00:08:29.190 Don B.: walks in nature, sitting in nature, particularly rejuvenating, but I also appreciate being involved in spiritual communities and i'm usually involved in well always involved in one or two spiritual communities and I enjoy.
00:08:30.360 --> 00:08:43.890 Don B.: A lot of the inspiration and the the meditative messages that I and interactions and and all of that that I received through those practices, I do have a daily meditation.
00:08:47.220 --> 00:09:04.680 Don B.: Just connecting with myself as and and my humanity in that is what would influence my activism, because in connecting with my own humanity, I am better able to recognize and connect with the humanity of others.
00:09:06.090 --> 00:09:15.090 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I so appreciate you saying and connecting with your own humanity, because one of the things that drives the work that I do, I believe.
00:09:15.750 --> 00:09:24.510 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: From my place of sacred source there's a scripture that says that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
00:09:25.020 --> 00:09:34.140 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And I believe that often we can't love our neighbors because we don't truly love ourselves when we love ourselves, we don't have to live in this place of.
00:09:34.800 --> 00:09:55.710 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Fear of the other or think someone else is going to take what we have because what's meant for us is going to be for us and we can share with one another, so I really appreciate this acknowledgement of your own humanity that really drives you to do the work that you do.
00:09:57.030 --> 00:09:58.740 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: want to ask about.
00:10:02.820 --> 00:10:05.880 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Your own self transformation in this area.
00:10:06.960 --> 00:10:18.570 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Much of the work that we do as an advocate or an activist usually comes with self transformation and typically there's some event that sparks us that says.
00:10:19.050 --> 00:10:31.770 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I have to pay attention to this there's something wrong with what's happening to this group or in this situation so tell us a little bit about your story what's your story.
00:10:32.910 --> 00:10:38.610 Don B.: So I feel, on one hand, that there was not a seminal event.
00:10:40.050 --> 00:10:45.030 Don B.: So, to speak because I grew up in a religious tradition in which.
00:10:46.530 --> 00:10:47.160 Don B.: The.
00:10:48.450 --> 00:10:55.350 Don B.: Awareness of the suffering of others, was very important, and in which charity charity towards others and charity.
00:10:56.790 --> 00:11:14.880 Don B.: In general, was very important that the denomination itself has an extremely rich and profound history of charitable giving and charitable organizations they're all kinds of charitable organizations affiliated with this particular tradition.
00:11:16.080 --> 00:11:18.810 Don B.: So I grew up with a sense that.
00:11:20.700 --> 00:11:29.490 Don B.: You know there, but for the grace of God go I was something I often heard growing up and so again this profound awareness that.
00:11:31.320 --> 00:11:47.100 Don B.: It wasn't all equal everything was not equal across society I didn't have a personal sense of that I grew up in a small town, there was, I think one Mexican family Mexican American family one black family in town.
00:11:48.150 --> 00:11:57.480 Don B.: So I didn't have a personal experience of that until I went to college and I really did not have a sense that.
00:11:58.410 --> 00:12:22.440 Don B.: There were communities within my country that did not have the same opportunities that did not have the same that were not treated the same by society by the government, I had no no personal awareness of that until I went to college and was randomly assigned a roommate from a.
00:12:24.090 --> 00:12:31.290 Don B.: Culture that was very different than mine, he was a black man from flint Michigan and I discovered this.
00:12:32.970 --> 00:12:42.660 Don B.: I discovered that there are sub cultures within the United States that we're not one monolithic culture and that they're.
00:12:43.350 --> 00:12:55.740 Don B.: Among these groups, there are many different experiences that are you know there were many lived experiences that were very different than mine, and this was a revelation to me.
00:12:56.220 --> 00:13:01.260 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: um so, in fact, there was something that sparked a change.
00:13:01.290 --> 00:13:01.860 Don B.: And yeah.
00:13:01.890 --> 00:13:03.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: like this awareness, because.
00:13:04.110 --> 00:13:16.950 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I I encounter many people, particularly in my role as an adjunct Professor I encounter a lot of students who have never ever been in a class, first of all, where they've had a.
00:13:17.670 --> 00:13:24.510 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: African American professor, but they've been in schools where they've not seen another person of color and and.
00:13:24.780 --> 00:13:38.280 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What this actually does is that it limits our ability to reach beyond ourselves and really have an interest in the other, so it sounds like for you, when you moved out of your small town.
00:13:38.610 --> 00:13:58.110 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And you went to college that open your eyes, I dare say that actually having a roommate also impacted you, because what if you didn't have a roommate who was different from you, but was the same perhaps it wouldn't have sparked but there was something about that relationship that.
00:13:59.310 --> 00:14:01.710 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: encouraged you to be an advocate.
00:14:02.670 --> 00:14:11.910 Don B.: Do Eric he was very different from me as well, and he was very open to who I was and what my experience was and we became very close and.
00:14:12.360 --> 00:14:28.680 Don B.: He had his running buddies from you know his high school sports and whatever he was involved in and and some of them came to college, you know where where we were and I didn't know anyone, and so I naturally fell in with him and his friends too and.
00:14:29.130 --> 00:14:31.110 Don B.: So it was just a completely unique.
00:14:31.110 --> 00:14:31.890 Don B.: And and.
00:14:33.960 --> 00:14:35.580 Don B.: yeah wonderful experience.
00:14:35.760 --> 00:14:43.830 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So what accounts for, and we will have to take a break in a few minutes but i've also met people that once they have had.
00:14:44.940 --> 00:14:57.840 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Once they've got to college and they had a black roommate they changed roommates what accounted for you saying i'm going to stay i'm going to stick with this and i'm going to be interested in the other person.
00:14:58.650 --> 00:15:21.390 Don B.: Well, to be quite honest, I think that people respond to differences fundamentally in two different ways there's either fear or a curiosity and, as you mentioned, I am a pathologically curious person and and I was open and I was you know I wanted to know about this other other.
00:15:23.220 --> 00:15:32.220 Don B.: What am I trying to say like thread of life, this other you know, a slice of life, you know I I was curious about I wanted to know about and I was having fun, you know.
00:15:32.970 --> 00:15:45.330 Don B.: I enjoyed hanging with him and his friends, and so you know, for me, there was no question but I generally have a response to differences that way, I want to know more i'm not afraid.
00:15:45.660 --> 00:15:46.110 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: i'm.
00:15:46.830 --> 00:15:48.810 Don B.: not afraid of what they might touch in me.
00:15:49.800 --> 00:15:59.580 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I would say to our listeners, then one of the things you're saying is like curiosity overrule the fear at times when it comes to something like this we can't do that in every situation but.
00:15:59.790 --> 00:16:16.500 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: We can be curious enough about the other to want to know them and to explore their culture, we have to take a break, we will be right back with my guest today Donald bliss I am your host Reverend Dr T llc this is dismantle racism we'll be right back.
00:18:29.730 --> 00:18:44.790 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: we're back with dismantle racism my guest today is don bliss done, you are a social worker, so you understand the importance of self transformation and the work that we have to do as individuals in order.
00:18:45.180 --> 00:18:58.290 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: To change our lives and to change the situations around us, and I wonder throughout your process of becoming an activist and getting to know the other.
00:18:59.310 --> 00:19:11.790 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: How is really doing the work changed you what have you what have you learned about yourself, in particular, as you have traveled this road of becoming an actor is.
00:19:13.380 --> 00:19:21.030 Don B.: You know I think the most important learning for me about myself is just how fearless.
00:19:22.140 --> 00:19:23.340 Don B.: fearless I can be.
00:19:25.110 --> 00:19:36.600 Don B.: I you know I always knew that I was a curious person right um but it's almost like the more that I see of life and the world, the more I want to know.
00:19:37.200 --> 00:19:59.670 Don B.: And I I love knowing about people's lives and people's experiences, I know I want to understand as much as I can, how your experience is different from mine and how that might inform my general attitudes, you know my political attitudes.
00:20:00.900 --> 00:20:08.070 Don B.: And, and that, so I almost feel like the transformation, for me, is just.
00:20:09.930 --> 00:20:16.500 Don B.: Making me more and more open and more and more curious and more more and more fearless.
00:20:17.070 --> 00:20:28.590 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: hmm say a little bit more about the fearless piece, because what are some of the things that that you've done so it's great to be curious because lots of people are curious about the other.
00:20:29.400 --> 00:20:39.030 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What are you doing with that curiosity because we're talking today about doing what you can so what's been some of the things for you, that you've done.
00:20:39.810 --> 00:20:52.470 Don B.: Well, I do I guy go places that other people, you know who wouldn't go I do things that other people might not do I, you know i'm one of.
00:20:53.070 --> 00:21:05.940 Don B.: The white people who can say i've been the only white person in many situations, and not just in this country, of course, but in various situations in this country events, whether those were.
00:21:07.200 --> 00:21:11.910 Don B.: You know, Community events or or social events or even.
00:21:13.380 --> 00:21:36.960 Don B.: You know, like more intimate events more intimate gatherings and again in this country and out, and so I have much more exposure to the lived experiences of other people, and what it's like to be in you know in their world and so that has been a tremendous gift to me.
00:21:37.650 --> 00:21:44.190 Don B.: And certainly informs what I do and how I think about issues and about problems.
00:21:44.310 --> 00:21:52.260 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Right and and we're going to talk a little bit more a little bit later about just some of the things that you've actually done because it's great that you can.
00:21:52.620 --> 00:22:02.670 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: mix and mingle with all different types of folks and that certainly dismantles racism, to an extent because it informs, as you said.
00:22:03.240 --> 00:22:14.670 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What we do and how we think about the other, and so, for those of you who are listening, it is important to understand that each step we take towards.
00:22:15.030 --> 00:22:35.670 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Seeing one another as in my perspective, as divine human beings in that we all have this shared humanity, it helps to inform not only who we talked to and associate with but it informs other things that we do on a day to day basis, who we decide to vote for, for instance, who we.
00:22:37.050 --> 00:22:48.930 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: decide to engage with or buy from and so we'll talk a little bit more about that later done what what some of the day to day things that you do, but I want to just ask you.
00:22:49.350 --> 00:23:03.990 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: In this this this fight for social justice that you have, and I know you pretty well, and so I know when you talk about being fearless that there are times in which you're absolutely fearless and you just kind of go in.
00:23:05.370 --> 00:23:07.590 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: talk to me a little bit about.
00:23:08.610 --> 00:23:19.020 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Maybe what have been some of the difficult experiences that you've had doing this work with dismantling racism or really being an advocate for other folks.
00:23:20.250 --> 00:23:26.580 Don B.: yeah you know, I just want to go back really quickly to make another point about what I just said, you know it's like.
00:23:27.090 --> 00:23:35.730 Don B.: it's like this, we hear white people say that racism doesn't exist, the racism is over that it's you know it's not as bad as other people say.
00:23:36.570 --> 00:23:40.230 Don B.: If those white people even experienced.
00:23:40.890 --> 00:23:52.470 Don B.: A tiny bit of the lived experience of black people in this country they couldn't say that you know that's coming from a place of someone who has only moved in white circles.
00:23:52.770 --> 00:24:01.290 Don B.: predominantly overwhelmingly white circles, because there's no way that you can talk to black people in the United States today and think that racism is over.
00:24:01.770 --> 00:24:16.410 Don B.: You know, so that that's how important I think experiences are life experiences and being open and willing to be in those situations that might not be your usual situation.
00:24:17.790 --> 00:24:23.310 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Donald before you before you answer them, the question that I asked that you, you brought that second piece in.
00:24:24.540 --> 00:24:33.300 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: It it also moves beyond just talking to a black person it moves to relationship, because I can think about plenty of white people that I know.
00:24:33.600 --> 00:24:47.250 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Who would have no idea what my lived experience is like because I may know them as a colleague, or I may know them in some other setting where i'm not talking about my lived experience, so I, I just want to add that.
00:24:47.970 --> 00:25:09.330 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That relationship is important, and so, when you talked before about you know going to a party or engaging in in situations where you are the only white person that's because you have a relationship with that group of people and you're invited into those circles.
00:25:09.420 --> 00:25:09.750 Right.
00:25:10.920 --> 00:25:11.580 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Different.
00:25:11.640 --> 00:25:21.570 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You don't just show up and say hey, this is the black party i'm going to go over here and hang out know that that may not work out quite as well, so I appreciate you.
00:25:21.930 --> 00:25:38.790 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Adding to that point, but I am curious about the question that I asked you in terms of difficult experiences, would you say that you've had some difficulties along the way, and advocating for Racial equity and social justice.
00:25:39.750 --> 00:25:41.550 Don B.: You know I really.
00:25:42.720 --> 00:25:57.720 Don B.: I don't consider any of the challenges that i've had whatever they might have been to be difficulties, quite honestly, so you know I may have been called a name for being in one of those.
00:25:58.620 --> 00:26:16.260 Don B.: Situations or experiences we just talked about, or you know I may have my friends might have been criticized for bringing me into that situation or others might just wonder what the heck I was doing there, and so I have experienced some.
00:26:17.340 --> 00:26:29.460 Don B.: What i'll call negativity in some of those circumstances, but it wasn't I didn't experience it as a difficulty because it made sense to me.
00:26:29.730 --> 00:26:30.720 Don B.: You know I didn't.
00:26:31.740 --> 00:26:32.370 Don B.: I didn't.
00:26:34.290 --> 00:26:42.180 Don B.: I didn't take it personally and I I understood it, you know I mean that's a logical question, what is this.
00:26:42.810 --> 00:26:58.770 Don B.: What is this man doing in this situation or it's a natural curiosity, and so I didn't even yes, there was discomfort in the moment, of course, no one likes to be called names or feel like one might be at risk in some way in a situation but.
00:27:00.300 --> 00:27:01.680 Don B.: At the same time it.
00:27:03.390 --> 00:27:25.260 Don B.: yeah it didn't feel like a difficulty and you know the other different difficulty, I would say is you know i'm i'm a big personality i'm I can be very intense and you know i'm i'm very curious so as you noted, I think you know I might ask a lot of questions and.
00:27:27.000 --> 00:27:33.420 Don B.: And sometimes I don't know when to be quiet and and just you know.
00:27:34.770 --> 00:27:43.470 Don B.: be present, without having to you know more, or whatever, the situation is so you know I recall.
00:27:44.220 --> 00:27:58.620 Don B.: And, and in that way I can take up more space, maybe in a room if there are others who are not as comfortable speaking up or asking the questions or or even jumping in and and trying to do the work.
00:28:00.240 --> 00:28:01.230 Don B.: You know it's.
00:28:04.140 --> 00:28:19.950 Don B.: If i'm being too big, you know, in the ways that I can be big i'm not leaving room for others and not leaving that in but not not not embodying and the invitation for others to be so.
00:28:21.000 --> 00:28:23.460 Don B.: yeah what what i've learned from that and.
00:28:24.960 --> 00:28:42.030 Don B.: And you know, I have to say, a black woman, whom I respected greatly kind of took me aside at one point and that's really where I where I really got it, you know I mean I knew that and I still know i'm still working on it, as you, as you know, but.
00:28:43.440 --> 00:28:48.210 Don B.: But I really got it, you know you don't always I don't always have to give my opinion.
00:28:49.980 --> 00:28:57.900 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: that's it that's really a valuable lesson, particularly for white folks who are listening, who want to be advocates.
00:28:58.350 --> 00:29:10.080 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: there's this place to speak and there's a place, not to speak because one of the things that we often talk about in the black community is around this white savior complex.
00:29:10.470 --> 00:29:18.840 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And so there's this part where white people will come in and like yeah yeah I want to help, or what to speak up for us in a situation which.
00:29:19.170 --> 00:29:29.850 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And where we're more than capable of speaking up for ourselves, and so there there's this delicate balance that has to be late because sure there are times when.
00:29:30.480 --> 00:29:36.360 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: We are, for instance in a meeting or board room somewhere where we've made a point.
00:29:36.780 --> 00:29:47.670 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And folks are coming down on us about the point that we've made yes, it would be nice in those situations too often have a person to say yes, well, I agree with Tara Lynn.
00:29:48.150 --> 00:29:58.380 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: but also to understand the difference between supporting me and an idea that I have or my voice, or when there's been blatant racism and.
00:29:59.100 --> 00:30:18.630 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You don't say anything versus saying, I have to be the one to be her voice and what happens is it takes the relationship, it takes understanding the culture, you know, to know when you kind of taken over versus.
00:30:19.710 --> 00:30:34.140 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: When it's Okay, for you just to let it let it be, I wonder, and we do have to take another break that's really one way of understanding missteps that we make in this work of dismantling racism.
00:30:35.520 --> 00:30:47.550 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: getting to know what's appropriate to say and not to say after the break i'd love for you to discuss if there's been any other mistakes that you've made along the way, or missteps because.
00:30:48.120 --> 00:30:56.460 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: One of the things in terms of my listeners is that that they often worry about making the mistake worried worried that i'm not going to say the right thing.
00:30:56.970 --> 00:31:12.750 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And we have to move beyond that so i'd love to know if there have been other mistakes and how you've pushed through those mistakes, but we'll take that question when we come back from the break this is dismantle racism i'm your host the Reverend Dr tlc we'll be right back.
00:31:17.370 --> 00:31:18.300 Don B.: To the podcast.
00:33:49.230 --> 00:34:04.860 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: we're back with dismantle racism i'm your host Reverend Dr tlc my guest today is done bliss done, we were talking right before the break about some missteps taking up perhaps too much space.
00:34:05.520 --> 00:34:11.430 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: is one of them, but what might be some other mistakes or missteps that you've made.
00:34:11.880 --> 00:34:24.720 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: In this journey to help marginalized people and then how did you push through those mistakes to continue doing the work and not stay in this place of you know guilt or shame, or I don't know what i'm doing.
00:34:26.430 --> 00:34:39.090 Don B.: Well, I think the most important thing, I did was to not personalize things and not take it personally when someone called me on something I said or.
00:34:41.850 --> 00:34:42.270 Don B.: yeah.
00:34:43.740 --> 00:34:55.440 Don B.: or wanted to talk about a political issue for, for that matter, but I think it's really important to have as we were talking connections real authentic connections with people who are different.
00:34:56.610 --> 00:35:17.670 Don B.: And in those connections, one is free to make mistakes, without judgment and trusting that the other person knows your heart and knows your intention and accepts that you're ignorant, you know, on some level, I mean just to be really blunt about it.
00:35:19.590 --> 00:35:20.250 Don B.: There are.
00:35:22.590 --> 00:35:28.890 Don B.: You know a lot of racism, for me, is born of ignorance there's just.
00:35:30.300 --> 00:35:43.200 Don B.: You know, like white people can say that it's over racism in the United States it's over that's just pure ignorance, they they don't they clearly are not educated and they aren't talking to black people you know and.
00:35:45.360 --> 00:35:46.260 Don B.: And so.
00:35:47.490 --> 00:35:59.220 Don B.: You know I have had, I have been blessed in my life to have many people I can talk with people of color black people, but also people you know various.
00:35:59.670 --> 00:36:05.880 Don B.: various backgrounds, with him, I could talk about these things, and also, who could ask me anything that they.
00:36:06.210 --> 00:36:20.490 Don B.: Were curious about and wondering about and needed to process about why why people do this or you know things that they do or you know, whatever it is, and and all of my friends who know that they can ask me anything and I don't um.
00:36:22.650 --> 00:36:35.850 Don B.: yeah I don't judge ignorance it's just a lack of it's just a lack of information it's a simple lack of information, and so I don't react to that and again my my friends have been either.
00:36:37.710 --> 00:36:49.140 Don B.: So that's that's an important piece, I think, is having genuine authentic connections with people who are different, so that one can learn.
00:36:49.830 --> 00:36:58.860 Don B.: And one can learn about their lived experiences without Personalizing it and without taking on guilt.
00:36:59.490 --> 00:36:59.760 Because.
00:37:01.290 --> 00:37:12.540 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What I love is you're saying without Personalizing it and I wanted to just pick up on that point, because one of the other things that you're saying is to let go of the ego.
00:37:12.870 --> 00:37:25.590 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That would get in the way and I use this term, people are ignorant, I know that that is probably hard for a lot of people but white people in general around this work.
00:37:25.920 --> 00:37:37.710 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Because often what I hear in my work and what I know about the research that's looked at categories of what defines whiteness is this idea of perfection.
00:37:39.210 --> 00:37:55.380 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And you cannot be perfect if you're going to do this work around dismantling racism and to be an advocate, so I I would love for our listeners just to really soak that in around.
00:37:57.060 --> 00:38:03.660 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: letting go the ego letting go of being perfect and increase your awareness, because, like you said.
00:38:04.080 --> 00:38:17.910 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: A lot of it is related to ignorance, now there are some people who are not ignorant of racism and willfully know what is going on and they continue to engage in it, but I think, for the most part.
00:38:18.360 --> 00:38:24.780 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: that there are more people out there who want to do good but, like you say they just stay in this place of.
00:38:26.280 --> 00:38:45.240 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: unknowing and I have a colleague who's actually been on the show Dr Martin Dorothy Martin devil, who will often say that people choose ignorance, they choose to remain in that place so i'm thankful that you've chosen not to remain in that place I am curious, though.
00:38:45.270 --> 00:38:57.420 Don B.: I would also add, though, that a lot of people, a lot of people don't know where to go for more information Eric don't know how to pursue it, you know so some people are stuck in that ignorance, but not.
00:38:58.800 --> 00:39:00.750 Don B.: You know, not with mal intention.
00:39:01.320 --> 00:39:02.160 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Of course, but.
00:39:03.210 --> 00:39:15.870 Don B.: Even and we don't have to judge it ignorance, you know it's just a lack of knowing it's a lack of information we don't have to say, you know what do you mean i'm ignorant it no don't personalize it, you know it's not about.
00:39:16.410 --> 00:39:29.490 Don B.: That reaction it's about yes, I am ignorant of that culture, you know, yes, I am ignorant of that dynamic yes i'm ignorant of that factor, let me find out more about it.
00:39:30.000 --> 00:39:36.060 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So don that's a really good point now, I just want to say that racism doesn't require intention.
00:39:36.150 --> 00:39:41.100 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Right right because often we're slowly raises but.
00:39:41.730 --> 00:39:59.220 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You just said something that's really powerful and that is a lot of people don't know where to go, so what would you suggest to people in your uncovering of yourself and becoming an activist, what would you say to folks when they say I don't know where to go and what to do.
00:40:00.510 --> 00:40:02.010 Don B.: Well, I would.
00:40:03.690 --> 00:40:12.750 Don B.: You know, it depends on where you live, much less though in this Internet age, but you know i'm I really believe in.
00:40:13.860 --> 00:40:19.920 Don B.: getting out of the ivory tower, so to speak, it's great to read, I think that's really important, I think.
00:40:20.430 --> 00:40:29.670 Don B.: Knowledge of the past, someone who loves history, as you know, i'm i'm fascinated by history endlessly fascinated and curious about it.
00:40:30.180 --> 00:40:35.730 Don B.: And I think history is very important, but I often say.
00:40:36.660 --> 00:40:53.670 Don B.: If somebody comes to me and says like, how can I learn more about this, I often say don't read about the past meet about what's going on right now, because one of the things that reading about the past does for white people often is it gives them a pass.
00:40:53.760 --> 00:40:55.320 Don B.: Because Oh, this was in the past.
00:40:55.380 --> 00:41:00.810 Don B.: You know I know this is not happening, we don't have slavery now So how could it be so bad right.
00:41:01.200 --> 00:41:09.270 Don B.: So you know they see the past and they see the gains of the past, you know and how far we've come from what was and they don't see how.
00:41:09.660 --> 00:41:26.790 Don B.: Where we are now and how far we have to go, so in terms of educating oneself like more intellectually and you know, like book education, I I don't want to say I just missed the past but I don't I feel like the President is a lot more important.
00:41:27.270 --> 00:41:28.110 Don B.: You know what's.
00:41:28.140 --> 00:41:31.860 Don B.: going on right now, and you know.
00:41:33.600 --> 00:41:50.130 Don B.: It takes seeking out information, but on a more personal level and more local level, I I would encourage people to get involved in organizations and to pursue relationships friendships genuine friendships and and not from a.
00:41:51.450 --> 00:41:54.810 Don B.: Not from a perspective that you know there's there's.
00:41:56.010 --> 00:42:01.500 Don B.: You don't want to be coming to people as if they are your lab experiment and you're wanting to know everything that.
00:42:02.520 --> 00:42:20.100 Don B.: That you know you might want to know about this person or whatever, but just connect on a personal level, and let it go where it goes, because if you're being genuine with them when you'll eventually get an invitation, you know, and they will know they will be open to your questions.
00:42:20.160 --> 00:42:20.610 Don B.: You know.
00:42:21.870 --> 00:42:29.640 Don B.: Your what you know, for you are perfectly innocent questions, but you know, for others might not be and I also want to make the point in that.
00:42:30.120 --> 00:42:39.960 Don B.: That black people aren't aren't responsible for educating you about you know white people about black folks right it's white people's responsibility for that, but.
00:42:41.190 --> 00:42:41.760 Don B.: You know.
00:42:42.930 --> 00:42:55.050 Don B.: We do need people of color in our lives, who are open to our ignorance and okay with our ignorance and also don't judge our ignorance, as we don't want to judge sorry so.
00:42:57.300 --> 00:43:07.410 Don B.: Go gently, you know and be open with an open heart and an open mind and and you will find organizations in your Community where you can volunteer.
00:43:07.710 --> 00:43:18.360 Don B.: don't come in big like I could have been big sometimes you know or whatever, but be there as a it's okay to be a worker bee you know i'm a problem solver I.
00:43:19.020 --> 00:43:30.150 Don B.: Some ways i'm a natural leader i'm very thoughtful you know analytical about things, and so you know, like in a crisis i'm not someone i'm always like okay what needs to be done right.
00:43:30.960 --> 00:43:37.980 Don B.: But if I come in, like that, especially to an organization that is largely people of color that's not that's not going to work.
00:43:38.370 --> 00:43:40.500 Don B.: You know i'm immediately going to ruffle.
00:43:40.500 --> 00:43:46.080 Don B.: feathers and people are going to be like, who is this white guy come in and you're like what is like what does he think he is.
00:43:46.110 --> 00:43:47.310 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: taking over right.
00:43:47.520 --> 00:43:51.300 Don B.: Exactly and it's okay for me to be a worker bee it's.
00:43:51.330 --> 00:44:03.120 Don B.: Okay, for me to be the person stuffing envelopes I don't have to be the person in the meetings, all the time trying to come up with ideas and solve problems I can it's Okay, for you know for the group to tell me what to do.
00:44:03.540 --> 00:44:04.740 Don B.: And for me to just do it.
00:44:05.580 --> 00:44:15.000 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: So I what I appreciate about what you're saying right now is that you know we started out the show talking about do what you can when you can where you can and.
00:44:15.390 --> 00:44:23.280 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I know that you've done a lot and that's why you call yourself an activist, because you really get engaged so.
00:44:23.760 --> 00:44:34.860 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Just for our listening audience who saying like you know it's great that he's saying you know get to know some people of color go to some events, etc, but.
00:44:35.460 --> 00:44:43.410 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: You just mentioned one thing get involved in some organizations, what are some other things that you've done or what would you encourage people to do.
00:44:43.680 --> 00:44:53.250 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: When we say do what you can where you can when you can and we're going to have to take a break in just a minute, but you can you can start before the break What would you offer to people.
00:44:54.330 --> 00:45:15.450 Don B.: You know, one of the things as someone who has been a civil rights and human rights, rights activists, for decades, had to look at in this time, you know of renewed reckoning and renewed looking you know examination of of our the racism in our society.
00:45:16.800 --> 00:45:24.810 Don B.: It you know I really had to ask myself what what what else can I do and I realized that there's a lot that I could do.
00:45:25.230 --> 00:45:37.170 Don B.: I already write letters I already make calls I already show up I already volunteer and you know, do the worker bee stuff or whatever needs to be done, but that couldn't be done in a pandemic.
00:45:37.830 --> 00:45:47.370 Don B.: There were no groups meeting to you know stuffing envelopes somewhere, there was no, you know there were protests going on, and of course I showed up there, but.
00:45:48.060 --> 00:46:01.290 Don B.: I, so I really had to sit with like well what at what else is there for me to do in this area and I realized they're probably more calls I could make and more letters that I could write but.
00:46:02.370 --> 00:46:12.480 Don B.: It was a really powerful you know time for me of reflection of like what else you know what other work that I can do, and one of the things that I realized is.
00:46:13.620 --> 00:46:26.910 Don B.: I am very political about how I spend my money anyway and i've been an extremely thoughtful about where who is getting my dollars i'll ultimately in the moment or ultimately you know who's that.
00:46:27.450 --> 00:46:41.220 Don B.: who owns the corporations or whatever, and I realized that I could prioritize black owned businesses in a way that I hadn't been before of course it's I was always you know, please, to find one and to.
00:46:41.580 --> 00:46:46.440 Don B.: patronize one if I could you know, but I I didn't purposely seek them out.
00:46:47.370 --> 00:47:00.630 Don B.: And so, one of the things that I have started doing is if I go into a candle shop and i'm looking for a candle I will, I will start with I will you know when the Clerk comes and says, can I help you.
00:47:01.140 --> 00:47:18.480 Don B.: My first question is, are any of these companies any of your suppliers black owned or women owned or LGBT Q I owned businesses women owned it, you know I I asked the class my very first question, sometimes they don't know yeah.
00:47:18.900 --> 00:47:30.360 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: We do have to take a really quick break we'll come back and you can continue your conversation on helping people to understand what they can do, where they are and how they can we'll be right back with dismantle racism.
00:48:01.980 --> 00:48:03.990 menopause and how it impacts on your life.
00:49:35.940 --> 00:49:44.250 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: we're back with dismantle racism done before the break you were giving a list of things that folks could do.
00:49:45.000 --> 00:49:59.340 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Such as going into organizations, being the worker bee and etc, that would help to dismantle racism from the places where we are it's not about being out in the street and marching or.
00:50:00.480 --> 00:50:11.700 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: starting a big rally somewhere or petition somewhere, it could be those things but it's about what we can do in our own corner of the world, and I couldn't help, but to think, as you were talking.
00:50:12.300 --> 00:50:25.740 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That a big part of it is educating ourselves educating ourselves about the things that contribute to systemic racism educating ourselves about.
00:50:26.100 --> 00:50:38.820 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: What is needed for folks of color and not just assuming that we know, but really educating ourselves and that education might be, as you said, it said earlier, it could be.
00:50:39.450 --> 00:50:54.900 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Reading and informing ourselves, it could be about engaging in relationships, it could be about taking courses which I often talk about some fight, I offer courses, it could be getting in there and learning the nitty gritty.
00:50:55.530 --> 00:51:14.070 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: of racism, because racism is a dirty thing it's not just wearing the white hood the nitty gritty so i'm wondering, are there other things that you would offer to folks to help us to understand what we can do in our own corner of the world.
00:51:16.050 --> 00:51:17.010 Don B.: Well, I think.
00:51:18.270 --> 00:51:27.000 Don B.: You know, getting back to what I was saying, I really feel like where we spend our money is is vitally important, is critically important.
00:51:28.590 --> 00:51:41.580 Don B.: One of my favorite quotes of mine is every penny you spend is a vote literally I I I feel very, very strongly about this and.
00:51:44.130 --> 00:51:59.910 Don B.: That is something that is it's something that seems simple and small and unimportant because of that, but it all adds up and your voice matters you know even these calls and letters we've.
00:52:01.140 --> 00:52:19.320 Don B.: There, there are numerous instances where we can see where few voices are than amplified by other voices and others, and it makes a difference, it makes a difference in how these politicians vote it makes a difference in how corporations behave and what they do.
00:52:21.150 --> 00:52:23.520 Don B.: And I think that.
00:52:24.750 --> 00:52:27.720 Don B.: people get overwhelmed by that the idea of.
00:52:28.260 --> 00:52:40.230 Don B.: of prioritizing how they spend their money in that way, I mean someone might get overwhelmed by by the thought of asking a clerk when they walk into a store for the first question, you know, do you are any.
00:52:40.950 --> 00:52:49.620 Don B.: of your suppliers, you know black owned companies, some people are intimidated by that it's okay to be uncomfortable it's Okay, you know that's not.
00:52:50.670 --> 00:53:04.800 Don B.: If if you never did anything because of discomfort you wouldn't do anything because I mean we're always just you know there's always a little anxiety about doing something new there's always well almost always I won't say always but often.
00:53:05.910 --> 00:53:13.110 Don B.: we're doing something new, with asking new questions with being in new relationships and that's all okay so it's.
00:53:14.010 --> 00:53:20.910 Don B.: it's very important vitally important to be okay with your discomfort and with being uncomfortable.
00:53:21.870 --> 00:53:34.380 Don B.: you're going to have you're going to have uncomfortable conversations if you're going to grow period there's no way around it there's going to be a challenging conversation for you or you're not going to move anywhere.
00:53:35.100 --> 00:53:41.640 Don B.: But, again, I prioritize money and i'm going to use China as an example, products from China.
00:53:42.540 --> 00:53:51.690 Don B.: Years ago, I decided, I was going to avoid products made in China for political, economic and environmental reasons.
00:53:52.290 --> 00:54:06.840 Don B.: And so I studiously avoid buying products from China and every time I say that to somebody like oh come on that's impossible, you know how can you do that, I even went shopping with a friend once and specifically told her.
00:54:07.290 --> 00:54:28.650 Don B.: That I specifically shop in this store, you know X store, which is not an expensive store it's a little more expensive than you know, maybe old navy or some of these where you can get clothes like super super cheap um, but it is not an expensive store it's a clothing store and.
00:54:29.730 --> 00:54:41.310 Don B.: Because I could find lots of products that were not made in China and even after saying that she said, oh Come on, you know, like that that's not sure what that's about.
00:54:41.820 --> 00:54:53.160 Don B.: So we go into the store and I start pulling clothes off the Rack and showing her the labels it's sometimes, one has to spend a little more than one might on a product from China.
00:54:53.940 --> 00:55:04.140 Don B.: And I definitely have done that, and i've done that on at times in my life i've been I had very limited very limited income one time, I was coming back from living abroad.
00:55:04.620 --> 00:55:16.410 Don B.: And, had I don't know, maybe $1,000 to spend to do you know refurnish a room somewhere I probably rented a room somewhere I don't remember the case there is no, it was a studio apartment I had my own apartment.
00:55:16.950 --> 00:55:25.620 Don B.: And I I remember, I spent $120 on a microwave instead of $40 so that I could avoid because everything from China was $40 right.
00:55:27.060 --> 00:55:34.860 Don B.: or around that price, and I believe I spent $120 to avoid buying a microwave man made in China because it's that important to me.
00:55:35.400 --> 00:55:41.250 Don B.: If it's important to you, you will you will manage it, you will find a way you know to do that and.
00:55:41.880 --> 00:55:47.880 Don B.: Of course you can't Stop Shop at certain stores were virtually everything is made in China, but you can.
00:55:48.390 --> 00:55:59.970 Don B.: You can shop at other stores, where the prices are similar, if not the same, and there are products that are not made in China so that's an example so again um I have made it a practice of.
00:56:00.420 --> 00:56:13.410 Don B.: If I want to buy something online masks it came time to buy masks we had to buy masks I literally search black owned mass you know companies or whatever.
00:56:13.950 --> 00:56:21.900 Don B.: And I found this this company, of course, because they're out there, we just have to be willing to do the extra little cliques.
00:56:22.530 --> 00:56:35.940 Don B.: And maybe spend a little more money, but not always, and sometimes spend less, but every time you spend money you are you worse expressing your values, and you are voting, and so, and so.
00:56:36.690 --> 00:56:40.860 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Well done, we are quickly running out of time.
00:56:40.890 --> 00:56:41.280 Don B.: yeah I.
00:56:42.240 --> 00:56:55.770 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: appreciate that you've really given us some food for thoughts for ways in which folks can do what they can where they can you know you can write a letter, as you said, you can get involved in organizations, you can.
00:56:57.720 --> 00:57:07.260 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: spend your money, which makes a difference, and you can build relationships with folks and educate yourself, so I know that there is a lot.
00:57:08.040 --> 00:57:17.820 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That you do around advocate advocacy but I appreciate that you have kept it to this to really like the basic things that we can do.
00:57:18.300 --> 00:57:32.790 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Because, as you said that there are there ways that you get like super involved and you pound the pavement and you post online to make people aware and educated about.
00:57:33.360 --> 00:57:45.780 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: ways in which people of color are marginalized so I know that there's a lot that you do, but I thank you so much for the ways in which you have just pointed out some of the more basic things that we can do.
00:57:46.800 --> 00:57:51.330 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Is there a final statement that you'd like to make before we go today.
00:57:52.740 --> 00:58:03.480 Don B.: I think I dropped a few gems in our head, you know i'm just in terms of being willing to be uncomfortable and and to.
00:58:04.770 --> 00:58:14.430 Don B.: and not to run from that that's okay it'll pass yeah and that ignorance is okay there's nothing to be judging about ignorance, we there's a lot we all don't know.
00:58:14.910 --> 00:58:15.450 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Right.
00:58:15.780 --> 00:58:18.150 Don B.: And there's no need to fear differences.
00:58:18.390 --> 00:58:23.130 Don B.: differences can be exciting and interesting and enriching.
00:58:23.730 --> 00:58:35.550 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Well, I thank you so much for being my guest today Donald bliss if you would like to know more about done, of course, you can reach out through my website sacred intelligence.com.
00:58:35.970 --> 00:58:45.870 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: And we will connect you with done blessed if you'd like to know more about dismantling racism, I really want to invite you to look at my site sacred intelligence calm.
00:58:46.530 --> 00:58:54.450 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Their courses that I offer on there and i'll be starting a new one next Wednesday the 15th so i'd love for you to join me.
00:58:54.990 --> 00:59:00.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: I would like to invite you to stay tuned for the conscious consultant hour with Sam leibowitz.
00:59:00.810 --> 00:59:12.420 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: Where Sam talks with his guest and helps each of us to learn how to live our greatest life with ease and joy so make today you tap into that sacred part of you.
00:59:12.690 --> 00:59:33.330 Rev. Dr. Terrlyn Curry Avery: That allows you to make choices that manifest your good and the good and those around you know that we are all one and exist because of one another, make it a priority to share love hope compassion and peace today be well be safe, be encouraged until next time.
00:59:33.870 --> 00:59:34.530 Thank you so much.