Episode 59: About how we talk about race, with Christina Blacken

podcast Oct 15, 2020

How do we show up bravely and compassionately for conversations about race? In this episode, leadership and storytelling coach Christina Blacken returns to the podcast to dive into this extremely important topic.

A few recommendations for white allies: Listen. Remember you don’t have to take up space. Ask open-ended questions that don’t make assumptions, and do your research before you show up. It makes sense that we’ve been nervous to have multi-racial conversations about racism, and anxious to call Grandma out for her unacceptable comments. But it’s time to sharpen our vocabulary and to have these conversations. This is true freedom of speech, and the future of our human race depends on it.

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify

Listen here on Stitcher.

Want to learn the Voice Body Connection Process so you can practice raising your voice and speaking your truth? Take the free mini-course HERE.


Show Notes:   


  • 0:00 - Welcome back to Christina Blacken, founder of the New Quo, and the first ever guest on this podcast.
  • 2:43 - Christina shares about her work as a leadership and storytelling coach.
  • 3:37 - Our topic today is how to talk about race. America says we’re all about freedom of speech, yet bringing up racism has been taboo. So how do we truly open the conversation? Christina calls racism “white noise.” Some people have been tuned to the frequency their whole lives, and some people are tuning in right now. Here’s how to address it: active listening. Listen to understand.
  • 9:49 - Elissa shares that her practice has been to shift from defensiveness to curiosity. Christina says “A culture of curiosity is what we need to strive towards.” 
  • 14:00 - Elissa shares how powerful it’s been to accept her internalized racism so she can move forward with anti-racist advocacy.
  • 16:12 - Christina suggests we need new language for racism. It’s a system we’ve all been complying with, not just an overt lifestyle.
  • 20:30 - Elissa calls herself out on the adjustments that are required to be actively anti-racist. And Christina explains why perfectionism and toxic competition are aspects of white supremacist society. We have to let go of these auto-pilot values to have a productive conversation. 
  • 23:31 - Christina shares what freedom means to her, and quotes Audre Lorde. It’s not doing whatever you want. It’s about finding an inner yes that’s in alignment with the world around you.
  • 26:30 - How do white allies show up bravely to conversations about race? How do you balance speaking freely and also honoring the other? Christina reminds us to listen. You don’t have to take up space. You can ask open-ended questions that don’t make assumptions. And also you can do your research before you show up.
  • 29:29 - Elissa shares an aha she had recently reading Resmaa Menakem’s book “My Grandmother’s Hands.” 
  • 32:00 - We talk about safety. So much of the rhetoric around racism is about safety… there are “unsafe neighborhoods” and “unsafe people.” To question your place in the white supremacist culture, ask yourself: how much discomfort have you had to experience?
  • 35:30 - Why is it important to talk about race? Because, to be quite frank, not dealing with the way we de-humanize certain people is collapsing our society. We can’t move forward and address the economic and environmental issues until we can get along as a human race. We must do something differently.
  • 43:30 - There is an exponential gap in the existing system between the people who are exploited and those who capitalize on that exploitation. We don’t need to always exponentially grow. We need to thrive. Our society needs to step out of scarcity and hoarding, and trust that we have plenty to share.
  • 48:50 - Our Voice Body Connection Process check in. Elissa notices her ability to ground during a difficult conversation. Christina notices the stomach-drop roller coaster feeling from excitement and hope. 
  • 55:58 - How to keep in touch with Christina.


Show Notes 

Want to learn from and work with Christina? Follow her thenewquo.com and listen to the Sway Them In Color podcast.

Here’s the first episode with Christina - episode 1.

Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is indeed still a predominantly Black neighborhood.

Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste, a book that Christina mentioned.

This is the Story conference that Christina spoke at.

This is the Audre Lorde quote Christina referred to: “We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings. For the demands of our released expectations lead us inevitably into actions which will help bring our lives into accordance with our needs, our knowledge, our desires. And the fear of our deepest cravings keeps them suspect, keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, and leads us to settle for or accept many facets of our oppression as women.” - Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power

This is Resmaa Menakem’s book My Grandmother’s Hands.

This is the Pew Research about the support for Black Lives Matter decreasing since June.

This is the regenerative economy episode of the podcast, and here’s Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics TED Talk.


Have you taken the free Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth mini-course yet? Learn the full Voice Body Connection Process so you can practice it for yourself. Sign up at https://www.voicebodyconnection.com/minicourse.

And for more support, join the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, visit www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.

As a member of the Voice Body Connection Membership Community, you get access to:

  • Live voice and movement warm-ups led by Elissa (twenty minutes each 4x/week),
  • A monthly live online group coaching session to practice using the Voice Body Connection process,
  • A monthly Community Concert, including sing-a-longs and opportunities to share your voice,
  • A monthly live recording of the coming month’s solo podcast episode,
  • And exclusive behind-the-scenes videos with every guest.

Learn more and sign up at www.voicebodyconnection.com/community.


Production Credits:

Our Editor is Sean Brennan

Our Photographer and Graphic Designer is Laura Sills

Our Videographer is Miguel Garzón Martínez

And our theme song is “Waters of Body” by Strange Weather


Please note that Amazon links in the show notes are connected to the Voice Body Connection Associates account. All other partner links are acknowledged. Thank you for supporting the podcast! 


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