Critical Race Theory & Organizational Justice (w/ Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis)

Zach welcomes Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis, founder and owner of 365 Diversity, to the show this week to discuss critical race theory and organizational justice. As an activist, sociologist and criminologist, educator, and evaluator, Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis is invested in educating, training, evaluating, and assessing for-profit organizations and non-profit organizations. Check the links in the show notes to connect with Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis!

You can connect with Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis on Twitter.

Check out 365 Diversity’s website.

Click here to check out the Harvard Business School article Tristan mentioned.

Click here to learn more about Kanarys.

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Zach (02:20): What’s up y’all? It’s Zach from Living Corporate. And we are here. Yo, this critical race theory thing. I don’t even know what to say besides saying that this critical race theory thing. Like this idea that we’re naming anything that seems to hold any type of oppressive group accountable for their oppression. Or, that just speaks to any level of reckoning with the reality of racism. Calling that critical race theory it’s just been wild to see in real-time. And I have a wife, who’s an educator, and I live in Texas. So I’m seeing all this legislation, folks trying to pass. Folks are passing, excuse me, to block teachers from talking about racism, from using the word race, black, blackness, Black Lives Matter. Not the organization, but the concept that black lives matter. It is, I don’t know. See, this is why I never watched the Handmaid’s Tale either by the way, because you see, that stuff is scary to me, because it was too close to reality.

(03:27): I just, I don’t know y’all but the point is, is that critical race theory. The notion that race does play a part in the society in within which we live, is not bad. Like I don’t understand, like it’s I come here really transparently, which all just perplexed at the reaches that whiteness will go to protect itself, and skate by accountability. That is shocking to me. It continues to shock me and I know it shouldn’t. It certainly continues to disappoint me. And I think about the future of this nation, I think about these kids, I think about the youth that need to learn, that need to understand. And you think about all the ignorance that we have around race today, all the animosity, and the harm and trauma that that ignorance creates it’s disturbing.

(04:23): And so, what I want you to know, listening to this is that Living Corporate exists as a platform to really name oppressive systems, to center, amplify, oppressed, historically oppressed, and marginalized voices. We exist to stand and be unapologetic in that work, and to really de-center whiteness. And we’re not de-centering whiteness for the sake of de-centering whiteness, we’re de-centering whiteness through centering marginalized voices. We are embracing discomfort in our conversation.

(05:00): Shout out to the people that have been on Living Corporate, any of any part of Living Corporate’s network from The Leadership Range, to See It To Be It, to The Access Point, to The Group Chat, to The Break Room. Like shout out to y’all. Thank you for journeying with us. Thank you for participating. And I’m going to say it, shout out to the white folks. Shout out to the Zander Loris’ of the world, and shout out to Neiman Marcus, the team over there. I shout out for thank you. Like thank you for coming on this platform. Like us having just frank conversations, not for conversation’s sake, but to really engage systems, and really talk about what your own institutions are doing to grow and shift and change it. That’s important.

(05:45): Like that’s the part for me that invigorates me with this space. Is we’re not rambling against the ether of racism and like the overwhelming reality of white supremacy. We’re actually challenging and naming things and we’re talking to people who have been put in positions of authority who can actually affect those changes. We’re not just rambling. That’s the part for me that I believe continues to grow our community and continues to help us build the relationships that we’ve been able to build. I want to remind everybody if you haven’t already, if you haven’t already listened to our Leadership Spotlight series with Pfizer. We did that official partnership, felt really good. Milestone for the organization of living corporate and the network, and some great conversations that we had. So I want to make sure if you haven’t go back and check out the the series. The link is in the show notes. We talked to some incredible leaders there, and hopefully you enjoy those.

(06:50): Now, I spoke with, today, this week Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis. Dr. Dennis, is an activist, a sociologist, a criminologist and educator, and an evaluator. But really cuts her teeth in an educating, training, evaluating and assessing for-profit organizations and non-profit organisations. And so, because of this profile, and her systems thinking approach she’s able to, you really look at the nuances of an organization and call out the systemic barriers and challenges. There’s an intersectionality to her work and how she just sees everything. Again, simultaneously, while also respecting the individual reality of each of those things she’s analyzing.

(07:37): It’s very, oh, it’s very cerebral. She’s a brilliant, a brilliant woman. I’m so excited and thankful that she was able to be on Living Corporate. And that we’re able to have this conversation with her. Beyond her raw intellect what excites me about Dr. Dennis is, and what invigorates me, and encourages me is her boldness and frankness to name a thing. So she’ll name you. And I think it’s important y’all, like the day is soon coming. It’s been here. Like the internet has like sped this up. Like, it’s not to say that like, people weren’t getting named, and shamed, or held accountable. Because shame makes it seem as if they’re victims and all that. You’re being rightly held accountable. That’s been happening since, shoot, open letters and things of that nature, centuries and centuries ago, milennial ago.

(08:28): But the internet has really like scaled, and like accelerated the notion of calling people out on their nonsense for lack of a better word because my parents listened to this podcast. Call people out on their nonsense. And I really want folks to really understand that, if you’re out here operating in a way that is less than ethical, that the odds of you getting called out are exponentially higher than they were some years ago. And people knowing this like, like you getting called out on a stage, like the odds of that are high. And what I love about Dr. Dennis is, Dr. Dennis will name it. She will name the organization, she will name people, she’ll name harm. And that’s really important.

(09:23): I think about at my last job. So we did this candid conversation on race. And I don’t know between people talking about their favorite foods, and talking about what their favorite music is, and what shoes they’re wearing for the day, a bunch of nonsense. At the end, they did a Q and A session. And the Q and A session someone said, we did this whole conversation about race, but white supremacy didn’t come up one time. In the wake of the insurrection at the Capitol a few weeks ago, naturalism, xenophobia didn’t come up at all. Like, like none of these things came up and one of the panelists, who is a black person, rand would consider themselves an expert in the space. And would say that they are, looking at their profile, they would have all of the trappings of a real leader in the space said, well, I don’t believe that using such direct language, extremist language is productive.

(10:38): I believe it can alienate an audience. And that was disappointing to me. Like when I think about this moment that we’re in, when I think about the position that this person sat. When I think about the stakes, we’re past the time of being cute, we’re past the time of being coy, throwing stones, hiding our hand. We’re past the time of speaking in riddles or parables. Now is the scene set to speak directly. The work is so vast. There’s so much to do. When you think about like the labor of racial equity and organizational justice. And as big and hard, as laborious as that work is, it starts with accountable, honest language. It starts there.

(11:40): If we’re not accountable and honest in our conversation, in our language, if we’re not transparent and intentional about naming a thing, the thing. Shout out to Neil Edwards. Then like, we’re not going to actually make any progress because how can you move forward if you’re not naming the thing? How can you move forward in something? How can you move forward against the goal if you’re not, you haven’t named it? What’s the target? What are we addressing? We oftentimes play this invisible game of like appeasing this mythical white person, or maybe the white person who’s in charge. Who’s in charge of you. I don’t know.

(12:20): But my point is that we can’t do this work and also try to appease whiteness. Like it’s not possible. And it’s insulting in this season. It has been historically insulting to be clear. Duh. And it is, it continues to be insulting in this season to try to play both sides. We’re not there. We’re just not there. Okay. And so, I say all this to say, I love Dr. Dennis’s work. I really appreciate our conversation. I appreciate our conversation off mike. And I just shout out to her at threesixtyfivediversity.com. Make sure y’all click the link, it’s in the show notes. Learn more about her before we get to the conversation, we’re gonna tap in with Tristan. And I’ll see you in a minute.

Zach (17:11): Dr. Dennis how you doing?

Dr. Dennis (17:13): I’m doing very well. Thank you for having me.

Zach (17:16): You know, it’s a pleasure. You know, it’s funny, I’mma put myself on blast. You emailed me because we had initially connected about Living Corporate a year ago.

Dr. Dennis (17:26): Yes. Yes.

Zach (17:26): And thank you for, thank you for being gracious and reminding me that even though we connected a year ago, we ain’t book no time. So I’m glad that we finally were able to connect, and get you on the show.

Dr. Dennis (17:36): Oh, thank you.

Zach (17:36): Absolutely. You know, speaking about the fact that it was a year ago, that we initially connected. Like, talk to me about your work, and how work has shifted, or changed, or just how you, or what your personal experience has been with the landscape? And how it’s shifted and changed if at all, over the last year or so?

Dr. Dennis (17:59): Oh, that’s a wonderful question. As you know, that’s a huge answer too. So, all right, in the past year, that has just been so interesting, I’ve done a lot in terms of personally with my shift from being an academic, to furthering my community involvement. And my other work shifted in terms of my own personal property, in terms of buying a house in Baltimore, and everything shifted in terms of the COVID safety. And at the very beginning of COVID, since I also specialize in health, there were places across the nation hiring me to do trainings, to have a discussion about COVID safety, COVID vaccine. And I explained to these places that what they think is going to be a simple way to reach communities to address health, is not going to be quick and easy during COVID. Because a lot of these health places, they ignore, for example, black communities until tragedy strikes.

(19:13): And then they think they can just go to our communities and say, Hey, learn about COVID, take a vaccine. And so, during these trainings a year ago, a lot of these places, they told me they had it figured out. And I told them I’m not psychic, but I’m gonna tell you right now, what’s going to happen is the same thing for centuries. You think you have it figured out because when it comes to underserved and underrepresented communities, including black communities, places, they think that they don’t have much to learn beyond maybe one training, reading one book and that’s extremely disrespectful, but that’s how they operate.

(19:50): And so, a year later, what I oftentimes do is I’ll contact places and I say, Hey, it’s been a year. Of course, you know, some places will say they learned a lot from me. They won’t go into too much detail, but this past year has just been the same thing over and over again, just more virtually. Places pretending they want equity work, but they really want just quick stuff. And they come into it saying they don’t know, but then, they have to defend themselves and pretend they already know. And so, that’s why the work that I do is based on outcomes. I do six month and annual assessments. I tell people, even if you don’t want an assessment, understand what it means when you don’t want an assessment as well.

(20:34): So this past year I’ve just told schools, medical facilities, all these places that the things that they’re complaining about during COVID are the things that particularly black people have complained about for centuries. It’s only considered a big deal because it’s considered white people’s confirmation of a problem. And white people’s confirmation of the problem does not mean that the problem started when white people decided to recognize that there’s a problem. So that’s a huge part of it. There’s so much more, but as you know, this past year, just highlighted things that we’ve always said that people just told us, we were disgruntled, angry.

Zach (21:13): Sensitive.

Dr. Dennis (21:14): Sensitive.

Zach (21:16): Victims.

Dr. Dennis (21:16): Unacceptable to change, victim mentality, we want to be oppressed. We don’t understand, people are trying. Like whenever people complain about the schools, the health services during COVID, all this stuff, I just nod my head the same as they did when they celebrated white people showing up to George Floyd protests. I just said, how, why are y’all always easily impressed by bare minimum stuff that will stop being trendy, and popular in a few months? And that’s exactly what happened with that as well.

Zach (21:48): You know, it’s interesting. The first thing you said as it pertains, as it specifically pertains to outcomes and folks not necessarily wanting an assessment, and the idea that something isn’t real or an emergency until white people say it is. I’m curious, based on what I’ve seen you post, I see you write, my impression is that you’re not one to not educate someone in real time. So when folks say, yeah, this is a big problem, like when George Ford was murdered. And all of a sudden, a bunch of folks are coming out of the woodworks, and you’re having these conversations with potential clients, or existing clients. And you let them know, actually, this has been a long standing problem. What’s the reaction in real time?

Dr. Dennis (22:43): Well the reaction is that a lot of places, which is why one of my models is not your typical diversity training. A lot of places, in particularly talk about places that even though they might have black people, indigenous people contact me, the decision-makers are white people usually. Or at least people who are impressed by white people because the white people can easily complain about them and fire them. And so, when I explain this to people, I just say that the first step is asking yourself, what did you choose to ignore until tragedy strikes? The work I do is based on preventive measures. So the first thing I asked them is what did you choose to ignore? Now, a lot of places, they would rather just hire someone to do a diversity training, where you spend two hours telling white people the definition of racism that’s in the Webster dictionary.

(23:38): Instead, I say well first, in order to make changes, you have to have an honest discussion of what did you ignore, despite people begging you to pay attention. And since you ignored that for so long, why should people really think that you’re actually going to make some changes now, just because you’ve done an official statement and you’re hiring me to do an equity training? And by the way, my trainings are not just conversations. We actually talk about changing policies, procedures, doing program assessment. So are y’all really ready for that, is what I say. Are you really ready, or is this something you were just told that now you have to do it to get the white ally t-shirt?

Zach (24:26): So it’s interesting. I’ll transparently say I’ve yet to see any organizations that I’ve had the pleasure to work with, go in and change real policy, especially around like performance management. It’s interesting when you talk about policy change, what are some policies that exist within organizations that you’ve seen often create inequity that are, I’m not going to say easy fixes, but are fairly direct fixes that can create positive outcomes?

Dr. Dennis (25:00): Yeah. So there two main examples that I look at. So one, we’re looking at schools. Schools will claim up and down that they’re just realizing the problems with the curriculum. Literally, we have centuries of indigenous and particularly black people who have said, we need to change the curriculum. Like literally. So when schools say, they’re just noticing the problems, their quick fix is to add a few books. Usually, the books are still authored by white people and eureka, now they’ve changed the curriculum. And so, I explain that that is not a change in the curriculum. Now, mind you, I specialize in curriculum development. I’ve done this work with libraries. It actually takes longer than that. It’s going to take some people being offended because you’re changing how they’ve been told to define knowledge and education. You changing because, despite tens of thousands of years of knowledges, sciences, mathematics, arts, literatures, histories around the world, schools in white controlled parts of the world teach that white people either created everything, or are the main developers of everything.

(26:22): So you can have a PhD in mathematics. You’ve never read anything about indigenous math, Aboriginal math, African math. You might know some mathematics, you might know some Roman numerals, but even within that, you read it because a white person’s book was presented to you in classes. And so, I explain that, like that’s the example of you actually have to change more than a book. We actually have to change the accreditation and the politicians making the decisions. You’ve got to change the school officials. You’ve got to change the school board. You’ve got to change the fact that most teachers K through 12, and colleges, and universities are white people. You’ve got to change all of that. I tell people if everyone’s happy about the change you’re making, that’s because you’re not really making changes at all. You’re giving them a new hashtag for social media so they can pretend change are happening. And then we’re told to shut up and just be happy and pretend that change is happening.

(27:25): So the same things happen when you talk into the medical and health facilities, and professionals, they do the same process. They’ll say we want racial equity work in our health facility. However, they won’t change things like the diagnostical statistical model. They won’t change the body mass index. They won’t change the fact that their college, graduate school, medical school, academic programs are based on European white health lessons. They won’t change any of that. They literally will want something that just is tokenism. They’ll put more black and brown people at the lead, who are not really the decision makers, and changing curriculum, and changing policies and practices. And so, that’s how I explain the difference between having an idea, liking a theory even.

(28:20): Talk about critical race theory. That theory is almost 40 years old, and now it’s become popular again, because particularly white liberals and white progressives. There’s nothing impressive about people arguing over critical race theory. And I wrote a medium piece about this. I tell people these are all surface level things, and it’s a hundred percent based on white liberal and white progressive permission. Like black people, many of us have learned about these knowledges for generations, that have been ignored by white people. And now in 2020, 2021, people want to argue about a theory. And I’m more mad that there are black people who are joining in on the argument.

Dr. Dennis (29:04): Like there’s some things that we as black people have to really stop playing that game. If white people are saying, no, we’re not gonna include critical race theory in curriculum. Guess what? A president of the United States and schools can not prohibit you from including a theory. They can’t. So I also explain when I do this work, that there are a lot of things that adults are pretending are possible, like prohibiting a theory that are not possible. Like you can’t tell children in schools to shoot for the stars, and then you as an adult, believe that a president and taxpayers can tell you not to include a theory in curriculum.

Zach (29:51): So let’s talk a little bit about that though. And to your whole point earlier, you said something again, like things don’t exist until white people give it attention. I do agree with you that, in clapping back, or like, you know, writing a bunch of think pieces to talk about these things that we’ve already discussed and agreed upon, simply because prominent white folks have decided that they’re going to make it their problem, in a very grotesque way, centering whiteness again. And it’s curious to me when we have these discussions; and you know sometimes, and Dr. Dennis, I’mma talk. Let’s have the conversation. And like in this DEI space, there’s like different groups, I feel like. There’s different tables in the lunch room. And a lot of the tables is like a bunch of cool kids, or people just trying to, they’re trying to get on.

(30:48): So, this is the way that they can build their cache. So they tap into really hot button topics or things of that nature., but they’re not necessarily progressing the conversation forward, or operating in a way that that is intellectually honest. Cause I don’t understand what are we debating with critical race theory? Like first of all, we’ve yet to really hear anybody like on the white majority, who are extra harsh or critical or critical race (CRT) adequately explain what they even understand it to be. Like we don’t even hear it. We don’t even hear sound arguments. But a lot of us, we will like just kind of react and go, well, no, it’s this. And no, of course we’re like, okay. Like at a certain point, I do believe there’s value lost when we chase those. It’s almost like chasing the wind a bit, and it becomes a sort of performative theater.

Dr. Dennis (31:52): Yeah. It’s a hundred percent performative. That’s what LinkedIn is based on. That’s why I got banned from LinkedIn. So, LinkedIn is just like any in-person platform where, when they talk about inclusion, equity, diversity, justice, they intentionally mostly bring in people who are not going to make real changes. Like literally, a lot of places will pay tens of thousands of dollars just to put somebody’s name on something, and then to check off their list and nothing’s being changed. And so, LinkedIn is mostly that whole profit seeking place where people use DEI, DNI, certifications, all that stuff. And of course, the whole implicit bias, those bias trainings are all part of that. It’s not really results based. It’s really profit based, which is what LinkedIn is based on. And so, that’s why I tell people that you have to understand that justice is not about automatically supporting the people who have a best seller book.

(33:01): I tell people if your racial justice work is a bestseller for white people, that means it’s not racial justice work. Same thing if we’re talking about gender justice. If a group of cis-gender men are loving you so much, that now they’ve got a book club for you. That means they don’t feel the least bit that your gender justice work is challenging cis-Gender dominance and men dominance. Same thing if we’re talking about LGBTQIA+ work. When the power majority who literally control practically, everything are excited about you, then that means that they’re way too comfortable. Like you’re making them feel happy because again, that’s a whole ally t-shirt thing again, but you’re not really changing anything about their power. So therefore, there can never be equity, if it’s still based on the power majority giving you permission to exist in their platform.

Zach (34:01): I am increasingly wary of voices who, to your language, the power majority like is ready to like involve and include. Because it’s like, how much are you really pushing, how much are you really challenging the system? And the system is so welcoming to you?

Dr. Dennis (34:19): Right.

Zach (34:20): And it’s not about even necessarily being unlikable. Because like I’m a fairly likable person.

Dr. Dennis (34:28): Yes, you are.

Zach (34:30): But let me tell you, like, as likable as I am, there are a bunch of spaces that like do not mess with me. Like in terms of like, not invite me to their little, whatever. And that’s that’s because, ultimately, my ideas are disruptive. Like the things that I’m saying are disruptive too. Like if I started talking about; like, I went to, I never forget Dr. Dennis, like I went to this; I was on a panel and I was talking about capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. And how they all work together to create like systemic, disparate impact and harm for black and brown people. Where you would have thought, now I got a bunch of private messages after the event, but during the event, people were looking at you. I mean, it was quiet.

Dr. Dennis (35:24): Yep. Yep. Exactly.

Zach (35:27): It was quiet in here. It was quiet. And I think we enjoy, it’s like, there’s a certain level of tourism. Like we enjoy talking about these concepts in very theoretical and surface frames, but we don’t really like investigating policy systems structure. We don’t like talking about accountability. We don’t like talking about justice. You said justice a couple of times, like, talk to me about what does organizational justice look like? When we say the term justice or organizational justice, or we say DEIJ, talk to me about what is justice really mean at work? Because a lot of times people in the power majority, I love power majority, by the way. I’m going to start, I’m crediting you right here, count this as your credit, but I have to start using power majority.

Dr. Dennis (36:17): Yeah.

Zach (36:17): Because our majority, when they hear the word accountability, they automatically go to like extreme punishment, which I think is a function of white supremacy culture. But like, talk to me about justice, like, what does it mean?

Dr. Dennis (36:33): Yes. So first of all, power majority that’s old school, centuries of social science. So, for example, black sociologists, such as W. B. Dubois, Oliver Cromwell Cox, Ida B. Wells, these folks were doing this work before any of these catch phrases and acronyms existed. So that’s what I’m based on. Black sociologists, indigenous sociologists, we have done this work back when our people was being lynched, before this stuff could make people wealthy doing these trainings and stuff. So, I always tell people if the only thing you can cite is a bestseller and you’ve got a certification for it. Then I want you to learn the real work before white people started signing off on it and given permission. And so, when we talk about justice, it’s exactly that. It’s not justice if your work is based on getting permission from the power majority. So I do this when I teach as a professor, when I do(37:44): So as it pertains to race, that’s white people of every nation of origin, ethnicity, culture, language, and religion that has assimilated into racial whiteness over the centuries. Even when they want to deny that assimilation, when it is convenient to them, because they want to escape accountability for white power and white dominance. As it pertains to gender, that is cis-gender people whose biological sex matches a particular gender identity and that’s boys and men. As it pertains to sexuality, sexual identity, that’s heterosexual people and overall sexual people, because that’s different than asexuality. As pretends to income and wealth, whether it’s capitalism, communism, socialism, or any form of system, people who have any kind of wealth accumulated are the power majority regarding that.

Dr. Dennis (38:41): Language, in many parts of the world, English, particularly what they call the King’s English, white people basically. That’s considered the language majority such that, parts of the world that are controlled by American and European tourists, particularly white people. You can go to entire nation where there ain’t no white people really there, and people are expected to speak the King’s English to accommodate the tourists who are mostly white. Religion in the Western hemisphere, the religion majority, that’s the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant and that’s of course Christianity. And that’s not the original Christianity, but that’s the white form of Christianity. That’s the foundation of missionaries and murderers around the world. Murderers who present themselves as white saviors, who stole thousands of years of knowledge, murdered people, rape people. And now, they proclaim that they’ve actually spread knowledge and Christianity around the world.

Dr. Dennis (39:42): And we talk about health, able health people. People who do not have a lasting form of mental illness, physical illness, those are the power majorities. So that’s what it means when we say power majorities. Power majorities also include underserved and underrepresented people who help the power majorities.

(40:00): So that’s why I’ll always address this as pertains to power. White people tend to be the most likely to complain when we’re talking about power. And men also tend to complain because they feel like you said before, they feel very threatened in their power being removed. They don’t really know how their power is being removed. They have this image that now, we’re going to put them into a form of transatlantic slavery or something like that. It’s a really extreme view because it’s 100% based on this falsehood that white people saved us, and rescued us from the continent of Africa, and introduced us to faith, spirituality. Introduced us to knowledge because apparently we literally were just in the dirt, not knowing anything for tens of thousands of years. And unfortunately, there are people who believe that. And there are people of African descent who believed that white people rescued us from a continent of just rape, murdering and [over talk 00:40:58].

Zach (40:57): Robbery.

Dr. Dennis (40:58): Yes. And I tell people there’s tens of thousand years of [inaudible 00:41:02] roundabout, all around the world. So, that’s when we talk about power, that’s what that boils down to. So whenever people ask me to explain power majorities, I explain it that way. And even after the explanation, and mind you, I don’t explain to everybody because most people, when they ask questions, it’s rhetorical. That’s their way of expressing outrage. So I pick and choose on social media and in person. Sometimes I’ll tell people here’s a reading list. A lot of people don’t want to read, especially if it’s based on centuries of black indigenous writings, they really don’t want to read. But that’s how I explain power majorities. And some people still feel offended by that, because, in their mind control and power, it’s just what it is. And we just have to deal with it. And, you know I don’t believe that at all. So, I just operate how I operate. And I tell people, you are more than welcome to disagree. You can be mad. White people stalk me every day, but you can’t say, I never told you.

Zach (42:11): You know, it’s interesting Dr. Dennis, we’re in this season, you spoke about it a lot just now is, we do. I think that we have a culture, like the culture that we live in is it’s predicated upon power, not necessarily ethics or even truth for that matter. To the point where when sometimes you point people to readings or evidence that’s when folks get fragile and defensive. What I’m curious about is those that like, you know, you exist in a space where you do the work that you do. And you’ve talked about it in other ways about, again, you talked about being banned on LinkedIn. You’ve also been retaliated against, folks have tried to dox you, and they stalk you virtually and physically. Like, what do you have to say, like to this next generation of folks, when it comes to really being willing to risk something for true justice equity? And yeah, I’ll just say it, for truth, justice and equity. Like, I think there’s this old, well, it’s not an old phrase really, but old to me. It’s like, people say, everybody want to go to heaven, but don’t nobody want to die.

Dr. Dennis (43:26): Yep. Yep.

Zach (43:26): It’s like, what is the message? Like, is it possible? Like, is it possible for us to achieve the liberation we’re looking for without receiving some significant punishment in that process?

Dr. Dennis (43:40): Well, there’s always going to be punishment, but what I always tell people is that injustices, inequities have existed since humans have existed. Tens of thousands of years. So we can’t ever get rid of stuff in our lifetime because the moment, like let’s say a school wants to change their entire curriculum. The moment they make those changes, there’s going to be angry white people, including white employees, including white school board members, including white taxpayers, white politicians, white people, all around the world, who know nothing, but they still are mad. So there’s always going to be people who are angry. So I always tell people when you’re doing this work, remember the thousands of years of people before you, who are doing this work. And there’s certain identities that did not exist thousands of years ago. So maybe centuries before you, always learn who was doing this work before you, and who’s doing this work now. So that’s locally, nationally, and internationally.

(44:33): I tell all people this, you’re not the first person to want justice. Don’t ever go onto this thinking that you’re doing something brand new. Contact the people who are already doing this work, collaborate. It doesn’t mean y’all are gonna always like each other. You’re not always gonna agree, but find a way that you can help each other. There’s so many organizations struggling for funding, because when we talking about social justice organizations, racial justice organizations, they’re still mostly white led, white controlled. And you can think about some black organizations now that are making money because white liberals are giving them donations and sponsorships. And so, I always tell people, you just have to have that honest conversation. Why are you doing this work? Are you doing it to be famous or you do it to become profitable? I mean, why are you doing this work?

(45:28): And if you’re doing it because you really want to see change, you also have to be honest that a lot of changes you won’t see for a long time. Like literally, you can do decades of work, get punished, abused, terminated, tortured by white people for doing this work. And I’ll tell you, the black folk who you’re helping, many of them will leave you abandoned. Because that’s one thing you have to also realize, the people within your identity, within your group, theoretically, they support you. But a lot of people will not be there to help you. And you really have to build a support system to prepare for all of that, prepare for the worst. Because if you go into this smiley, like, I’m going to change the world. Let’s do this child. You are going to be so left hanging.

(46:15): And the people who said they want justice, many of them are doing that for social media. They’re doing that for whatever, but they really don’t want anything that’s inconvenient. They don’t want to sacrifice. The same thing happens when you’re talking to medical professionals. When we talk about getting rid of police departments, change in schools, the people who theoretically support this, they have every excuse in the book, and these are not new excuses. They’re literally excuses that have been used for centuries to not only distract changes, but to blame you for having the audacity to hope that people really are not just running their mouth, but they’re actually going to do something. So I tell people you’re not going to change everything in your lifetime because the moment you make a change, they’re going to try to reverse it. But what you’re doing is forming a template, so that people know that here’s something to help you along the eternal struggle for equity and justice.

Zach (47:14): I love it. I think we’ve got to keep it right there. I want to shout out you, Dr. Dennis, thank you so much for being a guest on Living Corporate. I’m glad we finally were able to make sure that we had you on. Consider you a friend of the show and look, we’re not going to wait a year to get you back on here. Okay. All right. So I’m going to do what I need to do. I’m going to respond. Okay. I’m going to take care of that. We’ve got better processes now. Okay.

Dr. Dennis (47:37): Oh, so funny. Well, you all are doing a lot, including the mental health work, which is very important. So I appreciate what you’re doing. Cause you know, when we talk about mental health, that includes how inequities contribute to our health issues. And that’s something that 99% of health providers and health professionals are not equipped to handle. Some of them don’t care. Many of them don’t care. So I appreciate you all tackling that.

Zach (48:03): Oh, well, thank you so much. And definitely shout out to Dr. Dennis, Dr. Hill, Dr. Coleman and Dr. Jide, Dr. B.

Dr. Dennis (48:11): Oh, don’t give Jide any clout. Oh, here we go. Here we go. My buddy, Jide. That’s right.

Zach (48:18): Yeah. Shout out to The Break Room. Yeah, for sure though. No, and I appreciate that. So let’s do this. We’ll end it here and we will talk to you soon.

Dr. Dennis (48:27): Thank you so much.

Zach (49:05): And we’re back again. Shout out to Dr. Dennis. Thank you so much for being a guest. Listen, y’all life is to be lived. All right, stop being scared. That’s my message to you. Stop being scared. Some of y’all are sitting on trauma and pain and harm, and you don’t want to say anything at risk of losing your job. Let me tell you something, your mental wellness and your self-respect is actually more important. It really is. I know that sounds like a lot or it sounds extreme to some of y’all, but those who know, know. Do not sacrifice your identity, your self-respect, your peace for the approval of people who do not care about you. All right. These systems, they exist to exploit. If you’re in an environment and you’re being constantly traumatized, micro-aggressed or macro-aggressed, you can find another place to work. I promise, the market is on fire. All right. You can find another place to work. Shout out to [inaudible 00:50:16] [Momentive].

(50:21): Oh gosh, I’m in a great mood. I’m gonna be honest. We’re going to talk about that too. One of these days, we’re gonna come in here. We don’t talk about how much better I am, in light of me being at a new place. It’s not even an ad. That’s crazy. It’s not even an ad. Just shout out to being in a healthy non-racist environment. I’m really thankful for that. And I’m telling you, it’s possible. Make sure that you’re prioritizing yourself. If you’re seriously listening to this and you’re like, nah, you don’t really know what it is. And you’re speaking from a position of privilege. First of all, you’re right. I’m speak from privilege, because I’m not in a toxic situation. I did find a new job. I am in a healthy environment. 

(50:55): But what I’m saying is if you’re listening to this and you feel like you’re stuck at your job, and you really want to find somewhere else to work? Bruh, email Tristan, Layfield,. Tap in with Tristan. Straight up, like look, you heard the second earlier? Tap in with him, he literally does this for a living. Tap in with him. And if, for whatever reason, like, you can’t get ahold of Tristan, email me zach@living-corporate.com, I will connect you with Tristan. And I’ll connect you with some other career coaches, Julia Rock, shout out. What’s up? Talk to people, like now is the time. Do not, do not in this season, swallow disrespect, de-humanization, trauma in the name of acceptance or fear that someone’s going to do something to you. Note that they can’t do nothing to you. They can’t, they cannot.

(51:52): So I know I’m coming off really direct, but I want y’all to hear me. Because I talk to people from time to time who are like nervous and they’re scared. And I get it. Like I really, really get it. I get it. But you have someone that’s talking to you right now, on this podcast, and they’re telling you to just prioritize yourself. If, you’ve been looking for a sign or a message, listen to me, prioritize yourself. Okay. Tristan Layfield hit me up. I’ll put the links in the show notes. Hit me up. Hit Tristan up. There’s plenty of opportunities out there, regardless of what you’re doing. All right?

(52:38): All right. Shoot, I think that’s it y’all. Look, tell a friend, or a colleague, or a coworker, somebody, maybe somebody that you don’t like. I don’t know, about Living Corporate. Everyday, so I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ll share it here. Our schedule has actually changed a little bit. So we have Real Talk Tuesdays; we have See It To Be It on Wednesdays; we have to Tap In with Tristan on Thursdays; and then on Friday and Saturday, we’re airing audio recordings, re-runs from Living Corporate TV.

(53:17): So we’re airing The Access Point. We’re airing The Group Chat. Okay. And so check it out. Like there’s something for you here every day, except Monday and Sunday. All right. We’re cranking it up. I want to make sure that you’re really plugged in with The Group Chat and The Access Point, as we pick up those seasons later this month, and in August. Okay. And so, we’re gonna play some older episodes on the Pod. So that, just in case, I’m sure a lot of, y’all don’t even know that we even have like a lot. We have a bunch of web shows, that we do. And so, I want to make sure that if you haven’t had the time to go over to livingcorporate.tv, that you listen to them here. They right here for you. So you can just play them right here. It’s one less step, you ain’t even gotta work too hard.

(54:08): I do hope that you check us out and get plugged in. And when I say plugged in, I mean, like actually sign up so that you can be notified when the shows come back live. So you can be part of our live audience. Cause we do Q and A’s. We’re going to be spicing it up the next season. We’re going to be doing giveaways and different collabs and stuff. And so, I just want to make sure that people are prepared, as we get going. All right. As we get going again, excuse me. All right. So next time y’all, this has been Zach. Peace.

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