Navigating Intersectional Identities
When our workplaces weren’t designed for our communities in-mind
Steven Wakabayashi: Hi, welcome to UX nights. Really excited to have you here tonight. We have an amazing panel for you tonight talking about the intersection of different identities, as well as how to navigate spaces that weren’t made for us.
And so with that we’d love to get straight into our conversation and hope you enjoy.
Ube Urban: A little color on my background. I originally came from Hawaii and then San Francisco, where I spent most of my academia and professional career in boutique agencies. I had my own design firm focusing on customer experience and industrial design within electronics and product design.
My dabble in a little graffiti and high-end design. Today I’m trying to bring more awareness to corporations and the fortune five through research equitable research at least and trying to teach business owners about what the current landscape of our gen Z gen alpha and trying to make this.
Intersectionality or this fabric between these various demographics and how do we sell and promote an omni-channel experience through that? Currently I’m also a teacher, leader within the space coach, mentor. So, I always keep myself busy. So with that, I will pause and on to the next.
I could keep talking to you though. Okay.
Steven Wakabayashi: Recording in session. Thank you all for that quick intro. For anyone who doesn’t know me. My name is Steven Wakabayashi pronouns he/him. I’m located here in the unceded territory of Lenape tribe in New York city and the founder and whatever janitor, everything in between for this organization.
And yeah, really excited to shepherd a lot of these really important conversations here in this space. And for anyone who is new, it’s a very different space in which we can just get into the nitty gritty. And oftentimes we enter all these spaces that are white dominant to have these conversations. And so this is one of the rare instances when we’re all surrounded by community folks as well.
What does intersectional identity mean to you?
Steven Wakabayashi: And so to start off, the conversation today is on the topic of intersectional identities and wanted to first ask some of the panelists. What does intersectional identity mean to you? And when did you first become aware of it? What experiences made you become aware of your intersectional identity?
Shelby Chikazawa: I can start off. So I am Hapa in that I am half, so I’m half Japanese and I’m half white and something that really struck me growing up was that the first or oftentimes the question that if I’m thinking back on my life, the thing that I get asked the most is "What are you?"
Ube Urban: Yes,three times,
Shelby Chikazawa: Three times a day
Ube Urban: Or in a row.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. Where are you from? What? Where are you really from? Lawrenceville, where is – oh, no. I meant like, where’s your mom from? And because they assume that my mom is the Asian one, the Japanese one or, you know, like all manner of things and it’s like, oh, okay. I’m realizing very quickly in life that are not a lot of people around me that look like me.
And that I am not white enough or I’m not Asian enough, or I’m not the right kind of Asian, or I’m not this or not that. And having kind of a hard time, like coming to terms with the fact that I’m from a place that was kind of small and not having, you know, my reflection to like see myself in other people or, you know, things like that to be surrounded by a community of people that kind of understand what’s going on.
And so that was not like super pleasant, not the end of the world either, but definitely alienating and isolating in a lot of ways. And so, to me to be, really an advocate for intersectionality, to me means that we are all kind of coming together and saying, okay, each of us is having some kind of issue where we are being othered and that’s not okay.
So how can we all come together and stop othering ourselves advocate for each other
Tyrome Smith: So, so, I appreciate you. Thank you, Shelby. Thank you for opening up. The idea of intersectionality is not new to the African experience. Dobois talked about the double consciousness, which is implied intersectionality, right? And so the declaration to me, the declaration of I am an intersectional person is a deliberative inter transgressive political act.
You will not just say I am only this because that is, you don’t have the right to other me. yeah, Yeah, she wrote a song of Solomon helped me out here. Toni Morrison said I think isn’t, history is created by the definers, not the defined. And so when you define your intersectional space, you are now defining you’re now making a political statement.
For me, my awareness of it was as soon as I was born, because I wasn’t just intersectional being inside of white space. I was intersectional being inside of the black space. I was smart. I wear glasses. I read, I remember reading a physics book at five years old, super precocious. Understood. And I still remember reading it.
I wish I had somebody. My parents could really understand what that meant. At some points you, I would have been described as neurountypical, right. Which is another intersectional declaration. And so growing up where I grew up, I happen to be in Bowie, Maryland.
Right now I came here to go to graduate school to Howard university. But I’m from Pennsylvania in what’s called Penn Tucky, which is the halfway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. And it’s very white, very conservative. And I remember walking down the hall, I was telling the story when we met earlier, I remember walking down the hallways in my high school, all 157 people in my class about 4 black folk in the class walking down the hallway, following my shelly, running my hand through my hair saying this is crazy. Because I knew it was not correct. There was something crazy thinking about it, but I think declaring oneself as an intersectional person is to declare oneself, not crazy. That’s all.
Krista Rime: Yeah. Like I feel like I relate a lot to Ty. So for me, I was born a complete secret. My mother gave me up for adoption and I was born in Texas and promptly placed with a white conservative, evangelical couple in a town in Minnesota. That was 1200 people. So I, it was just, it was me. Right. And I, the first time I remember it, me being othered I was three, I was three.
I was in preschool. The kids would touch, rub my skin, touch my hair. And I was always just the black person. That was what I was labeled like Ty, you know, I was reading at an early age, like I was asking for chemistry kits as a kid please buy me encyclopedia, like all of that. And that wasn’t fostered, right.
I was pushed in sports. When are you going to play basketball? Right. When you’re, you should be really fast. You need to be in track. And so when I was older, I was able to claim like, I am more than just your black stereotype. I am, I’m a woman. I am smart. I have many jives and ambitions. Later, you know, going through my family history that I sought out.
I’m, I’m also like half white, which I didn’t know. And even with my adoptive family learning that, those questions "Well really are you?" Like that. So it took me a long journey, but to be able to step out of that space that I was in and understand that I was a lot more and that I was bigger than where I grew up.
Ube Urban: Yes. Golf club. Hello? No yeah. let’s see. I mean, there’s so many different levels to kind of my upbringing and I didn’t discover, or wasn’t enlightened into intersectionality or having that awareness until, you know, probably within the past three years. But even till this day, I’ve been conflicting with like my political self, which Ty will definitely elaborate on later.
And my identity and being secure within my background. So, you know, native American, Filipino, Japanese, and black, I grew up with the Asian kind of Pacific Japanese culture upbringing in the islands. And then when I did have that transformation or that migration to the mainland it was, it was literally a cultural shock.
You know, I spoke in tongue, I had a Pidgin accent and I was pretty much dumped into this culture that I had. Absolutely no educational awareness about, I did not have anybody within my network or friends that can enlighten me. You know, sometimes you would have somebody from the mainland coming in, but that wasn’t enough, you know, especially when you’re around the network.
And everybody looks like you or everybody is Mestizo or Hafu or Hapa, whatever you wanna call it. So even til this day, sometimes, I have discussions with other professionals or even friends, acquaintances. And I revert back to my comfort zone, which is you know, the languages that I spoke, you know, especially if I have to speak Hawaiian, like sometimes I can’t articulate myself in English, but I know the word in a different language.
So there’s this like barrier. And then don’t get me started on the colorism, but like that made it even harder to really identify and be very content with who I am and who I am today. I have this perceived value of pretty much people making poor assumptions of who they think I am. But you know, even though I have a thick skin, it’s enough to really chip away at me on a daily basis.
And you know, how often can you really fight that war and really be heavily into bringing awareness to people that have no clue or even no sense of your background, or even that enlightenment of, Hey, you know, I know what XYZ Asian you are, I know what Pacific Islander is. And so you have to be very empathetic of the people that you interact with and, you know, having these abilities to kind of do the extra credit. Do the extra work to really embrace with other people’s perspectives is difficult to do when you have to do that on a daily basis. In return, you you have to do that on a daily basis. In return, you know, people can be ignorant towards you. They could give you that three tier where you’re from, they could butcher your name.
They could butcher your identity on a daily basis, but nobody even knows how it feels when you butcher three letters, you know, Ube, that’s it. And if you don’t know how to say it, or you’d never seen that name before, please ask me, how do you pronounce your name? All right. All right. I’ll stop, go away.
Steven Wakabayashi: I think you brought up a really interesting point, which leads into another question, which is around the concept of even understanding our intersectional identity seems to be something that not people, all everyone is afforded to, right? We’re born into this world in so many layers of the systems that exist around us.
And some people have to survive fit in adapt. ANd some people who do have the bandwidth are able to explore and finally twist and escape out of this generational trauma sometimes keeps playing as this tape cassette over and over. And so my next question to you all is what systems or what things were in place for you that you may have struggled with to just come to understanding your own intersectional identity?
Yeah. Or even just like appreciating it. Yeah.
Krista Rime: Yeah. I can go from that from an adoptive standpoint. Right. Since I was in this, given to this family I felt like I was intentionally kept from the black community. I cannot even think of a single time that they even said the word black. And so after being able to leave, I really had to, you know, have black history.
Right. I really sought out other black people and I felt, honestly, I felt like such an imposter. Ike I missed out on a lot in my community. But yeah, I felt like that whole system especially through the adoption channels that I was placed because there was many, many other people, the children of color that were placed through the system intentionally with white oppressors to colonize, I felt like getting out of that and then surely thinking the community that I felt like I should have always been in.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. I mean, my, my best friend when I was in pre-K, I was really stoked because I had gotten the pink power ranger gloves, and I had brought them to school. Really exciting day for me, a huge power ranger fan. And I show up and we’re playing at recess and I’m like, dude, look what I got, like, isn’t this grad.
And she goes, oh, give me those. And she took them from me and goes, you will, you can’t be the pink power ranger, Shelby. I can, I have to be the pink power ranger. And I was like, I don’t understand. And she looks at me with like her ratty, little straight blunt, blonde bangs and goes, well, you’re not white.
You have to be the yellow ranger. And I was like, oh, I, oh, okay. I guess I didn’t, hadn’t considered that quite yet. And I went home and I was like talking to my parents saying like, I don’t really understand this. I mean, I got the gloves back, so like, everything’s chill, but I don’t really get that whole interaction.
And my dad’s like, well, we live in this place. There’s not a lot of people like you and you have to give people grace. She doesn’t – and as my mom would say – she ain’t got the sense that God gave a Jay bird. She just doesn’t know. And so I keep that with me a lot, like, oh, bless her heart. She just don’t know.
She doesn’t know. And like, Ube, like what you were saying, you know, sometimes you have to be really empathetic. Like she just truly had no idea what she said was really hurtful because she’s four and she hasn’t gotten there yet. My friend now I had mentioned off-handedly the concept of Japanese internment camps.
And she was like, what do you mean. Had no idea that had ever occurred? This was last year. I’m 30. I just could not understand that she did never heard of that. And she’s like, oh, well I’m like, I’m from Birmingham. Like we just didn’t have a really great like edu-. I’m sorry. And I was like, no, I mean, don’t be sorry.
You didn’t know. You should look into that. Just a thought like, come on. So, you know, I think I was given a lot of agency as a kid to say, okay, I understand that you don’t understand, but that is still an issue. And it’s not my problem. You’re making it my problem, but it’s not my problem. You need to do this work for yourself because it makes you a better person.
Tyrome Smith: I think what we’re hearing in my 50 plus years now are systems. Imbedded crazy ass systems that unless and until we unpack those systems and get underneath them and interrogate them in a way that that Shelby’s experience, isn’t just, she just doesn’t understand. And I get she’s four that she just doesn’t understand, bless her heart or Krista having to go back and have these experiences where she has to go out and go find other ways to connect to parts of herself that she’s like I’m missing. That these systems, that we would normally consider sophisticated people to be aware of is exactly Julissa.
Where did they learn? They learn it in systems that relatively sophisticated people have no awareness of. Not an excuse anymore. Not an excuse anymore. I have a colleague who is a world renowned psychiatrist who had no idea. Oh, and who does work. Whose brother had been in the had, had, had been on the freedom rides in the sixties, then he’s in the set.
I think this brother, this cat is in in, in his seventies now and had no idea that there was something called a Black National Anthem. He was completely taken aback. Like what, what, what? And he’s like, I consider myself and luckily he’s a psychiatrist. He said, I consider myself a learned person.
I am ashamed systems are self healing. They don’t like shame. So somebody has to stand up and say, I am ashamed that I have no idea that I consider myself a learned person holding people to account in the systems that they find themselves in. I think it’s important.
Ube Urban: Yeah, absolutely. And like sitting on the same side of the table in a room with people that may or may not look like you, I mean, let’s be clear.
Nobody looks like me and the rooms that I occupy. Of course, you know, you develop that sense of security and security at the same time. I’m not saying it’s easy and you know, you always have to prove yourself to varying degrees and you have to basically build that fabric and that intersectional relationship with those that cannot really identify with you.
And you get to a point where you’re always used to giving hyper personalized or dynamic introductions based on what people understand and what their awareness level is. Usually I always assume that people’s awareness level is at 10%, you know, it’s like what Shelby was talking about. People don’t even know the history trends of imperialism, you know, and why we believe the things that we do today, or why do we carry a lot of this kind of colorism, even not just what varying cultures or opposites, but also within ourselves, you know, there’s a lot of backlash with growing up, especially being part black, like that was not embraced.
And that was really hard to come to terms. When I found out at what 13. Like, oh, FYI you have a little bit of a black and, you know, it’s like, wow, somebody could have told me that would have been great. So, you know, like what Krista alluded to before you like, kind of play this game of catch-up, you know, you’re like, okay, can I watch documentaries?
Can I read books? Can I have black friends? Can I be part of networks? But you know, it comes back to, are you allowed to be in certain networks? Are you invited, are you in this kind of exci or gray area? It’s very hard to distinguish. So even till this day, like fast forwarding to present day it’s really hard to like have these approaches and these enablers to have this kind of just neutral conversation or understanding, you know, and that’s what I strive for.
I wish there is a book or a style guide that I could provide my mentees or even people I interact with. But a lot of the subjects are all in a gray area. They’re all situational. Usually when we have to come to terms or even interact with people that are curious or ignorant, it’s when you least expect it, you know, you’re trying to get a cup of coffee.
You’re trying to check out at a grocery store or maybe you’re just walking in minding your own business, but it’s just the fact that you always have to be on guard. You always have to be ready to essentially, you know, teach, educate. And are you going to be in that right mindset? Probably not, but you have to activate or don’t you. You know, it’s always a catch 22 and you know, I feel like it’s kind of pick your own destiny for each individual interaction.
You know, whether it’s professional, personal or in passing.
The Model Minority Myth
Shelby Chikazawa: Before we get too far away from the idea of intersectionality as we like started something that Murphy has brought up in the the chat, which I think is a really excellent point. They mentioned that a lot of, Asian-Americans and a lot of minorities, just in general marginalized people experience this idea of being the model minority, which is one of my least favorite turns of phrases.
I hate that label because it’s so toxic. Honestly, it’s just a shitty thing to put on someone that you have to be this certain way so that everyone will think that you’re as Murphy said, palatable. And they’re absolutely right. It’s, you’re also kind of taught to ignore the struggles of other marginalized people, because you have to be better than that.
You have to rise above that. I know, I hear like some politicians say, you know, like, oh, Asian Americans, Andrew Yang, you have to, you know, wear red, white, and blue, and you need to wave your American flag and show that you’re a real American. It’s like, sorry, buddy. I actually don’t. I existing, like no. I’m going to be myself.
It’s hard enough out here. Okay. Like I don’t have to prove it to anyone, you know, like we all have struggles and I don’t think that I’m implying that you have to be better than now to be accepted is a healthy narrative to, to to string to anyone, especially with people growing up in youth.
Like that’s very toxic and aWFUL.
Steven Wakabayashi: Thanks for sharing that. Yeah. It’s yeah, yeah. Go for it.
Tyrome Smith: If I could. I agree with you palatable. I wanted to look it up. I liked it. I like words. Right. And so I love having two screens. I can jump in and go to definition. So thank you. So an action or proposal that is acceptable or satisfactory, right? The synonyms are satisfying, pleasing, agreeable pleasant.
And so I think that one of the things that when you talk about the intersection, that it is an opposition to something else, right. You come to an intersection because you’re opposite somebody else across the street, a physical street. And so what are the opposites of palatable and who owns the opposite?
The antonym of palatability. And what does it mean? I mean, it’s dissatisfying. So in other words, if you show up as your full self, you become dissatisfying, which is their own shit that they’re holding on to, because I think that you should act like this, and if you don’t act like this, right, then you are shit, which is actually their own shit.
So don’t take nobody shit. Give they shit back? How about that?
Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah, it’s, it’s the parable or the stories around how everyone’s just a mirror, reflecting ourselves and the parts that we sometimes struggle to see. And sometimes our authenticity, our ability to be joyous, live in our skin and be free of these systems just by being at our intersectional identity.
Sometimes make people so upset, so angry. But I just wanted to say going back to earlier point, it’s just so much compassion for us as people in the community to have to be the bigger person, right. Or to mature at such a young age and to have to overcompensate for so many, especially white folks are their oppressors, young little kids who might not know better because that’s the way they were taught by their parents.
Right. And to brush it off because we don’t want to create any conflict. And it’s just going back to Shelby your point. It just baffles my mind that we had a presidential candidate who was upholding the model minority myth and essentially telling right. All Asian people. Look, I did it. It’s not that I got this money from my family, you know, millions and millions to my failing.
This is but telling everyone right, look at what I did, look at what I accomplished myself. And it’s all just like hard work, perseverance, and just showing how much of an American you are. And I don’t think he’s still realizes how damaging a lot of that narrative is. But also going back to tie what you mentioned around just the system.
I think what’s really tricky is it handpicks the marginalized individuals who fit within the narrative of the system. So sometimes we see people who become successful, but we don’t realize that it was just all cherry picked, right? Whether you’re this definition of an attractive type of this community, or you’re doing certain things that are more palatable in nature, that then becomes a way to become successful.
So. I think as a whole, just so much empathy for us all to have to navigate this. And sometimes we’re not even aware that we’re navigating it at a young age, which is a trippy part because I truly believe inherently, we want to survive. We want to thrive. And our body sometimes acts on its behalf, unbeknownst to us to do the things that’s needed to exist in these systems.
How to navigate these systems?
Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. And so the question I have is, well, what do we do about it? Right? Whether it’s in the personal world or in the workplace, we are so aware that these systems exist. These people exist, who are just not there yet, right. With the education or the work that they’ve put in. What do we do with them? What do we do with these systems?
What do we all think?
Ube Urban: I don’t know. No, no, but I mean, you know, it’s, it’s that self promotion and, you know, authenticity, I mean, For brevity sake. I won’t get into that, but you know, I’m still trying to bring at least just an increment more to the table. But it’s just not well received. But for me personally, I always try to think of how can I echo my voice, you know, like keep doing this panels.
It’s great. You know, speaking on behalf of, you know, design community, customer experience, that’s great, but it’s very insular, you know, because the younger Ube or the person that doesn’t have access to a laptop or doesn’t have awareness of this whole panel of professionals is not going to have a clue, know?
So how do I reach or how do I reinforce my past elements and scenarios, and really try to look at it through that kind of self-reflection and being empathetic of people that can’t often to our current framework, you know? And I know it’s a lot to bite off and I’m not saying like, we need to have an answer right now, but that’s what I strive for, you know, and that transparency and that currency of giving back and trying to provide guide rails for experiences, whether it’sprofessional, personal or even self-reflecting, I think.
You know, I think Shelby mentioned this, but just, you know, you’re almost voluntold to carry the torch, you know, right when I got a little hint of identity and starting to gain that confidence, and, you know, the negatives of intersectionality is when people started kind of looking up and starting to really concentrate on like, Hey, Ube, you’re starting to do something like, keep going.
And it’s like, well, I need help. I need assistance. I need a network. I can’t do this by myself because a lot of what people don’t talk about is kind of the mental health. There’s a lot of depression. I even go through it today. It’s a lot to carry on your shoulders. But you know, I have people like Steven, Ty, Krista, Shelby, and more that I could really leverage and be like, Hey, I’m having a very hard day.
I need to talk, or I need to just make sure I’m not crazy, you know, because I’m in a environment where I’m not accepted or it’s just not designed for somebody that thinks on my different levels, you know, Yeah.
Tyrome Smith: So the question is for me, how does one find one’s voice? How do you find that space where you can articulate your own real lived experience and how do you connect with others to be able to do that?
I didn’t know Ube from a can of paint and we were on something connected on LinkedIn and he said, can I talk to you? It was the agency with which he found me that I think is how we create space to, to tackle these very very dangerous, right? They’re they are absolutely dangerous spaces that we find each other to check in.
So to your point Ube, I feel crazy. I feel like I’ve lost it. I’m feeling depressed. How can I reach out to someone else to not feel nuts? And so for me, finding the way that I deal with it finding my voice in a way that I show up the way I show up I, right now I’m wearing a hoodie. If it wasn’t, if it wasn’t for of being a weekday, I would show up at work.
I deal with senior executives and I show up the way I show up, but I also bring my intellect. I also bring well who I am. So I’ll wear jeans and I’ll go into a meeting with a senior. Yeah. You have to hear me, not the projections in your mind, but hear me now. You can say, you want this, can you help me do it?
You’re not gonna have to do that, but I’m bringing all of myself and it is an authentic self. So it’s not one that’s made up. And so I think that’s what we have to, excuse me. That’s one, one thing we have to do. I was, I went back as you were talking, Krista and Shelby went back and I looked at the prologue to the _Invisible Man_.
If you’ve never read it, I was suggested to read it the book. And if not, just read the PLO, the prologue, I’ll put the, I’ll put the first paragraph in the chat. I think it’s a powerful Testament to what we’re talking about right now.
Shelby Chikazawa: I think and Ube, you touched on this too, like, in terms of answering that question, Stephen, I think that we have to lift each other up because no one else is doing it. No one, not a lot of people are granting us that the quote unquote privilege. And I think Krista, your words. Crucial in that where you are lifting up of color you’re providing a means to occupying that space they have every right to be in and that they should be in and allowing them to feel like they are allowed to be there. Just like giving them that, push that encouragement, that, that idea that they’re not an imposter, like how you were feeling. And personally, I would really like to hear more from you on that.
Krista Rime: Yeah. Well, thank you for hyping me up like that. Shelly. I will, I’ll take that any anytime of the day. Yeah, I guess, it’s been a long journey for me, just even starting out. Like I started out of, I’m going to be a recruiter. I’m just gonna, you know, break people in the tech that are from underrepresented groups.
But then when I started talking to some of these companies that found out that I was a diverse recruiter it would be like ordering off of a menu. They’d be like, oh, we really want a black woman in this role. And if she couldn’t even be queer, oh my God, you know, bonus. And I’m like, what is this really happening?
Cause I, I knew it’s recruiting, so I quickly began to see why in tech and I have a feeling. This is just in a lot of recruiting, not just tech why it is the way it is why people can’t break through. I wanted to really take a step back and find more of a systemic solution to this problem and not just cherry picking like we’re menu items.
Like we are so much more than a menu item. And so with that, I came up with a framework that I’m now piloting where I really work with my candidates that I’m not just going to be like, oh, let’s give me 15 minutes. I’ll see if you check these boxes and send you on your way to the hiring team, but really understand your true potential, your ability how to position yourself in the marketplace.
I feel like recruiters that needs to be an advocate for their candidates, right. And like that is my true passion of just really working with people, helping them break into tech, but not just placing them anywhere because a lot of these environments are toxic. They’re really working with startups that want to treat that inclusivity that wants to invest in their employees.
I challenged them and say, you know, would you treat your customers your highest value customers the same way you would treat your employees? In a lot of them that pauses, like, no. So we need to start treating our employees better. We need to start opening up greater diversity of thought. These, these products that we are building should be able to be accessible for all communities and then built for specific communities, not just for one, one group that’s testing and then send it into the marketplace.
So yeah, that’s, that’s where I am really trying to create inclusive spaces. And what my mentor told me is let’s not ask for a seat at the table anymore. Let’s start building our own damn table. And so that’s what I hope to do is start building some tables.
How do you know if a workplace is equitable?
Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah, I have a selfish up question to that Krista, which is how do you know if a workplace is equitable? Right? Cause so often how many times have we had experience where we go in? There’s a carrot on the stick.
Krista Rime: Yep. With what the company is I’m talking to. Are you willing to get internal coaching? On your team. And what I mean by coaching is if you’re a designer on the design team, somebody with a design background that you invest in coaching and mentorship and DEI to be, you’re an advocate for designers for their personal development, professional development and team building, right.
Are you willing to invest in your employees that way? Are you willing to invest in your employees, in mental health? Let’s talk about your mental health program. What are you doing for employees that are experiencing trauma? Do they have immediate access to mental health? Do they have mental health days off?
Do they have access to doing yoga, meditation, spirituality? Like when you’re experiencing trauma, you can’t think of all those things that you need. You need a plan in place. And so that’s a part of my program. And then also giving back to the communities that new tech has disrupted, right? And so that’s getting involved with people on the ground that know best what their community needs and starting to get involved that way.
So it’s a whole ecosystem of offering opportunity and giving back, and guess what? You can still do all of this and run profitable companies. So, yeah. So you need back to your question. You need advocates that go in thoroughly. Challenge these companies and say like, we are valuable and we need to vet to make sure that we can send talent your way and that the talent will be treated correctly.
So that’s where I’m trying to change the whole job description of a recruiters. Recruiters should be protectors of their candidates.
Ube Urban: What is the best platform to get in contact with?
Krista Rime: Mine is LinkedIn. I do a lot off of LinkedIn. I’m expanding social media because I have two, a little background about me. I’ve been in digital data and harvesting user data for the last 10 years. So I have not been on social media. Yeah.
Now I’m getting back on there, but yeah, just search for Krista Rime on LinkedIn. Please connect with me. I’m also working with communities that have limited access an idea about what the jobs are in tech. So there’s so many tech jobs that are non-technical that people aren’t aware of. So I’m starting the whole, session’s about finding what jobs are available.
What’s the easiest job for you to break into. And then if you want to learn other skills, what is that easiest path? And then I provide all resources, free resources to get you started. So yes, there’s a lot of great diverse talent already out there that I can work with, but I feel like it’s also my obligation to inform communities that are unaware of this secret thing of tech that’s been held so closely to a certain few of the educate them and let them know that there are great opportunities and you do not need to go to college to get these great opportunities.
Supporting queer BIPOC youth
Steven Wakabayashi: That’s absolutely great. Thanks Krista. On last week when we were chatting as a group, we also talked about resources was, and this was a little bit about Krista, what you had said or just what information, right. Do we need to give one another and share with one another to keep us safe and to help our community?
And I know Shelby, you do a lot of work doing youth advocacy in the queer BIPOC space and just want to share kind of listened to, from your perspective, what resource do we need? What do we need to know? And yeah, maybe touch also on the, some of the stuff we talked about and just like internet safety too.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah, yeah. So I, the internet is a wild and wonderful place. There’s a lot out there for all manner of people. And mostly when I first started in this space for advocating for children online and safety, it was working at a startup and it was sort amazing to me.
I don’t have any kids and I don’t plan to, so I kind of felt like a fish out of water, but in reflecting on my experience as someone, again, like I’m almost 30. So I grew up online. I was very online and now I’m extremely online. But realizing that I had a very different online experience than say some of my friends and that oftentimes I was in situations that I should not have been in and that it was not necessarily a safe for me all the time to be there, to have this unfettered access to the internet and all the people on there.
And so now a lot of the work that I do is for parents, tweens and teens to educate them and say, Hey, you don’t have to just take the phone away. Just taking that access away isn’t going to do you any good because you’ve taken it. And now they want it even more, but it’s to build a trusting relationship.
And so, especially like with queer kids and kids of color. When I grew up, when I finally came out to my parents and I was like, Hey, I’m like queer. And the first thing my mom said was like, oh baby, I love you, but that’s gonna be hard. It’s like, oh, okay, shit. So, it can be hard and it can be very troublesome at times.
And you’re like, oh God, this, yeah, I’m dealing with this. To have a community of people and to see other kids online, other tweens and teens online and say, okay, this I’m not bad. I’m not weird. This is just who I am. And there were other people like me and allowing them to create a safe space with each other that doesn’t necessarily involve some adult in Northern California pretending to be 13.
Like that, that is very crucial for kids to be able to express themselves and to talk to one another and have that shared experience. So it’s really important for people like all of us to say, you know, this was my experience. I’ve had this experience. And from that, I can tell you X, Y, and Z.
So in my last project that I was taking, part of, I was essentially catfishing people online. I was pretending to be a child. And as soon as they find out that you’re Asian, whew, that’s not a fun place to be.
Ube Urban: The internet melts.
Shelby Chikazawa: The fusion of Asian, of all women of color actually is really rough space to be a part of and purposefully occupy.
But you know, like you, you realize that there is. There’s a lot of great things that come from being online and having that information, just having access to people who look like you. We talked about this last week where I didn’t know how to make my lashes, my short, straight, Asian lashes curl. And to finally see an Asian woman on YouTube, show me how was groundbreaking for me, like brain breaking.
I mean, Krista, you were talking about how you finally saw someone do her hair and you were like, that was groundbreaking for you. So it’s amazing to have this, but it’s also really crucial that we talk about the different ways that we experience it so that everyone can remain safe and have that safe space because it’s not designed for all of us necessarily, but we can make it that way.
That was really long. Sorry.
Ube Urban: No, that was awesome. That was great. Yeah, it just brought, it, brought up a thought I had, or a few interactions this week of what my skin routine was, you know,
I just use soap, but I have very oily kind of Asian skins. So I don’t know what to do with that, but I am self-conscious that I do glisten a little, but you know, and they’re like, oh, I get so much work. Yeah, go whoa, whoa.
You know, like some of us pay a lot of money to get that glow.
Shelby Chikazawa: But seriously, you can’t just be using soap on your face. Come on.
Steven Wakabayashi: We need to chat. we’ll talk.
Tyrome Smith: If I could, I think that something that said about his skin and then three the redoubling of that, that Krista pointed out you glow, I have oily skin. No, you glow. Language is the holder of meaning. And then those who can create the language, create the meaning. If you can great, many, you create power.
The Power of Language
Tyrome Smith: If you have power, you can, you have the, the resources Steven to rethink how you show up. Right. And so one of the resources that we do have is language you know, there’s in, um, Public enemies. One of their, one of the more famous songs, they start out with Malcolm X talking about, they stole all our language.
They stole our land, they stole our God and some of us even stole our minds. And then starts the track. And so part of that, if I remove your capacity to own the language, I remove your capacity to think because the world discounts the language I give you. And so if we rethink the language you glow, oh, you mean now I just need to find something to manage my glow, not to manage my oily skin, which the connotation is very different than "the glow" l find a different language.
Shelby Chikazawa: I love language. I mean, there’s a lot of gatekeeping when it comes to language, like as a writer every day. You and I’m sure Ube, you think about this a lot too in your work where it’s, I’m not like there’s a time when there’s a place for like a beautiful flowery language. Polysyllabic syllabic, like play on words.
Let’s have a great time for sure. When it comes to like talking to a group of people, you want clear, concise, accessible language, you want everyone to be able to participate in something like that. And that doesn’t mean it’s stupid or that it’s dumbed down or it’s watered down. It just means that your creating a place for everyone or most people to be able to understand and take a part in that discussion.
Ube Urban: Yeah, no, I mean, I totally feel you there and especially with like, just a sense of security within your identity. And when you do interface with executive levels or business development, that expectation that bar is very high, you know, and if you have any type of hiccups or you can’t articulate yourself in a specific way that can tarnish or even have a client kind of pull out of a sale of work, you know, so yes, I want to believe that we are accepting ourselves, but in these industries, you know, I’m not accepted yet.
And I believe somebody in the chat tried to, what was it, I guess, surfacing red flags about hiring, you know, it’s very difficult. You know, it’s hard to reinforce DEI, especially when there’s so many perspectives and you know, no matter how high you are in the totem pole, I don’t have complete control of people that are bringing into the system.
You know, this person would be a great asset, but that submission. It’s all hands-off. I don’t have any control. You know, I might get hit up by a recruiter but that’s about it. So, but I’m in a very incredibly large agency and they are striving for inclusion and diversity of thought. And you know, when you’re trying to steer a corporation, that is 500 plus employees, you know, you’re going to have some difficulties, but you have difficulties everywhere.
Even if you have a team of five, there’s some type of bureaucracy, there’s some politics even when interfacing with the client. So coming back down to, you know, how do you surface these discrepancies? You know, I’m trying till this day, you know, it’s, it’s very, I would say it’s very gray area and there isn’t anything set in stone.
So this is why I have these discussions either one-on-one or on a group panelists, but it’s just the fact that in order for us to make the carbon fiber, the Kevlar of our network, we have to strive in various channels, especially if you’re the keynote, the volun-told that you’re carrying this torch.
You have to put that effort forward. And if you don’t just take a step back, there’s a lot of people in many different channels that are working hard. And if like myself, I’m not very heavily, you know, a poster in the social experience, you know, I have a complete understanding, but my inner workings are doing panelists trying to create awareness, having that dialogue with people that don’t understand me.
And I’m willing to fight those battles and yes, it’s very hard and that’s why I have to leverage my extended network. If you do have a network within an organization, you know, glorify it, but it’s incredibly hard to find those nuggets. And a lot of people just are not built to represent and that’s okay.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But just like everybody on this call, I’m like, are you okay with sharing your stories? Are you okay with providing guidelines? You know, do you feel like you have something to share? Are you comfortable with it? Are you content with your identity? There’s a long laundry list before I’m like, oh yeah, just speak up in front of people that you don’t know, you know, like, oh yeah.
Say anything in front of strangers. And it’s not that easy because you’re basically putting your ego aside and putting yourself on the front line, you know? And I wish I could say it’s all puppy dogs and ice cream, but. You know, you went some, you lose some and yeah. So I’ll pause there. I’ll open it up to everyone else.
Finding the right environment
Krista Rime: I’m sorry. Go ahead, Krista. I was going to say, what’s really ranked me, as you said, not everybody is built to represent. For me it was finding my right environment to represent. So I was, you know, recruited a lot here in the valley. One company, Uber came at me really hard to the point. I’m like, you put whatever you have on my record to never contact me again.
But you know, they offered me a job. They’re like, well, interesting. You know, I know you don’t treat women well, I definitely know you don’t treat black people well and so, and I would be in your engineering work, which is notorious, like on another level of just treating people like shit. Right? So like, what are you going to do?
I asked my recruiter, what are you going to do to like. You know, keep me safe. And his response was, well, you can go in and start your own diversity program and I’m like, yeah, please never contact me again. So being in the positions that I was before, I wasn’t, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t feel like I had my voice.
And if I was, I felt like I was going to get very much attacked, but removing myself from a situation, finding the correct support now that I have in place, I’m able to find my voice and carry forth my mission.
Ube Urban: Yeah, I’m glad you found your voice.
Tyrome Smith: I would’ve told you run too Krista. Run from them.
Krista Rime: Yeah they offered me 40% more stock. Right. They kept going like, how far are they gonna go? I’m like, no it’s not worth your mental wellbeing.
Tyrome Smith: And not only that, Krista, it becomes the place where diversity go. Just kind of like innovation. We have an innovation shop, not innovation is I think somebody had mentioned innovation, theater, innovation theater, like that’s where we go do diversity over there.
That’s that’s her department, not a part of the general way that we do business. Right. And so Jerome, my thing is if that panel, if it’s, if they’re curious about it, versus curious with me, if they’re curious about diversity. Oh run. Cause now it’s a sideshow. Hey, look at the black people over there and look at the gay people over there and look at the Asian people over there and look at the disabled people over there.
Are you going to deal with them? Now we just look at them and we’ll ask questions and then leave it alone. But if they’re curious with you, okay, now we can, okay. We can talk now because now you’re trying to get in that liminal space, that’s one of my favorite songs in this work. When I do this work is Dave Matthews, a space between that’s where the wicked lies, where you’ll find me hiding safe from the pain.
That’s where people don’t want to go. They don’t want to go where the wicked spaces, where the liminal spaces, the space between you and me, where we do in the literature, they call it third culture building, where we build an additional culture and additional understanding. They don’t want that happen if that’s what they want.
They just want to look at it. That’s okay. You can go and do that. That’s all right. I’m going to stand over here and do my job, whatever that job was, you hired me to do.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. I mean, something that Jerome brings up too is, you know, it’s not a part of your job. It typically, depending on what your job is I was working for an agency. And I, they said, oh, we’re going to do this DEI committee. I was like, great. I’d love to, I’d love to sit in. And yeah, you specifically a Shelby, I, you might be interested in this. As a really loud queer Asian woman. I think that this might be something for you. I was like, you’re right. I really can’t shut up, but I’d love to sit and hear about what this committee is doing first, before like dive in. And then you get put in a position where you’re like, oh no, you guys are just a bunch of like cis straight white people and you need help because you don’t know what you’re doing. You have this idea that you want to create like a diverse and equitable and inclusive space.
And that is a beautiful idea. So lovely, like claps for you. Precious. But it doesn’t start with you just getting a committee together and being like, things are bad. There’s so much more to that than like, recognizing that you only hire white people, which you should have recognized a long time ago.
I’m surprised. Like, I don’t know why someone had to tell you that, but like I went freelance and so I was still freelancing for the agency, but because I’m not, full-time, I’m legally not allowed to be a part of their DEI committee. Totally fine, but I still get top, top. Shall we? We, you know, it’s AAPI month and we forgot.
And so can you like put something together for us really quick? And I was like, yes, I know. I know. Cause last year you guys forgot about Asian people too. I know there’s only two of us here, easy to forget, but like, I just want, so like, you know, it’s not, I legally can’t do this. And also it’s not a part of my job to educate you on the Asian experience.
And when I tell you things and you say, oh, that’s too radical. We can’t say that. Well, okay. That’s us. That sounds like that’s your problem. When it comes to pride month, national pride month Shelby, can you help us out here? But don’t say performative activism. I know that you wrote that, but don’t say it, can you not do that?
It just feels like a tacky. It’s like, why do you feel like it’s tacky? Is it because you participate in that? If you are feeling attacked by that phrase, maybe let’s look inwardly, let’s look at the management within and ask ourselves, why do we feel this way? So at that point, Jerome, I said, I don’t want to be a part of this.
I appreciate that you are making this effort, but it’s simply not enough for me. And it’s not doing it for me. It’s not my job. I’m not getting paid enough generally. And I’m not getting paid enough to be a part of this. This is a whole issue. You guys work at all. You’re smart. You get, you make lots of money.
Go and do that.
Krista Rime: Yeah. I feel like this is where I’m back in my previous corporate life. I wish I could have reached out to people like you and been like, am I crazy? Right? Yeah, I mean, I was at a, another big company or they’re trying to recruit more women. We had no women working at this company. But the entire committee to recruit more women was all men.
I’m like, is this really happening? Like they introduced them all at all hands. Like the few of us are like, is this really happening? You’re using all that to recruit women. And so it’s crazy that these things even happens. So just to check in and be like, is this really happening? Or I would go to diversity events for women in tech and I would be the only person of color there.
Right. And I’m like, okay. So what’s what is the definition of diversity? Right. And like, there’s all these different definitions. So it’s just great to tap into, you know, other like-minded people to check in to see, like, am I like entering alternative universe here? Or like, am I right? Like, this is really messed up.
Shelby Chikazawa: And is that questioning too? Like, am I the only one who’s feeling this way? Like, am I being a bad person because I don’t want to participate in this. Am I not being a good minority? Am I not being a model minority by trying to help and like be there to like educate and be a part of this and yeah.
Ube Urban: Yeah. And that’s why it’s so difficult to create that separation of your authentic self and trying to expand who you are within the networks or organizations that you’re a part of. I, I even struggle with this, you know, just all the time of like, I don’t know if anybody else has heard even an audience, but, you know, bring your hundred percent self to work to the office.
What does that mean? Cause I brought 10% last week and I got a formal writeup. I got a performance improvement plan or I brought 20% and guess what? I got terminated. Oh, okay. We don’t need you anymore. We checked all our boxes. We’regood, you know, so that rejection is hard to tolerate. And that really coincides with what Shelby saying of like, am I crazy?
Am I doing something wrong? Is providing my authentic self a bad thing. No, it isn’t. But you lose sight of yourself, especially if you don’t have people to really leverage and, you know, developing that, that support network. I know I sound like a broken record, but that is quintessential for me to just keep going on a daily basis, you know?
I speak with everybody on this call to make sure I stay aware. I stay true to myself. You know, I spoke to Steven recently when I had kind of some problems at my last employer because we just didn’t see eye to eye with diversity of thought. You know, and I got kicked to the side and that was fine.
That was cool. It was bound to happen, but it’s just the fact that we are in 2021 and organizations are, they’re not having it. They don’t want that. You know, so we have to keep trucking on. I’m not sure what the duration of this implementation of the service that we’re providing, but I’m a keep working.
I’m gonna keep building that network. I’m a pass on that torch to anybody and everyone that wants to take the message, create their own journey and story, and really just sell it, you know, be themselves. That’s what I want. I want people to just be their true selves, no matter what, you know. And I know it’s a lot to ask for, but yeah, because I feel like all of us are still dealing with all these friction points, you know, even just passing by and in society, you know, again, what is your Starbucks name or your coffee?
You know, I can never use my first or last name. I always have to use Robin, Tom something, you know? And that’s, it’s dehumanizing and it’s something so small, you know, or even that three tier question that we all brought up. I always try to veer away from answering that question. I never want to say I’m from Hawaii originally.
Cause A I say it with the accent and B they’re like, Hey, do you like to surf? Do you like pen and apples? Do you like that pizza? Oh my God. How do you not punch somebody in the face, especially when you’re having the worst day you know, in your life and somebody just approaches you with you know, these inconsiderate ignorant kind of views and you know, and that heat of the moment you’re like, should I just walk or should I school this person you now?
And usually if I have the time, just give me 20 seconds I’ll school, somebody on the spot, you know, but I’m willing, but not every day I can do that.
Krista Rime: Yeah. My, my name, I was always black Krista. So there is a ton of white Kristas and I was black Krista, but again, it’s around who you hang out with.
And so I was out one night and met new people. They’re like, oh, it’s black Krista. But then I had a friend that like, shut that down really quickly. And it was the first time I’m like, I didn’t have to do it to have somebody else just shut it down for you was like the best feeling where I’m like, I do not have to do it.
So yeah, it goes back to the people you have around you to help you out when you need it.
Shelby Chikazawa: I was Asian Shelby. So 91 was a big year for Shelby cause steel Magnolias came out. So we were all named after Julia Roberts’ character. Haven’t seen the movie.
Krista Rime: But yeah, so you can look up the popularity of names with Google. And I went through me and my siblings and my adoptive parents are very unoriginal.
They named us all at the peak of each one of our names. Oh my gosh. Right. Yeah.
Ube Urban: I mean, with me pick any ethnically ambiguous person and I’m that person from Miguel, the singer to Bruno Mars and the rock, you know, like, oh, okay. Yeah, I’ll take that. But it’s just the fact that I have to leverage other people’s celebrity status in order for people to identify or to have any type of contextual interests or they’re like, Hey, you know that college Hawaiian football player, I don’t even, you didn’t even ask me if I knew anything about food.
You just made poor assumptions for a thousand. Thank you.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. When you, like, I think growing up, I got a lot of like, oh, do, do you watch dragon ball Z and the sad thing too, about like all of that. Yeah, I was, I don’t want to play into the stereotype. And so then you pull yourself away from it and you’re like, no, I’m certainly not watching Naruto.
I didn’t wouldn’t dream of it. And then purposefully like pulling yourself away from it because you don’t want to be that you don’t want to be that stereotype and like fit into that thing that they’ve already assumed about you, which sucks. Cause like anime rules, sorry, but to like deprive yourself of it or to pretend like you are not part of it is terrible.
It’s a bad thing to, to lie to yourself in front of other people.
Tyrome Smith: So the question for me is fascinating part of the conversation, Steven because it’s about how does one engage, one’s authorized voice and own an authorized space. And so Shelby as the last person who was part of this dialogue I am, I would have said you would have watched it based on your hair, right?
It would have nothing to do with anything to do with any assumptions that were culturally based. It was just the hair. Yep. She probably watched it cause I have a knucklehead in to sit in the back of the room that they both love. They think they can speak Japanese, can’t speak a lick, but they can understand all of it.
Right? Cause they watch dragon ball Z and all the anime, they get older. But at the same time, your authorized voice is not just that. My projection around me, right? Is that I am smart. I’m black. I’m a geek. The glasses I’ve studied at Quito. I used to be a police officer, right? I’ve worked with kids.
You got me. I used to, I worked with kids who were emotionally disturbed to the point where I had to hold them down to keep them from hurting themselves or other people. I flunked out of college as an undergrad. I have a, I got a master’s degree, went to start a PhD. Wasn’t the right one, blew out tremendous amount of money, but it’s the space that I own, the story in which I own that allows me to engage with people, throw that other bullshit.
That is theirs. Oh. And by the way, it’s the space that allows me to cuss when I need to cuss and not go, will it be proper? Will I look proper and will, how will they see me? I don’t give a shit because I’m bringing all of my authorized parts. Intersectionality is all about parts. And when you de authorize a part and not authorize or de authorize some of it, but don’t authorize all of it.
You are not living authentically, not your whole self, Ube. It’s about my authentic self, all of those parts, how I exercise them, that’s up to me, but I’m authorizing them all when I show up. Oh, yes.
Ube Urban: I love that ownership of knowledge. There you go.
Tyrome Smith: Yeah. And by the way, I like to cuss too. I don’t mind cussing.
Steven Wakabayashi: Part of the whole system. Right. Where they make us think that it’s, again, back through language, it’s this oppression through this specific words, not even just the words. Right. Intonation, dialects of certain regions. Yeah. Against it. And it’s just so it’s so complex because we sometimes aren’t even aware of the fact that we’re doing it sometimes and I’m reading this amazing book right now.
It’s called my grandmother’s hands. That is just amazing. Can you, yeah. It’s a beautiful book that talks about race and the concept of it through therapy and trauma and that all of us, even white folks hold trauma of race within their system. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And it’s just, and this goes back to.
This concept of even DEI and why I’ve been struggling with it lately is because this is something we should all be doing all the time, right? This isn’t a sub committee that meets once a month to decide what activities you’re going to spend their money on. Right? It’s every part of our waking being, we need to be conscious of ourselves, of other people create space for each other.
And it’s just, there’s not a single person, even as perfect as it may be to shepherd all the conversations that people don’t want to accept. You know, they can’t force people to learn and unlearn certain things if they’re not willing to begin to do the work. And so that, yeah, I also have a lot of friends who have taken up roles in the DEI space, and it’s just so hard because one you’re the first to get fired if anything goes wrong to you, aren’t just the DEI person who runs some of the activities you become, the HR person, you become the PR person, you become executive leadership coach. You become this point of intersection that needs to exist for everyone.
So it’s just, again, it goes back to us. BIPOC folks shepherding all of these critical conversations that we’ve already been doing this work and it’s time that other people have to sign.
Tyrome Smith: It’s interesting that you say that because Roshni said distancing yourself from your own culture due to the stereotypes and discrimination, and then having to relearn it.
And as we learn it and embrace it. Absolutely. Here’s, what’s crazy about that shit. What you just said that if I, and Krista, I was like, I’m glad that you ran, right? Because you become the receptacle for digestible parts. Because the DEI person is the person who is digesting, who is holding all the let’s do where we use all of the consumable, metallic the parts of us that we don’t want.
That’s why I said, that’s why I said Jerome that if you want to be curious with me, I’m with it. If you want to be curious about me, I’m not. Because at that point, that person, that you’re saying the DEI person, well, I’ll go down and chase. Cause, cause eventually if it, if you don’t do it, then if you it, you you get you get criticized, you ended up being the one they get fired, right.
Because right, you get the backlash to your point. I brought 20% myself. I brought this conversation. Here’s full-stop return carriage. How many times have you had the conversation with white folks about their whiteness and asking them to interrogate their whiteness, but they’ll ask this BIPOC and queer book to interrogate their otherness, but not interrogate their whiteness.
You asked them to target their whiteness. You get the aye. I, what do you mean? Because all of the other gets located in BIPOCness in queerness, but not in whiteness. If you start to interrogate whiteness white fragility. Yes. If you start to interrogate whiteness, what you end up with are conversations that have been displaced, that they get pushed out.
That they, I got black friends. Oh Lord.
Shelby Chikazawa: "I’m not actively oppressing someone. I’m not racist. It’s not me. I’m not the problem."
Tyrome Smith: Are you taking advantage of the system? Well, I’m in the system, but I’m not taking advantage of it. No, no, no, no. That’s not what I asked you.
Krista Rime: "Why do you punish me for what my ancestors did?"
Tyrome Smith: My ancestors. Let’s unpack that shit. Unpack that. And when you can start to unpack that, now we can have a real conversation. Otherwise we just talking to one another sucking up God’s good oxygen and getting pissed off one another. And I just want to go home and drink.
Ube Urban: Right? Right. Yeah. I mean, we’re all crusading, just to think a specific way.
Tyrome Smith: Have real conversations, bringing your whole self black folk, queer folk, white folk, bring all of your parts, put them out and interrogate them together. Yeah. Yeah, because I’m willing to find my oppressive parts. Right. Which means that you got to bring yours. Yeah. And usually it’s just radio silence on the other end, unfortunately.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yes or as a subtle blanket. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, period. No action. Nothing. Just thank you for bringing that to my attention.
Steven Wakabayashi: Venmo drop that Venmo. Where’s the invoice. You’re welcome.
Ube Urban: Here’s my QR code. Here you go.
Shelby Chikazawa: Well, it’s like you you’re taught for so long. I think everyone on this panel can relate to you. You’re taught for so long to sort of pull yourself away from that and say like, no, no, no. Like, I’m not gonna say Chikazawa.
I’m going to say "Chickazawa". Shelby "Chickasawa", Alex. Nice to meet y’all. I’m I’m not gonna, even my dad’s not going to teach me Japanese. He’s going to refuse because I need to be a part of this thing so that I can fit in and then hopefully be a part of the conversation and be successful. And people will like me and I’m not going to be a friction piece are like don’t bring your whole self.
Cause first of all, if anyone says, bring your whole self they’re lying.
Ube Urban: Yeah. That’s another trick question. Careful. That’s a red flag. Everybody.
Shelby Chikazawa: A huge red flag. I just, you know, it’s hard to win in your late twenties. You’re like, there was all these pieces of me that I to have to like figure out now, because I didn’t know anything around it.
Like I. Would have been cool to have been given the opportunity to have known that, like, it makes me so jealous when I see like all these like really rad and smart, like gen Z kids on Tik TOK being like, let me give you some Japanese lessons. And it’s like, please God, because no one else will, and I can’t have that little green owl from Duolingo keeps screaming at me.
I’d like you. And so, you know, like it, it it was hard dealing with that duality of like, I sure don’t know any Japanese, but I definitely know how to make some biscuits. I know my way around a trailer park, that’s not helping me understand my background as much as I would like to because those parts weren’t hidden.
Ube Urban: Right. Right. And, you know, I totally agree with that. And you know, again, like reinforcing past experiences or elements to reinforce what you’re doing today is something that I really stand by just to really create that confidence in your own structure. You know, and things that I’m envious of. I had a conversation with my manager, in a previous life of, you know what all these, this is what he said.
All I want to do is blend in and just do my job and leave. And I, I paused them right there. I was like the fact that you said, and you have the privilege to say that you can blend in. I could never blend in. That sounds so easy for you. I could never. And he was like, what do you mean? I was like, watch take a walk with me down the block.
You’ll see. Yeah. Or watch people’s reactions. When I step in, before I facilitate a workshop just take, you know, just look at the consensus, you know, see what the reactions are. And yeah. You know, it’s poor assumptions, but people cannot connect the dots. Even if they hear my first and last name, I have to be there in person.
You know what I mean, we just kept butting heads and he was just like, oh, it doesn’t matter. And I was like, again, just the opportunities, the privilege. Like, I’m totally empathetic of that, but you cannot see it. And you cannot even fathom what I have to go through on a daily basis, you know? And I don’t like have that expectation for you to have that epiphany of like, oh, or enlightenment moment of, oh, I get it.
You know, I understand everything about you, but you’re not even willing to have a dialogue, a conversation. You’re casting these statements. To basically manufacturer implicit bias. It’s just, when you say that to me, I tell you to pause, you know, I chuck you on the spot. Unfortunately, other people that you’ve interacted with, they’re okay with it.
You know, they’re okay with the system and yeah I refuse to be content with that, you know, especially if, you know, I’m I, so there’s this we’ve had this touch upon and I’ll pass it on. But like what Steven, you know, it’s like when somebody calls you out of your name or somebody says some ignorant thing to you, your person I come back with, you’re not just calling me out of my name.
You’re calling everybody that I represent. The communities out of their name. And that’s a lot bigger than just your narrow minded self. And that helps me just move on to the next step, you know, move on to the next day, week, month year, because I have to, I’m not saying I’m like the full leader or represent or what then these fields, but it’s just the fact that you have to embrace who you are.
You have to really tap into that subconscious and be like, okay. Yes don’t concentrate on this person. That’s so low, you know, you’re not. Yeah, that’s just what, that’s just not classy. Right? Pass it on.
The Paradox of Intergenerational Trauma
Tyrome Smith: Can I, Stephen, can I ask, I know there’s at least one question that, that it’s not a question. It was more of a state, but I am curious about it.
And that’s Kyler said intergenerational trauma can manifest in losing or missing out on opportunity to learn your parents’ language. Do you have a hypothesis? Why Kyler? I’m just curious.
Audience: I mean, I think, shall we touched on it a little bit about how it’s about that blending in like little Lou was saying, you know, if you don’t have that accent, you know, if you don’t sound in any way kind of othering or foreign, you know, you’ll have a better chance to succeed and, you know, perform in that model minority.
Or, you know, I mean, I don’t know if part of that is in like their own trauma in terms of how they’re being perceived in terms of how they maneuver through conversations with like people here in America and how their accents are interpreted and how they’ve internalized that into like the actions of how they teach their kids.
But that’s just kind of my thoughts on that.
Tyrome Smith: Interesting. Because the traumas that they experienced. To, to both. And it’s the paradox, right? I want to protect you. And yet in my protection, I cut you off from parts of yourself. And and it’s a powerful, I think for I can only speak as a black kid coming up in America, whose father is now 78 years old who was one of the first generations of a full class of using state troopers in Pennsylvania as well.
What that was like, and then him saying how he was, how he tried to manage his world and what that did or did not do for my brother and I, and then watching other kids who were second generation or now are part of first-generation. Their kids are now part of first-generation college students and what that means and how they are now.
Now working, I think, in, in African-American communities, one of the things that we talk about is these kids don’t know how to struggle. They have no idea what struggling is. Like how much money you need for, oh Lord, I got to get, pull more money out of my pocket when the people that are their parents, some of them are much younger than me, which is interesting to me when they were in school here.
Like I got, I remember I was about to all, okay. Again I’m probably a lot older than some of you all 99 cents bought two hot dogs and you were digging for two hot dogs from the unit Bart and something to drink. And boy, that was the best drink possible. My kids now is like, I’m going to go to Uber and we’ll get me some Uber eats.
They don’t know how to struggle. And so they are cut off from parts of the experience, right? In my effort to protect them from the crap, my wife and I are to protect their kids from the crap. They lose the experience of what it meant to get there, what got them there. And so I think it is a paradox that while I’m protecting you, I’m also cutting you off.
I just wanted to explore the trauma associated with it.
Shelby Chikazawa: It’s really, oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to cut you off. So my dad is 43. He was born in forty three, nineteen forty three. So that makes him quite old. And he, you he’s also from Hawaii and
You know, he was always, you get called a stupid jap sometimes growing up in those areas. So it’s like, let’s, I have to go to Japanese language school. But after that, I’m just not going to speak it’s well, I’m going to erase this part of me because I don’t want to be a target. I don’t want to have to deal with this.
And so my kids are not going to deal with this either, but jokes on you, dad. I said, I caught a stupid jap, because you can’t erase my features. Like you can’t erase your blackness. You can’t erase your Asian is like, it’s just, sorry. They’re gonna find out. Even if I don’t speak that language. So it’s hard to then relearn that aspect of yourself when you’ve been told it’s bad.
My friend she’s from Puerto Rico, she was doing an over the phone job interview and the woman says, and she speaks perfect English. Her, the woman on the phone that was that she was talking to from HR goes, oh, I think I hear a little bit of an accent. Yeah. Was the accent, are you legal?
Ube Urban: Oh, are you legal? Oh, that’s icing on the cake.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. Gosh. Actually. Ma’am thank you. I, I don’t know that I’m actually a good fit for this and just Nope. And like, how do you. How do you erase that aspect of yourself and then bring your full self to work? Like, how do you do those things? And the answer is not with them, not with that company.
Ube Urban: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, that’s a hard one. And that identity switching, you know, comes up full force, you know, like you have these barriers and shells. Like I still have a, I have an accent, you know, and I have various cadences in order to speak, you know, broken Filipino, Japanese, or Hawaiian or Pidgin, whatever you want to do.
But it’s just the fact that I have to stifle this. I have to button up when I’m in the room and put my I guess, how would you say it? My widest foot forward. And, you know, very difficult to be in that situation. But I have been conditioned I’ve been raised to do that. And now I’m trying to counter balance that, but it’s still not well-received, you know, I can’t break and I can’t roll my R if I say my name, the way it should be pronounced people have a hard time resonating that Ube Urban.
Ube wait what? You know, and in order to avoid these pain points, these friction areas, you try to adapt. So you can have a frictionless life, but in return you have to suppress your identity or who you are or who your true self is.
Tyrome Smith: So how do we, and I’m going to push back on you brother, that we did not.
If we did not have friction, my ass would slide straight on the ground, right. Friction to my seat and my pants. If I didn’t have friction, I’d be slipping all over the place. And so how do we hold the friction? How do we hold those tenuous places is where the is, where the work is, right?
I’m not asking you to do it on anybody’s behalf, but I am asking you to do it is on your behalf.
Steven Wakabayashi: It reminds me of a Buddhist proverb where I like butchered every time. But it’s the concept where it’s not until you fall and you feel how from the ground is you use the firmness to your advantage, to then pick yourself up.
Navigating complexities within the workplace
Steven Wakabayashi: And as a community, we can create the space for people to fall and feel their own grounding and pick themselves up and give them that space. I want to get to a question by Murphy sent a little bit ago around navigating. Complexities within the workplace and issues with HR, especially who, with people who act in a bigoted way.
Krista Rime: Yeah. Do you have any advice for anyone on the panel to help protect document, everything that happens to you? In real time is what am I things that I did and HR is not your friend, HR is there to protect the company, not you. And if you, document these instances, I would say go seek an attorney and see if you have a case.
But in terms of protecting yourself, honestly, I would look for an environment that is more friendly because it’s not worth mental stress over this. So, create a plan of how to exit, I’ve had to do that a few times of documentation and then creating a plan to exit and then really do my due diligence even further, which is just ridiculous of the next company I entered to make sure I wasn’t entering back into my same toxic environment that I left.
Ube Urban: Right, exactly Krista. And just for everybody out there, Leadership or your manager or your boss’s boss is documenting what you’re doing. You come to a meeting a couple minutes late, you skip out on a meeting because you have a conflict they’re hoarding that information so they can build a case so they can terminate you just like that.
So that’s great advice, Krista, but just know that it’s happening in return and it’s unfortunate, and this is in particular to like a very unhealthy environment. And I can’t paint that brush that every large organization is like this, but just always watch your back, you know?
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. I mean, there are like, and especially like to those and for those who maybe can’t necessarily like, afford to just say, oh, no bye. I can’t deal with this. Those of us who need to continue to have that revenue to survive, like while you’re making that exit plan, which I think is really crucial.
I often think about it like and it’s answers what you’re asking Ty, which is like, how do we have these conversations? I typically go with gentle. Gentle Fist. I had a woman say "herro" to me, and I don’t think that she meant anything weird by it and in all honesty, but it was really weird.
And so gentle fist documented the whole thing, say yes. Yeah. But I essentially said, Hey, I don’t know whether or not you knew that could be taken as offensive and by could that it is offensive. And I’d like to let you know that I didn’t appreciate that. And I just would prefer that you didn’t say something like that to you before or before say something like that to me again.
And just so you know, I would not recommend saying that to anyone else. And this woman excellent reaction. I am so sorry. Thank you for letting me know that. I didn’t know. And so you have provided me the opportunity to learn, and I really appreciate that. I will not be doing that again. And thank you for putting in the time to teach me. Best case scenario took it like a champ.
Awesome. That’s a gentle fist say, no, I don’t like that. This is why. And that’s, if you feel like putting in that labor to teach someone because you don’t have to. But if you desire that then to say like, Hey, like not, okay. Here’s why document the whole thing gently, but firmly.
Krista Rime: Can I just say one thing about that too, is the be super aware there’s many instances that I, as a black woman could not do that because I would come off as aggressive and angry.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, you know how I go. But like, yeah, so it’s either I started just owning it because I thought I had thick enough skin, but other people can’t take that. So I was called aggressive. I was called angry and I’m like be a black woman for a day and let’s see how, you know, cheerful you are.
Right. So I started challenging people of the angry black woman stereotype. But if you really break it down, we should be a hell of a lot more angry than what we are. I feel like.
Steven Wakabayashi: And I mean, I would just like the one, like one little nugget I throw in there is just, I think black women have done such a tremendous, amazing job navigating this field in such a mature manner and have written so many of the books that I absolutely love and have gotten so much knowledge from.
But unfortunately through the means of having to put up with this, having a mature, grow up, set aside the aggression and come to the table with such godlike maturity. And so for all black women, I just, I am so grateful and also equally saddened that it had to exist through that means. Yeah.
Tyrome Smith: I am. I’m it’s interesting. This is a conversation was happening on clubhouse last night, where a woman with a master’s PhD from Harvard was hired to do DEI work at some organization. He brought her in. The very first meeting she was in one hour meeting, 55 minutes into a one-hour meeting.
He said, I’m wondering what I’m doing here. She got written up for being aggressive. Oh wow. Because what she did was to hold them to account. Right. And so my thought about it was that in the, in in the cultural zeitgeist that is America black women are the superego. Cause they will call you to account.
They’ll call you on your bullshit black men. We kinda like, man, I ain’t trying to go to jail and they go, right. And I’m not boasting around that. Right. I’m not trying to get hurt if I do this. So I will navigate the space judiciously, but black women starting as far back as 17- Margaret Margaret, the first black published poet back in the 1700s through the post reconstruction to Fannie Lou Hamer, to the black woman that stood in the that stood up in the in the Capitol post riot that got arrested, say, you will hold, you will allow black folk.
We’re going to hold you to account on black votes, get arrested because they’re calling out those spaces. But what we all have to recognize, I think at least I’m hoping to help people recognize that your super ego is to put your ego and your id in check, that, that aggressive piece that wants to go break shit and act out that’s what black women are holding, but then we attack them around it.
And we say that they’re being nasty and mean and ugly when she said that. So I was like, God, yeah, That’s all I can say was just, God damn, that’s what happens. That’s what happens in those spaces and what I’m hoping that what we hear in these spaces that you, what you all are talking about is to say, how do we counter those?
How do we carry on that, those narratives that allow a woman like Krista to say, Nope, ain’t happening. And they hold it, or if they don’t fuck them. Yeah. But you’re not going to treat me like this, and you’re not going to call me angry because I’m going to let you know what I think, period. And I’ll walk away out and take care of shit.
Like I’m supposed to. And so it is a, a ugly, psychological process that if we just need to get our heads around this, the cycles of projection that that the projection of the other and the, all the shit that goes along with being the other, and then they attack you around it. If you don’t hold that and understand what it means that it is internalized content that’s being put out on you.
And if you don’t understand what that means, you’re going to be victim to it every time. That’s why I cuss by the way. I dress like I do and go talk with seniors.
Steven Wakabayashi: A technique that I’ve started to Institute, especially in talking with white folks or oppressors or any folk who has oppressive language or inequitable language.
It’s your decision to also step out of the conversation. You don’t have to sit there. You don’t have to, you know, feed them with a pacifier and try to change the context. I don’t need to validate my experience because I felt it. I know it, it has happened. And so often in untangling our trauma, we’re fighting so hard to just be validated, be heard, but the people who are hurting us, why do we need their validation?
Why do we need them to recognize that we are hurt at the end of the day? Will they give it to us? Maybe it’s not guaranteed. Right? But in that regard, we also have the power to say, you sit with that. You don’t have to have a response. You don’t have to, you know, come up with actions or do just sit with it.
You don’t have to say, and sometimes they don’t even know what to do with that. They’re like, whoa, but that’s our power. And we just put it back in their fence in their backyard and say, this is for you to deal with. This is not for me to care. Right? This is stone for me to shoulder. Yeah.
Tyrome Smith: I don’t teach white books about race. That’s my 53 year old position. I won’t do that. That’s your word? Don’t waste your time. Yeah, don’t do it.
Steven Wakabayashi: There’s books written, go to the library,
Ube Urban: Watch your documentaries,
Steven Wakabayashi: Every streaming channel has TV shows. Documentaries. All right, cool. Yeah, go look at it. All right.
You can opt in for X amount of time. Yeah. You know, get our perspective for a glimpse and then yeah.
Shelby Chikazawa: 28 minutes,
Ube Urban: 28 minutes and then press stop. This is too much. I don’t feel like doing this right now.
Tyrome Smith: I think there’s, I think there’s a consensus in the chat.
I am willing. I’m not going to teach you about race, but I will engage in a serious focused, endured conversation about your whiteness and how it shows up in my blackness and how it shows up in your perception about my blackness and my perception about your whiteness or your whatever otherness you put in there.
I will do that work, but I am not. And it has to be, it has to be real. It has to be honest and focused, but if you just want to just like talk around it and I guy go home, go to the grass. I don’t need to talk to you about that. I just mowed the grass. Yeah.
Steven Wakabayashi: And sometimes it’s a calm way to go off and you do not want to be there when it detonates.
So you there, you just let us sit. And then you just move away. It’s also the oppression itself of them wanting to keep you taking away your time, taking away your energy and taking away every precious minute that you could be either healing yourself or other people in your community. And going back to Krista and going back to building our table.
If we spend 24 hours in a day, helping everyone and making them better, who’s going to make us better. Who’s going to make all of us better. Who’s going to uplift us. When have we seen a white folk create an organization, specifically targeted toward a marginalized community that they’re not a part of. It doesn’t happen.
And so the work that we have to do specifically for community, whether it’s hyper intersectional, where it’s creating these really small pockets or broader intersectional identities, it’s up to all of us to create the space for one another.
Ube Urban: Yeah, absolutely.
Steven Wakabayashi: Beautiful. Let’s see. We are at time, but let’s do one last question for Murphy.
If that’s okay with you. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s go. Okay. One last question. And then we’ll wrap up. I think this has been an awesome conversation. You always, so I told you we could keep going.
Navigating difficult conversations with clients at work
Steven Wakabayashi: Yeah. One just really plays off each other. Yeah. Okay. Quick follow-up question. What happens when it’s a client? You have to work with either if it’s, because you’re assigned.
But if, yeah, so what if it’s someone that you have to work with in the capacity of work or you’re in the situation where you just can’t get out of it? How do you navigate that? How do you navigate that dynamic?
Shelby Chikazawa: As someone who gets asked, what are you write? The number one question I’ve been asked in my life.
What are you, I will also say this, that it is Asian people that want to know most of all. Me in H Mar is wild. I’m sure you understand, but it’s hoof, like when, especially when someone is treating you like that Murphy, when they’re treating you like an object, like I want, this is for my own entertainment.
And through that, I will guess what you are, what kind of Asian are you? It’s a fun game show called. "I’m going to make you uncomfortable." Am I winning? And yeah, you are, you won the grand prize of me feeling like I don’t belong here. Like I am, like you said, an exhibit in a zoo. And it’s a really unfortunate and cruel place to be.
And certainly someone says, you know, like, well, it’s not my intention. It’s not my intention to make you feel uncomfortable. Right. I don’t want to do that. I’m just being curious. But you know, I would say intentions are not always bad sometimes they’re great, but even still intentions can be darker still.
So of course I’m hesitant, right. But in a situation like that, especially in a real retail space which you are correct is the wild west. I did not last long in that space because I do not carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. And I’m very brave. So, you know, How do you exit that? If that were me, I would likely say, oh, okay,
well you want, but I don’t have to be a part of that. Your curiosity is your problem and your fault. And you have to deal with that. Now that’s your responsibility is not mine. And of course, like how do you not get fired for saying something like that? I think it is at gently removing yourself from that conversation because you don’t have to be a part of that.
Ube Urban: Right? Yeah. And it depends what environments you occupy. In my environment. Unfortunately, I have to occupy that area where I have to deliver information in order for people to deliver them full their full selves. You know, if I’m facilitating a workshop, I have to go through my six slides of A, had to pronounce my name, my identity, where I’m from.
And then I go into like the interest in what my kind of special areas of innovation are. But that’s something that, that worked in my favor. I know I’m doing work for others, but at the same time, I would rather have people check those boxes. Get that confirmation and we can all move on and get shit done.
Unfortunately, if I don’t address questions upfront, people have a hard time, you know, just getting their head out of the gutter and just trying to figure out or the interaction. You don’t have to say it. You can feel it, you know, especially if you’ve been around certain observations for awhile you get that sense of like, oh, okay.
I feel like I’m being observed right now. You know, you do feel like an exhibit. Especially if you occupy places where, you know, somebody of my political self doesn’t belong at a nice restaurant, driving a nice car, going into LA, occupying my position. I could keep going down the list. Just people are still not.
Yeah, they’re, they’re just not having that full kind of awareness that people of various backgrounds can occupy other environments rather than what’s marketed and campaign to general society, you know? And how do you go against that on a daily basis? You know, especially when you’re trying to embrace these moments of joy, these delightful surprises, these truths to yourself, then you still have to deal with these friction points. And, you know, I love it. And I hate it. I have a lot of social experiments going, but what about the person that doesn’t, what about the person that doesn’t have the thick skin, you know?
So yeah. Yeah. I could share a lot of stories. We’ll save that for series two, but
any more questions? I think that’s it.
Ube Urban: And before we close, just want to go through one at a time with, from everyone on the panel. And just any last words of wisdom and last takeaways, you might leave folks in our community with, from either the talk or just life.
Krista Rime: Yeah. Yeah. I guess I’ll start. One thing I wish I would have done earlier in my life is to get a coach. So about eight months ago, I got a transformation coach. Christine, I believe that’s how I met Ube. But she left me with this. Whose permission am I seeking? Whose validation do I still need? Whose comfort do I prioritize? Who’s systems of belief do I hold? The answer should be mine. If the answer is not mine, then we have work to do so. I have to continuously tell myself to keep myself grounded and to keep my eye on my mission. Thank you.
Thank you, Krista. Beautiful.
Tyrome Smith: Don’t take no shorts. Give it as well as you get it, be honest to focused, be centered and stay curious. Curiosity will always get you a lot farther than fighting. Well, fighting is fun.
Shelby Chikazawa: Yeah. I’ll let Uber close. I’ll go next. Oh, wait, what? No. All right, go ahead. I think this, I mean, it’s really was like such an energizing and cathartic conversation, like what was said in the chat. And I leave you with, you found a community here, right? I think all of us are open to connecting and being there to support each other.
And I think that’s super powerful and sort of the conclusion that we’ve come to and we’ve been talking around is being there and supporting each other, which is so crucial for all of us. And yeah, fighting is kind of fun, but so is being friends and you we’re all trying to like make our own way in this space. And it can be really difficult every day. I just remind myself, I’m poet Laureate of my own heart, and that’s why I have to be. So it’d be the poet Laureate of your own heart.
Ube Urban: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it’s your own journey. It’s your own perspective? Grass is greener. It’s all about evolution.
There isn’t guide rails, there isn’t a single brand identity of what’s right. You know, Ty brought up a great point of what happens when you get to enlightenment or frictionless experience. To tell you the truth. I do not want to get to that point, but like what we’re all saying, we want to continue that dialogue.
We want to create safety nets that weren’t provided all of us. And it feels good. And I wish I would have had that, you know, in my adolescence or, you know, even younger. But in retrospect, my journey, my path, my fucked up angles and perspectives, and even just interactions with family and positive and negative reinforcement of dealing with society in order to build me up and break me down has taught me a lot, has taught me to be very disciplined to take my time, to really listen to people and to really set forth my own personal journey and be empathetic.
At all times, it’s never going to be equal opportunity, you know, and that’s that, you know? And yes, yes, it’s going to be hard. And I just don’t want to set that expectation for the people that tuned in that we have reached this level where, you know, we have pretty much opted into this privilege where we’re untouchable because today, tomorrow, last week we deal with these constant scenarios that really test our being, our communities, our sense of self, our culture, our identity, and to really just be centralized on a daily basis, it takes a lot of work and the work that you cannot do alone.
So just always remember, don’t take on all these battles alone because it’ll eat you away inside. So again, like Shelby, like Ty, Steven, Krista w you need that support structure. And we are in all corners of the industry. If you contact us, we can drop many names to contact, you know? And if you drop us a message we’ll return, I might not be able to return within 10 seconds, but I make sure I made sure I reach out, you know, I, I do my part.
And I’m done. That’s my final slide. Yes.
Steven Wakabayashi: Awesome. Beautiful. Thank you all for coming to our amazing panel. Thank you to all the amazing, beautiful panelists and your amazing stories, and just so much love for you in the chats and just thank you all for some space for each other today. And with that, we close our space for tonight and hope to see you all at our upcoming event and have a good rest of the evening wherever you’re starting today.
Transcription by Descript
Join our distinguished panel as we chat more about this week:
- Advice on navigating inequitable work environments
- Finding the right environment and your cheerleaders at work
- Insights into knowing your limits and creating your own boundaries