In this episode, Mary is joined by Dr. Lindo Bacon who discusses finding their true self to gain a better sense of belonging and creating a safe space for others to feel fully accepted as they are. Dr. Bacon also talks about what it means to challenge ideas around social identities. In this episode, you will learn about:
- How everything we’re taught in mainstream culture with regards to our bodies and image is predicated on a lie, not science.
- Owning our personal stories and finding out what makes us unique.
- How to open up to other people’s uniqueness.
- Cultivate radical belonging in our day to day lives.
Dr. Lindo Bacon’s mission is to create a more just world, where all bodies are valued, respected, and supported. Best known for their paradigm-shifting research and advocacy upending the weight discourse, Bacon’s inspiring message takes us beyond size, to shaping a culture of empathy, equity and true belonging.
Dr. Bacon has mined their deep academic proficiency, wide-ranging clinical expertise and own personal experience to write two best-selling books, Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, and the co-authored Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight. Both are credited with transforming the weight discourse and inspiring the course of the body positivity movement. Bacon’s next manifesto, Radical Belonging: How to Survive and Thrive in an Unjust World (while Transforming it For the Better), will be released by BenBella Books in November 10th, 2020, and Bacon is currently spreading this message through public speaking.
You can find Dr. Lindo Bacon on Facebook or Twitter: LindoBaconX or on Instagram @Lindobacon. Or you can find Lindo on their website www.lindobacon.com.
If you enjoy Mary’s Cup of Tea Podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than a minute, and it really makes a difference in helping the show grow!
[00:00:00] Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Mary’s cup of tea. The podcast today, I have a very special guest who I have followed for a very long time. Dr. Lindo bacon, dr. Windell. Welcome. Uh, thanks, Barry. It’s delightful to be here for coming on the show. Like I said, I’ve followed you early on in my recovery and myself loved journey, and I’ve loved watching the evolution of your work, which we’ll dive into today.
But before we do anything for those who are unfamiliar with you, I wanted to read your bio. So dr. Lindo Bacon’s mission is to create a more just world where all bodies are valued, respected, and supported, best known for their paradigm, shifting research and advocacy, upending, the weight discourse. Bacon’s inspiring message takes us beyond size to shaping a culture of empathy, equity, and true belonging.
Dr bacon has mine. They’re deep academic proficiency, wide ranging clinical expertise and own personal experience to write two best-selling [00:01:00] books, health at every size. The surprising truth about your weight and co-authored the book, body respect what conventional health books get wrong. Leave out or just plain fail to understand about weight.
Both are credited with transforming the way discourse and inspiring the course of the body positivity movement. Bacon’s next manifesto, radical belonging, how to survive and thrive in an unjust world while transforming it for the better will be released by Benbella books. On November 10th, 20, 20, and bacon is currently spreading this message through public speaking.
Is it okay if I call you Linda or are we on first name basis? Please do I don’t like all the power dynamics behind the doctorate, as much as it was a lot of work to earn it. Yeah. You know, actually most people with a doctorate, I will say dr. Linda, we had dr. Kristin Neff on the podcast and I was like dr.
Kristen and my naturopathic doctor, who I’m now friends with. I still call her dr. Ashley, [00:02:00] because I think it’s important to have it in there at time. So people know, but I also want to just point out something and that’s that I’m given a lot of credibility because I have a doctorate in two master’s degrees and, um, There’s a very different kind of credibility that comes from lived experience.
And there are so many like brilliant people that should be given the same kind of credibility to get their views put forward, which is why I think it’s important that we, um, I feel a little bit uncomfortable using it. Sometimes, because I don’t want that to be the announcement. Like, therefore you should pay attention to me.
Although at the same time, I do recognize that, you know, it’s evidence that I went through this academic Rite of passage. For sure. It’s definitely a balance. Actually last week we had, um, Carl Lowenthal and she also has her doctorate and I said something about how, you know, I love how you bring in historical [00:03:00] perspectives.
And she said something along the lines of like, well, yeah, that comes with a liberal arts degree, which is also a privilege and itself. And I’m like, I’ve actually never thought about it that way. Like something like going to college or university or being able to study in that way is such a huge. Huge privilege that so many people don’t get to experience, um, who get just brushed off or.
Unjustly. Right. And I think too, that when we spend so much time in academia, we’re not given the opportunity to develop in other ways. So people that don’t go to college or pursue PhDs are getting a different type of experience that I don’t have access to and will therefore make me a little bit less effective in some ways.
I love the idea of just, um, rather than. You know, giving a lot of value to one particular way of having been trained or Vern into this world that we just honor [00:04:00] unique difference. Yeah, for sure. I couldn’t agree more. Um, I know you’re, well-versed both not just academically, but also from personal experience.
Um, and I know that your work has stemmed in a lot of different directions from physiology and nutrition and biology to psychology and how it relates to. To wait and how we feel about our bodies. And now you’re writing and speaking a lot about social justice and inclusion. And so I see it as like this natural evolution, which is so funny because it’s like, when you were studying like physiology, for example, did you ever think that you would be here and how was that?
How did that evolution feel to you and what was the progression and the inspiration behind it? Thanks for asking, because I think that understanding that evolution is plays a huge role in my own sense of fulfillment today. Um, [00:05:00] and that, so I do have a lot of degrees behind me, as you were mentioning and.
Originally, it was more along the health track. And I think originally when I was going to school, a lot of it was about trying to save myself. I had such a difficult relationship with food and my body. I always find that awkward wording. And I’m surprised that I actually just use that to talk about a relationship with my body, but let me, let me just reframe that.
Um, I didn’t like my body. I thought that there was something wrong with it. And at the time I was framing it that, um, I was too fat and there was something wrong with being fat. And if only I could lose weight, things would be a lot better for me in all kinds of ways. And, um, it was so painful for me that I had to start to focus on my body [00:06:00] and.
For me, the best way to learn is through academics. Like that was a safer way for me to go into it. So I feel like each degree I got was basically an attempt to learn more, to try to save myself. And so I went. Two through the traditional routes first to try to save myself because we’re taught that weight is just about, um, things like how you eat.
So I got a degree in nutrition or it’s about exercise. So I got a master’s degree in exercise science, or that it’s about psychology. So I got a master’s degree in psychology, right. So I was pursuing it in all of those conventional ways. And what blew me away through each line of study was the recognition that pretty much everything we’re told in mainstream culture and even in the health, through the health care [00:07:00] paradigm and through, you know, government recommendations is really predicated on a lie, not on science and it supports private industry.
Much more than it supports individuals. And in fact, it’s done a lot of damage. Most people feel discontent with their body, feel uncomfortable with around food and feel like they don’t exercise enough or enjoy their body. You know, most people have challenges in one or more of those areas and a lot of this just because of all of the misinformation that has come to be accepted.
In our world. So all of those kind of all those degrees that I got originally were helping me to, um, con challenge that whole weight paradigm. And that was really valuable for me. And if you read [00:08:00] my two earlier books, which actually I know you did personally, but I, I doubt all your listeners have. Um, what you see is me challenging all those myths and.
I wrote my story in those books of how difficult it was for me to learn how to love my body and to enjoy food again, and to enjoy exercise. And, and I came out of it, but it, it was a much longer and more difficult journey than it should have been. And that’s when I realized that. What was missing was this whole big social justice component that my struggles with weight were very different from how we’re taught to look at the healing cycle.
Like we’re, we’re taught to think that. [00:09:00] Like this is a crisis around femininity that we’re fed this wrong idea that you have to be thin in order to be attractive and to be successful as a woman. And that’s why so many people are vulnerable to all of these myths. And so part of the healing journey is to become a little bit more accepting of.
Your femininity and what is that? And recognizing that you don’t have to fit into those beauty ideals. And I know that this is something that’s very personal for you, and that you’ve been very public about your journey around that. And I hope we’ll have some time for, to trade some stories here because you, you can really speak to that.
But what I also realized was. Viewing it in that way really slowed my journey and was somewhat damaging because I had [00:10:00] spent a lifetime trying to become a better at projecting woman. And what I didn’t realize till much later at life was that. That really wasn’t my issue. And that journey wasn’t helpful for me.
In fact, it was quite damaging because the reality is like, it’s not that I have to drop my ideas of what constitutes a wine it’s that, that category woman never really felt like me. I’m trans. And, um, I, I, um, Well, trans is an umbrella term to just refer to it for those who are unfamiliar with it, to refer to anybody whose gender identity doesn’t match the one that was conventionally assigned at birth.
And so I’m using it as a broad umbrella term. Um, [00:11:00] but, um, specifically I. I identify as gender queer because I don’t feel like a man either. And, um, there’s this non binary category that seems to match me better. And when I dropped that idea of redefining womanhood and accepted the fact that I wasn’t a woman.
That’s when I got a whole, a lot more layers of healing, because now it wasn’t just addressing an eating disorder, but it was about finding my true self and the more. I kind of announced and got seen before it, the more I realized how I never really felt the sense of belonging because every time people were relating to me with whatever their sense of womanhood was, it just felt like they were [00:12:00] talking to a stranger.
I really need that. I didn’t really belong in their world. And. So for me to regain a sense of belonging was to own up to the fact that I don’t belong in that woman category, who I am in this gender queer category. Not only is a true expression of self, but it’s where I find my joy and this. And it’s only when people relate to gender queer me, then I really feel a sense of belonging.
So that was a really long-winded answer to your question. I know that, but, um, I, that reflects why it was really important for me to combine an understanding and awareness of social justice and into all of the other stuff that I had learned about health. Yeah, I [00:13:00] want to first reframe and reassure that I was not long-winded at all.
It was deep and beautiful and an eye opening. And just thank you for being so open with us. Cause I know in the context of a podcast, that’s not always easy to do so just thank you. It was absolutely perfect. Um, and more than I could’ve ever asked for. And. I can re it’s it’s funny and I’m sure our listeners can, can relate to that.
We can really, even if we do identify as a woman, we can relate still with not only the pain of not belonging, but also the pain of. The pressure, like you said, how a lot of this work is about reframing your idea of the woman and like accept your natural beauty, but here’s like some eyelash serum that is going to make your eyelashes longer or something like that.
Right. Cause natural. Um, and so there’s a lot of emphasis on that. And my background is actually in life coaching. And I know for me, that [00:14:00] industry was very toxic because. It had a lot of like masculine driven ideals that are, were very capitalistic and like hustle and go Google. And then at the same time it was like, embrace your feminine grace.
I remember my first ever coach used to say that all the time, embrace your feminine grace lead with your femininity. Um, and for me in the, even in the moment, it felt. Weird. And I I’m sure some people loved it and it landed with some people, but to me it was like, Oh God, here’s another way that I have to live up to all these expectations, um, of how I must be at.
Or if that makes sense. I feel like, um, Rambling, but I just, that was my long-winded way of saying thank you. And I can relate in more ways than, you know, even though we do have different backgrounds around that. Um, so yeah, it’s just, it’s so needed just to have our eyes open to that. Right. And I [00:15:00] think it’s really beautiful to recognize too, that we all have our different stories.
And I doubt that there’s a lot of listeners right now who we consider themselves gender queer or trans. Um, but yet, as you’re mentioning, everybody has that experience of unblocking for some way. And the more that. Like it’s important for all of us to find support and own our personal stories and what makes us unique.
And then also to recognize that it’s just so human to experience that sense of belonging. And there’s also a lot of common themes in our unique stories. And I think that one of, um, Th the most important journey paths that we’re all on right now is to figure out like how we can cultivate a sense of belonging, where everybody feels [00:16:00] that sense of love, like that.
That should be a first rate for all of us. And yet it’s a minefield for so many, and there’s a lot that we can each be doing as individuals to number one. Feel more of a sense of belonging ourselves and to simultaneously create that for other people and make this world more of a refuge rather than, um, someplace that feels so unwelcoming to so many people.
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Um, if it’s okay with you, I wanted to share something personal and I might start crying cause this is so near and dear to my heart, but, um, I think. I’m just going to be very transparent and I hope nobody takes it the wrong way. Um, I, like you said, I don’t relate to the experience of being gender fluid.
Um, and so reading your book, I was so grateful for the timing because you won’t believe this I’m reading your book. [00:17:00] And I have a little sister who’s 12, and I’ve been when I was in my toxic fitness eating disorder, beauty standard way. Um, with my little sister, I was very much adamant on I’m going to braid your hair and you’re going to wear dresses and you know, why are you so dirty and stop being loud?
Like, I feel bad to say that I did contribute to that. And so. With this, these new things that I’m learning and I’m trying to teach, like, I don’t want to tell my sister to be quiet, or why are you wearing that or whatever. Um, and I noticed my sister has really started experimenting and it started with style, like her sense of style.
Um, and aside from that, I thought like, Oh, she’s just. You know, wearing certain clothes because they’re trendy and whatever. Um, and she came home from school one day. I picked her up and she told me the story about how there’s a gender fluid person in our class and how nobody wanted to sit next to them.
[00:18:00] And she offered to, for them to sit next to her at lunch. And she’s sitting in the, in the front seat of my car and she’s trying so hard to get their pronouns. Right. Um, and it’s so important to her and she’s sharing this with me, like with her heart on her sleeve and long story short, that was two months ago.
And now her and this person are best friends. And she shared with me recently that there her whole group of friends that she sits without lunch. Most of them identify as gender fluid. She’s like, except this one person I’m like, well, what about you? How do you feel? And she’s like, I don’t know yet. I’m still exploring that.
And just like her, her audit, like just this generation makes me smile in so many ways because her honesty and her openness and just how accepting she is. So it went from this like, I’m reading Linda Bacon’s book, because I want to understand more about this world. That’s outside of me to witness the second.
This is my world too. This affects me [00:19:00] too. These are toxic societal ideals that I’ve been victim of too. Um, and you, you write this in your book as well, about how it hurts. All of us and living and having more belonging and having a more just world benefits and helps all of us. So I wanted to share that for any of my listeners, for like, can’t really buy, like, no, you can and more ways than, you know, and you never know when it’s going to come up for you.
Yeah. And like you, oftentimes I’m looking at the younger generation and I’m loving seeing that there’s a lot more openness. I have a 19 year old son and similarly, like, it’s, he, he has people who are trans and gender queer among his friend group. And it seems like a non-issue, it’s just very normalized and.
But I [00:20:00] should also say that while that trend is happening, I also think levels of transphobia are also skyrocketing simultaneously. It’s like there’s two worlds out there and, um, violence against trans people right now is at an all time high here in the United States, particularly trans women of color.
Um, So both are happening at the same time. Um, and also to, to bring out your point that like, I don’t want to just get typecast as the trans person, um, Because I feel like, I mean, that’s just one small aspect of my identity and that I am so much more of that. So if people don’t want to touch my book because of that, um, they’re missing [00:21:00] something that happens in that book that I think is much bigger.
I really hope that by just the small aspect of sharing my gender queer journey can help just give people an example of what unbelieving does to us and in the book. I’m also grateful that I had opportunity to share. A lot of other ways in which people are marginalized and left out of the picture and how all of us lose out on that.
And I think that that also, um, brings me into, um, a little point I want to make about vocabulary. Um, you use the word, gender fluid and. Honestly, I think that I’m probably one of the least gender fluid people in, in the world. Like that’s not a term that I relate to. If you think of fluidity, what the term is trying to say is [00:22:00] someone that can kind of move back and forth between masculine and feminine.
So I think that, um, I love that this new generation is I think in a lot of ways, not all. I mean, definitely there’s some places where people are trained in, um, masculinity and femininity to a greater degree, but the growing trend towards, uh, people being able to embrace their gender without the boxes is it’s beautiful.
Um, and yet, I feel like my gender from a very young age has been very scripted, but, um, like femininity, it just feels so alien to me, but there’s as well. I don’t know, but I don’t have fluidity to move from one pole to another. I [00:23:00] have, my gender is very much an embracing of. Things that get labeled, um, in those binary.
Yeah. I, I’m not expressing it very well at the end here, but I feel like my gender hasn’t changed and that I can’t be playful with gender in the way that a lot. I think a lot of other people can then I’m just not as fluid, which is fine. That’s not self-criticism but, um, it’s just. The statement, just to be clear on vocabulary terms, it’s an important distinction.
Thank you. Sure. I wanted to, um, ask, if you could tell the story about your experience at Barbizon modeling school. You share this in the book, and I think that, like I’ve mentioned to you before we started recording Barbara’s on. Just that space that I’ve also been to, it’s kind of a shit show in many ways.
So I wanted [00:24:00] to, um, know that story. I want our listeners to hear. Yeah, sure. And it’s interesting because you asked me that question and immediately a smile comes to my face because when I’m telling it now, I think it comes across as a very funny story. But, um, it also is a story of trauma. And so, um, you know, for listeners, I just want you to key in to that.
Like you have choice, but when you listen to it, you can hear it as a story of trauma and, or at the same time, you can hear it as an entertaining story. But I think that there’s, that I learned a lot from it. Um, so. It was when I was a teenager and my parents were really upset that I just hadn’t embraced femininity and that I didn’t, I always look so awkward in the dress and it was really important for them that I [00:25:00] become more feminine and they felt very much ashamed of the boyishness that they thought that I exhibited all the time.
And my mom saw an ad once for Barbara and said, be a model or just look like one. And she clung to that. She thought, wow, they could teach Linda. Linda was the name that they had given me when I was growing up. I later changed it, but, um, we could teach Linda, um, to be a girl, you know, she could just go to modeling school and, um, that could solve all of our problems.
And. I have to admit that when they told me that they wanted me to enroll in modeling school and they were going to pay for it, that while I protested on the surface, there was a part of me that kind of wanted to go. Like I wanted to learn how to fit in better and be a better girl because, you know, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t, it was [00:26:00] constantly reflected back to me that I wasn’t respected because I.
I wasn’t very good at playing girl. So anyway, I start Barb, Barb design, and it actually turned out to be a really, really painful experience. Every class I went to, I just felt like a complete failure and like, I didn’t fit in and. Uh, I would leave the class for long periods of time and just go cry in the bathroom.
Um, I come back and my mascara would be all messy, you know, so everybody would know. And after a while, one of the teachers just took pity on me and just said to me, look, you know, I know this is really uncomfortable and you hate being here. Um, do you want to, you know, skip. Class or quit. And, um, but we both knew that it was really important to my parents.
My parents had paid for it. They had a lot invested in it that my parents wouldn’t [00:27:00] let me drop out. And so we found this great compromise where I would, they would just bring me into a back room and, um, they had some books there and I would just hang out and read the whole time. And then a little while before my parents would come.
To pick me up, they’d come in, they’d apply makeup. And you know, so we could pretend that I was in class the whole time and my parents would be satisfied. So that was great. I got through the whole Barb design program that way then. There was a graduation. And at the graduation night, what we were supposed to do was we were going to have, um, a whole runway session and, you know, our families would be in the audience.
And then there would also be Scouts in the audience who are here to find the next new models of our generation and there would be media. And so it was going to be a really big event to kind of showcase all the skills that we had learned. So. They dressed me up and put my makeup on and [00:28:00] they told me, basically, just stay in line, follow close to the person behind, you know, that’s in front of you don’t do anything original, you know, and we’ll just get you across that stage as quickly as possible.
So, um, everything was going fine at first. But then the re one of the problems was I was wearing high heel chews, and I didn’t know how to work, walk in high heels. And it was so awkward for me. And at one point I stumbled and my heel got caught in the cord for the light set. And I was trying to get my heel loose.
And as I jerked it free, it pulled on the whole string of lights that were attached to this backdrop. And the whole backdrop fell on the line of models. And, um, like one woman actually, or one girl actually had to get rushed to the hospital and turns out she broke her arm, you know, with the weight of the [00:29:00] backdrop falling on it.
But it was just a horrible shaming experience. They had to stop the show. They were never able to get the backdrop fully back up and, you know, everybody felt like it had just ruined the whole show for all these hopeful young models who, you know, wanted to show off for the world. And. I was just so humiliating for me.
It was like, I was revealed in front of the whole world that there’s no way you can pass as a girl. And my parents were so ashamed of me rather than like showing me love for what a painful experience that I had gone through. Like it like the weight of their silence around comforting comforting me was just.
Too much that car ride home, um, was just awful, just knowing they felt so [00:30:00] ashamed of me and that I was publicly shamed. And anyway, um, stuff like that, it, it has lifelong impact. And, um, fortunately I can say that now. The impact of it is it makes for really quite an entertaining story. I mean, anybody that knows me today, um, and like is going to try to picture me in a dress and high heels is going to be cracking up because that’s just so not me.
And the idea that people were trying to make me into this person. Um, and of course it’s going to be an Epic failure. You know, and the fact that we can all laugh about this now makes a major point about resiliency, that the stuff that is painful for [00:31:00] you at the time and hurts so much later, this can be a story of.
Triumph right. That I can laugh about this and use it as a source of humor today. Um, and to feel like, to feel so clear that the problem was in what people were trying to do with me, the problem was in me, it, and it really. Makes a strong statement of what’s wrong in this culture. When you try to, when you have ideas of what people are supposed to be, and then you have to put them into those boxes and that’s not who they are.
If you could go back in time, um, and sit next to yourself on that car ride home, what would you say to yourself? I mean, you already touched on it that the problem isn’t with you. Um, [00:32:00] but is there anything else you would say to yourself to help mitigate. The, the effects of that shame. Oh man. How about if I repair it myself right now?
So, um, let me role play what I would have liked for my parents in that car. Um, I would have loved to have parents who could have said to me at the time, like Lindo. We love you for who you are. And we are so sorry, now that we see that we were trying to make you something that you aren’t, and we love you for who you are and for your gender presentation in the world.
And we’re sorry that we haven’t allow you to present yourself in the world and honored and valued. That and, um, so going forward, um, let’s go shopping, you know, let’s, [00:33:00] let’s find you clothes that you feel like represent you and let’s find you support and other people who represent, who can be role models for you and, um, help you find who you are.
That’s so beautiful. And I have to say too, that I bet you, if my parents were alive today, they would have evolved to get to that point. But unfortunately my parents both died a long time ago and I never got that from them, but I can say that my parents, um, like they had identified me as a lesbian at a young age and, um, Wanted to send me for shock therapy.
I mean, it was so offensive to them. And over the course of time, they came to celebrate me, having a woman [00:34:00] partner and us having a son together and, you know, all kinds of things. So they grew with me and I’m sure that. Had they had more time, my gender, they would have also evolved on gender identity and been able to do that, but we didn’t have that time together.
Um, but still, I also wanted to just honor, like everybody that’s in some kind of a process of accepting and changing values that they might have. We all grew up in a toxic culture that teaches us certain things about gender, about sexual orientation, about race, about class, et cetera, and all of us have a learning curve to go on.
To lose all of those toxic values and learn to see and accept and love people for all of their unique characteristics and not, um, push them into trying to fit into [00:35:00] these values that are culturally more accepted. So regardless of, um, You know, what identities, what social identities people might have as individuals.
I think all of us have an obligation to kind of. Challenge our ideas of all of those social identities. If we want to see people and accept people and make this much more of a welcoming world where we get to benefit from all of our differences. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And that’s, that’s the journey that I’ve been on.
Um, it’s definitely a learning curve and parts of it. Make me sad to look at everything in that way. And then other parts of it makes me so hopeful, um, that there are more and more people waking up to this and, um, becoming more accepting and, and [00:36:00] trying, um, and yeah, trying to be more accepting of themselves and others and spread that compassion.
Yeah. And I think that hopeful element is pretty exciting to focus in on because the more we open to people’s uniqueness and allow them to flourish because of it, the more exciting our worlds get, we’re just exposed to new ideas, new ways of being in the world, new foods. I mean, there’s just so much, that’s exciting about this.
That makes it. So important and valuable to do this, not just because we’re compassionate and caring people, but to help us to, um, feel more fulfilled and excited by the world. Yeah. Um, how can we cultivate more radical belonging in our day-to-day life? [00:37:00] I mean, I know you and I do more public work, whether it’s, um, writing or speaking or being on, on the socials.
Um, but for somebody who doesn’t do that and who. Just has a day-to-day life that they want to create more belonging for themselves and others. How can we do that? Are there any small tips or action items that we can employ? Well, I suppose one of the biggest things is recognizing that. However good of a person you are, you’ve absorbed a lot of toxic cultural values that don’t really allow you to see people as they are.
Like, for example, I’ve heard so many people say things like, Oh, I’m colorblind. I don’t see race. I treat everybody equally. And. That’s just not true or that’s not something too a good thing to aspire to because, um, number one, [00:38:00] you probably are unclear what that means is you’re probably unconscious of some of the things that you’ve absorbed.
So for example, I found just recently I was walking, um, on the street and I had a backpack on me and I saw a black man approaching me. And I suddenly became more conscious of my backpack and held onto it a little bit more tightly. And I noticed that it was like, it was like a reflex gesture that I felt fear and protective.
And the next thing was. My rational mind kicked in. And I saw the racism in that, like this man had done nothing to threaten me and most likely it was my projection. Um, so it was clear that I had absorbed a toxic value that was built into me on a reflex level. And [00:39:00] that even though intellectually, I knew it wasn’t true.
- It was still in me. Right. And so I still had to correct for it. So know that we’re not always the people we want to be, and that. We’ve absorbed some of these values and it’s hard to even know that they’re there. And if you say you’re color blind, what that means is you’re not actually seeing that person’s color and the fact that it contributes to how they’re treated in the world and it contributes to making them who they are.
So. I don’t want us to move to that place where we don’t see color, because it, it is an important aspect of who we are and our, you know, how the world looks to us. So instead, what I think we all need to do is to be open to the fact that, um, this goes on and that. [00:40:00] W we have to go out of our way then to unlearn this.
If we really want to create, create a place of belonging, we have to look at the ways that we make assumptions about our culture, that shut people out. So for example, um, a few days ago I was on a zoom call with a group of people and they did a little icebreaker so that everybody could get to know one another.
And you know, one of the questions they asked people was where did you go to school and what that does because in our culture, um, people who are better educated are given. More cultural value. And so it’s. Shameful for people to either admit they don’t have school or that they went to a school with a lesser reputation that might’ve been [00:41:00] cheaper right there.
There’s all of these cultural values. They get assigned to it. So just by asking that question, you’re setting up certain people in the audience to feel like. They’re about to expose something that is going to give them more or less power in the conversation and more or less respect. How often do we ask people?
Like, what do you do for a living? It’s like the first question we ask. Exactly. So we’ve got to unlearn all of that. Like we’ve got to start to recognize all of the ways in which the way we’ve been taught in the world is to, I. Um, Our privilege and to figure out how we can meet people and open up questions so that we can see people without unleashing all of these power and privilege dynamics and [00:42:00] that when we ask those kinds of loaded questions, That they happened in a different context, the context where there’s more safety that’s involved and people don’t have to fear that kind of judgment.
And even if you don’t feel like you’re going to judge somebody based on their education know that they have been taught that someone who has lesser education has been taught all their lives, that others are going to project meaning onto it. And so regardless of. What you might believe, just asking that question could trigger that lifelong sense of belonging for somebody.
So we have to learn new ways of relating to people to figure out how we can be welcoming and create more safety for everybody so that we can actually get to know them for who they are. Yeah. When I’m really [00:43:00] hearing you say, is that. We have to see people for who they are as opposed to what they do or what they, the, the facade that they put on in order to be more accepted in society.
A question that I asked at my, I ask at my retreats quite often is if you were an animal, what animal would you be? And why? Um, and that’s usually the first ice breaker question because it’s, it allows everyone to be included and to tell us what, what they want to tell us as opposed to these labels and the stigmas that come with them.
Yeah. Sounds good. Although I would say I would, um, That I could say the question would scare me. I feel like I don’t have that same kind of creative element to be able to think on my feet. Um, but yeah, I mean, I hear your point there that asking non loaded questions like that, that can be, yeah. Well, you [00:44:00] have so much fun with that.
And most, some people are like, wait, can I change mine? And then they’ll call back a couple days. I’ll be like, okay, today I’m feeling like, uh, Whatever a bird. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s great. It’s interesting what people choose to share to, um, about themselves. And that’s always, I think a lot more powerful than giving them like the boxy stuff.
Um, Thank you so much, Linda, this has been so wonderful and so eyeopening, and I just love the progression of the work that you’re doing and where it is now and your book, radical belonging, which I have learned and grown so much from. And it’s come at such a just divine timing. I really believe in that in my life right now, um, in many different ways.
So I really appreciate you helping me learn. I know that. That’s a big way that a lot of marginalized people carry that they shouldn’t. Um, so I want to make sure it doesn’t go on acknowledged that I am just [00:45:00] so great. Pull for you. Oh, that’s sweet. Yeah. It’s really exciting for me to release this book into the world where we’re telling me, find you and your book and keep up with you and where can people follow along?
Okay. Well, um, the books can be found everywhere. Books are found. So go to your favorite. Bookseller. Um, and I highly recommend people, um, find an independent bookseller because these days wow. You know, well, that’s a whole other story that will all our money is going these days. And anyway, um, so anywhere books are found, including many local libraries and, um, what else?
Okay. So I keep up a personal website. Lindo bacon.com and there you’ll find links to find me everywhere else, but I’m on Facebook and Twitter at Lindo bacon X, and [00:46:00] on Instagram at Lindo bacon. And, um, yeah, those are the main place places. And you’ll find tons of free educational email@example.com to help people get on board.
Yeah, your website educational is an understatement. It’s really great. I mean it’s so to the point, and that’s what I really appreciate is learning about these things as opposed to tiptoeing around them. And you say it like it is, and I appreciate that I’ve learned so much from your website alone. Thanks.
So, um, thank you so much Lindo for being on the podcast, uh, for your time and your, your grace and the work that you’re doing. We just so appreciate you. I hope our listeners get to, um, enjoy and learn and grow with us. And yeah. Thank you everybody for listening. Thanks. Very, it was delightful to talk to you.
Bye everyone. [00:48:00] [00:47:00]