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Ep #1 Show Notes: How to talk about race with White peers

White tears. Coddling. Brown pain. If there’s one thing that connects the 2020 social justice movement with the rest of us, it’s the fatigue that can come from having conversations on race and equity with our White community. In this episode, we talk with racial reconciliation and community engagement leader John Bobb-Semple about why so many of us dread these dialogues - and how we can approach them.

Here are highlights from our conversation with John on the Unmuted Podcast. Listen to the full episode to hear John talk about his identity as a Guyanese-Creole American, the role of agency in the Black community, collective hope to bridge community divide, and how to use empathy and vulnerability to create proximity with White peers on issues of race and ethnicity.

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or Amazon Music.


Conversation Highlights

  • Growing up as a third culture kid in White dominant communities.

  • Moments that helped awaken John to his Black identity.

  • How to foster a legacy and agency for the Black community.

  • Collective rage vs Collective hope to bridge divides.

  • How to use empathy and vulnerability to build proximity with White peers on race discussions.

  • The role of coddling and emotional labor in having conversations on race.

  • How to remain connected to our compassionate nature even under the worst circumstances.

  • What is one thing an individual can do today to increase collective hope in racial reconciliation?

Memorable Moments

“So one day she asked me, she said, John, what are you doing to create agency for the black people? And I went to tell her us and yeah, but I hear you, but I'm not an African American. I'm actually I'm a guyanese American, and creole American. And I go through this whole like description of my identity. And she is like, Yeah, I hear you. And then she asked again. And I went back with the potato bag, size chip on my shoulder, and basically said, but I appreciate what other experiences are. But I've experienced this rejection and that thing, and that the other end then she says, Boy, John, you're on the north side of Chicago. If you walk outside of this restaurant, and you're walking down the street, what does anybody see at all? He said, You're just another black man in the world to them, regardless of those other identities that matter. You're just another black dude. So my question back to you is, with what you have, what are you doing to create agency and opportunity understanding for the black people?”

- John Bobb-Semple

Episode Transcript

Unmuted - Episode 1_transcript
Download PDF • 89KB

About the Speaker

John Bobb-Semple is a Director of Community Engagement at a health and wellness company. John is a changemaker who lives to build bridges, innovate, and inspire real impact. A sought-after communicator, John speaks on racial reconciliation, resilience, community engagement, and leadership development with over 20+ years of experience in the nonprofit management sector. As a Keynote Speaker, John will ignite your passion to enact change. John is an inspiring speaker who will give you a framework to activate your values, cultivate the leader within, and unify a community to make a difference.

Connect with John on Linkedin and Hawks Agency.

Let’s Connect

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