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Eyes On Whiteness

Author: Maureen Benson, Diedra Barber, Aaron Rand Freeman (producer)

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Eyes On Whiteness is a podcast that illuminates the insidious and ignorant ways of whiteness, regardless of intent. Our guests are invited to talk about the ways white supremacy and patriarchy are pervasive and ever-present. Our conversations are rooted in a commitment to normalizing the "how, not if" lens for looking at the ways it's present for all of us.
16 Episodes
Bari Schwartz is a 37 years old Cisgender white Jewish woman who has been rumbling with and doing courageous work around understanding & dismantling systems and impacts of racism for decades.  After graduating from Johns Hopkins with a master's degree in school counseling and spending 12 years working in and with Baltimore City Schools as well as local nonprofits serving the youth in Baltimore City. In a bold move Bari chose to leave education for 2 years and accepted a position working with BMe Community an NPO founded by Trabian Shorters one of the nation's thought leaders around asset framing. BMe Community is an organization reframing the narrative around black men.  In 2017 Bari moved back to her home state of IL and is now working for a school district serving as a behavior and Equity specialist.   Support the show
Dohee Lee (She/Her) is an artist, Ritualist and Educator. She was born on Jeju Island in South Korea, now, living in Huichin unceded Ohlone territory Oakland, CA as a 1st generation immigrant. Her creative vision comes from traditional Korean music, singing, drumming and dance which is rooted in Korean indigenous ritual. Since her arrival in the US she has been a vital contributor to both the traditional and contemporary arts landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.  She utilizes art to heal fractured relationships in the urban environment – relationships between humans and the land, histories and stories between individuals and their communities. She is the founder of Puri Arts, a producing organization of performance and ritual and also working at Tamalpa Institute as faculty member and director of art and healing at Asian Refuge United organization in Oakland, CA.Support the show
ANDDDDDD, WE'RE BACK!  We're so grateful to kick off part 2 of season 2 with the brilliant and hilarious Sonya Renee Taylor!  We have an incredible conversation tracking where in the world is Sonya, how opening up to just listening and being has created space for her ancestors to offer quite an addition to her journey and a deep dig into her take on Intersectional Integrity.  We'll leave you with this gem as a teaser: "This is not just about how, how I relate to myself and how I relate to people who have targeted identities, right? It's not just that, it's how do I relate to the being-ness of all beings? " Support the show
Transmuting After a Tragedy

Transmuting After a Tragedy


We want to take a moment to send love, acknowledgment, and presence to you as you process and potentially transmute your experience, understanding, and impact of the racial and political violence of the murders in Buffalo, NY, and Orange County, CA. After the mass murders sitting so heavy on our hearts and in our spirits, Diedra asks Maureen to have a conversation to help make sense of how whiteness and white people often show up after a tragedy where Black people are killed. In order for us to practice Transmuting white supremacy and patriarchy, we center connection and conversation, and curiosity. Support the show
"Vulnerability is the core of any self-inward's been decades of chipping away to get to that vulnerability and to be able to live there. " - Derek CantyDerek Canty is a father of 7, a dedicated partner, a fairy godfather mentor to many and the CEO and founder of Winning Edge, a leadership development company based in Las Vegas.  Today, Derek serves as a coach, and trainer for select non-profit organizations and corporations, assisting them in team building, leadership development, and defining/strengthening their organizational culture. He is also a Covid survivor and former coach to his 3 daughters ‘Snickers’ volleyball team.Derek is also the co-founder of College Summit now known as PeerForward, a national social non-profit organization that is based in Washington, DC.  PeerForward’s mission is to increase the college enrollment rates of low-income communities across America.  Derek designed “Rap Training,” a leadership development training program for alumni that trains them to motivate and coach peer leaders at summer workshops and at their respective schools.  Over 250 College Summit staff and alumni have gone through the training program.  He has also developed in-school youth development tools for PeerForward that are used in classrooms around the country. Derek spearheaded the initial Diversity & Inclusion initiative and department, where he served as Chief Diversity Officer for 2 years.What is Intersectional Integrity?Intersectional Integrity: Intentional engagement and relationship development with self (the "i"), others (the "they", "them", "we"), and earth ("us"- the animals, plants, waterways, landmasses) that is dynamic/fluid and mindful of varying identities (targeted and non-targeted).If you’d like to support us, we’d greatly appreciate it! We love it when you share the podcast with your friends and leave us a rating and review, anywhere you listen to the podcast.You can also find us on Patreon: the show
"Love and healing, real healing, happens at the rupture." - Dr. Adam Falkner, who shall get a t-shirt with this brilliance on it!Join us to listen to this powerful conversation about Adam's takes on Intersectional Integrity! Dr. Adam Falkner is a writer, educator, and race & equity strategist.  He identifies as a White Queer Cis Man. He is the author of The Willies (Winner of the 2020 Midwestern Independent Book Award), and his work has been featured on programming for HBO, in The Guardian, The New York Times, and elsewhere.  A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam’s pedagogy and research focus on understanding how performance, storytelling and technology work to foster empathy in individuals and organizations.  Adam is a Senior Consultant with Jennifer Brown Consulting, and holds over a decade of cross-industry experience building racial equity strategies and creative cultural programming for corporate, academic and nonprofit partners. He has held residencies and teaching appointments at Pinterest, Vassar College, The National Park Service, The Pahara Institute, The Public Theater, and elsewhere.  He was a keynote performer at President Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, and holds a PhD in English & Education from Columbia University.A reminder, we asked our guests to answer "What is Intersectional Integrity to you? Adam's conversation is glorious. Don't miss it!If you’d like to support us, we’d greatly appreciate it! We love it when you share the podcast with your friends and leave us a rating and review, anywhere you listen to the podcast.You can also find us on Patreon:[Image description- a black and white illustrated logo for Eyes On whiteness featuring many different eyes and the words Eyes On whiteness on the bottom right corner as a frame around the words "Love and healing, real healing, happens at the rupture. - Dr. Adam Falkner" and on the top left a black box that says "Season 2: Intersectional Integrity?"]If you’d like to support us, we’d greatly appreciate it! We love it when you share the podcast with your friends and leave us a rating and review, anywhere you listen to the podcast.You can also find us on Patreon: the show
"We are in the apocalypse, give thanks!"- amara tabor-smith in reflecting on the truth being revealed in these times. Join us as amara shares her brilliant perspectives on what Intersectional Integrity is to her. amara tabor-smith (she/her/they/we) is a black, queer woman born and raised on unceded Ramaytush (Rah-MAH-Tush)  Ohlone land currently known as San Francisco, and now lives on unceded Huichin (Hoo-Chin) Lisjan (Lih-Shan) Ohlone land currently known as Oakland, CA. She is a choreographer, performance maker, and cultural worker who describes her work as Conjure Art. Her interdisciplinary, site-responsive, performance making practice utilizes Yoruba Ifá and Lukumí spiritual technologies to address issues of social and environmental justice, racism, gender identity, and belonging. Her work is rooted in black, queer feminist principles that insist on liberation, joy, and well-being in the afro NOW.  amara seeks to create performance experiences where audience and performers converge to experience mutual vulnerability and transformation. She is the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater. Her current multi-year project House/Full of Blackwomen created in collaboration with Ellen Sebastian Chang and a collective of black women artists and activists, addresses the displacement, well-being, and sex trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland. She is a 2021 Rainin Fellow, a 2019 Dance/USA Fellow, 2018 United States Artist Fellow, 2018 recipient of KQED’s “Bay Brilliant” award, and a 2017 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow. amara is currently an artist in residence at Stanford University.What is Intersectional Integrity?Intersectional Integrity: Intentional engagement and relationship development with self (the "i"), others (the "they", "them", "we"), and earth ("us"- the animals, plants, waterways, landmasses) that is dynamic/fluid and mindful of varying identities (targeted and non-targeted).If you’d like to support us, we’d greatly appreciate it! We love it when you share the podcast with your friends and leave us a rating and review, anywhere you listen to the podcast.You can also find us on Patreon: the show
In our kick-off for season 2, Diedra and Maureen start with our excitement for the incredible season ahead.  We share the theme of this season "What does Intersectional Integrity mean to you?"This episode is the two of us in conversation about what Intersectional Integrity means to us, as we practice the work of Transmuting white supremacy and patriarchy. Listeners get a peek into our current (that day's) thinking of what comes up for us as we think about this concept.What is Intersectional Integrity?Intersectional Integrity: Intentional engagement and relationship development with self (the "i"), others (the "they", "them", "we"), and earth ("us"- the animals, plants, waterways, landmasses) that is dynamic/fluid and mindful of varying identities (targeted and non-targeted).If you’d like to support us, we’d greatly appreciate it! We love it when you share the podcast with your friends and leave us a rating and review, anywhere you listen to the podcast. You can also find us on Patreon: love you, thank you, and are excited to welcome you to Season 2!Support the show
In a follow-up to our election episode where we talked about the need to stay vigilant, we invited Christine and Shelly who have been researching the ways White Nationalist and White Supremacist groups have been building in the last few years.Christine and Shelly share their research and analysis of the ways we must be aware of and counter the rise of White Nationalism going into 2021. The deep overlap of groups with varying identities finding common ground across anti-government, pro-police, free-speech, anti-immigrant, and “rigged election” ideologies is terrifying and all rooted in Anti-Blackness.  This rise of power of these groups is linked through the deep use of technology, propaganda, and organizing in partnership with GOP, Qanon, conservative media, and militias (not entirely excluding law enforcement) across the country. Shelly and Christine call white people to action, not just politically but in a deeply personal way….they share how these groups are taking advantage of recruiting people who may have a stated belief they are “not racist”, but are feeling uninvited into communities organizing against racism…and how when we shut people out for not being “woke enough” or struggling in their newly developing consciousness, we’re actually helping create people ripe for recruitment by these White Nationalist groups. If you are a parent or educator- our guests break down how susceptible our young people are, particularly online.  This episode is for EVERY white person who has any belief in anti-racism- we have work to do, and it means deepening our engagement with other white folks, practicing mindful listening, loving accountability, and collectivism over individualism.  Christine and Shelly offer GREAT tips for how to show up to these necessary conversations when our judgment, righteousness, and demand for someone to be in a different place than they are.You can find more about Christine’s work at You can learn more about Shelly’s work by visiting her website at ShellyTochluk.comResources mentioned in the show:Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America, Book by Vegas TenoldDog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, Book by Ian Haney LópezDr. David Campt, Dialogue Company- White Ally ToolkitSupport the show
UnSuk Zucker is a Korean American cis-gender woman,  an amazing advocate, educator, and parent, focused on equity and justice, not only around her but also with a relentless commitment to doing the work within herself.  This podcast is filled with raw, heart wrenching and glorious examples modeling vulnerability and transparency as she lives this work as a parent, educator, and professional leader for equity. In this episode, UnSuk talks about: - the challenges and joys of being a parent of a bi-racial son both in an effort to disrupt her own internalized white supremacy and externally in community and schools- unapologetically raising their "rainbow sparkle unicorn boy" as his fullest authentic self with unconditional love- her fears as an East Asian woman with her family in public-  a story of her son’s white school leader who found humor making a costume of the Make America Great Again hat and a disregard for the harm that caused families of color, immigrants and many other marginalized communities - the age-old challenge of confronting individual acts of bigotry vs. the systemic process that has allowed the act of bigotry to happen.- the need for white people to believe people of color and get out of the intellectual ways that whiteness demands the need for perfectly valid experiences to be through an intellectual lens of academia and books in order to have credibility.  These are just a few of the elements of brilliance UnSuk shares today. We end with a powerful awareness of what leaders COULD do that is simple, but in the hold that whiteness has on our desire for perfection, not easy.Support the show
Diedra and Maureen spend some time using our tool "Transmuting White Supremacy and Patriarchy" to discuss how this election day is for each of us.Note, it's recorded before we have ANY information and we're as curious as you to see how it lands on the day after the election when you all hear it!Transmuting White Supremacy and Patriarchy, for us, means practicingIntrospection, Self- Awareness, Vulnerability, Transparency, Intersectional Inquiry, and Invoking Collectivism. Join us- what are you noticing in your own reflections?*Note: the origin of "Whites gonna white...." is unclear as we discuss in the episode. If anyone has info to share on a place you've heard it, please reach out to us!Support the show
We welcome you all back to part 2 of a conversation with Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz, a brilliant educator, facilitator, leader for equity in a reunion, as the three of us realize we haven’t been in the same place in nearly 3 years. We discuss what it might be like to stand in our deepest energy source as one that has the potential to transcend the social construct of our given identities and how that helps us shed the power that hierarchy, boxed identities, compartmentalization can have on us. We focus on remembering that transparency is the enemy of white supremacy, and explore what it looks like to just present how we are without having it all organized, figured out or filtered....and how necessary it is for the creation of critical dialogues and relationships to see and hold each other in our wholeness.  And, we end with how whiteness appears in devouring crab! Support the show
Diedra is back!  We have a reunion with our dear friend and colleague, JuanCarlos.  This is the first of a two-part conversation where we go deep into intersections of our racial and gender identities.In part 1 we explore the depths and interconnections of white supremacy and patriarchy and how they play out in our socially constructed identities and the vulnerable ways we do our intra/interpersonal work and how that is similar and different as a result of our varying experiences in our identities. We dig into how often we can run away from ourselves and the challenges of finally taking on the internal work when we stop running away.Some specific topics include- how whiteness participated in (eventually) bringing national outrage for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery-  an exploration of the ways that whiteness has us in a state of worry if we dare rest and define our value - a consideration of what we’re NOT taking with us into the new normal Support the show
Maureen talks with her sister-friend, Leidene King.  Leidene is a brilliant educator, facilitator, and healer who delves deep into the ways that she has experienced whiteness in healing and metaphysical spaces as a black woman and the struggle of the concepts of “we are one” and “nothing comes into your life uninvited” when we have such different experiences in the world based on the skin we’re in. She beautifully shares her journey of discovering “who am I?” as the daughter of an African American father and Chinese-American mother born in Hawaii, raised in the black community navigating a sense of “otherness” in the world.  Leidene details the journey of the transformational process of moving through terror that comes from a belief system disintegrating, the void left after that disintegration and then the infinite possibilities that become illuminated and how it helps better able to empathize when people engage in conversations about whiteness. She draws connections to thoughts, feelings, beliefs, physiology, and the power of interrupting how the ways whiteness doesn’t make space for all of them can cause health issues….and a million more brilliant lessons.Also: Maureen gets another brilliant lesson the power of humility and accepting responsibility for impact, regardless of intent. The brilliant Leidene King offers rigorous, intimate, 6-week coaching cohorts for serious anti-racists seeking to evolve in racial consciousness.  For offerings starting in mid-October (or to learn more about her work) message her on LINKED IN.Support the show
Diedra and Maureen talk with Sonya early on in the pandemic.  We come right out the gate talking about how ancestors are encouraging Sonya to shower more frequently and how white people not regularly washing their legs surfaces as a confession for Maureen.Sonya joins us from New Zealand and talks about introversion in the time of quarantine, what New Zealand's sustainable and equity centered COVID plan looked like and Diedra yells at Sonya to stop talking this logical nonsense! We talk front line workers and how perspective has shifted, the amount of hours of labor it takes to avoid Amazon’s global control, how capitalism is the devil and COVID is the universe trying to have us stop worshipping the devil, how whiteness makes up "rights" and entitlement from thin air while they protest not being allowed in the playground, what happens when you tell the structures of whiteness “no”, the genocidal impact of “keeping America open” on black and brown people, the trauma of letting in the truth of white supremacy and why people choose to sit in the illusion of comfort and the gift of avoidance. We dig into white people’s trauma that must be healed, and ask how we acknowledge our complicity without it being an indictment on our humanity…and how holding hope and compassion for white people is a mind fuck for black people, how the reckoning white people fear is actually an internal reckoning and the counter-intuitive ease that comes with being allowed to be fallible. Diedra wraps with reflecting in how transmuting White Supremacy we get to a place of asking “How do we really see that when I’m looking at you, I’m looking at me?” and the freedom and space that come with starting within instead of always fighting externally. Special bonus story about how someone erased Sonya’s name from her quote and put Brené Brown’s name on it and how whiteness played out in that process and the lesson Sonya took away about release and trust. *Spoiler alert, it played out....Sonya was just featured on Brené's podcast!Support the show
We're coming soon with Part 2 of Season 2!In the meantime, a quick share over here: Diedra and Maureen are going to start a weekly (most of the time) series called Transmuting Tuesdays which will be on our Youtube and Instagram pages.  You can expect this series to be a little more impromptu and shorter than the podcast has been. This first one is in response to the Overturning of Roe. YIf you're not following us yet on those channels...come on by! Instagram: @transmutingwspYouTube: you for all of your support! And if you're inclined, please feel free to visit us at Patreon/eyesonwhiteness.Support the show
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