E4 • Racial Reconciliation: Creating Safe Spaces for Ignorance with Derrick Sier

May 17th, 2021

What are you doing as a leader to engage with the topic of racial reconciliation?


It’s been a year since the murder that ignited the prevalence of this conversation around the world.

When you look back on the things you set out to implement or accomplish around racial reconciliation did you accomplish them or did those things fade away?

For many, this is a huge topic and there’s a lot of fear associated with saying something wrong or not knowing what to say at all.

If that’s you, you’re not alone.

In our conversation today, we share part 1 of our interview with Derrick Sier where he talks about the importance of creating spaces for people to share their ignorance & taking the initiative to build relationships.


Want to listen to our Full-Conversation with Derrick Sier?

For more information about Paradigm Shift & growing your company culture send us a message at info@paradigmshiftleadership.com

Full Episode Transcript (auto-generated errors may occur)


Jerrod: [00:00:38] Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to the Good Leader Podcast. Today we are talking about racial reconciliation and that’s a big topic and certainly warrants conversation much more than we can cover in today’s episode or probably the podcast in its entirety. But we’re going to do our best because this is an important topic today.


Jerrod: [00:01:02] Specifically, we are going to interview Derrick Sier about creating safe spaces. I love this language and I think you’re going to like it, too, if you’re a leader in any respect, which you are. This is your first time listening to the podcast. Congratulations. You are a leader.


Jerrod: [00:01:17] Whether you are leading one 10 hundreds or thousands, maybe even more, your leader. I hope you’re trying to be a good one. And I believe good leaders are not afraid to tackle tough topics. This is a tough topic in our era in America. 2021. We have to have these conversations about race, about my place in history and about what I’m doing right now as a good leader.


Jerrod: [00:01:46] The reason that I am so convicted by this is actually from a trip I took several years ago to Washington, D.C. In D.C., there is the National Holocaust Museum. Now know if you’ve ever been, but I would highly encourage you to visit. It is an or striking place. It is certainly somber, but it’s educational and oddly inspiring. Now, there are so many emotions that you go through when you tour the National Holocaust Museum. But there was one plaque toward the end of the tour that struck me. It literally made me stop in place as I read it.


Jerrod: [00:02:21] It’s entitled Bystanders. I’d like to read it to you now. The plaque is in the second to last room. And at this point, if you visit the museum, you’ve gone through numerous rooms and seen. Torturous images, you’ve heard stories that are unbelievable, and at this point, your emotions are raw. You are shaken. And you’re trying to process this, you’re trying to think, how could someone do this, at least that’s what I was thinking. I mean, I’m going, “How in the world could people do this to other people, even your enemies, and taken to this inhumane level to where not only are you trying to defend yourself from an intruder, not are you trying to conquer some land, you are going out of your way to annihilate an entire race of humans and dehumanizing them in the process. How do you get to that point?”


Jerrod: [00:03:19] And when I read this plaque. I realized the way that you get to that point may be more indirect than direct. It may involve more than just the Nazis, the bystander’s plaque reads: 


Jerrod: [00:03:35] The great majority of Europeans during the period of the Holocaust were neither killers nor victims. Whether or not they were involved in the ongoing genocide or understood the full extent of the quote unquote final solution, most could observe small events forming part of the catastrophe as it unfolded in their communities in France, the existence of numerous detention camps for Jewish refugees, many established even before the German conquest, was known to the public in Eastern Europe, Poles watched as ghettos for Jews were filled with deportees from foreign countries and nearby towns and villages like citizens of the Soviet and Baltic republics, Poles knew about the massacres taking place in nearby forests. From nineteen thirty-three on Germans watched in silence as their Jewish neighbors were isolated, dispossessed and deported for resettlement in the East.


Jerrod: [00:04:29] Some bystanders sought to exploit the situation, the dues for personal gain, but most merely stood by. Neither collaborating nor coming to the aid of the victims. This passivity amounted to apathy, and the planners and executors of the final solution counted on bystanders not intervening in the process of genocide.


Jerrod: [00:04:55] I never want to be a bystander


Jerrod: [00:04:58] When we recount these tragedies in history. We often want to believe the best about ourselves, that we would stand up for what is right, that we would help those in need, and while we may not be facing genocide, then I pray that nothing anywhere close to that ever happens in our lifetime or beyond. Something’s wrong.


Jerrod: [00:05:20] And if something is wrong, then there is something right? I don’t want to be a bystander. I know if you’re listening to the podcast, you don’t want to be a bystander either.


Jerrod: [00:05:31] I hope this conversation with Mr. Sier gives you some ideas on how to go from passivity to action in small ways so we can all be good leaders. Hope you like it.



Jerrod: [00:05:57] Ladies and gentlemen, today, I could not be more excited to have this gentleman with me because of all the people that I know, this guy is the best at doing what we are talking about today. And it’s something I wish I did better, that is to create safe spaces with people who are less like you. That is my friend Derrick Sier. Derrick, welcome to the show then.


Derrick: [00:06:21] That is a phenomenal intro. Like if I could be known for one thing and that one may be creating safe space to connect with people like I could be known for a lot worse.


Jerrod: [00:06:31] You are known for a lot worse, but not with me. I’m not going to…


Derrick: [00:06:36] Dang!


Jerrod: [00:06:37] ..to introduce you, you know, this is the highlight reel. You know, this isn’t the practice real. You know, this is this is the this is the first production, which maybe is a good way to create a safe space. I’m bragging on you.


Derrick: [00:06:48] I’m saying you come on a show, you think you know a guy. He just mentions the worst of you. We know that you are known for words, not with me, but somebody that knows a couple of stories. You know, high school stories, stories. So it


Jerrod: [00:07:02] Happens. It happens. All of us. We’ve all got those stories. You know, it’s like, hey, you don’t put that in the bio. You’re not like, hey, I’m going to go speak at this gigantic conference. Please read the worst day of my life.


Jerrod: [00:07:12] No, no, no, no, nobody does that. That actually might be a good angle. Coming to the stage is a man who once forgot to pick up his prom date, Jerrod Murr. Ladies gentlemen, to the stage. Yeah, we don’t share those stories.


Derrick: [00:07:26] Welcome to the stage the guy who dropped his kid on the head, he’s not done it since. He’s only improved since then. Derrick Sier!


Jerrod: [00:07:38] Father of the year. OK, so ladies and gentlemen, as you can tell from our banter, Derrick and I have a safe space between us. What do we mean by safe space?


Jerrod: [00:07:49] I’m going to share my definition. Then I want Derrick to share his definition. My definition is no justification is necessary. That’s a safe space to me. We live in a world where justifications are almost mandatory, especially someone who speaks in public. Derrick and I are both professional speakers were facilitators, trainers in a world of political correctness and not even political correctness. In a world of politeness, it’s like, oh, I guard my words. I want to make sure that I’m not offensive to anyone. And so in all conversations then I’m so guarded. And just by that language, if you feel guarded, you probably aren’t in a safe space.


Jerrod: [00:08:27] But when I feel open to converse freely and say, listen, I’m confused about that, I don’t know. Is that what what do I say here? What are you. I’m confused. And we could just banter. We can talk openly. That’s a safe space to me. Derrick was a safe space to you.


Derrick: [00:08:40] Yeah. You know, we were talking about this a while back in. The example that I gave was it’s almost like having an embassy overseas. You know, if I’m an American and I’m over in Italy or I’m over in Europe or wherever I am and there is a an embassy there, I know I can go in and find a safe space right there. They speak English there. They know about United States there. I can talk to someone and if I’m in trouble, they can give me back home. Right. When I think about creating these little embassies in our communities, I think it’s very important to have a safe space, everyone to have a safe space where they can go and just be themselves and not have to worry about stepping on toes. Right. Because I think we get the most sincere response out of people when we allow room for their ignorance. Wow, that’s really good. We get the most sincere person, the most sincere individual when we allow room for things they just don’t know.


Derrick: [00:09:36] I just don’t know. So please allow me to speak out of my heart. Allow me to step into the embassy, allow me to open the gates and close them behind me. And just let me just talk freely, because oftentimes if I don’t talk freely, you don’t even get my real thought right, because I’ve chopped it up. I filtered it so many times that you’re answering, not the real question. You’re asking a version of the question. But, you know, let me just be an embassy. Just be myself. I think that’s where real connection takes place.


Jerrod: [00:10:04] And you’re also answering the way you think someone wants you to answer instead of just being sincere, like you’re saying, and openly answering the question. You’re trying to predict what they want you to say or what is correct to say. And then therefore it becomes a very surface level conversation. Derrick, with the might drop quote, by the way, allow room for ignorance. If you want sincerity for people, you got a lot of room for ignorance. I love it. I love the idea of embassies. OK, let’s dive into that then. If we’re going to create embassies, he noticed the verb create someone has to be the creator. Someone has to say, I am going to allow space for ignorance and I am going to work hard to create these embassies. Derrick, you are one of those embassy creators. Let me share what I mean by this. Derrick just the other day had someone approach him and I don’t want to I don’t want to describe someone incorrectly. Derrick, he’s an old white guy. Right, I mean, a very accurate description. All right.


Derrick: [00:10:56] If I had two ways to describe him, that would be the first two,


Jerrod: [00:10:59] Ok? He’s an old white guy. Yes. So this old white guy comes up to Derrick and Derrick. If I was to describe you once again, safe space, safe space. Allow my room for ignorance. Young black man Derrick right here, a young ish youngish black man. How about that? Is that all right? I’ll let you know what actually people are listening to this. I think actual I mean, I don’t think that you should judge people by their physical demeanor, but I think when you’re listening, this or this conversation might be important. So I am actually approaching 40. I’m thirty nine years old. I am a white male. Derrick, how would you describe yourself then, just for people that can’t see us?


Derrick: [00:11:37] Thirty nine year old black male.


Jerrod: [00:11:39] Ok, so we’re we’re the same age. We’re middle age. I think it’s fair to say we’re middle age. That kind of hurts my feelings a little bit. But it’s true.


Derrick: [00:11:44] Ok, I like it.


Jerrod: [00:11:46] I don’t feel like it either. That’s why we’re young ish. We’re young and still, you know, age is relative. Old is always twenty years further. That is always twenty pounds further. That’s what I like to say. So all right.


Derrick: [00:12:00] So any is about fifty pounds lighter. Hey are you any other way.


Jerrod: [00:12:05] I used to be skinny. So did you. We used to be skinny. That happens.


Derrick: [00:12:08] This is true. I got pictures. I wish,


Jerrod: [00:12:10] I wish I could go back to the weight I was when I first thought I was fat. That’s what I wish I could go back to that. The first time I thought I was overweight would be awesome. OK, so. All right. That’s not what this is about. Derrick, let’s go back to the old white guy. All right. So we’re we are two middle aged men, all right? One black, one white. Just for context of this conversation that you’re talking to this old white guy and it’s a white guy approaches you. I mean, you had a meeting. Tell me how you mean. Like, did you call him did he show you how the meeting happened, first off? Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Derrick: [00:12:38] So this guy knows a mutual friend. And I just talked to the mutual friend and he’s like, man, I really, really, really want to diversify my circle. You know, diversity is is more inclusive than just race and culture. Ethnicity, right. You get a diversity of thought. You got gender, you got sexual preference. You got marital status. Yeah. Education levels, economic stuff like diversity is inclusive of all those. And I think we have not done a good job of explaining diversity. Right. I think diversity, the immediate thought is race. Right. Is culture. And I think that we’ve done a disservice by a delivery, by dimensioned that word. And so he says, I want to be around people like I want to increase that diversity of the people that I’m around.


Derrick: [00:13:23] And he said, I’ll just be frank with you. I want to be around more black men, specifically black businessmen. There’s things that I don’t know that these that I don’t understand. And I find that I spend the most time with people that I work with. I have friends that that’s cool. But friends are nights and weekends. The people that I work with, they are people that I spent eight, nine, 10 hours with, the people that I travel with, which is why it’s very important for, I think, partnership. If I could just caveat for a little bit, we talk about this culture of relationship and connection and why it’s so important in the business place. Come on, book partnership anyway. But when I think about him saying I want you to be a part of my work day, he says, so I want to invite you to this office space. I’ll write and let you go back because I’m not sure where you going.


Jerrod: [00:14:07] No, that’s fantastic. That’s exactly where I’m going. You are creating the perfect picture that I want people to see. I’m going to dive into some different parts because obviously you were in a safe space. This gentleman was in a safe space. He shared the phrase, do I want to have more black friends? I want to know more black businessmen or something there. I might I might be misquoting him. But the paraphrase is there to even say that, Derrick, that’s a safe space. So let’s pause and invite people to find those types of places. Now we’re going to tell you how to create those and how to find those in just a moment. But I think many of our listeners don’t even have that place. I don’t have that person. I don’t I don’t have and and I can’t echo your thoughts enough. I don’t have a diverse group of friends, not just race. Right.


Jerrod: [00:14:49] But let’s be honest. That’s where most of this conversation circles around. So let’s, you know, let let’s eat where we live at the moment, which is racial tension. Yeah. That’s like, OK, all my friends are white. All my friends are almost exactly not even just white, just exactly like me. Actually at the end of this interview, at the end of the episode, we’re going to do a quick activity that’s going to reveal some of this to people. So stay tuned for that. If you’re like, oh, I don’t know. Well, I got a good test for you to test your level of diversity in your life.


Jerrod: [00:15:17] But most people don’t even have a place like this gentleman to say, I want to learn more from black businessmen. I want to know what they think. I want to understand what they what they experience, which is honestly really cool about. Do most people I mean, let’s give some credit where credit’s due. I’m so sick of everybody. I don’t care if you’re black, white or an Lupa. It does not matter. I’m so sick of people being looped in like old white guys are. Now, this old white guy is open, honest, vulnerable. And let’s give a little more. This guy is rich. This is this is an old this is not even I mean, Derrick, I don’t wanna say too much, but there’s not much that you can give to him.


Jerrod: [00:15:53] It’s not like he is manipulating the situation for some sort of business deal or whatever, like this man is set and he’s just saying, I want to be a better person, I want to learn, I want to grow, et cetera, et cetera, and therefore having this conversation. So you said, OK, so here’s here’s some key things I noticed you said we had a mutual friend. So how did you even get break that down a little bit to where like, OK, how did you get in the same space room to have this conversation with this guy so that you could be vulnerable and safe? And has that come to be.


Derrick: [00:16:21] Yeah, I think this is a really good example of transferring trust. Right. And so I know Jarrett knows someone connects us. We although we neither one of us know each other. We both know Jarrett. Right. And we trusted Jarrett has our best interests in mind. Right. So initially, that’s how we connected. It was one guy saying, hey, I got this old white guy. Right, because when I was in it, we got I got this old white guy who wants to be in relationship with black people, specifically black men. He wants to diversify his his circle. Right.


Derrick: [00:16:53] He’s around the same time. People all the time he realized he looks around and he’s like, yo, everybody here is just like me. I want to change that. And so he reaches out to this guy. He’s like, yo, I’m sure you have some people that look more like you and less like me. Is there a way for you to make that connection now? Again, you know, we got to we got to get proper policies. Do this guy could have easily set in his space, in his comfort. Right. Because he’s he’s well-off. He’s you know, he’s 70 plus years. He’s five seventy plus years. He’s been doing what he’s been doing for years.


Derrick: [00:17:25] And he could easily go the next twenty five years and be like, you know what, it just didn’t happen. I didn’t want it to happen. It didn’t happen. Right. But instead he flipped the coin on its head and said, you know what? I want to create that opportunity. I want to create the space, in a sense is he’s creating his own safe space. Right. Good. That’s good.


Derrick: [00:17:45] I say that maybe we’re we’re maybe in both of our safe spaces and we both enter the embassy together. Maybe we created our own embassy and this little office space with this guy that in this other guy who didn’t know each other. But now they’re willing to set aside their differences, not dismiss them, but just kind of set them aside for the opportunity to connect. And then we bring our differences back to look at them like, oh, that’s not so bad. That’s different. But that’s cool. You’re different, but that’s cool. I don’t understand that difference. Can you explain the difference? And this is what happens in the same space. This is what happens in the embassy. I don’t understand. Can you please explain it to me? And that’s where we have to be ready to explain our differences.


Jerrod: [00:18:25] Ok, Derrick, I’m just sitting over here listening because you can just keep talking. You’re saying so many great, great things. Let me dive into a couple. Yes. Can I change your analogy a little bit? Yes. And you tell me what you think. You said maybe we created our own safe space and then we moved into the safe space together, the embassy in keeping with the embassy language. I think most people are actually living in a fort that is safe. So they moved from port to embassy in the end that he was comfortable. You look around, everybody looks like me. I am safe. So let’s let’s in, you know, kind of, as we say, safe space. Yes. The fort is safe. Yeah. You do feel comfortable. I am safe here around people that look like me, think like me, act like me with diversity and is not this. This is where you’re certainly right. Not just race. This is religion. This is musical preference.


Jerrod: [00:19:14] I’m much more comfortable with people who want to hang out and, you know, listen to Garth Brooks and play basketball. That’s my comfort zone. Oh, man, this is awesome. This is you are just like Jerrod. This is great. You want to talk about leadership, basketball and country music. All right. Come on out to the ranch. This is going to be great. That’s that is not a diverse pool. But if you start to change that, you have to move out of the fort to go to the embassy.


Jerrod: [00:19:38] But I love that because you you might have to cross the street, the treacherous street. But there are embassies out there of people you might encounter. This is where some of you might encounter some other hostile people that don’t look or act like you. Well, guess what? They ain’t in the embassy either. Those are not the people to start the conversation with. You know, hostile meeting. Hostile is violent. Yeah, I just there’s so there’s a huge middle ground of people. They’re like, well, I don’t know much, but I’m not carrying around a gun to shoot people I don’t know much. And I’ve just got questions. So this is where we seek it out and find it. So with that these conversations that you’re saying that you’re having a small ways transferred trust. 


Jerrod: [00:20:15] OK, so let’s bring it down to where it’s like if you don’t have a direct fire in your life, someone who may look differently than you think differently than you act differently than you in some way that you can trust and talk to this about in an embassy. Transfer Trust is looking at your next level of influence and seeing their level of influence, and it might take you two or three conversations, hey, yeah, I want to diversify my life. I want to think more broadly. And it might go, do you know anybody seriously? If someone asked me and said the same question, if somebody said, Jerrod, I want to know more black businessmen, I’d be like, OK, I can introduce you to three or four.


Jerrod: [00:20:53] I wish my circle was bigger, but I can take you to legitimately three or four people, maybe more, if I think about it, than actually trust more. Trust me. But they logit, trust me. So I could say, oh, you need to talk to dare any talk to Antonio, you need to talk to Mikey. Like let me introduce you first hand and I could do that. But if you don’t have a darick in your life, the first hand you don’t have Jerrod in your life the second and it might be third hand, it might be a pastor who maybe he or she doesn’t even have the connection, but they’re almost kind of in the business to have to make the connection. You know, if they’re reading the book correctly, they’re going to also say, you know what, me too. Let’s go together and find another person, another contact, and eventually you will get to the Jerrod and the Derrick. But it might take you two or three conversations because I think many people, like you just said, they stop at, well, I don’t know anybody.


Jerrod: [00:21:41] And how am I going to know anybody? If there is no one in my office between my work, my family, my home life, when I’m I’m just going to go out and make a black friend go make a black friend today. That’s your advice? I don’t even know where to go. And honestly, everything I’m talking to, everything I think to where where to go is very stereotypical.


Jerrod: [00:21:58] So I probably should not go to those places because now I feel like a racist, said Eric. Yeah, transferred trust is the greatest starting point I’ve ever heard. That’s awesome. And go down to who do you trust and who trust you because you can’t stop. I love that you said I love that you said you said the gentleman. I want to hit on two things here and get back to you. He was looking around, said everybody’s just like me. How do I change that? And he said he could have easily just stayed there in his comfort zone. He’s well off. Yeah. He didn’t need anything really for many of these people. And so he could easily twenty five years from now say it didn’t happen. I think that’s what many people are sitting right here now, like they’re going, well, I don’t really know. It’s not happening. I guess God doesn’t want me to diversify. He’s not putting anybody on my front porch. Well, OK. Yeah, Godman I’ll be putting people on the front porch, but step out of the boat, Peter. Let’s go. Like, take one step. And my question for you then. This gentleman, everybody is just like me, I look around everybody just like me, how do I change that? Why should we change that? Why in the world to want to change that? The port’s pretty nice, actually. My ports pretty good. Why should I why should I change that?


Derrick: [00:23:03] Yeah. So my so my message is in theology and my master’s, my thesis, my capstone project was why churches should not be diverse. That was so when I, when I told my professor that she was like, oh Derrick. I was like, just hang with me. Like just doctors. Hey, lady. Right. And so I get into this this concept of of white churches shipping in black people that get these buses and they go to these communities across town and they pick up these black kids and they bring them back and they give them all kind of cool candy and soda and they make the church experience fun. And my my plight in the paper is, is that people churches should reflect their community, churches should reflect their community. If you are in a church and for the next fifty square miles, there are no black people, it makes sense that your church would be full of white people. It makes it in fact, if you were shipping in black people, I’m going to ask where are you getting these black people from and why and why you in it doesn’t make sense.


Jerrod: [00:24:13] But but hey, be careful now. Be careful now. I drove. I drove that bus. Be careful. I’ve driven that bus before I saw it. People listening, people listening to this. I guarantee you, I’ve driven that bus. All right. So keep going. Keep going. It’s all right.


Derrick: [00:24:26] So I do think that while your church should reflect your community, I don’t believe that your relationships have to have to stop at the boundaries of your community. Right. And so I really encourage whenever I go speak to churches and I look around and I’m like, man, like you said, you wanted diversity in this church. You brought me out here to talk about that. What are you doing? How many churches have you reached out to? And you’ve got taking your church to go visit their church. How many times have you all partnered to serve the community? How many times a day have you gone to serve the community? How many times have they gone to yours?


Derrick: [00:25:00] I say that to say if I’m a white guy and I’m trying to figure out How to diversify, I look around and there’s people that look like me. They have the same bank account, they have the same land. The kids go to the same school, are watching out for birds like that, essentially mean carbon copy. Right. In my desire to diversify, that should extend it should exceed my comfort level. Right. That’s where if you don’t have transferred trust, then you have to extend past your comfort level in order to get that achieved goal. I don’t know how many times like me. Like one of the worst things that I can think of is to to stand on a corner and ask for money. Me personally like to have to ask if I’m in financial trouble.


Derrick: [00:25:48] I’m probably not going to ask Jack Murtha. He’s a really good friend. Right. I’m a I’m a work some stuff out. I’m it’s some family up. I’m trying to like, you know, Rob Peter to pay Paul, like, I’m gonna try to move some things around. But these people are so thirsty. They’re so hungry that they’re putting their pride aside to ask for something. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had white men, white people come to me like, listen, I’m jumping out on a ledge here and I’m saying I don’t have any black friends. And I know we work together and I know that, you know, our kids play soccer together and I just don’t have the next step. So I’m making a jump. I’m making I’m leaping, I’m jumping right to to make this connection because it is that important to me, right?


Derrick: [00:26:37] It’s that important to me and I think that’s where we have to be. It’s really easy to be comfortable. But at the point to where you are so comfortable that you’re not willing to extend into an area of discomfort in order to get what you want. You really don’t want you just like it sounds good to be like I want this or sounds good to be like I have black friends or sounds good to be like, what are you talking about? I grew up. Or like when you when you say things like that, it just sounds good and it’s dismissive of things that you say you really want.


Derrick: [00:27:05] So to answer your question, I think that there are some people who don’t have that that transfer trust a poll on. Right. They don’t even have one to three levels of of a connection. They don’t they can’t even ask three people down the line. But what they can do if you really want it, if you really want it. I’ve had people reach out on social media. I’ve had people walk across soccer fields.


Derrick: [00:27:26] I’ve had people catch me in this. I’ve been stopped in the grocery store. Hey, I’m so sorry, but what do you think about Eric Garner? And I’m like, whoa. And they’re like, I just don’t have the people around me. And I’m making a jump. I’m making a leap. And I may sound stupid and I may look ignorant. And I’m like, you know what? I really appreciate that vulnerability that you’re extending right now because you are way outside your comfort zone and allow me to set our baskets aside. And next to this mayonnaise and mustard, ketchup and these pickles. And let’s talk for the next five minutes about Eric Garner. Right. But. Again, I create those I believe I’m very sincere about creating safe spaces, if there are people that don’t have access to that, you have to jump into that. You can’t just easier way to transfer trust.


Jerrod: [00:28:09] All right, then. If I’m at the point of willing to set my pride aside, like you said, almost desperation to step out of my comfort zone or willingness there. But what if I’m not quite there yet? Like like I think there are many people that believe that and want that. But then what is on the other side? Because it’s like the reward has to be worth the risk. You are someone who has had people come up to you and you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, going to other people. What’s a benefit? What’s on the other side? What have you experienced? Personally, it’s you’re like, let me tell you what’s over there. If we actually start making these connections and bridge these gaps.


Derrick: [00:28:42] Yeah, I do want to go back in and we can rewind the smoke and we can play it. I did add a caveat there. That is OK for your church to look like a community, but I don’t think that you should be bound by the walls of your community. I think the pastors should be a part of a pastoral group that’s diverse. I think that members should get outside of their community and experience some different things. Right. I think there’s a two two baseball teams. One is from John Marshall. The other is from Newcastle. Newcastle is primarily white. John Marshall is primarily, but that does a booster club president who said, hey, man, I don’t want to just come together, play baseball. We want to sponsor the pregame meal that’s jumping, that’s jumping to get these black kids and white kids together before the game, before warmups. You got to come down early. We’re catering the pizza. We want our coaches to talk to your coaches when I play your players. And let’s let this be an annual thing. So this is the benefit.


Jerrod: [00:29:36] Ok, hold on. Hold on. Can I jump in on that and then we’ll move away. I definitely want to hear the benefit, but I think I think you’re striking on something that is a bigger truth potentially. And I want to get your thoughts. Is this a bigger truth? I think all too often, maybe as a society, maybe even maybe just as people. Part of the problem is we are trying to rely on organisational change when it is individual change that is necessary. So in other words, what you’re describing, like you said, it’s not that you got to hey, we want to be more diverse. We’ve got to change the entire structure of our church so that we are fifty-fifty.


Jerrod: [00:30:07] No, that’s not the answer, actually. Let’s just get in our community more like you make more black friends know people who are different, like those coaches. They didn’t say, well, you know what, I guess it’s time to integrate the teams. We’re going to take Newcastle and we’re take John Marshall. And now we’re going to be New Marshall. And we’re take half of your team and half of our team and make two teams that hate each other. Both teams are going to hate each other now because we’re forcing them to be away from their team. I think that’s part of I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying stay in your corners. I’m not saying that. I’m saying I agree with you that the answer is not just organizationally. And I think sometimes we’ve been almost trained that way to think, well, the government is going to fix it. Some bigger organization is going to change this by integrating or by changing.


Jerrod: [00:30:47] Well, it’s like actually Jarrett probably should not be a judge for Miss Black America. That makes no sense. Like, why would you why you don’t want why is Gerarda the judge for Miss Black America? That’s cool. You’re saying it’s like that’s cool. That’s a thing over there. But Gerarda should be friends with the Miss Black America and the judges for Miss Black America and ATIP to understand and know what’s going on and connect but not have to be like, well, OK, let’s take these two awesome things and put them together and make them one terrible thing instead of waiting for some structure to come in and like magically change everything. Which is why I think people, you know, why we bus people in why which was like, OK, organizationally, let’s change the structure.


Jerrod: [00:31:31] I think actually we just change our heart. Like, let’s just work individually first, change this, and then structurally things will start to change. Things will you know, the structure will begin to match the individuals in the intent. Sorry, that’s a side note. But I think it’s a way maybe because I, I think that we do that sometimes we just think, well, we’ve got to make this big sweeping structural change actually. Have you have you actually gone? And then we like to brag about it. We like to look at this, look at what we did. We had Diversity Day, we had this huge diversity day. And all this was it’s like, wait a minute. OK, OK. So with that, if I am going to start individually as a person, as a leader, as a mom, as a dad, what are the benefits.


Derrick: [00:32:14] Yep. Yep. So you’re asking two questions. Answer the first and go into the second one. Right. We’re talking about us waiting on organizations to create the environment for us to interact and. Right. And I think that is I think we’ve been waiting for that for a really long time. Right. I think you can go back to reconstruction and go back to Jim Crow. You can go back to civil rights. I think that we have been reaching it’s been a far reach for organizational and institutional and structural change. But I also think the reason that significant change took place is because there were also people doing it on an individual level A. On a local level, right, we’re not waiting for policy to be passed, we’re doing we’re doing it on our own, right.


Derrick: [00:33:03] So I’ve been a part of several grassroots efforts to get people in a room. We have lawyers in Oklahoma City who bring people together for donuts and coffee every third Thursday once a month. There’s another group, they call it at dinner table. And it’s where you invite different people to the table. You have you eat and you connect over a specific topic and they provide you with the topics. So you have to worry about what we’re talking about. They email you the conversation piece right there. There are conferences where people are there coordinating the effort and getting people in a room. So I think there is the benefit of any great movement that has ever taken place started with individuals kind of finding this commonality right now. Why is that a benefit for the individual right? Answer that first question.


Derrick: [00:33:53] I think it starts on the local level. It starts with two people and two families, and then it starts with those families introducing different families to each other. And then it starts with, hey, why did you guys come to church with us? That’s awesome. I’ll come to church with you and then you come to church with me. And when you come to church with me, I introduce you to my church family. Then you introduce me to your church family. Hey, how about we get our churches together and do a picnic and a softball game? Oh, those are the churches that are out there and they want to know what we’re doing. So let’s go from two charges of four churches. Oh, now we have the Council of Churches in Oklahoma City. And the only job of that council is to provide opportunities for us all to get together locally.


Derrick: [00:34:28] So people are working locally. That’s really important. Why does it benefit? Is because people need to see an example. Right? This is why the benefit is so great when people from an organizational from an institutional level look down and see things happening, whatever you apply for a grant. Right. Or some money. One of these they ask you is, what are you already doing? Right, what have you done, what are you already doing right now? So if we’re going to implement this at a higher level, we want evidence and proof that you’re already doing it on your own. So if I engage with people and there’s an old white guy that says Derrick and I really want to get to know black people, I can.


Derrick: [00:35:10] Can you be my entry point? I said yes. And he’s like, So what’s your experience? It’s a real question. What’s your experience with getting people together? Like, this is what I do. I sit on the diversity committee for four Southwestern Christian University. I go and I do diversity talks and panels. I work for a company that just launched this whole minority empowerment initiative. That whole goal and desire is to reach minority groups, right? That’s our whole desire.


Derrick: [00:35:37] I have people and friends that participate in these local levels. The benefit of it is that people want to see that works. People want to see that it works. Selma had a small group of people that were right. When you think about Rosa Parks in the bus. Right. They saw that it work right. When we when we look at these little bitty pockets. Right. What we find is proof and hope that it can be done and then people will back at an organizational level. Now, I don’t believe that every avenue towards equality and equity should have to take that that route. I don’t think that’s the case. Somebody up top should be like, you know what? This group isn’t getting it. I have the money. I have the connections. I have the means to change it. So allow me to do that. But if we wait on those people to do it, we waste time and we pass up wonderful opportunities, not only not only to create these embassador spaces, this embassy a connection, but we put it in the hands of others to do jobs that we can do.



Jerrod: [00:36:44] I loved that conversation, I absolutely I cannot wait to have more conversations with Eric because I feel like we’re just scratching the surface and you guys have only heard half of it. We’re going to release the second half of this conversation later on. But if you want to check out the whole interview, you can go right now to Paradigm Shift pro dot com and check out the link, the entirety of the interview right now. But it was a good conversation and hopefully it’s giving you some new thoughts, some new ideas. I love how Derrick was talking about safe spaces and embassies being ambassadors, creating those safe spaces. That’s good. But now what? What do we do with this conversation, this idea? What do you think and where do we go that what sticking out to you from that conversation?


Ang: [00:37:28] There’s a few things that stick out. I mean, Derrick is awesome. And you guys had a great interview. So I loved all of it. But I think in summary, he just challenges us with comfort zones. That’s like the biggest thing. I mean, even from, from schools to, you know, kids soccer games or our families. And most importantly, like even the church, I rarely hear of people giving that kind of feedback in terms of like diversifying our congregation. I think it even challenges us to have like if we really say our churches are not just the building. Right. The churches is who we are. It’s more than that. Then we shouldn’t have to diversify our building to diversify the church anyway, right? Yeah, it was hard about that. Those that means I can’t wait for my pastor to put a black worship leader on stage that I feel like I go to a diverse church now or I can’t wait for my university or the my my president of my university to make a declarative statement about racial inequality, like, am I doing that? Like, am I practicing that in my own life?


Ang: [00:38:29] I think I really just like the balance he put of like, yes, you can learn we can allow space for ignorance, but like, you also have to do something. You also have to act and not just like react to what other people are doing about it. You actually have to act yourself. So, yeah, I think so many categories.


Jerrod: [00:38:47] I thought that was an incredible vantage point, an incredible perspective on diversifying a church in this case and saying that your church should reflect your community. So, yeah, maybe if you are 50 percent black, 50 percent white in your community, maybe your church should be too. But if you’re in an all white neighborhood, if you’re an all black neighborhood, that maybe your church shouldn’t be, that’s pretty revolutionary. And I would say if we’re really going to lean into that which OK, let’s go there, Ang, maybe that takes some pressure off of people listening to this, because if you’re a pastor out there going, well, you know what, we want to be racially diverse.


Jerrod: [00:39:17] I mean, can we be I’m going to be candid with you on I mean, especially in that world. I mean, we both come from a Christian background. I mean, it’s almost like, well, we want to be diverse. Let’s hire a black pastor, let’s hire. And it’s like, well, maybe that’s a good decision. Maybe it’s not that. Maybe that’s just the surface level answer. And that’s just a platitude that we think is a nice gesture. And I’m not saying it’s wrong. And certainly those individuals are qualified. But I go back to this one time I remember so I work in TRIO a lot with Paradigm Shift. TRIO is a government program that helps first generation lower income students get into post-secondary. Yet it’s an amazing program. It is your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen, and it is phenomenal.


Jerrod: [00:39:58] I absolutely love it and I believe in it. At this event, it was a conference. It was a national conference for this program. I was in a booth exhibiting tell him about Paradigm Shift, our leadership training, our development. What we do next to me was another organization. And they provided software specifically designed for these programs. Really good product. It’s helpful. It’s great. It was really, really good.


Jerrod: [00:40:21] Like I mentioned in the interview, I’m a white dude and the guy next to me was white, the guy working for this other place. And they had a picture of their entire staff of like thirteen, fourteen people, not very big. They’re all developers. They’re all software people in small-town Colorado had this picture. This elderly African-American woman came up to this guy and just read him the rights. I mean, she chewed him up one side and down the other. How dare you come in here and try to work with us? And I mean, she was just giving it to him. Look at this picture. There’s not a single black person on the steps. There’s not any she’s going there’s no one of color here. And she was really giving it to me so much. So she drew a crowd like, I’m standing there at our booth and and people are watching. It’s like, whoa, she is really mad about this. Now, mind you, they have had no conversation whatsoever.


Jerrod: [00:41:16] She just walked up, look at the picture and really leaned into this guy and this this poor guy, honestly. I mean, he was really just taking it. He’s like, I don’t own the company. I just am the rep here. But he’s apologizing. He’s like, Ma’am, I’m so sorry. We are you you know, he’s apologizing for everything from slavery to cultural appropriation to I mean, I think he even apologized that he listen to M.C. Hammer at some point. But he was just sorry for, like, everything that he had possibly ever done and he was trying to explain to her. Ma’am, we have like two thousand people in our town and everybody’s white. The demographics of our company represent the demographics of our town.


Jerrod: [00:41:55] And at this point and we’re talking this is a while ago, this is even before virtual before virtual work, before it was like he had really good reason. It was like this is just true to who we are and it’s true to where we’re from. And it’s true. And honestly, this lady also she had a good intention, she defending her kids, she defending her her team, she defending her, her people. And this guy is doing the same thing. And so other people came up. It was Saliers because it was almost like a therapy session afterward. They were like, hey, we totally understand it. We totally understand her perspective, too. But I thought Derrick’s perspective is interesting.


Jerrod: [00:42:31] It’s like, wait a minute, maybe as maybe as leaders, we should give ourselves some permission to not try to look so good or like do something that’s like the showy thing or like the. Well, I guess we should do this like, OK, we’re going to diversify, we’re going to diversify. So we’re going to force this issue in a an organizational way rather than as individuals doing the hard work of reaching out to our neighbors, understanding who I am, understanding who someone else is, because it’s like this guy’s not a racist. I like the guy. I mean, this guy is not he’s not trying to do anything against anybody. He just happens to be a white dude in a group of white people. It just happens like, OK, you know, saying like and I thought and when Derrick was talking about and talking about bussing kids in and stuff like that, and I’m going, man, I’m guilty of that. So I have. And now what force on earth?


Jerrod: [00:43:25] With all that being said, I’ve got it now. What activity I’d like to challenge everybody with. OK, I’m going to make you do the activity to be ready. Yeah. Oh yeah. OK, great activities here. Yeah, I love it.


Jerrod: [00:43:34] So if you’re driving down the road you can do this activity. If you are listening at home in your office, you can do this activity. Now if you’re where you can close your eyes, don’t close your eyes while you drive. But if you close your eyes and close your eyes, it might help you focus. But you don’t have. I want you, though, in your mind’s eye, your imagination. OK, I’m going to give you a few props. And I want you to picture this.


Jerrod: [00:43:50] First thing is I want you to picture a doctor. We’re going to paint this mental image. So get a doctor in your head and see the doctor, what they’re doing. And you got the doctor in here, OK, right next to the doctor. OK, in another room. OK, all right. So here we go. We’re going to this next room. This next thing you get the doctor. Great. You got the doctor and he had. Good, good. All right. Good. You got that doctor. Now get rid of doctor. Doctor’s gone. Now I want you to think of a criminal like a criminal. You got this criminal. OK, all right. You got him.


Jerrod: [00:44:19] Now, what you think really be descriptive. Now think of what that criminal’s wearing. Look at it. See? You see that criminal? What’s that criminal? Where were they holding? Has as criminal standing up man. Maybe you see even some things around the criminal. Oh my goodness. Now you’re really seeing the scene. Oh, wow. OK, you got a lot of stuff. Imagine this criminal. You’ve imagine a doctor go back to the doctor for a second. You imagine the doctor, you see something in the doctor’s hands. You see what the doctor’s wearing. You see what the doctors you know what they’re holding. Good. Now you got the criminal. OK, now. All right.


Jerrod: [00:44:48] Now go to an athlete, OK? Now go to an athlete. You got an athlete in your head. Great. Now you’re thinking of an athlete. Great. What’s in that athlete’s hands? What’s around them? Where they standing? Are they moving? They stand still. What are they doing in your mind’s eye? OK, we go back to this. When you say these things, this can be an insight into some of our unconscious bias. Because when you think of the doctor, were they white or black? Was you Dr. White or black Ang?


Ang: [00:45:18] He was white and it was a man.


Jerrod: [00:45:19] A white man. Oh, wow. OK, mine was a white woman. My doctor was a white woman. OK, well,


Ang: [00:45:25] I do have to say I see my doctor almost every week and he is a white man. So I kind of pictured him, but I think I would have gone there no matter what.


Jerrod: [00:45:31] So, hey, if you’re telling me our experiences shape our bias, I would agree.


Ang: [00:45:35] Yeah, that’s totally what I was saying. That’s where I was going with it entirely.


Jerrod: [00:45:38] But it’s true. Our experiences shape our bias. OK, here’s the thing about bias. We’ve all got them. That’s the good. Now what today? Recognize your bias? I’m not even going to fault someone for having bias at this point. It’s OK. You have a natural bias. And now we’re not just talking about race. You picture the man I pictured a woman. Most people, when we do this activity, picture a man. When we say doctor, when that criminal was your criminal, a man or woman.


Ang: [00:46:03] Now I know where you’re going with this. This is interesting because my criminal was in a ski mask.


Jerrod: [00:46:08] OK your Criminal was in a ski mask.


Ang: [00:46:10] I don’t know that I so I don’t know what it felt like. I’m saying he so it must have that must


Jerrod: [00:46:15] Have been a man


Ang: [00:46:16] And but a ski mask with a gun in his hand and OK, it kind of felt like Spider Man is what I envisioned.


Jerrod: [00:46:25] Spider man known for his for being a criminal.


Ang: [00:46:28] It wasn’t Spider Man the character. But I envision like the Peter Bertman scene. No, no, just just a spider man seen like oh, getting started tall buildings.


Jerrod: [00:46:38] So it’s a city.


Ang: [00:46:39] Ok, city. Yes. All right. OK, city with a scheme.


Jerrod: [00:46:42] Interesting. Interesting. How about the.


Ang: [00:46:44] Athlete Sequim Barkley


Jerrod: [00:46:46] Is exactly specific unit to a specific athlete, wow, specific. OK, interesting


Ang: [00:46:53] Quote. He was holding a football and it was his, like, pose. You know, the pictures they show like, yeah, OK.


Jerrod: [00:46:59] Ok, very cool.


Ang: [00:47:00] Exactly.


Jerrod: [00:47:00] This activity, I’m not saying that it’s going to, you know, psychoanalyze every one of us. I think it is a good activity to recognize some inkling of some unconscious bias. Yeah. To say, wow, I have an impression when you say criminal, something pops in my mind. When you say doctor, something pops into my mind and these sorts of things. So in the same way then not to get too technical here, but then when you when you say any sort of grouping, any sort of people, any sort of identity, you have some unconscious bias that creates an image in your head. You know, if you said, imagine this type of person, you have some stereotypes or non-stereotypes, whatever they may be that pop into your head, that is your bias. That’s why I say everybody has them. It’s like criminals come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders, everything. There are blue-collar criminals and white collar criminals and every kind of collar criminal. There are all kinds of criminals. Right. So whatever you think of says something about your body.


Jerrod: [00:48:00] So today, as we in this next time, we started this by talking about bystanders. And I don’t want us to be a bystanders. I want us to be active. And we begins by challenging our own bias. Just challenge it. I’m not telling you what to do with it. Just own up to be like, you know what I am. Because in the next episode we’re gonna talk about four ways to not be a bystander. And in it I admitted some weaknesses, vulnerabilities to Derrick that I’m like, man, I’m not ready to go there yet because of some of my bias, because of some of my insecurities, because of experiences.


Jerrod: [00:48:37] Like you said, our bias is shaped by experience. Yeah, I would say having a bias is OK. Keeping a bias is problematic. Right. You know, it’s like, OK, if I recognize this is where I am now, if I’m going to be a good leader, I know I want to grow in this area. I don’t want to have that instinctive I don’t want to have that assumption about people. I don’t want to have that subtle stereotype in my brain. It’s like emotions. We train young people on social emotional learning, which you can’t really you can’t really control your emotions. If I if I get angry, if I get frustrated, if I get mad, sad, whatever. But I can control what I do with those emotions.


Jerrod: [00:49:12] It’s the same thing with your bias. It’s there. What are we going to do with it? Yeah. Am I going to grow. I’m going to learn. That’s why I’m so excited about the next episode. If you’re listening to this to this point, you stayed with us. No doubt you care about this issue. It’s all around us. We don’t have all the answers here, but we are not afraid to engage in the conversation. I loved what Derrick had to say. And honestly, the next episode, maybe even better. So if you’re interested in this is I highly encourage you to listen to the second half. And it’s not the only conversation we’re going to have about this. If we’re going to grow, if we’re going to be all that we want to be, we have to tackle these tough issues.


Jerrod: [00:49:49] So think about this. Challenge yourself with your unconscious bias. Be honest about your instinctive answers and go out there and be a good leader.