[00:00:00] Jackie Ferguson: Thanks for joining me for a special podcast series. We're calling way beyond the checkbox. I'm joined by some special guests to discuss today's topic, black people talking to white people. Welcome to the show. Friends. Please introduce yourselves for our audience. Bob, we'll start with.
[00:00:20] Bob Batchelor: Hey, I'm Bob bachelor. I am the director of business intelligence and content strategy at the diversity movement and a cultural historian.
[00:00:31] Jackie Ferguson: Love it. Thanks Bob Roxanne Bellamy,
[00:00:34] Roxanne Bellamy: Roxanne Bellamy Bellamy, senior content strategist at the diversity movement, which essentially means I write research and edit, um, our content for publication.
[00:00:44] Donald Thompson: I am Donald a junior AKA, Dr. D E a K. It's eight 30 in the evening. I've already got my black crown rolling and I cannot wait to be way beyond the checkbox. [00:01:00] Where's
[00:01:00] Bob Batchelor: my where's my white crown dog.
[00:01:05] Roxanne Bellamy: Exactly.
[00:01:06] Donald Thompson: Middle-aged
[00:01:07] Roxanne Bellamy: white men are listening. Can see.
[00:01:12] Jackie Ferguson: Perfect Roxanne Bellamy for the episode
[00:01:15] Roxanne Bellamy: there isn't, there's no gray in this episode.
[00:01:19] Jackie Ferguson: Exactly. Right. All right. So I want to start with a first question around race. How often did you think about race before working with the diversity movement and whoever wants to get started, please do.
[00:01:36] Donald Thompson: Okay.
[00:01:42] Jackie Ferguson: Great. So I didn't think about race until someone asked me if my so I'm biracial. So I didn't think about race at all until someone asked me if my dad was my real dad, because I am. A black woman, right. I was a black little girl with [00:02:00] a white dad in the seventies, and that was unusual at the time. And after that, I found that I didn't have to think about it much at all, because a lot of other people were thinking about it for me.
And, you know, the, you know, the bias and microaggressions, you know, it came to the surface, right. I was black and was reminded of that all of the time. Right. So that's my, uh, that's my part.
[00:02:32] Roxanne Bellamy: Who's next. I'll say for me, I was also, I think maybe fortunate or just blind enough to grow up. Not really thinking about it at all until I went to high school and my parents sent me across town to a high school in the city.
I'm a magnet high school that was predominantly black. Um, and my very best friend in the whole world was black. And so she put me through the ringers in, um, in terms of, uh, things that I thought were cute. It turned out. [00:03:00] Not to be cute things to say to your friends. Um, for instance, um,
[00:03:04] Jackie Ferguson: thank you for the, for instance, Roxanne Bellamy.
[00:03:07] Roxanne Bellamy: love when you wear a silver, it looks so good on your dark skin, which is like really adorable the first time. But when we've been friends for like five years, I'm like, is she wearing more silver? She's like, I swear to God, if you say that to me again, you're going to freak out at you, you know? Or, um, I'm getting my hair done Saturday.
I can't hang out. Well, can't we just hang out after that. I don't think you understand how long it's gonna take me to get my hair done. Kind of like yours. Um, and then I think
[00:03:32] Jackie Ferguson: Exelon's,
[00:03:33] Roxanne Bellamy: yeah, it was a whole day. It was a whole day for her. And I was like, she's avoiding me. I think she's mad at me. Um, and so she really taught me to think about it a lot.
Um, you know, and just like it was, she was my safe place to put dumb questions for a long time.
[00:03:49] Jackie Ferguson: Love
[00:03:50] Bob Batchelor: it. Interesting. Yeah. Because, um, people think that I came from a [00:04:00] wealthy family because I have a PhD, but I'm, I was poor as dirt. So for me, it's kind of in phases. Um, I was a basketball player and I was good for a white guy.
And so I got accepted by black players. And once you're in, then you're kind of in. And so you see the world from a, I went to a high school. I think there were five blacks in my graduating class and maybe eight blacks in my entire school of a thousand students. But because of basketball, I kind of had an in, um, my heroes were black.
Dr. J when I was really young, um, Michael Jordan later as an adult, then I went to the university of Pittsburgh, still continue playing basketball, a lot of, uh, black friends. And maybe because I grew up in a super racist place in Western Pennsylvania, I was aware of it more [00:05:00] when I later became a. I looked out for students who were not like me, because I felt like they were underserved and they were looking for somebody to look up to and I enjoyed playing that role.
And then more recently, because I'm an intelligent human being of course race matters to me. So, um, that doesn't endear me with the kind of people that I grew up with. But, uh, so I probably thought about race more. Then most people, but I don't know much. I'm still learning and still trying to figure things out also because I'm an intelligent human being.
And I know that that evolution has to continue.
[00:05:44] Donald Thompson: Yeah. When were you in, were you in.
[00:05:50] Bob Batchelor: From 87 to 91. So after
[00:05:53] Donald Thompson: you, yeah, so I spent time in Pittsburgh for me, race [00:06:00] was never really far from my consciousness, right? Like I was always, always as, uh, is not the right term, but for the majority of my experiences educationally, I was one of the few, if not the only. Uh, in most of my classes, right?
Because I was very fortunate that my parents moved from, uh, deep south Bogalusa, Louisiana when I was very young, uh, to Connecticut. Um, and so Manchester, Connecticut, right outside of Hartford, doesn't get more Lily white, uh, in terms of that part of suburbia. But I was fortunate to be able to go to pretty good schools, but in doing that.
Right. And then being in some of the advanced classes, uh, it was also very isolated and throughout my business career throughout high school, um, sports became the place where I wasn't. But in my academic space, right. Race was always prevalent. And then in my business space, in the technology field, uh, had to get used to accustomed, to playing in an arena where very few people looked like me.[00:07:00]
And so it's not something that stayed on my mind all the time as a negative, but I realized that when I would walk into a room, I would realize that if I went to a golf course for a meeting, the only black people were carrying in the bag. Right. Not, not on the clubs. Right. If I went to a nice restaurant for business, the black people there were serving.
So it was always in front of me. Um, the racial differences and the racial disparities that I saw.
[00:07:24] Jackie Ferguson: Hmm. Thanks for sharing that everyone. So from a foundational standpoint, we're all aware, very sensitive doing this work. So now let's get into some fun questions. Some serious questions. Okay. Here's here's the next one.
So I was listening to Jay Jay-Z's album 4 44, right. And there was a song called the story of OJ and there was a reference to a quote I'm not black, I'm OJ. Right. So I'm driving in the car and I'm thinking. [00:08:00] Can black people walk the line of white supremacy standards. So tightly that they're not subject to the same racial scrutiny that the rest of us are.
And I mean, tight, like the way you look aligns with what's accepted the way you speak aligns with what's accepted. What you're doing as a profession aligns with. I mean, you've got to have so much talent, right? You think of. Oh, J or Whitney Houston, nineties, Whitney Houston, not 2000. When I
came into the picture, it gets weird, but you know, like
[00:08:42] Donald Thompson: he was unhelpful.
[00:08:45] Jackie Ferguson: He was not helpful, but I mean, like, you know, the national Anthem, Whitney Houston, the bodyguard, Whitney Houston, right. Or even, I mean, I want to put Obama in there. 'cause he was pretty much like black [00:09:00] Jesus, but did he have to be black Jesus in order to get elected?
[00:09:06] Donald Thompson: All right, let me, let me
[00:09:06] Bob Batchelor: just say this line. Let me just say, as a white guy that, um, I wanted to be Kevin Costner so bad in that
[00:09:18] Donald Thompson: because there's something about little,
[00:09:21] Bob Batchelor: little guys who. I can just kick everybody's ass. That's so cool. And when he beats that guy to hell in the kitchen and doesn't even say a word, and it's the same with like Patrick Swayze.
So I can speak as a gen. X-er that all little white guys are, even though I'm not a little white guy, those they're they're aspirational for some reason, because they know the martial arts and the kicking and the throwing of knives. And. You know us poor boys from Western PA. We didn't, we didn't know that stuff.
So that's, that's has nothing to do with your question, but [00:10:00] reference if you're interested. Okay.
[00:10:04] Donald Thompson: Yeah. I have an opinion on the question, right? You, you can't out, you can't outearn being black. It's situational because if there's blue lights behind me in a car, you know what I am, I'm a black man. I am. Um, you know, it's like some people will use the phrase.
Well, I don't see color. Okay. I call bullshit. Right? If somebody like it, it doesn't mean you're a racist. It just means that's just not true. Right. If you're describing right. Someone that, that you saw. Right. Burglarizing a home. You don't say a person of a nondescript color of which I'm unfamiliar. Right?
You say black, or you say white, or you say someone is light-skinned or dark skin. Right. So we see color. Right. But in the, in our country, in particular, if you use the phrase Obama, um, [00:11:00] but he was burned in effigy, right? Like the things that were done right by people that didn't believe in who he was or what he stood for, put us out of the politics.
Right. You know, a lot of ways as we look at black America in our history, Obama actually set us back from a race standpoint because white people got so pissed off. Right. Like, like I couldn't deal with it. And it was an interesting thing. So to me, no, I don't think you can, out-earn it. I think that you can, one of the things that makes me not mad, but I, I speak on it almost every time.
If you think about sports and. And you look at one of my favorite teams at university of Alabama when they pan the crowd. And I think a hundred thousand predominantly white people in a state that doesn't have laws that protect the people they're cheering for. That's how come my answer is you can't, out-earn being black, as long as you're performing for me.
Good. Once you're doing something that I'm not threatened by good. Right. But the moment outside that arena. [00:12:00] Right. We're voting, passing laws that aren't thinking or caring about what you do, who you are and what you stand for. And that's just the reality of it. I don't say it from a bad place, but like, that's what I think about when I see a hundred thousand people cheering, the people that look like me predominantly in a football.
But then if you're 12 people in a jury might not get a ship, uh, or even
[00:12:21] Roxanne Bellamy: if they're just your middle manager and it's your first, it's your entry level job. Right. And you're coming in, you're like, I'm a contender here. I'm going to play hard in the arena. Like who are those people cheering for you? And are they the same people?
Are they cheering in the same supportive manner or are they more like, oh, just, can you just stand over there and perform, do that thing? Okay. I would never heard this like idea of out earning blackness before Jackie Ferguson, frankly. And I remember you said this in a call one time. Like I just, I thought I could out earn it and I thought you'd said, um, out run it.
And I, and [00:13:00] I was like, oh yeah, you can't run that. That's cool. And when I like went back and realized, you'd said out, earn, I was like, oh wait, that's a totally different thing. Can I be so excellent. Right. Can I be so excellent that people see me as a complete human being and then like, and I mean, I think I told Jackie this, but like a week later I was like reviewing and was like, I don't know.
Maybe not like that sucks. Maybe not
[00:13:25] Jackie Ferguson: to me. It was the disparity was so stark in my own house. Right. And how my black mother was treated in the outside versus my white father. And. I, you know, I said, I'm black, you know, when you see me, you see a black woman, but can I be so excellent or can I do things in such the right way?
Like going into the neighborhood and turning my music down in such the right way that I'm not subject to the bias. And the answer for [00:14:00] me know is no, but I, you know, People do people think that, you know, OJ certainly did and making a statement like that? You know, when we think about certain, um, black superstar, Right or political figures.
And when I say Obama's black, Jesus, just to be clear, that's not the politics, but it's in, like, you couldn't, you literally couldn't find anything negative that he did in his whole entire life. And they knew everything about him from what kind of toothpaste to use to what kind of toilet paper use. And they still couldn't find anything.
Right. So they started making stuff up. But anyway, I digress, but it's like, you know what?
[00:14:47] Donald Thompson: So how do we get
[00:14:48] Jackie Ferguson: to, to a level set?
[00:14:53] Bob Batchelor: Yeah, that's interesting. Um, I read a university of Michigan study that talked about Obama's [00:15:00] election, uh, carrying on what Don said, actually hurting, um, blacks, because even quote unquote well-meaning white.
Then assumed because we had a black president that race wasn't an issue anymore. And instead they stopped supporting things like hiring decisions and other policies that would help black people directly. And so, uh, it's an interesting, um, way of looking at the first. Black president. And I mean, I'll just say it flat out.
I think most people are pretty racist and that's been my experience as an adult. And so, you know, Obama's presidency just made people more divisive though. They faked it more frequently, I think.
[00:15:53] Donald Thompson: Yeah. I think. When people ask me about, you know, there was this phrase, [00:16:00] this isn't all about a bomb, but it was a catalyst right event.
Right. Both many good things, but also some, some digressing outside of the politics of it. It's like there were phrases like we're in a post-racial society right now that we've had the, you know, a black president. But one of the things that I do when I talk to people with different views, right. Is I like to have things in my toolbox that are just kind of like, um, I don't know, checkmate.
Right. So think about the imagery, right. Of Jesus. There is no physical. The region of the world, right? And this is there. There's no way that Jesus is a white man, the lineage of the lineage and scholars. And it's literally,
[00:16:52] Roxanne Bellamy: um, I feel exactly the same way about Santa Claus. When I see a black Santa Claus.
[00:16:59] Donald Thompson: It's [00:17:00] impossible. Right? It's impossible. But if you go into people's homes, right? If you go into March Ortho's there's no black Jesus. There's no dark skin. Jesus. There's no Carmel color. Jesus.
[00:17:16] Bob Batchelor: Right at best at best Jesus look kind of like
[00:17:19] Donald Thompson: Mel Brooks. Exactly.
And even if it wasn't like the ethnicity and the lineage, literally how hot it was, where he was rolling, he would have a constant thing. Right? Like, there's just no way you can say to me, imagery we portray in our country has any factual kind of. Right. And then people are like, we're we're whitewashing art history.
Um, I think y'all did that.
[00:17:56] Jackie Ferguson: That makes sense. All right. Let me ask this question. [00:18:00] Doesn't
[00:18:00] Donald Thompson: make sense.
[00:18:05] Jackie Ferguson: Yeah.
[00:18:05] Donald Thompson: I don't know if this will make it in the podcast, but I'm two drinks in and I haven't. That's the,
did you provide the, um, the precursor things that these are our opinions and not the opinions of our, any of our business
[00:18:24] Jackie Ferguson: entities? I definitely did that.
[00:18:27] Donald Thompson: All right. Do you got about halfway through also cause this thing about to get real?
[00:18:33] Bob Batchelor: So Jackie, let me just jump on that for one second is specifically to OJ and Whitney Houston and to some degree to Obama, but not quite as much.
Um, if, if I go just slightly theoretical for a moment, the real challenge is that we're all pawns in a capitalist. And so OJ was right for Atlas system. At that time, there were a [00:19:00] lot of people making money off OJ, staying with Whitney Houston. So when she fits into the what's socially acceptable for black artists in the eighties and nineties, then it's okay.
But as soon as the whole Bobby Brown, the reality show, as soon as it all starts blowing. Then the knives come out because then she just some crazy black person and the media plays that up. And it's really part and parcel of what's acceptable within the capitalist confines. Like we're all in the matrix.
It just, whether you realize you're in the matrix. We're all there and the matrix is called capitalism. So it defines how we look at pop culture and how we look at pop culture, characters and figures in contemporary society.
[00:19:55] Roxanne Bellamy: To be fair, Whitney wasn't. Black and failing blackness. Right? She was [00:20:00] failing femaleness too.
[00:20:16] Donald Thompson: Good point
[00:20:18] Bob Batchelor: number pallor over the conversation. I apologize.
[00:20:22] Jackie Ferguson: That's exactly what I was, I was trying to get to. So thank you for that.
Okay. So then what about. Here's why I say this, right? Everybody. So here's a Snoop did not walk the line, right? Snoop was, uh, a gang bang or he smokes weed all the time. Right. He's got dreads. Right. But if you're like, if your mom is hanging out with Snoop or your kid is hanging out with Snoop, that shit is cool.
Why is Snoop the exception to the rule? He's he's [00:21:00] he's too cool, but he's cool with everybody. Like my mom thinks it's cool. My daughter
[00:21:04] Donald Thompson: thinks it's cool. Martha Stewart.
[00:21:09] Jackie Ferguson: So why is Snoop the exception?
[00:21:16] Roxanne Bellamy: Cool. He had just better PR team, better publicists, maybe better storytellers,
[00:21:23] Bob Batchelor: probably true.
[00:21:27] Donald Thompson: And not that I know this from a firsthand level of experience, but, um, the sticky icky is a universal unifier. So we read things to bring people together. Yeah.
[00:21:43] Jackie Ferguson: I mean, based on the way things are trending, that's just not right
[00:21:48] Donald Thompson: there's a unifying factor of just coolness and having fun and not, not letting the world's crazy.
Right. Keep you from enjoying and living your best life that I think is more unified. So where other folks are having there's, you know, political divide or there's wealth divide, Snoop supersedes that because he's all about having a good time and everybody. It's kind of persona that I like when I'm listening to his music or I hear him on an interview or something like that.
That seems to just be his vibe.
[00:22:34] Jackie Ferguson: Yeah. I agree with that. Cause I think it, you know, if you think about Snoop and where you see him, right. And he's hanging out with rappers, he's hanging out with Martha Stewart, he's hanging out with, you know, um right. Athletes, Anderson Cooper. Right. And so. Ah, that's cool.
Yeah. I think that might be why he's just universally. Cool. [00:23:00]
[00:23:00] Bob Batchelor: Yeah. There are certain pop culture figures who gem. W somehow rise above everybody else. And they get into a little space like Bruce Springsteen could say and do anything. Bruce Springsteen could literally kill somebody and people will be like, yeah, that's Bruce,
[00:23:18] Donald Thompson: Bruce.
[00:23:21] Bob Batchelor: know, Snoop is the same way, but it's a very small, it's a very small subset of humanity. You know, that, that ha basically has a free pass. I think what Snoop has been able to do is if pop culture rolls in waves, Snoop has been able to get up on the board on each one of those waves. So smoking dope is cool now because it's legal.
A lot of places being black is cool. Now, now it's cool. When we see it on tech talk and Instagram, but how, how difficult is it still to be a black person or a person of color in the world today? [00:24:00] Yeah, because it's not like being Snoop, but Snoop is elevated on that pop culture. Um, Mount Olympus, transcendent.
[00:24:10] Donald Thompson: Yeah.
[00:24:14] Jackie Ferguson: Good points. All right. So I want to talk about the theory of race listening, right?
[00:24:23] Donald Thompson: [00:24:26] Roxanne Bellamy: me to Jackie me?
[00:24:28] Jackie Ferguson: I haven't gotten to the Don.
[00:24:32] Donald Thompson: Yeah.
[00:24:35] Jackie Ferguson: All right. So the theory of restlessness, and I don't want to get this wrong, I'm going to read this part attempts to decolonize the racial and racist imaginations by educating on how racism masquerades as race in society. But we have to acknowledge that systemic racism exists and it's racism, not race because studies show that [00:25:00] we're really only.
We're less than 6% different in any race between any people done is the laughing, just our audience. But so the genetics aren't very different between any of us. So race being a social construct. What's the, what do you think about baseless now? Should that be what we're striving for and
[00:25:28] Roxanne Bellamy: both of the dudes on the call, I made crazy faces.
So I need to go first. You have visceral reactions that are like some part of your soul hurt. Just listening to that. What was,
[00:25:39] Donald Thompson: I think about it like this Colin Kaepernick, kneeled peacefully at a football [00:26:00] game while there was a song playing and it was run out of the NFL and vilified. Then when black men were murdered in the street with no weapons, black people got pissed off. And had protests and some of them them were breaking the law and were violent and they were vilified unpatriotic called the national guard.
And then just restlessness society on January 6th, when people were storming the Capitol, there was a litany of excuses that, that wasn't an angry mob. It was Patriots standing up for their rights. So the narrative around action. Are inconsistent, hypocritical and are full of a race consciousness that I don't see a material way in my lifetime of that being radically different.
And that doesn't mean that if you disagreed with someone kneeling for the [00:27:00] national Anthem, that you don't have the right to that disagreement, that your opinion doesn't matter. It just means that that was a freedom that we were supposed to be fighting for and holding up, which is peaceful. But it's untrue when it's an Afro, having black male that doesn't fit into the paradigm of everyone should stand for this flag.
Well, that flag doesn't represent us every day that lag in that country. Doesn't love us every day. And as long as he wasn't hurting any. Made made sense to me. I didn't think he should do it because it was going to cost them millions. I didn't, I didn't, I
[00:27:41] Roxanne Bellamy: never the
[00:27:41] Donald Thompson: logic, a lot of reasons. Right. But his ability peacefully protest police brutality by kneeling and then the visceral reaction to that.
And then the litany of well thought of, and well-crafted excuse me. [00:28:00] On January 6th, when the beacons of our institution, our Capitol building was stormed kill Mike Pence. And that is, is okay. Right? Like that is not that that's not a major issue that we're overblowing right. And so restlessness gets me giggling, because I think about those things that are in the front view windshield.
And that term, this doesn't, I don't even know how to get my head around that that doesn't mean I'm not naive or wrong or don't need to be educated. [00:28:48] Bob Batchelor: So I think, um, you know, I've read a little bit of, uh, Sheena Mason's work on restlessness and. You know, if you look at it as, okay, so [00:29:00] race is a construct before somebody said race was a thing like race wasn't natural. Just like we, people named the thing. That's a four-legged canine. Yeah, before that there was no word for it.
So we created the word race and its outcomes. We deal with that, but I think it's slightly naive to just think that we can replace hundreds and thousands of years of race with the idea that love can somehow. Be our guiding institution in, within the complexity of the society. The autobiography of Malcolm X was the single most important book I've ever read as a kid who grew up in a racist place, trying to understand things.
Malcolm X, Malcolm X, his evolution, his life meant a lot to me. [00:30:00] And he may have. Track toward race lessness to some degree at the end of his life. But if you would have pulled him aside and put them on this podcast and said, is restlessness a thing, he would have the same reaction Don had. He would have started laughing because race is so central.
I don't think we can outrun all these thousands and hundreds and thousands of years of race being a thing. I would rather confront the reality if that's even possible because it's racism, as I said earlier, is so deeply ingrained in people that introducing a concept like restlessness you in a utopia may be a great thing, but I don't see a practicality.
And when I left academe, I stopped operating in prac area in utopias and tried to get back to practical. Yeah. [00:31:00]
[00:31:00] Roxanne Bellamy: Hm. I feel so differently. It really excites me the whole idea. And every time I listened to Sheena, Mason talk, I think, you know, what she's really saying is, um, is what my nine-year-old would say about race.
But if you ask him, like, what is race, right? Like what does that word mean? He'll say like, like the, like people in a species. Like everybody, right? Like that's, and it's like the star wars definition of race. Like this is a race of people that live on a planet. Um, and Bob's right. Like it's super utopian and very like abstract.
And like that's what makes it a dangerous idea. Right. A dangerous word. Is this idea that if we remove it, if it's just a construct and we're saying, look, we're all. Pretty much the same thing here. Like, let's stop talking about this. Then we are neglecting the practicality. Bob's word of hundreds of thousands of years of racism.
Right. But all that being said, so I a hundred percent agree with Don and with Baba on all of that, I [00:32:00] also, there is something so attractive about it to me, philosophically, the idea that like we could reprogram the future. Right. We could like. Teach children, like, you know, that thing, it was wrong. We were wrong.
The whole time Pluto was a dwarf planet race. Right. It doesn't exist. We're all the same race. Right. And that we could like move forward. There still excites me, but I'm like sussing it out. Right? Like. There is no chance as a da practitioner rate. Also just as a human being that I would ever tell anyone, like, I still believe in race.
Oh my God. That's so like, I'm just totally, I moved past that, you know, because I read a lot online. Like that's not, it's so invalidating, like everyone's experience of what they've done. Um, and I don't think she's trying to do that. I don't think theory of restlessness is trying to do. It is dangerous and that's what makes it incendiary and scary.
And, and I [00:33:00] dunno and laughable maybe.
[00:33:01] Donald Thompson: Yeah.
[00:33:02] Jackie Ferguson: Yeah, no, go ahead. Go ahead, please. Go ahead. Go ahead, Don.
[00:33:10] Donald Thompson: I know my place in this packet,
[00:33:14] Bob Batchelor: you know, one of the
[00:33:15] Donald Thompson: things that I hope to share with people that I work with is wherever you are in these discussions. That the ultimate goal is to not be dismissive of other people's point of view that my goal, my reactions to something, my perspective on something is not to change you, but I don't feel comfortable if you are diminishing my point of view without having understood my ex.
Right. And so I'll give an example with the, all the different things that are happening in our society with the police, for example. Right. And so there are people like, well, if you just comply, the police wouldn't have to pull their weapon. Right. If you weren't, um, driving [00:34:00] over the speed limit, you never would have gotten stopped.
Right. And all these different reasons to excuse the bad behavior. When I described to people. I am still going to call 9 1 1. If I have an issue in my home, I I'm making it against the police. I have, uh, friends that are put themselves in harm's way to protect us. And I respect that and I honor that, and I appreciate that, but I have seven experiences with the police that have shaped my view, where if a police officer pulls behind me, there is a reaction is very different from those.
And so if you don't understand and acknowledge my experience right now, all of us, now we have a problem in relating to each other because that experience is so real to me that I can, I can relive it and I automatically become emotional in that moment. Right. And so people, whether it is race or their sexual orientation, whether it's your ethnicity and you've had.
Situations in your [00:35:00] life where that has been dealt with in a way that has harmed you. Right? The part that I encourage people in a very serious way is just, don't be dismissive. Right. It doesn't make your point of view wrong, but it doesn't mean that you have the right or expectation, right. To throw away the experiences that you don't understand.
And that's the thing that I try to encourage people to do in the work that we're doing.
[00:35:30] Jackie Ferguson: Now, Don, you mentioned having encounters with the police that were less than positive. I'll say I also had situation. Where I had a gun drawn on me by a police officer that pulled it. I was in a car that had an expired tag and they came guns ablazing, which was, you know, traumatic.
Right. Bob and Roxanne Bellamy. Have you had any experiences [00:36:00] with the police like that?
[00:36:02] Donald Thompson: Hmm.
[00:36:03] Bob Batchelor: You don't want to know? Um, I. Now the, the, the time has a lapsed. So I can tell you this, I have done things
[00:36:15] Donald Thompson: that
[00:36:16] Roxanne Bellamy: come out of your
[00:36:16] Bob Batchelor: mouth. I have done things that would make your hair curl in terms of engaging, dealing with police and walked away, laughing with the police officers.
I know now would have certainly got, cause you know, Don and I, you know, we're gen X-ers. I know what you, I know what you went through. I know the era. I know I did things that you would have ended up in jail or worse. And the cop slapped me on the back and shook my hand and, and went off giggling. And so, yeah, my.
I look, I'm a [00:37:00] poor white guy. I'm afraid of the police, probably as much as you two are, but my experience, I don't have to worry about. And now I look like a, you know, old man professor, I never, you know, police this isn't a
[00:37:12] Donald Thompson: thing, uSo we're talking [00:40:00] about the police a lot, but really that's just a by-product of how people of color think about institutions. Um, in our country, this isn't about vilifying for, against the police, because I've had also a lot of great experiences with law enforcement and different things. So I really want to make that, that point, but that fear that I saw, it still breaks my heart when I think about it, because that's the narrative that, that they're going to carry with them.
Um, and it's, it's hurtful. It's disappointing. Um, you know,
[00:40:29] Bob Batchelor: Roxanne Bellamy, what's your, what's your, what's your deal?
[00:40:33] Roxanne Bellamy: Just now that I'm just a very good girl, nothing. I'm a hardcore rule follower. It's crazy. Y'all don't know that about me already. Like just nothing, just never a thing. Nothing. I would readily admit that it was my fault and just try to go home as soon as possible if they need to call my mom.
That feels good too. Um, I really just never, um, no, I will say that to your note. [00:41:00] Your story Don reminded me of. Sort of a reverse story about some friends who, um, the night of the, um, B the big night, June, 2020 of the BLM protest downtown, um, when there was lots of sort of crashing things and storming around the streets.
And, um, and then they put a curfew in downtown Raleigh for a few days and a few of my, uh, friends. Well, most of whom were white men were sitting outside their apartment building having a beer after curfew. Um, and the cop Stripe drove by on a, um, on a golf cart I think, and were like, Hey, and they just say, Hey, you know, and then like they said, within I wasn't there obviously very, very rule following.
And, um, they said that, you know, the chant just went around, like, did they just those cops on that golf cart, just say, hello to us. Like we're out drinking. On the sidewalk. So that's public intoxication. Um, I, after [00:42:00] curfew the day after the riots, like what, and okay. I think we should go inside now. Um, and like, but that moment of realization for them was a moment of like, man, this privilege kind of sucks.
[00:42:16] Jackie Ferguson: Yeah, it's, it's important. You know, if we think about restlessness, right. To acknowledge the experiences that some of us have, right. And others have different experiences for me though, I can't subscribe to race lists. Until we're making macaroni and cheese the same. And
[00:42:40] Roxanne Bellamy: does that mean it's sliceable or it's not sliceable
[00:42:46] Jackie Ferguson: we have to make the same. All right. So let's talk about macaroni and cheese and holidays are coming. So let's talk about the difference between. Black Christmas dinner and white Christmas dinner. And why is [00:43:00] that? Or the pumpkin
[00:43:01] Donald Thompson: pie
[00:43:04] Roxanne Bellamy: or not?
[00:43:07] Jackie Ferguson: What is on your Christmas table?
[00:43:15] Donald Thompson: Y'all go first.
[00:43:18] Jackie Ferguson: All right, so I'll start. So I cooked. Pam macaroni and cheese greens, sweet potatoes. I also make a Turkey and stuffing and green bean casserole. I know I'm going to explain this in a second and cranberry sauce that I make from scratch. Not on. Plus roles and then sweet potato pie, of course, and then a couple other pies and usually a Junior's cheesecake cause I'm a die hard new Yorker, but here's what I realized a couple of years ago.
I literally make black Christmas dinner and white Christmas dinner down the [00:44:00] line one biracial. I didn't realize I was doing that until somebody was like, so you make full black Christmas dinner and for white Christmas dinner.
[00:44:11] Donald Thompson: You're working real hard.
[00:44:14] Roxanne Bellamy: You're working twice as
[00:44:15] Jackie Ferguson: hard. I know. I didn't realize that I was living the Christmas dream through both sides of my, my lineage,
Baba. Roxanne Bellamy. What, what do you have on your Christmas tape
[00:44:42] Roxanne Bellamy: minus so similar? Um, usually it's a fight to get anyone to make Turkey at Christmas, cause they already did it once. Um, but I mean, otherwise it's down the line. The same, uh, candied yams are thing in my face. I've never loved grieving Castro was definitely a thing.
Like it's a thing that people bring [00:45:00] two or three times. I just think it's horrific. It's a horrific thing to do to green beans. They don't even resemble green beans. Um, uh, and then, uh, Ambrosia salad though, I feel like you didn't mention like a congealed salad situation, which is kind of something.
[00:45:16] Jackie Ferguson: Uh, so Southern and all.
[00:45:20] Roxanne Bellamy: Yeah. Oh, and we have, um, aspect, you know, like tomato aspect, which is nice. Yeah. Um, and so, yeah, pretty, pretty much that. I think not a lot of vegetables, not a lot of vegetables.
[00:45:36] Bob Batchelor: Yeah, I would say that I'm probably not qualified to answer this question, but I, I am the cook in the family for these major meals and I, um, subscribed to the poor white guy.
Holiday meal, which means I actually really just care that there is a, um, Ivy of some kind of alcohol streaming [00:46:00] into my blood at all times.
It's the white guy get drunk holiday meal, but I love it. No, no, no. I have, I have elevated to the point where I don't drink, drink cheap booze in. So that's the one thing now. So I can't go home and drink Busch light with all, you know, my uncles and my male relatives, because Bush light is not. What the foods say, I make the same thing.
My grandma made. Like I try to mimic that I make stuffing and Turkey and I'm like, look green. I don't know what greens are. I don't even, I don't like vegetables. I really try to avoid them at all costs. I'm
[00:46:53] Jackie Ferguson: probably going to get you some green.
[00:46:56] Bob Batchelor: Pecan pie. And I say at both pecan and P can, [00:47:00] depending on just the moment
and, um, you know, it's, it's all very fat filled and buttery and, and when I'm really drunk, I don't care. Anyhow, it just, it seems to taste good, but it is very different, I imagine, than, than the black
[00:47:23] Donald Thompson: holiday meal. So.
[00:47:27] Jackie Ferguson: It is, there's a, you know, and I, I do an abridged black holiday meal because there are a lot, Don is like stepping away from his, his desk.
[00:47:43] Roxanne Bellamy: Abridged black Christmas meals and meat
[00:47:47] Jackie Ferguson: in a bridge. So in a lot of black households, you also get fried chicken. You get deviled in all these other, you know, some black families do chitlins and some of [00:48:00] those traditional things I don't, but you know, I'm not opposed to it on the table. I might not eat.
Some, you know, I'm down for whatever people want eat, but black Christmas dinner is usually three times as much as what I, what I make. So I do like that, but I do have a full black Christmas dinner and a full white Christmas dinner,
[00:48:24] Donald Thompson: Don.
[00:48:27] Bob Batchelor: Uh,
[00:48:31] Donald Thompson: Don's like I, you, whatever you cook.
[00:48:37] Jackie Ferguson: Okay. What's your favorite side of dinner? Is it the black side or the whites?
[00:48:47] Donald Thompson: There are so many amendments in the constitution. How are you pleading the fifth.
[00:48:55] Roxanne Bellamy: Oh, wow.
[00:48:55] Donald Thompson: Wow.[00:49:00]
[00:49:03] Roxanne Bellamy: Wait, I got another one. If we have like two minutes for what, what did you leave for Santa Claus? Um, on Christmas. Because this is the thing I learned early in life is that we, we make homemade cookies and then late in life, I learned that many of my black friends are like, Hm it's Oreos.
[00:49:29] Jackie Ferguson: Are you serious? I didn't know that. Oh my God. That's amazing.
[00:49:37] Donald Thompson: I was as a kid a little bit just off, right. Like I was, I was always looking for the detail right. In every kind of macro narrative. Right. So I was telling my mom and my grandma, so. White man flies across the world, comes through our chimney going to leave me presence.
[00:50:00] Yeah. I'm not buying that shit. No, granny, I remembered I was in Bogalusa, Louisiana at my granny's house. Tell you what I'm going to stay up all night. And when he come down. I'm going to talk to him and see by this Santa Claus, right? I've literally, I, those off stand up, I stay up all night and then they, everybody gets up and we're opening presents.
I go hug my granny. I go home. I'm on my dad as a thank you for these presents. Cause they know white man are flying around the world. Give me these y'all have worked hard. I know we don't have much all that, you know, all the time and get me these presences. And so for me, it wasn't around, I don't know how we got on Santa Claus, but I wanted to give credit to who was helping me as a, at a very young, at a very young age.
And Santa Claus was just like, I just wasn't buying it. And I, I was all about this, proven it and the best my mom did was like, don't tell your sister [00:51:00] I'm punched in the face. Like you can believe whatever you want to believe. Do not tell your sister. Alright, cool.
[00:51:09] Jackie Ferguson: But the parents,
[00:51:15] Bob Batchelor: Don, what did your grandfather think?
Sassing your grandma and your mom? I can't imagine he just stood there or sat there
[00:51:22] Donald Thompson: in the chair. So I'm embellishing. I didn't say anything disrespectful to my granny. I just asked more questions and wouldn't like, So the, the reality, that's a shocker.
Would've never guessed that one.
[00:51:42] Roxanne Bellamy: Yeah. And he's just giving credit where credit's due. Right? That's allyship. He's like, I'm not no white man did this. Let's be
[00:51:48] Donald Thompson: fair. That looks real. Y'all got me these presents and hug me and thank you for that. I'm just always been. Right. Like [00:52:00] amazingly pragmatic. Like when my dad told me right, life isn't fair.
Right. I didn't stay mad for 50 years. That life isn't fair. I was glad to be told that the rules were different for me. Right. And that I had to figure out how to win no matter what the cards work. Right. And if it didn't get there, that's not your excuse for not succeeding. Somebody not giving you. The right books and the other kids get different books.
And you got the old ones, even though you were in a good school, then you better read everything in that old one and be friends, somebody that has a new one and get what's in that too. Right. I grew up in a household where excuses were like, they just weren't having it because their life and what they were going through was so tough to push me and my sister out of that deep Southern, nothing wrong with the deep south, but educationally.
And it's still that way today. And it was certainly 50 years ago. Right. I'm like whew, 15 years ago. Right? So it wasn't about the [00:53:00] excuses. It was about how do you win the best you can with what you've got. And I wouldn't change that. Certainly I want the world to be a better place and all those things, but I wouldn't change learning that at an early age because I'm not.
I'm just finding a way to make things better. And that's why, like, if you all, and what we're doing with the diversity movement, I'm not, I'm not bitter about the way things are. I don't wake up everyday pissed off. Right. I wake up trying to figure out how to use the talents that we have collectively, right.
To do what we can to make things better. And that's, that's fun. That's fulfilling. And that's cool right now that brings us together, not pulls us. And I like that.
[00:53:39] Jackie Ferguson: And just for the, uh, parents who may be listening over the holidays in front of their children, he's just kidding about Santa Claus
[00:53:56] Roxanne Bellamy: or Amy poor Amy. This is when she finds out,
[00:53:59] Jackie Ferguson: right. [00:54:00] He was lying to me. All right. My friends. Thank you so much for spending some time and shout out to all the people that we talked about. Maybe not so much OJ, but definitely Whitney Obama, Kevin Costner, Dr. Sheena. Mason, who else did we talk about? Santa's
[00:54:23] Donald Thompson: not the J Dr.
[00:54:24] Jackie Ferguson: J
[00:54:26] Donald Thompson: Maxx, Malcolm X. That's a
[00:54:28] Jackie Ferguson: great
[00:54:29] Donald Thompson: one. I did not realize because the media narrative is all about the militant Malcolm X. When I read that book, it was powerful for me to see the growth, right. And towards the end of his life, that everyone wasn't evil, everyone, wasn't trying to get that being a Muslim attributed to white Muslims, black Muslims, and the faith could unify you.
And we failed to give people credit [00:55:00] for areas of. Um, and any get really excited about vilifying people for a single narrative, right. That we don't agree with. And I think that's wrong on all sides, right? I think we all have an opportunity to be better and to grow and we have to give that kind of space.
And I think that's what we're trying to achieve as a group to create that kind of space, um, to be able to do that. So I love that you refer to that book. I remember reading it and writing a book report on it and it, I always loved to read it was. Awesome.
[00:55:33] Bob Batchelor: Oh, friends
[00:55:34] Donald Thompson: way
[00:55:35] Jackie Ferguson: beyond the, we are way beyond. Thank you all so much for spending some time with me tonight.
It was so much fun. I love just being able to, you know, share some questions and get your feedback and stories and you are all just so amazing though. Thanks for taking some time with me tonight.
Today we share our first episode in a special new series, WAY Beyond the Checkbox, where we’re taking on controversial topics. The topic for this episode? The Black experience in America. Jackie is joined by three other members of The Diversity Movement team: CEO Donald Thompson, Director of Business Intelligence Bob Batchelor, and Senior Content Strategist Roxanne Bellamy. This was recorded after hours, and everyone had a drink in their hands. Get ready for some real talk.
Listen to this episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.