Instead

25– Extending grace; a conversation, with Dr. Nicola Corbin

July 06, 2020 Utah State University Office of Research Episode 25
Instead
25– Extending grace; a conversation, with Dr. Nicola Corbin
Chapters
2:13
Seeing similarities
20:00
Constructing boundaries
38:51
The road to understanding
47:13
Extending grace
Instead
25– Extending grace; a conversation, with Dr. Nicola Corbin
Jul 06, 2020 Episode 25
Utah State University Office of Research

Dr. Nicola Corbin grew up in Guyana and is often her student's first black teacher. Wyatt grew up in the rural west and was one of her students. In this conversation, they talk about media, justice, and listening.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Dr. Nicola Corbin grew up in Guyana and is often her student's first black teacher. Wyatt grew up in the rural west and was one of her students. In this conversation, they talk about media, justice, and listening.

Wyatt: [00:00:01] Welcome to the twenty fifth episode of the Instead of podcast, this episode was posted on Monday, July 6th. Twenty twenty. My name is Wyatt Traughber and normally I interview a USU researcher to learn more about the world from the state of Utah. But today's episode is a little different and I have a confession.

 

Wyatt: [00:00:22] First, I didn't finish my education at Utah State University. I grew up in rural Idaho. There were twenty four kids in my graduating class at Butte County High School at the College of Southern Idaho. I got an associate's degree in digital media. After that is when I moved to Logan. I got an art degree here at USC, but in my last semester I took some communication classes and they were really good and I wanted more. But USU graduate program and communications was two years from launching and I wasn't going to wait around. So I joined Weber State University's graduate communications program instead.

 

Wyatt: [00:01:02] And I'm so happy I did because I got to learn from today's amazing guest, Dr. Nicola Corbin. You're going to love her. You know how you shouldn't spend too much time looking for medical advice on the Internet. It's easy to become overwhelmed by confusing and unnerving information because it's the Internet. Well, near the end of this May, I was overwhelmed by the volume of posts about racial justice on social media. And so I did the healthiest thing for me. I put down my phone and I waited till I could talk to a doctor.

 

Wyatt: [00:01:40] Dr Nicola Corbin is a public relations professor in the Communications Department at Weber State University. She's the first black teacher I've had the opportunity to learn from. So I'm happy she was willing to hop on a zoom chat.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:01:54] Hi. Yeah. Oh, my gosh. How are you? I'm good. That wall behind you is so cheery. I'm full of color. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

Wyatt: [00:02:04] We were both a little nervous, so I started talking about a DIY project. OK, here's our conversation.

 

Wyatt: [00:02:12] Months ago, pre Korona, I was doing a DIY project and I've always been bad at using tape measures. And I was so careful and I tried so hard and I get it up there. The board was too big and it's like over an inch off. So I went to measure it again just to try and figure out what I did wrong.And I realized that the numbers were upside down and that they've always been upside down because I'm left handed and tape measures are made for right handed people. But I nobody ever told me and nobody ever talks about that tape measures are made for right handed people and we're all just assume the same tool and the same approach will work for everybody. And like I guess that's kind of how I feel about what's happening on social media at the moment. But I feel like the waves of social media are trying to tell the state that there's like one approach and one way to reach everyone. I don't have your experiences, but do you feel like there's something similar happening from your perspective?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:03:10] What I would say is we are cocooning ourselves in particular spaces, and as soon as we start to branch out, it feels weird and different. But to to actually to your point, as humans, we always think that our way is the best way and the only way. And when it comes to issues of racial justice, I think sometimes. The loud voices overcome, those who may be unsure or tentative or feel like they do not have a place, and I think ultimately what happens is regardless of what racial category we put ourselves in, I think people are human and noise, regardless of where it comes from, drowns out others. And so I think it's useful for us to be thoughtful of that. The other thing is our perspectives and our particular experiences, like in a very great example that you gave about being left handed, even as you were telling that story, I had never even considered that tape measures were made for people who are right handed. But as you started to tell it, it's a realization on my part because I'm right handed and I don't have any person who is close to me who was left handed.And I would see in an intimate environment to know how the world is built for right handed people, right?

 

Wyatt: [00:04:41] Yeah. And like commiserating with other lefties is such a wonderful, cathartic experience. But I've never had a conversation where we've brought up take measures. It's all about like, oh, I grab my my hand into right handed scissors and a smudge on my writing. And like, this spatula doesn't work when I realize this tape measure thing. I bought a whole bunch of left handed products. I'm like, oh, this is way better. No wonder I'm so bad at cutting things out and like scraping the bottom of the bowl and it's just insane to me. So I think that looking at other experiences is important. And you have a paper called Trapped between Justified Anger and being the strong black woman in which you study black women in predominantly white academic institutions. What were your objectives with that project?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:05:32] I think I've always been interested in the experiences of black women. I am a black woman who from the time I moved I'm an immigrant, too much of my scholarly and professional career has been in predominantly white spaces, just as, as you said, commiserating with someone who has zero experience.I think finding commonality is one great thing being heard and validating the experiences and unpacking the complexity of within those experiences. Even as we all black women, we all don't share absolutely all of the same experiences. Right. And I think nuance and complication is often my goal. There's a paucity, this type of research. And I'm interested in studying not only black women in academic spaces, but the ways in which media influences the experiences of these black women.I think that was what I would say was probably a little bit more unique. And what I did was engage a couple of stereotypes that shows up about black women in media stories. We're either angry and then there's this idea of a strong black woman.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:06:44] Some insights as these students, some of the experiences that they told me about absolutely broke my heart. For instance, there's just one story of two friends. One was the lighter skinned woman and one was darker skinned. And they they're college students. And they went to get their eyelashes done and the person was doing the eyelashes. Did not know that this that the darker skinned woman was her friend. And he told her that he he uses a different sort of glue or whatever it is. They put under eyelashes on darker skin, people like her friend, and he keeps a different one. That is clearly a superior quality to use on her. I mean, it's shocking. The friend eventually had some adverse effects. But one of the things these women were saying is that if we say anything about it, we get silence. And that's the part that I think is really frustrating because nobody believes them. And there is a I didn't mean it that way. You're just playing the race card. So it's just all this tension of there are people whose hearts are good and they make mistakes. Right. And then. But.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:08:09] How do they know it's it's a mistake if you don't tell them? Yeah, but if you tell them, then you become the person becomes defensive and say you're just playing the race card or I don't want to talk about this. And I think outside of the loud voices yelling, I think that is the real place that we need to figure out. Like how do we negotiate it in a way where everybody is free, gives each other grace like a space to... Dang,I am so sorry that they aren't enough like the tape measures are only or right handed people.

 

Wyatt: [00:08:46] Oh, and it's like I'm saying I'm annoyed, but I'm not incensed that I use it as a like, like. 

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:08:56] I think it's a strong enough metaphor for people to understand how things can happen, that if you don't feel like it's your fault, but you understand how this is frustrating.But then when it comes down to somebody's livelihood and their life outcomes, then it becomes really, really frustrating. And I think people have to be open even if you didn't make the system that exists, because I do think for some white folks, that's what they do. Like I really like I'm just born and I'm living. Right?

 

Wyatt: [00:09:26] Yeah. Well, I'm like, I'm scared about this thought. I have a little bit, but we'll see how it goes.I feel like compared to other minorities, like there's more anger for black people, which is completely understandable, but it's also more intimidating to me. First day of your class, like I was excited to like have like my first black teacher, but I was also nervous and like you walking in like luckily you disarmed like me very quickly. I was like, OK, she's like, not mad at me. There's some inherent fear that happens, at least like that.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:10:00] I have to think that's a really good to acknowledge that, because I think our tendency is to say no, no, no, because we intellectually know that we're not supposed to. Right. We're not supposed to because I think we have moved far enough to say this person isn't supposed to make me feel this way. And when we we keep it at the intellectual level, knowing what we're doing is doing ourselves a disservice. Because I appreciate you saying that out loud, because I know I know that when I walk into the classroom because of where I am and just the numbers in the field of education, I know that my students, very few of them would have even had a black teacher, much less a professor ever in their lives. It's a whole new experience. And folks expect me to walk into the classroom and they know either they don't know what to expect or be like, yeah, I know these things, but maybe they're untrue. I don't know. They don't have a script. Yeah, right. And it's not bad.

 

Wyatt: [00:11:05] As my first black teacher and the first black teacher of many. Does that feel like a responsibility to you and how do you handle that?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:11:14] Ok, I think all educators have a responsibility. When I had my first white teacher in Ghana, that person had a responsibility. Right, because there weren't a ton of white people in Guyana. Right. I think as educators, we bring ourselves to the job.I take it as a responsibility. And I'm in that position. And I bring I will not negate who I am with all of my complexity. I know.But I also know when I walk into the classroom to first brush, people see my dark skin, they hear a kind of an accent. And I understand how they're interpreting this. My job is to make sure that they see the similarities to we're all here to learn.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:12:06] This is a new experience. I tell students I learn from them as well, because me moving in to coming to Utah, the first thing that I did was at the library with my daughter, giving her a library card. And I went and found a book on the LDS right on LDS faith because. 

 

Wyatt: [00:12:24] I'm scared to hear which one.But OK, cool, good.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:12:27] No, no, no.It was it was it wasn't like it was more of like the basics. Like, I need to know at a minimum the basics when I understand that, you know, the population of my students in the classes is pretty much where they're coming from. And I'm sure even within the Mormon or LDS space, we can say that now within LDS for this diversity of how people view things. Right. And so in general, me as a person, I resist broad conversations that flattens people's experiences. That is just my personal. And the thing of the matter is my students can teach me. So we had an exercise. I know I go off on these tangents and exercise and like we talked about stereotypes and I'm like, so what are some stereotypes about LDS faith? And this the first time I ever heard that people outside of Utah, outside of the faith think that Mormons have horns. And it really baffled me. It really, really like an I I don't understand how humans could think another human has horns, like, just by their religious faith, you know, like like I couldn't. And so I went and confirm it with a colleague, one of my close friends, who who who is a practicing. And she's like, oh yeah. People people believe that, you know. And I think it calls on us to I'm not saying that I am great or perfect, but that is my that's my aspirational stance.

 

Wyatt: [00:14:02] When I walk into the classroom, I want my students to see my blackness. I don't want to negate it, but I want them to know that all of this is me and I'm complex and complicated. And I'm not only like one of the quote unquote good ones, you understand? And I think that is something that people get into is like, well, I know her and she's good, but all of those other people are all of those other people or, you know, whatever.

 

[00:14:29] So like a person of that faith, there's not a lot of representation in popular media about us, which is fine, whatever it is what it is. But I was reading a book by Abbi Jacobson. She's like she was on a TV show called Broad City Of like she took a road trip across the States and she was in southern Utah, like hotel room window. She sees like a polygamist woman with the long sleeves and the braid and the stuff. And she said, oh, like, this is a Mormon. But that's all she said about like Mormonism. And I was just like, oh, like it doesn't feel good that, like, you you care so much.Like she's such like a champion in some ways for diversity and understanding people. But like, she couldn't see the complexities of something that's important to me.

 

Wyatt: [00:15:17] So like, what complexities do people miss about you that frustrate you? Because that's what we should be talking about. I think maybe the complexities about me that people miss, I'm.This is pretty, and this might be my own myopia, and when I was going through college, I remember being really.Pinged or for lack of a better, frustrated with people who didn't think I was smart, and that is a very common thing as people automatically thought that the reason why I got wherever I got was obviously and only because I was black. Right. And they missed a part that I studied my behind off. They missed a part. There's this conversation within the black community that I think very many I would say that it's almost like an internal conversation. And I've always heard it once I move to the United States. I didn't hear it in Guyana because those statements are a little bit different, is that you have to do it twice as good to get half as much right. And for for you to be working your butt off and you get these opportunities and you take advantage of them and then folks dismiss all of your work or don't listen to your words or really kind of, you know, I wouldn't say necessarily negate your existence, but because that's really going all the way on the other side.But it's kind of dismissive of it feels hurtful. And so I want I want folks to know that this common narrative that black people are lazy is really frustrating to so many of us.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:17:34] This is a more of a personal story, when I was in grad school, my daughter, she was four and she had asthma. And I mean, before I left, I had to actually stop my full time job to do grad school full time for this fee that I wanted to achieve. And she has she has asthma and she developed a cold. And I was like, we could get through. Right. We can we can get through like I had before. My insurance from my job had run out and stocked up as well as I can and I could.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:18:05] And she and I delayed going to the emergency room because I would. I didn't want to get on Peach care, which is the it's kind of I was living in Georgia and that's Georgia's like state for children because I wasn't making enough money in a grad program. And so she was qualified for it. But I didn't like I hesitated to take advantage of that because of this story. You know, and then eventually I had to I'm like, she's sick, I have to go. But the thing is, it may not have progressed that far, but the story of black people just want to take advantage of X, Y and Z and they just want everything free. Was a narrative at the back of my head that. Made me delay in part, made me delay getting her the care, I mean, eventually she got what she called the hot shot. It was pneumonia she got and she was just fine. But I think when people have these conversations, they don't realize that we're hearing these things about ourselves, too, and pushing back against it because it's not true in all cases. And we want to be seen in that same complexity, too.

 

Wyatt: [00:19:23] And I think that in my own experience, like I remember being just like get a checkup. The nurse who is like kind of a family friend, she was just like, oh, you don't have insurance. And my mom and like, we just didn't at that time. And she was like, you should put Wyatt on Chip, which is like Idaho's version of that. I'm like, oh, yeah. I guess that there are programs like because we are just so programed to not look, because that's for other people. That's not for us. Right. And so, like, it hurts people on both sides.These negative attitude stories, I guess, did anything in that project of working on that paper and interviewing those students and those people, did anything surprise you?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:20:09] I think it shouldn't have surprised me, but it did that. These stories are valid and that's the point of the research. It becomes more than just anecdotal. It's the constant piling on of the stories told in different ways from different personalities and the diversity of responses to it. And I think one of the most important findings is one of the detrimental psychological effects. So there is this idea of the angry black woman. Right. And the idea behind this angry black woman, I'm sure you've heard it like when I do it in my class. Like the head wag. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I can't even do it right. But when I do the head wag, my students instantly get what I mean is this idea of this black woman as this wholly sassy person who is going to tell off whomever and wherever and sometimes as black women. We understand that always being seen as this person draws a response that, oh, we're going to we're not going to listen to whatever it is she has to say because it's noise. So people not seeing past the response to look at what was it that caused that in the first place. So we figured out that we're not going to be heard when you're angry, right. Anger, anger is considered negative. And so there's this other part called the strong black woman. This is also a stereotype that is perpetuated in media. Almost every black woman is told is the ideal that they should aspire to. We tell black women there aren't supposed to cry. We tell them that there aren't supposed to feel bad, that somebody call them X, Y and Z. You must be strong. You should bear up through all of this. Then what it does is take away the humanness of ourselves. So what happens with students who are in predominately white spaces when they face these things that kind of chip away at their dignity is not somebody yelling them, yelling at them, the N-word or whatnot is just this relentless pieces of the person who calls them ghetto. Right, for something that is very normal. Oh, you just going to add ghetto. It's a person who sticks their hand in their hair like theirs is like a zoo animal is the person who's always coming to them to explain every single thing about everything, black about them until it. Right. It's all of these things to kind of build up. And, you know, if you respond to it and how you feel, then you're just angry and nobody listens to you and then you kind of perpetuate this wheel so you become strong.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:22:38] And in that I just that place of strength being strong means you don't respond, means being strong, means you walk away being strong because you want to get by.You want to succeed regardless of who you are and whatever identities you inhabit. We know that pushing and suppressing emotion down does harm to the human psyche. And so that what's the point of the papers that these two are very problematic stereotypes and caricatures that are very strong in media?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:23:11] Other people don't need to have this particular conversation, you know, and then you come home and then you're talking to. Guess what happened? Is it what it is? Is it what? It's just constant. It keeps us talking about our race in a way that other people don't still keep thinking long after the incident is over.

 

Wyatt: [00:23:42] When you're talking to other black people like and you're having these conversations about the black experience, like, do you think that in some ways it's healthy and in some ways it's unhealthy or like, how do you think about.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:23:54] I had to put boundaries because I know myself and everybody deals with the stress, the stressors differently in mental health, folks will tell us that their particular types of techniques and interventions that generally work for most people is and I think that's what colleges and universities have tried to do to varying success or but I have found that sometimes I get so wound up. I would say in answer to your question, I think it depends it depends on what space it is. It depends on how egregious the issue is or not. So it depends on a quite a few things, but it's nice to have the ability to have a place to go to.

 

Wyatt: [00:24:46] So you're in Ogden, which has got a little more diversity than Logan does. You've lived in a lot of places.Tell me about how those locations have affected your experience or the local culture.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:25:05] Ok, so for listeners, I was not born in the United States. I was born in Guyana, which is in South America, which it's a different relationship with race. And based on my particular experience, I'm not going to say that all of Guyanese are X, Y and Z. I think we flattened people's experiences that way. I knew I was black. I read quite a bit. I understood racism because I think about 12, I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. So that was my first introduction to race and racism in the United States. But I learned a lot more at the time I was coming of age and starting to read about apartheid in South Africa, because this is the time that Nelson Mandela so my conversations are active.Conversations about blackness seem to have like combatively happened by reading books, write one other. I'm a storyteller. But but as I think back more, Gahanna has a racial issue.

 

Wyatt: [00:26:14] Fascinating country. I want to go there. But isn't it like 40 percent people from India like Indian heritage, but innately black and there's a few white people there? I don't.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:26:23] Well, it is it is more of an even in the ratios between people of African who are black who trace their because they came there as slaves. And then Indians were also brought there as indentured servants. So their descendants and there are there are people who are Portuguese. And it's interesting because we don't call them white, we call them Portuguese, because that's where the country that they that they were brought as indentured servants as well to work on the plantations. And so this idea of whiteness is a very interesting concept that many people experience through the TV. But Ghana has and currently right now has really strong racial dynamics going on.It's often tied to politics. But I do remember a really stern lesson was raised by my grandmother while my family, my studying and getting their degrees there. We had an Indian family who was Muslim that lived next to us and my grandmother. You would ask the women who lived there every now and again, too. Can you watch Nicola? I went to school about six years old and I picked up some nasty phrasing that was racist, you know, like it's like almost like a line that you people would say to Indian people. And so I came home and I knew it was bad to say, but I wanted to try it on. And so the next day I'm sitting there having a conversation later, no chit chatting because there are verandahs, we're really close.So we could talk to each other. And I see it. And I knew it was bad. And the woman said, Why are you saying that to me? And I had no good answer. Or six, right. She told my grandmother and I was spanked as a kid. It was pretty common. But that time my grandmother didn't spank me. What she did was take away my ability to go to the fair that I really wanted to. And she never told the people who were going to go to the fair, take me to the fair that I wasn't going. She let them come. And and then they had to leave without me, and I think her response and how to deal with that was the most indelible thing rather than even a spanking to tell me what I did was wrong to to those people anyway. But I do know once they came to the United States, even as I tried to say that, oh, I'm a Guyanese American, all of that, when people when I walked down the street, I just got treated like I was black. And so when you come to the United States, you become black. It doesn't matter where you come from living in New Jersey and going to school there, because there's so many more people who look like me in those communities become somewhat segregated. So people who live around, people who they know, Guyanese people tend to live with other Guyanese people. And then these communities become I went to a high school that was underserved and they couldn't believe, like my experience in those in the school, the high school, like I went to that high school for a year and I I couldn't believe it. Right. It was like how I saw on TV. Like when you look at the quote unquote inner city schools, I'm like, oh, my gosh, this is what I'm in right now. And it's this whole thing. But then I saw a lot of people striving to be better, but we never necessarily talk about those in the movies. And I didn't really make a lot of friends because, like, I'm an introvert anyway, it has something to do with me. Kind of just moved through my existence and did what I had to do. And keeping my head down a little bit, you know, then moving to Maryland, it's got and I think as I've gotten older, my eyes have been widened because I will say the lens of an immigrant sometimes is different.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:30:13] Even if I'm black, it's sometimes different and we use language. This is something this is one of the things that I'm grappling with now. Immigrants very often adopt language and stances and positions that are derogatory to black Americans, are we? We call them African-Americans. And that is problematic. And it's something that we need to talk about very often, immigrants and some of the successes that we're seeing that we see are held up as as we become these models, not understanding that the immigrant part of who we are creates a slightly different narrative sometimes for people, because I've watched people as soon as they're like I hear an accent and they're like, where are you from? And I tell them, of course, I'm ready to tell my story. I've seen people respond very differently. They're like, oh, and it's almost like, oh, you are interesting. You're exotic. Oh, yeah. You you're you're a little bit different from, you know, the person whose heritage is traced to the south. Right. Who is who is an African-American who trains there. You're not like those people. You're a little bit different. Yeah.

 

Wyatt: [00:31:33] So I'm much more open to well in like to be honest, like that's what I like to have that helped like with the whole thing that doesn't like I was a folk and I was like, oh, you know, just right.Do like people who can trace their ancestry to, uh, to the southern states here in the US. Do they kind of resent you or do you feel like you have an advantage because you have an interesting story or a different perspective?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:31:57] In some ways I can answer the second. The second question, I think presents resentments happen across the board in different situations. And white people, we resent each other all the time, like, I think a resentment is. And so I'm not going to and some of it is justified that first awareness just because I attended a diversity conference. Well, I attend all of them at Weber State University. And I really do encourage people, even if they're like rolling their eyes. Here is another thing. Those places really, if we're truly in it, provide opportunities for us to contemplate. So the speaker that was brought in, he was great, right? And he and then he he's kind of a preacher. So he had he had the audience going. But there was one, I think what I walked away with and I think we don't get when we attend these, this is why we need to immerse ourselves, because for each of us, a different thing is going to take hold in our hearts for us to think about, like we're not going to get the whole thing and every single thing at once. But the thing that he said is why is it that we teach, treat our African and Caribbean brothers better than we do our brothers and sisters? And we do our African American brothers, sisters. And there was an inner resistance because that's what happens when we have conversations about privilege like it is a natural response to. Kind of like push back and say, well, I did this and this and this and this and this, what are you talking about? Like, there's there's a need within ourselves, regardless of where we're talking to try to defend ourselves because we think is an attack on us. And it really isn't. It's the contemplation of what is right. And so I didn't create that. And and the idea is like, you expect me to apologize for something that I didn't create, like, you know, like like we've become super defensive, but the other side and that's a human response. But the other side of it is for me to admit and say, oh, my gosh, all of the instances when I saw my story as being a little bit different and be more interesting and and how it opened up people to me. And then I could also point to people who, particularly in my PhD program, how much more interested people were in me than they were in my African-American colleagues who were like, oh, I've heard that internal in group conversations around people from the Caribbean. Right. I've heard those internal conflict. And I know how they use the same language, not knowing that the reason why we Caribbean people can immigrate to the United States on the back of those African American the African-American struggle, like the civil rights movement and all of those people who marched and got beaten up and and got sprayed with hoses and got dogs fight them led to a path that I can come here. So is is is no good. And we need to change that as well.

 

Wyatt: [00:35:10] Yeah. Yeah. So when enslaved people were brought over during the slave trade, like their culture was in their languages were stripped from them and like I feel like that's probably also like part of the pain of being a black person in America. Do you how do you do you feel like having having like your Guyanese culture is something that you appreciate more or.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:35:35] Oh, it does, because that didn't just happen. Those boats stopped in different places. So it's not only right, it stopped it. What was Hispanic, it stopped all over the places. And the same techniques were used to differences, though the United States became this very different project because like, for instance, going on and got independence in nineteen sixty six from Dutch, from the British to British, for the last folks who stayed and established it was British Guyana. OK, so in nineteen sixty six. But then they're like, ok, rule yourselves. So I think my dad, his parents were alive when it was still under British rule. But growing up for however messy guyan Guyanese politics is the fact that I grew up with people who looked like me running our country however it is, or doing all in, all up and down through to different positions operating. It gives you a different sense of self, you know. And so when I was in school, I had no problems talking about I wanted to be the first a woman female president in Ghana. Right. And so people's dreams and imaginations of who they can become is really structured in part like we have our internal inclinations. But it's really structured in part by the cultural dynamic in which and the messages implicit and explicit, that we're sent about ourselves, the stories that other people tell us about ourselves somehow becomes part of our stories.

 

[00:37:12] When I so I was able to have that story of Guyana here, and I never thought about it in terms of until I was having a conversation in college as a freshman with a woman who is African-American. And I'm talking about it and I'm kind of rolling my eyes because I'm talking all of the stuff about gayness, though, about whatever. And she said it, at least you have that. I don't know where I come from. And I think that was like an aha moment within this experience. And I think people in Utah are people who are LDS that I think have a really strong emphasis on genealogy and history. I went to my friends, I don't know, they call it a wake. It was the viewing that viewing, viewing or memorial service for her dad.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:38:04] And she had a book like like a genealogy book that was on display. And my friend, her family can trace their begins to sixteen hundreds. There is 16 hundreds. Where Miles, my story stops with my grandfather.

 

Wyatt: [00:38:23] Oh, wow.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:38:26] You know, and then there's this whole. And people keep talking about being able to trace where you come from, because that's the place where you draw pride in who you are. You need. You need positive things as well, in addition to the hardships and overcome. It's about the stories we tell ourselves and the availability of help to tell these stories. Right. So anyway, yeah, I go on.

 

Wyatt: [00:38:52] No, you're good.You talked about moving to Utah and seeing the genealogy in the book,

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:38:58] But moving to Utah was a huge jump, even though I think my daughter and I first actually our anniversary seven years since we've been here is today. So and we're driving around Ogden. And I think because I looked up the census data when I when I was offered this job or when they applied for it, I'm like because I wanted a job. And then I applied for a job and I was like, oh, they're calling me for an interview. Let me actually look at the census data to see how many black folks live there and. And then I'm like this really low, but I'm also used to navigating spaces that I'm like, well, it's a new adventure. But I was we were so surprised at driving around downtown and seeing but we're like, oh, my gosh, look, you know, but I think what happens is that you adapt. But here's what happens to us when we travel. And there's almost a layover in like Vegas. Right. And we walk through the airport, it's almost like you forget how many. Different looking people until you hear there and you're in the airport, you're like, OK, we're going, we're not in Utah anymore because it's just like round all shades of brown or white or whatnot intermingling. And that, I would say, is refreshing, not necessarily because it's a bad thing because we live here. But there are some things you do miss of seeing that you don't realize that you're missing it until you see it. You know what I mean? I don't know if that makes sense. Speaking of it, where you're where different people are coming from.

 

Wyatt: [00:40:37] So like that makes me think of a place where I was coming from. The first movie I went to see is a college student was The Help, which I know there's a lot of criticism of that movie. But in that movie I learned about like Jim Crow and yeah, I learned about in high school. But this is the first time I like I really like kind of saw it and felt it. And I understand that The Help is like it was written like the original story was written by a white woman and that it sanitizes a lot about that era. But also I got to see white people being cruel and ugly. I got to see some insight into the black experience of the of the maids in the story. And then I also got to see, like a white person listening to their experiences. And so I guess, like with the criticisms of the help, I understand them. And I'm not trying to, like, stick up and champion. Seventy five million dollar movie was like stepping stone in, like my road to being a more understanding person. So I guess I want to know if, like, how do you feel about how much, how many spoonful of sugar you can put in something before it's not before it's not worth like the medicine, it helps go down. And then also like how do you feel the movie in general and then the conversations around it.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:41:51] So honestly, I did not see The Help yeah. In the throes of this is no excuse, but I didn't really have time to watch movies because it was in the throes of my PhD program. I remember, but I remember having a conversation with a colleague about it and her being she had read the book and I think she appreciated the book as is common, more so than the movie. And she was she's a black woman and I think she was frustrated by the criticism of it by itself. But that's all I can tell you about the movie. And I keep saying that, you know, I, I got to watch this, but I. So you don't like you know, but I think because my spouse both he's been telling me because there is also a moment of when a lot of the movies for a while that got hyped are the movies about struggle and slavery. And that's the only sorts of movies that get the green light to come into the theater, like I think from about twenty thirteen. The major movies were always about seem to be always about slavery. And that causes also fatigue for black folk. It serves his purposes and other well-meaning audiences who get like you said, I got you got something from that.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:43:14] You opened up your eyes, I think for some times for some black folks. I'm trying to modulate my words because I want to say I don't speak for every every black person ever, clearly as we've been having this conversation. But I think what I felt was fatigue. I felt fatigue at the depiction of cruelty towards people who looked like me over and over again. There was a period in the late nineties maybe or early two thousands where there were a stream of movies adjust with black cast of people just doing regular things. I felt I identified with Black Panther is a superhero movie with a predominately black like those. And I think there's a place for historical movies that document that. But I think we need a balance more and much more of a balance, because if the only time you see yourself or people responding, you know, I want to see people in contemporary times, you know, and we could throw in like, you know, they go to the job and they feel and you're like, oh, really?But then they hang out with their friends and they do, you know what I mean? And then I'm saying, no, I think this serves over all of our children.

 

[00:44:32] It's not only the black children who look up to superheroes and see themselves on screen are black folks. It's white folks as well who can have that experience of imagining themselves and seeing a universal story, regardless of the embodiment of it. Saying we need complicated ideas of superheroes can be like and they don't always look one way and two people can be like, I was born.

 

Wyatt: [00:44:56] I watched I watched the first season or two of a show called Greenleaf. It's on Oprah's.Network.You OK?

 

Wyatt: [00:45:06] Yeah, and I remember watching it to be like this is weird because there's like a I'm not used to seeing black people being depicted with this much money. It's insane to me. But like, OK, cool, interesting. And then also, I'm not used to like seeing things that are just. They're fighting with each other instead of against other like my people, and this is fascinating and like this is weird, I don't know, but I enjoyed it.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:45:34] Oh, yes, yes. I guess. What's his or her name? Oh, I have lots of thoughts about all of it. I think we all know. And it's and it's refreshing. It's refreshing. And I think we aren't at a place yet when people need validation. Yeah, right. Like I see people say, well, there is no white entertainment television. Why is there a Black Entertainment Television? Because for years, over and over and over and over through history that people were listening to. We have asked, can you represent us differently? There space are so much more. So let's.

 

Wyatt: [00:46:12] Yeah, well and I was like back I think in like twenty fifteen when a friend was trying to help me understand the reason why it's black lives matter. All lives matter. Right. And in that conversation, like Betty came up and said her name's Amanda. He's one of the few like liberal white people like from Salt Lake that I've had these conversations with who actually took the time to, like, listen to me, you know, anyway, sorry anyway. But she was trying to make the same trying to point to point out it serves a need. And like black people want to see these stories and stuff. And it didn't click going back to that thought of different people in different approaches. Later I was thinking about it like from kind of a capitalistic perspective. And it was just like if there's a market for it, then like, who are we to complain about it? You know, like if people are watching and advertisers are like buying ad time, like it's just capitalism. And so then I was like, OK. And then I was instantly like, I didn't have a problem with Betty. And now I'm to understand, like, more of the reason behind it. So I don't know, maybe that was like an entryway.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:47:15] I think I think I think two things you said that I really liked that. I think we do have to do a fair job of listening. We have to do a better job of listening. And I I think in general, the shouting. And or the silence, both of them are deafening and all of the very human things in between get lost. So I am reminded of a story with a good colleague of mine who who is white, one of my best friends. I would say she's really receptive to times when I just have to increase the pressure inside and she does a really good job.And also gives me a lot of perspective as well, because sometimes when we were just ranting as humans, we just we're like, OK, now we got it out. Now I could rationally think. But even when their conversations turned to the talking about race and racism, because I don't think talking about race is bad or about racism, one of the things she keeps saying, she says to me, she's like, I had a very patient friend who is black in grad school who helped to who explained things to me. I'm all every time she says that I'm thankful for that woman who connected with with her in a way that.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:48:37] Brought her along and helped her evolve for whatever her thoughts were about race in that particular category, because it puts us in familiar territory where we can have such a strong friendship. So I think it's important. For people to have grace for other people.

 

Wyatt: [00:49:01] Yeah, um, what like tell me what Grace means or what it means. 

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:49:08] For me, Grace means an ability to see the person on the other end. And I think that's perhaps some of the interactions that happen on social media and us being behind screens, that it interrupts that people and I might be naive on this, I've been being accused of being naive quite a few times about how to handle issues. Right. I like to think that people are generally well-meaning. I think sometimes people are misinformed, as I have been and continue to be about certain things. There's no way we could know all this stuff or will ever, ever know all the stuff and how to be and what's the correct verbiage and what's all of the things. And I think if you sense as a human that somebody is genuinely trying to understand or trying to do the right thing. I don't think sometimes you should let us let things go, but it's to find another way to explain in a way that recognizes our humanity that I don't know what you might know about this or that. But here's what I heard and hear. Based on this context, it made me feel we still have to engage in some self care, because I do think I have also observed willful ignorance, even when it's pointed out to you, you are determined to shut down that conversation because it's of no consequence. And so the levels and you are talking about how many spoons, you know, that the level is you have to as a person based on your your tolerance level, for reasons that you approach that conversation that the other person may never know to always I don't know. There's one right way, but I hope that an approach and strategy that we would strive to engage is to a sometimes we place more emphasis on the words and emotion, I mean, on the emotion that you see, rather than the reason for what the person is saying.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:51:23] Sometimes we we do make it personal when it's not really personal and we feel hurt. And so we shut down and just, you know, it's hard to do. I'm not saying that any of this is you know, if we had figured this out, we would have been all combined a long time ago. But I think I try to remember Grace. But the other thing is my expectation is that you will also extend grace to me. Yeah, I do not see people if I'm upset by somebody putting a racist statement right. Or whatnot, and because it makes me feel physically unsafe and it makes me feel betrayed. But then people said, well, it's really tough on that person. We don't know what this person is like. Logically, I get like maybe that person snapped, wrote this racist statement because of what? Whatever. Maybe that person snapped. But by you trying to tone, please, my response as well. You're not extending me, Grace. I could somewhere in my mind say this person's mental state might have driven them to whatever whatever you're telling me, that I shouldn't feel the way that I feel. And that's not so you asking me to extend that person, Grace. But you are not extending me Grace to be upset. And I think it's that it's a symbiotic relationship. I want you to acknowledge that I have a right to feel heard by somebody who's threatening writing racist things that actively threatens me and my mom. I do have a right to feel that.

 

Wyatt: [00:52:58] Yeah. Um, speaking of conversations of like I've been I mean, like coming from Idaho, being in Utah, I don't have a lot of access to have conversations with black people or people of other ancestry. I like the ones I have had that have been generally good and productive. And where I have trouble is often with in conversations with white people, especially white people from like metropolitan areas who maybe grew up in a suburb and had more more means than I did growing up. And I think that they kind of just look at me as just like, oh, you're a tall white dude. Like your life wasn't hard, even though, like in my past, like my family was scarred by the opiate epidemic. And I grew up in the middle of nowhere and like, I don't have, like, any social connections anyway. Sorry. And so and so, like, I'm trying to share like like my perspective and kind of the feelings that people from rural communities have about these issues, because I think that they see the protests and they see the problems and they're like this all looks like there's a lot of feelings there. And we don't like to deal with feelings. But also, I think there's an understanding of like, can't we fix this so we can move on, you know, like, um. Anyway, so I guess how do you feel about the energy that like or how much how much of the problems we have today is like white on white crime?

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:54:29] I don't know. I can't answer that.

 

Wyatt: [00:54:31] No, you're good at helping out because we didn't make any sense as I was there.

 

Nicola Corbin: [00:54:36] I don't I honestly, I try to because this is this is my position. This is my position. And I hold myself to this is that I will speak about my experiences and I will listen to the experiences of others understanding that people everybody comes with a complicatedness to all of their identities intersect and.I have no business trying to tell you or what I do is listen, and because sometimes we get really careless and I could only speak from the perspective, quite honestly, and it's not me skirting, I would never speak for a white person. I think there are certain things that break my heart, like I had a student who he really if we were really seem to have like he dove into a lot of historical literature.And we were one we were in a classroom setting and we were talking because it was all created. We were talking about communication in the way that communication impacts culture. Right. And I showed him and he says something like this and he said, I feel ashamed to be white and.And I'm like, why? And he said, just because of historical things and it broke like a. It broke my heart, it broke my heart because I come from a place where in turn, because we knew there were all of these external pressures that said. Black folks aren't anything, and I kind of see that I have a different experience coming from and immigrating at a time because I think there is a lot that happens developmentally at that age. But I think what happens with the students, I'm thinking what's happening with the student is that when you grow up thinking one thing and then you see historical narratives like the things you weren't taught in history class or in school or your textbooks kind of, and then you're getting the raw data or to write and and it kind of makes you start questioning your own identity. And for me is like I absolutely do not want any of my white students to be ashamed of who they are. I think that is destructive to any human being, to have to walk around in shame for things that they have absolutely no control over. And so and I'm like because I sure as heck will never apologize for who I am. This is who I am, warts and all. It is who I am. And I have a fair amount of self efficacy and self contained within myself. And that is what I think is a healthier place to be. But I think what the student is grappling with and this goes back to to me a flaw in our education system that I hope that we're correcting. And as an educator, I want us to do more, is that we don't have honest and nuanced conversations around race. Like I've been to high school here and I saw the way to write about stuff in the history books. And then you're like, oh, you know, the South, the Civil War, or if you listen to people, the the war of Northern Aggression, I think that's how.

 

[00:58:00] So some people don't. Yeah. I mean, I've heard that before, but not here. I know.

 

[00:58:07] But when we do that to people. Right. Regardless of if you're white, black, wherever, and then you and then it comes out later that all of that history wasn't quite the way it was framed or there was more to that story that was critical to be included. But they didn't. People feel like they're lied to. So to me, if I have a conversation with a child in history and giving them a much more nuanced conversation, as opposed to serving people who are enslaved and calling them workers on the farm and they were treated treated better. And all of this stuff, which is those things have been written in history books, then you just don't understand why people are right. And of course, it feels like craziness. You weren't mistreated. You're making it all up. And then if you if you if you if you are in a position like the student was to actually start, then it feels like, oh, my gosh, we did this horrible, shameful things. Right. But I think if we start early having.

 

[00:59:06] Nuanced conversations and students grew up knowing that, yes, this was our history. Yes, it's messy. Yes, some of it is shameful. Yes, this part is good. You develop an ability. And that's the way when we tell people half truths from the get go and they grew up there. But what else were you lying to me about? And this is where education fails, I think, or have failed us in that aspect. I think their age appropriate ways to start telling more nuanced conversations as opposed this binary opposite of this is bad and this is good. This is bad and this is to air. Great, great, great. This is good because and I think we as human beings have the capacity for nuance. I think we need to engage it more.

 

Wyatt: [00:59:50] And it's like like nuance is better and more entertaining. I guess. I listened to there's a podcast called Uncivil and they're not making it any more, but it's essentially stories of black people rebuilding their lives after the civil war when they didn't get the 40 acres in the mule, they were promised and like just dealing with all of that fallout. And it was it's presented in a way in which I feel like the presenter treats me like I'm I'm on their side and that I want to hear this, which is good. It doesn't feel like I'm being lectured to and like but it also it's just better for me. It's like they're just like so entertaining. And it's also just like only the human spirit is impressive and people figured out how to do things.And so in like, yeah, we should do it because it's the quote unquote right thing to do. But also it's just like the more entertaining, more engaging way to be to teach people is the truth. The human spirit is impressive. People figured out how to do things. And so in like, yeah, we should do it because it's the quote unquote right thing to do. But also it's just like the more entertaining, more engaging way to teach people is the truth.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:01:09] And I think I love what you said about being because that's like, you know, all of us are reexamining everything and covid and now there's like everybody. And so, you know, it's all of this internal introspection. And one of the things that I've been because I'm a teacher and I think I've always been a teacher since I came out the womb, like with this whole lecturing thing. And my 15 year old just rolls her eyes every time everything. You have to turn into a lecture, Mom, because to me it's a teachable moment and it's this and that. But what it does, I think I've been thinking about it is that very often when you were talking about liberal folks, I think what I have observed and I do it and I don't know if liberal is the right word, I think maybe it's like white people who call themselves WOAK and like those squares, like those kind of people, like I mean, I don't know what I would lump. I want to lump all of them in, but I do think there is a fair amount of lecturing that happens. And I am much I am guilty of the lecturing to every time because I feel it's an outlet that I feel like I want to post on my Facebook page because I just need to get this out.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:02:26] And this is a particular voice or whatever the heck it is. I heard people call it virtue signaling or whatnot. And so I've been contemplating that. And I think it serves a purpose sometimes for people who are close to you to hear a story. The other thing I will say is that anything I post on my Facebook page, I'm more than happy to have. I do not post anything on my page that I'm not willing to have a face to face conversation about. Yeah, I think sometimes what happens when people take corrective measures, the pendulum swings to whole other way before it settles to a happy medium. And it's like we need to change this. We need to this. And I on some parts of me appreciate it's not only me talking about things about race on my Facebook page. I because people circles are different. And if you are in communication theory, we know that the speaker matters. Right? So I have an amount of legitimacy because of my own particular positions. But I will tell you, this is one of the things I was talking about said in a faculty town hall meeting that are white professors also have a fair amount of religious legitimacy in a different way because they're a white person who came to a particular standpoint or a particular place.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:03:47] And if you could explain to who share commonalities with those students, with their students in ways that I may never, ever well, I will never, ever write. And you perhaps can use language that's not familiar to me. You can use experiences that are not familiar to me to connect with those students. So if a. And I want to believe our goal is to create a society that is more just. Yeah, you use whatever you have, you are just as qualified because as a white person, you have a race too. I know it seems invisible. You aren't race. It's not only the black people, whoever race you as a white person. White is considered a racial category in census and your experiences are formed and race in that way. Unfortunately, you don't necessarily have to talk or think about your race all the time, but you do operate in a space where your race does matter. Yeah, right. But we don't talk about that because it becomes invisible.

 

Wyatt: [01:04:48] Well, and I think that that's like my biggest like the thing that makes me like I spent enough I spend a little time on social media when all of the fallout from George Floyds killing happened.But I didn't spend a lot because I see what's happening and as a white person with a rural and like ground, but I also have a communications degree and like that's my area of focus. I can see that, like the messaging that's happening on social media isn't going to get in those hearts. Right. Like they don't want to listen to it because they're busy worrying about like if they're going to get enough rain this year so that they can grow crops and survive. Right. And they're worried about their wells going dry, like that's what's happening back home.

 

Wyatt: [01:05:32] So, like, one of the things that I think could help is just like I listened to a different podcast from Reply All, and maybe I'll put a link in the description, but it's just kind of like a deep dove into the system that the New York like in the New York City Police Department, like they had a system to track, like infractions and like how much policing was happening in each area.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:06:01] Right.

 

Wyatt: [01:06:01] And then that system became used to show how effective, different like district or precinct chiefs were. And for precinct for those people to get promoted, they need to look like they're more active and to look like they're more active. They need to give out more infractions and like sightings and like tickets and whatever. And the people who aren't going to fight, those are the black people who can afford to. And so it's just like, oh, this is why the system is broken. That's stupid. We should fix it. And it's a very it's a systematic look at the approach. And I think just showing people like who maybe don't want don't have the time or don't care or don't want to deal with the racial side of things, you're saying like, hey, there's a broken system and it's ruining lives, a great place to start.And it like chain and like I mean, I already have the same goals of having a just society, but it was such like this is like a maze, like this is just such an incredible way of looking at it. And like that's those kind of conversations aren't happening right now. And it just makes me angry because I want to be like we're leaving people out, like these things aren't going to work for everybody. And so I guess that's part of I don't know,

 

Wyatt: [01:07:16] I agree. And I you know, I agree with you. And I think I think from where I'm sitting and what I am just and it has to do with my position is because I think every single institution. Because of the pervasiveness, because it starts with the interpersonal part, great and interpersonal attitudes that have developed, and then those people go out and make decisions or put in build systems that unintentionally leave people out, sometimes they don't because those people are not at the table to advocate for themselves or be like they build a system that benefit the people who are in the room. Right. And so sometimes and then it becomes baked into the system of this is how we always do things. Right.And so I think you're absolutely correct that the place to really and where most not like individual people posting a whole lot of stuff on their page about individual experiences, which are important, I think is more important for our energy in this world is to look at those systems and institutions. Here's an example that I have been grappling with. So we all saw this video of this police officer who kept his knee on this man's neck for eight minutes and forty six seconds. Right. We saw that.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:08:39] And the man died as a PR person. Then I look for. Well, what did the PIO say? What was the statement from the police department? Because they're required to issue something to the media if you read this news release. I was ashamed of my profession because there is no place in that news release. Did they mention that this police officer kneeled on this man's neck, that at some point they said there was there was there seemed to be some medical distress?That was the only line. And that was the official statement from the police department right then the coroner's report. And I think in that point, this is how we move from an individual action. Of this police officer, the lack of action from the other three who were standing there, right. So you could say, OK, these four police officers did something that was horrible, but then it moves to the domain of the police department. When we write a statement that doesn't acknowledge what happens and there have been no video that becomes the official record that was sent out through media outlets, that is what media will accept. That is what will go into the court documents or whatever kinds of investigations. And at that point there and who else? For people who feel powerless against a police officer, this is where does this going to happen at the institutional. At the institutional level, right? So what kinds of policies how are we as PR people who are supposed to be the Council of.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:10:27] Over organization, right, like we're supposed to be the conscience, not council console's, the lawyers conscience is the PR people. How could we write something like that?Yeah, right.And I think that is where we like where, because my whole thing is what can I do in what I do and where I do it to make a difference.Right. I can't fix all of this.Yeah. You're just one black woman. Like, you can fix one. But if all of us commit to what is our sphere of influence and you don't have to be like the most vocal person. And I think to some of the frustrations that I've heard, I have dear colleagues, who is like the world feel so broken now when I don't know how I can help, like I am not that person to do X, I'm not the person to go and protest. I'm not the person to whatever. And but I know I'm being told I have to do something so I could understand that frustration and communication theory or public health theory tells us when problems seem so big that people can't fix it. They tend to just do nothing like that is a human response. So my goal is use whatever you exist in a space in some place. And even if it's a conversation with you heard your nephew saying something a little wrong, you know, I don't think there's a need to publicly embarrass your nephew. Let's have a conversation about that. And it's not only about race. We hear problematic things about people in the LGBTQ community. We hear problematic things about people with disabilities. We hear problematic things is for us to start exercising the model that you like. I know this isn't right. And you don't have to have all of the perfect terminology about to explain why it isn't right to even have that conversation. And I think that is also the thing that impedes people, because there are lots of things that are OK being colorblind, being colorblind.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:12:31] Like my friend said, I know it's bad. I don't really know why, because when people say I don't see color, when it means like people who say I don't see race, not people who like genetically can't see like blue. I'm not color blind. They mean it like they can't look. And they're like, I don't understand why this is bad. And I think I understand the intention. But when the person made the comment to me, I myself, like, I kinda knew, but I didn't ever formulate language in my head about how to talk about it. Like, I kind of know why it's bad, but you can necessarily tell somebody why it's bad. And I tried some haphazard, clumsy way of of of saying it to her. And she kind of nodded because she didn't want to continue a conversation. And it becomes this whole big awkward thing. But it was. I don't know, it took me a couple of years to really formulate what is my understanding of how how much how problematic being colorblind is. Right. So and I'm black like you with a black person. She should she should know there are things that I don't instantly know. It goes back to being able to have more conversations and nuanced ways, like the idea of white privilege. That also was a concept that I couldn't articulate quite like I kind of understood it. But if somebody asked me to explain, that would be uncomfortable with my explanation of it, because I kind of understood it, understood it, but I couldn't articulate it clearly the way I would want to articulate it. And the best definition came from a middle schooler was a video circulating on the Internet about this charter school in Atlanta that integrates race, gender and society classes in the elementary level. And there was a student on there like he was on a show, kind of more like a PR is good for the school. But this student who was a middle schooler would say, well, the way that I think about white privilege is that it doesn't mean my life isn't hard, but my life isn't hard, isn't because of my race sometimes the signifier of my black skin. People think that I'm going to be more sassy or my brothers have seen people clutch their purses closer just by their presence on an elevator, right.And and it happens instinctually. People automatically think a tall black man is someone more scary.Right. And I've had I have colleagues who, when they speak, they're super quiet, super quiet. And it's almost like in my mind, I think it's a response because you try all of these things, they're like they're always going to perceive me like this. So I have to make myself non-threatening. So I will speak.

 

Wyatt: [01:15:27] I think white people who don't who feel like they have hard lives when they hear the term white privileged and because the definition has gotten so broad for that term, they feel like that they aren't understood and seen and then they are distracted. We are distracted. I am distracted by my own identity and trying to be like I'm not like I'm not I haven't just been floating up to the top, I think. And that's like and that's just a distraction from, like helping remove like racial justice and equality forward.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:16:01] I think the word privilege in itself always seems to be connected to economics right now. Every time people say, well, this is a person of means and there were privileged, I think, in our heads or a story of who is privileged is somebody who lives in a big fancy house and who had, you know, like how many cars. And it's an economic privilege. And that's what I like. This story of privilege definitely runs up when, as you're describing of when somebody said, oh, you're a white person, that you're like, I was struggling just like they're like my parents was like counting pennies on the table. What do you mean? I was privileged. The arguments that I hear or the pushback I hear when folks say, well, when we start dissecting economic privilege and the different the different types of privileges and we don't call it and we say it's white privilege like.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:17:09] I understand where they're coming from, but as I said before, I think there is a there's probably should be a need to clearly articulate and really refine the terms because you will push people out. And since said, I think racial privilege is probably more accurate because we do know that racial privilege kind of over it kind of skips through all of these things because sometimes the first iteration of something is not necessarily the best one. But if we have enough focused conversation, which requires all of us to have the intentionality, because I think if you shut down one set of experiences, people, because it leads to the same thing of people feeling that they are not validated and heard. And and the thing is, is that finding the balance right. Because sometimes when we then sit in a place and we're not towards the common objective, then it becomes really watered down. And the changes that actually need to the efficacy of the effort gets pulled out. But truthfully, white, I don't know what's the right way and approach. And I don't believe that there's only one white way in approach to do things. I think even there are some ways and approaches that I roll my eyes at sometimes have positive outcomes because of its interaction with another way and approach and the fact that we're having this conversation. And while you have been always pretty vocal about your feelings and I don't think being vocal is a bad thing, this just for me is just having a space to have nuanced conversations where, well, here's where I'm thinking. And then not only when you leave the conversation, the conversation isn't done for you like your or me. Just so like I walk away from this conversation you're not having. And I'm thinking about, well, is this just isn't I'm bouncing it up against all of the other things in my head and trying to figure out where I'm going to land on it. Right. And that's a part of doing the work.

 

Nicola Corbin: [01:19:27] That's part of doing the work. So and it's can be exhausting. And we got to take breaks.

 

Wyatt: [01:19:36] That was my conversation with Dr. Nicola Corbin. And she's right. We got to take breaks. So if you're new to the podcast and you'd like to listen to an episode on another subject may suggest Episode 12 coronavirus and commuting with U.S. transportation engineer Dr. Patrick Singleton. If you like today's episode with Dr. Nikola Korban, please share it with a friend and subscribe to the instead podcast feed. And don't forget to check out some of our past episodes. All right. Don't forget to listen. Extend to people grace and look for nuance.

 

Wyatt: [01:20:09] This episode of Instead was edited by Nick Vázquez and me. Wyatt Traughber is part of our work in the Office of Research at Utah State University.

 

Seeing similarities
Constructing boundaries
The road to understanding
Extending grace