Details about the 2024 event will be available soon.
ABOUT OUR VIRTUAL SUMMIT 2023
Developing a Culture of Belonging: Prioritizing Social and Emotional Well-Being
Our 2023 Summit invites participants to develop inclusive leadership skills with a focus on tracks in leadership management, education and healthcare. We will bring together leaders, scholars and professionals across multiple industries to explore how to prioritize mental health and belonging at the core of strategic operations.
Participants will engage in critical dialogue with industry leaders to address and examine aspects of trauma, accessibility, post-pandemic challenges and the ongoing social and systemic issues that hinder performance and retention.
Join us on an intentional leadership journey to connect, explore and ignite sustainable changes towards inclusive and equitable environments in the workplace and classroom.
Our summit will feature:
Deep dive workshops
A career fair with multiple employers
Empowering messages from leaders in the field
Inaugural Workforce Diversity Leaders Seminar
Digital badges: Participants can earn digital badges highlighting inclusive leadership skills to share on resumes, social platforms and more
This online summit is free and open to the public.
2023 schedule and updates
Schedule at a glance
Each day of our three-day virtual summit includes sessions dedicated to inclusive leadership in practice and what research is telling us followed by a career fair and networking opportunities. The daily itinerary will include:
8 am — 2 pm MST | Summit Sessions
2 pm — 5 pm MST | Career Fair and Networking
Workforce Diversity Leaders Seminar
This year’s Summit establishes the inaugural Workforce Diversity Leaders Seminar. This will serve as a meeting place for the advancement and empowerment of employee resource group (ERG) or business resource group (BRG) leaders, ERG or BRG sponsors and emerging leaders who serve in workforce areas related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Participants will engage in facilitated conversations about workforce trends and learn the skills necessary to become effective inclusive leaders in the workplace. The number of available spaces for attendees will be limited, and those who attend will have the opportunity to earn a workforce focused Inclusive Leadership Badge.
[MUSIC] There were not enough hours to be all that I am,
not enough hours to make this overworked mom feel like Superwoman, not enough hours to let this dream that used
to breathe within me by new life. Just enough time to listen to that inner voice and
believe maybe there's more time on the other side of trying, and maybe there's not enough time until there is.
Take classes any time of the day or night at the University of Phoenix.
Welcome to the University of Phoenix and I'm from inclusive leadership summit.
My name is Saray Lopez, and I am a Director in the office of educational equity.
We are pleased to have you joining us today. Thank you. Thank you all. As we begin this summit,
we first want to acknowledge that the seabed is being broadcasted locally.
Can go to the next slide, please? [BACKGROUND] May we honor and give gratitude to
the indigenous peoples who were the original custodians of the various lands on which we live and work.
We recognize that a land acknowledgment alone isn't sufficient.
Yet it serves as a starting point as we continue our individual journeys
towards racial equity. Here in the Phoenix Metropolitan area
we inhabit the: Hohokam, Akimel O'oodham, Pipash and Yavapai land.
Thank you for joining me and taking the time to honor those original custodians of this land.
Next slide please.
The inclusive leadership summit is committed to fostering an atmosphere of lifelong learning,
as we explore, and address systemic inequities to inform an impact and ever-changing workforce.
Thank you again for joining us on our journey and becoming inclusive leaders.
Over the next three days you can expect to hear from phenomenal speakers, from leaders,
and practitioners, and you're being joined among an incredible network across the nation and globally.
Thank you. These speakers will be sharing stories, and strategies to help us gain awareness of ourselves,
fellow colleagues, and direct reports. It is our hope that this awareness
along with the tools and resources shared will enable us to leave the summit with action that
will help them foster in it's inclusive spaces in the workplace, classroom, and within our sphere of influence.
I will now turn it over to my colleague, Tondra Richardson, and the office of educational equity.
Thank you Saray. If we can move to the next slide, please. Good morning everyone.
We are so excited to be here with you today. We're also very excited to announce that the summit attendees who have joined
all three days of sessions are eligible to receive the University of Phoenix badge,
inclusive leaders, self and social awareness. Now to be considered for this badge,
you will need to complete the post-summit survey provided on day three and include your name, and email address.
To be more specific, you will need to participate in at least three sessions and three days of the summit,
and complete that assessment. We're very excited about that badge and we hope to see a lot of you are earning it.
We can move to the next slide please. Before we dive in today, we want to direct your attention to the navigation panel,
which is located on the left side of your browser. This is going to enable you to switch
between different areas of the virtual conference, including stages networking, and virtual employer boots.
We highly encourage you to connect with one another. The People tab is a dedicated area to
promote one-on-one connections between attendees, in addition the networking feature is a great way
to meet people within the Inclusive Leadership Summit. I did see that a few people were already sharing their LinkedIn pages,
so please continue to do that. Connect during and after the summit. Go ahead and grow those networks while you're here.
We can move to the next slide please. Let's set the stage for today's sessions.
Listed here, you're going to see some guidelines that we believe are essential to fostering respectful conversations.
Please consider that some of the issues presented may be challenging for you. We invite you to allow yourself
grace to fill uncomfortable. This enables us to create empathy, and support for the persons and communities
who are directly impacted by our actions. We encourage you to share your experiences in your perspective in the chat.
We do also ask that all participants contribute to an atmosphere of
mutual respect and sensitivity. In addition, we highly encourage you to share
helpful resources related to today's topic. We often find that our attendees have great resources to add
to the topics that we're speaking on, and we encourage you to share those. We'll now hear from our president,
and President Emeritus to share more about the summit followed by an introduction of our keynote speaker.
Good morning. I'm thrilled to welcome you to our inclusive leadership summit.
Thank you for taking the time to join us today. Over the next several days as we hear from
incredible speakers who will share their wisdom about what it takes to be an inclusive leader and
the actions and efforts that will help us create cultures of diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and belonging.
As we shared when I was introduced, I am the new president of the University of Phoenix,
and I couldn't be more excited to be leading this fine institution. I've been an inspired fan
of the university for some time. Observing its trajectory towards success,
while working to disrupt higher education, and expand access for more than 45 years.
In the realm of DEI and B, it has worked hard to be a leader too.
In my brief tenure, I've observed a culture that embraces transparency,
difficult conversations, and a willingness to listen. Over the next several days,
you'll hear about what the essential characteristics are to be an inclusive leader.
I think you'll come away with greater self-awareness, excitement, and tools to
accomplish your leadership goals. I hope you can attend as many of the discussions as possible.
I don't think you'll want to miss a minute of this summit. I also want to take a moment to thank our sponsors,
ETS, and diverse issues in higher education magazines. We appreciate their support,
and expertise in planning and executing the summit. Now, it is my honor to introduce our President Emeritus,
my predecessor, Peter Cohen. Peter has been an incredible supporter
of DEI and B initiatives at the university. We'll talk about some of the things he championed,
and will continue to support in his emeritus role. I think you will be inspired by what Peter will share,
and may pick up a tip or two from him. Thank you again for joining us for the inclusive leadership summit.
Now please welcome President Emeritus, Peter Cohen.
Good morning everybody and thank you. I'd like to welcome you all to this Inclusive Leadership Summit.
Our President Burnett, thank you for that very gracious introduction. As he mentioned, I'm now
president emeritus for University of Phoenix, which is a fairly recent change for me,
and frankly, I'm still getting used to it. Retirement is one of those things that you've set
your sights on and when it finally arrives, it's just a little bit disorienting.
You go from having every minute schedule to being responsible for how you allocate your time and
just be careful what you wish for. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining.
I'm thoroughly enjoying more time with my family, especially with my grandchildren.
They are the center of my family's world. They are our future. There's perhaps no greater privilege
than to be a grandparent, at least in my humble opinion. When the team asked me if I'd be willing to make
some opening remarks at the summit, I was more than happy to do so. In many ways, this summit is the culmination
of many efforts that the university began during my tenure. For several years, we've discussed the importance of
establishing a learning community devoted to racial justice and equity.
That supporting the environments and communities in which our students and alumni live,
is both wise and necessary. 2020 delivered both a global pandemic
and escalating social unrest due to the ongoing and unjust racially motivated killings
of black Americans. These realities made it even more critical to
continue these conversations and to act. As an institution, we moved quickly to
collaborate with employers and think tanks and other organizations to take action in a number of ways.
For example, we hosted a three-day webinar series titled Essential Conversations addressing systemic inequities
and criminal justice, healthcare and higher education series created a space where people
representing many different sectors of society could come together and envision a path where equity,
inclusion, and belonging is everyone's experience and discuss
what we have to do to get there. As part of the work done to bring
the educational equity webinar series to life, we've realized that we had to have
relationships with organizations and thought leaders, including our University of Phoenix faculty,
staff and alumni who were contributing to the important conversations related to diversity,
equity, inclusion, and belonging in higher education and across various industries.
It was important for us to continue that work and bring more voices to the table,
including those of our students and this led to the establishment of the Inclusive Leadership Summit.
Now our theme for today is leading through tumultuous times.
The last couple of years have certainly been the epitome of challenging.
For leaders it's been in many ways an existential moment.
In these times of unprecedented uncertainty, leaders have been called upon to lead him ways
they may never have been before. For me, as a privileged,
relatively successful, white cisgender male, I have always believed I have
an obligation to use my voice to speak out about the issues of diversity, equity, inclusion,
and belonging, even if they're uncomfortable, and to leverage my position as
a leader to assure that we make more and faster progress in addressing
the causes of inequity is built into our policies, practices, regulations, and implicit biases.
I believe this is an obligation of anyone who assumes a leadership role.
If more of us recognize this obligation, we could begin to break down the systemic racism that's
existed for far too long in too many parts of our society.
For example, our systems of funding for education often favor those who
live in higher-income zip codes and perpetuates the divide of resources available to support high-quality education,
ranging from school facilities to teacher salaries, to broadband access and we compound that with
zoning regulations which limit or eliminate multi-family housing in those zip codes.
This divide means those with the means to tend to have a better resource education opportunities,
and thus are advantaged throughout life by stronger early learning foundations.
Similar inequities exist across healthcare, food security, and personal safety.
Just this morning, the National Urban League released its annual report,
and found that black Americans have slipped even further behind in education,
social justice, and civic engagement. I encourage you to read the report.
As a country, we need to address these equity canyons. If we want all children to have
an opportunity to succeed at the same rate. These are tough issues,
but ones that we must tackle as a nation. We must have courageous, honest,
even raw conversations if we're going to change any of this. Banning books in public schools is
not the path to enlightenment as one example. Outline conversations in our classrooms about
our collective history as a nation is not going to unite us.
Banning the discussion of sexual orientation in school is not going to make us more inclusive.
The last couple of years have unprecedented events and they've impacted our society on so many levels,
including health and safety, economic, political, and racial and social justice reawakening.
In some ways, for those of us who are a bit on the older side like me,
it's a little bit of a painful deja vu. I grew up during the 1990s and remember
the civil rights marches demanding an end to police brutality. I remember the march in Sherman, Georgia,
I remember when Rodney King was brutally beaten, when Freddie Gray died in the back of
a police van in the town I lived in. When the Philando Castile was pulled over for
a broken tail light and fatally shot by police. Sadly, what we've faced in
the past couple of years is neither new nor unique. But where we go from here, what we do next is
critical if we're going to break this cycle. If we're going to end systemic racism, disparities and inequities.
When I announced my retirement from the university, I was proud that during my tenure, we developed attitudes,
programs, and departments to reflect the impacts of racism on our courses,
our students, and our faculty and staff. We sharpened our focus on educational equity
across our system with curriculum reviews to address bias and content and
support for our students with many types of learning are physical differences through the establishment of our office of educational equity,
and we made traditional diversity training an annual requirement.
For our university faculty and staff, we launched the inclusive cafe,
which is a virtual meeting space to connect and build community and to draw upon
the diverse perspectives of participants to explore powerful and effective responses to
difficult yet culture changing conversations. A place where it was okay to be whoever you really are,
and to ask forbidden questions, to learn more about how others
see and are seen in the world. It's where I learned about
the long-term emotional impact of microaggressions and the nuance
of intersectionality in how we group people. We also began working with the city of Phoenix,
and it supplemented the city's investment in programs and policies that will promote racial sensitivity,
social justice, and the reduction of inequities at city touch points within the community.
We did this because we believe business and society are inextricably linked and neither can
thrive without the well-being of the other. We also hosted a virtual free virtual teaching academy
in the summer of 2020 with nearly 6,000 educators and administrators from
almost every state in America and 14 foreign countries participated. Many were from underserved communities
struggling to pivot to online learning with limited technology and training.
We also took part in the 2020 boycott of Facebook by pausing all paid investment in
Facebook for a month to demonstrate our commitment to eliminate hate speech in social media.
We also established the President's Advisory Council on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
This council is a representative cross-functional body that works to develop and promote strategies that
foster a community of inclusion, values, diversity of thought, experiences and culture, and
leads to a sense of belonging for all. The council has been essential in the planning of this side.
I'm also very proud that for the five consecutive years, the University of Phoenix has been awarded
a Human Rights Campaign best place to work. This award is regarded as the gold standard and
benchmarks LGBTQ+ workplace equality through four different sets of criteria;
non-discrimination policies, equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families,
supporting an inclusive culture, and practicing corporate social responsibility.
We are cultivating inclusive practices internally and externally, and this award highlights our successes.
Now just as we've been an innovator in higher education since 1976,
the University of Phoenix has always been reaching forward with diversity initiatives that foster inclusion and belonging
and that influence our corporate culture and our communities. We are an open access university,
which means that any and all who want a higher education, and have a high school degree or equivalency
should have that opportunity and we will provide it. We have always been career focused
and defined by who we serve, who are often first-generation to college,
often hard working parents, typically over 35 years old and more than 60 percent of whom are people of color.
We serve more than 75,000 students who were taught by practitioner faculty who average
over 25 years of professional experience, and over 12 years of teaching for us.
They bring their real-world experience into the classroom every day.
Now, our work is not over. There will always be more to do,
and the university is committed to continuing this important work, and the summit is just one example of that commitment.
Now let me turn my attention to our keynote speaker today, author and anti-racism educator, Tim Wise.
Tim is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the US.
He has spent 30 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on a good 1,500 college and high school campuses,
at hundreds of professional and academic conferences and to community groups across the country.
Tim has also trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military,
and medical professionals on methods for dismantling racial inequity in their institutions,
and has provided anti-racism training to educators and administrators both nationwide and internationally.
Tim is the author of nine books, including his latest essay collection,
Dispatches from the Race War, and his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me, Reflections on Race from a Privileged son.
He appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues,
and has been featured on Nightline, CBS Sunday Morning, Twenty20, and 48 Hours,
among many other national news programs. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received
anti-racism training from the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond in New Orleans.
In his keynote, Tim will explore the current backlash against diversity equity and inclusion efforts,
and the larger anti-racism movement and place the backlash in an historical perspective.
Why is it happening now? What does it mean for DEI and D practitioners and educators and concerned citizens,
and how could move your main strong in the face of opposition to even discussing racial injustice,
let alone rectifying it. I'm really looking forward to hearing Tim's presentation and I hope you are too.
I also hope to make the most of the next several days, so we can learn more ways to work
together towards real, sustained, and effective change that enables our progress towards creating
a more equitable and inclusive world where we all feel that we belong.
Remember, this is a journey. It's not a sprint, and every step matters. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Peter. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to be with you all today.
I know that we are not technically together. We are doing this thing that we do and had been doing for the past couple of years.
But it certainly gives us the opportunity to share some space, even if virtual,
and to have some incredibly important conversations and I'm honored to be able to be a part of that today with you.
Let me first start with some disclaimers I have learned in the two years of doing these kinds of
virtual events that I need to do this upfront. Listen, I am a 53-year-old man,
which means that I am not technologically gifted. That is an understatement of somewhat biblical proportions.
Just so you know, which means there is every possibility that I could hit a button. I could knock my computer off of
the stand where I have it so delicately rig. I could theoretically disconnect the Internet,
not just in my home and on my block, but perhaps on the entire Eastern side
of the United States. I'm coming to you from Tennessee, so that would include me and a whole lot of other folks.
I hope that doesn't happen. I do have the link. If I screw up, I will get back to you.
But as I said, I'm 53, which means that any technology that is more recent than about 1981,
Atari video games is way above my pay grade. We're just going to keep our fingers
crossed and hope for the best, if that works for you. Again, honored to be here, particularly at this time.
It is both an exciting time but also a very dangerous time for us in
this country right now and in this culture as we attempt to do this work that we referred to as
equity work or DEI or DEI work. It is exciting of course because, as Peter mentioned in the last couple of years,
there has been a flowering of focus and interests and activism around issues
of racial justice in large part, of course, because of the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020,
but also because of the work that was being done even before that. Coming really to that inflection moment
after the killing of George Floyd, after which tens of millions, some estimates say as many as 25 million Americans ended
up involved in some way in protest activity, demonstrations, rallies, public events,
and that doesn't even include the millions more who in their own way, perhaps privately and more quietly,
began to ask these very critical questions in their schools, in their workplaces, in their places of worship,
in the non-profit spaces where they operate, in their community-based organizations,
these questions about how do we create a more equitable and just society,
not only with regard to policing, to the criminal justice system, which was obviously the focus of a lot of
the activism in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, but how do we create that systemic fairness
and equity in our labor markets, in our schools, in our housing access, in wealth creation, in healthcare,
in all of the different areas of human activity that take place within our society. Millions of people have begun asking that question,
many of whom had never really been involved in that work before. That's the exciting piece of what's
happening and we should take heart in that and from that, it is also though, a very dangerous time.
The danger comes from what you can expect will happen in the wake of that increased interest and
activism and what we in fact see has happened. That is that because we have shifted the narrative,
because we actually are getting people to talk about issues like systemic racism and
institutional racism and injustice that has provoked a very predictable backlash on the part of
those for whom the existing arrangements have worked pretty well. If the system has been working pretty well for you when
people start talking about challenging that system. When they start talking about changing the way
that we do our work in the workplace, or in schools, or in the justice system,
or with regards to housing or any other issue. For people that have been doing okay the way it is,
to talk about change can be very frightening. We see those individuals leading the fight against DEI,
against what they referred to as critical race theory, which to be honest, is a term that they could not
define if their lives depended upon it. You could hold these folks over a bridge by
their ankles and give them 10 minutes to define critical race theory. If they don't get it right, you tell them,
you're going to drop them, and I promise you, they're all getting dropped because they don't actually know what it is they're talking about,
but they know how to scapegoat this thing called critical race theory as a way to attack,
as Peter said in the intro, any conversation about issues of injustice and inequity,
using that as a ruse to ban books and ban materials in elementary school that simply tell the truth
about the history of racial inequity in our country, banning books about MLK
and the civil rights movement because, oh, gosh, it'll make white kids feel bad about themselves if they realize
the history of white supremacy and racism against black and brown people. They might ask, where were my grandparents in those days?
So we don't want them doing that. We can't teach them about what has happened in our country's history,
at least not honestly. That backlash is happening now in a way that it
wasn't 10 years ago, in 20 years ago. Why? Because the uprising since 2020 has frightened some folks,
because they see millions of newcomers flocking into this justice movement, asking these critical questions.
It's not just the usual suspects that are always doing activisty stuff, it's people in corporate America who want to
do better and want to figure out what does that look like. It's people in religious institutions, it's people in nonprofits,
in K-12 schools, in neighborhood organizations. If you've had hegemony and dominance,
pluralism starts to feel like oppression. If you start to see movement toward equality or
even just the shifting of the conversation in that direction. We haven't had substantive changes
since the killing of George Floyd, even in policing, let alone elsewhere, but the narrative has shifted.
Once the narrative begins to shift and people start using language like systemic injustice,
certain folks are going to get upset, they're going to get nervous and they're going to push back. That makes this moment very dangerous.
It makes it a moment where these two forces, one pushing forward and one trying to pull us backward,
find each other at odds with one another in this sort of epic battle,
and the question remains, who is going to prevail? Are we going to go forward? Are we going to go backward?
That is the question that I want us to address today and give you some ideas about how we can ensure that we
continue to make progress because, obviously, there are some who would rather that we didn't do that.
How do we remain focused and resolute in the face of this backlash that is encompassing education,
but also a backlash that's happening in the corporate world. There are certainly folks who had been mightily upset
by the focus on DEI within corporations as well. The state of Florida has said that they even want private companies to be banned from
having these conversations and allowing employees to sue their employer for having
DEI efforts that might make them feel bad. Which is, of course, an entirely subjective concept.
I don't know anyone in this work who wants to make anybody feel bad. I've been doing DEI or equity racial justice work for 30 plus years,
I never wake up in the morning thinking, how can I make someone feel bad, feel shamed, feel guilty?
That's not what any of us want, but I can't control the fact that if you learn about injustice and if
you learn about the way that that systemic inequality has perhaps elevated you above others as someone who's
white or as someone who's a man relative to women, or someone who is straight or cisgendered relative to LGBTQ folk,
or someone who's upper middle class or a fluent relative to the poor, or able-bodied relative to the disabled.
If you feel bad about, if you end up feeling some way about that, I have no possible way of controlling it.
All I have to do in my obligation is to tell you the truth and then we can work through it together. But we have folks who want us to
shut down this conversation. Because if we have the conversation, they realized that a lot of
folks are going to want to do better. The fact is, most people are good people. Most people don't want to oppress or
marginalized or harm other people. But most folks also don't realize the way that our society has
created and sustained injustice and inequality. If you don't understand how that's happened,
you won't understand the need for having these conversations. How do we stay strong? How do we stay resolute?
How do you do that in the face of all this pushback? Number 1, I think you have to understand that
what we're experiencing right now is entirely normal and predictable. That's important because if you
think this backlash is something new, if you think that this is something that we don't have strategies for,
it becomes much more frightening. But the reality is this is always what happens. Carol Anderson, brilliant scholar
at Emory University in Atlanta, wrote a book several years ago called White Rage. I highly recommend it.
What Professor Anderson talks about in that book is the way that every time in American history that we have had
forward progress on the road toward racial justice, particularly for black folk. But I think you can make this argument
for people of color more broadly. To be honest, you can extrapolate this larger argument to any marginalized group,
whether we're talking about race, sex, gender, sexuality class. Whenever there is progress for
the people who have been on the bottom of the structure, those on the top will push back.
We see it with regard to race as Carol Anderson talks about in her book, White Rage, after the abolition of enslavement.
When Reconstruction comes into being, we see people pushing back against that because that was starting to provide what?
A motive come of power and opportunity to formerly enslaved persons. We saw it again when black folks moved from the South to
escape sharecropping and segregation moved North to the Midwest, out West, looking for
opportunity in what's called the Great Migration. What was that met with? It was met with overt violence
on the part of white mobs who didn't want black folks coming into their areas and taking "their jobs."
We saw it in the wake of desegregation and the integration of schools, backlash, violence,
white parents pulling their kids out of the schools, creating segregation academies,
private academies that were specifically racially segregated. We saw it in a backlash to
affirmative action that began in the '70s and continues today. We saw it after the election of President Obama,
even though the Obama years didn't really bring a fundamental change in
the situations facing most black Americans. Symbolically, his victory
was something that a lot of folks, beyond just mere political partisanship, had a very hard time getting their head around
this man of color as the head of the country. Well, he must not be really an American. That's how we get something like birth tourism.
Because you have folks who can't possibly imagine the leader of the so-called free world looking
like that with that name and that supposedly exotic background because he was from Hawaii,
which I gather some folks think is just a tourist destination, they forget that it's actually a state.
You have the backlash to anything that either symbolically or in fact brings about progress.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the movement of the last few years, we've seen a progress,
a narrative progress, a shifting of the conversation. Understand, one of the ways we stay strong is taking a breath and
realizing that all of this backlash we're seeing is completely predictable. It's not something new.
Everyone who's ever been involved in this work has faced it, and the fact is they have continued to push forward.
Learn that history is the first way that we stay strong. We take strength from the strength
of others upon whose shoulders we stand. The second thing is to understand that when that backlash happens,
it's because the medicine is starting to work. When you were a kid and you would have a sore throat or a cough,
and your parents would give you some cough syrup and you always wonder why does it taste so terrible.
You would screw your face up and you make that face that you make when you have the coughs. They try to make that stuff taste better,
they flavor it up with some cherry or grape flavor, it never works. It's still awful.
The reason it's awful, it's either that the folks that make that stuff are sadists and they just want to make kids miserable,
but I don't think that's it. The other possible option is that whatever it is that makes your face do that,
must be the thing that's in the medicine that makes it work. Because if not, they would take it out, They would make it taste like Kool-Aid.
Obviously, the medicine is working that's why you make that face. That's why you feel awful when you're taking it.
But that's evidence that it's starting to do something. I'm here to tell you the work that we have been doing,
that many of you have been doing , that I've been trying to do, that so many of us have been trying to do in the last 20 and 30 years,
to shift the conversation in this country is starting to work, especially among younger folks.
That is also why folks are afraid. Again, hegemony and dominance, when you've had that,
pluralism and any movement toward equality can start to feel like oppression. Oh my God, things are changing and it's been
working for me really well and I'm afraid of change. That backlash is actually evidence that in
some ways we are winning those of us who care about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that ought to also
buoy us as we continue to do this work. The third thing, to understand to stay
strong and resolute in the face of the backlash, is that we have to remain focused on the systemic nature of the problem.
Don't get sidetracked by looking at this through an individualistic lens. Remember that we're talking about systemic issues.
Now, this is critical and I'm going to spend some time on it. Because I think that part of the reason we're
facing this backlash right now, in terms of anti-racist education,
in terms of DEI work in the workplace or elsewhere, is because a lot of folks when they hear the term racism,
or they hear the term sexism, or they hear the term heterosexism,
or they hear any of these isms talked about, even though those of us talking about
them are thinking about them systemically. We're thinking about structures, we're thinking about institutional practices,
we're thinking about policies and procedures within our institutional spaces. A lot of folks are hearing it as a personal attack.
They're getting defensive because they think they're being judged. If you talk about racism, people's responses, what,
are you calling me a racist? If you talk about sexism, guys are what you're saying, I'm a sexist, you're saying I'm a misogynist.
They're thinking about it individually, even though we're talking about it systemically,
so we have to be very clear that this isn't really about good people and bad people.
This isn't about, look at this awful racist over here, and we're the good people who don't have
a so-called racist bone in our body or whatever it is we like to say. The problem is sometimes even we who do this work talk
about these issues in a way that can be misunderstood. If we're talking about white privilege and
white fragility and implicit bias, all of which are real phenomena. I'm certainly not denying them.
I've written about all of them. I've talked about them. But it's very easy to hear that as a personal critique.
As in you have privilege, you need to check your privilege or you need to stop being so fragile, or you need to be aware of your biases.
All of those things have systemic features. All of those things stem from systemic inequity.
But a lot of times, even we who do this work are not careful to talk about them in that way.
You can understand how someone who's not deep in this conversation might hear that and think that they're being shamed,
that they're being attacked. This isn't about good people and bad people.
Part of our work has to be understanding that good people, which I think most folks are,
can find themselves in flawed systems. If you're a good person who finds yourself in a flawed system,
that produces a particular outcome unless you change that system, your goodness is not going to carry the day.
Your good intentionality is not going to alter the outcome.
It's like going to a sausage factory and standing at the end of the conveyor belt that spits out the sausage,
and saying, where are my chicken nuggets, you all, I wanted chicken nuggets.
Well, you didn't read the sign, did you? Because the sign told you that it was a sausage factory,
so you probably ought to expect sausage. If you want chicken nuggets, you have to retool the machinery.
Your good intentions about wanting to get some sausage is not going to change what's happening. You have to actually think in terms of systems.
We have to be soft on people and hard on systems. This is not about bashing individuals,
not about calling individuals out, not about shaming anybody. It's about saying, you're a good person and so am I and so are
most folks but we can find ourselves in flawed structures in the labor market, in the housing market, in the schools.
What does that mean when I say that? To me it's obvious but I want to be very specific.
What does it mean to have systemic institutional structures, policies, practices, procedures,
and paradigms of thought, the four Ps, that skew the opportunity structure
regardless of our good intentions? Well, let's think about a few of them. Let's think about perhaps the most
obvious since we're talking a lot about DEI in labor markets in this country right now and in the workforce.
Let's think about that. How do people get jobs in this country? You ask folks that and they'll tell you, well,
you send in a resume, maybe you apply online nowadays, there are all these different websites and
places and portals that you can use to apply for jobs. Maybe you pound the pavement, you go fill in an application at certain types of jobs.
Then your resume or your application gets evaluated along with everyone else. That's the theory. But in practice,
we know it isn't nearly that simple. We know, for instance, because a study from just a few years ago, founded that almost half of the new jobs,
about 45 percent of the jobs after the 2009 recession are being filled not through
some objective screening of resumes and objective evaluation of merit
and qualifications and experience, but instead are being filled through networking and a particular kind of networking,
and specifically the writing of letters of recommendation by existing employees
on behalf of people they know, to help them get a job at whatever company that is.
If I know Jim over in the HR department or I know Bill over in accounting, I get Jim or I get Bill
to write me a letter of reference saying, Tim would be really good at this new job that just opened up. I think you ought to hire him. Almost half of
the new jobs in the private sector are being filled that way. Is that a consciously racist thing
or a consciously sexist thing? No. But what the research finds, is that the people who were disproportionately excluded from
that networking opportunity because they don't know Jim and they don't know Bill or Bob or Tim or whoever it is,
the folks who are less likely to know existing employees such that,
those employees could write them a letter of reference are disproportionately going to be people of color. They're disproportionately going to
be women of all colors. They're disproportionately going to be working class, and that includes working-class white guys,
you could be the most qualified person for that next job at so and so firm or so and so company.
But if they don't know you exist because you don't know anyone that already works there, the way that certain other people do,
you're going to be scratched before you even get a foot in the door. We sometimes talk about equity as being
skewed because some people have like a five-lap headstart in an eight-lap race. That's a pretty good analogy.
But this is actually even worse than that. This is about some folks not even knowing where the racetrack is,
not even knowing that there's a race that they might jump in. They don't even know about that job opening
because they don't know the "right people," they didn't go to the "right
schools" where they met the "right people." In that sense, that's a structure
that isn't deliberately racist. I don't think most of the people who are hiring through that mechanism are doing it in some devious ways.
Sitting back there going, this is a great way to keep black people out of the workplace or a great way to keep Latinos out or are a great way.
It's not that, and there might be people like that. But the dirty little secret about that hiring
is that even if the rationale for it is entirely non-racial and it usually is, it's usually because it cuts down
costs you all, let's be serious. That's why they do it. It's cheaper. Most of the time you're going to figure, well,
Jim over in accounting, he's not a total idiot. So if he recommends Tim, Tim is probably all right.
May or may not be the best, but Jim vouches for him, so what the hell, let's take a chance. It cuts down job search cost, it's cheaper, but it doesn't
mean you're going to get the most qualified person, and it almost definitely means that you're going to keep certain people out even if they're the best.
For that matter, the second way that you get jobs, the old-fashioned way of actually applying and having someone evaluate your resume.
That's not objective either in and of itself, because if certain people have had more opportunity
and more access to accumulate credentials, they're going to look better on paper.
It's like if I have that three-lap head start in a five-lap race, I should hit the tape first.
I should cross the finish line before you, but that doesn't mean I was the faster runner. In fact, what if I start out three laps ahead and at
the end of the race I'm only up by two? By definition, you don't want me on your track team, you don't want me on the relay team,
you want the one that closed the gap. But see we have a job market that only looks at the end of the race,
the end of the race being the resume-based credential. Well, you've got seven years of experience and this one's only got five.
We're not looking at the context within which the seven got the seven,
or happened to have this kind of experience versus this kind of experience. If we're not being critical thinkers and evaluating
people holistically with an understanding of structures of inequity, we will perpetuate structures
of inequity even when we have the best of intentions. You all know that there are a lot of companies right now,
probably the vast majority nowadays who are using these filters for looking at resumes,
these online artificial intelligence filters where they're looking for certain keywords,
and if you don't have these key words in your resume, they just throw you in a junk pile.
They're using AI to filter, again, as a way to cut down their costs. Well, who were the people who were more likely to
know the right words to use, and the right phrases to use, and the right way to construct there?
They're the people who are going to have the time to do the research on that. The people who have someone who can tell them about that, again,
that's a networking thing, that is a privilege thing, that is about being in the know.
It's not about being able to do the job best, it's about knowing how to write a resume, which is a really good qualification if the job you're
applying for is how to write a resume. If that's the job, resume writer,
that's a pretty good thing to look at. But if the job is literally anything else, the fact that someone writes a better resume than you,
shouldn't get them that job, but it does. That's how systems and structures can perpetuate injustice,
it's not only in the job market. Peter mentioned in his intro, and I was very glad that he did.
One of the ways this happens in housing, we have policies in our communities around the country, zoning policies that are not
necessarily drawn up deliberately with racist intent. Now they have been historically done with racist intent,
but there are perfectly non-racial reasons for some of these zoning laws that restrict multi-family dwellings.
Or here in Nashville, for instance, we have a rule that says if you're going to build an apartment or a condo,
every unit you build has to have two parking spots. Well, what does that do? It means you've got
to build garages or you've got to build parking lots that take out of circulation possible land where people could
live in an actual unit or a home or an apartment. That drives up the cost of the remaining housing because you've taken
a bunch of land out of circulation. That cost then keeps working-class people disproportionately unable to live in certain areas,
which pushes them further out from educational opportunity, from job opportunity, and who is
that going to disproportionately impact? It's going to disproportionately impact people of color,
is that because all the city planners are bigots who go to clan meetings at night secretly? No, none of them might be that,
but if you have a rule that has that disparate impact on certain marginalized populations,
your intent doesn't matter anymore. That's what we have to be thinking about,
getting away from these good people, bad people thing. Let's be soft on people, hard on systems,
that means looking at those policies and procedures. It also means understanding the next piece about
maintaining our strength and our commitment in hard times. Is about understanding that systemic racism is a lot
like the inertia that we learned about in school. You were probably what? Third maybe fourth grade when you learned about,
depending on the school you went to, when you learned about inertia. Newton's first law of motion, the idea that an object in
motion tends to remain in motion until and unless it's met with a force of equal or greater power to arrest it's forward trajectory.
I'm taking some liberties with the definition, but that's roughly it. If I roll a ball down the hill,
it's going to keep going until it bumps into something and stops, or somebody picks it up, or it reaches level ground and eventually,
the friction slows it down. But that's not just a property of the physical universe, it's a property of the socioeconomic,
historical, cultural, political universe that which happens in one generation affects the next and the
next and the next right on down the line until it's forward trajectory is
arrested by an equal or greater force. We inherit the legacy of all that has come before, we have hundreds of years of accumulated inequality.
It is preposterous to believe that the passage of mere civil rights laws 50-60 years ago were
sufficient to arrest that forward trajectory. We have laws against murder, 18,000 people were murdered last year.
We have laws against armed robbery, laws against drunk driving, laws against tax evasion. People violate these laws all the time,
we need more than simple formal promises of equality, we need active measures to ensure greater opportunity.
The next thing we have to do if we're going to stay strong is have radical humility, what do I mean by that?
Well, in the last two years as people have joined the racial justice movement, it is concerning to me that sometimes those of us in that movement,
we find ourselves, especially newcomers, who maybe don't understand how long and difficult this work can be.
They get very upset with people who aren't quite where they are yet.
This is especially true, I got to be honest, of white folks who have joined this work. Black and brown folks tend to
know that this is a marathon, not a sprint, as Peter alluded to in the introduction. But I think sometimes these new guys,
it's like newly converted religious folks. Like the newly converted are always the most zealous,
they're always the biggest pains in the ass, to be honest, they are the ones that are just like, "Why don't you know this thing that I know?"
You only learned in on Monday and it's Thursday now. You're going to jump down someone in
your family or somebody on your block, you're going to jump down their throat for not knowing on Thursday some stuff that you
literally just learned three days before. We have to have some radical humility and understand that we've all been
encouraged not to see this stuff. We've all had this hidden from you, we've all had this kept from our vision.
In fact, we have been raised in a society that encouraged us to take viewpoints that are actually racist and sexist.
It's actually quite miraculous when we don't fall into that or when we rebel against that. What do I mean when I say that we've been
raised in a culture that encourages it? Think about it, what's the one thing that we were all taught?
I don't care whether you're white, black, whatever your racial background, cultural, ethnic background, linguistic background,
part of the country that you're from, religious upbringing, class status. The one thing that we were all taught is
the cornerstone of American ideology, and what is that? It's the idea that anyone can
make it if they just try hard enough, this notion of rugged individualism and meritocracy,
that ultimately wherever you end up is all about your own effort. Now we don't say that to be deliberately racist or sexist,
we say it because we think it incentivizes hard work. We tell our kids that so they work really hard.
The problem is if we say it and don't interrogate the complexity of it, if we're not honest about
that thing that we say, what ends up happening? If I tell you that wherever you and others end up is all about them,
and then you look around and you see massive inequality. You see white folks disproportionately on the top,
black and brown beneath them, you see men disproportionately on the top, women disproportionately beneath,
you see rich here and poor down here. You start to put two and two together and you think to yourself,
well, I guess those rich white guys are just that much smarter man. I guess they just work that much harder,
it almost becomes rational to accept racist thinking, and sexist thinking, and classes thinking.
Unless we're interrogating that core ideology, which is like the secular gospel, you-all.
If America was a Bible, that would be Genesis 1:1, and folks don't like it when you question Genesis 1:1.
That's like going to church on a Sunday and right after the sermon, just popping up in the third row pews and be like, yeah,
that was a lovely sermon, but there is no God, why are we here exactly? No one invites you back to the rectory
after the service to get the cookies and the punt. They don't want you to come back, they just want you gone.
When you start questioning these fundamental premises, expect push back. But understand if we don't challenge them,
if we don't encourage the putting of an asterisk at the end of that promise,
the one that says anybody can make it. We got to put an asterisk that says, if you want that to be true,
there's some things you have to do. Not just as an individual to work hard, but you have to be prepared to challenge
these systems and structures of inequity as well. If we do that, we can stay strong.
If we focus on that, if we understand that we have all been encouraged to miss these things.
It's not about being ignorant that you missed them, it's not about being bigoted that you missed them. It's about growing up in a society
that has tried to keep us from coming together in solidarity to create the America that we were promised.
We were promised a country that was about liberty and justice for all, we haven't lived in that place for one minute.
It is words on a page, the idea that all men are created equal,
endowed by their creator, etc., etc., etc. Those words that Jefferson wrote even at a time that he owned a couple 100 human beings.
He clearly didn't mean them, I mean them, and I suspect that most of you mean them. But in order to make them meaningful,
in order to make them real, we have to continue to do this work. Stay strong, know that it is
partly because we are winning, that we are getting this push back. Remember that nothing worth having when it
comes to equity and justice is going to come easily. It has been hard-fought, people have fought and they have died for
us to get even as far as we are now. No doubt, that will continue to be the case as we push forward,
but we must push forward anyway. Thank you all so much for inviting me in to your house today,
if you will, and I'll take any questions that you have. I appreciate you-all and I hope the rest of the summit
is a success. Thank you so much.
Wow, that was great. Thank you, Tim. [OVERLAPPING] That was absolutely amazing,
especially ending on that statement of radical humility. I don't know about the rest of you, but I was actually trying to monitor the chat
and look for questions and take notes at the same time. I will share some of the questions that came
beginning at the start of your keynote here. One of the things that was asked is what backlash have
you experienced and how have you coped with the impact? Well, I'm a strange case in the sense that
I started doing this when I was so young. I started doing anti-racism activism
when I was still in college and then immediately after
college was involved in the work against David Duke, former Klan leader, white supremacist, neo-Nazi when he ran for the senate and then
for governor in Louisiana in 1990 and '91. When you do that work at that level and you are
challenging a really overt white supremacist, you can imagine the backlash starts very early in
its very frightening and violent or potentially violent. I ended up getting used to, if you can,
and heads I don't mean to sound brave because it's not about being brave. It's just that when you're 20 and 21
and somebody says they want to hurt you, most of the time you don't take them seriously because you're too young actually,
most 20, 21-year-olds not thinking about their mortality. Obviously, some are who face that kind of thing
every day in much more dangerous communities perhaps in where I grew up. But most of us don't look at that seriously.
It's like you just think someone's clown in you and you take your precautions but you get used to it. By the time I was a full-grown adult,
I was somewhat used to it. Now, having said that, it is an everyday thing or at least a weekly thing where
someone will write to me to invite me to stop living in effect, not necessarily threaten it myself,
but certainly invite me to no longer be a carbon-based life form. I don't personally worry all that much about that.
I knew what I was getting into when I started this. My wife knew what she was getting into [LAUGHTER] when she married me.
Our children, it's a different thing and it's certainly more frightening when those threats and that anger and
hostility are directed at your larger family. But what I tried to remember in this is that
black and brown folks are not safe ever as long as
racism is an operative force in our culture. If black and brown folks are never really safe,
by the same token, if LGBTQ folks are never really safe, and if women as women are never really safe,
then who am I as a straight cisgender, white male to be like, "Oh, it's getting hot out here,
I think I want to take a little break." If it's not safe for others, then I have to run into that work as
well because until we're all safe and until everyone, black and brown life,
and LGBTQ life, until all of those lives really matter, folks will say all lives matter but they
don't mean it because they're not really focused on making sure that the most marginalized lives matter.
Until that matters, I have to be prepared to take a risk and not to take advantage of the privilege that
I have which is a privilege of just sitting back and being, whatever I'm going to let y'all handle it.
It's not that it's not disconcerting, it's not that it's not disturbing, but it cannot detract
us from doing what needs to be done. We have a very short time on this Earth and at some point we all have to decide why
we're here and what we're going to do in James Baldwin's terms to earn
our death which sounds like a macabre concept but what Baldwin meant was that we earn our death,
we earn the right to leave this place once we have decided what we're going to do to justify our time in this place.
I'm very clear on what that means for me and I hope everyone else gets clear on what it means for them.
Thank you and thank you for taking that risk because for those of us who do identify as brown or black,
we need those allies and those co-conspirators that are advocating for us so we do appreciate that.
We have quite a few questions. I'm going to try to get through as many as I can here. I think some of these are
answered in what you were speaking. How do you recommend we provide insights to companies that talk the talk,
but never walk the walk with DEI? Well, I think again, going back to what I was saying,
a radical humility is still helpful because I think until proven otherwise, and if it's proven otherwise,
then what I'm going to say here doesn't apply. But until proven otherwise, I want to start out with
the assumption that most of the folks who aren't getting this right aren't getting it right because they've never been
encouraged to understand how they were getting it wrong and they don't really understand what getting it right means.
I think once they are apprised of that, they can begin to get it right. But until I've made it clear or you've made it clear,
someone's made it clear, we can't be surprised that folks dropped the ball. I'll give you an example. After the uprising began in summer of 2020,
started getting a lot of corporate gigs. It was funny because for 25 years that I
had been traveling around the country doing this work, I think I had done a combined total of 25 corporate private sector gigs.
Most of my stuff had been in educational institutions. Within six months I had 40 private private sector corporate gigs.
I took advantage of that to bring some stuff that I normally don't get to bring to such basis to them.
One of the firms I worked with was an accounting firm, I won't say which one, but it was an accounting firm on the West Coast.
I went into their website because I wanted to know a little bit about them before I started working with them.
I noticed that on their website, they were saying as a selling point for
clients that you should trust us because in effect, that's what they were saying, because we only hire
accountants from the top four accounting schools in America. I don't know what those top four schools are
and I also don't know why it's four and not three. I guess that must mean that one of the executives went to number 4 and wanted to get
in under the wire or something. But I said I'm thinking to myself, what does that mean? You would rather have
the last place graduate at the best school, then the valedictorian at the number 237 school?
What are these rankings even mean? Even at the top school, someone graduates last.
You have the valedictorian at the top and then you've got somebody who's the exact opposite of
the valedictorian but they still got that degree from whatever that school is. What is the logic there and who does it exclude?
I don't think that company was meaning to say, let's keep out working-class people which is disproportionately going to mean black and brown people.
I don't think they're meaning to do that and I brought it to their attention. I said, have y'all thought about not only
what message you're sending but what that means, you're overlooking a lot of amazing talent just because you're
going with this credentialocracy thing, not meritocracy. This isn't about merit and actual ability,
it's about credentials which are not the same thing. When I said it, they were like, "Oh."
It wasn't like they pushed back or, "Oh, my God, you're a lunatic. What are you talking about?" They were like, "Oh."
They started to think differently. I think the approach that we want to take is to start with the radical humility that says,
"Here's some things that you need to think about because these are things that once upon a time, I might not have thought about."
A lot of the things that I think about now, I only think about because I had mentors and teachers who brought it to
my attention and some lived experience that brought it to my attention. There was a time before that is to
say a time before I know what I know now. If I want you to know what I know now, I have to bring you along in not a hand-holding way,
but in a way that says, "Here Is the thing that maybe you haven't thought about." Only when that person
doubles and triples down on their nonsense, do I need to get maybe a little bit more
deliberative and pushy because if you start tripling down on that top for accounting schools, we're going to have a different conversation.
But if you do what I expect most people are going to do which is say, "Oh, I hadn't thought about the way that resume
filtering AI that I'm using is screening out certain people. Let me think about how
to maybe change that a little bit." I think a lot of folks just haven't thought about that. We need to give them the space to
actually grow into that understanding. Thank you. It looks like we have some questions that
go along with that particular question. See one here says,
education is disproportion in many ways, and this is a loaded question, so I'll just ask you one or two of them at a time.
How do you think we can elevate excitement for youth that are surrounded by negativity in their living circumstances?
Especially since social media is such a big impressionable tool, and urban families are
split by lack of parental stability, poverty, and education equality.
How do we begin to break the chain of years of preconditioned thinking?
I can repeat any portion of that if you need me to. I think I get it. You know, what I think excites people who are
experiencing all these different stressors, that can easily derail them on the path to education.
That would easily derail any of us, if we face some of the things that some young people in this country face.
What young people really get excited about more than just about anything, is adults who will tell them the truth,
and not lie to them. That may sound like a weird thing to say, but let me give you an example. Several years ago, I was given a talk at
a conference for a bunch of charter school operators in the Twin cities.
I'm somewhat cynical about charters, I'll be honest because I know sometimes they have been set up with some intentions that I'm not so sure are pure.
But I also have known some folks that have set up some incredibly radical liberatory progressive charters, so if you tell me you want me, I'm going to come.
I go, and the young people are there all day listening to these speakers, I'm the last speaker of the day.
I've been sitting there watching a bunch of the other speakers. Now keep in mind, these students are overwhelmingly black and brown.
They are overwhelmingly low income or poor. About 30 percent of them are unhoused.
A lot of them living out of cars, and vans, or hotel rooms, or going from place to place.
They are sitting there listening to these speakers who are giving them,
I can't even describe the thing. It's just this lecturing, not even lecturing,
almost like preaching at them about how messed up they are. It's almost like a drill sergeant
before me that was like, pull your pants up, stop listening to that music in class, sit up straight.
Basically a "get your crap together" thing. Which is basically looking at these young people as
broken and operating from a deficit, and that they are the problem. Or maybe their mama's the problem,
or their family or their neighborhood or whatever is the problem, and they need to just snap out of it. I was thinking, my God, what am I going to?
Because these kids, every time they would say pull your pants up literally, some of the kids would stand up, sag more, and sit back down.
They would say, take that earphones out of your ears, they would turn the volume up. Not because they were intentionally trying to be disrespectful,
but because they felt disrespected. They felt like they were being disrespected,
and viewed through a lens of brokenness. I get up, and this would have been, I don't know, about 12 years ago.
I was about 40-41. I stood up as the last speaker and I'm like,
what is this middle-age white man going to get up and say? Because they're all like slack back.
They could not have cared less at that point, some of them, and I don't blame them. I got up and I said, well, I just want to start by telling you,
I want to apologize on behalf of America. By the way, America did not deputize me to issue this apology, but I will offer it.
I want to apologize for the fact that we lied to you. When I say we, I mean, the country, old folks,
your parents, maybe not your parents, but a lot of parents, teachers. We just lie to you, because we told you,
all you had to do was work hard and you could make it, and you know, full well that that's nonsense. Because you know, people in your neighborhood and community,
maybe your own family, that work hard every day, got nothing to show for it. You all know there are a lot of people, including some people in this room that were
born on third base think they hit a triple, and never had to work hard a day in their lives. You all know that, so let's just stop pretending
that this country is what we told you it was in third grade. As soon as I said that, a lot of the older folks got very nervous.
Like a lot of the older folks were looking around like, oh my God, there's going to be a riot. They're going to burn the place down.
No, that's not what happened. These young people, all of a sudden, stand up straight and I start looking around,
and they've got this quizzical look on their face. One guy looks at his buddy, and it's like, I'll just repeat it, so pardon my expression.
He didn't say it out loud, but I saw what he mouthy said, what is this shit? He didn't mean shit like as in bad,
he meant like, this is some good shit, what is it? His friend was like, I don't know, but his friend starts writing down notes.
Now, this isn't because I'm a genius. This is not because I'm just so smart. This is because, I know because I'm a parent of young people,
I have a almost 21, and almost 19 year-old, at the time they were quite a bit younger than that. I know how much kids are
tired of older folks lying to them, and we lie to them all the time, to try to soften the blow of reality
and what they needed was adults in the room to look at them as I was looking at them and say,
you know that thing that you think is happening, it's happening. What are we going to do about it?
In other words, I will ratify your truth. I will ratify your reality. I'm not going to try to control
your expression of your anger, I'm going to try to channel it. I'm not going to try to tell you not to be
angry about police brutality and injustice, or not to be angry about the housing situation that you're facing.
You got to be angry about it, because that ought not be happening, in this or any other country. But how are we going to channel that?
The only way we can channel it, is if I align myself in solidarity with you.
If we would start talking like that in our schools, if we would see our schools as spaces of liberation,
as places where the community comes, not just sends their kids to learn math,
and to learn how to diagram a sentence, or learn about the periodic table, or whatever it is we're teaching them, but as a place where you go to get justice,
and you go to talk about real community issues, and you go to actually seek connection,
then we could turn this thing around. But as long as we continue to treat school as this thing we do to kids,
where we send them there, set them in rows, tell them to be quiet, don't speak until your spoken to,
that's what prison does. That's what wardens do. That's what prison guards do.
Why are we preparing young people to be in prison? Maybe it's because we don't intend to provide them
with the opportunities to do much of anything else. Young people know that, they know they're being steered in that direction.
We ought not be surprised when they tune out. We want them to tune in, we have to tell them the truth.
Because they know the truth, but what they're not used to is older folks shooting straight with them,
and saying that they see what the young people see. Once we say that, it changes the entire way in which
young people look at their reality, and the way that they look at us. Thank you, that is so good.
I will take it a step further and say that, that can be applied in the workplace as well. I think that if we look
back to the experiences that we've had, for many of us over a lifetime,
but many that came to light during the pandemic, for others who actually never saw what was actually happening around us.
We have to take into consideration that a lot of employees are coming into work carrying that same weight,
and they're not able to have those important conversations. You're expected to show up to work,
you're expected to meet the deadlines. You're expected to perform in the same way that you perform.
As let's say a black man coming to work, just after the death of George Floyd. He's expected to perform in the same way he did before
George Floyd passed even though he may have driven to work in fear, even though he may be in fear for his son.
I think it's important to also understand how that affects us as adults. If we're starting to have
those conversations with our youth, were developing those adults to be able to create these spaces of safety,
that we go into the workplace with. Along the lines of that, we had a question that was asking,
what are your suggestions for setting the stage for the difficult and uncomfortable conversations
that must take place, in order to have meaningful and transformative dialogue?
I think that there are two things, one of which I talked about today, and then another of which, which is going to sound
almost the opposite of what I said, but they actually go together. The one today is making sure that we are clear,
that we're not talking about good people, bad people. That we're talking about systems, so that we are depersonalizing the blame,
if you will, or the problem. But the opposite thing, and not really opposite. But the other thing that I want to mention,
is we also have to personalize the issue, depersonalize the blame, but personalize the issue.
How do we do that? We have to talk about our own lived experience. Not only black and brown folks who often talk about
their experiences with these things, but also those of us who were white have to be encouraged to
actually think through how race has played a role in our lives. Because it isn't just black and brown folks
who had been shaped by race, white folks too. It isn't just women who've been shaped by sex or gender, it's men. It's not just LGBTQ
folk who are shaped by straight supremacy, transphobia, heterosexism, it also straightened cisgendered people.
We're all being affected and those in the dominant group often haven't spent a lot of time reflecting on it.
For me one of the reasons that I wrote the first book I wrote was a memoir, White Like Me, is I wanted to talk about issues of
privilege and inequality and bias, not just with a bunch of footnotes and a bunch of data as helpful as that stuff can be,
but I wanted to tell stories about what I saw because to be honest, even though I sit here in these events
with these books behind me, and it makes me look very well-read I suppose, I haven't read all of these, but they come in very handy when you have
high school and college students who might need to do a research paper, and I'm like, as long as you all do a paper on race, I got you, we got on your whole library here.
But here's the thing, these books, even if I had read them all, that's not why I do what I do.
It isn't because of some class I took or some video I watched or some books that I read,
it's because I grew up seeing some things. I played baseball on a team that were almost all black kids,
and when we were 11 years old, we went out to a outlying area outside of Nashville to play a scrimmage and the team we
were supposed to play refused to step on the field with us because they didn't want to play black players.
This was not 1950, I beg to remind you, it was 1980, and as we were leaving, they surrounded our vehicle
and started threatening to hurt us, yelling racial slurs at the black kids, yelling at the white kids that we were
inward lovers as you can imagine and other epithets. It was that moment, it wasn't these books,
it wasn't some academic intellectual knowledge, footnoted knowledge, it was what I experienced.
I saw people essentially abusing my friends, people whom I cared about,
and saying to me that I had crossed some invisible line, that I had crossed the line
of acceptable white peopleness. Now I had been, as Baldwin talked about, turned away from the welcome table of white society.
I took that as a personal offense, it wasn't just offensive to my black friends, it was a slap in my face and that's why I do what I do.
I think there are a lot of white folks who've seen a lot of stuff that we maybe have never processed,
who've heard a lot of things, maybe in family, maybe among peers, maybe in the workforce that we haven't really
ever sat with and really talked about, and deep down, I think we know the way in
which we have experienced various privileges. First and for most the privilege of being oblivious to black reality and brown reality.
The privilege of not having to know what other people experience if we would sit with that and if we would lead.
If I want to bring somebody into the conversation, I can hit them up with the latest academic research,
but they're probably eyes are going to glaze on that stuff, because unless you're an academic, that's just how that works, or I can tell you a story.
I could give you all the data, for instance, on how the war on drugs has been fundamentally racist.
I give you all the statistical proof you need or I can just tell you about all the stuff I did and got away with when it
came to the use of illegal narcotics, which now the statute of limitations has expired so I can confess and nobody can touch me now.
But there was a time when I broke plenty of laws and I never really worried about being arrested,
being prosecuted, being incarcerated, whereas if I'd been black or brown, I would've been thinking about that because my reality would have been different.
If I tell you that story, and there was a bunch of them if I had time I would, that'll stick with you longer than the data.
If we want to bring people in, depersonalize the blame by focusing on systems instructors,
but personalize the concern and personalize the issue by talking about one's own racialization
and how it's not only hurt others, but how it's also affected you. Because those experiences that me
and those friends had who played ball together, those experiences harmed us as a unit.
It essentially divided us to where we never turned on one another, we were comrades, we were friends, we were teammates,
but it meant that my black friends were having a real different experience than me. Even though I experienced a little sliver of it,
a few years later our friendship started to drift because they knew they were in a whole different world than me.
I paid a price for that too, I didn't pay the same price they did, but I paid a price.
We all pay a price for the indulgence of this phenomena, and if we understand that and we
personalize that I think will stay in the fight longer. We all pay a price for the indulgence of this phenomenon.
I hope I can record that, that's a good one. For our moderators who are on here.
Someone document that, that's a good quote. Talking about stories,
someone mentioned that many of these stories are based on twisted stories, and we're trained to follow conformity,
not to break traditional thought. This is actually along the lines of the radical humility you were talking about.
They ask, what is the first step to beginning this process? Well, for me, the beginning of the process,
I had started thinking about these things obviously even as a child, but the beginning of the real deliberative process
was me sitting down in the early '90s, with a pad and paper, and starting from as far back as I can remember,
thinking about how race had shaped my life. How had it shaped to my parents were in the world?
What their experiences had been? How had it shaped our families even before I was born? How had it shaped my
family's very existence in this country, which meant thinking about not just my mom's side of the family,
parts of those families go back to the 1600s coming here in the colonial era,
but also thinking about my father's father's side, which were much more recent Jewish immigrants
who came to the US in the early 1900s. Well after enslavement, well after segregation,
came with the proverbial 18 cents and a ball of Linton in their pocket. We all say our ancestors did,
who came on that boat at Ellis Island, but the reality is that my great grandfather also came with European background,
which meant he was able, even though he was Jewish and he was hated for his lack of English skills and he was
discriminated against based on religion, but he still came from Europe. He still was now seen as
''white'' or at least whiter than black and brown folk, which meant he was able to get jobs immediately off
the boat in New York that had been off limits to black people in that city, not just in the South, in New York
since the 1880s or 1890s. The fact that he was European meant that he was able to come in the first place because
we had had anti-immigration law since the 1880's that would exist for generations that really limited, if not utterly banned,
the arrival of virtually anyone who wasn't European. Even though he caught hell, even though he faced obstacles as we all do in our lives,
he also had certain advantages. I had to start with that because that shapes the inertia,
that shapes me, and then I come through my own life and start as a child. Then what did I see? What did I experience?
I ended up with 10 -12,15 pages of stuff. Even when I crossed out
the memories that weren't quite clear and I'm like, I don't really know if that means anything or not maybe that's a bad memory.
The stuff that was left even after I went through all that, was enough to make that book that I wrote White Like Me.
I'm not saying everybody needs to write their own memoir, but at least a journal, some type of personal way that you
see your investment in this, and you see that whether you decide to take action or not,
you're part of it and it's part of you. You're either going to be part of the solution or you're going to
be part of the problem because once you get all that stuff on the page, you realize there is no neutrality.
As Ibram Kendi talks about in his work. There's no neutral, you're either actively pushing against this phenomena that we've inherited,
or you are exceeding to it. Most white folks didn't own segregated lunch counters,
but they went to them, and they ate at them and they didn't boycott them, at least not most.
Most white folks didn't own other human beings during enslavement, but they didn't speak out against it, they didn't join the abolitionists struggle,
they didn't join John Brown to try to overthrow it. In a sense, it's that going along to get along,
it's that acquiescence, it's that bystanderism. That is the bigger problem, and once you get some clarity on your own trajectory,
and your own racialized experience, bystanderism becomes impossible. The only thing that makes it possible is
avoiding looking at one's own life, and that's why we have to start with that.
I think we have time for one more question. I'm going to shift gears just a little bit because
we had a few questions related to religion. I'll make sure we get at least one in here. One person asked, how can we include and help people of
different religious backgrounds to feel comfortable in their workplaces, specifically, people who don't hold a God belief?
Well, I think we have to have the same conversations that we're having about race,
about religion, and/or the lack thereof. When I said hegemony makes you feel that pluralism is oppression,
that's not just about racial hegemony. That's about religious hegemony. It's about sexual hegemony.
If you're from a Christian background and Christian hegemony has been a very real thing in this country,
certainly faith holding hegemony broadly, but Christian hegemony specifically, anytime that you're now being asked to include
the traditions of other faiths or to be less about that so that we
can make space for those who are not of a particular faith that feels like you're losing something because you are,
you're losing hegemony, but you were never entitled to that. Unless you work in a church or
an explicitly religious organization, that shouldn't really be part of the policy practice or
procedure of the institution in an otherwise secular space. One can have one's own faith belief
and one can express one's own faith belief, but we've had a hegemonic dominance of that, so that people who were not of
a particular faith belief ultimately don't feel that they can talk about those kinds of issues or if they're from a non-dominant faith belief.
We want to have the same discussions about privilege and the privilege of obliviousness because most
people who come from a faith tradition, especially Christianity in this country, they talk about, oh, it's so hard to be
Christian and we're oppressed. If you think it's hard to be Christian, try being like anything else in this country.
If you think it's hard to be a person of faith, try not being. Try being a person who is either atheist or
agnostic or a free thinker or whatever term you might use. That is infinitely harder. We still have polls that show
that people are less willing to vote for an agnostic or an atheist for president than they would be someone of a non-dominant religious tradition.
We have to talk about why is that? What does that mean? There are obviously a lot of
deeply embedded faith beliefs and it's not about trying to challenge people's beliefs, but as someone who grew up Jewish
in Nashville, Tennessee. I'll leave it to your imagination what that might've been like. Little different than growing up Jewish in
a place where the Jewish community is quite a bit larger. I got used to, and I shouldn't have had to, but I got used to being told by teachers,
not just by other kids who were 11 and they don't know any better, but by teachers that I was going to hell,
by teachers that I was destined for a lake of fire, and I know that's in your doctrine
and you have a right to believe that, but you don't have a right to torture me with that in the name of evangelism.
You don't have the right to torture me with that and then tell me that you love me. You don't have the right to tell me, I'm just telling you this because you love me.
No, if you love me, you'd know what hurts me and you'd care about what hurts me. As a Jew or as someone who
is Muslim or someone who's Hindu, or someone who's Sikh or someone who's atheist or agnostic or any other thing,
like try putting yourself in that position if you think it's hard being Catholic or Southern Baptist or whatever.
I'm not saying you don't face stuff. I'm just saying there is a privilege in being a member of
that dominant entity and there's a privilege in being a person of faith in this country that gets taken for granted.
If we really want to create pluralistic and equitable spaces, we have to make sure that we understand the difference between holding a faith and
believing it very devoutly and essentially imposing it, or creating environments in
otherwise secular institutions that marginalize people who don't share it. We haven't done enough of that in this country.
Thank you, Mr. Wise, and thank you for this session today. This has been fantastic.
My apologies to everyone whose questions didn't get asked. There were several questions that came in.
I do encourage you all, we shared the resources that Mr. Wise provided to us in the chat.
He's mentioned his books. We would encourage you to take it a step further.
Buy one of his books. Take the time to try and implement some of the things that you heard and learned today.
The work does not stop here. We want this summit to begin the action
that you all will take within your own spheres of influence. Again, Mr. Wise, I thank you for your time today.
Thank you for that fantastic keynote. We're now going to turn it over to one of our University of Phoenix employees.
Well, wow. I think I speak for many of us here today when I just say wow, Thank you, Mr.
Wise for that insightful presentation. We greatly appreciate the historical contexts you
provided and helping us to understand anti-racism movement, what it means for us, and how we can proceed in
our efforts to fight against racial injustices. I've taken several notes that I plan to review, reflect upon,
and examine ways in which I can use the information to be more intentional in my practice as
an account specialists and ADL leader. I'm so excited and driven. There are more throughout the day and I
hope you are as well. Right now, we want to release you to take a break and return at 10:45 for the general sessions.
On your screen you'll see you can choose from one of the industry focus tracks. The navigation panel that is located on
the left side of your browser will hold those there. Click on Stages and assess one of the upcoming sessions.
You'll see those on the screen. Of course we have three different tracks and so one is leadership and management.
That is leadership in the digital economy with agile, people-centric, and dynamic features.
We also have a healthcare track that focuses on best practices when leading through tumultuous times.
Finally, last but not least, we have the education track that focuses on leading in tumultuous times and leading reform.
As we wrap up the day, I want you also to join us to learn about the career optimism index.
It talks about what research tells us about our changing world and the implications for a fast evolving workplace.
Getting to equity in a time of backlash
In this session, Tim Wise explores the current backlash against diversity, equity and inclusion efforts (and the larger anti-racism movement) and places the backlash in historical perspective.
Empathy & Authenticity in Leadership | Inclusive Leadership Summit
Welcome to the University of Phoenix inaugural Inclusive Leadership Summit.
My name is Saray Lopez and I am Director in the Office of educational equity. We are pleased to have you join us
today on day 2 of this summit. We hope you enjoyed yesterday, it was phenomenal and we're ready to get started today.
If you can go to the next slide, please.
As we begin this summit, we want to acknowledge that this event is being broadcasted globally.
May we honor and give gratitude to the indigenous peoples who were the original custodians of
the various lands on which we live and work. We recognize that Atlantic knowledge
may alone is not sufficient. Yet it serves as a starting point as we
continue our individual journeys towards racial equity. Here in the Phoenix Metropolitan area,
we inhabit the Hohokam Akimen O'oodham, Pipash and Yavapai land.
Thank you for joining me and taking time to honor these original custodians of this land. Next slide.
Let's go over a few logistics to make sure that you make the best out of today's summit,
today and tomorrow and the career fair. The navigation panel is
located on the left side of your browser. This will enable you to switch between areas of the virtual summit,
including stages, networking and virtual employer booth. We definitely highly encourage
you to connect with one another. The People tab on the right side is
a dedicated area to promote one to one connections between attendees. You can send messages, you can request a median
that you can have within this platform. It's awesome, definitely make use out of it.
In addition, we have the networking feature on the left side, and it's a great way to meet people
within this Inclusive Leadership Summit. Also we have a dedicated time break time
during lunch here in Pacific time that you can we definitely encourage all of you to go there
and network with one another. Now I will turn it over to my colleague, Tondra Richardson,
Director in the Office of educational equity. Thank you Saray. Good morning, everyone.
We are very excited to once again announce that summit attendees who have joined all three days of sessions are eligible to receive
the University of Phoenix batch inclusive leaders, self and social awareness.
To be considered, please complete the post summit survey provided on day 3 tomorrow and include your name and email address.
The survey will be sent from the University of Phoenix office of educational equity with the survey link
about two hours after the summit ends tomorrow. Be on the lookout for that. Just keep in mind that you will be
expected to participate in at least the recession's on each of the three days of the summit. We hope to see a lot of badge earners out there.
Can we move to the next slide, please? Now, we'd to provide a reminder of
the ground rules as we move into the second day. Listed here are guidelines we believe essential
to fostering respectful conversations. First, let's please consider that some of
the issues presented maybe challenging for you. We invite you to allow yourself grace to fill uncomfortable.
This enables us to create empathy and support for the persons and communities who are directly impacted by our actions.
We encourage you to share your experiences and perspective in the chat box. We ask all participants to contribute to
an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity. In addition, we highly encourage you to
share helpful resources related to today's topic. What we found is that our participants
are attendees of our sessions, often have great resources that can be provided to
everyone and we want to tap into those resources so please feel free to share. Next slide, please.
Yesterday Tim Wise, author and anti-racism educator spoke about radical humility.
I hope that you guys were able to join us yesterday. If for some reason you are unable to join, we will have a recording of
that session available for you shortly. Tim talked about radical humility and he
explained how we're all challenged to recognize our own mistakes, our own process of becoming aware of inequities,
and the recognition that we still have so much to learn from one another. Tim encouraged us to challenge these systems of inequity,
stating that we were promised the country that is about liberty and justice for all.
In order to make these words meaningful, we have to stay strong and remember that this is a hard fight and nothing comes easily.
He said, and I quote. ''We all pay a price for the indulgence of this phenomena.''
What a powerful way to kick off the summit. Today we'll begin to examine topics related to
addressing emotional and structural barriers. These barriers are systemic factors that may hinder
the ability of an individual to feel a sense of belonging, achieve professional advancement, and ultimately feel
comfortable in being their authentic selves in the workplace. But before we hear from our keynote panel,
I'd like to introduce you to my leader, Kelly Hermann. She's our BP of accessibility, equity,
and inclusion here at the University of Phoenix. Kelly, I'll turn it over to you now.
Thank you, Tondra. I am so excited to have the opportunity
to join the main stage and to welcome you to day 2 of our Inclusive Leadership Summit. As Tondra mentioned, my name is
Kelly Hermann and I'm the Vice President of accessibility, equity, and inclusion here at the university. Every day I get to work with our accessibility and
disability services team to provide accommodations for students with disabilities. Are accessibility and usability team that ensures
the university's digital content is accessible for all students, staff and visitors, as well as our edgy office of
educational equity who had brought you this summit with more than 50 volunteers from our faculty and staff across the university.
I want to take a quick moment to thank all of them for their efforts in bringing this amazing event to life, we couldn't have done it without you.
Yesterday, you heard the excitement from our president, George Bernard, as he welcomed you to the summit.
You also heard from our President Emeritus, Peter Cohen sharing his thoughts about the importance of our activities
related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, including the launch of the President's Advisory Council on diversity,
equity, inclusion and belonging. We are very proud of the council and it's six working groups, not just because of the important activities,
but also because more than 100 employees have joined it and are helping us to build
the inclusive environments that are so important to our mission. We are so fortunate to have leadership at the university
that not only supports the work that we do, but encourages it and recognizes the value in holding time
and space for conversations that sometimes make us feel uncomfortable, but yet help us make today better than the day before,
even if it's only a little bit. I think it's really appropriate that I'm starting off the day when we're planning to
address emotional instructional barriers. Because an important part of the work that I do at the university is to lead
our accessibility initiatives and services. What started as a compliance exercise
related to students with disabilities, has grown to a university-wide mission for creating
inclusive learning environments for all students, including those with disabilities.
We have built a culture of accessibility here at the University of Phoenix that we are proud of. We are intentional about including
disability as an aspect of diversity. Disability is often relegated to the sidelines
and many diversity focused conversations. I think it makes us feel uncomfortable and vulnerable
to think about or to speak about disability. We think about disability as being something
wrong with an individual and not as a difference. We celebrate stories about individuals who have overcome their disability and we
pat ourselves on the back when we have thrust ourselves onto a person with a disability and offered help that maybe they didn't want, or they didn't need.
We've made a conscious decision here at the university not to do that. We want to normalize
disability on the disability experience. As I mentioned, we have a culture of accessibility where all
feel included and welcome regardless of their abilities. That means we take a few extra steps to ensure that
our digital content will work with screen readers used by blind people. We caption every video,
we review all of our digital tools and resources that we purchase from vendors to determine how accessible it is
and partner with those vendors to ensure that future iterations of the products are more accessible than the version we saw today.
When something doesn't work as we expected it to, we fix it. We have made accessibility a priority here.
Yesterday, Peter shared with you that approximately 75,000 students have chosen the University of Phoenix
for their post-secondary education. Last year more than 25,000 of those students told us that they had a disability,
that's pretty high number. Just over 11,000 of those students though who disclosed,
requested, and use an accommodation in the course, you'll likely have done that quick math in your head and realize
that 14,000 students tell us about a disability, but don't ask for or use an accommodation in their courses.
I'm also willing to bet that many of you would to ask me, what are we doing to get that number down and get more students accommodated?
But that question assumes that there's something wrong with the notion that a student might tell you that they have a disability but not using accommodation.
In my opinion, that's actually a good thing, not a bad thing. You see when we build a culture of
accessibility and reviewer digital content and curriculum for accessibility, we make it so students with disabilities don't have
to raise their hand and asked for an accommodation. We've already done the work to accommodate the most common needs.
We've been proactive and removed barriers before they became barriers so that the students can interact with their content,
demonstrate their learning and progress towards their degrees independently without waiting for us to do something to accommodate them.
It allows our students with disabilities to move from class to class just like their peers without disabilities.
If we do the job right, it is expected that we won't hear from those students with disabilities at all and that is a good thing.
This summit is an important addition to the services and programs we provide. It too, has been built as
part of our culture of accessibility. One of the earliest decisions we had to make was which platform we would use for this virtual conference.
Our accessibility team was involved early on in those conversations and offered guidance to the implementation team about how
the various options would or would not meet common accessibility standards. I'm proud to say the platform hopping shares
the university's commitment to accessibility and it has taken several proactive steps to ensure that its product meets
the W3C accessibility guidelines and fosters inclusion of those with disabilities.
Throughout your attendance at the summit, you too can join our culture of accessibility and become
an accessibility champion with us, a true ally. How do you ask? Well, here are a couple of simple steps,
but even you can do, because I can do them. [LAUGHTER] When you post on social media about the summit,
add an alternative text description to any images that you share. Assistive technology such as screen readers
can't interpret an image for the blind user, it can only simply alert the user to the fact that the image exists.
By adding a description of your image, you can ensure that all users can understand what the image is and how it
pertains to the content you're sharing. If you share hyperlinks in emails or on social media, make them descriptive.
A descriptive hyperlink is a keyword or phrase that has been turned into a hyperlink and lets the user know what the link is for.
You likely have seen the words, "Click here" used as hyperlinks. While this is a good effort by the person who created it,
"Click here" isn't quite a descriptive hyperlink because the link doesn't communicate what link it leads to.
A screen reader user can actually navigate and skip from link to link, so imagine listening to
a list of click here, click here, click here, and having no idea which link is the one that you want.
Another quick tip, don't use color as your primary means of communicating information.
Some folks like to draw people's attention to an emphasis or important information by marking the text in different colors.
Outside of the obvious issue that this will create for those who can't see color, assistive technology in use because of
a disability also can't detect color changes in the text either. There's a good chance that those in
your audience will completely miss that emphasis. Also pay attention to the color contrast between the text and the background color.
You want sufficient contrast between the two to ensure that your texts can be read in any light.
While this typically isn't an issue during a virtual conference, it is critically important that
all speakers and audience members who wish to contribute during a live session use a microphone to amplify their voice.
Lots of people think that they project well and they might have a really good loud parent or teacher voice that most people can hear.
But the microphone in many conference centers is connected to the AV system which offers many hearing aids the opportunities to have the signal
from the microphone amplified over the background sounds in the room. It makes it easier for the person to actually hear what is being said.
Plus it is still really hard to hear even the loudest voices in the back of a crowded conference venue.
Finally, be cognizant of the words that you choose and how you use them. We're all used to saying things like,
it's so crazy, when we speak with each other especially if times had been rather hectic. But it's important to understand
the impact that those words can have especially on those who might have a hidden disability and how comfortable then they might
feel in sharing that information with you after using that language. There is a lot of stigma out there about
disability and each of us can play a part in breaking down that stigma so people with disabilities feel more included
in the environments we share. Now that we're all ready to become accessibility champions,
let me get on with my most important task for the day kicking off Day 2. We would like to extend our gratitude to our sponsors,
ETS and Diverse Issues in Higher Education for supporting the summit this year. We couldn't do this without you.
I am pleased to introduce the keynote panel that you'll hear from today. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Jamal Watson,
editor at large Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Please allow me to share a few notes from Dr. Watson's bio.
Dr. Watson is a journalist, educator, and national expert on issues impacting diversity,
access, equity, and inclusion in higher education. As a long-time editor, Dr. Watson has led
Diverse Issues in Higher Education and continues to serve the historic publication as a contributing editor at large.
A trained historian, Dr. Watson is a graduate at Georgetown University where he earned a degree in English and Theology.
He earned his master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, a master's degree in higher education
from the University of Delaware, and a master's degree in PhD in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
He is a member of numerous boards including the Education Law Centre and the Dr. Melvin C. Terrell Educational Foundation,
and is the author of a forthcoming biography focused on the life and activism of MSNBC host
and civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton. Dr. Watson will be leading today's discussion on empathy and authenticity in leadership,
overcoming systemic inequities to create access. Joining him for this discussion we have Dr. Mautra Jones,
a UOPX alumnus and President of Oklahoma City Community College,
and the first black woman to lead any higher education institution in Oklahoma that is not a historically black college or university.
Shakir Cannon-Moye, Associate Director, Jobs for the Future. Debbie Esparza, CEO at the YWCA,
and Mari Marques-Thompson, formerly the Vice-President, Social Responsibility and Talent Development for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.
Thank you all for being here, and Dr. Watson, I will now turn it over to you. Thank you so much Vice-President,
Hermann for your vision and for your leadership and a virtual shout out to your team, Tondra Richardson and Saray Lopez for all of
their hard work in bringing us here together. Thank you. Again, I invite you
all to be an engaged participant in today's discussion, certainly want to invite you to put your question in
the comment box and we'll try to get to as many as possible. I want to invite our panel to now join us
so that we can begin the conversation. Let me start off with reflecting
on the keynote yesterday from Tim Wise. It really left so many of us inspired.
Tim talked about the backlash that we often feel and we often experience during
this important and necessary work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and creating a sense of belonging.
I want to start off the panel with asking, how do you grapple with the issues of
the potential backlash that often comes with doing this important and necessary work?
I want to start off with you, Dr. Jones, and maybe we can work our way through the panel.
Sure. This is not easy work. This work is something that you have to be dedicated to.
There is often barriers and backlash and things that you deal with from an institutional standpoint perspective,
even sometimes in the community at large and so you have to continue with
the efforts because we know what continuing to educate people and being staunch advocates for DEI,
we know what that means. In my space, I have to think about our students and setting them up for success,
and certainly the students whose lives have been placed in my hands to help shepherd them and ensure that they have the resources
they need to be successful on their journey, as well as employers, we've worked very closely with industry.
There are a lot of conversations that I had with industry, talking to them about why they have to create spaces
and make sure that students feel they belong as they become employers.
You don't shy away from the difficult conversations, you continue to press forward.
That's certainly been my motto on how I lead and how I've encouraged others. There is backlash and
anytime people don't agree with certain things, you're going to have to face those types of situations, but you continue to live with optimism.
You continue to have the conversations and not to be deterred by a lack of understanding,
because often times what I've found in the work that I do is when there is backlash or resistance,
it's because there's a lack of understanding and education. I'm in the education industry and so for me,
there's something that the conversations have to continue to be held. You have to continue having forums and
welcoming the work that we're doing and being committed to the work that we're doing.
My two cents from my experience and certainly how I've seen it from an organization-widened community perspective.
No I appreciate that, thanks so much. Mari, let's go to you if we can because you have
interesting advantage point having worked in the corporate sector. Can you talk a little bit about some of
the backlash you've seen and experience. Thank you so much. I want to echo Dr. Jones.
Well, she certainly made some great points there. It's really not, I agree a 100 percent,
don't shy away from the conversation. What I've worked really hard is making sure that especially
in organizations for years the thought has,
well, the minute you walk into your corporate office, you can orient to your corporate ball. You could leave what's happening outside.
You can't turn that on and off. For me it has always been about don't shy
away and create those spaces. Create those spaces where you can bring those conversations to the organization.
Let's talk about it because a lot of times to Dr. Jones' point, it is the lack of knowledge,
the lack of understanding. We all come to the table with our own cultural toolkit. What does that mean? That's our experiences,
how I see the world, how I experience the world is different from how someone else does. Being able to bring those voices together,
whether you agree or disagree, come together and let's learn, let's talk about it, making sure that all the voices are heard.
Sometimes you have to agree to disagree. You're not going to change everyone's mind with one conversation, that takes time.
The one thing that also I would encourage anyone in the audience in an organization is leverage the employee resource groups.
What a powerful group to bring into the conversation? It is a community of voices that are both of
under-represented folks as well as allies who are raising their hand and saying,
"I want to learn more. I've heard this in the news. I've heard these narratives. I'm confused. I don't know."
Well, let's come together, let's talk about it. Let's ask those questions and hopefully at the end,
people are still curious and want to continue to have that dialogue and learn. Thank you so much for sharing that.
One of the things we want from this panel is to be outcomes-based. If we can think about best practices and
we can share those experiences, I think it's so important. Debbie, you want to hop in here? You lead a non-profit which is of course doing
so important work in the community. But talk a little bit about some of the backlash that you might have experienced or seen.
Thank you, Dr. Watson. Yes, the YWCA, our mission is actually
to eliminate racism and empower women. A lot of folks can really embrace the empower women part.
When I stepped in as CEO about three and-a-half years ago, the intent was to really lean
in on the eliminating racism. We got some backlash because it was
harder and folks were in that discomfort.
It was easier to just empower women. But the reality is both of these things go together.
You can't eliminate racism without empowering women
because its women and people of color that are often marginalized by the systems that we're in.
One of the things that we did was really put our own mask on first, if you use the airplane analogy,
we had to focus on helping our staff and our board understand
the importance of the systems that we were operating in and change some of our own systems,
and now we can go into the community with the community to provide
support for organizations that have been doing this work boots on the ground for so many years already.
Really try not to lead the charge, but supporting the work that's
happening in the community. But with an understanding and that education, I appreciate it.
Both Dr. Jones and Mari's point, why did we see a currently in the middle of what we
call our stand against racism campaign. Right now we've got a 21-day challenge.
You'll get an e-mail every day that taught shares with you some perspective on
different systems and different situations and how the racism and how the systemic barriers have been developed.
I think that's going to be dropped in the chat if anybody wants to participate in that. Again, it's about knowing the information.
How are these things grounded in all of our history as
well as a way to figure out how you feel about that and how you can lean into it.
The education, doing my own work, and my organization to work internally first and
then really being able to support the community. That's what helped us deal with some of that backlash.
Now, I appreciate that. It is interesting to learn more about the journey that you all took.
I hope we can get into that a little bit about what were the specific sets and the journey that you all
took to get to where you actually landed. Shakir, can you tell us a little bit about your experiences.
Yeah. Dr. Watson, I think building off of what the esteem panelists have already mentioned, I just want to add in context.
I think it's important to remember how quickly the narrative shifts. I know there was a world in 2008 where there are
articles being written about America being post-racial. If you fast forward to where that narrative states,
if you've had to play that in the 2022 environment is completely different. I think that's one of the things we
always hold it in the back of our minds is knowing the system change is long steadfast work.
If you stick to the work and be able to draw it out some of that noise it's important. But it's also important to
recognize that when you hear that backlash, that there may be some goodness. Doing a moment of reflection.
Are there some goodness there? I think that's one of the things we practice internally at GFF, is that all feedback you hear,
but you only take what heard you. If you hear stuff that is, that's completely off base.
But there's maybe a small negative, something we can tweak is one of the things we listen to. But it's the thing we always come back to.
The thing that a guarding light is the values and mission of the organization. We're here and we're checking our work and if
the work that we're doing still feels like we're moving the ball forward, we're able to maybe join out some of that noise.
But if they're actionable, real critique, we don't want to be putting our head in the sand. Being able to run that critique and that backlash
against that metric isn't one of the things that we use. I think one of the things a mentor recently
mentioned to me is that a lot of prominent figures, if you think about Dr. Martin Luther King, they weren't popular.
They used to receive a lot of backlash in the moment and history is kind to them as we move forward. I think our goal is to make sure
you're on the right side of history and allow the rest to take care of itself. One of the things that Debbie had
mentioned earlier was the importance of being able to see the connectedness between these issues.
We can't just talk about race. We also got to talk about gender. I talk about class, the intersectionality of
all these things as Kimberle Crenshaw often pulls out. I was wondering if you'd talk about the importance
of grappling with all of these intersecting issues. Because oftentimes when we talk about diversity,
equity and inclusion where people automatically focus on race and certainly race is a key component,
but there are these other issues as well as Kelly also talked about before we came on, Kelly Hermann about disability services
and provide the access to that community. Can you-all talk about in your particular areas that you're working
in the intersection between all of these issues. Dr. Jones, I mentioned you see
this every day with students. I do. I see it every day.
Thank you for pointing that out, Dr. Watson. We think about race in the DI space,
but oftentimes excludes some very important notions
in the DI space, such as gender. I grew up from an underserved community and I'm a mother.
There are so many different things that I have to manage in grapple within certainly, because of the experiences that I've had I'm
able to take those experiences and certainly translate them into helping students that are on
the same journey who have questions when we look at mentoring them and helping us turning them on their way.
I really have to be in a space where and working with our leadership team and certainly our
governance, how we create, not only how we amplify their voices,
but how we share in our own experiences to let them know there is,
you will be successful. We have to provide them with resources and have
these conversations and create a space where they feel comfortable sharing their challenges. One of the unique things that we do here at
this institution is we have a mentoring program, internship programs, students connecting with interests for success.
It provides wrap-around services for our students. It's an emphasis with students of color.
We bring those students who are first-generation, which we see a lot of, we are a majority minority institution.
There's a significant amount of our student body and population who were dealing with all challenges and issues
from low socioeconomic backgrounds, first-generation having so many difficulties,
just navigating the nuances of higher education. One thing that we've been intentional about doing that I can't take credit for the administration
before me certainly set it into place, but we're growing the program is, having those wraparound services and
those mentorship programs where students are paired with professionals in the community who invested in
their success and invested in seeing that they have what they need. But I see all those certain issues
and really we're leading conversations here on this campus. We start off with 17,000 students.
We're the fourth largest institution in the state of Oklahoma. We are encouraging these conversations with our faculty,
with our staff, with our families. I know what the community at large, encouraging them to embrace
our students journeys and found out how we can point them in the right direction. But certainly having that dialogue, being present,
amplifying their voices and ensuring that trust is established.
I love that they're getting comfortable, being uncomfortable. There are a lot of uncomfortable conversations
and we just have to own that and say, we're in the business of educating and empowering.
It's not something that we take lightly, and we're very invested in it, but just a few examples
of what we're doing and what we see every single day within our campus community.
Now that's great and great examples there that I think can be replicated indeed across the country.
Anybody else want to happen on this question? I think the one thing I would add there,
it's just around I was recently being a feminist texts. All the women are white, all the blacks are men. But some of us are brief and really
thinking about what that intersectionality means there. I think we often use things like race
or gender as a shorthand to be able to know how to categorize and how to hold folks and in that shorthand we miss the
full multi-tool that they carry. I think what I really heard, and what Dr. Jones was saying is that we have to approach people
on a more individual basis. Knowing that the things I face as a black man who won't be completely different.
There may be some similarities between a black woman, but I can't presuppose because we share the similar identity that I can fully hold that person.
I think creating that space to recognize you only know your individual experience and being in that it's
strongly in the judgment to be able to presuppose I know someone else. That's one thing I would add there. Debbie and then Mari, you want to hop in there.
Thank you. Shakir, you're right. You can't just look at one aspect or another.
It's really the combination of those intersections and intersectionality. I do hold race and gender together all the time,
but I'm also a gay woman in her 60s. My lived experience has
a few extra decades than some of the folks I work with. My lived experience in
the gay community also provides a lens.
What I'll say at this point too, is that for much of my career I regret to say I
did not get to be my own authentic whole self. It was required that my gender expression or my culture
be hidden so that I could succeed and assimilate in many situations.
It's only recently that I really have said, that never really fit right.
I think it still is back to the individual's ability and perseverance and trust in
themselves to be able to hold all of my own intersections
and share those with others as they're interested. I'm also right now again, in this stage of my life,
it's not about perfection. It's about progress. If I can make a little bit of progress every day,
then I'm helping rather than creating more barriers.
Hopefully that was helpful as well. Yeah. Thank you. Mari?
To add to the great points that we've heard up to this point, I think for me, it's creating the spaces,
as I've mentioned in the education and awareness and even talking about the various dimensions that is diversity.
There's over 30 something dimensions of diversity, but we always seem to gravitate to what I always call the title seven.
It's always what's top of mind for people. But with that conversation, I also talk about power and privilege. We all have it.
It's really important that especially within our under-represented communities that we recognize we do have power,
we do have privilege depending on how we're showing up and the scenarios that are at play.
I always talk about how in my corporate experience, I was one of the very few Hispanic voices
at the table as a woman. For me that was important to demonstrate how I was showing up and
how I obvious being the voice of the voiceless at times. I think we can't lose sight of the fact
that we have to recognize our power and our privilege and know when we need to show up especially in
my term intersectionality perspective. There were so many boxes we check as people and to think we only
check one box is hard to believe. I think that's the other point here to
make is please always understand, identify what is your power and privilege so that we can
all show up in order to bring about sustainable change. That gets to the question of allyship.
At what point can we be present and supportive of other communities as well,
even if we don't claim membership in that particular group. I think that's becomes really important.
Even when time talks a lot to my friend's house, a lot about white privilege.
Again, that stays beyond race. What ways do we recognize male privilege?
Which ways do we recognize the fact that being middle-class or upper middle-class allows us privileged to be able to
penetrate certain circles that other folks can access. I think it's really important for us.
But I did want to get to the question of allyship though. That is what is the role then
for us to be in conversation and to be in communion with others to not necessarily
takeover or to dictate or to bark at orders, but the rather be supportive.
I think sometimes that's where the confusion lies in terms of what our roles should be as allies.
Shakir, you want to tackle that one. Yeah, I'm happy to jump in and I think one of the things I'm going to build off a point that Mario
just made it around power. I think when you think about allyship is how do you create spaces to share power?
I think in the virtual environment, one of the small things I've started to do is I know that a lot of my co-workers are internal processors,
I'll take a minute, everyone, let's take a minute and think about this internally. That creates an opportunity for those who are not on
the cuffs thinkers have the space to do so. I think, when I lift up an idea from
one of my colleagues, I say as we stated, because there was this idea that we're going to try to take over that idea,
is recognizing when you have the power and being open enough to share that. To me, that's what I'll ask you.
It boils down to and thinking about how you can be thoughtful of that is where I sit with often find that some folks get a
little hung up on the privileged piece. How could I be privileged? But I think once we accept that we all have some form of privilege,
it's easy to lean into that and be able to feel more comfortable sharing the power when you have it. Recognizing there's going to be
times in environments where we are in the deficit and looking for that allyship. I think it's a very much of a pay it
forward and being able to create a space for others. Absolutely. Anybody else want to happen here?
If I can just jump in right, I agree 100 percent and I think
the one thing that I hope people walk away with it, is you can't be an ally unless you,
except the fact that you have to be comfortable, being uncomfortable. That comes with the territory of being an ally.
It's a commitment. You're committing to being inclusive.
Saying that you're an ally isn't enough to show up and pour it others through action.
It's an active and constant practice and there isn't one playbook to be an ally.
It requires curiosity as leaders and people, the willingness to learn, to reflect and to act.
By the way, you can't be an ally to any one without again, getting comfortable,
being uncomfortable to foster an inclusive culture, it takes everyone to show up and how we show up looks different.
I think that's the other thing and that's why I talked about this playbook. There isn't one playbook because I think sometimes people get very hooked up on,
well, you need to show up this way and you didn't show up like this. Well, how I show up and how you show up is different.
I love what you said about Vanessa just passing the mic. When you are in a meeting and you see that someone wasn't heard,
you take a moment because you have that space. You take a moment to pass that mic back to that person.
Those are examples of really showing up and being intentional and being thoughtful in how you do it.
I think that's just important for people just to recognize you can't call yourself an ally. You have to truly demonstrate how you were
being an ally to a variety of communities. Yeah, I'm going to get the Dr. Jones, but I imagine that in a corporate setting that is also
really the cutthroat nature in the competitiveness sometimes that often means that these issues sometimes
go overlooked or not dealt with in a meaningful way, Dr. Jones?
No. Thank you, Dr. Watson and goodness Shakir you said this in one of our prior forums,
but not only do we mentor, we can serve as mentors when we talk about allyship. Because people say, well, give me a tangible ways.
What does that mean? How can I be an ally? Well you can mentor others and you can have your circles of influence talk to him about mentorship.
It's not that the old school I have to spend 30 to 40 hours a week with this person. I mean, there are so many ways that we can be
innovative with that notion in terms of being able to, now we have Zoom and just being able to talk to
people and had these touch points, but it certainly pour into them. Mentorship, but also sponsorship that is so important,
bringing others along and creating an opening doors for others. That place of power and privilege,
there are opportunities that we have that we can certainly open doors and make recommendations
to allow others to walk through those doors. So certainly that sponsorship is important. Being an advisor.
There were a lot of things that I needed to know as a young professional. I had to navigate a lot of these nuances.
There were times I didn't know what to do. I would just gracefully bow
or just decided I didn't want to confront that. Certainly that's not the case today, I say let's talk about this thing and it
lets provide some much needed education. We're going to have the difficult conversations and we're going to continue to have the difficult conversations.
Then it's certainly being an advocate. Being an advocate talking about how we support each
other and how we have made it on this journey and continuing they can understand it and sharing our stories.
Dr. Watson, your phenomenal atoms, using your platform to be able to share stories that is so important because
people need to know there is hope. That although some things that we have to navigate and face are very difficult,
you can make it and you will be able to persevere and be successful on your journey. But sharing stories that people can be
inspired by the things that you had to go through. But those are some ways, mentorship, sponsorship, being an advocate and certainly an advisor.
Hello, those are all very important and I liked the fact that you distinguish between the mentorship
and sponsorship because they're connected, but there are also different as well. I think that's important. After the killing
of George Floyd and of course, Briana Taylor and others, we saw both across the higher education sector,
but also the business and corporate world. We saw many companies
and organizations put out statements. We saw philanthropic support
that was committed to issues around equity. I guess the question that I have is how do
we keep institutions accountable? So that it's not just a passing kind of,
we felt sorry about this, we're going to give money, then we move on. But how do we hold folks
accountable to be able to say this is really important in order to remain on the agenda not just for the next year but forever.
I guess that's a question and I have it. Mari, maybe I'll start with you.
How do we have accountability on some of these issues? Yeah. She could have mentioned it a little while ago.
When you're really grounded to the values and the mission of the organization, it really starts with that.
What makes sense for that organization? When I was at Wyndham during that time,
it was really about listening. We had a diversity equity and inclusion strategy.
We have put it together in 2019, going into 2020 and then 2020, everything happens.
You're basically saying, you know what, we've got to start over because we were at a different place here. It's making sure that your strategy is very fluid in
that way because you're constantly leaning in, you're stepping into those that you serve, whether internal and external and really having a pulse.
What are the needs? What makes sense for the people that you're serving?
Whether it be your customer, your guests, your internal employees. We certainly all recognize that there is
a much more knowledgeable folks out there as customers, as people looking to be employed where
they're demanding certain things from organizations. The last 2,3 years,
we talk about this great resignation. It has really truly been what I think in many have said. It has been great reflection,
not just whether this is the company you want to work with, will work for. Are they truly aligned to the values,
to the things that are important? That social is really important. It's about partnering and
working for organizations that are socially and ethically and environmentally conscience and responsible.
Those companies, those organizations who aren't showing up and really having thoughtful internal conversations to
ensure their values and missions are aligned with these three categories , they're missing out.
They're not going to have long-term success. That doesn't mean it's just
the CEO and senior leadership. That's everybody in your organization has to have a voice and has to be able to be
part of the conversation and be part of advancing the overall mission
and vision of that organization. Yeah, and I appreciate that. Anybody else would have been
on this question around accountability, which I think is important. I love what Marie said there. I think that accountability at
the individual level is important. I think the individual as an employee and you're trying to at a term as
Marie mentioned is a way that you can inform and enforce accountability. I think the consumer as an individual
has ability to say, does this align with my values. Say I am okay supporting x cooperation?
I think on an institutional level. We are talking about systemic issues. How do we start to change the institutions?
I'm looking at some states in California. What is board representation? How do we mend in the term?
It looks a certain way. There was news coming out in Nigeria that they're going to set aside a third of their public offices for women.
What are the structural changes that we can put into institutions? We're recognizing why that change may take some time that individuals have
their own agency as choosing where they went shopping where they choose to work it if they have that agency.
Students, Dr. Jones are transient, they come in, they go. The question becomes, how should
Higher Ed respond to what we've seen, of course, around inequities,
not just as relates to racial unrest, but of course, the last two years we've dealt with the pandemic as well,
which is also heightened some of the disparities that exist. Any insight on that?
We've had to go back to, given the population that we serve, the majority of the population,
we have to go back to those wrap-around services. They are so important and programs
that invest in our students and give them the resources they need. We really had to be innovative in
our approach because we have a high online presence as well
and the pandemic forced our hands in that regard. But we had a lot of challenges with those
first-generation and some of the students who prefer to be in person, we just had to navigate a lot of those different nuances.
But what I will say is I think the way that you do that is just be steadfast in
those efforts at four tests will go out of our policies, our procedures, looking at our artists,
our operational posture and our stance and different groups that we had engaged. We had to create new groups,
emerge new student groups and organizations emerged from the pandemic and for us and certainly the face of higher education.
It's understanding that we are in a ever-changing world and environment and it's being able to adjust to
those changes and be open. Having a willingness to say we have to meet
the needs of our students and make sure that they have a resource. I'm going to always go back to that.
But we found ourselves just really having to be present and being nimble enough to
welcome what the feedback was from students. We really had to take their temperature, a lot of great deal check in on them,
see how they are doing, and then we couldn't just talk about it. We had to be about it. We had to bring resources to the forefront that really
invested in them and show them that we are student-centric. We were focused on what it's going to
take to get them through these tough, challenging times because we know what this world being as it is,
none of us expected the last two or three years and so we certainly don't know what we are going to expect and be up against,
but it's having the fortitude and the foresight to anticipate what is on
the horizon and then being able to respond to it. I do think going back to that allyship and how
institutions can help ensure that we stay on this path and on this course,
there are so many benefits and we have to be in the business of sharing the value proposition
of DEI because that's what business understands. They understand that. Why it's important and that's an industry
understands that's what those that want to fund and support these initiatives, but shared the benefits,
how it creates a positive people culture, how that sense of belonging and feeling safe and higher retention.
How all those things come about when you are committed to this space
and certainly on career advancement. We really have to just be in
that place of not only costly, evolving, but putting resources behind these efforts and
ensuring that they stay at the forefront of our work. Viewpoint diversity too.
We want to invite diverse opinions and views. We don't always want to talk to
people who just think of like us. We want to be able to engage with others, Debbie? Yes. Thank you. A couple of specific things.
Well, I'm going start with a generalization and then a specific. In general, those of us
on this panel and many of the folks listening, we need to stay inside the systems that we're in.
Kate talked about a little bit of access and privilege. An agency that we have.
It is my role, I believe now because I can and I have been inside systems
to push and pull in concert with the folks that are marginalized from that system.
To be on the inside, helping to dismantle the system so that we can bring new change.
That's the big picture thing. A little picture thing. Again, as being willing to take the risk.
I mentioned that last time to lead with love instead of fear. We had a fundraiser a couple of
weeks ago and we broke the mold. You could get into
our fundraiser with the equity ticket that started at zero or to a pay it forward ticket
that was $110 plus whatever you wanted to give. We had a couple of 100 people.
All the right people were in the room. Nobody knew how much anybody paid to get in.
Everybody had fun, everybody connected.
The point was everybody who wanted to be in the room had a place in the room.
Our sponsors are going like, well, what do you mean I'm not going to have a table of ten?
No, you're just going to be hanging out with everybody. How did you come up with that idea? I'm just curious.
I've got a brilliant team of young people and people of color that are just trying to again break the mold.
Now the part that I had to do to be brave and my board is supporting us and me.
I had to say, I don't know exactly, but I promise you we'll fill
the budget because I don't know how many of you on this call have to fill the budget to make payroll every year.
Some of you do. You can't just say we're going to have a party.
But we had a party and we raised some money and some of our sponsors are, we don't get it.
Some of our sponsors said, we get it and they quadrupled their historical contributions.
Wow, that's a wonderful example. I think one of the things that Debbie is putting out is that we can have the vision,
but the key is how do you inspire others to come along with us so that we can move in the right direction?
I love that example, Debbie, that you provided. Shakir, you're doing some interesting work with the
University of Phoenix right now. Can you talk a little bit about that partnership and how it connects to?
I'm really excited to be working with the University of Phoenix and taking a look at social capital and the role that plays in
advancing in the post-secondary into corporate space. I think some of the things that are coming up for us is,
when you think about the corporate, there's the social determinants of work as we like to say. There are these traits, these pedigrees,
these things that are in place that are more inclined for you to be successful in the workplace. When you think about occupational segregation
and I'm sure Dr. Jones and others can speak to like, there's a clustering of underrepresented minorities and certain majors
that don't have high employability and what that looks like in their careers therefore to afterwards. I think those are some of the structural pieces.
I think we've been looking at what are some of the technical things you can do to disrupt those two things at place?
It's what do we think about recruitment? I think one of the stats that we came across are, if JDs are written with really stringent requirement,
women are less likely to apply if they don't meet every single one of those as their male counterparts.
How can we write more inclusive job descriptions? We think about degree requirements. There's some jobs where you definitely need a degree.
I don't think we need a degree here. How can we think about some more skills based to
assess the ability to do that job? I think things like blind resumes.
If you look at your Shakir's name, you're going to have some thoughts, and if you have some preconceived notions of how do we review that based on
the qualifications of Shakir as opposed to who we think he might be. I think one of the last ones that really stood out
to me was thinking about the interview. Because so often we get to jump into the interview process and we want to find the right candidate.
But if we don't have a diverse candidate pool, then we can have some idea what the outcome will look like.
Let's not even start the process of interviewing until the pool is where we think it is satisfying our internal
diversity requirements before we move forward. Those are some of the more tactical things we're seeing on our side with this research
and really loving working with University of Phoenix and can't wait to dig it more. Recruiting pieces is so important
because of course we all hear all the time where employers say we can't find these people.
We don't know whether they exist. Of course, we know that they're not necessarily targeting minority-serving institutions.
We know that they're not advertising in minority publications. Again, how do you broaden your reach?
Then, Higher Ed, I noticed a particular issue because again, you'll have sometimes Provost who will fail searches.
If you don't come back to the table with a diverse applicant pool, I think it's really important for us to
stretch beyond our comfort zones to make sure that we're in fact bringing folks to the table.
Dr. Jones, you want to comment on that at all? No. I just agree I mean, it's just having these conversations.
It is at times very frustrating to have
to feel like you have to keep saying the same stuff over and over again.
But it's the world of education in terms of bringing people along and getting away
from this notion that we've always done it this way. It's always been done this way. We have to be innovative and we have to
be welcoming and engaging. I think that there's this shift.
I've been certainly in higher education leadership as a woman of color. In my post I think I now join the ranks of
five percent of women of color who are leading institutions across the nation.
I've been seeing more and more women who are reaching out and of course I'm doing the same and congratulating them and saying,
let's continue to lead by example
and not be afraid to talk about the different challenges that
we're having and the different challenges that we face. Because what I also find is that some people always want to play it safe.
"Oh, I can't say this. I don't want to talk about this." There's a degree of that where I can understand
it being an administrator and being that I speak for this entire institution. There are times where you do have to be
honest and have honest discourse. I'm certainly in this space right now
challenging the leadership team that I serve. We're on this journey together.
Because we're on this journey together, we're going to have to have these difficult conversations, but let's not lose sight that we're in it together.
I think when you bring in that unification and lead from that space,
people will start to come along. It can be certainly a trying journey if you will,
to dismiss and move past some of these the way that we've always done things.
Yeah. Well, that's what Debbie said. We have to lead with love. I think that's important.
It centers that we can do this work, but we also can be nice and we can have
humility and we can learn from each other. That's really important. I want to also invite you all to put
your questions into the chat box and we'll get to as many as we can, but I want to go to Mari as well.
You all bring a really great point here when we talk, especially for organizations, those of you on this virtual summit,
who are hiring leaders, hiring managers in organizations. That it is so important when you
think about showing up as an ally. Here's another example that you just heard from our panelists about challenging those social norms.
There's a lot of social norms out there, one of which comes to when you look at resumes for certain things.
Where are they from? Their names? But when I talk about social norms, I talk about the universities or
colleges or schools that they've graduated from. I'm a perfect living example of that. My mom became ill during my senior year.
She's one of the 61 million people with a disability. My plans changed.
I didn't go to the four-year college originally right off.
My mom was adamant about education. That's something there was no negotiation there.
It looked different though my journey. I then opted for a two-year certification in
hospitality is what I went for. Then I went back to school. University of Phoenix gave me
that opportunity to go back to school when I was in my mid-twenties and got my degree.
When you look at someone's resume, there was more to it than just the school they graduated from.
We have to shift our thinking and we have to provide opportunities because we
all come from different walks of life. You're missing out on amazing talent, on amazing value that an individual is going to bring to
the table because you're discounting the university, the college, or where they may not have gone to that.
They may not have had the ability to go to a university or a college, but they are still a viable,
strong candidate that you should never dismiss. I just wanted to really inject that in there for those of you who are hiring managers.
You are the gatekeepers. You either close the door or open the door for so many of us who are looking to
get our foot in the door to be considered and be given an opportunity. Yeah. Also, when you get into these positions,
it's really important to lift. As we climb, to reach back and pull others.
Sometimes I hear people say, "Oh, I'm the only black or I'm the only woman. It is been that way for 20 years."
I'd say, well, the issue is you because it is you helping other people in the 20 years you've been there [OVERLAPPING].
But I think sometimes we relish in the opportunity of being the only one.
It's really important that we also try to make space for others to then come behind them.
When I think of Dr. Jones and the historic nature of her appointment, again, she's standing on the shoulders of
so many others who laid the groundwork for a black woman to become President of the Community College in Oklahoma.
How do we leverage those relationships and really help others come along after us?
I think that's really, really important. Let's go to a question if we can. We have a couple and one is,
I would like to know how each of you handled hate speech. Really in the positions that you've been in,
has this been an issue for you and have you been able to respond accordingly? Anyone.
I can dive right into that. I've dealt with a lot of
different comments and I've had
to really work around some of the things said,
really just on my entire professional journey with the hate speech,
with the questioning, not looking beyond
me and looking at the credentials and how I have worked incredibly hard to be where I am at every single stage.
I don't give any of that hate speech any of that power, it has zero place in my life and I've learned to be
able to look past that and not let it infiltrate me. It's taken time because as a young professional, again,
there were situations I didn't know how to manage or navigate. That certainly would never be the case today.
I have a dear friend who says, let the work you do speak for you.
That's really been my mantra, if you will. I let the work that I do speak for me.
I don't get caught up and let that really manifest or infiltrate my spirit or allow me to think a
certain way because I know the work that I've done and I know them. The people who've invested in my life always.
I didn't get here by myself because I didn't. I had a lot of great employees who were in the trenches with me.
I have a lot of great mentors and continue to have great mentors in various aspects
of my life who have really spoken into my life and helped lead me and guide
me and give me sage wisdom and advice. When it comes to having to deal with the negativity,
I am a very optimistic person, an eternal optimist. If you will tell I've led, it's how I just believed to view live.
I choose happiness and joy. I don't let any of that nonsense and negativity just impact what I do.
There've been some situations where it has been very tense and I've had to work around them and I
just decided that I'm not going to give those types of things power because that's the intent of the people who were putting it out
there is to intimidate and cause fear and cripple you on your journey. I just choose to not entertain any of that.
I'm aware, eyes wide open, but I don't choose to entertain any of that. Thank you. Anyone else want to tackle
this question? Debbie? I can jump in. Certainly what I said earlier is that I code switched as
a younger person and tried to pretend I wasn't all that I was so that I could fit in.
Now, really owning my own authenticity and all of my lived experience, there is still hate.
What I do in addition to what we just heard and having confidence in that I am doing good work.
I am where I'm supposed to be. It still does impact us all and personally.
I use tools and it's a little woo-woo here, but this was about empathy and authentic leadership.
I take the time to actually have that emotion and to process how it's feeling in my body.
I don't give it any power. But I acknowledge that it's making me feel a certain way.
Then I set that aside and then try to go on to do my work and then
perhaps try to engage that person in some inquiry and some learning
so that we can come to a new place. It doesn't always work out well, but at least I try sometimes.
That's what's working for me these days. Just to acknowledge it,
do my own little emotional surfing and then again, bring my spirit back whole
and be able to stand in the light instead of in the darkness that
that person or that situation has caused me. Yeah, thank you very much. Anyone else want to help
in on this question before we move on? Question Number 2,
mentorship is also needed among minorities who want to seat at the senior leadership table
in higher education. What type of mentorship programs are your institutions
or organizations implementing to support this cause? We've talked a lot about mentorship.
Anybody want to weigh in on this question?
I wanted to give others a chance to talk. [LAUGHTER]. Anybody else?
I'll say, is there anybody else before her? Well, go ahead and then I'll jump after you.
[LAUGHTER] I'll be brave. I encourage professional development just as a culture,
and so there are a lot of programs out there for senior leaders who want to continue to advance.
We don't believe in reinventing the wheel when they are high-quality programs out there. Some at no cost to the organization,
and so I just encourage a professional development really in all aspects of our walk student development,
career and professional development for students as well as our entire campus community with our employees,
with our faculty and staff. For me, myself, I don't think you've ever arrive.
I think we have to continue learning and that's just how I lead. There are a lot of programs that are already in place that I've just
encouraged the team and provide the support for them to participate in.
Yeah. Regina, I think we can provide some of those resources. Certainly make those available to
the mixed team that we can circulate because again, as Dr. Jones mentioned, there are a number of
wonderful programs that are already in existence. I think you might want to avail yourself, Mari.
From an organizational perspective, one of the things we've done and continue to do
is really promote the importance of formal mentorship. We have learning circles.
We bring together those learning circles, a variety of perspectives in
order for there to be peer mentoring. But also mentoring from the executives that were bringing to participate
in these circles that are as long as six months in duration. But the other thing that I would
encourage people is seek out mentors. Don't wait for your organizations
or to have formal mentorship. Some of them may, some of them may not.
Early on in my career I had someone give me the advice of the concept of mentoring and how
important it was and don't just limit to one. You seek out mentors for a variety of reasons.
Some are short-term mentorship because you had a goal as to what you were trying to accomplish, you move on.
Others, I have some that I've them in my life for a very long time. Don't just limit yourself to mentors that look
like you or have similar experience as you. Early on I had a mentor who told me she encouraged
me to seek out mentors that were male mentors. The reason why she said that to me was because she's like, you know what,
you have an opportunity to help educate that male mentor on the experience of being a woman in the workplace.
That senior executive who was my mentor was in
a position to make decisions for those who were like me. To be able to have a mentee who was a woman,
really provided him some insight. Lived experiences through my stories. I just encourage people to just take ownership of
that development and create those opportunities for you. Because sometimes I grew up in a household where it was like,
work hard, put your head down, opportunities will happen. Guess what? That's not always true.
We have to really be a little more assertive, a little bit more aggressive, and go looking for those opportunities,
and hopefully those doors will continue to open as you network through mentorship. But I also would add, sometimes when we think about
our underrepresented communities, we often just talk about mentorship. It's also important to think about and talk about and
bring attention to the power of sponsorship. Because that really creates opportunities when
people are really advocating for you, for your work in circles that you're not privy to.
When those decisions are being made in those meetings, those sponsors at the table know your name,
they know your worth, they know your values. Show up and really make those opportunities count.
Yeah. Mentorship requires that you do some work to. [LAUGHTER] Oftentimes people play.
I'm just going to be mentored, the person just going to pour into me, yes. You got to do some work.
That means that you might have to refine your resume. You may have to be willing to get up an hour earlier,
you've got to put the work into it in. Sometimes, I think people view mentorship as just a one-way street that
that person is just giving you everything and you don't have to really work hard at it. I think we've got to redefine
how we're thinking about mentorship. That is a mutual, because I want to learn from somebody else and at
the same time giving them all of this as well. It's really, really important. Let's go to question Number 3 if we can.
It says that as parents or just a person wanting to be a fruitful,
active supporter in the gay community, there's a very big controversy for children in the education space.
Being empowered towards wanting to change pronouns. How can you best support parents expression towards
the child judgment when they express they're ready to be identified as an opposite pronoun.
What barriers and sensitivity that anyone should be aware of? Anybody who want to happen on this question.
I'll help in, but I'm certainly even though I have this lived experience,
I may not be the expert. But one of the key things that in
fact we just had a conversation about pronouns and our workplace. The key is honoring how an individual
sees themselves and being willing to see that person as they see themselves.
Again, here's where my generation gets in there. I am thrilled that so many of us have walked this path so
that younger and younger people can really come into their fullness and their own identity.
I think we still have social constructs around the pronouns that create
angst for an individual who may not feel that identity that they were
assigned or that gender they were assigned at birth. There are a number of organizations like
PFLAG here in Phoenix. There's a fabulous organization
called one-n-ten that really support young people on this path
and they support community around them.
Not to try to be the expert because I'm certainly not. But it really is.
It's about listening and caring, and not trying to judge.
The best thing a parent can do for their young person,
is to show them love and to say that I see you.
I see you as you see yourself. That way that's really empowering and loving and caring.
Thank you. Anybody else? Yeah, Mark. If I can jump in here again, coming at it from an organizational lens
and leadership lens is one of the things that I'm very proud of that we did was bring even speakers,
external subject matter experts into our conversation internally to continue to educate the parents,
the caregivers, the aunties, the uncles, that are working at the organization. We had a Social worker
come in and talk about how do we talk about race with our children?
What she provided was very applicable to adults. It went both ways.
But then we also during LGBTQ plus History month in October, we launched our pronouns campaign internally.
Then we also brought a speaker in to come talk to parents about having conversations with their children.
Again, it's really blending in what's happening in our corporate walls with what's also happening at home with our families.
Sometimes you've got to bring them together, so that the learning that we're providing at the organizational perspective is certainly
helping advance our inclusion and sense of belonging for our employees. But we hope that it's also the knowledge
and the skills that they then can take and continue to learn on their own,
but also apply to their communities and to their homes. I really encourage those of you who have
the ability and organizations to make these types of decisions, to really bring in those external speakers and help
your employees who are having questions like this one and so many others. Yeah, and I think it's also important that we think
about people who have expertise in this area. Because again, everyone can't just jump up and act like they could.
Because you can actually do more damage if you do not have the expertise or qualifications to be able to speak and help lead people
through what is very, very difficult. I think sometimes organizations don't
want to necessarily put the resources in place. But I think it's really critical that you have
people who understand the landscape and understand the issues to leave folks through this is critical.
Shakir, did you have anything you wanted to add on that? No. Nothing to add. No.
All right. Question 5. What are some of the pitfalls well-intentioned allies need to be
mindful of and to avoid. We talked a little bit about allyship, any pitfalls there?
I'm happy to jump in there. I think you made a really good joke about this earlier. It's like getting in there and wanted to take
over control in doing your thing. I think that's what allyship is, is centering the needs of someone
else as opposed to yourself. When you come in, you want to make yourself the star saying this needs to happen,
that's you being, is you serving yourself. I think on a very personal note, this is what I learned when I
started dating my partner, my now wife. She would come to me with a problem and
she just wanted an ear, she wanted to listen. But I'm a problem solver so I went into that mode, but that's not serving her needs, that's serving my needs.
I think being an ally is putting the needs of the people you're supporting in front of that. Just being an ear is doing that.
Its opening space is doing that. But I think often allies can get into a space of doing too much when
they want to be upfront and want to be seen and it's being able to open that door and allowing someone else to talk through it first.
I think too, Dr. Watson and Shakir, I totally echo and agree with what you just shared,
but it's making sure with what Mari said earlier that you have the expertise before you go and start trying
to provide lectures and really share all this information. I think sometimes as allies we get so excited or
people can get excited and it's now in the content experts. I'm going to go into start
convening people in and making myself available for these types of exercises when
that should not be the case, that becomes self-serving. It's making sure that not only are you authentic and
genuine in your efforts and wanting to hear and better understand, but it's also connecting resources and connecting people,
maybe in spaces and doors that they may not be able to get through that you have access to.
But being genuine and sincere in those efforts, but also bringing people to the table and forefront who have expertise and
knowledge in these various very complex issues
so that the proper information and education can take place.
Shakir mentioned it earlier. Just because you are from that community doesn't mean you
speak for all within the community. I think that's the mistake sometimes the allies make, even though well-intentioned,
they go to that particular person who happens to be of that culture and you think they have all the answers.
Please don't think that that's the case. It's exhausting to think that you're the voice for everyone.
The other thing is, ask permission. That's why I always say that ERGs,
employee resource groups, infinity business groups, however you call them in your space, in your organization is so powerful because that's the purpose.
It's to bring communities of the organization together to learn together, they're inclusive.
You're there to learn, you're there to be vulnerable. Ask them. Say, I'm hearing
these headlines and I'm seeing these things. I'm new to this. I don't know. That, this hasn't been my lived experience.
I can't relate to this, but I want to learn and so I'm showing up here today. Can you help me learn? I know I'm going
to make mistakes along the way, so give me grace from the beginning. Then ask the question,
those are the best places I have found when we create those spaces within our ERGs. Listen. We're all wanting to learn and to do better.
Leverage those ERG spaces to make those mistakes because those people there,
they're willing to bring you along and to help you along. That's the only way you can strengthen your ability to be an ally.
No, that's great advice. I think I have time for maybe two more questions. I want to get in, question number 6.
There was a recent article that I read that stated that it is hard for minorities to get other minorities to mentor them.
Why do you think this happens? How do we get minorities to be comfortable with non-minority mentors?
Maya, you talked a little bit about that as well, the importance. You want to elaborate a little bit more on that.
Look for me, It's always been about as I climb up the ladder,
it's always been very important to bring people with me. Those that look like me, those who don't have the same opportunities,
those who don't look like me, but I know are coming from a community similar to mine that struggle and
are too often not given the opportunities to really show how valuable they are and can be.
I think sometimes as people move up, they forget where they came from. My mom used to say that all the time.
She said never forget who you are and where you come from. Listen, I'm a girl from New York.
New York, New Jersey, immigrant parents. I know what the struggle is.
I know seeing my mom and the struggles of trying to navigate an environment, a world that was not made for
her when I think about her disability. All of these challenges, don't forget how hard it is and
how you now have been given that opportunity. Pay it forward. Think about who can I mentor?
Who can I provide guidance? I do that all the time. It's about sharing my experience in an effort to have
that person learn from me and not make the same mistakes. Even as simple as introductions.
Some people sometimes forget how powerful that are. We're blessed, we have the opportunity to be part of
these wonderful panels thank you to the University of Phoenix and you'll get a chance to network with so many.
People want to network with you and so now you have a network that you can now share and extend with others.
Hopefully, that opens doors and opportunities. We need to think about there was someone in
our life I've been fortunate enough. There have been others along the way who've done that for me. Hence, how I'm here and so I have
an obligation to make sure that I continue to do that for others. I think it's just really important
to not forget where you come from. Thank you very much. Last question and then we're out of time and that is.
I guess I'm wondering, are you all hopeful? I know there is a difference between hope and optimism,
but do you feel hopeful at this very moment for the work that is being done and
the work that must be moving forward. Maybe we'll start with Debbie and we'll go around quickly. Debbie.
I absolutely do feel hopeful and the more that I can connect with
like-minded and like-hearted people, then, I think that momentum is going a little bit further.
Again, just a quick commercial. Our stand against racism summit showing
up in Phoenix later this month. We're going to talk about systemic racism
and four important areas and this is why I have hope. We're going to be talking about critical race, education.
We're going to talk about reproductive rights, equal pay, and wage gaps. We're going to make that point with hiring people.
Like we continue to exacerbate that wage gap when we ask people what was your previous salary?
Just talk about the value of the job that they're applying for. Lastly, we're going to be talking
about women and people of color in the film and media industry. Again, I'm hopeful that with these conversations,
we will continue to make some progress. Thank you. Shakir. Hopeful?
Very hopeful. I think I want to lift up something that Debbie said earlier in the conversation that, it's progress, over perfection.
I think we're at a place now where the ball is moving forward. I look at look at the folks on this panel.
I think about the topics that we're discussing. To me 10 years ago, this would have been too far to have an open forum,
to have these discussions and so, I think that the key to progress is recognizing that there's
more than one way to do with something. As Mari said earlier, as long as we stay curious and say that
you may take the bike, I may take the bus. We all end up in the same place as being open to those different paths of going there and I'm
very much celebrating this moment to be able to have this conversation with you all and it does make me very hopeful.
Thank you. Mari. I'm very hopeful. I'm the glass-half-full always and so I'm just inspired.
Look at the panel to Shakir's point and the curiosity that is existing when I think about
the number of people that are attending this forum, I'm very hopeful that people are curious and people
want to show up and play their part in bringing about sustainable change. Thank you and Dr. Jones.
Yes, I am hopeful and I'll remain helpful. Yes, I'm an eternal optimist, but I'm seeing the fruits of our labor every single day.
But I see the lives that we're able to touch at this institution and certainly across our state.
Some of the programs that I mentioned earlier that we're doing in this space, such as the mentoring program for our minority students.
Those students have on average above a 3.0 at the end of every semester and 93 percent of them are
articulating on to four-year colleges, whereas some don't choose to go, they want to enter the workforce.
But I'm seeing success, is the point I'm trying to make. I am so hopeful. I'll remain hopeful and the students and our youth,
and just building them up for to be successful citizens.
That gives me hope every single day and inspiration. Of course, we wouldn't be in the positions that we're in if we didn't have hope.
Thank you so much. I'm going to give a virtual applause to all of my panelists here. Thank you for your time,
your commitment in the work that you do. I certainly learned so much from all of you today and want to turn it over to
my colleagues at the University of Phoenix.
Thank you to each of our panelists for such a powerful discussion. A special thanks to you Dr. Watson for moderating.
One of my personal favorite quotes was introduced earlier. It was, get comfortable, getting uncomfortable.
That really resonates with me again personally and I think it reflects very strongly with the University of Phoenix's core values
of brave, honest, and focused. It takes all three of those values to really explore our discomfort and it takes exploring
our discomfort to maximize the impact we're capable of making. The conversation helps to
reinforce the notion that we all have the capability of leading inclusively regardless of our role.
In my role as an assessment manager with the University of Phoenix, I'll seek ways to assess the needs of our students, staff,
and faculty in an effort to overcome some of the inequalities each of you spoke about today.
I'm looking forward to the remaining sessions today and the ways in which they will build upon what you've all shared.
Next, we will release you all to take a break and return at 10:45 for the general sessions.
That's 10:45 Arizona time. On the screen, you'll see that you could choose from one of the industry focus tracks.
The navigation panel is located on the left side of your browser. If you click on stages,
you can access one of the three upcoming sessions. They are leadership and management, inclusive leadership, and practice,
addressing emotional and structural barriers. Under healthcare, we have, addressing emotional structural barriers
through healthcare, leadership practices. Under education, we have addressing
emotional and structural barriers. To wrap up the day, join us to learn about moving forward,
harnessing the power of research in the new normal. That'll be later this afternoon. We will see you all after the break. Thank you.
Empathy and authenticity in leadership
This session includes a candid and courageous panel discussion with industry experts sharing what it means to lead with empathy and authenticity while tackling emotional and structural barriers.
Racelighting: Addressing Inauthentic Allyship | Dr. Luke Wood | Inclusive Leadership Summit
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Welcome to the University of Phoenix Inclusive Leadership Summit.
My name is Saray Lopez, and I am a Director in the Office of Educational Equity.
We are pleased to have you joining us today. We would like to again extend
our gratitude to our sponsors, diverse issues in higher education, and ETS for supporting this summit this year.
You can go to the next slide, please? As we begin this summit today,
our last day of workshops. Yeah, there's one more day of a career fair. We acknowledgment that this event
is being broadcasted globally. May we honor and give gratitude
to the indigenous peoples who were the original custodians of the various lands on which we live and work.
We recognize that a land acknowledgment alone is insufficient
yet it serves as a starting point as we continue our individual's journey toward racial equity.
Here in Phoenix Metropolitan area we inhabit the Hohokam,
Akimel O'oodham, Pipash, and Yavapai land.
Thank you for joining me and taking time to honor those original custodians of this land.
If you can go to this next slide. We hope that you've been enjoying this summit this far,
and please note that the conversation does not end here. We must keep going on
this inclusive leadership journey and we hope to be going on this together. Join us on May 19th,
as we resume our monthly Educational Equity Webinar series. This series creates a space to
have crucial conversations, promote cultural understanding, and provide thought leadership.
Together we'll discuss how issues relating to equity and inclusion show up in the classroom,
workplace, and our communities. You can scan the QR code here on the screen or
register by clicking on the link that's provided on the chat. You may also visit our YouTube playlist to
view prior recordings that's added there in the chat as well. We hope to see you all there on May 19th.
If you can go to the next slide, please? Awesome. As a reminder for those joining us,
and that had been here with us throughout the last couple of days, and for those of you that are
here for the first time today, we want to go over a little bit of the platform with logistics.
The navigation panel on the left is where it enables you to switch between
different areas of this virtual summit, including stages, networking,
employer booths, and we highly encourage you to connect with one another.
The People tab is a dedicated area for one-on-one connections between attendees.
Then the best part of this platform, I think, and it's something that I hope that you will
all make use of the rest of the summit, and hope that you have been using it is
the networking feature on the left. This is a great way to meet with
people within this inclusive leadership summit. We have a global presence and let's connect,
let's network with one another. This is a space that we want to encourage further development, further growth.
Let's enjoy that and let's leverage that opportunity. If you want to go to the networking feature
is definitely designed as a coffee and the lobby conversation, water cooler chats.
You're randomly matched with different people for five minutes. It's just a great way to have a quick conversation.
If you want to extend your time, you can or if you want to get each other's contact details,
and then further the conversation outside of the networking. But we definitely encourage you to take use of that.
Now, I will turn it over to my colleague Tondra Richardson, Director in the Office of Educational Equity.
Thank you Saray. If we can move to the next slide, please? Now that we've reached the final day of the summit,
we did want to remind everyone, and tell those who are joining us for the first time today that summit attendees who have
joined us for all three days are eligible to receive the University of Phoenix Badge Inclusive Leader: Self & Social Awareness.
Now to be considered, please complete the post summit survey provided later today and include your name and email address.
If you're joining us for the first time today or you just joined us yesterday, or for some reason you are unable to join
us live for each day of the summit, we do want you to know that the recordings will be made available within the next week
and you still have an opportunity to earn the badge if you watch at least three of the recordings from
each of the three days of the Summit. We are so eager to receive your feedback and read what you've learned.
We hope that y'all will take advantage of that opportunity. Can we move to the next slide, please?
Now let's revisit the ground rules as we move into the third day of the summit.
Listed here are guidelines we believe essential to fostering respectful conversations.
Please consider that some of the issues presented maybe challenging for you, and we invite you to allow
yourself grace to feel uncomfortable. This enables us to create empathy and support for
the persons and communities who are directly impacted by our actions. We do encourage you to share
your experiences and your perspective in the chat box. But please contribute to
an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity. In addition, we highly encourage you to share
helpful resources related to today's topic. One of the things that we've seen or we've
realized is that our attendees and our participants have just as much knowledge and
resources as the skilled speakers we have. Please feel free to share those resources in the chat.
We can move to the next slide, please? Now for the good stuff.
Final day of keynotes. Yesterday we had a panel of experts from different industries share ways
in which we can lead with empathy, and authenticity to overcome systemic inequities.
They shared various strategies including how to be an ally who shows humility, leveraging employee resource groups
to create community and provide support, seeking mentors both inside and outside of your organizations,
and the importance of DEI practitioners remaining inside of the systems that we are in so that they have
that voice to help dismantle the system. I'm going to say that one more time.
The importance of DEI practitioners remaining inside of the systems that we are in,
so that they have that voice to help dismantle the system. Finally, we were advised to lead
with love instead of fear. Today's theme. Today's theme is Fostering Psychological Safety.
The term psychological safety was coined by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson.
She defines it as I quote, "A shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking."
Establishing a climate of psychological safety allows space for people to speak up and share their ideas.
As we close out the summit today, it is our hope that you all have noted key strategies for creating
a safe and brave space where others feel comfortable to share, reflect, and contribute in
ways that help foster belonging for individuals and welcome the diverse perspectives that help combat bias.
We will now hear from Shannon Wilson, VP Application Engineering and executive sponsor
of the African-American employee resource group at the University of Phoenix. Shannon will share a few remarks
and he will introduce today's keynote speaker. I'd like to welcome everyone to Day 3 of
the University of Phoenix's Inclusive Leadership Summit. My name is Shannon T. Wilson and I'm
the Vice President of Information Technology here at the University of Phoenix. I'm going to kick us off today as we
discuss fostering psychological safety. I'm going to talk about my journey
here at the university, a journey that started over 28 years ago. For those of you who are doing the math,
my tenure at the University started back in the fall of 1993. At that time, I just finished completing
a bachelor's degree at Arizona State University, a first-generation college graduate.
I was an information systems major, working full-time at a computer reseller, and the University of Phoenix
was one of the accounts I supported. I was familiar with the team in purchasing
and ended up taking a job on that team. I was going from selling of technology to the university to buying it.
It was a great opportunity would allow me to get my master's degree for free. All excited, I arrived from my first day of work,
somewhat anxious but mentally prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. I parked my car, the elevator to the top floor,
peruse the halls on my way to find my desk. I noticed I was the only person of color.
I noticed it, but to be honest, I really wasn't expecting anything different. I was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania,
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a little white town. It was predominantly white, so that was typical of that environment.
I figured the corporate America would be no different. I just finished my degree at the Arizona State,
for my school was paid for with the Maroon and Gold scholarship, a scholarship aimed at attracting
students of color to the Arizona State. I'm getting situated, I unpacked my bag,
I meet with my manager, and I start to settle in and get logged in to the systems and start to snoop around,
try to understand how the university conducts business. Within a couple of hours,
I'm approached by my manager and one of the business leads and they say,
"Hey, we have just terminated two people and you're now responsible
for the jobs that they were doing. We need you to go meet with a president of one of our colleges."
Then I was told, "Here's the deal, you're not allowed to speak.
Don't say a word." I think it's safe to say that situation did
not make me feel psychologically safe. Fast-forward two years, my MBA is complete.
My master's thesis was done on the Internet and how it would impact higher education.
I received an exciting job offer outside of the university and I tenured my resignation.
When a few days later I was summoned to Dr. John Sperling's office, Dr. John Sperling is
the founder of the University of Phoenix, and upon entering, I noticed my thesis was sitting on his desk.
He said, "I think this is really good. I want you to reconsider leaving
the university and help us with our internet presence." Two weeks later, I moved out of purchasing into IT,
Information Technology Department and I've been there ever since.
The first few years of that assignment, I worked with Dr. Sperling lot for meetings at his house here in Phoenix,
to trips to San Francisco. I learned a lot about him. He was a pioneer in many ways.
He practiced many of the portraits of psychological safety. He was a brave leader.
He wasn't afraid of tackling difficult challenges or taking a path that had never been traveled.
He was very inclusive. He accepted anyone for the value that they'll bring to each opportunity or each challenge that we were facing,
and without question, he always challenged the status quo. Those interactions with him and
a few early successes would frame the foundation of how I interact with every one within my span of control or influence.
Since those original meetings with Dr. Sperling in the early 90s, I've been employing many of the principles of psychological safety,
practicing inclusion, embracing diversity, and doing things just a little bit differently.
I wanted to share two examples of such, examples that I believe highlight being brave,
inclusive, and challenging the status quo. Early in my career here at the university,
I was building a team of engineers, and I had an opening and an individual had
applied for this opening who I had rejected two times prior.
It was for an entry-level engineer. The challenge that I was faced with was
this individual was hearing impaired. I kept running through my head
trying to understand and figure out like, how can I make this work, and I just kept coming back to the thought of why not?
I knew it was going to be difficult, but the role itself was writing code.
It did not have a lot of [NOISE] internal customer interactions,
but I kept asking myself, why not? Why can't you make this work? We ended up selecting this individual for the opening.
He started with our team and he was very good at reading lips. We knew that was not going to be enough.
I worked with the American Sign Language Association in Arizona State University which was just right down
my street to get resources and students to help us cover for meetings and trainings and conferences,
and those people would show up in time for us to have those sessions and they could sign for us in real-time.
Fortunately, at the time technology was advancing very rapidly and Microsoft Messenger,
or MSN Messenger at that time had also become available. That was a tool that we had
installed to allow us to communicate instantly, not only with just each other but specifically with
this employee who is hearing impaired, but [NOISE] at the time that too was a challenge,
the messenger application or tool was not approved and so I had to go through
a very formal and rigorous approval process to allow for HR and the technology teams to say that we
were authorized to actually use those tools, which turned out to be hugely successful
and was later adopted for the entire university. But this individual, as a part of our team,
help to architect and build solutions that supported our strategic growth for more than a decade.
After 15 years with the university, he went on to become a director of IT and
a professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. That to me, was
a very successful investment and endeavor for him and for us.
Another example more recently is I had a manager opening that we wanted
to bring someone in that was more of a career coach to help our technical resources be the best that they could be.
One of the applicants that we were considering was an applicant that
really had no recent leadership experience and absolutely zero technology experience.
On top of that, the fact that he had no exposure or experience in IT,
the applicant was a female, and was of color.
Note that those things matter, that the female were of color, but I should state that in
the technology realm it's very male-dominated, and so the thought
was to bring on a coach but this person that we were seriously considering was not someone who had a depth of
experience in tech and was also a female. So it was really going to be what we thought was
going to be a little bit of a challenging situation. But what this person did bring to the table is she knew
everything about people, psychology, and coaching. She was doctorate level prepared in
educational leadership with a strong emphasis in adult education. I'm excited to report that since
joining the team two years ago, she's built a very strong technical foundation, taking courses in programming
and deep diving with our technical talent, and the resources that
make up her organization have some of the highest performance, highest morale, and lowest turnover in all of IT.
We're in the midst of the great resignation and she continues to excel
and has not lost any of her people. She is a trusted member of our leadership team and is considered to be one of our highest performers.
But to get there, we obviously had to break the mode and go outside of what was normal and comfortable.
I hope these examples highlight the value of building psychological safety in your organizations, being brave,
inclusive, and challenging the status quo because it does have the potential to improve your organizations,
but beyond what you believe is possible. Well, my time has come to an end.
I'm excited to introduce today's keynote speaker, Dr. J. Luke Wood.
J. Luke Wood, PhD, is Vice President of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity and
Dean's Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University.
Wood also serves as the co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab,
a national research and practice center that partners with community colleges to support their capacity in advancing
outcomes for the underserved students of color. Wood's research focuses on factors affecting
the successive boys and men of color education, with a specific emphasis on
early childhood education and community colleges. In particular, his research examines
contributors like social, psychological, academic, environmental,
or institutional to positive outcomes. Dr. Wood has delivered over 1,000
scholarly professional and conference presentations. His research has been featured by NBC,
New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, Fortune Magazine, Los Angeles Times,
The Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, C-SPAN, and National Press Club.
Dr. Wood has authored over a 160 publications, including more than 70 peer review journal articles
and 15 books. Dr. Wood is a former recipient of the Sally Casanova pre-doctoral fellowship from which he
served as research fellow at the Stanford Institute for higher education research, Stanford University.
Wood received his PhD in educational leadership and policy studies with an emphasis in higher education
and master's degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in early childhood education
from Arizona State University. He also holds a master's degree in higher education leadership with
a concentration in student affairs, and a bachelor's degree in black history and
politics from California State University, Sacramento. Luke is a member of Alpha
Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. I'm honored to introduce Dr. J. Luke Wood.
Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction and the examples and comments that were
provided serve as a wonderful framework for the conversation that we'll have today on the topic of Racelighting.
I saw in the chat and there was came across the screen, just a shout out to
the work that we've done with Black Minds Matter. For those of you who aren't aware, we have a Black Minds Matter coalition
that has focused on addressing the parallels that we see between policing and schooling.
Really highlighting the notion that in policing we see that black lives are undervalued and over-criminalized in
education the black minds are also undervalued and over-criminalized.
Appreciate the acknowledgment there. Before again, I want to thank several people
for the opportunity to be able to be here today. That includes Jamal Watson
from Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, who is a longtime colleague and friend, Saray Lopez and Tondra Richardson
from the University of Phoenix, they're doing great work and I think this convening is a perfect example of the types of
conversations that we have to have in order to ensure that our organizations are creating the types of environments that are
necessary for everyone to learn, grow, thrive, and reach their highest level of potential.
Today's topic is Racelighting : Addressing Inauthentic Allyship.
For those of you who've never heard a conversation, racelighting is a term that myself and my colleague,
Dr. Frank Harris III at San Diego State have developed. Essentially, it's when gaslighting is racial.
I'll talk about what that means. I'll provide a number of different examples. Ultimately, what we'll see is how that
influences us and within our organizations. Then some strategies and practices
in terms of what we can do to ensure that we're creating the types of environments that are necessary for everyone to succeed.
In terms of my information, it's here on the screen. I will be engaged throughout this conversation
and after this conversation for the next several days on Twitter, on Instagram, and for those of
you who are on Facebook as well, and it's all the same handle at Dr. Luke Wood. I look forward to engaging your conversations,
engaging in any questions that you might have, and ultimately continuing this again as we move forward beyond this moment.
I want to contextualize this conversation on race and racism and racelighting.
In our current time, we are moving from what people have referred to as the COVID pandemic to a COVID
endemic meaning that we're no longer in the pandemic period but moving into a time where
the experience of COVID-19 and its spread across our population looks different.
We have now, of course, vaccines that have been widely distributed and boosters. But let's look back over the past couple years.
What does COVID-19 actually meant for people from minoritized communities?
We know that in the current time and the current past two years, people have talked about what were
called the dual pandemics. The first was COVID-19, which born disproportionate infections,
loss of life, unemployment in minoritized communities. If we think about what that experience looks like,
it meant that there was a lot of trauma that was experienced by people who as a result of this healthcare crisis were not able to be
bedside with a loved one as they were passing from this life to the next. They were not able to go to
a funeral or awake to be in a community with one another and to share stories of
a life that was lived and a life that was lost. In addition to that, the nation
had a racial reckoning after the murder of George Floyd and cases like Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade,
and Ahmaud Arbery, which only further created dissension between black communities
and those who are sworn to protect them, particularly those in law enforcement. As I mentioned before with the work that
we've done with Black Minds Matter, we draw parallels between these things and we oftentimes have said in our work that Black Lives
and Black Minds are intertwined. If one does not value the life, then they certainly will not value the mind.
This, for those of us who are in education, led to concerns about students
having access to technology and basic needs. For those in healthcare, it was a crisis
of magnitude that most people could not even understand in terms of the level of care that
needed to be provided and the strain on our systems. For those who were in business, they had to transition to virtual offerings and
operate companies in ways that were never thought of before. It created persistent stress.
Both the COVID pandemic and the racial pandemic. It created communal trauma.
We've seen a number of different outgrowths of this. One was the BIPOC, Black,
Indigenous and People of Color exodus out of colleges and universities. Or many companies, the great resignation that
was mentioned right before this. We have to recognize that we're in a time, even though we have come out
of the pandemic or coming out of the pandemic, the strain, the trauma doesn't just go away.
It's one that we are as a community, as a nation many of us are still grieving.
Many of us are still processing the challenge of what occurred. That is a context for us to then
understand what is referred to as racelighting. On your screen, you can see a screenshot of the racelighting process.
Of course, I'm a professor, I'm an educator, and so I have to present a model that helps to
demonstrate what we think is occurring. But let's begin on the far left-hand side
of your screen with the antecedents of racelighting. Really with these antecedents are the parts of
our society that influence the ways that we engage one another in our everyday lives.
It is white supremacy, white nationalism, white fragility, anti-blackness,
which we've talked about as being a global phenomenon because no matter where you go, anti-blackness and anti-indigeneity are
precedent across the globe. When we think about white supremacy,
it refers to beliefs embodied within White culture that deem other races and people as being
less dignified and less worthy. More simply, it occurs when white race people see themselves as superior to others.
Now, white supremacy can also be advanced by non-white individuals as well who also
hold similar beliefs that individuals from the white community are of greater worth and are more
worthy and are more dignified, and more intelligent than others. We also know that white nationalism
is linked to white supremacy in that when individuals have notions of a nation and state being tied to
this idea of white supremacy that it can combine in ways that lead to,
like we saw on January 6th an insurrection at the nation's capital. Oftentimes when we try to have
conversations on these issues, there's a response from individuals that is defensive,
that triggers a mechanism within them that some have referred to as white fragility.
Ultimately, it also is related to anti-blackness.
Anti-blackness, as you can see here, is embodied lived experience of social suffering and resistance,
and perhaps most importantly, as antagonism. Here's a key part in which the black is a despised thing in and of itself,
but not of a person herself, himself, or their self in opposition to all that is pure,
human, humane, and white. It is this notion that when we see
people who are from my community, the black community, that we're seeing through the lens of being inhuman because
our framework of thinking about our community within this nation is rooted in slavery.
When we think about our indigenous community, it is to also think about the framework of
these individuals that's coming from a community that is also similarly perceived as being lesser than.
It's a unique historical background that must be understood in contexts of the genocide committed against Native Americans,
the boarding school era, and how the perpetuation of certain types of oppression have
continued to marginalize systemically black and indigenous people of color. But ultimately, when we think about those antecedents,
they matter because they are elements of bias. They are informing a culture of bias.
There's different types of bias that people talk about. One type that individuals love to talk about is implicit bias.
We're going to get there because that's the one that people feel a little bit more comfortable talking about. But let's first start with explicit bias.
Explicit bias is when bias is not subtle, it's not beneath the surface, it's explicit.
There are overt and intentional beliefs that people hold that negatively view and characterize others.
Not only that, I see other individuals as being lesser than me,
but I'm also conscious that I see them as being lesser than me.
There's lots of ways in which we see examples of this explicit biases, overt bias taking place.
It's the individual who shows up the work and they go into the bathroom and someone has put a swastika on the stall.
It's when you go to a college campus and flyers like the ones that you see here,
are flyered all over the campus by white supremacists organizations who are doing recruitment.
My line of work as a Chief Diversity Officer, I have seen every single one of these flyers except for
one either on my campus or in other campuses that I have visited. Because these issues are endemic to our culture.
It is the person who overtly uses a Rachel epitaph, and uses the N-word when referring to black people.
These are overt, they are interface, and they are far more pervasive than they have ever been.
It is also the white nationalist uprising that took place at the Capitol on January 6th.
On the right hand side of your screen, you can see a shirt that was worn at that event that says 6MWE,
which refers to the Holocaust and saying that six million weren't enough,
referring to the six million individuals from the Jewish community who
perished during the Holocaust. This connection at the same time with wearing this imagery,
but also carrying forth Americana with the nation's flag at the same time,
the emergence of these two things together is one that we've seen is evident within our society.
But what's really interesting is what came out in USA today.
Not that long ago, there was an article that talked about the number of hate groups in our nation and it said that
hate groups declined in 2021. That was the title of the article.
But fringe ideology is a powerful force shaping US politics according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As you read further into this, you had to ask yourself really the number of hate groups has declined.
Is that true? They provided an explanation for why that occurred. They said that the decline does not
indicate that the far right's power is waning, but rather, it's suggested extremists,
ideas have moved from fringe groups to the political mainstream. Meaning that you didn't have to be part of
a hate group in order to have a hate ideology, because hate had went from the margins to the mainstream,
having become part of our regular culture for what we see on television, for what's part of normal conversation.
I can say this as a Chief Diversity Officer, I have seen how hate has moved from those margins to the mainstream,
or conversations across the country that disparage black indigenous people of color,
people from LGBTQ plus community people with disabilities have become common place,
and that, I think, is something that we have to take into account and we have to change. But on your screen,
you'll see two different definitions and one description of the other type of bias that
takes place which is implicit bias. Implicit bias is the attitudes or stereotypes,
I'm reading the first description that comes from the Kirwan Institute, that affects our understanding, actions,
and decisions in an implicit manner. Activated involuntarily without awareness or intentional control.
It can be either positive or negative, meaning that we can have positive biases that see some groups and
see them as more moral of greater worth, as being more intelligent,
and then simultaneously see other groups and see them as less more, as more prone to criminality and the being of lesser worth.
It says that in that definition that everyone is susceptible. It doesn't say that some people are susceptible.
It doesn't say that most people are susceptible. It says that everyone is susceptible. That includes me, that includes you,
that includes all the colleagues that we work with in our works paces. We have to keep that in mind because
these elements inform our society and if you look at the last definition or description I've bolded
the phrase, it motivates actions. That's why it matters.
It affects how we talk to one another, it affects how we engage one another in
interpersonal relationships and nonverbal language as well. It affects how we think about our jobs.
It motivates our actions in every single way. That's why we believe that it's important to have conversations on this.
With implicit bias, one of the things that we have to separate is intent from impact. Because you can have someone who has a good intent.
They are trying to do something that's right. Their intent is nice, it's pure, but their impact is still bad because if
you're doing something from a stand point of bias, it will affect every single way those interpersonal communications,
the ways in which you talk to your colleagues and to your friends. Now, I would say that there are
other elements of this definition that are important, but I would encourage you to use your chat window, and highlight any of the words that also stand out to you
that might help to frame what is implicit bias and how does it impact the work that we do?
I will also say that there's a bolded word there in the center says traces of past experience.
Our implicit bias is informed by traces of past experience, meaning that the things that have
occurred in our lives that we've experienced, that we've seen from other individuals. Let's say that you were
young child and you grew up watching the television that showed that we're searching for black male suspects,
searching for Latino male suspects, searching for black male suspect, that was inculcated in your mind. Let's say that you were driving through
a neighborhood with a family member or a friend, and you are in a part of town that you weren't used to be in part of and they told you to lock the door,
roll-up the window because they were concerned about their safety in that neighborhood, but it was informed not by
actual incidence but by stereotypes. Those instances that we have throughout our life shape how we think about them,
process information, and as we're engaging with one another, as we're talking with one another, what happens is that our minds fill in the blanks.
It fills in the blanks with those traces of past information, and then we communicate those racist,
sexist, homophobic ideas through what is called microaggressions.
That's what's in the center of your screen. Microaggression is a term that was created by
a black psychiatrists from Harvard University, Chester Pierce.
Chester Pierce was writing trying to describe the subtle, the mundane, the normalized everyday
racism that black people experience in the society. The black indignities that occur in the lives and
experiences of those who are black students, those who are black employees, those who are black employers even,
and every single way, those who work in healthcare, or in government and industry. Just this notion that there's these common,
these mundane, these everyday subtle indignities that occur. A number of years later,
a scholar named Derald Wing Sue out of teacher's college, took this idea of
microaggressions and created a framework that helps us to think about some of the different ways that applies both to
the black community but to also other minoritized communities as well. What he has done is he has said that really there are
three different types of microaggressions, and there's lots of sub-types within that. But one is these microassaults which leads,
and is most closely connected to that explicit bias. It's the use of a racial epitaph, this is swastika.
It's a noose that's hanging around and put on someone's door. It's the explicit versions of racism.
I'll say how I grew up, the place that I grew up, I was used to these microassaults as part of my daily lived experience.
I'm from far northern California and I grew up in a wonderful community. But like every other community in this nation,
it wasn't immune to racism. As a daily experience from the time I was in
kindergarten to the time I was in 5th or 6th grade, I was called the N-word. I was called a neglect, I was called a cotton head.
I was called racial epitaphs as part of my normal daily experience. But then as I got older,
I began to see that the racism that I experienced transition from being really in my face and
really straight to the point to being more subtle, and being more beneath the surface. That's what we refer to as
microinsults or microinvalidations when we insult and we invalidate people and their experiences.
What we know about microaggressions is that they are brief and commonplace,
they're daily, they're verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities. That part of this that they're brief
and commonplace means that they're pervasive. They are normal and I don't say normal in the sense of it being okay.
I mean normal in the sense that these are normalized negative experiences that people have. Whether they're intentional or
unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial slights and insults towards people of color.
They can be the put downs, they can be the subtle snobs, the dismissive looks, and they can
serve to invalidate people of color. But what's most important here is what's said by psychologists,
is that that they can be more psychologically damaging than direct acts of racism. I think that's important here for us to think about
because when I grew up as a child, when I was in kindergarten, first grade would call me the N word, I knew what box to put that in.
That's the racism box. I knew as a child what to do to them like, well, not inviting them to the birthday party
because I knew that they did not care about me and care about my success. But then as I got older and they became more subtle,
and it was these dismissive looks or the small put downs, I didn't know what to do with that.
That comes to us and brings us to a concept called attribution ambiguity.
I want you to use that chat to type that in attribution ambiguity.
It's a psychological term that refers to a sense of haziness or lack of
clarity about what happened. If you're in a situation where somebody is complimenting you,
but putting you down at the same time and you don't know where to place that and you're saying to yourself, isn't me?
Did I misunderstand that? What do I do with that? How do I place that? That sense of haziness that comes along with that,
that attribution ambiguity, that's what is occurring and it's directly connected to this conversation on racelighting.
Now, with microaggressions, we have to recognize that it's not what said,
it's what's really said. I'm a calm response type of presenter.
I know that we're all watching this from a virtual standpoint,
so in the room wherever you are, I would ask you to repeat after me, because it's not what said,
it's what's really said, and what's really said is what's on your screen.
You're different from us. You don't belong here. You're not intelligent or capable.
People of color are lazy they don't care. Your experiences, your perceptions are wrong. You're being too sensitive.
You're criminal, you're dangerous, deviant, up to no good. Racism doesn't exist. You're not a person of worth.
What's really said are damaging messages. I'll give you a perfect example. As a Black male it is oftentimes said to me,
as I'm speaking or after I finish speaking, "Wow, you're so articulate." But when it said to me,
it's not said as a compliment. It said is a sense of surprise. But what said to me is, wow,
you're so articulate, but what's really said is, I didn't think that you would be. What said to students when they walk
on campus at nighttime and they're asked for their IDs, what said is, can I see your ID? But what's really said is,
I think you're here to steal something. It's these underlying messages that make
these powerful experiences with attribution ambiguity that further
propel a racelighting experience. Now on your screen are all
different types of microaggressions that people can experience. There's far more than this, but these are just some of the most common ones.
One that you'll see is the first one on the top left-hand side called an ascription of intelligence.
This is when we assume that a person of color, based upon how they look, their phenotype, what they bring to the table,
we assume automatically that they are less inferior, that they are less intelligent, that they are less capable of being able to do the work.
This happens in business and industry, it happens in politics,
it happens in healthcare when you have an employee who's constantly second-guessed for their ability to be able to do
the work that they had been hired and capable of doing. The next one you see is an assumption of criminality.
This is when we assume that the people of color are dangerous, deviant up to no good, that they're going to cut some corners.
That if they outperformed low expectations, that somehow they must have cut corners,
that they must have somehow done the work wrong. We see this not just in employee contexts,
but also at the earliest levels of education in preschool, in kindergarten,
where we find in early childhood education, the greatest disparities in terms of
school suspensions happen in the earliest levels of schooling, preschool through third grade.
We see young children who are suspended or expelled,
who lose access to recess or the ability to participate in extra curricular programs after school.
Why is that? Because of this assumption that they come from communities that are lesser than. They are assumed to be to be troublemakers and therefore,
they are labeled with terms such as bad, physical, hyper, aggressive, defiant, deregulated.
As a result, educators spend more time watching them for negative behaviors,
and then what happens is that they single them out for punishment in ways that they don't do with other children.
Let's say this. You've got four boys in kindergarten. They are on the school yard and they're throwing rocks against the fence.
Now, should they be throwing rocks against the fence? No. But is that age appropriate behavior
for a child in kindergarten? Of course, it is. It's an opportunity for a conversation.
It's an opportunity to provide guidance, but that's not what usually happens. What we find is that in that group of four boys
the Black male or the darker skinned Latino male or native male is pulled out of that group and
reprimanded when nothing else happens to the other children to demonstrate to the other children what not to do,
how not to act, how not to learn. They're used as an example of
criminality and labeled and shaped early on. The third one is second-class citizens.
That's when we're treated as being lesser than. You can think about this as the person who
is standing in line at a counter, let us say at the airport. You're standing in line and multiple people are in line,
but for some reason, though you've now made it to the front of the line, the person who's behind
the counter calls the person behind you, and you'd bring it to their attention, "Well, hey, I was standing here. I've been standing here this whole
time," and they say, "Well, I didn't recognize that you are standing and waiting in line."
Or it's when you're a person of color and you're in a grocery store and
people automatically come up to you to ask you where things are because they assume that you must be there because you're working.
These are the ways in which second-class citizenship plays out in the lives of BIPOC.
It can also be pathologizing culture, and I'd like to think about it as the they statements. We've all heard them before. They're lazy.
They don't care. They're not really here to work. They're not really here to learn.
Those kind of they statements shape people, their families, and their communities
as being lesser man. There's lots of other different types and that we could go on all day talking about
different types of microaggressions. This isn't necessarily a conversation on microaggressions, but recognizing that one way in which people can feel
racelighted is through the accumulation of microaggressions in an environment. That's a point of which I will come back to.
Ultimately, all of these different things, these antecedents, these bias, these microaggressions lead to what
we refer to as racelighting. Now, on your screen you can see a link
to a brief that we've done on racelighting. If you'd like to check out and learn more about it,
you can go to the bmmcoalition.com/ racelighting. Ultimately, in order to understand racelighting,
we have to first step back and understand gaslighting. Now many of you have heard the term gas light.
I assumed that you have. It comes from the 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton Gas Light.
In this play, there's two main characters, Jack and Bella. Jack in this play he is the villain and Bella
is the person who's being victimized by Jack and they're married. They move into an affluent neighborhood,
and Jack is intent upon making Bella feel as if she's losing her mind.
What does he do? There are pictures, and paintings, and images on the wall.
He takes them down, he hides them, and he accuses Bella of stealing them.
He does the same thing in the kitchen with knives, and forks, and spoons. He takes them and hides them,
and when Bella, whenever she asserts her innocence, he accuses her of lying or he says,
well, you know how you imagine things. But there's this other part of the house that Bella doesn't even know about,
and Jack is often in there banging around looking for jewels and she hears this noise in that part of the house that she's unaware of,
and she brings it to Jack's attention, and he again, gas lights her by saying,
well, you know how you imagine things, making it sound as if it's her, not him.
But the title of the play gas light comes from when Jack is in that hidden part of the house.
See, the house was lit by gas, and what that meant was that if you had a light on in one part of
the house that Bella knew about, and this other part of the house that she didn't know about, what happened is that there was less gas to ago around.
The gas would become more diffuse. The light would flicker, the light would dim,
and she would see it with her eyes. She would see this change in her environment, and she would see the same thing on the post out in
the street and she would bring it to his attention, and he again would say, well, you know how you imagine things.
Jack was intent upon making Bella feel as if she was losing her mind.
When we think about the term gaslight, it's been talked about a lot in the popular media.
There is a very popular book written by Robin Stern that talks about the gaslight effect.
It's been traditionally conceptualized as occurring in a heterosexual relationship between a man
and a woman where the man is victimizing the woman and intentionally using it to manipulate her psychologically.
The term has not really been associated with other forms of marginality, except for a few studies that have focused
on LGBTIQ plus students and how their experiences can serve
to make them feel as if they are experiencing gaslighting. The few studies that have been done
that have talked about it in a racialized contexts. One of them talked about after Brown versus the Board of Education,
where the government came in and it said that, hey, we are now integrating schools. And as a result, during that period,
what happened is that many of the black teachers who were in schools lost their jobs.
They lost their jobs because with the Supreme Court heard was not stories about how not being able to access a school
in my local neighborhood was an inequality. What they heard is that schools with black teachers and black curriculum were lesser there.
All these teachers ended up losing their jobs. When they would assert
how their abilities, when they would do that, it was to gaslight them and suggests that it was
really not about the equality of the experience for students. It was about their ineffectiveness in teaching them.
There's also a really great article written by Angela Davis and Rose Ernst that talks about
racial gaslighting and it's really thinking about this in a case-law contexts where we can
see different cases throughout history that observed particularly for the Japanese community to gaslight them,
erase like them in some ways. Korematsu versus the United States. When we think about when
the Japanese was happening during the world war there
was this case where Korematsu was like, we should not be going to these internment camps.
The US government was responding saying this isn't about race in racism, this is about protecting the nation.
So they were experiencing racial gaslighting in this case law contexts. But what we tried to do is bring it
down to an interpersonal level. How do we experience this really in the context of
microaggressions or whether they're microassault, micro insults, or micro invalidations.
How does it impact us in our daily lives? That brings us to racelighting.
Is the process whereby BIPOC question their own thoughts and actions due to
systematically delivered racialized messages that make them second guess their own lived experiences and
with the realities with racism. Is the experiences that people have when that
make them second guess themselves as a sense of doubt, that sense of disorientation.
We refer to it as a process and that's because there's two different types of racelighting. One is active and I'll get to that in a moment,
which is very similar to the play where someone is intentionally doing something. Let's say you're in
an environment at work and someone has used a racial epitaph and you bring it to their attention and they say,
no, I never said that, they're intentionally misleading. That's racelighting. But it can also
just be the accumulation of microaggressions and environment that can make people of color begin to second guess themselves and doubt themselves.
I want to say to the people to hear today, that if you're ever in a situation where because
of this accumulation of microaggressions and environment, you begin to say to yourself, maybe I'm not as smart as I thought it was.
Maybe I'm not as good as I thought I was. Maybe I don't belong here. It's that doubt, that
is disorientation. That's racelighting. It can lead people of color
to second guess our experiences. Did I really experience that? Our feelings. Maybe I'm being too sensitive.
Our capabilities. Maybe I'm not good enough. Our knowledge, our decision making, our recollections, and even in
some cases our basic humanity. That's why we have to change our culture.
We have to change the ways that we approach our environments within work. Because if you say to yourself
that you are experiencing racelighting, usually in my experience, if you've got to the point
because how racism work as it's meant to promote attribution ambiguity is meant to make you feel hazier,
disoriented and if you finally get to the point where you say, I think this is occurring to me, then guess what?
It probably has. On your screen are some different examples and signs of racelighting.
Do you ever get to the point where you're second guessing yourself? You're feeling a sense of being disoriented and hazy,
a general sense of unease and anxiety. You feel like you're under fire. I submitted this report and then I
submitted this thing and I submitted this paper and I feel like I'm constantly in a fire because I'm getting nit-picky tear, nit-picky tear and I'm
beginning to think that maybe I'm not as good as I thought it was and maybe this isn't really for me. You're concerned that you just can't get things right.
Maybe you start avoiding others. Maybe you have a sense of hopelessness. These are things that really occur
to many people of color. Again, it can be active where there was a person who is perpetrating,
who's intentionally sowing doubt and disorientation and to the other person who they're doing this with,
much like Jack did with Bella. Again, the use of a racial epitaph, you bring it to their attention.
You just said the inward or you just said the K word or in other words and they bring it to their attention.
Like I never said that you misinterpreted. That's not what I said. It's that sense of active racelighting that can occur.
But it can also just be through an accumulation of microaggressions and environment through
that ascription of intelligence, that assumption of criminality, and I just experience it so often that I began to say,
maybe it's not them, maybe it's me. Now, this all matters
not simply because racelighting impacts us, but because it leads to other concepts as well.
You can see on the right-hand side of your screen imposter syndrome, stereotype threat. We're not going to get into those today.
But I did want to touch on one other concept which is called racial battle fatigue.
It's a concept that was created by my colleague and friend, Dr. William Smith from the University of Utah.
If you've never heard of this term, racial battle fatigue, I would encourage you to google
him to go look at anything that he has written because it is one of the most powerful concepts in all of psychology.
Essentially what it is, is a framework for making sense about how racism, even the subtle racism in
our society of impacts as cognitively, it affects our ability to process
information, to retain information. Think about how that can affect an employee who's went through training and
they're going through all these concept microaggressions in the environment and they're not retaining the information in the way they need.
That's not a function of their ability, that's the function of the environment, this racist. Think about it also.
It can affect us emotionally and physiologically. I'm going to get to what that means.
But he calls it racial battle fatigue because it's similar in a kin,
in terms of what actually happens to us or to our minds, to our emotions, to our bodies is a kin to
combat stress syndrome because during an environment where there's a persistent risk, where there's a persistent stress.
One of the things that we know from William Smith is that racism can
have a physical [NOISE] impact on our bodies.
Many of you may have experienced tension headache, backaches, elevated heartbeat and
upset stomach clinching your jobs at night. Waking up because you've clinched him so hard
with this sense of a headache, it can be upset stomach, extreme fatigue, and inability to sleep.
All these different things matter. We don't just see it in employees at the highest levels of companies.
We see it even in the earliest levels of education where sometimes you have a young child.
Let's say that they're in kindergarten. Say that there are black male child
and they're in an environment where the teacher is not supportive and is mean,
and is treating them as lesser there and as a result, the other children see that in there. Now they think they should do the same.
In that environment they know that there's something wrong, but they don't have the words to say to their parents.
I don't feel a sense of belonging in this environment. They don't know how to say to their parents.
I think I'm experiencing racial microaggressions, but what they do know how to say in the morning to their parent is
I don't want to go to school. When the parent says to them, why don't you want to go to school? You keep saying this. They say because my stomach hurts,
because their body is having a physiological response to environment that's unhealthy and unwell.
But it can also be a psychological symptoms, constant anxiety and worrying. It can be loss of confidence,
frustration, emotional and social withdrawal, anger and anger suppression. Ultimately, microaggressions and racelighting,
they matter because it impacts us in ways that affect our performance. They affect our livelihood and ultimately,
as accumulated over time, can even impact our lives.
Let's talk just briefly as we get closer to the end of this conversation
and closer to the time that we can really engage one another and the questions you might have.
What are some common ways in which racelighting actually occurs? One is what we would refer to as resistant actions,
and there's lots of different examples of it, but it's essentially when you maybe bring an issue or attention of race or
racism to your employer and you bring it up, or a student who might do it too and bring
an issue to their faculty member or a staff member in institution. Lots of different ways people can deny that that's what occurred.
One thing that we see is what's called reverse causality. Where someone, let's say
going back to another example in early childhood, let's say you're in a pre-school now and you have a young child who's been pushed by another child,
but they don't push back. They do the right thing. They go to the teacher, they tell the teacher so-and-so pushed me,
but because they are, let's say a native male their teacher consoles them and get on their feet and hug them.
He doesn't go and try to talk to the other child and hold them accountable. What do they do? They victim blame.
They say, what is it that you did to cause this to occur? We see the same thing with the Black Lives cases.
Too often when someone has lost their life to police, there's questions that immediately
circle around that individual questions that say, well, if he had only complied when he was
compliant or if he had only done this when he actually had done that, but ultimately, it's reverse causality,
is blaming the victim. Another one is what you'll see on the bottom hand side of that area,
public declarations of incompetence. This is a concept that comes from my colleague, Sean Harper.
One of the things that he has talked about is these public declarations of incompetence where people say,
when they bring an issue of racism to them, like, oh, I don't know what you expect me to do. I grew up in an all white community.
I don't know how to engage these things or I've never been trained to engage in these conversations, but it's so interesting to
me in that when you're in a context where
a boss is expecting employees to do onboarding and learn all different types of
information or when you're in an educational setting, and you have a faculty member in
a classroom who's teaching new ideas, new theories, new theorems, asking students to do simulations.
They do all these different types of things that expect them to learn new information,
but it's only when it comes to diversity and inclusion that we throw our hands in the air and say, I don't know what you expect me to do.
We would never accept a public declaration of incompetence in any other area,
except for when it comes to race. It can be stereotype advancement where people are pushing
back on someone and they're using stereotypes to do so. They're purposely advancing stereotypes
that they're prone to criminality. Let's not promote him to that role because maybe he's
going to cut corners or that they're less intelligent or capable as we talked about earlier. Or the one that you see there that's very common,
that they're emotionally unstable. I bring an issue to your attention and
your response is to assume that there's something wrong with me, but the title and subtitle of
today's talk was on an inauthentic allyship. There's two different ways in which it occurs in
a pretense of protection and a semblance of support. Think about this as an example of when people are performative,
when they are inauthentic allies, when they're not truly there to support you or to support your success.
An authentic allyship refers to advancing the pretense that person or entity supports or protects
BIPOC when they actually do not. Is when they say that they're
committed to people of color, when they're not. You have a CEO who says that they're here for you,
they're here to support you, that they care about you and they care about your success, but that same CEO allows microaggressions to
occur in their environment without ever holding people accountable, and they only show up to support when it's
convenient for them or is in a way to make them look good. But it doesn't actually demonstrate that there's anything more that's
coming or when we're constantly we find this when there's organizations are doing fundraisers and they
have a table that's focused on diversity. That's the only time that I ever hear from my employer that they care about me
because they want me to be at a table to make us look more diverse as a company than we actually are.
It can be saying that work more committed to making an action to improve the lives of people of color than we plan to.
The best example that I have of this is after the murder of George Floyd,
how many companies released statements? How many healthcare organizations released statements?
How many universities and colleges released statements that say, we stand with the black community?
We reject anti-blackness. We're here to create an environment where everyone feels like they belong.
Then people waited to see what would come after the statement. What was the action that was coming? But there was no action coming because
the statement was perceived as being the action. In reality, that statement was nothing more
but another line of a false promise. Another example of performative in action.
Another example of an authentic allyship. If you released and saw
an organization release a statement, but nothing more that came from that, that wasn't a true allyship.
Maybe the organization was really dangerous. Maybe they went that next step and they held a listening session or
a hearing circle to hear from employees, and the employees went to that and they expelled themselves and they
talked about what had happened and how it made them feel, but that was it. Nothing else was coming.
It was a conversation. We stopped at a statement or we stopped at a conversation, but we never did the actions that
came along to go with it. We never committed to hiring more diverse employees. We never committed to training
people within our organization, we never committed to renaming all the buildings and rooms
within our organization that were named after people who don't look like the people that we serve. It was nothing more than a false promise.
It was nothing more than race lighting or it can be saying that we're doing more to advance
people of color than we actually are. It can be when someone says, Oh,
we're doing a lot here to support people. We just hired two black employees, and you're thinking to yourself,
we have 1,000 people who work there. How is that progress? Or it could be a healthcare organization that's now hired
its first chief diversity officer with no budget, no staff, and now they're responsible for
trying to make sure that everything happens within that organization. It can be the college or
high school that does a climate assessment, but that climate assessment has no desire to do any of
the actions that are recommended within that climate assessment is merely to say that we did this climate assessment, we did that, but they didn't really have the work to do.
As someone just said, personally, I would rather have an accomplice than an ally. Inauthentic allyship is the worst possible type
of being an ally. Ultimately, we have to ask for more than what people
are doing because what happens is that we see these things occur, and then it makes us begin to think
to ourselves again that it's us, that something is wrong with us, that maybe were demanding too much, that maybe we're asking too much when really all we're
asking for is dignity within our organizations. It can be these pretense of protection.
One example that I have of this is we pretend like we're going to protect someone, but we don't.
You can see examples on your screen, doing something bad to a person of color and pretending like it was done to help or protect them.
Let's say that you have an employee, and they're in an office and those people in that office are
treating them in a racist way. They're sticking it out there, fighting through it.
They're continuing to do their job. Then the person who's over that department or over that area
moves them to another area to protect them. But in reality, they weren't protecting them,
they were trying to avoid having to intervene for themselves. It was a pretense of protection,
but really was a false narrative, a protection. It can be telling a person of color that
you will speak on their behalf if anything negative comes up in a conversation, but in reality, you're only their friend in private,
you're not their friend in public. This is what I say to people all the time, I don't need your support in private,
I need your support in public. I don't need your support only when I'm there,
I need your support even when I'm not there, when I'm not in the room to protect an advanced for myself.
But it could also be the semblance of support. The individuals who are going to
tell you that they're going to support you. The department is saying that you're on track to get a promotion,
but in reality, there's no desire to actually promote you. Nothing is coming. But the other example that I have,
it's a male to protection and support is when you're in an environment
and someone says something to you that's clearly racist and you don't know how to respond.
You're the person of color in that environment and you're thinking, what do I do? There's other individuals in that room and
one of the individuals in that room is someone who's told you numerous times that they are your ally, that they're your accomplices,
they're here to support you and protect you, but they don't say anything. What do they do instead?
They come to you afterwards when no one else is around, they say, I heard what just happened, that's really bad.
Is there anything I can do? I'm appalled. Are you okay? But ultimately, they had no desire to
stand up for you because that's what was not in their best interests. They weren't your friend,
they just pretended to be. It can be touting oneself as an advocate for equity
while actively marginalizing and silencing people of color that you work with. It can be a politician telling
black voters that they want to hear what they have to say, that they're here to support them, but there's no intention of following through.
It can be a high-ranking school official pretending that they're going to fund schools more equitability and saying that,
but then not doing so. It can be giving symbolic victories to people.
They asked for all the buildings to go through a process where there could be named in honor
people who are from diverse communities, but instead of doing that, we gave them a desk that they could rename.
We gave them a quad they could rename. These are all examples of inauthentic allyship debt serve to gas light,
to race light people of color. They send us messages that you're crazy.
Then it's you, it's something about you, that you are the problem, that you're not good enough,
that you're not smart enough and really it says more, not about you,
but about their own frailties, about their own insecurities, about their own inauthentic allyship.
As I conclude, I wanted to offer some things in terms of organizations and people,
what can we do about this? First, if you're an individual who's experiencing race lighting, first thing I would say is that you have to
begin to practice radical self-care. What we mean when we say radical self-care is
that self-care in and of itself is one thing, but when you're in an environment that's racist,
it doesn't want you to take care of yourself. It's radical in that self-care can be
a form of resistance against an environment of oppression. For me, what I do is I
box multiple times a day and tomorrow night I'll be sparring with my friends.
Why do I do so? Because it's a way for me to expel the accumulation of racial battle fatigue that I have within my own world.
If any of you who end up following me on Instagram, you'll see that I'm obsessive with it
because it's a way for me to make sure that I'm being centered. Some people meditate.
I also pray. Some people go for long walks. Some people join organizations.
Whatever you do that puts you in that place where you can recharge and be in an environment
where you can expel what is happening to you, you have to do that. You have to practice that radical self-care.
We also have to continue to learn about these topics, microaggressions, race sliding, racial battle fatigue,
because the more we learn, the more we can understand, and the more we understand, the more we can fight,
and the more we fight, the more we can change. We also have to learn about the places
and spaces where race lighting is more likely to occur. Maybe it's when I'm in this specific office or when I'm
engaging this specific person and we have to do that so that we can transition to more safer places and spaces to protect ourselves.
In doing that, we want to find ourselves in communities with other individuals who may look like
us or at the very least care about us and will tell us, it's not you it's them.
That you are worth, that you are a person of dignity and deserve dignity,
that you are a person who has cared about, you are a person who is loved, that you are capable of doing the work that you're doing.
Sometimes we need those validating messages. We need that reassurance because race sliding will make us
question ourselves just like Bella was questioned in gas light. Ultimately, it's only when we have those allies of ours,
those accomplices that tell us what we need to hear, that we can do what it needs to be done. Lastly, I would say you need
to document your experiences. Documenting comes in different ways. For me, I journal.
When I experience issues of racism and discrimination, I write about it. In fact, I write under a pen name,
which I won't mention here, by right under a pen name where I share these experiences so that it's cathartic for me,
but it's also informative for the public. Also people can document because sometimes
the best way to handle it is to bring it through a formal process. That may be the right thing to do in some cases,
it may not be the right thing to do in other cases, but ultimately, it's cathartic to
expel what is being forced within your body. Again, racial battle fatigue is cognitive,
is psychological, and it can be physical. Lastly, I will conclude with
some recommendations for organizations. First, if someone comes and tells you that this is what they're experiencing,
that this overwhelming sense of doubt and disorientation. That they're saying to themselves, "Maybe it's me, maybe I'm not good enough,
maybe I'm not smart enough." Believe what they say, because if they've gotten to the point where
they can actually say that to you, it means that it's probably true. You have to establish within your organization,
no matter what organization you have, a way of handling bias incidents when they occur. There's a way of reporting it,
that there's a system of follow-up, that there's a process that people are aware of and that process is transparent,
that there's a system of accountability. If you're in an organization that constantly releases
statements in support of George Floyd, against anti-Asian discrimination and
support of our native communities. Whatever it might be, that you stop doing statements that have no action.
Statements without action are again, a false promise. That you establish employee resource groups
or people resource groups, or there's lots of different terminology that can be used for them. But groups that bring together
employees of different backgrounds, of different characteristics, within communities of individuals who
share those same characteristics. A black resource group, a Latinx resource group,
a native resource group, a PRIDE resource group, a Jewish resource group, so that people can be in community with one
another and share with one another what they're experiencing. But also have the other individuals who
in the room who could say, "It's not you. You are intelligent, you are capable,
you are a person that's loved." We also have other recommendations
here, but at this point, I'd like to just conclude this time and just encourage you to remember
one very important thing, racelighting is real.
It occurs, it affects all of us. Therefore one thing,
we have to be committed to changing our organizations. Because if we don't change our organizations,
they'll never be as good as they could be in serving the people who need the support that they need to be the best possible
themselves in their environments. I appreciate this opportunity and looking forward to questions you
might have in the remaining time that we have together. Thank you.
The first question that I see, how do we translate racelighting within the communication and understanding
level of our children? I think that you look for the signs of it.
Again, those signs are really going to be more emblematic of racial battle fatigue.
If you have a child who's saying that they don't want to go to school, or they have an upset stomach or during recess time,
they want to sit on the side, they don't want to engage with the other children. Those are cognitive, psychological,
and physiological responses to an environment. More often what you'll see is in
examples of racelighting within parents. Parents who have children,
let's say that they have a child named Jacob, and Jacob shows up the school.
He is used as an example of what not to be. Let's say that Jacob is at
his desk and he is in kindergarten, he's tapping his pencil. [NOISE] Now,
that's the age-appropriate behavior for a child in kindergarten. But the teacher sees him and other children tapping their pencils but they yell at Jacob.
Then they get ready to go out for recess and children are standing in line.
There's some children who are out of line. Jacob happens to be one of them, but there's five, six other kids who are too,
but the teacher doesn't ask the other kids to get back in line. She yells at Jacob to use him as an example.
Then there's the notes that go home to Jacob's parents, the little notes at first and then larger notes
constantly every day picking at them, picking at them. Jacob did this, Jacob did that. Then the parents start to say to themselves,
"Maybe we didn't prepare him." They hear these words used around Jacob, that he's bad,
that he's a troublemaker, and they start to say to themselves, "Maybe he is bad,
maybe he is a troublemaker." It's that doubt, that disorientation, that we have to teach to the parents to recognize that it's not them,
that it's oftentimes the educators. Many of you may have heard a term from a W Edward Deming and Paul Batalden.
It says that every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results that it gets. There are some systems that are perfectly
designed to racelight people of color. Let's see if there's another question that comes up.
Have you seen research on racelighting when folks of color are denied tenure based on some type of matrix where
so many folks of color can be promoted? There is an example of a study that we've
come across that does talk about this to some extent. It's looking at racelighting among scientists of
color in education and it is written by,
pulling it up, Roberts, no, not Roberts, Andrew's.
Here we go, Rodrigues et al. It talks about gaslighting is a framework to
discuss the experience of women of color scientists. Rodrigues, R-O-D-R-I-G-U-E-S,
and it's a 2021 piece that was written. That talks about some of
this in a slightly different context, but still within this realm of racialized gaslighting.
Ultimately we do know this occurrence. The next question says, how do we get this information also into
our churches and religious organizations? Still the most segregated day of the week is Sunday morning. I totally agree.
I think that what you do is that you ask your pastor,
or your imam, or your rabbi, whoever the leader is of your church.
You ask if you can have a conversation on this topic. You have of all now,
have the opportunity to learn a little bit about this term that we coin called racelighting.
I would encourage you to share it widely, to have conversations on it. The brief that we put in the link,
the bmmcoalition.com\racelighting provides lots of different resources,
and articles that relate to this. I would encourage you to have those conversations in those spaces as well.
Racelighting also occurs in religious contexts as well. Can you explain 'build the underground railroad'?
I didn't get to all the recommendations because of time. But one individual is asking for
that and so I will offer this. This is actually a recommendation
that's really centered in the field of education. Though I think it can probably be used in a lot of other contexts.
Let's think about the underground railroad. What was the underground railroad? Well, we had those who were enslaved in the South,
who were escaping to the North. But you couldn't just stop at any old house along the way.
If you were to do so, you would have been sent back. You would've been maimed, you'd have been killed,
your family would have been separated and they may have already been separated anyhow. Ultimately, there were individuals
who were a network of support along the way. Go to this house, and go to the back.
They'll protect you and then meet this person. They'll bring you up the river to this person
and go up four more clicks and on the left-hand side, you'll see a shack that's green. Stay there for the evening.
Someone will leave there to get you in the morning. It was a network of people and places that basically brought people to safety.
Within our own organizations, we can't just assume that everyone will serve people with dignity and respect.
In education context, for example, if I have a student who's in need of financial resources, I can't just say go to financial aid.
If they go to financial aid, they may be treated with disrespect. I can't say just go to career services because they might be treated with disrespect.
I can't just say go to tutoring because they might have a tutor who innately believes that they don't have the ability to learn.
That's not a recipe for success because no one has ever risen to low expectations.
What do I do instead? I say I bring them to a person who
I know will care about them and their success in the same way as I will. Who won't microaggress them.
Who won't race light them. Who won't put them down. I bring them to Allison
in financial aid because I know that Allison will care about them. If I can even do so in person, that's even better.
In fact, in education, we talk about this concept called a warm hand-off. A warm hand off means that we have
one person who's warm and caring and validating. Who then brings them to another person
who's warm and caring and validating, because we don't believe that one person or two people can create an environment where a student
succeeds, but it takes a village. You need an environment based upon our research of four or five individuals who
will validate them in their success. That concept is called a warm hand-off. But just remember this,
you can't do a warm hand-off to a cold person. It has to be to someone who cares about their success in the same ways that you will.
Another person has asked, "How do we begin to change this negative culture that is systemic? What you are saying, Dr. Wood is
real and psychologically painful." I think the first thing we do is we begin to have
conversations on these topics. We have to have these conversations within our organization.
If you look on the internet, you can find videos where we've talked about race lighting.
There's this summit, that's taking place. I'm sure that there's a way to access some of this information afterwards.
There's briefs. You have to have those conversations within your organization. But let's also remember this,
that training doesn't always work. Training only works for the willing. It doesn't work for the unwilling.
That's why there's a lot of individuals who have critiqued implicit bias trainings lately saying implicit bias trainings don't work.
I disagree, for two different reasons. Implicit bias trainings do work,
but they work for those who are willing to learn and change and who have the desire to do so.
The second thing is implicit bias isn't going to impact anti-blackness.
You have to have a training on anti-blackness to impact the trend in anti-blackness. Implicit bias isn't going to impact microaggressions.
You have to have trainings of microaggressions to impact microaggressions. Ultimately, sometimes we see that you
prescribed the wrong medicine for the problem. But ultimately you have to approach it in that way.
Have those conversations within your organization and then begin to create systems to hold people accountable.
Without accountability, the issues themselves will never change. Someone asked also as a follow-up,
"What do you do when HR is the fuel behind the race lighting?" I think you call attention to that.
I think that it is absolutely true that some people within HR context,
will advance race lighting themselves. Because in their mind,
their eye job and their responsibility is to protect the organization. They can't tell you that
the real reason you're being let go is that your boss doesn't like you and that there's nothing about your performance.
They have to route it in performance and say, well, it's about this that you did and that the you did.
When you know that you didn't because in their mind, their job is to protect the organization. What I would say is that as
an unethical way to practice human resources. Ultimately, we have to be honest,
we have to be transparent. If there's something that we can't say, or we don't want to say what the actual truth is,
then don't lie to people. Simply say that the organization is moving in a different direction.
But too often what happens is that we race light people and we make them second-guess themselves.
That has an impact on their psychological safety and
the psychological safety of others within that organization. Someone said, "Any references to read on these issues?"
Absolutely. If you go to bmmcoalition.com/racelighting,
you'll see at the bottom of the screen a number of different resources. In addition to that, we
have in diverse issues on higher education, is cohosting this or co-sponsor on this event.
We've published my colleague Frank Harris and I, an article that talks about race lighting.
I also have one, if you search race lighting in psychology today. That talks about different types of race lighting,
active race lighting, passive race lighting, defensive race lighting. I would say in general,
if you also do a web search that you'll see different conversations that we've had that had been recorded on this topic as well.
Ultimately, there's lots of resources. But what I will say is this. We are going to be hosting in
a few months a conversation on race lighting that's going to be focused on training the trainer.
To train people to how to have these conversations within their own organizations.
The College Futures Foundation has provided us with a small amount of resources to be able to do this.
We have a whole professional development curriculum and resources that we're going
to be unveiling as part of that. Tundra Richardson, who is one of the individuals putting on this event.
I'm going to be sharing that information with her. I hope that she'll have the opportunity to be able to share,
either through her social media networks or other networks that information. You can also again, follow me on social media at,
Dr. Luke Wood, that's on Instagram, that's on Twitter, that's on Facebook, and we'll be advertising that
event in short order as well. At this point, we are at time.
I want to make sure that other presenters have the opportunity to be able to engage you as well.
I just want to conclude by thanking you for being part of this conversation. For leaning into the uncomfortableness,
of what we're talking about and to encourage you to talk about race lighting throughout the day.
It's important topic because it impacts us psychologically, cognitively, and physiologically.
Thank you. Have a great day. Thank you, Dr. Wood.
Racial battle fatigue, race lighting. These are new concepts to me and they
make so much sense as you explain them. From the chat. I'd saw others sharing that same sentiment.
We really appreciate your using your energy and time to educate us and describe something that many here have undoubtedly
either witnessed or experienced themselves. Understanding what race lighting is and realizing there's
a term to validate the impact on those that it affects. So empowering. Thank you for enlightening us today.
Hey humans. My name is Craig Mahaffy and I currently work as
a disability services advisor at the Office of Equity and Inclusion here at the University of Phoenix.
I'm also pursuing my Master of Science in counseling, in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program here at
the university and serve on the board of directors of the Arizona Counseling Association. Where we provide support to
Arizona's counselors and other counselors and training. This talk was incredible.
Dr. Wood, I will completely be taking these nuggets with me on both in
my current profession and in my future career. Well, now that we're here three days into the summit,
I definitely I'm experiencing a bit of overwhelm, with the amount of information that all of us are consuming.
The same time though, I'm eager to learn more and hope you are too. At this time, we're going to be
releasing you all to take a break. We'll return here at 10:45, the general sessions.
Please use this as an opportunity to take a moment to provide yourself with a kindness
that you might need at this time. Maybe some deep breathing, a hug, a bathroom break,
or a quick snack. Please make sure that you're taking care of your body, mind, and soul, as we move through some of
these potentially triggering topics. When we return from the break, you're going to be able to choose from one
of the different industry focused tracks. The navigation panel is located on the left side of your browser.
You'll click on the stages option to access one of the three upcoming sessions.
We've got leadership and management; understanding and creating psychological safety
at work, Healthcare; fostering psychological safety and health care and Education;
fostering psychological safety in an educational environment. Then to wrap up the day,
please join us to learn about bridging the gap; building inclusivity through collaborative research.
May you all be well and treat yourself with kindness during this break. We look forward to seeing you back here at 10:45.
About 12 minutes. Take care.
Racelighting: Addressing inauthentic allyship
This session highlights how racelighting is evident in the experiences of people of color in education, healthcare, business and more. Dr. Wood discusses strategies to reduce the effect of racelighting.
We welcomed 1,415 participants from 22 countries to our first summit and career fair.
University of Phoenix summit volunteers
speakers, including academics and practitioners
self and social awareness inclusive leader badges awarded
job seekers attended the summit
Read summaries about the summit’s opening and closing keynote sessions.
News & Insights
Quotes from summit attendees
The Summit was an absolutely fabulous experience. I feel so honored to have been a part of it. I was so excited to see an organization who hires neurodivergent individuals included!”
Current student at University of Phoenix
The Summit provided a valuable opportunity to learn more about DEI and experience it from an organization leadership as well as societal perspective.”
Herman van Niekerk, PhD
Associate Dean in the College of Doctoral Studies
Once the narrative shifts and people start to use language like ‘systemic injustice,’ that makes this moment very dangerous with two forces at play, one pulling forward and the other pulling backward. The question remains: who will prevail?”
Tim Wise, keynote speaker
Anti-racist author and activist
The Inclusive Leadership Summit is committed to fostering an atmosphere of life-long learning as we explore and address systemic inequities to inform and impact an ever-changing workforce.
The summit integrates research findings from University of Phoenix Career Institute™ and Research Centers to influence topics addressed while highlighting academic fields of study offered at the University.
Inclusive Leadership Summit press coverage
Dr. J. Luke Wood to be closing keynote speaker for Inclusive Leadership Summit
Preeminent advocate, researcher and educator will lead closing session of the virtual event.
University of Phoenix has long been focused on creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive and belonging (DEIB) learning and workplace environment. We seek to foster a space where we can share and reflect on what we have learned, our successes, and focus on opportunities to further our DEIB growth and potential as well as that of our communities where we teach, learn, live and work.
Frequently asked questions
What is inclusive leadership?
Inclusive leadership embraces the term "inclusion" in all aspects of business operations. Inclusive leadership is an important part of a company's long-term viability and competitiveness. That's why inclusive leadership is a critical skill to master. An article in Harvard Business Review suggests it can help leaders and organizations adapt to diverse customers, markets, ideas and talent.
What are the 6 c’s of inclusive leadership?
Based on a study of inclusive leaders conducted by Deloitte, there are six signature characteristics of inclusive leadership. These include commitment, courage, cognizance of bias, curiosity, cultural intelligence and collaboration. Read more about each characteristic.