What does it look like when a black lady and a white lady sit down to an open, honest, authentic and vulnerable conversation about race?
Welcome to the Conscious Conversations series! The idea behind these conversations is that, as it turns out, black people and white people don’t really talk to each other about race. Ok, Black people talk about race all the time, but white people? Not so much. We don’t really know how to. It’s uncomfortable and potentially very risky. I mean, what if we say something ignorant? Well, yeah. That’s probably totally going to happen, but that doesn’t mean that we can just ignore these conversations. So, some friends and I decided to have those conversations… publicly.
And today’s video is the first in that series. Huge gratitude to SharRon Jamison for so graciously and generously sharing her insights, wisdom and time with me, and for being willing to let me record it. I really hope you enjoy today’s conversation, and can’t wait to hear what you think!
Thanks so much for watching this installment of Conscious Conversations. If you’re a person of color or other group whose voice needs to be heard, and you’d like to participate in a public conversation like this, or if you know someone who would be perfect for this format, please contact me through my website, (or just reply to one of my emails).
Otherwise, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. Did you enjoy this format? Were there any aha moments? Were you left with more, unanswered questions that you may want us to answer in future conversations? Did you get uncomfortable? If you’re a person of color, do you feel your perspective was represented? What about if you’re white? Let me know in the comments.
All voices are welcome, but we do ask that you keep it respectful and constructive. In other words, what you have to say is important, just don’t be a dick about it.
Until next time, I’m Melody Fletcher, and thank you for bringing your light to the world.
More Info on SharRon Jamison:
SharRon Jamison is a life strategist, author, minister, entrepreneur and corporate leader who is committed to helping people BE who they were born to be, and not settle for what society has taught and told them to be. Through her coaching programs, books, and speaking, she passionately challenges people to shed limiting and toxic traditions so they can SOAR higher in their personal and professional lives.
Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharronjamison/
Professional Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaretoSoarHigher/
Free Gift: http://bit.ly/Friendswhodaretosoar
This was in my opinion not a conversation about race, but about Mrs. Jamison’s personal feeling of insecurity. I am sorry to be so blunt, and I certainly don’t mean it in a disrespectful way towards Mrs. Jamison’s account and her experiences in life. But as a black American myself, I felt compelled to comment on some things Mrs. Jamison shared.
The problem with the narrative of oppression is that it is a narrative of the past transposed to the present. My grandparents are both from the deep South and are living witnesses of history. However, none of them ever perpetuated the narrative of victimization. Neither my parents nor us children grew up feeling oppressed or victimized. You know why? Because it is a matter of perspective and choice. The fact is that none of us is oppressed in modern America. There is no lynching, no Jim Crow, nothing. I have never ever felt threatened in the presence of a white person. Neither did my family or anyone in my circle of friends. The assumption that this is a collective feeling prevailing in the black community is ludicrous. It is your feeling of unsafety, Mrs. Jamison.
Also, Mrs. Jamison, you mentioned that our community suffers from more ailments and diseases because we are more stressed because of the constant feeling of oppression and danger. Please! This childlike thinking is hard to take seriously. Our community is affected more by obesity, diabetes, and heart disease because, next to the Hispanic communities, we are the least health-conscious people. This is a statistical fact, Mrs. Jamison. Single-parent households, with low income, early pregnancy, and lack of education, in most cases fail to provide (and some, in all earnest, do not care to provide) proper nutrition.
There is much more to be said. I would like to close with this observation: my generation (I am in my late 30s), is interested in generating generational growth. Why has this not happened for us before? As I mentioned earlier, we did not have the social structure because are families are atomized. Fatherlessness is a terrifying problem in our community. 75% of households are without fathers (i.e. no second income, diminished chances for higher education, emotional stability, adequate nurturing etc.)!!!! From a sociological perspective, this is a disaster for the social cohesion and success of any community and its offspring. An entrepreneurial spirit is something that is bequeathed to children by parents and the community at large. White people have nothing to do with our failure of instilling these values in our communities. And yet, there is no better place to do this than in this country, where free enterprise is a possibility for everyone.
We have come very far in this country and it is time to reap the rewards. The honor and respect America paid during the funeral ceremony of John Adams this past weekend is a testimony to this fact. This man and many successful black Americans with him are evidence of what is possible in this country for us.
I don’t want to distract from your series, Melody, but I find the Blexit movement extremely empowering. It is finally a narrative that is not about victimization.
Ps. The right to vote for African American women in the US has not been prohibited by the white race as such. White women very much wanted to help when they were involved in their own struggles. The problem was, as so many times in our history and community, the lack of support from black men and the structural and socio-political issues tied into it. If we talk about black history, we need to do look at facts, not interpret things as we would like them to be.
I meant John Lewis….
Thank you for our comment. I respectfully disagree. I also believe that your perspective nor my perspectives are the only perspectives. Nor was it my intention to speak for the entire Black race; Black people and our experiences are too diverse for that. That was made clear at the beginning of our conversation. What I also won’t do is attack you or belittle you or call your thinking childlike. That’s is not how I move in the world. We can disagree but I don’t believe that disagree means dismissal. Dismissing your perspective is not helpful to me or to you. We could actually learn from each other.
We are also 20 years apart and since you are also a student of history, you also know that 2 decades can result in massive change. That means your reality could have been vastly than mine, and your parent’s experiences could be vastly different than my parents. There is no wrong or right; our lived experiences, our research, and our interpretations are different, but none are complete or absolute.
My narrative was not a narrative of oppression or victimization but it was my experience and the experience of thousands of black people like me. As a business owner, corporate leader, minister, and mom, I see people in various situations and so I stand by what I said with the understanding that I know a lot BUT NOBODY knows it all. Not you and not me.
Even though my experience is different than your lived experiences, it is still relevant to the conversation and I believe your experience is relevant too. It is my hope that difficult conversations can always take place and people can always share their unique perspectives to promote understanding and growth. Because even though the world is in a challenging place, I am optimistic that “better” is on the horizon and I will continue to do my part to promote unity, understanding, and peace.
I will end with this. Love means telling the truth. We can celebrate traditions and still tell the truth. One does not negate the other. We do it with our families and with the people we love. We can love them and still offer correction. That’s how I feel about America. There is no other place I want to live. YET, I will tell the truth. It may not be your truth but it is the truth for many of us, especially baby-boomers.
Thank you, Melody! What you are doing is courageous, and I honor your leadership. Blessings to you!
Thank you SharRon for your balanced reply. I was deeply offended by the previous comment, and even doubted whether that person was black. I would not have had your calm. We may have a different perspective, and that is fine. As a black woman in her early forties who grew up in the Caribbean, my experience has been different from yours. And I will have a different perspective. But what I have a problem with is one person belittling another person’s experience, another person’s truth. I was going to comment on some of the points that were raised in the previous comment that I also found ludicrous, but am choosing to not take this any further, as this isn’t about convincing people. But please let us all respect each other’s experience.
Thank you both for doing this. I am looking forward to more of this.
Well said…. There is no “one size fits all” perspective.
Perpetuating overall well-being within ourselves, our families, community’s, our planet etc. starts with…….
one’s self. The ripple affect of self-care creates a powerfully positive energy for our universe. 😊
Thank you, Sisters, for modeling a loving open dialog about race! I think what triggered me the most was hearing that I should be informed before speaking to an African American, because my internal demon voice told me I had to know everything and how was I supposed to learn everything that there was to know about race, about its history, etc. But I was then relieved to hear that just making an effort to find some answers, to do some reading was good enough to start a conversation. I feel I have so much to learn and I am so grateful to have access to this personal but globally relevant conversation, as a start. Again, my deepest thanks! With great love and respect, Lisa J.
Great to hear from you! That was a learning moment for me, too, for sure. But if we can hang in there, though the discomfort, we’ll be able to hear what is really being asked of us, and not what our “demon voice” (lol) is telling us is being asked. Then, it became clear that it was about respect and making the effort, which makes total sense. Of course, watching videos like this and others like it is already a great start. <3
Lisa, thank you so much for listening. I appreciate you. And I am glad that you stayed. I watched the video too and I felt that I could have said a few things differently. But please know, your willingness to have a conversation is what is important. Messy conversations are so meaningful and they are so courageous! They are hard for all who are courageous enough to participate….me too. So, I honor your participation and if I can ever provide support, I am here. Blessings to you!
Thank you so much for this conscious conversation! I learned alot. Some of what I learned was painful to hear. I definitely was uncomfortable at times, and I am so so so glad I stuck with it and listened to everything. Wow!!!!
Sending love and appreciation to you both because the person I can change is me.
Thanks so much for the feedback Jane! When I was editing it, and it got to the uncomfortable bits (I could feel where it would trigger people), I was really hoping people would just keeping listening, because we did bring it back to a good place. That spot where we enter into chaos and confusion, just before we see a new and different perspective, that can be so uncomfortable. But if we hang in there, clarity comes. Well done! And thanks again. <3
Thank you so much for listening, Jane. I appreciate you. Thank you for your willingness to hear our hearts. Sending love and appreciation back to you 🙂 Blessings!