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We're All Alright

Author: Phyllis Wilson

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My name is Phyllis Wilson and this is We’re All Alright, the show that explores all the reasons we have to be hopeful–even joyful–about humanity and about our world today.

My goal is to reconnect us with the humans at the heart of the issues, and from that place, explore deep and powerful questions about the world we share and how we think about it.

So instead of feeling like all is lost, we start to wake up every morning and think, cool, we’re going to be alright.

15 Episodes
Every morning brings a new headline: violence, injustice, disease, suffering. It's a lot to take in, and if you're like me, you've probably started to dread the daily routine of scrolling through the news.  I want to stay informed, engaged and present with the realities of our world today, but all of those headlines had me questioning just how much good was really left in humanity.  Over the last year, I started to wonder what it would be like to live in a world where I didn't dread the day's news. What would it be like–despite so much evidence to the contrary–to see the best in people, instead of always anticipating their very worst?That's when I remembered the most beautiful lesson my dad ever taught me; something he said again and again, almost like a mantra: Everybody's just doing the best they can. That's the world that I want to live in. Where not only is everyone doing the best they can, but where their best makes the world a better place for others too.Let’s face it, that is not our world. Not yet.But if there's one thing I haven't lost faith in, it's our collective power to make things right.My name is Phyllis Wilson and this is We’re All Alright, the show that explores all the reasons we have to be hopeful–even joyful–about humanity and about our world today. My goal is to reconnect us with the humans at the heart of the issues, and from that place, explore deep and powerful questions about the world we share and how we think about it.So instead of feeling like all is lost, we start to wake up every morning and think, cool, we’re going to be alright.Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Ninety percent of the school-age population attend public schools. What would happen to these institutions if that number plunged significantly?Homeschooling, home-school collectives, free schoolers, unschoolers–alternatives to traditional public school models have been increasing in popularity over the last two decades, and the pandemic has seen even more families opt to school their children at home in some fashion.Education is a mirror for the concept of personal freedom and choice as a matter of fundamental rights. We tend to believe that education is what gives us–or is supposed to give us–choices. Your education influences the choices and opportunities available to you after you leave school.So it’s no wonder that it’s such a hot button issue.But if where and how children attend school is a matter of personal choice, what happens to the collective institutions and systems of public education that are designed to benefit us all?If families keep exiting the system, what will be left?Or is there a better way that feels more empowering to children and families? A way that feels like change is actually happening?In This Episode: A brief history of compulsory public schooling, from lofty ideals to economic engine and the grim realities of child labor American homeschooling and its surprising ties to post-Civil War Black communities Who personal choice in education leaves behind Imagining a way forward Resources For Doing Your Best: “Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Story of Privatizing Public Education in the USA,” Joanna Barkan “The Case for Choice in Schooling: Restoring Parental Control of Education,” Matthew J. Brouillette Learning All The Time, John Holt Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, John Taylor Gatto “The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling,” Melinda D. Anderson John Holt, Wikipedia Dr. Raymond Moore, Moore Foundation Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Criminal justice, prison and police reform have become regular parts of our national conversation, especially since George Floyd’s murder and the pandemic continues to hit prisons hard.But what does justice mean? What does it mean in theory? And what has it meant in practice?Justice is a uniquely human experience and concept. And it’s also one we haven’t quite put our finger on defining, let alone enacting.Undertaking reform is a complex, epic challenge that requires us to answer the question of what justice should mean and how we put that into practice.In This Episode: How the US prison system was developed as a more humane alternative to corporal punishments like flogging or branding Why the post-emancipation Black Codes led to the disproportionate incarceration of formerly enslaved people, prison overcrowding and violence How restorative justice repairs harms by having all stakeholders invested in the process Defining justice in a framework of relationship and integration and other models of non-punitive justice Resources For Doing Your Best: National American Indian Court Judges Association on Holistic and Traditional Justice Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline NAACP’s Legal Defense & Education Fund "North Dakota Reforms its Prisons, Norwegian Style" "North Dakota Partners with Prison Reform Initiative to Champion Healing, Restoration, and Fairness" "CAHOOTS May Reduce the Likelihood of Police Violence" "Examples Of Reimagining Police Departments That Show Promise" A Better Path Forward for Criminal Justice The Confession Tapes The Innocence Files Unbelievable 13th Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Freedom of “personal choice” (and speech, and truth) is the Great Justifier on social media today, which for all intents and purposes means the world since so many of us by choice or necessity spend so much of our lives online.Personal choice–in schooling, in restorative justice–has been a theme of this podcast so far.Thinking about restorative justice especially, in this climate of “personal choice” raises more questions than it answers.It seems almost preposterous to consider whether restorative justice processes could play out successfully in our culture as it is.What does justice mean in this “freedom of truth” reality we’re living in?And if rules and laws are meant to support our responsibilities to each other–if we can even agree that is their purpose–then do we naturally create rules and laws?Which leads to the biggest question: Do humans have an innate sense of justice?In This Episode: How injustices have always been part of human history and civilizations Why a dissolution of civility matters, and why civility isn’t about being nice to each other How “personal freedom” is weaponized to deny harm How the human ability to create narratives gives us more power than we think to enact change Resources For Doing Your Best: A refresher on Lord of the Flies The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months Humankind: A Hopeful History, Rutger Bregman Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Being hopeful is a practice.Maintaining the perspective that we’re all, each of us, doing the best we can, that there is reason to be hopeful about our world and joyful about the human experience can be empowering, both for ourselves and for others.But it’s a practice I remind myself of daily, even moment to moment. Especially in the presence of people with whom I deeply disagree.I still get angry. I feel rage. But I’m practicing and maybe you will (maybe you do!) too.Today, I’m joined by my producer, Sean McMullin to have a conversation about why I started this podcast and why I’m so passionate about the practice of hope, of believing that We’re All Alright.In This Episode: Why I needed a perspective shift to help me see our commonalities How to use anger for transformation How my dad’s common refrain influenced my outlook and inspired the podcast Simple ways to get back into the world when you’re feeling low or isolated Resources For Doing Your Best: Westknits Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space The Innocence Project Play 360 Dan Levy Learn More About Sean McMullin:Yellow House MediaLearn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Years of continuous news of crisis after crisis at the southern border of the US have highlighted the stark realities of immigration and migration.The lingering–and still raging–pandemic has claimed the lives of over 5 million people worldwide, and has laid bare the incredible disparities in wealth, education, access to basic medicine, shelter, food and clean water among every nation on the planet.In this context, I’m thinking about borders, about immigration and migration, national identity and about unity and division in an increasingly global world.There are vast differences in the experience of traveling, at home or abroad, depending on your nationality, race, gender, class, education and more. Our identities influence our experience of moving between borders, whether you’re going across the globe or across town.As many of us begin to consider traveling again, to school, to work, to places of worship, what does it mean to spend significant time with people who may not share our values? What does it mean to be able to move freely from one place to the next or not?In This Episode: How globalization and climate change threaten traditionally nomadic peoples How people become stateless, even in their ancestral homelands Why citizenship in the United States isn’t a simple yes or no question How digital nomads could change our concept of borders and citizenship 5 ways migrants and immigrants positively impact the economy Resources For Doing Your Best: UNHCR #IBELONG Campaign to End Statelessness World Monuments Fund Every Steph: 24 Top Ecotourism Destinations In The World References: Factbox: Where are the world's stateless people? | Reuters Matador Network: Global Nomadic Communities Survival International: Nukak Non-voting members of the United States House of Representatives - Wikipedia “Foreign in a Domestic Sense”: US Territories and “Insular Areas” - National Immigration Forum “Nationals” but not “Citizens”: How the US Denies Citizenship to American Samoans Migrants Bring Economic Benefits for Advanced Economies – IMF Blog Why accepting refugees is a win-win-win formula Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
If you live in the US and pay even a little attention to the news, you’ll know that Haiti and its people have been in the news a lot in recent months. And unfortunately, none of it’s been good.From the devastating 2010 earthquake, up to 2021’s presidential assassination and horrific violence faced by Haitian refugees at the US border following another earthquake in August, it may seem like Haiti is in constant strife and turmoil.As a follow-up to the last episode about immigration, migration and national identity, I invited one of my very favorite people, Samoa Blanchet, to talk about what her home country of Haiti is really like, and for a discussion of how we form perceptions, how they endure, and how we might change them.Samoa Blanchet is an Acceleration Specialist at The Powerhouse's Playground. She's committed to building a world full of magic and play where the possibilities are endless. She plays her role by actively challenging our perspectives of how things are and most importantly, how WE are.In This Episode: How a white Western default influences how we view poverty in everything from infrastructure to housing styles How colonialism informs national identity and reinforces power imbalances in Haiti Why the Haitian concept of freedom differs from the perception of freedom in the US What we can learn from the Haitian Revolution about tearing down oppressive systems Learn More about Samoa Blanchet: Powerhouse's Playground Connect on LinkedIn Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Are Cults on the Rise?

Are Cults on the Rise?


The injustices done to people inside cults are very real. And yet the perpetrators of those injustices are rarely brought to justice, largely because the boundaries of personal responsibility are fuzzy at best in these cases.That does seem to be changing though–certainly in the court of public opinion–which we can see in the growing numbers of documentaries, series and podcasts on cults, their abuses, their money-making endeavors, their exoduses and escapes and everything in between.The popularity and prevalence of these documentaries has me asking, are cults on the rise?I’m also thinking about my own relationship with cults, or more specifically, cult-thinking, and about how easy it is, not just for any one of us to find ourselves accidentally in or in close philosophical proximity to a cult, but also how easy it could be for any of us–especially those of us who are teachers, coaches and mentors–to find ourselves leading one.It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.In This Episode: The defining characteristics of a cult, and how those are evolving to make cults even more insidious and widespread How the coercive language and practices of cults have infiltrated coaching spaces What we can learn from how modern cults spread online Resources For Doing Your Best: What Makes a Cult a Cult? | The New Yorker The Seven Signs That You're in a Cult - The Atlantic How MLMs And Cults Use The Same Mind Control Techniques | HuffPost Life 'Holy Sh*t, We’re in a Cult!' The Multilevel Marketing Cults: Lies, Pyramid Schemes, and the Pursuit of Financial Freedom. Watch out for tell-tale signs | Rick Ross | The Guardian Nxivm Cult: Leader Keith Raniere Sentenced to 120 Years - The New York Times Gwen Shamblin, of HBO's 'The Way Down,' Ran A Weight-Loss Cult QAnon FAQ: It's been a year since Q's last drop, but people still believe - CNET References:We're All Alright Episode 2: How Should We Practice Justice?Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Has there ever really been such a thing as a reliable news source?The absence of clear communication–or even, it seems, any kind of strategy–is now frequently cited as the biggest failure and missed opportunity of the pandemic response, in the US and around the world.That lack, along with the absolute explosion of misinformation on social media–to the point that for many, it’s nearly indistinguishable from facts–has me thinking about the media.What do we even mean when we say “the media?”And why do we choose one news or information source over another?If there are no reliable news sources, whose version of events do we trust?In This Episode: How even “reliable” news sources have always had a bias What we should be asking for from our news sources Why we latch onto sources that are clear and consistent, even if their ideas and versions of events aren’t actually trustworthy Questions to consider for changing your relationship with media and information sources Resource:The Web3 Renaissance: A Golden Age for Content - by Li JinReferences: Taiwan is using humor as a tool against coronavirus hoaxes The mind's mirror Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
One of my biggest intentions with this first season of We’re All Alright–and really, this podcast’s reason for being–was to explore our relationships with the collective–meaning all of us, all of humanity–and to do that through the lens of stories, headlines, issues, and questions that affect all of us.And in that exploration, my hope was to remind us all of that connection we have, each of us, with all of us.One of my other intentions was to help us make sense of the confusion, chaos, and turmoil of the last number of years, as a way of helping us all (myself included) feel better, feel safe, feel alright about our world and the times we’re living in.But what I’m discovering is that it’s nearly impossible to make sense of this confusion.Trying to apply logic doesn’t actually work because logic and reason just aren’t what they used to be!When enough people reject collective truth, as less valid or legitimate than one’s personal truth, it becomes a rejection of the collective as a whole.And since the same logic and reason no longer apply universally–or even for a sufficiently vast majority–making sense of it all may just not be in the cards.And that’s when I realized…THIS is the bad place!Which is where The Good Place comes in.Today, I’m thinking about two of my favorite episodes of The Good Place and how they illustrate the complications of logic in modern life and what it means to be working to make the world a better place.In This Episode: How the accounting system (as portrayed in the series) illustrates the impossible complexities of modern life Why the total eradication of suffering–aside from being impossible–might not be a desirable goal Why acceptance that the world doesn’t make sense is the foundation of living - and doing - well in it. References: Episode 3: What Does Justice Mean in the Freedom of Truth Era? Episode 7: Are Cults on the Rise? The Good Place Season 3 Episode 11, “Chidi Sees The Time Knife” The Good Place Season 4 Episode 12, “Patty” Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Work With Phyllis Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Are We Our Politics?

Are We Our Politics?


Welcome back for Season Two of We’re All Alright. This season, I’m exploring questions of identity and otherness. The big question: Can we allow others–and be okay with others–finding themselves and being themselves when who they are is entirely different from who we are, what we prefer, and what we expect?And where better to start that discussion than with political identity?!Political identity encompasses how and why we choose to define ourselves as members of, in alignment with, or in relation to, political parties, and how we perceive others who do so, especially those of opposing parties.What are we really doing when we adopt a political identity? And is it even useful?In This Episode: A brief history and evolution of political parties in the United States Why binary labels like Left and Right fail to encompass or reflect the reality of the principles and ideologies individuals hold Imagining an expanded election process Why humans create the “other side” References: We’re All Alright S01E08: Media: Where “Truth” Meets Human Nature From white supremacy to Barack Obama: The history of the Democratic Party When and why did Democrats and Republicans switch platforms? | Live Science Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology | Pew Research Center The Political Typology Quiz | Pew Research Center Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Website Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Are We Our Bodies?

Are We Our Bodies?


With the emergence of the Body Positivity movement onto the global stage via social media in the last 10 years, I’m thinking about our bodies.More and more (mostly female) public figures are actively celebrating their bodies, or are simply showing up fully with neither explanation nor apology. There is also more and more vocal backlash when they do.How and why do we identify with our bodies? How much meaning and importance do we place on that identity?And what are the implications for the lives we live and what we get to do during our short time on this planet?In This Episode: How the stories of our bodies we absorb in our formative years stick with us Why BMI is a deeply flawed measure of health and how it came to widespread use How the “obesity epidemic” was created How collective perceptions of ideal body types have dramatically shifted over time An invitation to reconsider how you identify with your body References: What Is Body Positivity? Weight stigma study in the US and 5 other nations shows the worldwide problem of such prejudice. - The Washington Post Women's idealised bodies have changed dramatically over time – but are standards becoming more unattainable?. What celeb trainer Jillian Michaels got wrong about Lizzo and body positivity Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI Is Bogus : NPR. Adolphe Quetelet and the Evolution of Body Mass Index (BMI) | Psychology Today The Bizarre and Racist History of the BMI | by Your Fat Friend | Elemental Who's fat? New definition adopted - June 17, 1998 Five Things You're Getting Wrong About Weight and Weight Loss | I Weigh with Jameela Jamil podcast on Earwolf Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Website Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Who are we really?Are we the roles that we play? The work that we do? Are we defined by our relationships?Is that who we are?If I asked you if it was possible for anyone else to tell you who you are, you’d probably say absolutely not! Because you define who you are, right?Which is true. But it’s also not the whole story.We all tell others who they are all the time. And accepting or rejecting what other people tell us about ourselves isn’t as simple or straightforward as we might like it to be.Today, I’m thinking about the complexity of identity.Yes, we choose who we are, and how much any particular role defines us. But we also can’t disregard, dismiss, or discount other people’s perceptions of us, because they, too, make us who we are.In This Episode: How social media has challenged and expanded our perceptions of who we could be The paradox of possibility and our inescapable internet pasts The impacts of our split-second perceptions of others on their careers, relationships, and even lives An invitation to take notice and take action when it comes to perceptions References: The Dropout Podcast  The Dropout Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame | TED Talk Monica Lewinsky on Pivoting to Producing, Hollywood Mentors and Her Copious Notes on 'American Crime Story: Impeachment' Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Website Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
We all love a Personality Quiz, right?You get to see yourself through a lens you may never have considered looking through, and discover things about yourself you never thought about before, and who doesn’t love an excuse to think and to talk about themselves for a few minutes?There has been a boom of Personality Quizzes and Typology Assessments over the last 10 years, and even more so since the pandemic.And it makes sense why. In particularly chaotic and challenging times, we tend to look for something, anything, to help us make sense of things, to make sense of ourselves, and to reassure us that not only are we equipped to survive this chaos, but that we are able to thrive beyond it.As we’re digging into the questions of who or what can tell us who we are, and the limitations of any person or tool that attempts to do that, I’m thinking about typologies.Our interest in them, our reliance on them, and what that means–what we’re making that mean–about ourselves and about each other.In This Episode: The two fundamental problems with typology tests The long history of typologies, from Hippocrates to Myers-Briggs How employers began using typology tests and the consequences of relying on them How we could move beyond the existing limitations of typologies, and why we would want to References: What Personality Tests Really Deliver | The New Yorker Job hiring increasingly relies on personality tests, but that can bar people with disabilities Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Website Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
Are We Our Parents?

Are We Our Parents?


We’ve all had a moment where we aren’t just reminded of our parents; we’ve become them.Maybe it’s a certain gesture, speaking in a certain way, when a particular phrase comes flying–involuntarily–out of your mouth, but we’ve all been there.The inevitable has happened. You’ve become your mother. Or your father. Or another influential caregiver from your childhood.Since this episode is scheduled to air on Mother’s Day, I’m thinking about parents and parenting.How much of who we are do we owe to our parents? And how much of how they are–and were–do they owe to us?In This Episode: How self-parenting empowers you to change your relationship to your past The power of allowing yourself to hear your inner voice Learn More About Phyllis Wilson: Website Instagram: @Alright_Podcast
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