In this episode, SooJin and Hannah engage in a rich discussion with soulmates, Laura and Daren Hill. The conversation flows like a slow, meandering river as we challenge ourselves to slow down and be more like water: adaptable, strong, gentle, powerful, vulnerable, interconnected, and expansive. We break down “knowledge” by getting to know our ledges (boundaries) and defining ourselves on our own terms based in our own culture(s). Laura and Daren share how they lead by example, planting seeds to encourage critical thinking and cultivating their kids’ imaginations through education and art. It is truly a gift to witness the loving, healthy, and respectful relationship Laura and Daren have with each other and the world around them.
Please note: We sometimes use the acronym BIPOC, which means Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color. There is some profanity at the 14:09 and 38:35 minute marks.
Daren Hill’s Instagram: @probablypicasso
Your Queens, Inc. They are a character company depicting the stories of non-fictional African Kings and Queens.
Creative Storytelling by Speaking Out Collective: The Man, The Serpent and the Fox:
Link of Laura Hill’s grandpa shoveling:
Kindred by Octavia Butler: https://bookshop.org/books/kindred-6268c8de-13c6-4936-b889-3432f8682d05/9780807083697
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf: https://bookshop.org/books/the-invention-of-nature-alexander-von-humboldt-s-new-world-9780385350662/9780345806291
Hunting in Harlem by Mat Johnson: https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Harlem-Novel-Mat-Johnson/dp/1582344086
The A to Z: Characteristics and Qualities of Being a Revolutionary by Fred Ho: https://smile.amazon.com/Characteristics-Qualities-Being-Revolutionary/dp/1570272824/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=fred+ho+revolutionary&qid=1618254097&sr=8-1
Characteristics of White Supremacist Culture: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html
Quote that was mentioned in the episode: “If I didn’t define myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive," Audre Lorde said during a speech at Harvard University in 1982.
E10: Antiracist Parenting in the Context of Multiracial Families
Co-hosts: SooJin Pate and Hannah Carney
Guest: Laura and Daren Hill
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 10. Today, we continue our series on multiracial families examining the question posed by Karla Benson Rutten, one of our former guests. What do folks need to be thinking about as they embark on antiracist parenting, especially in the context of multiracial families? We'll be answering this question with two special guests who are raising two children together. But before we get to that, let's do our time-honored accountability check-in where Hannah and I check in with each other about the commitments we made from the last episode.
Hannah: Yes, thanks, SooJin. So I had a couple of items for accountability check in. The first was to order a copy of Kindred by Octavia Butler, which I did. And I actually started reading the first two chapters this morning. SooJin and I know something about each other, that we tend to wake up in the middle of the night and do podcast related work. So that was me, overnight, I was reading my Kindred book. And I have to say, just even after the first couple chapters, it really reminds me of Toni Morrison's Beloved in some ways of just kind of having these like very bizarre aspects to it, but also really being grounded in this brutal, brutal reality of slavery in our country. And so I am, you know, on my way to reading that book, thank you so much again, SooJin, for recommending that to me.
SooJin: Yeah. And I can't wait to have more fuller conversations between the two of us about that.
SooJin: I feel like maybe I should read it with you.
Hannah: Oh, okay. Yeah!
SooJin: Yeah. Okay.
Hannah: And then the other item that I had committed to was to talk to my kids about the shootings that had happened in Atlanta and Boulder. And when I talked to John, who is my partner/spouse, we decided that the way we would approach it would be to actually focus on just the Atlanta shooting. And so during our weekly family meeting on March 28th, we kind of made a statement. So John made a statement to the kids basically just saying, you know, here's what happened in Atlanta, you know, someone went into these different places and had killed some people, and kind of highlighted the fact that Asian American women had been targeted in in this particular attack. And then, you know, we kind of talked about Asian American women that we know that are close to us, and that racism is still a problem. And then we just kind of opened it up for the kids to ask questions. And there were kind of two main questions. They didn't ask a lot. I mean, I think they were just sort of processing what we were saying. But they were interested in like, how, like the weapon that was used. And then also my younger son Teo, who's five, he was wondering, you know, why were girls targeted? And so that was kind of an interesting.
SooJin: Good question.
Hannah: Yes, exactly. So we did have that conversation. It wasn't extremely robust. But, um, I think that I'm glad that we told them, and I feel like we left a space open for if they have follow-up questions or are thinking about that, that they could feel like they could come to us and ask more questions related to that, or, I mean, anything related to racism, really, and violence. So, so that happened. And then I just wanted to share one other story related to something that, you know, my kids did this since our last recording. And so we had a couple of my nephews over at our house, so we were hanging out. So these are my kids’ cousins. So my kids are five and seven years old. And this particular cousin who was in the mix on this conversation that happened is six years old. So five, six and seven - three boys, they kind of love hanging out together.
So we had just finished eating dinner. And my nephew, who was sitting with us at the table, noticed a drawing that we have on our wall in our kitchen. And he was like, oh, who's that? So my son. And just to give a little background, so my son Tony, had made this drawing of George Floyd last summer as a way to honor his life. And so, my kids, Tony and Teo both said, “Oh, that's George Floyd.” But this name was not familiar to my nephew. So he was kind of like, you know, okay, like, Is he an athlete? Is he an actor, like, you know, why do you basically why do you have a picture of this person on your wall? And so my kids responded so sweetly, they, they just basically said, Oh, no, he was just a regular guy. And Tony said, you know, he was killed by police. So then my nephew wanted to know, you know, what did he do to get killed by police? So Tony said, well, the store people thought that he might have used fake money. So they called the police. And at this point, my five year old, Teo, said “and he has brown skin.” And Tony said, “and that's racism.” Basically, meaning that killing someone because they have brown skin is racism. So my nephew thought about that, you know, for a few seconds, and then, you know, the three of them just sort of like ran off and started playing. And so John and I during this whole interaction, you know, really said nothing, we just kind of went along with our business, like we were cleaning up dinner as if it was a normal conversation, because in our house, that's what we're trying to do is normalize these conversations. And so later that night, when all the kids had gone to bed, we were reflecting on the conversation. And we first noted how great it felt to see how naturally our kids could talk about race and racism with other children. So that stood out immediately. And their tone had just been very matter of fact, like, there was no shaming or judging in any way, which was awesome. And their cousin just had questions, and our kids were super happy to just share what they knew about the subject, in this case, was a lot. And we also noted how art can be such a powerful catalyst for raising awareness and starting conversations that otherwise may not happen. And at our next family meeting, which was, I don't know, a week after the March 28th one, John and I told our kids how glad we were to see them having that conversation about race and racism with other children. And while interactions like this shouldn't seem so rare, we are hopeful that efforts around antiracism are beginning to become normalized in our life. And I personally think this is really important for child development, just to know what's going on in the world around you and to be able to talk about it. So just wanted to share that little story that happened recently.
SooJin: Oh, Hannah, this is so incredible! And so amazing. Like, this is the whole point of this podcast, right? Is like you said to normalize these conversations, but it also proves that, like, there's no time that's too young to be talking about this, you know, if children at three years old have already developed a racial bias that's pro white and anti-Black, we can turn that around, right? We can teach and counter that narrative. And so like, it's so I just love how, yeah, like how these kids it wasn't like, “Oh, like you don't know who George Floyd is?” Like, “How do you not know?” You know, like, yeah, what you're saying like, there's no shaming involved, but just like, “Oh, well, let me tell you about him.” And oh, gosh, that just fills my heart with joy. And yes, you're absolutely right. Like I hope we get to a time where it doesn't fill my heart with joy because it's just normal, status quo. That's what every child, you know, is raised to do. So, thank you for sharing that.
SooJin: My commitment, taking my cue from Karla was to be more deliberate and aware of my decisions, and to not run on autopilot. So the first thing I noticed was how I use language and phrases that are a reflection of our white supremacist patriarchal culture that don't align with my values. So for example, I was making a Word document. And as I saved it, I started writing the word “master copy.” And I'm like, and I took a moment, I'm like, what master, like, why am I reproducing the language of the master like this? And, you know, I'm an antiracist educator. And yeah, like, you know, here I am naming this document, a master copy. Um, another thing was, I was teaching class, and I was about to say - we're talking about a final project - and I was saying, “Oh, you can” - and I was about to say, “hit two birds with one stone.” Think about that language. How violent that is. It is so violent, and yet it is I mean, it's like a common cliche saying phrase that we say, right? But I stopped myself, and rephrased it. As you know, you can accomplish two goals with one project. And my students saw, like what I was doing, you know, that they saw that I was like interrupting myself, and they chuckled a little bit. And they got like, oh, okay, like, yes. And then I started to think about, like, other like, aspects of our language that are just like, you know, considered normal status quo that are violent, and I immediately thought of like the lullaby, “Rockabye Baby.” Like, have you thought about those words, people? Like how violent that is?
Hannah: Yes. Totally.
SooJin: So anyway, so I just became more conscious about that. And in recognizing this, I slow down, like how, you know, white supremacy is culture and patriarchy is showing up in my everyday language. And recognizing that, I slow down my decision-making process, like hitting the Slow Mo button on myself. I now take a beat to ask myself, do I really want to do what I'm doing right now? Is this really what I want to say? Then I check in with both my gut brain and my heart brain, to see if it feels right and aligns with my values. And this has led me to be very deliberate about letting feeling guide me, letting what feels right in this moment guide me. And I want to point out here that there's a huge difference between what feels right and emotions, they're not the same thing. Feelings and emotions are not the same and should not be conflated as such. And here's an example of how they're different. So this week, some insecure emotions were bubbling up in me about my relationship with a friend. She wasn't responding to me in what I consider to be a timely, thoughtful manner. And the emotion that bubbled up in me was insecurity, fear, and frustration. But did it feel right to respond to my friend from these emotions? When I checked in with my heart and gut brain, the answer was clear, absolutely not. But the old me would have just gone on autopilot instinctively called her to confront her about how she was making me feel by not being considerate of me or my timeline, a story of harm that I've fabricated to justify my insecure emotions. I interpreted her lack of response as putting me on hold, and therefore hurting me because she wasn't concerned about my time. But the Slow Mo me recognized that this was all my shit. By taking time to question the emotions that were rising up within myself, I realized this had everything to do with me and nothing to do with her. So I let go of those insecure emotions. And when we finally did connect, I was able to respond to her from a place as if no harm was done, because no harm was actually done. And we actually had a lovely check in and a productive meeting. So I know that if I didn't slow my roll, I would have harmed a relationship by accusing her of something that she was not doing. And on the topic of accusation, being in Slow Mo has helped me realize that, um, in terms of my parenting, I can respond in a way that sounds authoritative or accusatory when I'm on edge, tired, hungry or just feeling off, but when I slow down my thinking, I end up reframing what would sound like an accusation into a question. So instead of saying to my daughter the other day, you still haven't cleaned the bathroom like I told you to. I took a breath, realizing that if I said that it makes it sound like she did something wrong. And I instead said, “When were you thinking about cleaning the bathroom?” And she cheerfully responded, “At 3pm.” So slowing down my decision-making process is reaping huge rewards in my life. I'm not only averting conflict and unnecessary tension and strife in myself and with others, but I'm also taking care of myself better because I'm checking in with myself before I eat or drink something, before I do something asking myself is this really what my body is asking of me right now? So no decision is too small to slow down and double check to make sure is this truly what feels right in the moment. And here's another beneficial byproduct of wellness. When I tune into what my body and spirit really need, moment by moment, it makes my work more productive and enjoyable, because that's what I really want to be doing in that moment. It makes spending time with my daughter more enjoyable, because that's what I really want to be doing in that moment, because it was a conscious choice. And in that way, this Slow Mo me is not only helping me to live in more integrity, where my actions and words align with my values, but also to savor life more. So I'm so glad that I made this commitment, because I'm already seeing like the benefits on a day-to-day like how it's making my life, my well being so much better. And in turn, I'm like treating other people better.
Hannah: SooJin that is awesome. I just love that. I love it. And actually our intention for this episode is totally wrapped around this idea of slowing down. Our intention today is to slow down and check in with ourselves, paying attention to our feelings and emotions as powerful sources of information. And inherent in this intention is moving away from doing things as we've always done, which is status quo, or operating in this cycle of urgency. For example, I'd like to make a change, but there's just no time right now, or really ever. And these are tenants of white supremacist culture, and we can disrupt them by slowing down and really analyzing the ways we might be perpetuating them. So thank you, SooJin for modeling this already for us.
SooJin: Oh, yes, of course. Thank you to Karla. You know, for inspiring me around this commitment.
SooJin: Okay, now I have the wonderful pleasure of introducing you all to our two wonderful guests, to Laura and Daren Hill. And thank you so much for being here. And if you wouldn't mind telling our listeners who you are, where you come from and what you do.
Laura: Sure. I'm Laura Mann Hill, and I use she/her pronouns. I'm from the Twin Cities area. Grew up here. I am an educator an artist, community organizer, and kind of a layers of other things. I feel like it's hard for me to define all the things that I do. But I like to also say that I'm a mom and a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and I am married to Daren Hill. And I he can say a little bit more about himself.
Daren: Yeah, I'm Daren Hill. I'm a visual artist, muralist. And I like to call myself a creative placemaker. Not in the sense of like how corporations are coming into neighborhoods and co-opting the areas I guess, but in the sense that I see opportunities for not only myself but the people that I'm engaging with. So I like to use that to creatively find places for people's voices. And I also consider myself just an all around Superdad and try to be like a...
SooJin: Yes, claim that title!
Laura: And I think something that is interesting about Daren and I is, well, we both are multiracial and Black. And we both identify as such. And I'm really glad that universe brought us together, because he's my soulmate in so many ways. And he helped me kind of find, I think both of us like, we've been able to find a lot of common threads in our experiences. And we actually had mutual friends growing up that we, but we never, we were even at a school dance together, but didn't meet each other. And so we've had kind of these interactions where we didn't cross paths until the right moment. So I like to say the universe kind of brought us together. But yeah, I think there's something unique about finding someone that has similar life experiences, and in relation to, you know, kind of the work that we're talking about on this podcast of raising two children who also have similar identities. So I think that is kind of a unique place to come from. Or maybe not, I mean, I also feel like, we just don't always hear all those narratives. And that's something that I encountered growing up, you know, as a Black child, who was multiracial growing up in Minnesota, sometimes not always seen or being reflected in narratives and in spaces. So I think that it's something that we can offer our kids kind of from our experiences.
SooJin: That's awesome. Daren, I want to apologize for interrupting you. Yeah, I totally cut you off when I'm like, claim that title of Superdad. Sorry about that. Um, do you mind saying what, like finishing what you were saying when I interrupted you?
Daren: Yeah, I guess I’d just like to say that I'm an all around Superdad, but also that, um, I like to strive to be a global citizen. So I'm not just participating here in the Twin Cities, but like, how my decisions are affecting us on a larger scale, right and how I'm doing my part. So. Yeah, I'd like to, I guess I would call myself visual artists, muralist, creative placemaker, Superdad, and global citizen.
SooJin: Oh, that's fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. We'd like for you to answer and you know, come into the space with your own intention. So what is your intention for today?
Daren: Oh, I guess my intention is just I'm always open minded. So I really am here to have an open, honest conversation and hopefully learn something. I've already kind of started taking notes, I think, like, when you're talking about slowing down, that kind of resonated to me. And I think that just goes back to like, I kind of was talking to Laura last week about knowing the ledge or which is knowledge, right, knowing that ledge knowing your boundaries, and I think I like slowing down, right, you are able to, like really see what you're comfortable with what you're not comfortable with. And like how, like you said, just even the tone of like, how you're responding to your children, right? Like, and how it's interesting language is like that, right? You say one thing, but you don't like, it comes off completely different. And like, one thing that I like to stress is like intention versus impact, right, your intentions were good, but the impact is different. So I think by like slowing down, you're really able to like, kind of grasp all of this. Right, and helps you remain grounded. So I think that you know, going into that I'd like to kind of echo that and like kind of make that my new intention, you know, to slow down more and really remind myself to slow down more.
Laura: And I think for me, my intention again is I enjoy being in spaces where we can be honest, hold each other accountable, explore our strengths, and what we have to offer because everyone has gifts and knowledge, no matter what your backgrounds or experiences. And something that I think I'm really intentionally trying to do as well. And both of you your conversations and your accountability check-in really resonated with me because I'm trying to do a better job of communicating my intentions and having more clarity. And I think slowing down does help that because it's really important to me to be in right relationship with each other and also this understanding that we are part of the environment, in nature, and the world - we're all interconnected. And so I think that, that our current culture is really not designed to honor that and those ways of being. And so we often do end up on autopilot. And so I do appreciate opportunities to just to slow down, reflect and think about, you know, the way that we communicate the way that we're in relationship with each other. It really does matter. And it and the way that we're in relationship with the world around us the way that we treat ourselves, our bodies, our food, water, plants and animals, and that it's, it's all connected. And I think if we took more time to think about that. So I'm just really trying to really take time to be a better listener to all the things around me. Last month, my commitment to myself was to be more like water. And because we are made of water, and it just has a lot that it can teach us, it's so adaptable, and it can be strong, but it can be gentle. And it's powerful, but it's also vulnerable. And so as a person, just knowing like our own limitations, but then also the expansiveness of the possibilities of what we can do, especially when we recognize our interconnectedness. Because otherwise, we are not going to move forward and make those changes that we would like to see in our world.
SooJin: Wow, those are both gorgeous intentions. Thank you for sharing all that. Wow. Okay, so, um, this was a question that was raised, as I'd mentioned, from one of our previous guests, Karla she had asked the question, you know, how should we be thinking about raising our children to be antiracist in the context of multiracial families?
Laura: Sure. And I did get the chance to listen to that episode. And it was very interesting to hear from the perspective of the parent of a multiracial child, because yeah, we are multiracial children.
Laura: Yeah. And we are Black, multiracial children. So hearing her perspective was really interesting for me. I have a white mother and a Black father. And yeah, Daren can speak for himself. But I think both of us have had really different experiences. And even I think our children will, you know, based on I think she talked a lot about colorism, and the way that the way that you appear to the world often impacts how you're treated, regardless of how you identify. And so I think just to kind of like, start at the beginning is, we before you can help your child become antiracist, and, you know, there's all these things that we want them to do, I think you have to really have a strong knowledge of yourself as Daren mentioned. And just that basis in your culture, and your family. And when I say family, I say that in a way of, you know, families are, can look so many different ways. And it can be your chosen family. And it doesn't have to be your blood relations. My kids grew up with Auntie's that, you know, aren’t blood related, but they're their Aunties, you know, and I feel that the foundations that you set for your kids from the beginning, and really having those like intentions of like loving themselves for who they are. And I always wanted our kids, we have an 11-year-old and a 6-year-old, and I wanted them to be able to self-define themselves. Because for myself, and Karla talked about it, when I was in college, I was just really angry, because people were putting so many different labels on who I was. And the microaggressions were so terrible and damaging to me, physically and emotionally that I actually got really sick and I just was really angry a lot of the time. And so I think, as I've gotten older, I've learned to let go of that, that anger of other people - not letting other people define me. I think Audre Lorde has a really great quote about that. That helped me kind of like you're going to be crushed by other people's...
Laura: Yes. So you just can't let that define you or to guide you. So I really wanted our kids to feel that they could really define themselves. They were both born in Brooklyn, we moved to Brooklyn about in 2006, and we lived there for 10 years. And so our kiddos were, were really raised in a very multicultural environment. And in a neighborhood with, they had my kids had Black teachers, and they were around mostly Black and brown kids, and it just was a, I think it gave them a stronger – well, I would say Amira more so because she lived there longer. But I think it gave her a stronger sense of self-identity, that and just in defining who she was, like, she was like, I'm Black, I'm from Brooklyn, you know, if you have a problem with that, like, that's your problem.
Daren: I also think though, to that part of it, like, you know, comes from leading by example, right? You’re your children's first teachers, so you can do all of this work right outside of your, your immediate circle or your bubble of people. And that's, that's good and fine, but it doesn't, it almost goes in vain. If you're not first leading by example, right? And like doing I think some of those things are like being involved in your neighborhood, or like kind of doing like some of these “civic duties,” right. But like little things, like, just so let me think about this for a second. So like, leading by example, right? Like, I can't say to be, you know antiracist, if I am showing my biases, right. And not like, trying to check myself when it is happening, right. So I think that you have to think the basis of everything is like leading by example, right? Like, you have to constantly like learn, and adapt and change. And I think that in turn your kids see, and it kind of like absorbs into them. Right. Like, when we were living in New York, I guess, like I was taking Amira to some of those Occupy Wall Street rallies. So it's always kind of been ingrained in us. And I think it's like, because we're multiracial, and because we kind of have this like, weird complexion for the connection, right? Like growing up was like, kind of thought of myself as not white enough for white people, but not Black enough for Black people. So we're just kind of, like, in this weird gray area.
Laura: The space in between.
Daren: Yeah. So we literally can see things from like, all sides, right. And it's like this dual edged sword. Like it's empowering. But it's also very frustrating. So I think, you know, by doing things like participating in social justice things, or just, you know, exposing your children to your culture, to their history, right, like, all of these things are leading by example, right, it's kind of planting these little seeds. Like, you can't just tell somebody right like to change, they're going to have to change when they want to change. And the only thing you can do is like, keep doing what you're doing to be antiracist. And hoping that like, they're seeing that right. And while you're doing that, you're kind of watering the seeds and letting the plant grow into what the plant is going to grow into.
SooJin: I love what you're saying there, Darren, because it reminds me of like, the kind of philosophy that I've adopted for myself, and my teaching, and my parenting, and my friendships, and partnerships is, I will never ask of you anything that I don't ask of myself. Like, that's how I hold myself accountable. And it's simply unfair. It's totally unfair for me to expect something from you that I wouldn't expect to give, or offer, or do myself. So yeah. So thanks for lifting that up. And kids see that right. They see the hypocrisy. They see the contradictions.
Daren: They’re so innocent...
Laura: They don’t have that filter, sorry to interrupt you.
Daren: And it kind of reminds me it's kind of silly, but it's like Thumper, right? Like Thumper’s mom would say, right, treat other people how you want to be treated or if you don't have anything nice to say.
Laura: And I think I think also it was mentioned in your last episode of like developing a critical consciousness. And that ability to navigate situations and think about it critically. And I think when I first started to realize that Amira when she was about (that's our 11-year-old) when she was pretty young, I think it was in 2016. And our former president was speaking about people on television and saying something about Black people. And she was like, “What is he talking about? He must not know any Black people. He's talking about us as being dangerous.” And she's like, “He should come to our neighborhood.” You know, she was like, it was so obvious to her. And kids don't have the filter, and as you were mentioning earlier, when you don't even realize that you've been kind of indoctrinated and influenced by white supremacy culture, to the point where it just feels normalized. And she hadn't - it was clearly not there yet, you know, she still had that resistance to these narratives and ideas, you know, this is ridiculous what this person is saying. And I think that that has continued for her. And it's not so I'm not telling her what to say. I mean, it's coming from her mouth.
SooJin: And it's innate, because we're not born to be racist, right?
Laura: It’s taught. This oppression is taught, and the way that she views things. The other day, she told me, she was like, it's not hard to not be racist, you just have to have empathy. You know, you have to have a perspective of she said, because I know, she's like, some of my teachers are racist, she said, and she said, I don't think they even know it. But they are. And she gives me really specific examples. And because she, unfortunately, I think, moving to Minnesota, she said she likes it just as much as Brooklyn, but sometimes I think she's just encountered a lot more racism. I think Minnesota can be a really hard place to live as a Black Indigenous Person of Color (BIPOC). Because you are, I think there's the desire to put people in these boxes in a different way than I felt like, when we lived in New York, I didn't feel as confined to those boxes.
Daren: Yeah, it was completely different. Even like the socio-economic like, you know, levels that there are right, you were around, like, everybody, you know, so we're all kind of like, trying to survive in this rat race. Right. So it's like, you didn't really - like some of these things that seem so like obvious here. It wasn't really there. Right? It wasn't that it wasn't like happening there. But it was just like, so I think we let some of these negative things control us, right. And I feel like we can like, really, like, break out of those. So I used to be a telemarketer, right. And we used to think about like one of the things that my manager kind of taught to me and I think it kind of like I adapted it to my everyday life, right? It's like, you can think about like the “no’s” all the time, right? You're going to get no’s, it's inevitable, right? Just like you're going to encounter, you know, for lack of a better word a-holes and, you know, pieces of shit that are just inherently like bad, right? So if you focus on that, and you're constantly looking at that you're missing out on all of these other things, right? Like, just because they say that this is that box doesn't mean that you can't cut the corner and make it into a blanket or make it into like a canvas and do something else. Right.
Daren: So focus on the “yes,” right. Focus on the times, like, that's what I tell us like that. You're getting a yes. What did you do when you got that yes? Right. So like, what does it feel like when you're not, you know, racist or you're not, you know, putting somebody down or judging them just because they're different than you like, what does that feel like, right? And then like, imagine, like, what that feels like for them and focus on that instead of like all this negative. Because then you start to get in that cycle, right? And then you don't, it's kind of cancerous, right. So it's hard to break that once you get in that cycle.
Laura: I think art and imagination, as you mentioned earlier, both of us are artists. I'm more of a theater artist, storyteller background, right. Daren's a visual artist. But I think teaching our kids to imagine and I mean that we don't even need to teach them right. Just it's more of cultivating that like and valuing them. I think that has been one of the greatest powers our kids have is they are so imaginative. And they love storytelling and narratives. And they're to the point where you can tell a story and they're like, well, I don't I think it should go this way. I think you should add this and they push back in this really beautiful way. And I think that is their power, I think in society to push back against when someone is trying to impose these structures. My kids are like I’m going to imagine a different world. And Adrienne Maree Brown talks about that all the time and a lot of other really wonderful people. And I'm a huge fan of Octavia Butler, I heard you talking about Kindred. And that was my introduction to Octavia Butler. And that was like mind blowing. So I think having that power of narrative and imagination is like the biggest gift. And so that is also something that I think we both have cultivated. I mean, I just watched Amira, she was coloring - and this just seems really like a small thing - but she's coloring, she had like a Disney coloring book or something. And I looked, and she had colored Ariel Black. Right. And so. And that's not I don't think that is an accident. Right. Like, I don't think that just happened. I think it's because of the way that she grew up. Yeah, I do think that.
Daren: I mean, I guess it was kind of hard. Like, right, like some of these things. There's not a lot of like stories, where there's like people of color where they're the central character, like, even like, I just was watching something yesterday, which is kind of interesting. That like, if you look at films, right, whenever there's a person of color, they're not centered frame - they're in the margins or off to the side, even if they're like the star of the film, right? We never see them in the center frame. And it took this one director, this new show on Amazon called Them to break that norm in film, right? Where he's putting these beautiful brown faces right in the center of the frame. And I never thought of that until he mentioned that, right? So I think too, one of the things that we did when, like, both of our daughters were young is show them stories of people of color, right? Like, I got Amira a Harriet Tubman book when she was really young, you took her to...
Laura: I took her to, when she was about three or four, my friends started her own business, it's called Your Queens and it was literally she said, “We are the anti-Disney Princess.” And it was all like celebrating Black royalty. And they came in with these amazing, like clothing. And the kids got to learn a dance and a song. And so her first introduction to royalty, and who queens or princesses are - were these amazing women. And so she left that at age three. And then I remember someone had bought her this Disney princess book, and she was like, “Where are all the Black princesses?” And she was like, “Do they not know?” She said someone should tell them because she was literally confused because someone gave her this. And she's like, Tiana is not the only one. Like, there are so many other narratives and stories and she was literally like, once again, her because we brought her to these other spaces, you know, just having that and that understanding that there's more, you know, than what the mainstream culture is feeding us.
Daren: And it’s just really like reinforcing, you know, that because you're a person of color. That you're beautiful, right? Like you are beautiful. I try to tell them that like I think every night before they go to bed, like don't change, right? Like I'm proud of you. Don't let anybody sway you and tell you different, right? You're beautiful the way you are. And I was kind of circling back to leading by example, right? Like, I think these are the little things that we need to do, right? And then it doesn't become like, oh, how do we teach our kids to be antiracist? Right? It's normal behavior, right? It's not like even like, it's not like, it's some weird, like, pseudo way of thinking it's the normal way to be.
Laura: It’s like re-remembering the ways that our ancestors were in relationship with each other. And I think that it's not always new. I mean, it is a new, it's kind of this combination of a new way of being, but also like understanding where we came from and like other ways.
Daren: Right, and the nasty and being honest about like, the nasty history of the country, right. Like, there's definitely blood on the soil, right. Like, there's no denying that. And I think not like hiding that.
Laura: Yeah, we're always very honest with our kids.
Daren: You know, like, it sucks, you know, colonizers came to Africa, they stole us on a boat. Right. And we, you know, we were slaves. I think there's like ways that you can phrase it so it's not as traumatizing to your children, but you have to, like, you can't hide the history. And I think like, if you try to like sugarcoat it too much, you end up doing a disservice to them. And that's already what like some of these history books are doing right, we're already getting this white, hetero narrative that's watering down these things. And it becomes uncomfortable to talk about when you're an adult, if you don’t start thinking about it when you’re young.
Laura: Yeah, because I remember Amira calling out one of her teachers because they were learning about the Transcontinental Railroad. She said, “Mom, this is my, this is ridiculous, because they're just saying oh yeah there were Native Americans.” And not really recognizing that what the railroad was doing to, I mean cutting through people's land and what it did, they didn't really address Chinese laborers and the conditions, and she was just on this huge rant. And she was just so frustrated. She said, this is trash, this curriculum, this isn't telling the whole story, Mom.
SooJin: She’s 11? 10?
Laura: This is last year during the pandemic. They sent them home with a bunch of packets, you know. And she's like, “Mom, I can't even do this assignment.”
SooJin: At 10 years old, old she has this critical consciousness.
SooJin: Yeah. So like, again, like every age is the right age.
Laura: And you can build on that knowledge. And actually she said, “Why don't they teach kids?” She said, and she literally said that to me. She said, “Why don't they teach us this? Why would they lie to us?” Because she said, then they're going to grow up, and they're going to learn the truth, and they're going to be angry, because no one taught them. And she didn't understand why they would lie about the history. So why would you not really explain what happened? You know, and the whole story?
SooJin: So I have a question. So before you came together, and had children, did you talk about, like, how you wanted to raise your kids? Like, was that even a conversation? Or were the two of you just so in sync, because you had such similar experiences, similar identities, and the way that you identified like that it was kind of a no brainer type of situation?
Daren: It kind of just came. I mean, for me, it feels very natural, right? Like, I don't think that we ever, like sat down, it's like, oh, well, like check off the boxes of like, how we want it, you know, I think that it's just like, really, the basis was just to, then maybe Laura, like, I'm wrong, but you probably can agree like just that, have them always feel loved, right? And always feel like they're safe around us, right. And so I think that's kind of like where the foundation of this right comes from. So it's like, just always feeling loved and feeling safe and secure when they're with us. And for me, that's like, the most important thing. And I think like from that, you start to get these like, so maybe that's the basis of all this thing, right? Is like showing love and compassion, right? Like, maybe you'll be less of a bad person if you get a little bit of love. So I don't know. But like, I think for me, that's kind of like where the main focus was.
Laura: Yeah, I think we had, I have a background, you know, obviously, I was a teacher, I was an educator in Brooklyn, MS57 Ron Brown Academy. My mom was a teacher. His mom was a teacher.
Daren: My grandpa was a teacher. My grandma so.
Laura: So I think like education has always been a value for us. And so I think we use literature, narrative, stories. I think that's something that we like, inherently all have valued, you know, and whether or not we were conscious about that. So I think education was like our pathway into dealing with this wide range of topics. For my parents, it was always about experiences they said, you know, like, if I was learning about a topic, I wouldn't just read a book about it, but they’d take me to a museum, or you know, we would go experience things my dad wanted us to know, not just about what we learned in school, he was really a believer of like it's my responsibility as your parent to also teach you. He wanted me to learn about jazz, because he really likes jazz and the history of that. And, you know, we went to Harlem when we visited and he took us a lot to museums and things like that. So I think both of us like value, like knowledge, but there's also like, knowledge that doesn't come from books, too. So I think, yeah, we did talk a lot as we were, you know, in our own relationship, I think of navigating kind of some of the histories and the myths.
Daren: The micro- and macro-aggressions that we've experienced. I don't know, I think for me even growing up, you know, it's not that like, I didn't have like, loving parents or anything, right, because they were great, but it's just like, there was so many of us. You know, I have 10 brothers and sisters besides myself. And I think for my dad, right, being a person of color, a teenager growing up in the 90s, in Minneapolis, it was a very hard time. And I think like, for especially for like my older brother who's, you know, two shades darker than I am. It like really affected him differently. So I think, like, we didn't have these conversations about race, right? I think my dad did everything he thought was right, right. Like, he got me out of Minneapolis Public Schools put me into Edina, right. So he because he thought that was the right thing to do, right? Because my brother, was kind of going down, you know, a challenging path, right? Trying to navigate growing up. So there was like, a lot of things that I think like he was trying to protect us from right. So we just didn't really have these conversations about race. So then that led to a lot of like, weird things, right? Like, I had to take the city bus to the bus stop to go to Edina, right? So that was like, my first year. And that was just like, so navigating that like, right? Imagine being like a 13 or 14-year-old kid that has to do that. That didn't really work out, you know. So then my dad would drop me off at school, before he would go to work, but I would still be walking around Edina like a half an hour, 45 minutes, you know, prior to it, but I think it's like, it was like a gift and a curse. Right? I got like a lot of micro-aggressions like I remember the first day being there. My hair was longer. And the kids were so fascinated with this. Like, when I got on the bus, they wanted to all touch it, right? Like, that's not like cool, right? Right. They had never seen that. Or like when I would bring kids to my neighborhood. They're like, oh, it looks like you live in Boyz N the Hood or Menace II Society. But I'm like, this is normal, right? It's not that bad. But I kind of ignored it. Right. So I think it took me graduating from high school and realizing that my so-called friends, they just kind of disappeared, right? Like all of these friends at Edina just after we graduated, right? It was like, okay, we don't have to be friends with this person of color right, like, just done. And I think that's when it made me realize like, okay, like it made me more observant to some of these societal issues. And then it took me like, really just having like life experience, right? Like, because there were so many of us because there wasn't this, like, I didn't have, like some of these conversations about like, it was like, yeah, go to college. Right. That's the right thing to do. But it's not like how do you plan to do that? Right. So like, I kind of had to figure out that and I think my saving grace was just being around like my, my older brother and some of his friends, right? They started to kind of read more like books like the Kabbalah, the Quran, the Torah, right? They started to like, really dive into religion, and then just spirituality. So me hanging out in the studio, I got to kind of experience that. And then I knew. So by the time me and Laura met fast forward, like I knew that Minneapolis wasn't for me, right? Like, I knew that there was this box that I kept feeling, right? Like, like I mentioned earlier, like I wasn't, you know, white enough for white people wasn't Black enough for Black people. Like I'm experiencing all these things, but I felt very like, like my parents, they just sheltered me, right? That was our way of dealing with like, you know, antiracism is like, let's remove it, right. Like, as soon as we feel it, let's remove it. So they don't experience it, but in some ways, like it made it worse. So then going to New York, it was like really like, oh, that was kind of wow, you can be a person of color. And you don't have to be, you know, in a gang, right? Or, like, you don't have to play basketball or sports, right? Like, because I’m an artist, but for the longest time, like I just I didn't tell people that I was an artist. I would doodle on everything, right? My whole bedroom was covered with stuff, but I didn't you know, and I’d get yelled at and I painted over, right, but I wouldn't like share that side of me because I was worried about how I was going to be perceived, right? I wanted to fit in right. So like I wanted to feel normal.
SooJin: This is the power of diversity. With diversity you can be free to be yourself.
Daren: Right, exactly. So then it was like, okay, this is it right? Like, that's when I started to realize. I think going out and being exposed to all of these people like you know, on different like economic levels, like just all in the same neighborhood. That really blew my mind. Because my experience with rich people was Edina right. Like Minneapolis has really nice neighborhoods, but...
Laura: It’s very segregated.
Daren: ...going to Edina it was like whoa, you know, like, I remember walking into the room and we didn't have chalkboards, we had whiteboards. And that was like I remember that, like blew my mind. And like, all the rooms had TVs, and I had never experienced that. So I'm like, oh, wow, this is, you know, this is it? And I think so I think that was kind of good, too, because then it showed me that there's like more.
Laura: Yeah, I think when we moved to New York, and we had a couple years together before we had kids to kind of just establish who we were as people, right, and who we wanted it to be, and kind of, when you have that knowledge of who you are that it's a good basis, then. It's always evolving too.
SooJin: Daren, I wanted to go back to what you were talking about, you had said something about like, what it comes down to is just like teaching them love and to love them and to nurture them and surround them with love. But, you know, I would conjecture that lots of racist white people would say that they grew up in loving homes, and that your friends, your white friends from Edina would say that they grew up in loving homes. And so I know, you said that on the one hand, but then on the other hand, the both of you have been talking about, like how intentional education is right. And, and so I was wondering if you could say a little bit more about that.
Daren: Yeah, I think because we have backgrounds in our family, right, as teachers, I think some of those things became instilled in us. But I think like, also for us it's the part about being a critical thinker. Right? So we can give Amira a book, right? Um, and tell her like oh, you should read this. It's about that. But then there's like a level of responsibility that goes deeper than that, right? Like, you have to, like, then go into the back and check the sources, right? And if you want to get more information, you look at that, and you find that book, and you find that and so you're well rounded. So you're not just forming your own opinion based on one source. Yeah, I think that - I mean unfortunately with the internet. It's like a gift and a curse, right? Because now you have these algorithms that are just feeding you, like they see you look at one thing, and they're going feed you everything that they think like kind of ties into that, right? So then you think you're really doing research, but then it ends up just being the same, right? Like it's curated to you.
Laura: And you get in an echo chamber. And I think, I think to add on to the, like, love is important. And then also, though, you need to have relationships with people that come from different backgrounds and experiences. And so if you are living in a segregated, monoculture environment that is not going to produce as Daren talked about earlier, being a more global citizen. If you see things in a vacuum, and I think going back to, you know, my intentions, is thinking about how we are interconnected, you know, our liberation, it's tied. Those are not my words, right. But we know that, and I believe that is true. And if white supremacy is as harmful to white people as it is to Black Indigenous People of Color - or people I should say, of the global majority. Sometimes I like that framing better. I always hated the word “minority” as a kid, I thought that was just so dehumanizing. Because it's not true.
SooJin: Statistically it’s not.
Laura: Yeah, it’s not actually true. So there's something to be said of just, it's really important to have relationships with people, and like real relationships, right? Not like I have one Black friend, you know, or whatever, or “my co-worker.” You have to have real relationships with people and know when to step up and when to step back. And something that we've tried to do as well, as Daren said, we take our kids with us, and they have lots of experiences everywhere. I'm very involved with a group called Million Artists Movement, which you're also part of (SooJin). That's how I met you. And I think those kinds of spaces are really beautiful, because it's a family of people, you know, that have, you know, similar values, but is also very self-aware. And we're always kind of trying to build our analysis of how do we move through our past to Black liberation. And knowing that's tied to everyone's liberation. And so I think for our kids, it's similar in that they have to understand that it's bigger than just our family. And it's, you know, there's a huge global world of people that, you know, have really shaped -- our choices that we make impact everyone.
Daren: I think that goes back to like your intentions versus your impact, right? Like, they say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right? You can have all the good intentions in the world, but it has a different impact, right? Like, you’ve got to be mindful of your impact. And sometimes we're not even like aware, right? Like, we can have the best intentions. And I think like, um, you know, there's been times like, even like recently, where it's like, oh, I thought I was doing the right thing. Right. I thought I was like, being helpful. And, but I wasn't. And I think then that comes back to like knowing yourself and being holding yourself accountable. Slowing down. And then like, it almost seems like natural, but I remember this issue with this person, right? Like, he came at it with his guards up, but then I like was like, oh, right. I took complete ownership. It's like oh, my fault. I didn't realize, you know. And I think that he was taken aback by that, right. Because usually people don't own up to their mistakes, right? Or like, your pride or something gets in the way. So you don't realize it especially when your intentions are good. You're like, you know, how could I be wrong? Like I was, you know, and I think that like, so that kind of go comes back to that slowing down. And you slowing down and you realize, like, your intentions may have been good, but is your impact actually harmful?
Laura: Because you can still cause harm. And I talked, I was talking with someone yesterday about, you know, they were having some challenges with someone, you know, it was a white person. It was a Person of Color, who was having some challenges with a white friend who was like, “well, I'm trying. Isn't that enough? I'm going to make mistakes.” Yeah but you still have to recognize that in your trying and in those mistakes, you could be harming people. Right? And so you can't be so flippant about it and just say – well trying is enough. Yeah, but you also have to be intentional, right?
Daren: Yeah. And then as that person, like just being her like, it takes a level of like - you need to say I hear you, I didn't realize that. Yes, I was trying to do that but I didn't realize that I made someone feel this way and then taking personal accountability, right. And I think, like when we do that, and like we, like really hold ourselves accountable, I think then we can like really kind of like, check our own biases, right? Because we all have biases. Like, we can kind of get like, we can kind of see like, out outside of that. Right. And like, it allows us to kind of move forward. Me and Laura kind of wrestle politically sometimes.
Daren: And I just like to play the devil's advocate, right? Like I see where this person is coming from, I don't agree with it. But I like to strip things down to like the simplest thing, right? I think Benjamin Franklin said simplicity, simplicity, simplicity, right? Like, I think like all of these things, like, if we to a certain extent it’s like layers of onions, right? If you just keep peeling. Like, it's a pretty simple act, we keep peeling away, right? We get to, yeah, to whatever the core is.
Laura: Yeah, sometimes we have that. That would be like, I think our biggest tension sometimes is like kind of our, like, the way to approach things.
Daren: Right. And then just going back, it's just different ways. Like we have a common goal, right? Sometimes it's different ways of approaching it. But then it's not that one (unless it's inherently wrong) is better. It's just that you have to understand that there's multiple paths right to this, and not faulting somebody for taking a different path, right? Because then you become just as bad, right? So like if we're like talking in the language of the oppressor, right. Like if we talk about this, and we don't combat...
Laura: Angela Davis talks about that. We don't want to replicate...
Daren: ...that same behavior that we're trying to fight. So just because somebody is like ignorant, right? Ignorance is literally you're “not in sense.” You have no sense, right? You don't know what you don't know. So you can't fault that person. You can only teach them right now hopefully, like we were saying plant that seed, right because they're going to change if they want to change. It's not up to us to force that person to change. It's up to us to lead by example, show them opposite views and push back on some of these things, right? Like you said with the love, right? I appreciate that. Because you push back, right? And that made me kind of like, again, hold myself accountable. Slow down and think right and without having like this - this is my first time meeting you – but with us being able to have this and being comfortable with people pushing back on something.
Laura: That’s healthy.
Daren: We're going to kind of keep repeating this cycle. And we're not going to break that unless we're able to really kind of hold ourselves accountable and be critical thinkers and be willing to have our thoughts, our views questioned. And that's always healthy. And I think like, just circling back to that issue that I had where my intentions were good and impact. By acknowledging that I did something wrong, I was able to recognize behaviors that I need to be more mindful of in the future and correct it. So then that way, I'm not repeating the same thing over again.
SooJin: So before we move on to the next section, I was curious if there's anything else that you'd like to share? A question that I didn't ask that you wish I would have asked? Or anything to uplift or something that you'd like to promote, given the work that you do in the community?
Laura: Sure. I love Octavia Butler so much. So I love that you include all these references to literature and narrative. Because I think sometimes we forget the power of imagination. So I just want to circle back to that. So I appreciate that about this work, anytime things can be integrated, I believe that things are very interdisciplinary. And this work is. My sister when she was in college, she wrote a play called “Mixed Reality.” And it was about growing up multiracial. And her story is really different from my story. And so I rewrote that story a few years ago, and it's a show that I would love to do again. But I think finding spaces, I love artistic spaces, and I think to explore these ideas through art can be really powerful. And one space that I just adore is Million Artists Movement. So I definitely encourage folks to check out the work that we do. So I guess I would like to uplift that. I don't know if you have other things to uplift Daren that you're doing. Daren's a visual artist.
Daren: I have some things in the works, but I don't know if I can share.
SooJin: Do you have a website?
Daren: Yeah, so my website is www.darenscotthill.com So you can find some art there. And occasionally I'll keep updates of like, if I'm doing like a mural project, you know, I'll be able to drop some stuff there. But really the best place to kind of keep track with what I'm doing is Instagram. That’s simple, it’s just @probablypicasso
Daren: You'll find it there. And then that way you can really see what I'm doing or what I've been up to.
SooJin: And we'll make sure to include all that info in our show notes.
Laura: Yeah and just to add on to something really cool that we're doing with Million Artists Movement this year is we started a group of storytellers, storytellers of the global majority. And it's called Seeding Liberation. And so I think just thinking because this is about parenting, and we're hoping to offer some summer storytelling sessions. So I'd be happy to share that information when those come up. Because we're really again, kind of coming back to narrative and thinking about, it's really nice to be able to bring your kids to spaces where their stories can be reflected. And it's being shared by people that reflect them. So it's been a really fun group to be a part of. And then we have a kind of a sister organization called Speaking Out Collective. And we do, again, a lot of kind of reimagining narratives, stories, and creative storytelling. We have a podcast too.
SooJin: Great. Yeah. We'll include all that in the show notes. Thank you for that.
Hannah: Great, should we move to our lightning round?
Daren: Yeah. I actually have a question for you, how did you decide to come up with this? Like this podcast? And like these conversations, like what was the kind of impetus behind it?
Hannah: Yeah, so I am in an accountability group with two women who both have been doing podcasting for years. And it's always just been something I have been learning about all along and never really knew exactly what I should do. And I just feel over the course of the last year and in meeting Soojin through Strategic Diversity Initiatives, it started to formulate in my mind about something around parenting. And then I feel like the antiracist part just through our work just kind of made sense. But SooJin and I had talked about it a while back and then really didn't do anything with it. And then over the summer kind of took that leap of getting it going.
SooJin: When we were working together at Strategic Diversity Initiatives, we talked about doing some kind of podcast together, the podcast idea is totally Hannah's. Because that is not how my brain thinks, like, I wasn't listening to podcasts at the time, I am a writer, I write. And, and I thought that you had to have like, all this equipment and have a studio and all this fancy stuff to do a podcast, and I didn't have like that kind of startup money. And I'm not a technical person. So like that is the last thing I would have ever thought of. So the podcast is all Hannah. And so after George Floyd was murdered, I remember receiving a text and she's like, let's start a podcast, like, the time is now you know.
Daren: I think it’s great, right? Like, we're going back to like, challenging these norms, but we're also making these conversations like normal, right? And I think it's a good thing because it lets people know that you're not alone. Right? And like, how like, cool is that? Like, you guys are talking with parents? And just the fact that you're saying like, parents, right? It's different than like, you know, it makes things more comfortable. And it kind of grounds things right, so I think it's kind of easier to have these conversations when we are all coming at it from that lens. And I think that's really cool.
Laura: I like that it's not just experts that you're talking to -- I appreciate that.
Daren: Exactly. Like because the experts are experts, but you still have everyday people. Right?
SooJin: Well, like you said, Laura at the beginning. We're all experts. We're all coming in with expertise.
SooJin: And we can all learn from each other. Yeah so that hierarchy of expert/non-expert is not even a part of this.
Laura: I also appreciate people that have those –
Laura: Like especially elders, you know, and yeah I don't know if I would be the parent that I am without knowledge from elders. I think that is one thing I failed to mention. My kids are wonderful human beings because of the elders in their life, as well. And I think sometimes our culture doesn't value kind of the intergenerational spaces as much as we should.
Hannah: Yeah, agreed.
Laura: My grandpa is 107. When he gets together, he just turned 107 on March 8th, and so when he's with my daughter, she's about to be seven. My our youngest, Zara, so they're 100 years apart. But there's something really magical that happens when they're together.
SooJin: Wow, that is incredible.
Laura: Like those things, I mean, he's lived through so many things. I mean, he was born in 1914.
SooJin: Wow. At the turn of the century, like he has experienced a full, like over a century. How many people can say that?
Laura: Any time that I feel like my life is hard, or I'm having a bad day. I'm like, my grandpa still smiles, eats his ice cream, and is like so appreciative of life. And he just, it's like I can't, nothing -- it just helps dissipate that stress. So I think elders are like, we always need to value so much.
SooJin: Oh, thank you for that amazing, valuable reminder.
Laura: And just to say his name, his name is Richard Morris Mann, but more affectionately known as Dick Mann. And a lot of people probably know him, he taught me what how to really be in community and the importance of caring about, you know, taking care of your community. And like really, like honoring like just taking pride in your community.
Hannah: Well, even just that is working against the dominant narrative. Such a valuable lesson.
Laura: If you want to see a video, a fun viral video, sorry, just one more thing about my grandpa, because I love my grandpa. But if you look up “101-year-old shoveler” on YouTube, he ended up like becoming a viral video because someone recorded him because he lived in his home till he was 103. And he at 101, a neighbor captured him shoveling his neighbor's walk, okay. And he was he was like, well, they're out of town. And you know, I mean, he's just being a good neighbor. Right? So sometimes it is that simple. And he just always had taught me just to like, take care of other people. And that that's really important.
Hannah: So cool. All right. Are you ready for the lightning round?
SooJin: And by lightning round, we don't mean it needs to be speedy. You can take your time answering the questions.
Hannah: Yeah, this is the Slow Mo round.
Laura: Not like the white supremacy around urgency. It’s honoring like I love lightning storms.
SooJin: Exactly. You all are fire. Yeah. And ignite sparks.
Hannah: Okay, antiracist parenting or caretaking is...
Laura: evolving, responsive, grounded in culture and history.
Daren: Yeah I would echo all those same things and I'd say like honesty and accountability. And just the importance of like critical thinking.
Hannah: Thank you. What's the last thing your kids did to make you smile?
Laura: I would say when my kids have dance parties. Lots of dance parties. And yeah, last night, my daughter was just, she was cracking me up because she was doing her own version of ballet.
Daren: It's when our youngest daughter, she randomly like just comes up and gives me like hugs. Like she has just random times, you know, like, it's always on her own time. But she'll just come and it’s big hugs, right, like she'll try to knock me down. And I think like that, for me.
Hannah: Awesome. What are you reading right now?
Laura: I am reading The Invention of Nature. And it's about Alexander Humboldt, it's interesting, I work at Friends of the Mississippi River in one of my roles, and kind of learning about the framing of how people have understood and tried to categorize nature.
Daren: I'm reading Hunting in Harlem by Mat Johnson. It's a fiction book, but it's interesting. It kind of talks about like gentrification. So I'll just say that I don't want to give too much of it away. But it's a very, very fun read. This is actually my second time reading it.
Laura: And then another book that I just read sometimes, just pick up is The A-Z’s of Being a Revolutionary by Fred Ho. And it's just a really small book. It has beautiful illustrations and sometimes I just pick it up for inspiration.
SooJin: I love Fred Ho.
Hannah: What are you doing to take care of yourself?
Laura: I drink a lot of tea. A lot of tea.
Daren: I take naps. Naps are like important for me. I tried to even if I'm like super busy, but even if I'm super busy, right, like sometimes with like my art, I find like, if I'm working on something like I was working on a logo for somebody yesterday, and it's just so draining, right that I have to like, I know that like I have other things to do, but I try to make an effort to give myself like that time even if it's just 20 minutes to get that little like power nap in because I know I'll be so much more productive if I do it then just trying to like force myself.
Laura: Rest is resistance. I’ve heard that.
Daren: Yeah, exactly.
Hannah: What is one thing you're committed to doing in your antiracist parenting journey?
Laura: Something that I'm kind of working on I talked about earlier is just really thinking about being in solidarity with other groups, other cultural groups. I really feel like the Line Three is something I really care about. And an understanding that water is something that connects us all, and that we should all really be working to protect. So I'm definitely committed to educating myself, taking action and our family and educating my kids about the importance of taking care of our resources, honoring treaties. And I'm one more thing that I've really been digging into is thinking about even like land back and some of those like intertwined with kind of Black and Indigenous land sovereignty and kind of exploring those ideas.
Daren: I think, for me, just continuing to have, you know, some of these conversations with our children, but also to continue pushing to provide a different path or in hopes that like I inspire other people, like younger kids to pursue art, right, and not feel as if it's some unachievable thing, especially when you live in the inner city, like it's okay to be other than what they say they want you to be right, like, so I hope that like my goal is to continue to hopefully use my art to inspire these new artists and these new thinkers.
Hannah: What question would you like Antiracist Parenting Podcast to answer or explore in a future episode?
Laura: I guess something that I've been thinking a lot about recently, is just the mental health of our kids. And how do you support that - knowing the last year with the global uprising as well as the Covid-19 pandemic? And I think it would be great to think about. It's been really challenging for our daughter to navigate all these different layers of what's been happening. So kind of managing, if other people have ideas about how to manage anxiety and stress. And then how do you we re-navigate into this new way of being together?
Hannah: Are you familiar with the organization 846s?
Laura: I’m not.
Hannah: I'll send you the information, and we'll post it as part of our notes. But it's a local group in Minneapolis that is raising money right now to build a wellness center specifically for youth of color and around therapy and mental health resources. But in the meantime, they're connecting kids with culturally competent counselors. And so I'll send you that information, but also something that we need to explore further for sure. Absolutely. Thank you so much for talking about that.
Daren: I'm curious to know, how people are teaching I guess money accountability, right? And like, and like how to create like, do these little things. How to have talks about credit and like these different types of things, right? And how the redlining and these covenants, like all affect right. So there's like this financial, like systemic racism, right. So that would be kind of interesting to talk and like to hear how other parents are helping..
Laura: the kids learn about I mean, even just the different ways that different cultures are sometimes handling money and cooperative economics.
Daren: Yes, thank you!
Laura: Yeah, cooperative economics.
Hannah: Cool. Thank you. Anything else that you would like to share before we say goodbye?
Laura: Just thank you so much. I kind of feel like it's the tip of the iceberg - I just don't have the right phrase - of like these topics. And there's so many things we could talk about. And so I just appreciate you giving us space to explore some of our ideas.
Daren: And it kind of leaves me with a sense of like hopefulness, right? Like there’s a lot of ugly stuff happening right now. All right, but it's like moments like these I’m like okay, we're not so bad off, right? We're like making progress. So I think you know, that's good. So thank you guys, you know, for doing what you do.
SooJin: Thank you so much for your time and your insights, for sharing yourselves and who you are and your stories and experiences - super illuminating. And yeah, we're so glad to have you on this journey and to be part of this journey with you.
All: Thank you, take good care. Bye.
SooJin: Wow, what a rich conversation!
Hannah: Yes, I was thinking the exact same thing.
SooJin: It reminded me remember when Laura said that she was committing herself last month to be more like water? I felt like that's exactly the flow like that the conversation took it just felt like this slow, meandering river.
Hannah: Yes, I took that is the exact phrase that I like double underlined!
SooJin: Yeah, yeah. Wow, that this is what is so special and magical about these podcasts for me is that we don't know what how the conversation is going to go. Right. And yet every conversation is so illuminating and inspiring. And, and it sounds like it's not only good for you and me, but it's also good for the guests, for them to have actually take time out of their lives to reflect and have these kinds of conversations. So I'm so glad that that kind of mutual benefit, you know, is happening through this podcast.
Hannah: Yeah, maybe Daren said like feeling like you're not alone in the journey. It's so important to just to feel connected.
Hannah: I feel like that is some I mean, who knows? Like when we started, we didn't really know what would happen. I feel like, as we're going through, like all of these, you know, little insights, and “aha” moments or whatever are just like coming every single episode, it seems like to me.
SooJin: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. So what stands out to you?
Hannah: Well, I loved the emphasis on imagination. I just think that is so important. And I do want to think about that more with my kids around imagining the future of what you know what it should look like, what it could look like. I think we do that, like, how I think of it immediately how it comes up in our family is, for example, one of my kids said the other day, you know, if I ever make a movie, like, I'm going to have the same number of people with brown skin as the same number of people with white skin in the movie, or that I'm going to have girls and boys and people with different genders in the movie. And so I think that's how it sort of comes up just naturally. But I think I want to be a little bit more intentional about imagining just the future. And like, as we kind of talked about, like, there's different ways and different approaches and different like manifestations of how it could look. And also like doing that together, you know, in community, not necessarily just like our family doing it. And so thinking through how that could look in more of a community based imagining. But the other thing I really want to do, personally, is we have now on our website, one of the links is to kind of this document that's like the tenants of white supremacist culture. And I want to go through that document and really reflect on how I'm perpetuating those tenants. And I have done this before earlier on in my journey, but I feel like I'm in a good place now to go back to that and just take another you know look at how that how that has changed or what it looks like now and where I still have work to do. So I'm going to do those two things I'm committing to.
SooJin: Awesome. There was so much that I felt like were highlights for me from the conversation. I can't get like - a phrase that coming to mind is critical thinking because I feel like this is something that we started off with, like, early on in our episodes, you know, with Daniel Shannon, how, like, despite the age we have to not only and both, you know, Daren and Laura mentioned this that like, the first thing is for them to preserve the ability for their children to define themselves and to determine for themselves who they are. And to know that they are beautiful that they are, you know, worthy and valuable just the way they are. And regardless of what the world says about them, but the layer on top of that. So that's like the love, you know, that I felt like Daren was talking about, but layer on top of that is like the education piece that they kept talking about regarding like critical thinking that and I think that's the part that's missing in so many of like white families, that critical thinking component. Because it is more the attitude around race is more about sheltering “protecting” them from the truth because it's too hard or it's too uncomfortable, or it might lead to uncomfortable feelings or whatever. And so I kind of like the full circle like this is Episode 10 and ten episodes later, we're kind of back to some of the similar themes from episode one that came up. Another thing that I really loved too was neither one of them talked about antiracist parenting as a thing. It just is, you know, and it's like, well, this is just what you do when you want to raise like healthy children who are global citizens of the world. Yeah so I really love that kind of reframing. And it goes, it reminded me of a conversation that I had with Malaika when I was a guest on her podcast. And she had asked me, you know, like how I define antiracist parenting. And one of the first things I said was, you know, antiracist parenting preserves the humanity of our children. And it reclaims the humanity of adults because we we've already been dehumanized from the system of oppression. But children are not born dehumanized, they're born fully human. And that's exactly what they're doing. Like that is their parenting style and approach is they are preserving the humanity of their children. And it's so even though I know that like as my definition of antiracist parenting, I know that. I also needed that reminder because my daughter is like wrapping up her school year, she's got like, the standardized tests that are coming up, she has these final projects coming up, and I'm automatically immediately going into okay, like, I want to make sure she's like staying on schedule on track, like getting all this stuff, and it's like I'm missing the humanity piece. I'm missing the preserving her humanity piece. And so, so I want to thank them for reminding me of that, I need to go back to that. That's the most important and critical piece of parenting, not like, are you studying for the test? Not have you hit your deadlines for this final project, like, please, that is the least of our concerns right now. And then, in terms of the commitments I'd like to make, so I'm with you on the imagining the future, I want to do that with you. I want to do that like along with you, in the sense that like, I'm going to do that with Sxela. And because I've been dreaming on my own and I know she has been dreaming on her own, but we haven't been doing it together. And so I want to do that together. And then the other thing that - I'm going to make this as a commitment, but I don't know how quickly I can achieve and accomplish this is the piece about the elders. Because frankly, we don't have any elders in our lives really. Like you know, her father's parents are both dead. I don't have a connection to my adoptive family. So like, she doesn't have grandparents on that side. My father is dead. And my mother lives in Korea and doesn't even speak the same language as we do. So we don't really have kind of a built in network of elders in our family. So, like, the only kind of “elders” we have would be like my friends who are older than me, you know, that might serve as Aunties, but like, they're not. They're not older than me by that much. You know, it might be like, 10-15 years older than me. So I need to think through that piece more, be more intentional, and start strategizing around how I can incorporate more intergenerational kind of connection and relationship in our lives.
SooJin: So they planted the seed. And now that the seed’s been planted, I’ve got to see how I can nurture that so it can grow.
Hannah: Well and Sxela might have ideas. I mean as you explore, you'll start running into things and ideas.
SooJin: Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. Yeah, that's my first step is asking her. Who should we? Who should we reach out to? How can we solve this problem together?
Hannah: Great conversation. I loved this.
SooJin: Me too. Well, thank you so much to our listeners. We hope that this feeds your spirit, your gut brain, your heart brain, your brain-brain as much as it does ours.
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 antiracistparentingpodcast.com. 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.