Antiracist Parenting Podcast

E27: Sankofa - Year in Review

June 27, 2022 Hannah Carney & SooJin Pate Season 2 Episode 27
Antiracist Parenting Podcast
E27: Sankofa - Year in Review
Show Notes Transcript

This episode is chock full of goodness and light! SooJin and Hannah are joined by Hannah’s 8-and-a-half-year-old son (Anthony) for the first part of the episode. He shares what racism is, what we can do to stop it, and what has been helpful for him so far in learning about racism and antiracism. After saying goodbye to Anthony, SooJin and Hannah reflect on Season Two and the major transformations that have taken place within themselves and within their lives. It’s clear: both SooJin and Hannah were different people before starting the Antiracist Parenting Podcast. And the work they’ve put in over the past two years is ushering in all kinds of beautiful possibilities for the future!


Heal Your Way Forward by Myisha T. Hill:

Check Your Privilege and The Co-Conspirator’s Lounge:

The Angela Day School:

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong

As We Have Always Done: Indigneous Freedom through Radical Resistance by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Story Tells a Story About Organizing by Renee Boney-Jett

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Separate is Never Equal  by Duncan Tonatiuh

Something Happened in Our Town by Ann Hazzard, Marianne Celano, and Marietta Collins

Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs

Humphrey book series by Betty G. Birney

E27: Sankofa Episode – Year in Review

Co-hosts: SooJin Pate and Hannah Carney

Intro (music by Mike Myth Productions):

SooJin: Welcome to the Antiracist Parenting Podcast, where we're working to create an antiracist world for ourselves, our children, and future generations to come.

Hannah: We are Hannah Carney and SooJin Pate. And we're coming to you not as experts but as parents who want to share our missteps and successes in raising antiracist children. Thank you for being on this journey with us, as we work together to build a community of antiracist parents who are raising a generation of antiracist kids.

SooJin: Welcome to episode 27. Today we are wrapping up our season two with our Sankofa episode, which is a time where we reflect on our past episodes to see how they've transformed and shaped our present in order to orient ourselves to the future. And so it's our year-in-review, and we are just so thankful and feel very blessed that Hannah and I and you, that we have all made it through to another year. But before we do that, we have a really, really special guest with us today. We have Hannah's son, Anthony. Do you mind sharing with our listeners who you are and where you come from? 

Anthony: I'm Anthony, I am eight years old, eight and a half. Um, I am in second grade. 

SooJin: And what are you passionate about these days? Like what are the things that bring you joy? Um, the things that you like to do. 

Anthony: I like baseball and building Legos - like star ships and stuff. Things that go into space. 

SooJin: Oh wow. That's so impressive, Anthony. Cool. 

Hannah: Yeah. So another thing that is kind of exciting is we're going to kind of do like an unschool/homeschool thing this summer. Anthony and Matteo, his younger brother, are kind of planning to develop a YouTube channel. And so they have been sharing a lot of ideas about what kind of episodes they'll have on their channel. 

SooJin: Oh, well that sounds really exciting. 

Hannah: And Anthony also will be doing an acting camp this summer. So another kind of area of interest.

SooJin: Very cool. 

Hannah: So Anthony, the first question that we wanted to talk about, the question is what is racism?

Anthony: Well, it's basically people getting treated bad or unfairly for their background. 

Hannah: And when you say background, like what does that mean?

Anthony: Color of skin or...

Hannah: or maybe body size, or maybe like religious beliefs, or like who they love, or kind of like different body parts, all of that?

Anthony: Yeah. 

Hannah: So that's an interesting answer, Anthony, because when I think of racism, I think primarily of skin color, but when we read Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s work it is much broader and intersectional in terms of like, including all the ways humans identify around their social identities. Okay. So have you seen racism? Like what does it look like? 

Anthony: I haven't like seen it like face-to-face, but like I've heard of it, like George Floyd and other people with brown skin that are now famous for their death. And I'm actually kind of surprised like when I was younger and I didn't really like, I just heard the name racism for the first time. I'm like what’s that? And it turns out to be more surprisingly bad than and I thought it would. 

Hannah: Okay what does it mean to have white skin? So I heard you say, like, when you think about racism, maybe somebody with darker skin might be treated unfairly.

Anthony: Like right now or in the past, usually having white skin means you're going to get treated fairly.

Hannah: Or better than. So since we have white skin, what does that mean for us? Like what do we need to be doing? 

Anthony: We should try to stop racism even though we have white skin. 

Hannah: Yeah. So using all the benefits that come with the fact that we have white skin to make sure that we end racism and build a better world for everybody. 

Anthony: Yeah that's about right.

Hannah: And we can do that, right? 

Anthony: If we just sit here and do nothing, nothing is really going to change. 

Hannah: Yeah. So what books do you like to read about race? 

Anthony: Sulwe and Story Tells a Story About Organizing.

Hannah: Well, one of the ones we've been reading is Separate is Never Equal.

Anthony: Something Happened Our Town, Chocolate Me! - stuff like that. 

Hannah: We've learned a lot from those books, and we'll make sure to list those in the resources. Um, okay. So what is an example of something we can do to stop racism?

Anthony: Um, well the thing we definitely won't do is just sitting here. But if we like protest, march, stuff like that.

Hannah: Definitely. Well, and you had said studying about it so that we know what's going on. And I think something we work really hard about is having friends with people that have different skin color and different backgrounds, like you said, so making sure that we're in relationship with people who are different from us. Okay. So those are our initial questions. SooJin, do you have questions? Or Anthony do you have questions? And we can take turns. 

Anthony: Um, if you have any questions you can go. 

SooJin: Okay. So there are parents and teachers who say that we shouldn't be talking about race and racism with our children because it will scare them. And I was wondering, do you feel like that has been true of your experience? 

Anthony: No, it doesn't really scare me, but it’s just like unbelievable how it is that way. When I was younger, like five and six, like, I didn't think it was this bad.

SooJin: Okay. And so why do you think it's important? Like, so like if you became a parent, for example, would you want to teach your children about racism and if so, why? 

Anthony: I would because so they can help, like when they grow up, they can help do some stuff about it too. 

SooJin: That's lovely. That's wonderful. Great. Do you have questions for us? 

Anthony: Not really. 

SooJin: Okay. I have one other question. Given the ways that your parents have talked to you an educated you about racism, what has been kind of the most effective, like in helping you learn?

Anthony: Well, giving examples of what racism is like George Floyd. And like you told me, like a guy was out on a jog and three white men got out of their pickup truck and killed him for absolutely no reason. And that kind of surprised me. 

SooJin: So having good examples to share, that's been helpful? Anything else to help you understand it?

Hannah: Well, and I think too, just kind of knowing the history, right? That like it's always been unequal and unfair. And so like, the things we see today are just like, sort of like that pattern continuing on. And so there's more work to do. Like some things have changed, um, and we still have much work to do to so that people don't have to experience...

Anthony: Slavery stopped, but it's still like Black people don't get like equal stuff. Like it’s not fair still. 

SooJin: Yeah. Well, thank you, Anthony. So should I move on to the lightning round? Okay. So, you don't have to think too much about this. Fill in the blank antiracist parenting is...

Anthony: Parents that teach their children what racism is and we should stop it. 

SooJin: Oh, that's a great definition. I love that. 

Hannah: And “we should stop that.” Exactly.

SooJin: Um, what is one thing that your parents did that made you smile?

Anthony: Well, you usually like say funny things about like someone says something that you think is funny, then you say something really funny.

Hannah: I would never do that.

SooJin: Do you have an example to share to help us better understand?

Anthony: Well, it's more like, um, when you laugh that makes me smile. 

Hannah: Oh, Anthony!

SooJin: Oh, oh, that is really beautiful. Um, what are you reading right now? 

Anthony: Um, well you're the one that usually reads like the thick books about racism, but I'm reading a book called Humphrey - everyone's favorite classroom pet, um, friendship according to Humphrey. It's about a hamster that's a class pet. So he had an owner that bought him named Ms. Matt (sp?), the teacher, and then she moved to Canada. And so Humphrey stayed in the classroom and then someone else named Ms. Brisbane came in and taught the class instead. And then at first, Ms. Brisbane wasn't really that nice to Humphrey, but then she turned out to be really nice. Humphrey thought she was not that nice. Cause she was a lot different from - just change, like he wasn't too happy about the change. She turned out to be really nice and yeah. 

Hannah: Cool.

SooJin: That sounds like a good book. Um, what are you doing to take care of yourself? 

Anthony: Well, I eat like seven meals a day. 

Hannah: SooJin especially would appreciate that!

SooJin: So good to keep your body fueled. 

Anthony: Yeah, I drink a lot of water each day. 

SooJin: Do you have like a favorite food that you like? 

Anthony: Yeah, it's mostly cereal with milk. Cheerio’s.

SooJin: Oh, okay. Cheerio's okay. Is there anything that you would like to uplift before we say goodbye to you? 

Anthony: I think I'm good.

SooJin: Okay. Okay. Well, thank you so much for visiting and for sharing your wisdom and your insights and your knowledge. It was really good to have you on our show, Anthony.

Oh Hannah, thank you so much for sharing your son with us. That was really special. 

Hannah: Yeah. I wasn't certain what direction we would go in. So I feel like we covered a lot of ground there. 

SooJin: Yeah. We covered a lot of ground in a short time. Yeah. Yeah. So before we get to kind of the rest of our episode, we have an announcement that we'd like to share. A fellow listener reached out to us about Myisha T. Hill’s new book that's coming out on July 19th. Her book is called Heal Your Way Forward: The Co-conspirators Guide to an Antiracist Future. Now, according to the website the book is about antiracism as intergenerational healing, guidance for learning and unlearning, helping you heal and feel through the hurt and also helping you commit and recommit to real change and a reparative future. In it you will learn how to embrace accountability, grief, and joy, release shame, perfectionism, and biases, connect with curiosity, empathy, intimacy, and community, and commit or recommit to a lifelong learning movement - not just a moment - so that you can awaken to purposeful passion and the sacredness of story, disrupt the privilege and comfort of the white world view, liberate by not duplicating systemic constructs, and commit and recommit to a lifelong learning movement and not just a moment. Wow. Based on that description of the book alone, there's so much synergy and alignment with our podcast. So that's amazing. You can learn more about her work and her book, at where she has built an intentional community called the Co-conspirators Lounge. And according to Myisha’s website, check your privilege is a global movement that supports individuals on their journey of becoming actively antiracist through our online co-conspirators lounge workshops and events. And it also looks like she provides some one-on-one coaching with your journey. So please check that out and we want to thank our listener for reaching out to us and sharing Myisha's book and work with us because this is exactly the kind of work that we've been advocating for. And we'll have all those resources listed in our show notes. So okay. It's time for our accountability check-in. So Hannah, do you mind filling us in on how you're doing with your commitment? 

Hannah: Yeah. Thank you. So I had made the commitment around aligning the kind of educational and school choices for our kids, with my values. And I feel that I am doing that. I feel like I have put a lot of energy into trying to work with their school around equity. And while I don't feel like that ended very well, I am excited about the summer to kind of test the drive what a kind of unschool or homeschool type of environment we could create and what kind of community is out there. And so. Yeah, I feel ready. And I feel excited. And I feel like by the end of summer, my hope is that we can, as a family, have this unschool option as a really viable option so that we could really give our kids a choice. Like if they want to go back to school, cool. If they want to be there. But if they don't or want to try something else, that we would be in a position where like, that could be a good setup for our family.

So I feel like we're on track and I feel like the kids are really expressing interest in different activities. And, um, also wanting to be able to build it together with them. So I'm trying to like refrain from having too much of a plan in place and have them have a lot of say in whatever this is going to be, because I really want them to have ownership of their education and for them to learn how to trust themselves and to be able to explore as deeply as they want any subject that is of interest. And so anyway, I'm learning a lot and I'm catching myself when I maybe insert myself too much. Um, but yeah, I feel good about it overall. 

SooJin: Oh, wow. Hannah, I just, first of all, I just think it's so glorious that you are tackling this because I remember kind of the percolation of this desire around unschooling that was like a year ago.

Yeah. And for you to actually like starting to kind of lay the groundwork and the foundation for that to happen to experiment with it is just so incredible because I know like the kind of commitment and energy and labor that it takes to start something from completely scratch and also something that you don't have a lot of experience and knowledge around. And so that's what these past year or two has been about, you know, kind of like doing the research and, to see you finally at a point where you feel like, okay, like let's try building this together is just really, really inspiring. 

Hannah: Thanks. I'm excited. And I'm excited to be able to share more about how it goes.

SooJin: Yeah, me too. Me too. So I had made the commitment to learn more about the spiritual healing practices of my people, specifically Koreans. And in my initial research, I found that much of their approach to healing is influenced by Confucianism. So finding the balance in all things that the yin and yang kind of represent.

And I remember my Umma leaving out her glass of milk or leaving out like water that was sitting in my refrigerator so that it would get to room temperature before drinking it. And that is a part of that. It's about like balance and not having anything in your body that's like too hot or too cold.

Or if you do have something really cold that you also have something really hot to kind of like balance that out. And which is why Korean meals are as vibrant and as dynamic as they are, because there's a conscious choice between like including both hot and cold, spicy and non-spicy foods to keep everything in balance.

Um, but if we look at the healing practices that came like prior to colonization - so colonization from China, Japan, and the U.S. - then the pre-colonial healing and spiritual practices, they lie in shamanism. And I spoke briefly about this on an earlier episode, episode 15, but shamanism is not unique to Korea.

Actually, I didn't realize how expansive shamanism is. It's an indigenous practice in many communities all around the world. So not just in Asia, but also in Africa, in the Americas. I mean it's everywhere. Um, and Korea, a shaman is called a munyeo and as a group they're known as Manshin and 95% of them are women. So, it's kind of feminine work. Yeah. And they act as a bridge that connects the spiritual world with the material world, the invisible with the visible. And other words that have been used to describe shamans in other parts of the world are seers, guides, and healers.

So in regards to healing, they've amended some of their practices to work alongside westernized forms of medicine. And while they represent the old world, they aren't in opposition with the new or with the modern world at all. So for example, when a fire broke out during the construction of the national museum of modern and contemporary art in Seoul, the museum authorities - they called in a shaman to help clean up the site, like spiritually, ancestrally. Right. And make sure that it was safe to continue construction to bar and mitigate any future fires that could take place. So, yeah. Isn't that cool? So, um, shamans they work to fuse the old with the new - complimenting the modern world even though it's a centuries-old tradition. So anyway, I thought that was interesting. And so I have much more research to do, but that's kind of where I'm jumping into, I guess, is in this world of shamanism. 

Hannah: Cool. 

SooJin: Yeah. Okay. Would you like to share our intention for today? 

Hannah: Oh, okay. How about the intention to give ourselves grace?

SooJin: Hmm. Okay. Can I add to that? 

Hannah: Yes. 

SooJin: I want to set the intention of, in addition to giving ourselves grace, is to celebrate our accomplishments. We've done so much work, so much work that has led to incredible transformation. And so I want to celebrate and honor that and like be in the goodness of the work that we've done. 

Hannah: Yeah, thanks for that. I’m feeling overwhelmed. As you can tell!

SooJin: Yeah, because you're only creating and starting a school from scratch. So yes, I totally get it. So let's clear that clutter out because you can't get to your to-do list regarding that project at this moment. So let's let it go, recenter ourselves in this moment. Because girl, our work deserves to be honored. Our work deserves to be celebrated and to be, revered, you know, and that kind of reverence requires absolute presence in this moment.

Okay. So let's channel all of our energy into this conversation right here right now. 

Hannah: Okay. Thanks. 

SooJin: Yeah. Okay. So with that, can you start us off?

Hannah: Oh my goodness. Well, this season two might be like the most transformational year of my life. I mean, I was like listening back to our conversation with Malaika, which was the first episode of season two. And just from that time till today, I mean, I feel like kind of a different person. Actually. 

SooJin: You are a new person. You are. 

Hannah: I think that, and, in such a positive way. So in terms of celebration and honoring, like I have made some serious changes and feel very affirmed in the path I'm on. 

SooJin: Yeah. So could you, by way of kind of reflecting on our season, could you share, like, what were some key moments during our season that helped you arrive to this place in yourself?

Hannah: Yeah, well, I mean, in the fall I took like a leave of absence from the podcast. And so the work that I was doing through therapy and marriage therapy, that was transformational for sure. Um, but also even like the way in which you responded to like my personal crisis, which was like, I was getting to this point where I, you know, I would just like, was falling completely apart.

And so many of the people in my family and close circles were like, so mad at me. And SooJin your response was, well, I'll just do the podcast and you go do what you gotta do. And I was like, I was so astonished by that, like, that was like not a response that was like on my radar, that would even be like possible.

And so that was a beautiful piece to it. And it really allowed me to take the time that I needed to like really focus on what I hope is maybe the hardest or one of the hardest pieces that I feel like I'm now past. So being able to take that time and then also having like a place to come back to like our community to come back to and to pick back up and keep going with the episodes.

That really was amazing. So, even though I wasn't physically present with some of the episodes, I have listened multiple times to them. And I have learned so much from especially the series on toxic masculinity and the bonus episode with Dianna Myles. And then all the ones that I, you know, was present for with Veronica Chambers, Kate and Sharon, and Amira and Miranda, which was, I mean, their episode really impacted me because they're a few years older than my kids.

And they were, you know, one of the key messages from that episode was all about “love is the answer.” And I have taken that and really tried to embody that. And it's quite difficult for me, but I think I'm making progress. And so yeah, I feel, that I'm starting to train my body about giving and receiving love and that like the concept of loving unconditionally.

And so, yeah, I'll stop there, but I feel like I've made a lot of progress and all of the guests and the community along the way has just tremendously helped me. And I also like, to your point, I want to say, like, I've done things too. Like I've worked hard too in the mix, so that can be recognized. 

SooJin: Yeah, you absolutely have. And this deep transformational work that you underwent this past year. It requires going underground. It requires going off grid, you know, and, that kind of deep work where you're in the trenches, the deep dark spaces of your mind and soul, like healing trauma, not only your own trauma, but also the trauma of your ancestors, the generational trauma, that kind of work isn't visible. You know what I mean? It's certainly not the type of work for all to see and is put on display. Um, and so it can seem like, well, what have you been doing, Hannah? 

Hannah: Like you have no job. You have nothing to show for it.

SooJin: Yeah, exactly. You haven't been around, you have nothing to show for it, you know? That we can see like visibly, with our eyes. And so want to, just kind of remind ourselves that just because you can't see it visibly and just because your journey hasn't been publicized through the podcast doesn't mean that you haven't been doing anything. Actually on the contrary, you had to step away in order to do that deep, dark work.

And it's incredible. Like, I would totally agree with you. You are a totally different person today than you were when we started season two. And it's just been incredible to witness your journey and to see you heal through the pain, through the trauma. Um, yeah, it's been really, really inspiring to see you do that. So I applaud you, Hannah.

Hannah: Thank you. 

SooJin: As it relates to me, I want to first begin by talking about kind of the foundation that season one had laid for me that I felt like I was able to build on during season two and the two pieces that I feel like I really had kind of developing and was kind of like, okay, I'm raring to go in terms of like really building on these two pieces were the slow-mo SooJin.

Okay. So like my new identity, as someone who is much more deliberate, much more intentional, which is tied to the integrity piece, the commitment that I made after the episode with Karla about like, you know, is what I am saying and doing aligning with my values? And I remember when I took on that commitment, I realized like, holy shit, like I'm not living in alignment. I'm not living in integrity in a lot of areas in my life. And then thinking, well, that's okay if I just kind of do a little bit at a time. It was kind of this mental strategy that I employed to give myself permission to not be so overwhelmed about all of the areas that I have to fix in my life, um, and also like giving me the motivation, well, I can start here, right? Like this is where I feel the most energy and where I feel like I have the most kind of skills around in terms of that integrity piece. I can start here and now it's been like over a year now since I started that journey. I built that up and I was living in much more integrity in my life at the end of season one than I was at the beginning of season one. And I can say honestly that after another year of consciously working to create alignment of my values in more and more spaces in my life, I can honestly say that I probably have, I don't know, like maybe I'm close to like 75% of my life.

Hannah: Wow. 

SooJin: Living in integrity. I'm shocked. I too am in “wow.” Like I'm so proud of myself. And the thing is, is that it's not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Because once you start making those small changes, it's like a boulder, right? That you like you're like three quarters of the way there moving and moving up that boulder.

And then it eventually feels like you're going downhill because you have all this momentum that you have accrued and accumulated from not giving up when it got really hard. And so now I feel like in some ways I'm kind of on this downhill cascade where things are just so much easier in opening up in terms of that integrity.

And that's why I was able to go from kind of like, probably at the end of season one, I was probably maybe at like 5% of my life living in integrity to like now at 75 percent. That's why it's been so fast because I'm building on that momentum. 

Hannah: Yeah. Well, and it sounds to me like when you have a really strong foundation, you're not dealing with like the cracks and things like constantly caving back in, you can actually build.

SooJin: Yeah. That's, that's a really good point. So regarding season two, like how has season two helped me to build on slow-mo SooJin and the SooJin that lives her life in integrity? A couple of things are coming to mind, the solidarity piece that Deepa and Veronica, and also I would say our children, Amira and Miranda also brought into place. So I remember when Miranda spoke about how she's like, “I'm not gonna take it” in the sense of like, here's a direct quote. She says: "I'm not gonna take it. I'm proud of who I am and the family I come from, I refuse to shrink." And in her refusal to shrink, she actually attracted other people like to her joy, right? To her sense of pride in her culture and her family and her values. So she was able to actually spread her values through her 1000% acceptance of who she is and refusing to shrink. And then Amira saying, you know, “you need to find your people” and that you will draw your people when you are your whole, full self.

And so that solidarity piece I feel is something that is also helping me to like grow in my integrity because I am surrounding myself with people who are aligned with my values. Right. And there were all kinds of excuses that I made for being in relationship with people who didn't share my values. And I'm not taking it anymore because like Miranda, I refuse to shrink because in those relationships, because I was compromising my values and myself, I would shrink myself to be in that relationship. And so yeah, me kind of taking up my power, my sense of agency, there are relationships that are just naturally falling apart. And also that in alignment with me constructing and setting up more boundaries around myself because of this integrity piece that too has led to kind of a natural falling away of the people that are truly not my people. And so I'm living more in integrity and in alignment in my relationships and not just the close relationships, acquaintance relationships, work relationships. So that's been like really great to see. 

Um, another thing that's bubbling up for me is the toxic masculinity series. I have to say I think the biggest thing that surprised me about that series is the learning around the feminine and how powerful the feminine is because it began with E.G. E.G had talked about how he was able to shrink and mitigate toxic masculinity by drawing on the power of the women in his life. And it was in the powerful relationships that he had with women, that is what armed him with the power of emotion that allowed him to tap into that, that armed him with the softness and the tenderness that is required to be in relationship. Not only with adults, but also his children. And so, the power of the feminine is the thing that like really kind of stood out for me from that series. And then to finalize that series with my dear gorgeous and brilliant friend, Marjorie, who embodies the power of the feminine like no other, like no other person that I know in my life. And from her, I took the commitment of rest. She had talked about the sacred, power of rest is what she talked about and how it's different from sleep. And so from that, I made the commitment to kind of meditate on rest and what rest looks like in my life. And in that week-long orientation around rest, I came to the conclusion of living my life at the speed of desire. And that speed of desire has become my operating system. And it is so in alignment with the slow-mo SooJin, it's helping me even more slow down and be even more intentional.

And I feel really strong, like around those pieces, because of the power of the feminine, because of this new mantra I've taken up for myself, moving at the speed of desire. And then also being surrounded by my people, by my tribe, being in solidarity with them along my values. I would say those are the three things that are kind of coming up for me in terms of like how I've grown, how I've changed and how my foundation from season one has been strengthened from the work that we did in season two. 

Hannah: Wow. 

SooJin: Yeah. That and I would add the concept of “enough.” And this came from the conversation with Kyle, where we were talking about capitalism and how capitalism is in lock step with patriarchy and sexism and racism and ableism and all these “isms.” Right. And he was talking about how there's never enough under capitalism, right? Like we have to constantly get more and more and more. There's no satisfaction. There's this constant sense of lack in our lives. And so that's another thing is like, in my life, I'm really content. I'm feeling more contentment in my life than I ever have before, because in reality, I really do have enough. Like, I don't need more things in my life. I actually have more than enough. So yeah. 

Hannah: Oh my goodness. I love hearing your reflections. We have just been, I don't even know the right word, I'm totally inspired by us!

SooJin: Me too. And, and we hope that we're inspiring our listeners too. But if it’s just us, that's enough!

Hannah: Totally, yeah. I love what you said about, especially the building of the community. I feel like that's something where I feel like I've like started to lay some of the groundwork for that, but it's such a jarring shift because I was so conditioned around like your family are your people. And so expanding that and to be like, well maybe that's not like ideal or maybe that isn't totally in alignment with my values. And so how do I like literally build a new family. That's an expanded version. And that allows me to be me and like you were saying, like not have to betray myself or change. 

SooJin: Or shrink.

Hannah: Yeah. All of those things. I love that. And I feel like that is kind of like, when I think about next steps in my journey, like that's going to be such a focus and solidifying those relationships and also like even meeting new people and bringing more people into the fold. Yeah. 

SooJin: Yeah. Yeah. So let's talk about those next steps. So what are you thinking about in terms of - given all that you've learned, given all that you have undergone in terms of the change and transformation? What does the future look like for you? 

Hannah: Yeah, so I think right now I have so much gratitude for the two seasons we've done with the podcast.

I feel like I have, I don't like, I don't really see how else I could have made it to where I am today without that community and support. I mentioned in the fall, that was a really hard time. Like that was just a really hard phase. And I feel like I'm through that, which is awesome and feels good. But I also feel like there's more work I need to do. And that's you know, like I mentioned with my kids this summer. It's a huge emotional undertaking not just the planning of how are we going to operate as a “homeschool or unschool” or whatever it ends up being, but just like, you had mentioned like breaking the cycles of like intergenerational trauma. So how do I show up in a way that does that exact thing where it's like, I'm focusing my attention in this way and I'm mindful of breaking with patterns that would essentially perpetuate just the ways I was treated growing up or whatever.

I underestimate often the emotional piece of it. And so I think the next phase of my journey is really going to be focused around doing that with my kids. Also, like continuing to work with my family members and, hopefully, doing some kind of family therapy so that we can continue our journey and, strengthen those relationships. And with the marriage counseling. So even with just those three things I'm like that's a lot of emotional bandwidth that is necessary. And so I feel like for me, the next phase is really going to be to prioritize and just to like take every precaution I can to ensure that I am indeed breaking the cycles as much as I possibly can of passing down the traumas and other things that I hold in my body. 

SooJin: Hearing you speak makes me recall how I had defined for myself that antiracist parenting is healing. And I mean like here you are like you are jumping in with both feet in the healing. Like, your journey is a journey of healing. Like that is what this work has inspired you to do is to heal your own self and your own family, and your own ancestors. I love how like you're manifesting that before our very eyes.

Hannah: Yeah. Yeah. So what about you? What are your next steps? 

SooJin: Yeah. Well, you know, like the, those pieces of slow-mo me, moving at the speed of desire, and like living my life in integrity and moving towards that 100%, like, that's not going away. And that is something that I will continue to work on. But in direct connection to season two and how that is going to kind of inform my future work. I wanted to share this quote from Dianna Myles and she says "the late great Toni Morrison said that it's not their job to educate the oppressor." So Black people "their" referring to Black people. "It's not their job to educate the oppressor that antiracism isn't about trying to change/challenge those narratives, because it is such a waste of time and energy trying to explain our worth to a world that is simply demeaning your worth. Not because it's actually true, but because it is in the interest of the world to demean your worth for the purposes of capitalism, power, and money."

And then she goes on, "I think that the world will allow us to try and think that sometimes because that's the easy way to look at racism. The simple way to look at it is to simply say, we can rid ourselves with this racist world if only people would change how they think. No. It is a waste of your time. It is a waste of your energy. There is always something new that will pop up. It is a game of whack-a-mole and it is not your job to do that.” And so that quote her words, it reminded me of things that I've heard before, but it took several times for it to actually really land because like what she's talking about, this work of, you know, trying to change people's minds, trying to convince people, the work of convincing people that like, I am human. Look at me, I am human. And if you recognize my humanity, you'll stop being unfair. You'll stop hurting me. You'll stop thinking that it's okay that we live in a world full of racial disparities and inequities. No, she's saying like, that work of convincing and trying to educate and change people's minds and hearts, it is work that keeps us distracted from the real work.

Um, which reminds me of what Kendi talks about in his book, How to be an Antiracist. He has a whole chapter entitled “Failure,” and he says that that kind of work leads to failure time and time again. And I want to briefly kind of just talk about the three main strategies that have been used in the past and the present to combat racism, but that have only led to failure.

And those three strategies are what he calls the “three suasions:” uplift-suasion, moral-suasion, and educational-suasion. And suasion is all about convincing, right? Persuading, trying to convince people. So uplift suasion. He says it appeals to white people via behavior. So if we act like white people, you know, then they will see us like them. And so they will no longer harm us. They'll see us as human and that gets at respectability politics. The more respectable we are in the eyes of white people, that's how we're able to change their minds and get them to see us differently. And therefore, treat us differently. Treat us better. 

The second strategy is moral suasion and that's appealing to the hearts of white people, like appealing to their morality, their sense of goodness, their sense of ethics. Like police brutality is wrong. Right. Racism wrong, morally. So let's get them to do the right thing. So that's moral suasion.

And then educational suasion appeals to white people via changing their minds through logic. Well, if they only knew, if they were more educated, if they were more informed. So appealing to their logic and reason, appealing to their “ignorance,” their supposed ignorance - that would change their minds about things. And so he's saying all three of those things, which I know for us and for our listeners, like we know about them because these have been strategies that have been playing out for centuries. They're very common, right? And yet these common strategies that we all are participating in, including myself, only leads to failure.

So what Dianna's episode did for me was she checked me. She checked me and said, SooJin the strategies that you're engaging in are leading to failure. And instead you need to switch up your strategy. So because of that, I refuse to try to convince people with that kind of suasion work. I'm done. I'm done. 

Instead I’m drawing on wisdom of our predecessors, our ancestors who have gone before us in the fight of racism and white supremacy and learning from the strategies that actually led to wins - that actually led to success. And he has a whole chapter on that called “Success.” And in that chapter, he asks the question what is the strategy that leads to success around antiracism, helping us moving from racism to antiracism. He says it's two things. It's changing policy and sharing power. That's what leads to success. Not changing hearts and minds, that doesn't lead to success. It's actually changing laws and policies and practices that comes from sharing power with the people who have been historically left out. That is what leads to success. And so that is the work that I am going to be committing to in terms of the strategy that I employ regarding fighting against racism and white supremacy and ushering in antiracism. 

Hannah: Awesome. I love that. We just got like a mini Master Class right here. 

SooJin: Well, I'm sick and tired. Like when are we going to stop engaging in things that fail, you know, the reform effort. Regarding gun control, whatever that means, regarding policing, regarding the criminal injustice system. Regarding education. We just keep recycling and reusing tactics that only lead to failure. And I'm done. I'm done with that. I think part of the beauty of me getting older is that I get tired more easily and I have less energy, which makes me want to be more smart about how I'm using my time and energy. I don't want to waste, I don't want to waste, I guess, is the point I'm trying to make. And I've been wasting a lot of myself on the strategies that don't work. And I don't want to do that anymore. So that's why I'm going to start investing my time and energy in the strategies that do, which is sharing power and changing policies, practices, laws, etc. 

Hannah: So, you're going to run for office?

SooJin: No, no, no, actually I'm building my own. Like starting from scratch, like building things from scratch. I've come to a place in my life – and I want to be careful in the way that I say this – because I don't want it to be taken as like me saying, “you shouldn't do this” because not at all - because in the butterfly of social justice transformation, we need people in the institutions trying to reform. Right? Not all reform efforts are bad. Maybe 99% of reform efforts lead to failure, but that 1% of reform like actually does lead to real transformational change. So we absolutely need people in institutions of power to change from the inside out. Absolutely. And I tried to be a part of that work, and for me it just didn't work for me. It wasn't for me. Instead I'm part of that butterfly where it's more abolitionist in the sense of like, starting from scratch, creating new, starting with foundations that have built in these values of antiracism of anticapitalism of anti- all the “isms.” Instead of trying to like, add that stuff in. And so what that looks like for me going forward is I am going to be immersed this summer in working with Dianna Myles and the Angela Day School and creating a teaching licensure program for teachers of color who are going to be trained and educated around the principles of critical pedagogy that is rooted in the beauty and the gorgeousness and the spirituality of bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Augusto Boal of Paulo Freire like de-colonizing critical pedagogy that centers the knowledges, the cultures, the lived experiences of oppressed peoples. 

Hannah: Whoa, that’s amazing. 

SooJin: So that's my future work going forward. We'll see how it shapes and develops and evolves, but it's a start. It's a start. 

Hannah: I love it. I definitely feel that energy of like the creating your own thing. Like, I feel like you know, in my unschooling situation is a similar kind of like, well, I'm not getting what I want out of like other avenues, so I'm just going to go do this other thing. 

SooJin: Yeah and think about Hannah, like you spent six months with your children's school. All that time and energy and resources and invisible labor that you put and invested towards those conversations, towards trying to create change from within. What do you have really to show for it? Right. I mean, it led to nowhere, it led nowhere. And so instead, like what could you have done in those six months, if you had rerouted that energy to this new thing that you're building? And you know, we all learn, right. We all have to go through and make mistakes. And I have certainly made that mistake time and time and time again, and I am done making the same mistake.

So I'm so proud of us. Um, so my dear friend, I'm going to pose this question just to see if the definition has changed for you or not. Antiracist parenting/caretaking is... 

Hannah: So in the past I have said love or true love maybe. I'm going to add healing, though. That is resonating deeply with me. 

SooJin: Cool. Okay. So for me, antiracist parenting/caretaking is – and I said healing and I still believe in that. I do feel it is absolutely healing work. But I'm going to add to that as well. And that is antiracist parenting, antiracist caretaking is bringing into being something that has never been done before or something that doesn't yet exist. 

Hannah: I love it. I love that. 

SooJin: We're doing it for ourselves.

Hannah: Yes and for our world.

SooJin: For ourselves, for our world, for seven generations after us. Yes. What's one thing that your kids did to make you smile. 

Hannah: Oh, my goodness. They make me smile so much. Basically every morning they like come into our bedroom and we like basically have like a mini love-fest. Like we give hugs and just say good morning, beautiful. And have like snuggles and hugs. And it's just like the best way to start the day. 

SooJin: Oh, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. Dianna talked about that. 

Hannah: Oh yeah, yeah. 

SooJin: Yeah. About how her daughter comes in and she's the first thing that she wakes up to and she says good morning, mom, and gives her a kiss and yeah. That's sweet. For me it would be over Mother's Day dinner, her dad asked Sxela, what is it that you appreciate about your mom? And honestly, I really can't believe that she said this. She said that I was calm and patient. And I want you to understand the weight and significance of those two adjectives used to describe me because anyone who knows me, like, the old me, right? Anyone who knows me prior to this podcast, those are the two adjectives that would never even register in their consciousness. Me being calm and me being patient. Those two adjectives didn't even come into my mind of like how I would describe myself. And I also remember identifying impatience as my greatest weakness. And that being something that I kind of wrote it off as like, I'm just impatient. That's just a part of my identity and therefore it's not something that I ever worked towards. I didn't try to work towards being more patient. It's just like, this is just who I am. And for Sxela for Sxela to recognize that shift and for her to describe me. Oh my gosh. It was like the best thing anybody could ever say about me. It was a tremendous gift. It was a tremendous gift to hear that reflected back and for her to like be observing and witnessing that transformation in me. That just means everything. Because like, to be honest, she is the person who like experiences the brunt, right. Of my impatience, of my not being calm. And so I'm just so thankful that she is actually feeling that change in her life and how I'm relating to her. So, oh, that put a huge smile on my face. Yes. What are you reading right now? 

Hannah: Well, I just finished your memoir. 

SooJin: Shut the door! What?!

Hannah: I couldn't put it down. 

SooJin: You had it for less than two days!

Hannah: I know. I was like reading at all hours. I was like, I have to go mow the lawn. I'm like just a few more pages!

SooJin: Hannah. Oh my gosh. That’s a huge compliment. 

Hannah: It's a beautiful, SooJin. It's so beautiful. And I have much more to say on it, which I won't say here, but I just, I loved it. 

SooJin: Oh my gosh. Thank you. Wow. I'm speechless. I lost my words. That means so much to me. First of all, like anybody who actually takes the time to read my work like that touches me so deeply. And for you to have read nearly 400 pages, a mother of two young boys, trying to start a school on your own, like for you to take that kind of time and investment to read my story. I just, I can't thank you enough. Thank you, Hannah. 

Hannah: Thank you. Thank you for writing it and the for sharing it with me. 

SooJin: Oh, wow. Okay. I have been reading a few books as always. I always kind of have like three kind of circulating in my world. I just finished reading for my book club Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, who is a Black British author. I finished How We Show Up. Thanks to Hannah letting me, well, actually she gave me the book, so thank you for that.

Oh my gosh. It is so good. It will fill your soul and it will spark ideas to help you build something new, to live a different way, to relate to people in a different way. And to create structures with the new people so that you can feed each other, in a different way. So yeah, How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong and then the third book that I'm currently reading right now is called As We Have Always Done by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, a native writer from Canada and this book was recommended by a friend and former student Abaki Beck who also listens to this podcast. So shout out to Abaki Beck for sharing this title and recommending this book to me. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. And I feel like this book is coming to me at the optimal time for me, because of my new engagement in the strategy towards policy and sharing power and using tools and tactics that are outside of existing white supremacist, capitalist forms of intervention. I'm excited about that. And it's also a book that I'm going to be teaching in my fall class on Critical Indigeneity, Gender and Race. So super excited about that class. Okay. What are you doing to take care of yourself? 

Hannah: Ooh, I would say being more honest with people. I mean, like, I can give an example, but basically like I'm the type of person that signs up for way too much stuff. And it's like stuff I don't really want to be doing, but I just say yes. I feel like I'm going back to people and saying, you know what, I can't take this on right now. And so just being really honest about my capacity and interests and everything. That's what I'm doing.

SooJin: Awesome. Awesome. And I know I shared this with you when you had shared that before, but I would like to share it again if it's okay with you, for our listeners. And that is that when Hannah shared with me that she's being more honest and that she's saying no to more things. I reminded her of what Mia Birdsong said in How We Show Up on page 44. She says that "when I'm clear enough to say no to what I don't want, then I have more room to say yes to what I do want. I can't have my true yeses without the no’s." So in saying no to others and getting clear on your no, you say yes to yourself because you're more clear on your yes and your no.

Yeah. And I took that quote and turned it into an affirmation because I too have that same struggle that if someone asks me for something, invites me to do something, makes a request. My automatic response is yes. That people pleaser in me that was socialized early on. And I love how the two of us, me and you, can remind each other of that - when we say no and yes to each other. Okay. 

Hannah: How are you taking care of yourself?

SooJin: Oh yeah. Sorry, I forgot that. My SPACE DJ! 

Hannah: Yes. 

SooJin: That's how. And I’m really proud of myself because like I don't have to keep reminding myself, like there was a point in time where it's like, okay, I got to look at my list again. Am I doing these things and stuff like that. But I haven't looked at that list in like three weeks. So it's integrated, you know? And when I do need the reminders, because I know I will. It's right there, right in front of my desk. Right on the wall. I pass by it every single day, multiple times. And so, yeah it's there to help me when I do forget. 

Hannah: Awesome. 

SooJin: Well I think that's it. Thank you to our listeners. We hope that this season has been a helpful one for you. We hope that it has fed you in similar ways as it has fed us. And I also want to just highlight how we had said earlier on, Hannah, that we know how much this podcast has changed us. Right. And that is enough. Knowing that we've shifted and transformed is enough because it only takes one person to break a pattern. Yes. That is the power of one. And as adrienne maree brown says “small is all.”

Hannah: Yes. 

SooJin: I’m breaking all kinds of patterns. You're breaking all kinds of patterns that both of our children, our family members, the people around us can see. And that's everything, that's enough. That's enough. 

Hannah: I feel that.

SooJin: Yeah. Thank you everybody. Goodbye.

SooJin: We just want to say thank you for joining us today. You can find more information about us and past episodes on our website A big shout out to Mike Myth Productions for the intro and outro music.

Hannah: This work requires us to challenge ourselves and take care of ourselves. Be well.

SooJin: Be antiracist.