Pause On The Play Ep 18

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Hello, hello. Thank you and welcome back to Pause On The Play. Ladies and gentlemen, as always, it is amazing to see you here. Where you are challenged to examine your beliefs, question your predisposed notions, and consider realities you may be unfamiliar with in order to understand that they too are real.

I am your host and conversation MC for the day, Erica Courdae, here to get the dialogue going. For those of you that do follow me on Instagram, and if you don't, I would absolutely love if you would change that, @Ericacourdae.

Erica Courdae:                   Back, I think it was July 3rd, a day before 4th of July. Myself and India Jackson, of India Jackson Artistry, are who is very frequently my cohost and is back with me again today.

Erica Courdae:                   We actually decided to do a little bit of an outing, and we had a couple other people with us as well. And we chose to go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington DC. It's one of the Smithsonian museums.

Erica Courdae:                   And we wanted to talk a little bit about what our experience was and kind of what that looked like, and why doing these kinds of things can be so pivotal and so important. Thank you for being here again, India.

India Jackson:                    Thank you for having me, Erica.

Erica Courdae:                   First of all, for those that don't know, we are actually good friends off the air. It was one of those things that going together gave us a great place to really enjoy the outing. But we also got a chance to really have some great dialogue with it because that's one of the cornerstones of our friendship.

Erica Courdae:                   We talk about a lot of things and we definitely kind of go deeper than the surface and pull back layers on things. For me there was a lot there to see. There were some things that I was kind of like, oh, I don't know how I feel about this.

Erica Courdae:                   And then there were some things that I didn't know, in the way that it kind of was presented. I think that the experience gave quite a bit to really dig into and unpack and to really just kind of consider.

India Jackson:                    Yes. We're really just going to touch at the tip of the iceberg on this one because there's so many layers. Do you want to start with some of your bigger takeaways?

Erica Courdae:                   One of the biggest takeaways that I had is none of this stuff is new, and I don't think that it's anything that I wasn't already aware of. But it was very interesting to see all of the things that were there in the information that was given to you, and to realize that it was so cyclical in how you kind of would go through this oppression.

Erica Courdae:                   Oh, let's kind of stop the oppression. Oh no, we're not going to actually stop it. All right. We can kind of stop. Well, no, we were joking we're not going to stop that. And realizing how many things have just kind of constantly been repeating.

Erica Courdae:                   For example, over on ericacourdae.com, there is a Vote With Your Dollars registry. And what that is, it's a list of businesses, and or service providers that operate through a lens of DEI in that it may be a company that's owned by someone that's more diverse. Or their charitable actions really hold two DEI standards.

Erica Courdae:                   There's these different reasons why they're there. But there were different things that we saw at the museum that talked about not spending your money where you couldn't live or work as a person of color. I can't remember which one it was, but it basically, it was like, "Don't go spend your money somewhere that you're not welcome."

Erica Courdae:                   And it's just the same concept again. I think that it's a very grounding experience to see this stuff is not, none of it is new. Not that I thought it was new, but to see it is a different thing.

India Jackson:                    Yes, I think seeing that voting with your dollars has been around for a very long time and just somehow it got lost. I think we're having to bring it back.

Erica Courdae:                   I think when you have a plethora of things to acknowledge, you have to pick and choose what's your soap box stances at that moment. And if you look at it from the lens of the Civil Rights Movement, yes, voting with your dollars was absolutely important, but that was the point to where you didn't have access to certain things no matter what. And there were a lot of aspects of that where it was... I mean it could cost you your life. It was very different.

India Jackson:                    I think one of the things that really was challenging for me to look at, and it had such a very small section in the museum, it may have actually only been one piece in the museum about it. But it was on convict leasing. We know that the prison system and how the legal system has been set up to really not be on the side of people of color.

India Jackson:                    And that's the best way I can put that. But to had went from watching, When They See Us, and then into the museum almost immediately after, I was like, "Wow." It was a lot.

India Jackson:                    And to see that one little section that they had, and it says, "To solve labor shortages, southern states adopted laws that allowed them imprison people for minor crimes, and then lease their labor to local businessmen."

India Jackson:                    It's like even when we were no longer allowed to be enslaved, we're still being enslaved, as many of these prisoners who were most often African Americans, worked in difficult conditions for years. They provided the manpower for constructing roads, growing cotton, building rural roads, and making turpentine amongst other tasks.

India Jackson:                    It was really hard to see the conditions they were in, and to really just realize how much we found a way to enslave people after they were no longer technically enslaved.

Erica Courdae:                   Because when slaves went away, the workers went away. They needed a new way to make it happen. And that was the way that it was done at that point. But then I feel there's ways of doing it that are over, and there's some that are less over.

Erica Courdae:                   For example, we went into the one area that talked about style and image and identity. And it talked about the fact that, and I'll actually read it.

Erica Courdae:                   "For over two centuries, black Americans lived in a world that saw their skin, hair and other physical features as ugly. African-American styles have imitated white beauty standards woven in black cultural values, rejected white standards entirely, and celebrated diverse African-American images. African-Americans help redefine American beauty. They are style makers in their own right.".

Erica Courdae:                   Yes, we are. Because, there's a lot of things that someone that isn't a black can do and it's like, "Oh, this is great." But then the black person does it, "Oh, that's unprofessional.".

Erica Courdae:                   Back in, I think it was the late 70s, somewhere in the late 70s, the movie 10, that had Bo Derek in it. And she was running on the beach with cornrows, with, I think she had beads the end zone. That was great.

Erica Courdae:                   I can't tell you how many women that I've had sit in my salon chair over the years that had to worry about whether or not their hair looked professional or not, when they worked in a corporate or government setting or as a teacher, any type of organization.

Erica Courdae:                   Putting in braids, "Oh, you can't do that." Because that's automatically a dress code violation. You can't do that. But it was great when she did it. Kim Kardashian had boxer braids, awesome. No, it's just another form of control.

India Jackson:                    Yes, I can agree with that. It makes me think of the less heavy flows that went into the music industry and entertainment and sports. And you see Jimmy Hendricks, and to some he is the father of rock and roll.

India Jackson:                    But when we think rock and roll, most people associate that with not being a black man. And it's like how many other things did we have that we were chastised for creating, or doing culturally that then we got stripped of and made to feel it's unprofessional or lesser than. And then got brought back under a new skin color, or under a new language, or under a new type of face.

Erica Courdae:                   Given a new lens and all of a sudden now, "Oh it's new, it's fresh. It's awesome." No, it's called appropriation. Look that word up folks.

India Jackson:                    There are so many different other places I could go into from just how slavery was explained. I definitely think we need to do another podcast on this one.

Erica Courdae:                   I think it would have to be because I think at some point there's too many things to just dilute it down to one. But I think the one consideration that I would want everyone listening to take away, and this is definitely a shorter one when it's both of us, which is good because this is one that I really do want you to consider.

Erica Courdae:                   One. Where can you take in information about people that don't look like you? I do want you to have a wider breadth of knowledge and to be able to consider some things outside of that.

Erica Courdae:                   But on the other side, I want you to maybe consider... I feel like I have two questions and I don't really want to do that. I'm going to go with just the fact that honestly it's a big thing for me when I see things that are appropriated and taken away, and I see it happen in a lot of different ways.

Erica Courdae:                   I want you to maybe consider where some things came from. You like country music, I want you to see where some of the roots came from. If you like rock and roll, I want you to see where some of the roots come from. Spoiler alert, it ain't got nothing to do with Elvis.

Erica Courdae:                   I want you to look at some of the things that maybe you take for granted within your regular everyday life and culture, and check-in on some of the roots. And I think it's important because very often we take things for granted as they are, and that surface may not really be the truth of where it came from or what it is.

Erica Courdae:                   As you begin to poke holes in those things, that I think that it is easier to begin to continue within the world of DEI, and really seeing what are the things that need to be dismantled.

India Jackson:                    I think that's a really great action item because I firsthand see so many areas of life from music to movies, to hairstyles to fashion. That we think this person is the inventor of it, when really they had a team behind them. Or even if there is a team, sometimes it's reinvented from something that happened a 100 years ago in a different culture.

Erica Courdae:                   Or I'm going to say it, it was stolen from somebody else and then repackaged to be more acceptable.

India Jackson:                    That too.

Erica Courdae:                   Not okay folks, not okay and it happens. And unfortunately it happens way more often than what I think anyone realizes.

India Jackson:                    Agreed.

Erica Courdae:                   That being said, I think that this is definitely something to consider about widening your breadth of knowledge when it comes to DEI. Going to a museum is just one way. One of the other things that we can do is going into workshops.

Erica Courdae:                   And I am actually going to thank my cohost, India Jackson, of India Jackson Artistry, and then I want to tell you a little bit about our upcoming workshops. Thanks, India.

India Jackson:                    You're welcome.

Erica Courdae:                   If you love Pause On The Play, it's just one iteration of how I use conversation for connection, and as a catalyst for change. Our DEI in Business Workshop Series is another. These are virtual workshops. We hold them in Zoom, featuring audience driven conversation about how you can bring DEI into your business and make some real impact.

Erica Courdae:                   This is not about perfection. This is about being in action now imperfectly, to begin to become the change you want to see. Each workshop is 60 minutes, and allows you to ask questions and receive actionable steps on topics like, changing your mission statement in your company to reflect your DEI values.

Erica Courdae:                   Creating a schedule for internal DEI audits and reviews, and removing misalign businesses from your vendor list, as well as whatever it is that you bring to the conversation where you need support. These virtual workshops are here for you to use your impact and your platform to be a catalyst for change.

Erica Courdae:                   Visit ericacourdae.com today and click Courses, in the menu to learn more and reserve your seat. These workshops aren't complete without you, so come join us in the room.

Erica Courdae:                   The conversations we have here are to normalize the challenging things, and make them a part of your normal exchanges. This is how we remove stigma and create real change in connection, cross lines, and recreate boundaries to support not separate.

Erica Courdae:                   If you enjoyed this podcast, show me some love by subscribing, sharing it with a friend or leaving us a review. Reviews are the fuel to keep the podcast engine going. Let's get more people dropping the veil, and challenging their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Erica Courdae:                   Speaking of keeping it going, if you don't already follow and engage with us over on Instagram @Ericacourdae, come on over there and do that. I really want to talk with you, so DM me. Let's do this. I love being here, and creating the bridge for you to walk over, to become the change that you want to see. Join us next time and until then, keep the dialogue going. Bye.

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