Pause On The Play Ep 19

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Hello, hello, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to Pause on the Play. 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 emcee for the day, Erica Courdae, here to get the dialogue going. I am welcoming back, I'm just going to call her my cohost. India Jackson of India Jackson Artistry is back with me today.

Erica Courdae:
And we've been talking amongst ourselves, but we've also had a lot of really good conversation with you guys about visibility and mindset, and we talked about that a few podcasts back, and we answered some questions around it. And so we had a couple things that we noticed when we went to the National Museum for African American History and Culture in DC. And I think that there are some things to be discussed around visibility and mindset and how sometimes some of the challenges that you have with it are very unconscious and they've kind of been passed down generationally, and we saw some of these things on display in the museum.

India Jackson:
Yeah. I remember one of the sections that stood out to me was about stereotypes, and Erica, you can chime in on what these things are called, but the salt and pepper shakers and things like that, and black face with the big red lips.

Erica Courdae:
There were a lot of things that kind of, they're rooted in caricatures of what black people were or how they were viewed. Again, the big red lips, very matronly, wide-bottomed women, this extremely dark skin, a lot of things that are very just ... It's offensive, but again, it's a means of control. It's a means of shrinking someone. It's a means of making someone feel lesser than, and it would show up in these items. It would show up in advertising. It would show up in cartoons, which for those of you that may not know, I'm going to sadly bust your bubble just a tad and tell you to go and research Dr. Seuss and his racist cartoonery.

Erica Courdae:
These things have come up a lot in the past. They've come up a lot fairly recently in some of these high end companies utilizing imagery that is questionable at best, and so it's not something that's completely gone, but this was where a lot of it I guess kind of was originating. Again, it wasn't new, but this was kind of where it was showing up based on the timeline in the museum, but what I actually want to do as well is I want you India, from the point of view of someone that facilitates people being seen in a way that feels good to them, talk a little bit about the connections between visibility and mindset and why these kinds of things can be so detrimental.

India Jackson:
I think that they can ... Well, first of all, the purpose of stereotypes is really to just oversimplify and water down something so that it makes sense. But it's usually done with an ulterior motive. It says the whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity, it's trying to just make one large statement to serve its purpose. And I think that when you have stereotypes about people and communities and things like that, it can then make it very hard to have your mindset allow you to be inclusive, allow you to truly see wanting to invite diversity if you have these preconceived notions. And if you're not mentally there to see that, then it's very hard to then show up and lead with that.

India Jackson:
One of the areas that comes to mind for me, and I feel like you've talked about it before, Erica, is yoga. There's a lot of stereotypes about yoga. It's blonde hair white women that are skinny. Big people aren't allowed. Diverse people aren't allowed. Men aren't allowed. And if that's the stereotype, then it makes it really hard for a business who is owned by, I don't know, an Asian female, to get the same level of visibility in that industry.

Erica Courdae:
Well, the other thing about that is that it also doesn't address the fact that this is pushed as exercise here in western culture ... I mean, I'm sorry ... westernized culture, and it is a spiritual practice from India and it was severely diluted in what it was turned into and put into gyms and made to support all of these companies and marketing ideals of, "Oh, now all these women want to wear yoga pants. Score, marketing," and you have taken something on the backs of people of color, whitewashed it and made it something else.

Erica Courdae:
And so through the lens of visibility and mindset, then, it is harder. It is harder for someone to see that it is more than just exercise. It is more than just downward dog. It is more than just these pants with somebody's logo on them. So when you take something and you repurpose it to serve you, but yet you dishonor its roots and there's no wonder why there are these mental stigmas that can go with it.

Erica Courdae:
And if we go back to the black stereotypes, in a lot of cases, it was done to justify why there were slaves. They weren't smart enough or trustworthy enough or just able enough to take care of themselves. So they were just painted as cartoons, and it was a way to make it seem okay that, "Oh, white people are going to do this to black people because they can't take care of themselves. They can't help themselves." So of course it's easy to make fun of them.

Erica Courdae:
Then, you see women of color nowadays that have trouble being able to step into what they look like inherently. And it's stemming from a place of their ability to be visible and to mentally wrap their head around that, having been crippled by a system that was not meant for them to be visible in.

India Jackson:
I agree 100%, and I think that that shows up in so many areas of what I see in clients of, "Because I look this way, it's assumed that I'm going to be X way and if I'm not, then how do I build my marketing? How do I build my captions, my content and a strategy when all people see is what I look like and they keep to put me in to the box that the stereotype gave me?"

Erica Courdae:
Well, and the tough part is that they may be trying to fight others putting them in the box, yet they don't even realize that maybe there's an internal fight of trying to not put themselves in the box even though they were told that they belong in the box.

India Jackson:
Yes, that's a real one, as well.

Erica Courdae:
So I think that when someone is working on what it is to be seen and what the mindset is around being able to actually acknowledge and step into that, there is a lot, a whole lot, that goes with being able to combat this ideal of, "You're not supposed to be seen. You are not your own person. You are not attractive. You are not smart. You are not trustworthy. You are not anything positive."

India Jackson:
And I mean, I think it's important to note for those of you that don't know as much history, and honestly I didn't until we did the museum visit together in DC, the African American Museum, that from the late 1800s well into the 1900s ... That's a huge period of time ... that there was a very large amount of racist images and stereotypical images about black people that depicted them in a very intentional way to be seen as slow-witted, lazy, untrustworthy, needing oversight by whites because we're so childlike that we can't figure it out. That is a lot of visual programming to go along with all the emotional damage. And it's crazy to me to see that it was rolled out the way that people would do modern marketing today from newspapers to salt shakers to figurines to stage plays. You name it.

Erica Courdae:
There was music that was made. There's-

India Jackson:
Books that were written. I mean, I literally have an image that I took of one called The Negro: A Beast in the Image of God.

Erica Courdae:
There's a song, N Word Love a Watermelon. It is the song that the ice cream truck plays. Kind of wrecks you going outside to run to the truck now. Yeah. And when I found that, I was like aw hell, like I am under no pretense that this kind of messaging runs deep, and it's been there for a ridiculous amount of time. But when you find something as simple as the song on the ice cream truck and that too has been tainted, well, dammit, yeah, that's a hard one to swallow because then you're just kind of like, "Shit. Is there anything that's untouched?" And sadly, you have to hit a point where your answer just might be no. That's hard.

India Jackson:
So I know you usually give the action item. Maybe we can do this one together.

Erica Courdae:
Yes.

India Jackson:
I want to challenge people to look at marketing today. I know that's my background is marketing and imagery today and see where in marketing today do you see black face? Where in marketing and imagery today do you see stereotypes? Because these things didn't go away. I mean, I almost vomited when you, Erica, showed me some shoes designed by Katy Perry, I think, that was literally black face. I was like, "What the fuck?"

Erica Courdae:
Yup.

India Jackson:
But it's been programmed into our subconscious over all these images over time. So I kind of want to challenge you guys to go down the rabbit hole a little bit and see where is this showing up in today.

Erica Courdae:
That's an amazing action item. So yes, I absolutely implore you guys to take India up on that and I want you to actually come on over to Instagram ... Mine is @ericacourdae, hers is @theindiajackson ... or to our websites, indiajackson.com, ericacourdae.com, and we want to talk about what this looks like. I have done workshops before around marketing and how this can interact with your business. And if this is something that you'd like to dive deeper into, this is where I want you guys to let me know how I can support you. Matter of fact, we have a few workshops coming up and I'd love to kind of share those with you, but first I want to say thank you to my cohost, India Jackson. Thanks India.

India Jackson:
Thanks for having me.

Erica Courdae:
So 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. This is not about perfection. This is about being in action now imperfectly to begin to become the change you want to see.

Erica Courdae:
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, creating a schedule for internal DEI audits and reviews, and removing misaligned 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. 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 and connection, cross lines and recreate boundaries to support, not separate.

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. 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 and 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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