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Racism & What You Can Do

Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis challenges everyone -- including White people -- to do their part in overcoming racism.

Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis, founder of 365 Diversity, is an activist, sociologist and criminologist, educator, and researcher who helps businesses, non-profits, schools, and other organizations overcome disparities and improve diversity.

In this episode of The Lean to the Left Podcast, she discusses such topics as Black male suicide and its causes, racism in the workplace, education, healthcare and other settings, and challenges individuals and entities take action to achieve change.

Dr. Dennis pulls no punches in her comments during the interview.

For example, asked why she has always been passionate about combatting racism and overcoming disparities through actions beyond marches and protests, she points out that she is the daughter of Black educators who grew up in Richmond, VA, "the second capital of the Confederacy."

"We know first hand what it means to be taught false information and told to just believe this false information because White people say so," she explains, noting that removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond received media attention. "But I always tell people that removing a statue is still surface level change. So my passion for this is in my lifetime contributing to real changes beyond surface level changes like removing a statue, and contributing to changes in school curriculum, not just when it's a hot topic in the news, not when it's a particular theory that has outraged White people."

And, she adds, "I really want people to understand what it means to keep doing action for change, not just when it's popular, not just when it's a hashtag."

"Remember, White people create the curriculum, create the textbooks and most of the published journal articles, despite the world being like 89 percent Black and Brown...even when the subject matter is for Black and Brown people," she observes.

Her message?

"Go beyond mouthing words and actually do work," Dr. Dennis says. "And doing work is beyond marching and protesting down the street. Indigenous and Black people have marched and protested down the street for five centuries in the Western Hemisphere in and of itself."

"Humans do the same thing over and over again," she notes. "We talk about something, we express outrage and then we say, 'Well, everything's peaceful now. We're cool.' My message is that I want people to understand the role that they play in perpetuating inequities; that could be race, disability services, anything, and then I want people to outline what they want to contribute in their lifetime to reduce inequities."

Often, she adds, "White people will say, 'well what should I do?' I say you have to first write down what are some roles that you play in perpetuating White power? What are some things that you do yourself? Oftentimes I'm told, 'Well, I'm a good person.' Yes, good people often perpetuate inequities because they're this is normal. They're told a certain definition of family is normal. They're told that it's normal that they're neighborhood is peaceful, but then within walking have neighborhoods that are struggling, and you're told to pretend that's it's normal that somehow the crime incidents, particularly violent crime, end at your road."

"I tell people, 'The life that you're living is planned. So people have to decide what role will they play in making some challenges and changes," helping to lay the foundation for others who follow to make further change.

"Inequities," she adds, "will exist as long as humans exist, so we all do our part."

Listen to the complete interview here:

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1 Comment

Thank you for interviewing me. Anyone interested in learning more about anything in the video can contact me.

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