Navigating the Shifting Landscape and the Ripple Effects of Recent Legislation

Hosted by

Sarah Morgan

CEO, Buzz A Rooney, LLC

About this episode

Inclusion Crusade 12 – Navigating the Shifting Landscape and the Ripple Effects of Recent Legislation

Host: Sarah Morgan

Guest: Charlie Pleasant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Founder/Executive clinician of The Healing Collaborative

Welcome back to the Inclusion Crusade, where I am on a mission to create workplaces where employees feel safe, seen and supported. One episode at a time. This week we are discussing the impact of the recent law in FL banning DEI teachings and the potential impact on workplaces.

– How affirmative action bans can impact state colleges and beyond

– The importance of accountability in the workplace

– Impact of systems that exclude information

– How cognitive reframing is being used


Thank you for listening! Remember to subscribe on your favorite podcast app!

Transcript follows:

Sarah Morgan 0:14
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour Network. This is the Inclusion Crusade with me, Sarah Morgan. I am on a mission to create workplaces where employees feel safe seen and supported one episode at a time. So we are back with our expert in residence, Charlie Pleasant LCSW. She don’t call her doctor, even though I do from time to time, but we are back and we are excited. We’re not expecting you. Right, right. This is some some BS. But we are going to talk about the decision this week. And we’re coming to you right in May of 2023. And this week, the state of Florida announced that they have passed a law that it goes into effect July 1 of this year, saying that public universities can no longer use state or federal funding towards programs that advocate diversity, equity, inclusion or socio-political activism. And it also bars anything in curriculums that will teach about identity politics, or theories of systems of oppression and privilege. And just as we were beginning to record today, I got a news alert that says Ohio their state legislature has their state house legislature so you we all know congress has two parts their state house has moved to create similar legislature, a similar ban in their state and then now moves to their state senate and then on to their governor and is expected to pass state senate although they don’t know what the state governor is going to do yet. And then also just in kind of background, Best Colleges, which does which US News and World Report produces the best colleges list. They have been tracking this because it’s an important thing for people who are going to college and wanting to know whether these programs and and curriculums are going to be supported. And so they’ve been keeping track of the other states who have similar legislation.

Sarah Morgan 2:55
Texas, not a shocker. South Carolina, not a shocker. Louisiana, not a shocker. Tennessee, no surprise, but Arizona was one that surprised me. North Dakota has already this has already passed their Congress and is moving on to their governor’s desk. So it’s very possible that North Dakota will pass the span this year, Missouri it has passed their house and is moving into their Senate it is expected to die there and Iowa, which Iowa has drafted the legislation but has not been voted on yet. So those are the states where they’re making pretty good headway. So we’re doing similar things. On the flip side, though, in a little piece of positive news, there are five states that are requiring diversity, equity inclusion, training for all of their staff, and curriculum mandatory curriculum for its students, where students will have to learn the concepts of diversity equity inclusion upon matriculating at their institutions. And so they have have kind of the opposite legislation so not surprising nothing on this list and surprising actually, California, of course, they always they always doing that New York, not a surprise New Jersey, shout out to my home state New Jersey, not a surprise there either the state of Washington, not surprising. And Massachusetts, also not a big surprise. They tend to be pretty progressive, which is strange given the demographics of their population, but they tend to get it right more than wrong politically.

Charlie Pleasant 4:48
I agree and in all of this is given like circa 1996, when the affirmative action bans went into place where yeah, in Washington State was the foreigners in that so it’s really into tend to see them course correct in that way. So there’s a lot of I’m sure, research about how just the affirmative action bands of those times impacted state colleges and universities, because that’s where it started. So I’m not surprised to hear that both of those states are on the list to say, No, we’re actually going to require this to be a part of the curriculum for our students, because I’m really curious about what they saw in the tracking of that time between. Yeah, of course, it was an impact to admissions around that time. And how they made that decision to say, No, we’re going to course correct this entire thing. And this is what we’re actually going to be about. But those were two of the first states when all of this was happening. I think Michigan was.

Sarah Morgan 5:45
So I remember that, because that was right around the time. So I started college in the fall of 95. And so that legislation had just passed and was going to be implemented. And I had one College in Massachusetts that had accepted me and offered me money to come there. And my mom was like, Absolutely not. And I remember, a good friend of mine had been offered acceptance to Harvard, and declined, because they had not yet taken a stance on how they were going to him. Even though it only affected public institutions. They had not yet said, we’re not gonna follow any of this. They had not taken a stance and so she went to Princeton. Okay. Yeah. Um, so yeah, I remember that.

Charlie Pleasant 6:45
I was coming into college and so that was the big thing, you know? Yeah. So it’s wild, at this age that we are to kind of watch this happen all over again.

Sarah Morgan 6:59
Yeah. And I can only I can’t even imagine, for our parents generation, our grandparents generation who marched and fought for our ability to be able to attend these institutions without locking. And who literally, were the first to answer many of these institution, my mother is a college graduate, she was the first class of black people. At her college, there were eight of them in a school of over 3000. And she was was the first in the mid to late 1960s. So to go through that integration process. And so the work that they did, the ways that they suffered, because being first, it was not fun to like, you know, in a lot of cases, they were not wanting, I mean, we’ve seen the photos and the videos of the ways that I mean, from from children to adults, who had things thrown at them, people yelling and screaming at them vandalizing their, their, their lockers, their property, their person, because they were not wanted. And so for them to have fought so hard to see this progress happen only to have it rolled back, and then start to make some eradications. And now we’re rolling it back, once again, time is has got to be rich, it’s got to hurt in a different kind of kind of way for them for sure.

Charlie Pleasant 8:47
Because we’re only 27 years removed from 96 when we stopped when we initially saw all of this happening, and so it’s really not that long ago. So here we are, again.

Sarah Morgan 9:01
But the question that I want us to kick off this conversation about because this is the Inclusion Crusade, and we’re talking about inclusion in workplaces. And so this is very specific around college, college funding, college curriculum. Why does this even matter? For a podcast of movement on inclusive workplaces? Like why is this even a thing for us to be talking about and wanting these lists of listeners to be aware of and in the ways that they are working? Why does this matter? I know for me, you know, I my reaction to it initially was really as a parent of children who are at the age where they’re making decisions about colleges. Yes. And there’s no way that I would want my children to go to college in any state where this was a law. And so that has to be, that’s got to be hard. And here’s the thing. When we start when we talk about things like these sorts of bands, curriculum related changes that are happening in schools, and even school shootings and school police violence, the thing that I find that we forget, is that these are workplaces to Yes, the public college and university systems are major employers instincts. I know here in North Carolina, the University of North Carolina are two of the largest system employers in our health systems, you know, and health systems, engineering systems, and education like they are major major employers of people within our state. So people work in people work. Professors are employees. Their administrators are employees and, and everyone else who provides any sort of support, whether they work in admissions, whether they work on grounds, whether they work in full services, like whatever it is, they are all good facilities pick up pick an area that they normally do, it is all in. It’s their employee. Absolutely. And this why, yeah, and it has to have impact on their level of comfort, particularly for in a lot of these instances, these are employees of color, they have to feel a way about the fact that the organization they work for doesn’t see value. I mean, the governor said that DEI should really stand for discrimination, inclusion, and indoctrination. But that’s the real acronym. Diversity, exclusion, discrimination, and indoctrination is what DEI really mean? And that they’re not having that. And that something along the lines of if, if that’s what you want, you should go to school in California or something, right.

Charlie Pleasant 9:58
And so when you ask the question, I was just sitting here thinking about why does this even matter? And I think about all of this on a macro scale. So I’m clinical, I’m very microfocus direct care person. But I’m also as a social work, I think about it all in ecosystems. And I think what’s happening here is a really, perhaps in this conjecture, is a really long game is being played. So the first thing that comes to mind to me, when you ask the question of why does this even matter? I think about the power of revisit, revisionism. Now, if I can rewrite the story, then I can impact the trajectory of generations that’s coming afterwards. So what does that mean, for those who will, at some point, whether it be in the state of Florida, if we’re talking about the other states that you talked about earlier? What does it mean for the quality of education, the quality of health care, the quality of employees, the quality of students? What does it mean for the quality of those that are going to be in a few years, gone to be impacted in I say impacted might be happy to work. Influenced is the word that are influenced by these Di Di bands, no different than when we saw the bands around sexual health that took place. So there’s no there. So after a while, you have a generation of people that are moving through to have poor sexual education, STD rates are at an all time high. People not knowing how to even name parts on their body anatomically correct. So I’m thinking about short term, this matters, because it’s actually happening long term when you too want to talk about what was the acronym he gave?

Sarah Morgan 14:19
Discrimination, exclusion and true nature.

Charlie Pleasant 14:23
That’s the real piece that’s actually happening by not allowing these things to happen like DEI opening up a conversation around diversity and inclusion, your end result is going to be the discrimination, that exclusion in both in production and that takes place. So it’s really interesting how the the wordplay around that is not because we’re getting rid of or not because dei is in place. Those things that he’s saying will happen is because it’s not going to be in place.

Sarah Morgan 14:58
Yeah, yeah. I agree with that wholeheartedly as well, because these are students who are going to move through their the foundational education related to their chosen career, and people change careers, and so on and so forth. But because and this being public universities, that also means medical schools, and, you know, what’s it called Business masters programs, and engineering schools, like all of that, all of that, you know, plays a part. So when you’re talking about public universities, so that’s not going to be able to be a part of the curriculum in any of those places. So these are individuals who are going to go through advanced training, advanced education, and not understand the history, the full history around any of these things, and they’re going to come into our existing workplaces. Without that foundational knowledge. And now, they’re not going to necessarily relate well, and be able to speak the language and approach problem solving in the ways that those of us who have that knowledge who have that element to our education will be able to do and in my opinion, those individuals are going to be behind you, right. And if I am in charge of hiring at an organization, I’m scared, I’m scared to hire someone who was educated at a institution want that banned them from being able to have that kind of knowledge. Because if I have worked on diversity, equity, inclusion in my organization, I have worked to make this a foundational piece of the way in which we operate and to weave it in to everything that we’re doing so that we are treating people fairly paying people fairly partnering with intention, and with a lens on equity. And now here you can watch Oh, loads agree from a place that tells you that this is indoctrination, exclusion, and discrimination to think this way. I’m scared, I’m scared to bring you into my organization, because I’ve got you gotta catch up. And I And I’m, I’m moving in a direction I’m on a trajectory, I’m gonna talk to you to be catching up. And like, I just I don’t understand how, how many more we think that’s a good thing.

Charlie Pleasant 18:03
Well, I mean, it and I really don’t have a fast answer for that. Or how anybody can think it’s a good thing, because it does not feel like a good thing at all. And we know that it’s not a good thing. We know that health outcomes are better. When there’s a diverse pool of anything that’s that’s their diversity push forwards, it pushes forward progression and innovation with it and pushes forward innovation.

Sarah Morgan 18:28
Organizations that put a lens on equity and inclusion are more profitable, like all the data is there, although all the data is there, go to the Great Place to Work Institute, download their reports, go to Pew Research, download their reports, all the information is there, like we’re not going to sit here and regurgitate all the effort, you all the information is there. Now out to there are individuals I know. And I’ve seen this black people, other people of color, who are saying, Who cares about these changes. You like, like you can, like, right? I care. But who cares about these changes. Because if you if you want the knowledge, you can still get the knowledge. No one is saying you can buy the book, you can pick up the book, the school doesn’t stop you from being able to learn those things. If that is something that you want to learn. And I’m curious, you’ve been in academia. And so I’m curious, what’s your thoughts on people who say that they say, you know, if you want this knowledge, you can get it. So it doesn’t matter whether and I will say you know, for myself, I’ve learned far more about the history of black people in America and of other brown people. All in America in the world, from outside my classrooms than I have from inside my classrooms. So I know that that’s true. Yeah. However, I also, there were also things that I was exposed to inside of my classrooms that that piqued my curiosity enough to get me to do some of that outside reading. Yeah, if it hadn’t been there, I don’t know that I would have been curious to do those things on my own. So I’m wondering you having, again, having been in academia, like, what is your reaction to that thought process that’s like, hey, the knowledge is there, yeah. Like, we’re not going to pay for it for you, we’re not going to give it to you. But it doesn’t stop you from going on Amazon and buying the book or going to, you know, whatever other place and getting the book. Um, if that is something that you want, if you want, you can walk if your professor read the book on their own, and has it on the shelf in their office, it doesn’t stop you from saying, Hey, Professor, can I borrow that? If that is in you to want that knowledge anyhow?

Charlie Pleasant 21:07
So I feel like the answer to that question is already kind of embedded in what you share. So it’s a few things. So if there’s if, number one, when I hear a comment like that, that no one’s stopping you from actually going to get this information on its face? Yes, that is absolutely true. And kinda know, right? Because we were seeing a large move of book bands. Number one, that’s bang, again, that those things, so we’re talking about the physical extraction of the stuff that we can freely go get being extracted as well, today, we’re talking about the issue of access, or lack thereof.

Sarah Morgan 21:45
And I will say, too, that this type of legislation also impacts the ability for libraries to has these resources within them as well. So if it’s banned at the university than the university’s library can’t hold the book for me to go check it out if I want it.

Charlie Pleasant 22:04
That’s right. And when I hear people act, or when I think about that question being asked when they say that you can freely go get this information, we’re not going to pay for you to actually get it at a college or a state college or a university. That is under the assumption that only white dollars circulate colleges and universities, and that my dollar is not a value. Because when you say we I’m also paying taxes as well, too. So it’s when it’s that standpoint, of I’m not going to pay, you’re assuming that this money, this money actually belongs to you when the money actually belongs to the people that have diverse communities and culture. And I think that we miss that, in that we’re not going to pay for what I hear is not people of color, white folks saying I’m not gonna pay for it. I don’t want to pay for that. I don’t want to pay for this, but your dollars, not the only dollar that’s in the pool. And so I find that to be really, it’s really offensive and is dismissive, just like the perspective is offensively dismissive. Yeah, that’s how I feel about that, to your point. And you also mentioned that if it wasn’t for certain college courses that we might have had, it would have it, we might not have had the peaking of interest into looking into other things. And I feel that very much. So even in my political science undergrad at VCU, and mattered in women, women and gender studies. But it was my manner and women and gender studies that fueled every other piece of stuff, that of literature, and maybe journals, or just it opened up so much more than what DeSantis is saying it would be possibly a classical, you know, foundation of what happened, how did he put that a classical mission of what the university is supposed to be? Focused.

Charlie Pleasant 24:07
So that’s really interesting. But again, it says, but there’s nothing wrong with the quote, he’s quoted saying, there’s nothing wrong with that per se, but for us with our tax dollars, again, ownership of money that honestly does not belong to you, it belongs to the people. Right, it belongs to the people. We want to focus on classical mission of what the university is supposed to be. So I’m really interested in having him clear that up, but but that’s neither here. No, it is here. So but that’s another we can go into, but um, you’re right. If we’re not having the conversations, you don’t even know that there’s a conversation to be handled, right? And so you don’t know. It’s an introduction. It’s a gateway universities have always experienced it is a portal to open up of vastness of a, just a treasure trove of things that I would not have known coming straight out of high school, I just would not have known those things. So we lose that we lose that we lose context. So yes, we can go maybe to a public library, maybe to our, our college libraries at this point, and pick up those things. But if you’re not discussing this thing within community, and within context, right, a lot of that is, is left open to interpretation. A lot of it is left open to interpretation. And it takes away the ability in the skill that I feel like the we have moved away from so much in this in this society is critical thinking and perspective and just in, in the silence of being with information that’s new.

Sarah Morgan 25:50
Yeah, and one, I’ve read a quote from one of the democratic state level senators in Florida who said, This feels like a movement to tell people to teach people what to think instead of teaching them how to counter things, and allowing them to make their own decisions. While they’re saying they want classical education. This actually, like less access to information actually flies in the face of achieving what it is that they’re saying that they want to achieve. And I agree. Right, that. And one of the things that you and I talked a little bit about, in pre show, as we were preparing for this conversation, you said like how does this impact the people who are there now, and I know, for myself, I can’t imagine how difficult that must be to be a professor to be a students, or to be a worker in some support capacity. At one of these public colleges and universities, knowing that this is coming, I am worried about I’m worried about my job, because inevitably, this is probably going to push some people to go elsewhere for school, which is sad, because I want you know, part of, of going to public colleges and universities is the cost savings that you as a resident, achieve, towards your education by I live in this state, and I’m going to go to a school that’s funded by the tax dollars of this state. So I lose that if I go out of state or if I go to a private institution, at a time where students student debt, student loans and so forth is crippling and hurting not, you know, the cost of debt, it’s not helping our economy, right? And then, um, if I’m a professor, do I want to continue to work and I’m pleased that will not particularly if I’m of color, or, or a woman because let’s keep it real, white women you next like, I read I’m sorry to break it to you. But if they’re banning the things that talk about systemic oppression, privilege and identity politics, that includes feminism, so you want a chopping block to so if you haven’t already figured that out?

Charlie Pleasant 28:28
And just as we talked about in pre show coming in, again, on the North Carolina doing the 12 month ban on the ban, yeah, we’re seeing that legislation pop up all over the country. So yeah, it’s almost like it’s picking up.

Sarah Morgan 28:45
Yeah, and if we don’t get in the problem with that is that if we don’t catch it early, you know, the least of these if we don’t see and we and we say this all the time about the ways that the majority comes for the minority and tries to roll who comes at their rights and tries to roll those things back that if we if the rest of us don’t go and step in for the smaller communities within our our disenfranchised communities? If we don’t step then Ain’t nobody gonna be there to step up for us. Right? Because we all can be Yeah, who’s left because we all got rights. So it’s much better when we you know, we’re much better when we come together collectively, and fight but yeah, I wonder about like the impact of that as a workplace because the study and studies again have shown when workplaces don’t have lens on systems of oppression, on on diversity, equity and inclusion, then what you begin to see is inequity. In the ways that people are paid, um, you see quite a bit of micro aggression in the ways that people are communicated with because people don’t have, they’re not accountable, and they’re not exposed to the proper ways that better ways to communicate in ways that that don’t cause harm to other individuals. And so when we remove that, because they’re not going to allow a diversity, equity inclusion office, that is going to be responsible for, you know, training and holding people accountable. So if we’ve removed that, then we’re left with this free for all, where we’re not being kind. Yeah, and we’re and we’re not being aware of the ways in which we can can cause harm to people in, that we’re talking about.

Charlie Pleasant 31:03
I feel that’s missing in this conversation. Because a lot of this is also about accountability in a demographic of of individuals who have issue with being held accountable, not per se, with what they may or may not be doing in current times. But this is around accountability as well, too. So if I can, if I can get the if I can get the magical eraser, and just begin to erase all of this out, then I never have to be an account. Or I never have to give an account. Or I can have the hand that does these other things. Does that happen? Right? This is this is also about accountability.

Sarah Morgan 31:46
Here’s what bothers me about that, though, that I don’t feel like we talk about enough. And that is the amount of wasted resource that happens because we make the same mistake or decisions or decisions. That mistakes, yeah, that lead to errors and problems. We make those same poor decisions over and over again, because we don’t take the time to understand the historical evolution of the issue. And in the context of those things, that on my other podcast leading in color, I did a just finished an interview and posted an interview with Kat Kibben, who is a recruitment marketing specialist, and also a LGBTQ, and they talked about a research study that they did that specifically was focused on the ways that job ads have been used through history, how we how we advertise for employment, and how that has changed and evolved. And shocker, job ads don’t appear on the US until then about the 1940s. And they were used, coming off of the Depression, to say all the people who weren’t allowed to apply. We got jobs here this none of this shocker, you know, don’t apply if you’re this isn’t it, you start to see education begin as a requirement begin to creep in post war as a way to exclude poor people, poor white people, black people, other people of color. So it’s always been the evolution of it, the where it started, and the evolution of it has always had oppression and exclusion. And it’s mixed. Right. And yet, we just, you know, regurgitate that same process over and over again, and without inspecting it, we assume that it was created with at the very least neutral intention. We don’t think we we we don’t assign bad intention. So we just assumed that it was created, at the very least with neutral intention surely to find out that it never was. It was never neutral. It was never good. And it was very intentional. From the moment it showed up. Its intention was to exclude in a bad way. In this context, if I am a marketing student If I am a student of human resources management, and I’m taking a course in recruitment, or if I’m taking a marketing class, and I’m taking a course in how in employment marketing, because that’s a, that’s a real field where you can make a lot of money these days. That’s never taught, right? And so I go out into the world. Again, if nothing piques my curiosity for me to look this information up on my own, I go out into the world, assuming that the ways that it’s always been done, the historical context of it is at the very least neutral if not positive, and then I replicate that system and approach on not knowing that it was meant to exclude from an inception.

Charlie Pleasant 35:55
And I love how you’re just taking your time and you want to miss because that there is how systemic things stay in place. Yes, with that neutrality, and that not knowingness that can be perceived as very innocent because of the exclusion of certain information. When when we get into the place of the replication of something, yes, it’s being done from a place of coming out or out of the awareness that there are other things that needs to be taken into consideration. And that’s how that system stays.

Sarah Morgan 36:31
Because, again, in what this law says that curriculums cannot teach theories through the lens of oppressive systems and privilege, right? So I am if I’m a professor, I am violating the law. If but if I teach my students to examine the systems this way, even if that examination, leads a student, or leads into conversation about the fact that this is oppressive, I’m in danger, and how do I as a professor, teach my students to think and follow the just follow the logic conversation, just follow the conversation, right? With that lingering over me that that in and of itself feels limiting and oppressive? And here’s the thing I tell people about systems all the time, when we have because inevitably doing the word, you know, this, you’re gonna hear people tell you that the system is broken. systems don’t break. They glitch, but they don’t break. And when I say that, what I mean is, whatever the system produces most consistently, is what it was intended to do and produce. That’s right. On occasion, is the glitch. You and I articulate. Yeah, White, cis, hetero, wealthy men are the system. That’s what the system is intended to produce. It’s not intended to produce excellence out of people who look like you and me. We had a glitch. Sure.

Charlie Pleasant 38:33
We think about glitching we think about something malfunction. no means am I saying any any one of us identify the bad pop or just outside of dominant culture. You’re not your net. Again, we use glitch in airports.

Sarah Morgan 38:59
I love movies and television and things like that. And I always think about WreckIt Ralph, and Penelope Vaughn fleet, the little character in WreckIt Ralph, who was in her video game, a glitchy character, and nobody wanted to play with her because she was a glitch, but in actuality, it was someone sabotaging the code to prevent her from winning because she in the original design, she was supposed to be the dominant character. Ooh, That’ll preach.

Charlie Pleasant 39:39
about the site and I was just like, Wait, that’s why my lips got tight over yours just because it lands a it checks. Because when we think about ourselves globally, and that in the United States, we are the global majority.

Charlie Pleasant 39:56
Yeah. Yeah, they’re part of the globe in the world. or the global majority

Sarah Morgan 40:01
are people of color than anything else.

Charlie Pleasant 40:05
Exactly. Exactly. I think that’s a beautiful, y’all. Y’all go back and rewind that.

Sarah Morgan 40:12
The system was really bad. Yeah. Run, that code was manipulated. I saw the thing on Instagram. It was a woman, it was a real. And you see this black woman walking across the street, and people are looking at her as she’s walking, because she looks fantastic.

Charlie Pleasant 40:34
And this is the system. We’re like, the big hair fro.

Sarah Morgan 40:36
Yeah. And then you hear the voice over that says, Are you from Africa? And she said, No, but I was supposed to be like, is that like, you have to remember like, oh, you you look like an African goddess, are you from Africa? She was like, No, but I was supposed to be that was the thing that, you know, we lose sight of and we have to that we can’t forget that. The we were an entire thriving society, long before

Charlie Pleasant 41:06
colonization, capitalism, it all up and all

Sarah Morgan 41:12
Centuries before anything here in America, that we know what even really existed. We were over there thriving and doing our thing, like, and we, it is dangerous to me to hear anyone say that we want to not teach and talk about the history of our nation, our state, our world, whatever, like the most appreciative thing I have about my education, particularly when I was in high school, are my religion and history. I went to Catholic school. So we have religion, class, religion, and history teachers, because they made sure to consistently add to even though it wasn’t a part of the standard curriculum of archdiocese, they made sure to add to our curriculum to let us know what was going on. Okay, this is what was happening in US history. Meanwhile, over in China, over in Africa, on the India continent, like this is what was happening everywhere else. And here’s how it was impacting what we were doing. And while this was happening, this is the high level view of what was going on in America. This is what the experiences were that women were having, that black people were having that indigenous people were having that immigrants from here, here, here. And here. We’re having in this moment, it trained us. At a time when we were just beginning to explore the world. Yeah, to interrogate what else is happening. Like, it’s not just about me, and my experience, that they’re everybody that other people are having experience to at the same time, and that that experience matters. And that if I want to be a whole, complete, contributing citizen, I got to think of all of that. Yeah. And that shaped, shaped me and I can, you know, and I feel like I can speak for the other women who went to school with me, like that shape us greatly. And I see it in us in the work that we all are doing today. Yeah, and I can’t imagine someone swooping in and saying, nah, nah, you can’t You’re not allowed to, you know, to know that. And you’re not allowed to, and you can discuss it, but only up to this up to this point. On our tax dollars being used on such know,

Charlie Pleasant 44:02
Which is just so much. And I’m trying to remember, I don’t remember being greatly influenced in school that way, maybe a few teachers that I didn’t have, I had a few teachers in that way. But my entry point to pique my curiosity looked a lot different that that journey was a lot different. Maths came through hip hop, mass came through the music, and well in particularly in in that time period, you know, 70s, baby, so I got a lot of the 80s and 90s. I mean, I got the Infancy where nobody was really paying attention to what was being taught. So things were actually some things great things were actually being born that time, you know, I mean, things there’s just like, What is this book about? Oh, what is this? Oh, so it isn’t

Sarah Morgan 44:48
just the dropping of names of different of the hidden Yeah, who is that and

Charlie Pleasant 44:53
who and who was that? Who was that was enough to just go and you know, it wasn’t that we had these devices is like we’re not we didn’t have fun. We didn’t even have bird. We were in card catalogs and encyclopedias. Oh my god, we weren’t. We were card catalogs, we had to really go research and find out. We was in the Dewey Decimal, we was in the Dewey Decimal System, return this book in two weeks get this stamp in this book because it was purple, right? And so we really had to be in even thinking about it. And then we had to be really, really intentional about what we want to go find as far as information was concerned, because we didn’t have held hand devices that we can just do a quick Google search or search engine.

Sarah Morgan 45:43
Yeah. And there was none of that. And I there are times where I will be sitting and watching a show on TV and be like, That person looks familiar. And then I will Google their name while I’m still watching the show. And I can Google their name, look at their IMDb and scroll through it and figure out where I’ve seen them before. And nine times out of 10 is you know, episode of Grey’s Anatomy or episode

Charlie Pleasant 46:10
of the law and order chat. And care if listen,

Sarah Morgan 46:13
I kind of don’t respect you. As an like, I feel like you didn’t hone your craft properly. If you ain’t like you think the episode of Law and Order or Grey’s Anatomy. That’s just me. I can’t I kind of don’t I kind of don’t and I know that this is Grey’s

Charlie Pleasant 46:28
Anatomy, law and order. And castle.

Sarah Morgan 46:31
I have seen like I got like, it’s not to have seen you somewhere you know. And what’s hilarious is for both of them, a lot of them have been on the opposite. Yeah. Like most of the cast, the Grey’s Anatomy was one of them one or both

Charlie Pleasant 46:48
of the other. Special Victor Chadwick Boseman was on.

Sarah Morgan 46:53
Yeah, that’s one of my favorite episodes. Yeah. And he, with the with the one good eye. That’s right. He had a bad eye and everything he was active. Like, there are so many people who just got the start there. But I can look at someone and go, you know, like, where did I see them before? And a lot of times, it’ll be some random show that are watching them like, oh, yeah, okay, they was the such as the or I’ll pick up somebody’s face. And they’re like, some of the fact that I have the ability to do that. Right in the palm of my hand is just amazing. Yeah, we didn’t have that within, if we wanted to know who somebody was, you might have one friend whose family had the encyclopedias, because everybody couldn’t afford that

Charlie Pleasant 47:46
everybody and you got at least one or two at a time, right?

Sarah Morgan 47:50
Everybody couldn’t afford that and have a whole full set like you was doing something you was worried at all. And you really had to go to the library and be intentional about the research that you were doing, which now makes sense as to why I spent so much time in the library. As a tween and teen, I would say I was probably at the library once once a few times a month.

Charlie Pleasant 48:15
But just think about even the context of us having this conversation. And the ways in which we had to slow down life. I mean, life was a lot slower back then. In that way, as far as you know, excavating, you know, research and knowledge. In the face of the conversation that we’re even having today, look at the skill that’s being lost. Because we don’t want to even fund or we’re taking this really, we’re been in his art so far, one way like that.

Sarah Morgan 48:47
All based in fear of losing power in a racing, control, and of somehow being a race or of not being a race but the narrative about you doesn’t have the same celebratory ride celebratory theme under it, right he’s had all of this time. And here’s the here’s the honest truth, right? Is something that I have learned like, everybody has good and bad to him. Nobody is all one thing. Yeah. So whether it is our, the the early leaders of our nation, who also held slaves and you know, who had grand plantations had hundreds of enslaved people on them, or or had children by those insulet I mean, Thomas Jefferson kept a teenage black girl in a little bit in room off his bedroom. He had a sex worker for all intents and like he did, he held her hostage. She she was in, like Sally had that’s not a love story. She was in prison. She was a child, and he also wrote the Declaration of Independence, and moved our nation forward in important ways don’t like, we got to let go of this idea that those two things can’t be true and exist at the same time? Because they already do. Yeah, they already do. We just not talking about them. I remember. Earlier this year, on Presidents Day, someone at work had posted a meme about George Washington. And it was something about like George Washington, chops to cherry tree and use the wood for his teeth. And I think actually, no, that’s not what I happen for the teeth of

Charlie Pleasant 51:12
the royal commission from the enslave

Sarah Morgan 51:15
that from the enslaved and live in living. Yeah, they pulled the teeth out their mouth, and they have dentures for him several sets. So it’s not like it just happened to the joy that he had horrible eating habits. He liked me, like sugar, sugary snacks, and he was burning through dentures. And he tried and, and to his credit, he tried to use traditional the traditional dentures of the time, and kept ruining them. And also because he was in leadership meeting with heads of state, other countries and think it wasn’t a good look, like to not have real teeth in your mouth. And so this was the solution that his people came up with. That’s, that’s facts. That’s facts. And that can be true. And he still have been a great military commander and a great commander in chief, as, as the first President of our nation like that, those two things exist, they did exist, and the same human being and we should be able to learn and speak freely about that the way we should about every major, you know, politician legislation, moment in history, there’s good, there’s always going to be good, good and bad things existing at the same time. And that’s okay. And I I struggle with understanding why we struggle, as a society so much with that, as as existing. And we put things on these like pedestals and we paint these narratives that can only be one thing, and then we’re destroyed somehow, when it doesn’t prove to be true. And I just don’t understand why that is.

Charlie Pleasant 53:08
Well, and I’ve grappled with this on a lesser level, in even in my clinical practice, when I’m working in direct care with clients, and I talk a lot about in doing a lot of cognitive reframing around multiple things being true at one time. So I mean, you’re right, you’re right on with that. The reason? And I think the reason why we struggle if we’re only putting things, certain pieces of history, because I also think about this when we talk about the about legacy as well, too. And we can have a conversation, maybe that’s for another episode. The good stuff isn’t the only part of the story that that’s that’s legacy is the trash stuff as well, too. Yeah. And it becomes a struggle when you only do it becomes incomplete and incoherent when you only put one piece forward, just like it is when I’m working with my clients. It’s not until you move into a space when you’re able to work with the shadows or the dark things, that we start moving towards integrating ourselves as a whole. Because it’s all a part of who we are. This will always be a lopsided and a struggle. There’s going to always be resistance, because there’s a refusal or refusal of integrating it all. Yeah, if it’s because one side is missing the piece of the other thing. Yeah, yeah, that’s true. So it’s going to always be incoherent energy, it’s always going to be gonna feel lost side. It’s going to always be resistance, because there’s a refusal to bring it full circle.

Sarah Morgan 54:44
And this does not help.

Charlie Pleasant 54:48
This does not help at all.

Sarah Morgan 54:51
Back to the Olympics in Rio. And how when they did, they’re on I’m opening gains ceremony, there was a probably 10 minute moment within that performance where they, there was a moment at the beginning where they’re honored the indigenous heritage of the land, there was an end there. And they did this through dance, and movement of like, almost caricature, cartoony type of things, but it was a part of the performance. And they honor that they explored colonization and imperialism and the impact of that they explored their moments and their participation in enslavement in the slave trade. And, and then they celebrated the fact that they figured it out and did better and move forward as a society, even though they still have their struggles.

Sarah Morgan 56:04
In a moment where it really isn’t, for lack of a better word, politically correct, to acknowledge that this is a part of the history of your land, and something that you that as we open the Olympic Games, together, that this is something that you we want you to know, as a as a part of our history, as we welcome you into our land was so big, and so many, and there were people who were very uncomfortable with the bike, whoo. But overall, it was, and the leaders of Brazil was like, Yeah, we did it because we felt it was important, because we not gonna shrink from the fact that this is just as much a part of our history is anything else. And I was like, yeah, oh, that is so. And then I remember in the next breath, thinking America would never would never we would, we would rather have the Olympic Games be hosted somewhere else. No matter if the Olympic Committee was like, in order for you to host the Games, you got to do were real did

Charlie Pleasant 57:08
like, let’s let’s Oh, my God, you guys, when I tell you, it won’t be called the Olympics, it’d be sponsored by,

Sarah Morgan 57:15
We all got to do what Rio did, you have to part of your opening ceremony performance has to acknowledge the indigenous people of your lands, the ways in which you abused mistreated the indigenous people to colonize and imperialize the land, you have to acknowledge any practices of enslavement and how that was eliminated and how you moved forward in any other major hiccups in your your your nation’s history that has to be included in the opening ceremony performance in order for your nation to host the Olympic Games. Like if that became a required, you will never see the Olympic we will never bid again.

Charlie Pleasant 58:00
You dare dare say they are sent a message back see you on another 48 years, somewhere else. Because they would

Sarah Morgan 58:06
never be because you will never be able to generate that

Charlie Pleasant 58:09
we’re going right now indicates that that is an inability of, of any of this. And again, I’m a Systems person, I work in systems in my work, I’m trained as a social worker in that way. And the incoherency, and the polarization and the lack of integration. What we’re seeing in society is deeply individuals and how they this is nothing but a projection of what a demographic of people are experiencing. Yeah, polarization, lack of integration and unwillingness to look at the shadows of their own lives. And then if I can make the world look, if I can make the world look like the things that I refuse to deal with in my personal life, then I can justify my way of being in the world. This is, as a clinician, this is how I look at all of this, I would much prefer to your point about the Olympic Games, I would much rather try to change the art in progress of society than to look at my own stuff. And if I have the true, it’s true, and if I have to do it, then I will change the apple bend the hands of the rest of this nation in order to justify my inability to integrate the light and dark of my life.

Sarah Morgan 59:40
And what so this this is now in effect, you, you essentially the state of Florida issue is a client who is failing to address girl. What do you do? Do you kick them out your office?

Charlie Pleasant 1:00:20
What do you do with? Oh my god, I have never that just put that that just put so much pressure on my chest because imagine the state of Florida being my client, right?

Sarah Morgan 1:00:30
Imagine the state of Florida is a person who shows up in your office with these issues. Oh, my gosh, how do we heal that not only for the person, but also I will say the the family system, and this is, you know, the people that that that that impacts as a whole because that person has to go out into the world and interact. So Florida, it has to interact with these. Now, these colleges and universities, we don’t know what the plan is for how they’re going to implement this. Stay tuned. Yeah, I’m not going to be honest, that they might not even know. Right, which is not uncommon. When laws get passed. They’re like, Oh, we did this. Well, now what?

Charlie Pleasant 1:01:16
And then now why? Because there’s a plan in place to even right, and they cap it

Sarah Morgan 1:01:21
in on the administrators and the municipalities and so forth to figure it out on their own, so and the employees as well, too. Yeah, um, but I’m trying to figure out how I go forward with this. What do I do? And what do what do the rest of us do? As we try to figure out how best to interact with this weird, non functional internet denial entity?

Charlie Pleasant 1:01:51
Yeah, and find out the function in the fears of sad protectors. Who because what we know about protectors is that they protect something that’s very vulnerable, and very tender. So if I’m looking at the state of Florida, as my client, that is such a wild notion, mind blowing, mind blowing, and I’m looking at it how I practice as a clinician. I’m really curious about what’s the fear? Or what’s the concern, the question I would ask is, what’s the fear? Or what’s the concern? Do you believe state of Florida might happen if you do not enact these bands? If we did not have this very restrictive legislation, which I will see in ifs lands as protectors. What are you afraid would happen if these things aren’t in place? Because what as a clinician, what I want to get behind is, who are you protecting? What are you protecting, because that’s the part that needs to be healed and unburdened.

Sarah Morgan 1:04:13
What we know about protectors is that and it came up in our in a recent training that I’m doing, that I’m paying for.

Charlie Pleasant 1:04:29
But they’re not good at healing anything. So what we know if I’m looking at the state of Florida, or any other place that’s that’s putting in these type of restrictive type of things, is that it might be good at what it does momentarily. But it’s not going to solve the problem that you think that it’s going to solve for. Because it doesn’t know how the in what we know about protectors in the system, if I’m looking at it from an ifs lens, is that they don’t they? They are they have I have good intentions, which is really hard to say in the same sentence as a Florida, right.

Sarah Morgan 1:05:06
They have good intentions, but they don’t know how destructive they are being and what they’re doing. Our anger alone can’t solve the problem is the you know, Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do it. And so we have to tap. And it’s not easy, just like you said, like, I can’t even believe I gotta say this out loud. But we have to tap into the the empathy for the fear that’s dry that’s underneath all of that, in order to raise that individual or organization’s level of awareness enough to because it’s all fear, right? It’s all at the end of the day, all of this resistance all of these bands, all of these rollbacks is all fear. What is the fear? What is the fear? And is it even, you know, one of the things that I’ve learned in my own therapy is to interrogate my fears, like this is this is should I even be afraid of this thing, and this is, the this is the thing that’s so great about being a human, is the fact that our this this thing in my head, this brain has the ability to interrogate itself. There’s nobody else has that, like no other living species has that it, whatever it whatever it feels, it goes with it. That’s why animals are so spastic humans can have a thought, and go do I really, that’s fine.

Sarah Morgan 1:06:47
And have and without ever speaking out loud, have a whole conversation inside this little brain to decide. Actually, what I think is this, and then act accordingly. And so that the ability to like interrogate that, when you have, particularly when you have fear is, is one of the most important things for us to like function and try and master if we can. And we forfeit that, when we just completely ban stuff, yeah, we forfeit our ability to interact, to confront the fear, to interrogate it, to heal it. And to move forward from it is a better version of ourselves, when we refuse to do that. And that’s what’s happening.

Charlie Pleasant 1:07:40
That’s exactly what happened. And so if I’m looking, again, from a clinical lens, it from an ifs perspective, when we have those bands of those protectors that are in place, and in the way that all of these things, the way that we’re throwing it up in society, what we end up doing is covering our greatest resource, which is ourselves, right? And in the energy that we have to actually move things forward to move things towards a place or a paradigm or shift towards healing. So I am, I feel like, I’m gonna just have to sit with Florida via my client that just that just must be that, that, that that just really just kind of rocked my thoughts for a minute. Yeah. But all of this, all of all of this is worth explanation, or worth exploring. And to what you mentioned earlier, Sarah, I don’t have any answers on how any of this is gonna be inactive at this point. But we do know that at least in my perspective, I believe that things of this nature only work for so long, because it doesn’t know the flip side of how the impact that it comes with when things like this are enacted.

Sarah Morgan 1:08:53
lI ove you know what you said about protectors are great at protecting, but they’re bad at healing. And what we need, what we need more than anything is healing is healing is to emerge from this fold and integrated and able to move forward as a better version of ourselves. And then we were in the past and that is true for us as individuals is true for organizations is true for our governments. It’s true for the systems that operate all of those things. And so the challenge to the listening audience, as you are seeing what’s happening in Florida as if you are in one of these other states that we listed to make sure that you are in touch with your legislators to say that this is not send them this episode. Tell them this is not something that they want to do, where they are. And but also, you know, within the organizations is when you start to see the rollbacks and the resistance to With the inclusion work that the organization has done, or when you get to a place where the organization says, Alright, that’s enough, we’ve, we feel like we’ve gone far enough. You have to the question is, Is there is there has healing happen? Like, have we created a space where, where healing and wholeness and full integration has happened? And, and are those who we know, are neg traditionally negatively impacted by these policies, laws, etc? Are they no longer in danger? Of that kind of impact? And if the answer to those things is no, you still have our work? We still got work to do. We still got work to do. Yeah. And don’t stop, don’t stop until the answer is yes for you as an individual and for the organizations that you lead and that you’re responsible for.

Charlie Pleasant 1:10:58
And then society as a whole, just being a productive citizen in that way. responsible citizen.

Sarah Morgan 1:11:08
And on that note, we are going to wrap this episode we thank you so much for listening to the HR Happy Hour Inclusion Crusade, I want to thank once again, our expert and residents, Charlie Pleasant for being with us to talk through these complex issues and to put that therapy hat on so that we can humanize these issues even more, because the more than we’re able to do that the more that we can see to the heart and the healing of that is truly truly important. So I thank you all for listening to you and we look forward to seeing you next time.

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