This is the podcast adaptation of the eleventh episode of The Break Room! This one’s all about accountability in allyship. Special thanks to our hosts, Dr. Brian and Dr. Jide! Part of the Living Corporate network, The Break Room is focused on mental health, wellness and healing for Black folks at work. You can expect real talk from real experts about the real ways Black folks can protect and heal themselves from racialized trauma at work. Catch a new episode every Thursday at 7PM Central! (Note: The Break Room is currently between seasons. Catch up while you can!)
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Dr. Brian Dixon (00:09): Howdy, y’all. It’s good to see y’all. Welcome back to The Break Room.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (00:15): Hi, everybody. Welcome back.
Dr. Brian Dixon (00:16): Yes. So, Dr. Jide and myself, we are super glad that y’all are here. I’m Dr. Brian Dixon. I’m a psychiatrist in the great state of Texas. I treat adults and kids and help people feel better. So that’s my main gig, but I’m super pumped to be with y’all tonight. We’ll kick it over to my cohost.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (00:37): Hi, everybody. It’s me, Dr. Jide Bamishigbin. I’m an assistant professor of psychology at Cal State University Long Beach. I’m a health psychologist. I do research on stress and families, and I’m a father myself and a husband, and we’re really excited to be here today. So, we want to let you know, as always, some of us may be therapists, but we’re not your therapist.
Dr. Brian Dixon (00:58): Word.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (00:58): So please do not mistake this for mental health advice. We’re here just to kind of talk and be open and authentic about being Black in the workplace. So, as always, we’re going to get started with Dr. Dixon spilling the tea.
Dr. Brian Dixon (01:12): Y’all, the tea is fascinating because it’s all about money, money, money. Now, before we get there–I just put it in the chat space–our new email address. It’s email@example.com, and so, we get a branded email because we are legit, y’all. We are real. So we want to hear from you- please send us any messages or any notes, any questions that you may have. Also make sure to put those in the chat, because if we have time to get to those today, we totally will. So we’re glad that y’all are here, because we are going to be talking about accountability in allyship. But before we get there, the tea. So y’all, I don’t know if y’all have heard, but our president that most of us have elected–because y’all better had voted, because if you didn’t, we’re going to have some problems—so our president is introducing a really big idea. So more money, less problems, y’all. So President Biden has basically proposed over $6 trillion worth of spending. So $1.9 million in the rescue plan, which some of y’all were able to get your stimmy checks. $2 trillion for infrastructure, where he’s talking about water and air and affordable housing, and then I just heard about the American Families plan, which was $1.8 trillion for subsidized health care and family leave and free community college for folks and universal pre-K. And so, y’all, that’s a lot of moneys. I don’t know if y’all are watching the national budget, but I saw that and I thought, “You know what, what is the gravity of spending all this money?” So I was like, “Let me talk to Dr. Jide,” because yes, I want to get your opinion. What are you thinking about all this money that’s flying around?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (02:56): I love it. I’m a big fan. I love it. In fact, I want them to go even further. Do you know what I’m saying? The reality is we always have money for wars. We always have money to let billionaires skate off their fair share. So finally here we are talking about money to go towards actual Americans who have families, so to support children growing up, because we know that–and you know this very well as a psychiatrist–a lot of the problems that adults face, it’s from childhood.
Dr. Brian Dixon (03:32): Absolutely. Yes. Yes, adverse childhood events. I mean, poverty is a bad thing, y’all. It’s…
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (03:39): It’s a bad thing. So if we can actually address that, I’m with it. You know what I’m saying? Infrastructure, like, right now, you know this–I’ll tell everybody, I’m in Miami right now, visiting my parents for the first time in two years because of the coronavirus. I’m having a great time. Public transportation here really sucks.
Dr. Brian Dixon (03:59): Same thing in Texas. Same thing in Texas.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (04:02): Yes. It really, really sucks. And we know that the environment is changing. Climate change is happening, and it’s real. If we can do anything to support greater infrastructure, more public transportation, more affordable public transportation, that’ll get people from places A to B, I’m all for it.
Dr. Brian Dixon (04:20): Amen. Amen. So Rashada mentioned something in the comments about was there anything in there about student loans? So, I didn’t see anything about the student loan part.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (04:30): No. The answer is no. But that’s what I mean when I said I want them to go further. That’s exactly what… Thank you for Rashada for asking that. That’s exactly what I meant. Cancel these student loans, Joe.
Dr. Brian Dixon (04:40): Yes. Preach. Well… So one of the parts that I liked the most–because I’m petty and I’m pissed off–is that he wants to spend $80 billion… it’s either million or billion, on fixing the IRS. Now, I don’t like the tax man, but I do like the tax man when he goes after rich people to pay their fair share because damn, I know I get hit with my taxes every year and it ain’t pretty and I’m pissed off about it. And so I know millionaires who were getting stimmy checks. I ain’t get no stimmy check. I’m busting my ass. So yes, I want him to find everybody who’s evading taxes offshore and shit. I want him to tax the living shit out of all of them.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (05:16): All of them. So I’m with it. Once again, this is big, this is bold, it is progressive-ish. You know what I’m saying?
Dr. Brian Dixon (05:26): Absolutely.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (05:26): I’m with it. So let’s go for it. Obviously, I feel like you could talk to 10 people. They’ll all want 10 more things. But this is a great start.
Dr. Brian Dixon (05:37): Yes. I agree. And so, y’all, as part of The Break Room, what we always do is we start with the tea, and the tea is something that’s happened in the week that we just want to talk about. We always have a bigger topic that we want to get to, and the bigger topic that we’re going to get to today is accountability in allyship. So first off, if you don’t know what an ally is, you need to listen to the podcast from last week. So go on to the Living Corporate website. Check out the podcast from Dr. Nikki and Dr. LaWanda last week, because they knocked it out the park.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (06:10): As always.
Dr. Brian Dixon (06:10): As always. And we miss them dearly. So check that out, because this week is all about holding people accountable. How do you make sure that the people that you’re around, that your white peers, colleagues, and family are being true to the game? That they are speaking up, especially, and supporting Black folks? So part of our discussion today, first off, is always try to define what an ally is. So an ally, a diversity, equity & inclusion ally is someone who is willing to take action in support of another person, especially a Black person, to remove those external barriers that keep that person from contributing their skills and talents. So everybody comes to the workplace and you bring your unique skills, your unique perspective, your unique outlook. We all have the right to be our true selves, our authentic selves at work. So what we need is for white folks to step up and help let that happen. So that ally has to do their own work, y’all. That’s the key. They have to do their own work to find their own privilege and their biases, and then actively work against it. So one of the principles we want y’all to take away from today, because each podcast, each web show, we want to make sure that we sprinkle some nuggets of psychological knowledge in there, and the knowledge we want to impose upon y’all today is the bystander effect. So some of y’all probably know it as if an accident happens and there’s a whole bunch of people around. Everybody looks at the other one to figure out who’s going to move first. Right? So the key is that’s what’s happening right now is if there was one Black person and one white person, and something happened to that Black person, that white person, being the only white person around, they’re going to be more inclined to do something, which is good. That’s what we want you to do. But unfortunately, when there’s a whole bunch of white people around, y’all start looking at each other like, “Oh, what the hell do we do?” Well, we need you to fight against that. We need you each to stand up and say something. Say something, do something.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (08:17): Can I ask you a question?
Dr. Brian Dixon (08:18): Absolutely.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (08:19): So we defined what allyship is, right? What is accountability?
Dr. Brian Dixon (08:24): So, in my opinion, what accountability is is number one, you have to make sure you’ve said that… Well, not say that you’re an ally, but you have shown that you’re an ally, and then we hold you to it. We ask you “What work have you done? Show me what you have done,” and then if you’ve been wrong, how are you going to correct it for the next time? So later on in our show we have some lists for y’all today because we know that sometimes getting a list together is very helpful. So we’re going to talk about what makes a good ally, and then we’re going to talk about the accountability piece, the accountability as it relates to allyship. So let’s jump into that, and hopefully, there’s some good stuff that y’all can take away from this. So, make sure, again, if you have any other questions like Rashada did, just put them in the chat, or you can do the little ask a question thing at the bottom of the screen.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (09:18): Yes. Tell us what an ally means to you.
Dr. Brian Dixon (09:20): Absolutely.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (09:22): Or examples of allies in your own life if you have them.
Dr. Brian Dixon (09:24): Absolutely. So…
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (09:25): And also before we start, I just want to point out one other thing. Allies come in many different shapes and forms. You can be allies based on race, ethnicity, allies based on gender, allies based on sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, all these other ways. Our conversation is focused on race and ethnicity. I just want to always point that out. That’s what we’re talking about, but these conversations can absolutely apply to other contexts.
Dr. Brian Dixon (09:51): Absolutely. As Dr. Nikki says, bring your whole person. Bring your whole person to work, and yes, those intersectionality pieces are big. So Dr. Jide, tell us, what is a sign of a good ally? What makes a good ally for Black folks in the workplace?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (10:08): This is so exciting. So we have a list of five things. So let’s go ahead and get started with number one. A good ally is somebody who shows up and shows out publicly. So, your coworkers, especially those who are most marginalized, may not have the time or privilege to be able to call something out. Because if you’re white, you’re probably making more money than your Black coworkers. You’re probably in a more well-paid position. You’re probably in a higher position, such that if you hear some kind of insensitivity going on, you’re probably at less risk of losing your job than your Black coworker. So a good ally is somebody who shows up, who says, “Hold on, hold on, Mr. Wellington. Sorry. That was unacceptable.” That’s my normal rich white guy name.
Dr. Brian Dixon (11:05): I was going to ask, “Where do you get your names?”
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (11:06): Mr. Wellington. “Hi, sorry. Could you say that again?” Or “I feel like that was a little offensive,” and they don’t–and we’ve talked about this before, they don’t send you a message afterward. They don’t knock on your door afterward and say, “You were so brave for saying that.” No, they’re there from the beginning, and they show up and they show out. So that’s number one. Number two, Dr. Brian?
Dr. Brian Dixon (11:35): So that leads us into number two, which is allies don’t get defensive when they are called out for mistakes. So it is human nature, y’all. Anytime that you feel that you may be in the wrong, it’s just part of who we are, we shy away. “Oh, my God, what did I do?” Or you attack. “Oh, no, no. That’s not what I meant.” Well, a good ally doesn’t get defensive. They go, “You know what? You’re right. My bad. I’m so sorry. How do I fix this?” So as Dr. Hill pointed out in a previous episode, we are all socialized and conditioned to think and behave in certain ways. That’s just, again, human nature, especially depending on what your workplace is like. So, it’s really, really important that an ally will speak up and say, “If I said something wrong, please show me where I was wrong so that I can do better for the next time,” because it’s always about growth and and positivity. Just growth, growth, growth. So we’re trying to take some shit and turn it into something that’s more meaningful and more helpful for people. So, yes, a good ally always admits their mistakes. What about number three, Dr. Bamishigbin?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (12:43): Number three, allies are transparent. They’re very, very transparent in the workplace. Once again, we talked about this. If you’re white in the workplace, you’re probably making more money, you’ll get promoted faster, all of these things. So a good ally is somebody who will talk to their coworker to let them know, “This is how much I’m making,” so that way the coworker can know, “Oh, I’m getting paid X amount less. I need to be asking for more.” The best kind of allies you can have are the ones who look out for you from jump street. So maybe when you’re applying for a job after you’ve got a job, wouldn’t it be nice if you had somebody who already worked there to email you or call you up and say, “Hey, buddy, this is how much I got when I started. This is how much you should ask for.”
Dr. Brian Dixon (13:31): Absolutely. And y’all, it is a big, big deal for contract negotiations. So a whole bunch of my white colleagues use their own networks, and they don’t tell anybody, and as a result, us poor Black folks, we go in and we go, “Oh, wow, we got this great deal,” and come to find out we didn’t. So one personal example, and this is–I’ll make a long story short–there was a white female colleague doing the same exact job as me, turns out, after we finished a year of working together, she’s making $20,000 more than I was for the exact same job.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (14:07): $20,000? 20k?
Dr. Brian Dixon (14:10): 20K. And I was like, “What?” Because I said, “Oh, well, this is how much I make,” and she goes, “Oh, I refused to come here for less than $20,000 more,” and I was like, “Holy shit,” and she was like, “Yes, you just have to advocate.” Well, if I don’t know how to advocate for myself, right, because I don’t know the words, but the white people do know the words. So yes, if you’re going to be a good white ally, you have to start telling people. Let us see those cards. So–ooh, Lord. I’m getting my blood pressure up. Let me move on to number four before I say something that I regret. So a good ally demonstrates good allyship in various domains in their lives. And so this is super important. You can’t come to work and be like, “I support Black people,” and then go home and be like, “Oh, I support Donald Trump.” You can’t do that, y’all.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (14:57): Does not work.
Dr. Brian Dixon (14:57): It does not work. It’s disingenuous. It’s not authentic. And like we said earlier, you got to bring your whole self to work, and that includes white folks. Bring your whole self to work. And if there are some glitches in your life, you need to fix the glitches.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (15:11): When your dad says something racist at dinner, do you say, “Dad, you can’t say that,” or do you just look down and say nothing?
Dr. Brian Dixon (15:17): Absolutely. Yes. Good allies live their values. Whether you’re at work, whether you’re at home, whether you’re in the store and seeing folks acting a fool with the masks and screaming at Black folks and Latinx folks, no, you have to speak up. You have to be present. You don’t get to hide behind things. You have to speak up. Again, I’m getting all kinds of irritated.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (15:41): Me too. Me too. We’re good. We’re good. We’re good. Take a deep breath.
Dr. Brian Dixon (15:50): Okay. Alrighty. Dr. Jide, what is number five?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (15:54): Number five, a good ally is somebody who’s ready to put it all on the line. So later on I’m going to give you an example of who I consider, and I think many people consider, the gold standard for a white ally, but a good ally is somebody who was able to say, “You know what? This is my red line. I’m not going to allow you to treat this coworker this way, and you’re either going to change it or I’m going to do something. I’m going to leave. I’m going to strike with you.” Once again, the ally is not somebody who knocks on your door afterward and says, “You’re so brave.” It’s somebody who locks arms with you. In fact, we even need to change–Dr. Coleman talked about this–we need to change the language of an ally. More like a co-conspirator.
Dr. Brian Dixon (16:39): I love it. Yes. Get in the trenches with us.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (16:44): Trenches.
Dr. Brian Dixon (16:44): Yes. We are struggling. Your Black friends are hurting. Your Black friends are tired. If you’re going to be a white ally, we need you just as tired as we are if not more. We need you to feel it so that you can help us change it.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (16:55): You have the power.
Dr. Brian Dixon (16:56): Absolutely. So those are the five signs of being a really good ally. So we’re going to transition over into the dos and don’ts of allyship. So one of the most important dos–so I’m going to uncover the dos, and then Dr. Jide is going to bring us the don’ts, because he’s going to get crunk with y’all. So the dos of allyship. So, number one, vote. I know in Texas we have an election coming up on May 1st, 2021. In your state, pay attention to what’s on the ballot box. Pay attention. We want you to vote at work. We want you to vote in your community, vote at church. We want you to vote. So a good ally, a good white ally, votes, and they vote with our common interest in mind. Then when it comes to reparations, you better vote for that too. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. That’s a whole other webcast for a whole other day. So white folks have a powerful voice. We need you to speak up. We need you to include us in those conversations. And so that’s one do of allyship that we need from you.
Dr. Brian Dixon (18:03): Number two, we need you to give credit where credit is due. So Black folks in the workplace are some of the most creative folks on the planet because Black people can make a dollar out of 15 cents. They can stretch a dollar. They know how to get shit done. They get work done, they do what they need to do. So we need our white allies to step up and give us credit. So when we come up with a new TPS report for Mr. Wellington, we want Mr. Wellington to speak up and be like, “You know what? Brian did that. Yes. It wasn’t me. That was all Brian.” Give credit where credit is due, especially in the academic setting.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (18:39): Can I add something to that?
Dr. Brian Dixon (18:40): Absolutely.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (18:42): We say that because there’s a long, long, long, long, long, long history of not giving credit where credit is due. So this is actually a real problem that occurs. So I just want to point that out. It’s because this is a thing that really happens. Black people’s ideas are stolen all the time. Women’s ideas are stolen all of the time.
Dr. Brian Dixon (19:04): Yes. Cultural appropriation, gender appropriation. Yes, it happens literally every single day. And it’s on…
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (19:12): Kylie Jenner.
Dr. Brian Dixon (19:12): Yes. It’s a hot mess. Oh, bless her heart. I don’t even know what to say. But yes, give credit where credit is due. I think it was on TikTok, seeing–who was the young lady with the dance, the Renegade dance? And most people didn’t see it until it was on TikTok with the white girl dancing around.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (19:33): Right.
Dr. Brian Dixon (19:33): Turns out it was somebody else, and I’m like, “What in the world?” Yes. So give credit where credit is due. Yes, you may be an influencer. Yes, you may be an Instagrammer. You may be the boss. You may be the supervisor. When Black folks do awesome things, make sure that you let other people know that the Black folks did it. And then number three of the dos, educate yourself and those around you. Read, y’all. “So You Want to Talk About Race,” that’s an awesome book that I just finished. “White Fragility,” read it. Anything about white toxicity, listen to Dr. LaWanda Hill’s podcasts and Instagrams, because she does a phenomenal job of educating you about white toxicity and gaslighting. You have to do the work. And that’s just with race. That doesn’t even include women’s rights and studies, LGBT concerns, poverty, classism, casteism (?), Isabelle Wilkerson’s book. You have to do the work. So a good ally does the work so that you can speak intelligently and that you can support those Black people around you.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (20:34): No shortage of information out there for you to learn.
Dr. Brian Dixon (20:37): None. Yes.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (20:38): You have the internet. Google is your friend.
Dr. Brian Dixon (20:40): Preach. And I know you have a smartphone because everybody has a smartphone. So you can read on your phone, you can read while you’re taking a shit. I’m telling you, you can do whatever you need to do to learn so that you don’t come up in here speaking nonsense. We want you to be as educated as possible. So those are the three dos that we want y’all to take away from our discussion tonight. Dr. Jide, what don’t we want allies to do?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (21:05): So let’s do the don’ts. Okay. So number one, and Rashada pointed this out also–I would like to point out we had it in our notes, but I’m going to give her the credit because she also said it–allies do not call themselves allies.
Dr. Brian Dixon (21:18): Preach.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (21:19): Do not call yourself an ally. That is not a title that you can bestow upon yourself. That is for somebody else to say about you after a long period of you showing that you’re an ally. So you don’t get to claim it yourself. “Well, I’m an ally to…” No, no, no, no, no. I get to call you an ally. Your indigenous coworker gets to call you an ally. Your LGBTQ coworker gets to call you an ally. You don’t call yourself an ally. So that’s a big, big don’t. That’s a… I’d probably say kind of a red flag, because it might be a little “I want the credit for marching with Dr. King.” You have to be careful. You have to be careful. Don’t call yourself an ally.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (22:04): Number two, don’t be an ass. Do not be an asshole. Speak up. Speak up for others, but don’t speak over others. You know what I’m saying? So you don’t have the right to tell Black people about their experiences in this country. So even just recently, last night, a white journalist called Tim Scott, who we’re going to talk about a little bit later, an Uncle Tom, and all the Black people were like a record scratch. No. Never in your life, never in your life. You do not get to use that language. You do not get to talk about Black people in that way. So that’s kind of being one of those… Because listen, I can call him an Uncle Tom.
Dr. Brian Dixon (22:52): Yes. Absolutely.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (22:52): Dr. Brian can call him an Uncle Tom.
Dr. Brian Dixon (22:53): And we do.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (22:58): But you don’t have that.
Dr. Brian Dixon (23:00): Yes.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (23:00): So that’s an example of being an asshole. You don’t have to be an asshole. Know your role. Know your place.
Dr. Brian Dixon (23:05): Preach.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (23:05): Number three, respecting other people is not dependent upon you understanding them. Other people’s lived experiences, that should be enough. You don’t have to understand issues related to trans folk. You don’t really have to fully understand racism. Honestly, you can’t.
Dr. Brian Dixon (23:27): Correct.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (23:29): Because you don’t get followed around in stores. There are not bills every single day in the news targeted towards people like you not doing basic things, getting healthcare. You can’t understand. But you tolerating, accepting, respecting people who look like us and other marginalized folks is not dependent upon you understanding. You just need to do it. And if somebody says “That offends me,” you don’t have to understand why. You just need to listen and understand that it did.
Dr. Brian Dixon (24:01): Yes. Walk with us. Just walk with us, y’all. Come on. You don’t have to know everything. Just walk with us. Be with us in the moment.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (24:08): You do not have to know everything. Number four, don’t burn yourself out. So, once again, we do expect allies to play their role, to do what they have to do and support marginalized groups, but once again, you cannot fill from an empty cup. Know your place, know your role, and support in the ways that you can. As something Dr. Brian said earlier, I’m going to butcher this, but essentially play to your strengths. You know what I’m saying? And do the things you’re good at. Don’t do the things you’re not good at. If your form of supporting Black folks is in graduate school as a mentor, revising the statements of purpose and writing that as a recommendation, do that and do that well. Don’t think that you’re an organizer now, and don’t try to get into that lane because you will burn yourself out. Stay in your lane. Did I get that right, Dr. Brian?
Dr. Brian Dixon (25:05): You totally got it right. So one of the Black-owned businesses that I always love to promote is something called The Nap Ministry, and she talks about “Rest is resistance.” So we’re always talking about “Black folks, let’s eat right, let’s exercise, let’s get our sleep.” This goes for our white allies as well, because this is a hard fight. It is a hard fight. Racism is trauma. It is trauma and it is everywhere, and so we need our white allies as rested and educated as we are. So yes, don’t try to do all and be all. Walk with us and don’t be an asshole. I can’t stress that enough.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (25:40): And it’s a hard fight and a long fight. And a never-ending fight.
Dr. Brian Dixon (25:44): Absolutely.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (25:44): This has been a fight that’s been going on. So don’t think you’re going to solve it in a day because you read a book.
Dr. Brian Dixon (25:52): Yes. Don’t make it one of your corporate quarter goals. “Well, this quarter we’re going to solve this diversity, equity, and inclusion problem,” because no, it’s going to be around for many, many years to come.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (26:04): Is that Mr. Wellington’s voice?
Dr. Brian Dixon (26:04): That is Mr. Wellington’s voice. That is indeed. Correct. And só those are the dos and the don’ts of allyship. So one of the things that we always… I think it helps to conceptualize for some folks who is a good example of an ally. So who’s the epitome of the white ally. So, Dr. Jide, who do you think?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (26:31): So to me the gold standard for an ally is Mr. John Brown. So some of you may know who John Brown is. Some of you may not know who John Brown is. John Brown was an abolitionist leader who led a raid on Harper’s Ferry in Virginia, intending to start a slave liberation movement that was spread throughout the United States. He was a very religious and spiritual person, and he felt as though the enslavement of Africans and Black people was a mortal sin and it had to stop. So he led a raid that ended up killing seven people, and he got away for a little bit, but then he was eventually captured. But that to me is an example of an ally. He was captured and then executed by hanging. He was executed by hanging. But to me, that’s an ally. Because he didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. Right. He was not just willing to, he did put his life on the line, because he viewed the enslavement of Black people and Africans as a mortal sin. So, listen, I’m not sitting here saying that all you white people need to be ready to be hung. That’s not what I’m saying. But knocking on my door after the boss says something offensive, that doesn’t mean anything to me.
Dr. Brian Dixon (28:06): Yes. That’s not helpful. Not helpful. You have to sacrifice. And while we’re not saying you have to sacrifice your life, you have to do more than be inconvenienced. “Well, I didn’t want to speak up then, I’ll just…” No, that’s not helpful. You speak up in the moment. You have to speak up in the moment. Our lives, our futures are depending on you, and we’re asking you as Black folks to do your work.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (28:33): Do your work. And part of this leads me to one of my favorite books in the world. It’s called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.” There’s a difference between responsibility and fault. There’s a big difference. So, listen, you’re a white person born in 1995. Yes, you are not at fault for the enslavement of Africans.
Dr. Brian Dixon (28:59): Correct.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (29:00): I’m not going to argue with that. I don’t think anybody’s going to argue with that. You weren’t there. How could you be responsible for something you were not there for? But your ancestors were there, and they’re responsible for it, and as a white person right now in America, you’re also responsible for it. It’s not your fault, but you’re responsible for making it better because you benefit from what that enslavement of Black people and Africans did to us as Black people, as well as what it’s done to put white people up on the hierarchy in this country. So it’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility.
Dr. Brian Dixon (29:37): I like that a lot. I’ll have to check that book out. What is it called again? Something about giving a fuck?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (29:42): “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.”
Dr. Brian Dixon (29:44): Okay. I like that. I’m going to have to check that out. Well, I’m going to share a message from a business book I read. So I actually run my own company, and one of the things my business coaches have told me is “That which is not measured cannot be improved.” So we’re on this podcast every week talking about allyship and inclusiveness and diversity and equity, and if your company is not measuring those things, you got a problem, because it means that they’re not trying to improve them. And so if you don’t have a cultural index, if you don’t have a corporate diversity index, if you’re not tracking these things–how many people are you hiring? How many people are you firing? What are their backgrounds? What are their experiences?–if you’re not doing those things, if your business or your company is not doing those things, reach out to us. We are developing special tools and programs as The Break Room crew to be able to help out all of our Black colleagues in every workplace. So just reach out to us at our new web address, which is firstname.lastname@example.org, because we can help y’all out with all that stuff, with surveys, all the good stuff, all the good shit. So when it comes to the flow of the podcast, we talked about how to be a good ally. we talked about the dos and don’ts of allyship, what a good ally looks like in the form of John Brown, and then we gave y’all tools so that after we have this conversatio y’all can follow up with us. Because again, like Dr. Jide said, this isn’t a one-time thing. This isn’t a quarterly goal. This is a lifelong goal. So with that said, make sure that if you have any questions put them in the chat box. And I think we’re good. We’re going to close things out tonight with The Last Nerve.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (31:53): Last Nerve.
Dr. Brian Dixon (31:54): Yes. So, Dr. Jide, before we give them The Last Nerve, let’s tell them what The Last Nerve is. So what is The Last Nerve?
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (32:05): So we started off the episode and we spilled the tea talking about President Biden’s plan that he talked about last night and the trillions of dollars that he was dedicating to families, infrastructure and environment, jobs, things like that. That’s how we started off. So we’re going to end it by talking about the person who responded to that. So typically there is a response to that by a person from the opposing party. In this case… Sorry. I’m trying to keep myself cool. The opposing party, in this case, is the GOP, and they put forth Senator Tim Scott, who is a “Black man” from South Carolina…
Dr. Brian Dixon (33:01): Yes. He’s from South Carolina. And I wouldn’t even say Black man, I would say he’s a man with some extra melanin, and that’s as good as it gets because that’s some bullshit.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (33:11): They can’t see my air quotes, but there were air quotes around “Black man,” and he put forth his response last night, and it was, for lack of a better term, coonery. I don’t know what other way to describe it. What would you describe it as?
Dr. Brian Dixon (33:42): It was just absolute, pure, utter bullshit. “This isn’t a racist country.” And then goes on to describe how he was…
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (33:52): A victim of racism. He gave multiple examples.
Dr. Brian Dixon (33:56): Hypocrisy and bullshit. Yes. It hurt my feelings, honestly.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (34:04): And he allowed himself to be used as a tool for the mostly white GOP. They allowed him to put the Black face on as a shield for racism. Like, “Oh, well, look, we have a Black senator. He did it. You can’t call us racist.” That’s not how that works.
Dr. Brian Dixon (34:23): Not at all. And to me, especially because we’re busting our ass, we’re doing podcasts, we’re doing speeches, we’re going out, we’re doing surveys, we’re doing research, we are tweeting. We’re doing all this stuff, and we work our ass off, most of us working two and three jobs, and here’s this joker sitting up here and talking some nonsense and some bullshit, and now we have to go undo things because now our hopeful white allies are like, “Wait a minute. So this Black is on TV saying that this isn’t a problem,” and now we just get set back two more weeks or three more weeks, where we have to spend all this time teaching them all over again. I just… I can’t stand…
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (35:04): Rashada asked the question. Where’s the dignity?
Dr. Brian Dixon (35:08): None. None.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (35:14): Where’s the dignity? And thank you, Matamba. You put forth an article, we’re going to read about this and hopefully talk about this next week, and it’s about allies. So hopefully we’ll talk about it next week. We can’t read it right now because we’re on air, but we’ll talk about it.
Dr. Brian Dixon (35:28): So Rashada said, “How can he sleep at night?” I want to say it was either… I think it was the podcast two weeks ago, we talked about cognitive dissonance. So that’s another psychological term where you are able to hold two varying schools of thought that most times they don’t go together, but you hold both at the same time. For most folks, that cognitive dissonance is very unsettling. So we want to resolve that conflict one way or the other, but I guess for people like Tim Scott, they don’t give a shit and so they can hold those two things at the same time. Because to me, it is a willful… They don’t give a shit. It is a willful action. He’s choosing. He sees the research. He’s had his lived experience. He’s talked to some DEI folks and he does it anyway, and that makes him an asshole. So I can’t deal with people like that. I just cannot. Just whatever.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (36:25): The worst kind of Black people.
Dr. Brian Dixon (36:28): Anytime people make more work for me, I take personal offense. And what he did last night on national TV makes more work for me. So I take personal offense. Personal offense.
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (36:40): Yes. We’re not him.
Dr. Brian Dixon (36:47): Exactly. Align your chakras, gather your chi. So, y’all, we really appreciate y’all hanging out with us tonight on The Break Room as we were talking about accountability in allyship. We hope that y’all learned some stuff and came away with some tangible, concrete examples of how to be a good ally. If you’re Black and listening to this, share this with your white friends. If you’re white and listening to this, go do your work. It’s been a pleasure. I’m Dr. Brian Dixon and…
Dr. Jide Bamishigbin (37:16): Dr. Jide Bamishigbin. Nice to see y’all.
Dr. Brian Dixon (37:19): Yes. We will see y’all next week. Have a good one.