Episode 3

Published on:

22nd Apr 2022

CultureRoad™ Podcast - Episode 3: Critical Race Theory

In today’s episode, CultureRoad™ creator and host DeEtta Jones dialogues with Dr. Jerome Offord, Associate University Librarian of Antiracism at Harvard Library about Critical Race Theory at play throughout his life and work. 

Dr. Offord is also the President & CEO of the Mr. HBCU Kings’ Leadership Conference & Competition, providing leadership training, coaching, mentorship, and career development to young men at historically black colleges and universities. Recently, he celebrated 30 years as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

This episode covers:

  • [3:45] - Critical Race Theory defined
  • [11:19] - Acknowledging Critical Race Theory
  • [12:10] - Critical Race Theory on a global scale
  • [14:09] - Race and identity through the lens of Dr. Jerome Offord Jr.
  • [19:11] - Challenges surrounding Critical Race Theory
  • [21:40] - The connection between privilege, antiracism, and anti-oppression
  • [25:02] - Doing the work
  • [34:00] - The impact of racial identity in the life of Dr. Jerome Offord Jr.
  • [38:43] - Showing up authentically 
  • [41:23] - Antiracism at Harvard Library
  • [50:19] - The Great Resignation
  • [52:53] - Gaining traction

Key quotes:

  • “So, from my perspective, Critical Race Theory is literally a conceptual framework that academics talked about, and the key piece that I think most people miss about the definition of Critical Race Theory is intersectionality.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 3:46
  • “I feel like that’s the real common understanding of Critical Race Theory right now is that it’s about the idea of reconciliation…trying to make people in present-day feel guilty about, and even pay consequences, associated with something that happened long before them.” -DeEtta Jones, 7:04
  • “I feel like that’s the real reconciliation that’s happening…it’s kind of an internal struggle…that so many people who have power or privilege or who have untruths that have been acculturated into them have to really be willing to examine honestly and openly. -DeEtta Jones, 11:51
  • “One of the only communities that have not received reparations for harm is the African-American community.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 12:56
  • “Critical Race Theory is history.” -DeEtta Jones, 19:11
  • “But even in that space of trying to be the liberal, the perfect, the mindful person, privilege and oppression still show up.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 20:59
  • “You have to do lifelong, deep dive, introspective work, and in doing that, you’re going to make mistakes.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 25:38
  • “The work around being an anti-racist, and interrogating your beliefs, is no different than how you manage and deal with the changes when two become one.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 32:05
  • “This is human work. This is self-behavioral change. You have to meet people in that space. You can’t go at it from a theory.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 41:52
  • “The next social justice movement, and the next part of The Great Resignation, is people leaving organizations that put out all of these great statements about Black Lives Matter, supporting the movement, and that’s all they’ve done.” -Dr. Jerome Offord Jr., 50:34

This episode is brought to you by:

CultureRoad™, a live and on-demand digital learning solution powered by DeEtta Jones and Associates. CultureRoad™ is an easy-to-use subscription, delivering fresh content monthly and access to experts, to help professionals at all levels thrive in the contemporary workplace. Stay up-to-date with best practices on DEI, and acquire the necessary skills and tools to effectively lead, manage, and influence others. Get connected with this community of practice to further your professional development at cultureroad.com. 

About the Host:

DeEtta Jones is a 32-year industry veteran, transformational leadership expert, and owner of DeEtta Jones and Associates, the go-to management training and strategic consulting firm for some of the world’s leading companies and institutions. Visit deetajones.com for more information.  

Connect with DeEtta:

  • Instagram - @deetta_jones_, @deetta.jones.associates 
  • Facebook - DeEtta Jones and Associates
  • YouTube - DeEtta Jones and Associates
  • Website - deettajones.com

Connect with Dr. Offord:

  • Instagram - @dr_o_the_original
  • Website - https://library.harvard.edu/about/news/2021-03-15/announcing-associate-university-librarian-antiracism

- Welcome to the "CultureRoad" podcast, Episode 3.

Through our work withclients globally, my agency,

DeEtta Jones and Associatespromotes the idea

of next generation leadership,pulling diverse perspectives

to the forefront as itis the way of the future.

Our brainchild,

the "Culture Road"podcast is a brave space

that celebrates diversity of thought,

where all perspectives are welcomed.

The vision for this podcastis to never shy away

from hot or controversial topics,

but rather to embrace them inan effort to remain neutral,

to protect those in power or to be viewed

as politically correctcompanies often fail

to address the elephant in the room.

However, not givingvoice to defining issues,

it doesn't make them disappear.

Those that feel overlooked and oppressed,

they can become isolatedbreeding tension in the workplace

that becomes a barrier to cultivating

a synergistic workplace culture.

Today we're putting it allon the line, giving language

to a topic that has a nationdivided, Critical Race Theory.

(inspirational music)

Joining me in conversationis Dr. Jerome Offord Jr.,

the Associate UniversityLibrarian for Antiracism

at Harvard Library, and also presently

a consultant for DeEttaJones and Associates.

Jerome is also the president and CEO

of the Mister HBCU King'sLeadership Conference

and Competition, whichprovides leadership training,

coaching, mentorship, andcareer development to young men

at historically blackcolleges and universities.

And also Jerome recentlycelebrated 30 years

as a very active member ofAlpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

In addition to all of thoseother ridiculously interesting

professional and communitylayers of involvement

that you have, Jerome, you and I

have been friends for 30 years.

We have, we went to college together.

Our careers have followed each other.

There's been times when youhired me or I hired you.

(Jerome chuckles)We have supported each other

and been kind of trustedconfidants for decades.

I was even in your wedding.

It's been an amazing journey and I am so

incredibly happy to have you here.

Welcome.- Awesome.

I'm so excited to be here with you

and to be in conversationwith you as well as for us

to be able to shed somelight on this topic

of Critical Race Theory for people.

- Yes. Good.

We need to,

'cause there clearly is alot of confusion about it,-

- Absolutely.- a lot of confusion.

So when the team andI began the discussion

around this topic, youimmediately came to mind and you,

I know are someone who canhelp us create a rich dialogue,

not only from yourprofessional background,

but also from your personal experiences.

The goal today is for us to shed light

on how this 40 year old academic concept

of Critical Race Theory has impacted us

and society at large, in very practical

and even personal ways.

So what I'd love to donow, Jerome, is just shift

the conversation into kindof really understanding

a little bit more aboutCritical Race Theory,

but you know, what'll bea good place to start?

A definition.

Doesn't have to be complicated,doesn't have to be cited,

but just, can you define how you think

about Critical Race Theory?

- Sure. So from my perspective,

Critical Race Theory isliterally a conceptual framework

that academics talkedabout, and the key piece

that I think most peoplemiss about the definition

of Critical Race Theoryis intersectionality.

The theory and the conceptualframework originally

was talking about theintersection of race in law

and how our systems orthe systems of oppression,

the systems of racism,the systems of injustice

and intersectionality of race

predicts two different outcomes.

- Yes.

- And it's also somethingthat documents history

and how we as a societyhave actually played out

oppressive behavior oroppressive work or language

or policies and intersected with race,

specifically around menand people of color.

- I love it. So that's thepiece that I never ever,

ever hear anybody talking about.

I never heard anybody talkingabout the fact that this is,

is about the law.- Absolutely.

- And that was part of the origins

of Critical Race Theory ispeople who were not just studying

race and systemic interventions,

but also people who were studying law.


And how law is disproportionatelynegatively impacting

certain populations-- Yes.

- and that this whole bodyof academic literature

and knowledge has come to play.

But now it seems like in today's society,

people are just kind ofthrowing the language around

and misusing it in ways thatare incredibly uninformed,

but also really dangerous.- Yes!

- It's like people areweaponizing this language.

- Yes.

- Well, I think part of the weaponization

is a part of oppression andthe oppressive system because

Critical Race Theoryalso talks about history.

And as far as oppression is concerned

and the oppressives' history, being able

to have a conversationabout Critical Race Theory

means that people haveto reconcile our history

and our past as a country, as a society,

as well as how we havecreated laws intentionally

to be very different,to marginalize people,

to keep voices quiet, tominimize people's voice,

their life, their, theiractivities, but to really

continue to have anoppressive system in place.

- Okay, so the wordreconciliation is so big

and it makes me, immediatelymy brain jumps to

how do we reconcile history,

but I'm gonna start off with just

a recent conversation that I had.

And it's a small little conversation

that will be ridiculously familiar to you

because so many peoplehave these conversations

all the time, but I'm at myson's school for an open house,

orientation and preparationfor high school.

We're kind of learning aboutall the different clubs,

whatever, whatever, sothere's a lot of kids there.

There's a lot of parents.

And at some point I meet a parent

and we go into just a random conversation

about random things, right?

Just everything fromneighborhoods to schools,

to, all of a sudden Critical Race Theory.

At one point she mentionedsomething along the lines of,

"Isn't it horrible thatthey're trying to make

our kids pay for something thatthey had nothing to do with,

something that came from the past?"

I knew that she was immediately talking

about Critical RaceTheory, but I feel like

that's the real common understanding

of Critical Race Theory right now,

is that it's about thisidea of reconciliation

is really about trying tomake people in present day,

feel guilty about andeven pay consequences

associated with something thathappened long before them.

Help me just think about this?

- Yeah, so it's interestingthat those conversations

are happening, especiallyacross the nation

around having people feel comfortable

and uncomfortable at teaching.

The truth is if I could be as bluntly

and as direct as possible,

the history that we'rediscussing is not the history

that BIPOC folks have created.

This is history that dominant culture

has played and has implemented.

And now the issues of shame orother pieces that they have,

they don't want us to haveconversations about it.

But as a black man andas a black boy grown up

in the city of Chicago, in the 80s

during the crack epidemic,I know these conversations

were had, and they're still had,

I dread the day that I'd haveto have this conversation

with my great nephew about whatit means to be a black male

and dealing with law enforcement,dealing with society,

dealing with personalities,dealing with aggressiveness.

So uncomfortable conversations,as far as I'm concerned,

black folk have beenhaving this conversation-

- Yeah, yeah!- for years.

- Yeah.

- And so, now that majority culture feels

that the conversation is uncomfortable.

The question is, and the way to look at it

from a non monocultural perspective is,

"Why are you uncomfortable?"

"What's making you uncomfortableabout this history?"

- Yeah.

And why is it such a problem

that you have to be uncomfortable?

Hell, I've been uncomfortablefor a long, long time.

You know, it's like, "Really?"

We can't have a littleuncomfortableness this time around?

I'm not trying to makethe whole world miserable,

but why I gotta be theonly one uncomfortable.

- Well, and not only thatyou're uncomfortable,

but you're uncomfortableabout your history.

Not about my history.

You're uncomfortable aboutwhat your ancestors did,

what your forefathers and foremothers did,

which has now benefited you in privilege,

in wealth and land ownershipand even status in our society.

- Well, as part of theuncomfortable feeling associated

with not just maybe shame orguilt, that's a potential,

but it also may be, well,if we actually acknowledge

that things are built on a false narrative

and they were built in a way

that wasn't actually equitable,I might actually shift

power dynamics, I may losesome of the privileges

that I've had, and as muchas I might intellectually say

that I want equity,when it's my privileges

that I'm willingly giving over,

then it feels like a loss,doesn't feel equitable

when it feels like whenI've had so much of it.

- Yes.

So you think about everything'sabout winning and losing.

Everybody has to be a winner or a loser.

And that's part of our US-centric society,

which I understand, butwe have been dealing

with that for decades, for centuries.

When you think about winning and losing,

you think about the Tulsarace riots and the Greenwoods

and all the places wherewe've had black business

and black commerce.- Yeah.

And the issue of us continuously seeing

those communitiesdestroyed because someone

of dominant culture feltlike they was losing.

- Yeah.- In the book,

"The Conversation," that I'm reading,

it references "Mississippi Burning,"

where there was a situationwhere a black farmer

who had leased some landhad saved enough money,

bought a mule, and sohe was using the mule

to help farm the landwhile the white farmers

joked with his neighborfarmers so much about it that,

you know, "The black guyis progressing more."

He has a mule, he's able totake care of the land faster

to harvest the land faster.

And so the jealousy of the white male,

eventually they poisonthe mule and killed it.

And what he said in themovie to his son in the car

and excuse my language, he says,

"If you can't be better thana Nigger, what can you be?"

- Yeah.

- And so the concept thateven in my brownness,

regardless of my background,my education, my wealth,

that some people still believe-

- Yeah.- That I am less than.

- Yeah.- And to white Americans

who may not have succeededto the same level I am,

I am even more of a threatbecause I am perceived

to be better than them,and that's impossible.

- Yeah.- For folks to understand.

- Yeah.

- So that is some of theuncomfortableness historically

that people have to reconcile with.

- Yeah.- That is still alive today.

- And they gotta tell the truth about it.

- Absolutely!

- You know, there's somany people who are like,

"No, I'm not uncomfortable!"

Or, "No, it's not really race it's class!"

Or, "No, it's this, orit's political divide."

And, you know, at some point people,

and I feel like that'sthe real reconciliation,

you know, that's happening, it's kind of

an internal struggle that so many people

who have power or privilegeor who have untruths

that have been acculturated into them,

have to really be willingto kind of examine,

honestly, and openly.- True.

- It's interesting becausethere are other countries

that have done this like in Germany,

they're like, "Lemmetell you, we screwed up."

"Let's talk about it."- Right, hm mm?

- And, and this reconciliation,I'm not saying it's perfect.

- Right.

- But I'm saying that there's a...

It's the opposite approach in saying,

instead of pretendinglike it never happened,

like we're just gonna pretend like we're

the three blind monkeys or can't see,

can't hear, can't anything.

And instead, what we're going to do,

is kind of look at it so that we know,

and we don't repeat it.

And it's really interestingthat we are taking

such an incredibly oppositeapproach in the United States.

- Well, and the otherthing, the other topic

that a lot of people shyaway from is reparations.

And so all of this connects to all of

the oppressive history,but even when you think

about reparations, oneof the only communities

that have not receivedreparations for harm

is the African American community.

We know that we hadreparations for the Holocaust.

Canada's now looking at reparations for

its treatment of indigenousyouth over the years

when they were taking indigenouschildren from families

and given 'em up for adoptionto white families in the US.

And so everyone else isfiguring out how to apologize

and not only apologize, butput action behind the apology

and put action into placeto do corrective behavior.

We are seeing just theopposite in the United States.

- Yeah.

And we're seeing it as something

to be even more divided about.

- Absolutely.- We're seeing it as a loss.

So I know that you are likeencyclopedic when it comes

to your understanding of thistopic and the kind of academic

and intellectual approach that you have.

But I actually feel like,and because I know you,

I feel like your personal story is a place

that has so much potentialfor really taking this

to a whole different levelas far as the conversation,

but also people's understandingof Critical Race Theory.

So, for me, I would loveto just maybe start off

with you personally,sharing a little bit more

about your story?

You mentioned that you,grew up in Chicago,

you grew up in the eighties,you saw what you saw

during those times, butI would love for you

to tell a little bit moreabout your personal story

and how it is that raceand identity associated

with your own racial identity journey

has helped you understandyour place in the world,

and sometimes the painassociated with that.

- Sure.

So my fondest memoryand my lens around race

comes from my grandparents.

My grandparents werethe predominant figures

in my life as a child.

And so both left the southand they met in Chicago,

working together in a restaurant.

And my grandfather was a bus boy

and my grandmother was the waitress.

And so, so many of my memories around race

and to the point that Iwas actually paralyzed

from some of the storiesor from my grandfather,

when he talked about leaving the south,

talked about lynchings and he gave me

all the the cultural cuesI needed around how to act,

how to interact, whatto do, what not to do

when I was younger, sit inthe very front of the bus,

make sure that you're protected.

Don't sit in the back, watch who gets on,

watch the neighborhoods as you go in.

If you go past this street,make sure you get there

and get out really fast.

And so being able to migratein and outta relationships

and neighborhoods in Chicago,

my dentists orthodontist as a child

was in a predominantly white community,

and one that was known to be very racist.

And so my appointmenttime, my mother made sure

that my appointments at a certain time,

so I can get in and out whenkids weren't outta school.

So there were some issues about me

being chased or being bothered.

But then one of the most poignant moments

in my history as my familymoved to the further southwest

side of the city, and wewere the third black family

to integrate the neighborhood.

member as if itwas yesterday,:

there was a KKK rally, ablock and a half of my house

in literally they had afull parade, marching,

the wardrobe, the regalia, the horses,

and to not understand as achild, why I was being hated,

just because I was black isprobably one of the things

that has probably pushedme further to always feel

like I have to prove to theworld that I'm a good black guy.

- Yeah.- And that's a part

of the cultural lens

we have to wear sometimesto see life through

to prove to people that, you know,

we're not what you think we are.

- Yeah?- I am a good guy.

- Yeah.

- And I just, yeah, I havechills just thinking about,

I've known you for a long time.

I have never heard that KKK story.

(Jerome chuckles)

I have never heard that KKK story.

It's so it's so amazing thatthere are so many people

who walk around the worldand just, they may assume

that they have to provethat they're a good person,

but they don't have to assumethat they have to prove

that they're a good person in spite of-

- Absolutely!- their entire race, right?

- Right.

- And all of the negative stigma

that's associated withthat, even if it's not true.

- Right.- Right!

- We still are constantlytrying to feel like we have to

prove ourselves outside ofwhat these stereotypical,

incredibly unflattering, right,trauma filled stereotypes

are sharing with the world and that people

are ingesting about us.

- And on the opposite sideof that, we have the folks

in dominant culture who want to validate,

"Oh, you're the good guy."

"Oh, you're different."

"Oh, you're so smart."

"You're so intellectual."

And it's like, is that rare?(DeEtta guffaws)

Is that unheard of?- It's only a couple of us!

Yeah,-- Yeah, yeah.

- Exactly.- Yeah.

It's funny.

I know people are trying, but no,

in the absence of being willing and able

to have conversationsaround complicated topics,

like Critical Race Theory,

we're always gonna be ina place of having these

well-meaning folks who are doing things

that are either tonedeaf and or blatantly,

missing the mark becausethey're not going deep enough

because they're like, "Hmm, I care,"

"But I don't,

I'm too scared to actuallyget into the thickness."

- Right.- Of all of that complexity.

And then I have to deal with,how does that make me feel?

How do I look, am I gonna be exposed

for not getting it just right?

Am I gonna be labeled or embarrassed

or whatever, it's like, at some point

we're just gonna have to bemore courageous collectively.

- Absolutely.- And we're gonna need folks

who may be incrediblyuncomfortable with this topic

to just figure out how to navigate it.

- Absolutely.

- The thing for me aboutCritical Race Theory,

is it's just, it's almost too simple.

I mean, I understand academicallyit's about understanding

the correlation betweenidentities and law.

I understand.

And there's a whole lot of other bodies

of literature around it.

It's so complex.- Yes!

- There's so much, I get that part.

And so academic and intellectual it is,

but it's also ridiculouslysimple in another way.

Like to me, CriticalRace Theory is history.

It's not black history.It's just freaking history.

(DeEtta scoffs)It's just history, right?

It's like, how do we tellthe truth about history?

- Absolutely.

And understand thatwherever there is a history,

there's always a person who tells it.

There's always-- Absolutely.

- a point of view fromwhich history is told.

And over time we have to realize

that that point of viewmight have been biased.

- Absolutely.

You know, the way I'm gonnatell you about my kid, right.

And how perfect and beautifuland pleasant and funny

and smart inte...

And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah he is,

is different than a lot of his teachers

would tell that story, right?

And sometimes you just have to think about

from what vantage pointhas this story been told,

and also, who were the otherpeople who are ingesting,-

- Right.- This story,

as it's being told throughthat biased vantage point

in a way that is having aserious societal impact.

- Right.- Right?

On not just how people likeyou and me are perceived-

- Hm mm.- And our children,

but also on how people whodon't look like you and me

are perceiving themselves,as juxtaposed against us.

And then we have to navigate all of that.

- Absolutely!- Right?

And so at some point, if we don't jump

into understanding this actual history,

we're just gonna continue manifesting

the kind of oppression that we're trying

to work ourself out of right now.

- That's right.

One of the things I think academically

that people miss aboutCritical Race Theory

is that Critical Race Theoryand the intersectionality

of law and race really focused on

what liberal white Americans thought

they were being progressive,and the laws that they created

and Critical Race Theory says,"Even in your liberalism,

you were excluding and being oppressive."

And so I think some of theuncomfortableness around it is

we thought we were being the good folk.

- Yeah, yeah?

- We thought we were being perfect.

But even in that space of trying to be

the liberal, the perfect,the mindful person,

privilege and oppression still shows up.

And I think that's wherefolks are uncomfortable

because folks who consider themselves

to be the good white guysor the good white folk,

see, don't align withfolks who are opposite,

who we see wearing the, the Klan outfits,

who we see-- Right.

- Anti everything,-- Right.

- They can't vision alignthemselves with that vision,

but their actions stillprotect their privilege

be it their individual privilegeor institutional privilege,

whichever one that they'reprotecting, their actions

still created the exactsame oppressive behavior.

- Well, and that's wherethings like anti-racism

and anti oppression come in.

Right, because no, you don'thave to be egregiously racist.

Literally riding around on a horse,

wearing a hood as a cardcarrying member of the KKK,-

- Correct.- That's one level

of racism that's ridiculously obvious.

- Correct.

- But there's a whole lot of other ways

in which racism andoppression in many forms

showed up and that allof us has the ability,

wherever our privileges are, right,

to actually do somethingabout, but we have to,

we can't just say, I don'twant oppression to exist.

We actually have to go the extra effort

to be anti-racist or anti-oppressive,

which means that I have to be willing to

not just look at myself or care,

but I have to be willingto potentially shift

some of the areas of privilege-

- Absolutely.

- that I've had that I've enjoyedthat I don't want to lose.

- Right.

- But that I also intellectuallytell myself and others

I'm willing for other people to have.

- Right.

- If there's only so much to go around,

let's pretend there's onlyso much to go around, right?

There's only so much to go around,

at some point my privilegehas to be something

that I'm willing to distributeif I truly, truly believe

in this, and that's the next step.

But unless we get to aplace where we can even

get everybody to a placewhere they're willing to say,

"I'm engaging in thesedifficult conversations

and I can see myself, not on the horse,

but still not ananti-oppression, anti-racism.

If I can't get pasteither one or the other,

then we have to be willing to have a space

for a discussion and understanding.

And that's where I think the conversation

about Critical Race Theorycould be so incredibly helpful.

- Yeah.

And I think the other part of that is

we talk about and dealwith this issue of comfort

is some of the uncomfortablenessis either the theory,

the work around anti-racismsays that either

you're anti-racist or you're racist,

and how do you deal with that?

And so folks not understandinghow to be an anti-racist

and understanding overt and covert racism

and how they play out ineveryday life is a struggle.

And so some of theuncomfortableness is that

if I'm not actively being anti-racist,

then I have to rectify-- Right.

- that I have racist actions and behaviors

that are part of the problem.

- Yeah.

- I think that that'sthe place and I think,

it feels it's such a heavyword, but I feel like

if everyone could justbe like, "Yes, get it."

I have a lot of racist stuffthat has been poured into me

and that I have been practicing.

It doesn't it doesn'tcapture all of my essence.

It doesn't mean thatI am forever incapable

of growing or becoming.

And also beyond the scope of racism,

all of our other identities,

going back to intersectionality.

Like, for me, I have aton of areas of privilege.

- Absolutely.- Right?

I'm not only black, I'm not only a woman.

I'm not only a member ofnon-dominant marginalized

under-capitalized communities.

I'm also in living in andexperiencing on a day to day basis

of other areas of privilege.

And so for me, it's also that this

isn't my identity in totality.Right.

But it's an opportunity for make

more than just a cognitive choice.

- Absolutely.- But to actually

a behavior based and a resourcebased choice going forward.

- One of the things that we share,

I share with colleagues atHarvard about this work is

that there's two things,I often remind them,

start off with a story and say, you know,

one of my greatest failures in life

is realizing and figuring outthat I don't walk on water.

I've tried it several times.

I don't.

And what that means to me is that this is

all about us doing the work.

You have to do the personalwork, not conceptually.

I'm a gonna work from nine to five,

I'm working on this job andI'm gonna take two DEI courses.

I'm gonna go to an, anti-bias course.

I'm gonna just tune to a podcast.

You have to do lifelong, deepdive, introspective work,

and doing that, you'regoing to make mistakes

because you're going to bump up against

everything that you have been taught

and everything you think about life,

about race, about culture.

You're going to bump your head.

You're gonna stub yourtoe, give yourself grace.

If it happens in the workplace,

apologize and learn, but don't stop.

Don't get defensive,but really listen, learn

and take a deeper diveinto why this is happening

or why this behavior is being exhibited.

We have to extend graceto ourselves first.

- Okay.

Do we have to extend grace to others?

So this is the question that comes

to me all the time, right?

Cause I heard you say, "If Imess up, I should apologize."

But a lot of times people say to me,

"Look, I don't wanna dothe heavy lifting anymore."

"Just because I'm blackor brown or a woman

or a member of theLGBTQA-community doesn't mean

that I am responsible for your education.

- Absolutely.- Right?

And so the other question I have is like,

"Whose job is this?"

For me, I spend my lifeeducating and trying

to create space for people to learn.

And sometimes people are like,

"Oh, you shouldn't be doing that."

These folks should bedoing that on their own.

Right? These folks, they're grown.

They should be doing this on their own.

On the other hand, I don'treally want a whole lot of folks

who don't have a whole lotabout where to get started.

- Right?- Even their own privileges,

just walking around withall these blind spots,

trying to figure it out on my behalf.

They might be well intentioned,but I feel like together,

we might actually come up withsomething that's more robust

and that's more comprehensiveand that's actually

gonna work better.

Where's your thinking on this-

- Yeah...- and what this is?

- I think if we anticipated that folks

would've figured this out, we've been

in whole different places of society.

We would not be dealing with these things

that we're dealing with now,

if folks could just figure it out.

So I think, no, I don't thinkeverybody's calling in life

is to be that educator, thatperson that helps navigate

the journey with people.

But there's enough of us in the world

that are authenticallyshowing up to do this work

because we care and we love it.

And so being able to haveconversations with people

and understand calling inand calling out-culture,

all those things toreally impact how people

either defend or theyhide, they shell away,

how they engage, how theyapologize, how they connect,

it takes a skill.

It takes a strong willed person to do it.

And someone who knows thatsometimes emotionally,

I need to go fill my cup.- Yeah, yeah.

- Because you're continuously,emotionally pouring out.

How do you find ways to fill your cup?

And so I just had a conversation

with some library science students

at the university of Missouri,

Dr. Jason Austin invited me to his class.

And that was one of the questions asked,

"How do you keep going?"- Yeah?

And I say, "Some days are really hard

and some days I just gohome and close my door

and don't want to talkto anybody in the world."

But I know who to call.

I know what to do...

(DeEtta laughing)I know when I need

to refill my cup, whatthose activities are.

And I don't wait till the cups is depleted

to deploy the activities needed.

I can sense it. I can feel it.

But being able to know that I'm called

to help change the world helps me

stay connected and engaged.

- You know, it's so interestingthe way you describe that,

'cause you and I havehad these conversations

a million times andthere's plenty of times

when I'm sitting therekind of on the floor

with tears in my eyes and calling you,

I just have to tell somebody, and I know

I don't even have to do awhole lot of explanation,

but the through threadsbetween what you're describing

and even other journeys that I'm on

or have been on overthe course of my life,

like meditation and yoga and some of

the more spiritual queststhat have been part

of my life's path has very similar,

if not exactly aligned philosophy, right?

You have to come from aplace of a filled up cup

and then the overflow,-- Yes.

- the spillover is what you give.

Yes.- Right?

- But you can't be depleted.

And I feel like that's part of the problem

with the world that we're living in now

is we have all of theseincredibly depleted people

who are coming from notjust marginalization,

but they're tired.- Absolutely.

They've been, they've been unseen,

underrecognized,underutilized, underrewarded,

othered for so long that they start to be

in this like toxic place,

on whatever side of theideological aisle you're on.

- Right.

- And then are coming together

to try to figure out like who's right.

But nobody is actually comingwith the actual resources

needed to help us create a successful

and effective path forward, right?

And so I feel like that'sthe other ingredient here.

It's not just understandingand doing the hard work

because nobody wants to do hard work.

You're describing this as hard work

over the course of a life.

How do you sell that to somebody, right?

What's the sell?

- Yeah.But at the same time,

I do feel like if people are seeing this

as a multifaceted experience,

that's part of the wholejourney of life and becoming,

and self betterment,you see it as necessary.

- Right.- Right.

To kind of heal the trauma andconnect with the compassion.

They all have to happenin a coordinated way.

- Absolutely. So here's an analogy I use,

and by no means, am I arelationship or expert

or therapist or anything:

You fall in love, you meetsomebody, you fall in love.

The things you fall in love with

are sometimes externally observable,

something that somebody walked past you,

somebody that talk to you in the right way

or said the right things.

You fall in love.

You're in a relationshipyou ebb and you flow

in your dating, and then you...

Some folks wind up getting married,

all statistics say theroughest years of a marriage

are the first five years,

because you're now havecommingled your life,

commingled your thinking,commingled your finances.

And you're learning ina whole different pace

around what that islike, but you work at it.

The successful marriages out there,

the 30, the 40 years,the 20 year marriages

have been because people have worked at it

and then, oh my goodness, it changes

once you start introducingchildren into it.

So you gotta work onthat new relationship.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So everything about a relationship

and a marriage is about work.

The work around being an anti-racist

and interrogating yourbeliefs is no different

than how you manage anddeal with the the changes

when two become one,as we talk biblically.

- Yeah, yeah. I love that.

Well, the other thingthat's so powerful about it

is that the idea of like going from

this stage of relationship

to this stage of relationship

and that stage of relationship,

even though there's a lot of work,

it's still very aspirational,it's still very desirable.

It's still part of the wholepackage of being fully human.

- Absolutely.- And fully exploring

the breadth and depth of our humanity.

And so to put it all kindof in the same bucket

of, of course we do thisin all aspects of our life.

- Absolutely.

- Why wouldn't we do this around history?

- Absolutely.

Around reconciling andmaking congruent the things

that are in our hearts and thethings that are in our minds,

intellectually and the changingenvironment that we live in.

- Yes.- I love it.

- Yep.

- I think at this point weneed to take a quick break.

- Awesome.

- So let's, let's cut awayfor just a quick break

to talk about, hear aword from our sponsors,

and then we will be right back.

(inspirational music)


All right, Dr. Offord,so before the break,

we were talking about all sorts of things,

but one of the things that you did

was start sharing some storiesabout when you were young

and seeing a KKK full-on march and rally.

And I would love to, tojust pick up right there

and just ask you, whatdo you think for you,

over the course of your entire life,

how would you describe the impact

that the way that your racial identity

has been either taught to youand/or perceived by others?

How was the impact thenon you on your life,

on your choices, on yourcareer, on your relationships?

What has that been like?

- Great question, and here's why.

When you turn 50 or get alittle bit over 50, like I am-

- I would not know anything.(both chuckling)

You really start toagain, think about life

and think about experiences.

And so as again, as a young black man,

my grandfather tried to hisbest to prepare me for the world

and understanding what theworld was like for black men.

And his intention was tohelp protect and guard me.

It also created a shell.

And so the concept of not being too big,

when you walk in a room,

to fall in the shadows to just make sure

that you're not outshining other people,

all of that over my life hashad a whole whole effect.

And it took me till I gotto my fifties to realize

that me trying not to feelintimidating to people

is not about me.

It's about other people.

And how do I not fall into the shadows?

How do I not dumb downmyself, my intellect,

or even coddle people tomake them feel comfortable

in the fear that they'regoing to dislike me

because I'm the angry black man

or I'm the aggressiveblack man in the room.

And so, I mean, I'm a shortguy, so the threat of,

of height and all that,doesn't bother people.

But sometimes, you know, I think about

if I hadn't heard those stories.

- Yeah.

- How about would I have not dealt

with the imposter syndromeor even if any of that

ever became a part ofmy psyche in my world.

I think about the crossburning in high school,

because folks was upsetthat the Chicago High School

for Agricultural Sciences,they thought it was gonna be

predominantly whitestudents that turned out

to be predominantly blackin the predominantly white

neighborhood in the MountGreenwood area of Chicago.

They did not want us there.We had cross burnings.

They had to escort thecity bus to a certain line,

et us home safely.And this is:

This is not 50 years ago.

So all of that again hasplayed into who I am.

And so even though, again, like I said,

my grandparents had the best of intentions

to try to protect me from what they saw

as the world around thelynching, the physical abuse,

the treatment, it created something in me

that made me want to make sure

white people were comfortable around me.

- Yeah.

- And at some point psychologically,

that starts to just festerbecause you can't be

your authentic self and makeother people feel comfortable

about you at the same time.

- Yeah.

It's interesting, 'cause the word comfort,

came up again even before the break

and it's like verylittle has been invested

in you feeling comfortablein your own skin.

- Absolutely.- You know?

And so it it's like 50 years later

you're actually thinking about,

wait a minute, am I comfortable?

- Right.- You know?

And how is it that Ineed to make adjustments?

And now at this pointyou're making adjustments

that aren't just behavioral.

They're like psychological-- Absolutely.

- and emotional-- Absolutely,

you know, adjustments.

And also there's a lot ofchoices that you've made

along the way that may havebeen differently informed right?

- Yeah.- If you were,

if you were coming from a different place.

- Yeah, this whole issue ofcomfort and you mentioned

earlier about people'ssaying, "This is not my work."

"We shouldn't be doing this."

As people of color, BIPOC by pop folks,

Black, Indigenous peopleof color, and women,

also have had to navigatethe world through the lens

of making sure dominantculture is comfortable.

- Right.

- And so, how we deal withthat now and understand

that no matter what levelof comfort we bring,

oppression and privilege always shows up,

and people are tired.

And that's where theexhaustion comes from,

because I'm not authentically being me

to try to make you feel comfortable

and you are continuously discrediting

everything about me and my people

or oppressing me and my people,killing me and my people.

Then why am I sacrificingmy authentic self?

- Yeah.

For someone who doesn't give a about me?

- So how do you, 50 years'wisdom, I'm like this, tell me,

how do you actually dosomething differently?

How do you make anadjustment to who you are

and how you show upauthentically in the world

after 50 years of being in a shell?

What do you do?- Yeah.

So one of my fondest memoriesand I think it clicked for me,

I'll never forget, duringmy interview for Harvard,

for the position at Harvardand I was grossly intimidated.

It's Harvard. It's like,why would Harvard pick me?

Again, some of that imposter syndrome,

which also goes to self-confidence,

all of that comes as apart of making other folks

feel comfortable aroundyou and shedding yourself.

And I oftentimes willover-intellectualized responses.

And so I was preparing mypresentation and usually you hear,

"Don't put a lot of words on the slides."

"People don't want you to read to them."

And so I leaned into discomfort,my own discomfort and said,

"I'm just gonna do a presentationfrom my authentic self."

And I opened up thepresentation that says,

"This is the lens thatcoming to you from."

"My name's Jerome, I'm from Chicago,

poor kid growing up onthe Southside of Chicago,

extended family."

"I'm a black male, educated,

identify as same genderlove and gay male."

"Grandparents, my grandparent mother

had a sixth grade education."

"My grandfather was illiterate."

"My mother was a high school dropout."

"My father graduated from high school,

was absent in my life."

"All this is me."

"This is the intersection of Jerome."

"That's what I'm bringingto the table, at Harvard."

And that moment after that presentation,

when I got done hadliterally sat and cried,

because for the first time I felt like

I was authentically mein front of 400 people

who I could see because we were on Zoom

and it felt like I had tookthe weights off my shoulder.

- I love it.

- But you have to take the risk to do it.

- Yeah.

And that's it, like,especially, and it's so hard

because you have so manylike ideas in your head

about the box that they'reexpecting you to show up

and feel exactly.

And so it's almost likecontortionism, right?

You're like almost trying to figure out

like how do I fit myselfinto this small box

that I've never actually inhabited?

- Right.- That wasn't designed

for me or people like me, right.

And instead you went exactly the opposite

and clearly they loved it.

- Yes, did.(DeEtta laughs)

And it's work again.

So it really, it's really about

being able to own you.- Yeah?

- And say, if I'm nota good fit, I get it.

So one of the things I sharewith my colleagues who I love,

contrary to popular belief,Harvard is not the place

where people have egosand nobody, you know,

everybody's listing off all their degrees,

is I found folks to be very humble,

very caring, and very engaged.

And I was very clear as apart of my authentic self

as being a diversity officerbefore, you do get exhausted,

you get tired.

Because one of the thingsthat I shared is that

we oftentimes want to talk about diversity

from a theoretical place.- Yeah.

- This is human work.- Yeah, yeah.

- This is self behavioral change

and you have to meet people in that space.

You can't go at it from a theory.

Yes, so theories playa key role in education

and understanding change and all that.

But if you really want tochange people, it has to be

human to human.- Right.

And so I shared withHarvard and they committed.

I said, "I'm not coming here if Jerome

is gonna be doing this work alone."

There has to be co-conspiratorsdoing this work with me

from the senior leadersthroughout the organization.

- Yes.- They have been committed.

You know, I'm sure this ishard work for everybody,

but the beautiful pieceis the team and the staff

has been overwhelmingly welcoming.

Now you do have folks whosaid, "You know, well,

you've been here 90 days, sowhat do you wanna do now?"

- Yeah, yeah, what-(DeEtta scoffs)

- And I'm like, well, Idon't think I can change

Harvard's 350 year history in 90 days.

I can't break down the barriers

of systemic racism in90 days or even a year.

It took Harvard all theseyears or any organization,

replace Harvard with any organization,

all the policies andpractices put in place

to build what we have, isgonna take just as much time,

if not more to dismantleit and to rethink it

and to reprocess it.- Right.

- So one of the things Ithink we fail in our EDI work

is sometimes expectthat one hero to come in

and fix it immediately whenwe have not interrogated

what it means to have an echo-environment,

what it means that we'regoing to look at intentionally

to reviewing policies andpractices and procedures

around income, aroundsalaries, around titles,

around units and organizations.

And so it takes timeand it takes commitment.

- Yeah. I love that. Itotally agree with you.

And I talk about this all the time.

This world that we're living in now,

we have a totally new modelthat has to come into existence

and it needs to be somethat is heavily resourced.

It has to be sustainably built.

So it has to be builtso that it is intended

to be poured into consistentlyjust like the relationship

you were describing a little while ago.

And also it has to be wholly different.

So all of this, silo-izedit where one person comes in

and, "Poof!" we officiallyhave something in place

or where we have a task forceor a small group of people

or HR-centric or HR driven only.

It's just not gonna work anymore.

What we need to have isexactly like you're describing:

Something that is much more systemic

and where people in everysingle role in the organization

understand their workassociated with forwarding

an equity, diversity and inclusion agenda.

- Yes!- That also has anti-racism

and anti-oppression-- Yes!

- squarely involved in it, right.

And they understand, and just for you,

someone who's relatively new in that role,

it's just helping everybodyget on the same page.

Like your title has theword anti-racism in it.

- Hm mm?- That's a huge commitment

that Harvard just made.- Yes.

- I remember talking to theVP beforehand and saying,

this is a commitment,but let me just tell you,

Harvard Harvard has been known to jump up.

- Yeah.- Right?

- Like if you gonna do it,do it, but all of this,

I'm gonna it around theedges or do it by stealth

or kind of do it and see who comes next.

That's not how Harvard rolls.

- Absolutely.

- If you're gonna do it, do it.

- Yep.- And do it well,

not well in a performative way.

Well, in a, "Here's where our values are."

We're gonna set our own bar and our bar

is going to be very highand then we are gonna work

our tails off to clear it.

And that's the thing thatI feel so excited about

that they were willing to at least start

with a ridiculously cleartitle and then go from there.

Right, and even just thetitle alone, your title

says so much about that commitment

because there's a lot oforganizations that have equity,

diversity, inclusion, belonging,you know, accessibility.

Right? But, but to sayanti-racism, and then actually

to put a position and an entireset of resources around it,

that that's an incrediblystrong starting point.

- Absolutely, and I have to say

the university is very committed.The VP is very committed.

Not just in resources,but just in also engaging.

- Yep.- And so it's key.

There was` some scuttlebuttin the profession

when the title came out, people that,

"How's one person gonna do anti-racism,"

and, "There's things thatwe're working on internally

to support the program."

But Harvard, one of thevalues is that we have

for the library specificallyis, being a world class

anti-racist library.- Yeah.

- And so what folks automaticallythink of is defining

what that value means tothem versus what it means

to Harvard and to Harvard library.

And what it means to usat Harvard library is that

we are going tointerrogate our collection.

How do we look at buildingthat anti-racist library?

What voices are we not buyingor collecting or highlighting,

where are dissentingvoices being published

that we may not understandor know that exists?

And what language are they in?

How do we really talk aboutdecolonizing the collections

to the point of not cancel culture,

but being inclusive of all voices.

So it really talks about anti-racism

and being a world class,interracial library.

It's not just about people,it's about the work that we do,

how we do it, how wethink, how we implement,

how we ideate, how weinnovate, all those parts

are very important toan anti-racist agenda.

- I love it.

And I love the example becausethat's what people need

is to connect the dots.

If we're gonna say thatwe are anti-racist,

we need to understandwhat that looks like.

And again, outside of justthe kind of obvious structures

like HR, right?

It's not just about adding more ways to,

not just adding a place to for pronouns

or not just adding morenon-binary inclusive language

around gender identification, right.

It's really about alsothinking about moving into

the function of the organization.

The business of the organization

and in the library collectionsand, and making accessible

research and scholarlyworks is the business.

Yeah, absolutely.

- Culture, art, signage,all those things are things

that play a role in anti-racism

and how we see and thinkand provide services

to those who are our users.

- I can also only imagine,walking around the campus

or the libraries, any ofthe libraries at Harvard

with an anti-racist lens and thinking,

"Okay, is this a place that isscreaming anti-racism to me,

like looking around at all those portraits

and none of them look like me.

(DeEtta scoffs)

Right.- Right.

- And wondering like, howdo we get from a place

of being so proud of this ridiculously

prestigious and exclusivecommunity that we've created

to one that allows usto continue to hold onto

the thing that makes us, aswell as breathe life into-

- Absolutely.- A history that is

yet untold and a futurethat we are discovering.

- Well, and one of thethings we found out,

Dean Claudine Gay, who's the Dean

of the Faculty of Arts andSciences, tremendous leader,

who also created a taskforce for the Faculty

of Arts and Sciences, which is

one of Harvard's oldest colleges.

- Yeah?- And one of the study

participants shared withus in that process is,

"You know, even though I am a white male,

sometimes seeing all thesepictures of older white men

on the wall is intimidating, even for me."

- Yeah.

- And what does that saypsychologically to me,

if I feel like I'm not measuring up

to what all these photos,these great people

around the wall, psychologically,what does that do?"

- Yeah.

- And so how we're going tointerrogate this work together

is really fascinatingbecause you this generation's

different, all of...

Generations change, so, Gen X'ers

are now in leadership roles.

They're in positionsof power and authority,

but Gen Z and all the othergenerations are seeing things

from a total different lens.

- Yeah.

- And how do we,

I'm not saying we needto blow up buildings

and rebuild and restart,

but there's ways that we really can work

to make the spaces more inclusive,

make the visual art more inclusive,

make the collection more inclusive.

And that's what we're focusing on.

You mentioned earlier,something I wanna tap in

before we move off about theGreat Records Resignation,

you talked about it inthe founder's address.

One of the things I thinkpeople are missing about

the Great Resignation is, what I...

It's been happening, butI'm putting voice to it.

The next social justicemovement and the next part

of the Great Resignation arepeople leaving organizations

who put out all these great statements

about Black Lives Matter,supporting the movement.

And that's all they've done.

And it made a promise thatthey were going to commit

to do this and commit to do that.

And there's been no action.

And so people are saying,they're voicing their opinion

and their values by saying,"You know what? You lied."

- Yeah.- You lied.

- Yeah.- You capitalize on a moment,

which is what our our society's become,

capitalization and oppression,

the cycle of repressionand folks like you,

you are benefiting from mylabor as a person of color,

and you are, you're alsonot supporting the movement,

in the actions that you said.

And so people are goingto leave organizations

based on values.

- I see that happening already, in droves.

Right. And so between COVIDand this racial equity movement

that we're in the midst of,and that's the United States,

but it's also in other countries.

- Absolutely.

- Right, and so ifsomebody hasn't experienced

a sense of urgency yet,and you're a leader

of any shape or form in your organization,

I feel like this values alignment.

I mean, values back in the dayI been talking about values,

for 30 years, nobody cared.

I'm like, "This is super important."

And now all of a sudden it'scentral and it's not optional.

And people expect it to bebehaviorally demonstrable,-

- Hm mm.- Right this minute.

- Absolutely.

- And if people are in leadership roles

and haven't yet gotten theirducks in a row around this,

shame on them, becauseit's not like nobody's

been telling them.- Right.

- And now we're in, three years, at least.

If the last three yearswasn't enough time,

you should have been doing this before,

but the last threeyears you haven't gotten

your ducks in a row, just get ready.

You know, we're going through something

that is truly a cultural transformation.

Like I've never seen before.

- Absolutely, and just writing a check,

doesn't do it anymore.- Nope. Not anymore.

- Doesn't do it.

People wanna see action and conversations.

Not only just on websites,but in the board room,

in staff meetings, in the organization,

they want the leaders to be able

to talk the talk and walk the walk-

- And not just appointpeople and hire people.

"Somebody gimme a script,"

they need to be able toabsolutely like, get it,

have the message be rightand also to be able to say,

"And here's what we've done

and here's what we will continue to do."

- Absolutely.

- And here's the associated resourcing.

- Yeah.- Absolutely.

So one of the things that I wanna do

with just the last couple ofminutes that we have together

is just ask you from your vantage point,

related to this topic of CriticalRace Theory specifically,

are there specific thingsthat you think are happening

and/or should be happeningthat could help us

just make some traction or getpast this contentious place

that we are around this topic?

What are some of yourideas or observations?

- Yeah, I think, and it'sprobably the librarian in me,

is that people really have to interrogate

what we see in the media.- Yeah.

- And you know, I'm not saying everybody

needs to go out and buy the book

and read all 300 pages of thebook and all this other stuff,

but really find ways interrogate media

and what we find in themedia, the snippets.

- Yeah.

- Everybody knows you'vetaking a communication class.

It's always about, it'snot about what you say.

It's how fast you say it.

So people can't splice your words,

but realize that what you'regetting is always a hot topic,

a snapshot, a picture of you,of what the real issue is.

- Yeah.- And finding ways to paint

the picture for yourself.- Yeah.

- And understand how it impacts your life,

how it impacts your children,how it impacts your family,

the absence of talking aboutrace or oppression or slavery

or in any of the gendermovements or the trans movement.

Any of those, the absence of it,

is we're going to repeat it

or we're gonna have ageneration who doesn't know.

- Right.

- And that's more damagingthan us saying, you know,

"Let's have a conversation about it."

Now there's appropriate levelsof when have conversations

with children and familiesabout social issues,

but we can't get away from them.

- Yeah.

- They're here, and now with social media,

but it's always having the TV on 24/7

with all the pundits, the commentators,

people are just overwhelmedwith information.

I mean, we could talk about COVID

and the facts versus non-facts

and the vaxxers and non-vaxxers,

but COVID is just a new topic.

- Yeah.- Race is the same way.

Gender issues, the same way,salary gap is the same way.

All these issues sometimesare brought to us

because of ratings.

People really want to make sure

that their voice is heard the most.

So how we interrogate the information

that we're receiving isalso one of the things

that we have to learn as a society.

- Love it.

Okay. As always, I love it.

I love being with you.

I love learning with, and from you,

it's funny, we are soclose and we talk so much

(Jerome chukles)and I still learn

and I learn and I learn andI learn every single time.

It's like your wisdom isjust always such a gift.

And I also, I think inaddition to like learning more

about experiences you've had or knowledge

that you've ingested, Ialso feel like I learn more

about my own lenses.

Like it helps me bring into sharper focus.

It's so nice to be able to have a space.

And one of the things that Iencourage our viewers to do is

to create a space withfriends or family or somewhere

where you can actually go andthink about what you think.

Right?- Hm mm.

- 'Cause it brings it intosharper focus it helps clarify.

And it helps kind ofseparate out my own thinking

from the noise, which is so invaluable

in such a noise-filled environment, right?

So I also hope that ourlisteners continue to tune in

and that you have anopportunity to continue thinking

about some of the thingsthat we talked about today

and that you walk away from this episode,

really having more ideas aboutwhat Critical Race Theory is,

about how it is that you cancontinue to do your own work

related to understandingCritical Race Theory,

the way that it is playedout and is playing out

in your everyday lives, butalso how your conversation,

your approach, yourlanguage can fan the flames,

or you can help to workto put out the fire.

And you think about where your stance is.

Jerome, I would love foryou to leave our guests

with some parting words,some parting words of wisdom,

whatever it is that you'dlike to share with us,

and also how we can get in touch with you.

- Awesome.

So I'll share the parting words would be

from a perspective of mywork with Mister HBCU.

This year, we had 20institutions represented,

one of the highest numbers we've had

and to make sure thoseyoung men don't repeat

those 20 plus years like I had of feeling,

needing to fall back or to shyaway or dealing with comfort.

One of the most empoweringmoments we had was

we having a conversationabout what it means

to be a black man, what it means to deal

with mental health issues,what it means to be a leader

and seeing those youngmen at age 19 to 21,

struggling because as they go through

their phases of identity development,

their phases of manhood,

what it means to be aman, dealing with culture,

subculture of toxic masculinity,

all those things is forthose of us who've done

the interrogated work, reach back.

- Yeah, yeah.

- And help people in thenext generation not repeat

some of the things that we had to do

to find our authentic voices,

give them the skills now to show up

in their authentic selvesthe best way possible.

- Yeah.

- That's what I would tell folks to do.

So for those of us, I'm notsaying we all have arrived

and we are all enlightenedand suddenly, you know,

we all on the same plane with Erykah Badu-

(DeEtta laughs)- But, you know,

how do we reach back andtake the next generation

and protect them, help them,give them the skills they need

because they're our future.

- Yeah. How to pour love into them.

- Yep.- Yep.

That's what culture does.- Yep.

- In the healthiest way.Yep.

And how do we get in touch with you?

- So you can Google Jerome Offord Jr.

plus Harvard to find me at Harvard,

or you can go to www.misterhbcu.org

and you can find us there as well.

- Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

All right, Jerome.

Thank you so much foreverything again, that's it.

That's a wrap on "CultureRoad" podcast Number 3,

for more or tools todrive cultural competency

and performance on topicssuch as maximizing engagement

in a hybrid team or motivating employees

through value-based work,creating brave spaces,

mitigating bias in systems, those topics,

and a lot, lot more,we invite you to visit

culturalroad.com to learn more about

our digital learning solution,

where you get access tofresh monthly content

and community in a liveand on-demand format.

The Culture Road community of practice

will fuel your ongoingprofessional development

and help you to integrateequity, diversity and inclusion

concepts into your everyday life.

So visit www.cultureroad.comfor more information.

Again, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And be well.

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About the Podcast

Learn from diverse experts in cutting conversations of today all through the lens of culture, inclusion, and anti-oppression.