My American Meltingpot
Is Christmas for white people with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

Is Christmas for white people with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

December 18, 2020

On episode 57 of the podcast, we’re replaying our Christmas show from 2019 because it's still very relevant today. Maybe even more so. On that episode, I set out to answer the question, "Is Christmas for white people?" Now, I’m not white and I’ve been celebrating Christmas with my very Black family for more than 40 years, so clearly Christmas isn’t intrinsically a white people’s holiday, but there are plenty of people of color in America who don't deck the halls or jingle any bells on December 25. Considering the fact that 2020 has been a banner year for people to start paying attention to issues of racial injustice, white supremacy, and the whitewashing that permeates just about every facet of American culture, I thought this was the perfect time to revisit this episode. It’s a really good one and I promise it’s not all bah humbug! 

Joining me on the show for this racial rehash of Christmas, is Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Dr. Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University. He is the author of several books, including his latest book that just came out in November, 2020, We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest, and Possibility. A public intellectual and an award-winning journalist, Dr. Hill has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Dr. Hill is also the owner of the Philadelphia based bookstore Uncle Bobbies Coffee and Books.

During our conversations, Dr. Hill and I discuss the immigrant experience and Christmas. We talk about the actual multicultural origins of Christmas. We explore some of the alternative celebrations folks have come up with that feel more in line with their cultural and ethnic heritage. And we consider the idea that celebrating Christmas as a person of color, could be considered a radical act of redefinition. This conversation will definitely have you thinking differently, and maybe a bit more colorfully, about Christmas. 

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To keep up with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, visit his website where you can read his full bio and find all of his social media links.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, check out Dr. Hill's awesome bookstore, Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books. Please show them some love through the pandemic.

Check out this blog post I wrote about whitewashing Christmas in America, specifically about Santa Claus vs. the Three Kings.

Please leave a gift for the podcast in the form or a rating or a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. 

And please don't forget to subscribe to the show so you'll know when we we're back with fresh new episodes in early 2021.

Happy Holidays. 

Rethinking Race + Thanksgiving

Rethinking Race + Thanksgiving

November 20, 2020

November is National Native American Heritage Month and it’s the month we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. On episode 56 of the podcast, we’re going talk about both of these so-called holidays and how and what we should be doing to celebrate. Clearly Thanksgiving 2020 is going to look a lot different than years past. You may be alone or far away from extended family for the first time. Some people may not have the funds to pay for an extravagant Turkey dinner this year. Some people may be mourning the loss of loved ones to Covid-19 this holiday season. Overall, I think it’s safe to say that Thanksgiving is not going to be “normal” for anyone, so what better time than to rethink the reason and purpose of this All-American holiday.

Back in 2018, for our very first episode in fact, I was joined by Dr. Crystal Fleming, a sociologist based at Stony Brook University and the author of How to Be Less Stupid about Race. Dr. Fleming and I talked about the inherent problems in celebrating a holiday that both downplays the real contributions of Native American people to that first Harvest celebration, and erases the legacy of brutal atrocities committed against Native people by European colonizers. It’s an important conversation that we're replaying because there are so many truth bombs people should hear, especially before celebrating Thanksgiving this year. 

Stay in Touch

I’d love to hear how you’re going to honor the Thanksgiving holiday Meltingpot community.

Please feel free to tell me your plans by leaving me a comment on IG @LoriLTharps or in the comments on the My American Meltingpot blog.

And if you’d like to keep up with Dr. Crystal Fleming, check out her website at Crystalflemming.com or follow her on Twitter at alwaystheself. I’ll add the links to the show notes.

This is the end of Season 5. I'll be back in your ears in early 2021. Until then, check out the My American Meltingpot Facebook page for new and colorful content!

Don’t be Racist: Celebrate the Wins, But Keep Fighting

Don’t be Racist: Celebrate the Wins, But Keep Fighting

November 13, 2020

This is episode 55 of the podcast and the seventh and final episode of the 'Don’t Be Racist Series.' Think of it as the recap episode. I’ll be reviewing all of the anti-racism lessons learned over the last several weeks, and I’ll be reviewing the momentous presidential election that just happened as well. And at the end of the episode, I’ll be giving you some final words of advice to take with you as you continue your journey to be committed anti-racism warriors. 

I hope you remember those simple lessons as you go about your daily life, and if you do,  I guarantee your journey to being an anti-racism warrior will be a successful and satisfying one. I won’t say it’s going to be easy, but I also don’t want you to think it has to be hard. Quite frankly, I think it’s a lot harder to be a racist than it is to be an anti-racist.  Harder, lonelier, and far less sweet.

I believe in you anti-racism warriors. Thank you for listening! Thank you for showing up for this series! Thank you for doing the work. 

Resources to Continue on with Your Anti-Racism Journey

Black Lives Matter: It's not just a slogan or an important truth. Black Lives Matter is an active social justice organization with supporters and activities that span the globe. Check them out for resources for further learning and for opportunities to volunteer your time, talents and money.

The My American Meltingpot bookstore on Bookshop.org: Don't forget you can find all of your anti-racism literature and other great books by authors of color in my carefully curated list of books on Bookshop.org

The Obama Foundation: The Obama Foundation's mission is to "inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world." Check them out to find out ways you can get involved.

Colorlines.com: If you haven't checked out this daily news site that centers the voices and perspectives of people of color and other marginalized groups, then you should. It's an excellent resource published by the racial justice organization, Race Forward.

EmbraceRace.org: For parents and educators looking for resources on how to raise anti-racist children and children of color who are resilient and proud of their identities, EmbraceRace.org is a wonderful resource that offers webinars, teaching tools and community.

And you can always find more information and inspiration on the My American Meltingpot blog!
Don’t Be Racist: Time to Divorce Your Trump-Supporting Friends

Don’t Be Racist: Time to Divorce Your Trump-Supporting Friends

October 30, 2020

On episode 54 of the podcast –  number six in our Don’t Be Racist Series – I'm sharing a tough but necessary lesson. We’re going to be talking about what to do when friends and family members are Trump supporters. I’m not going to teach you how to talk to them or how to get them to change their ways. Nope, today’s lesson is all about disengaging. I’m going to tell you why you should disengage with these Trump supporting friends and family members and how to do it.

Now, there are many reasons why you should divorce your Trump-supporting family members and friends? But here are three: 1) Because their crazy can be contagious. 2) Because trying to reason with them doesn't work and it leaves you frustrated and angry. And 3) Because if you maintain a relationship with these people in your life, you are exposing yourself to potential harm. You wouldn't engage with members of a doomsday cult, so why engage with members of the cult of Donald Trump? Even if it is your cousin?

Listen in to hear how to disengage with family and friends, including my personal experience divorcing two of my own family members. No, it's not easy, but it's also not as hard as you think. And ultimately, it's the best thing to do for your own peace of mind. Think of it as a form of self care for you, the anti-racist warrior. (Side note, if you have children, it's very important that you keep them safe from people who think Donald Trump is a decent human being.)

And if you think this message is important, like I do, please forward or share this episode with a friend who needs to hear it. And please, don't forget to vote!

 

Don’t be Racist: You Can’t Say That

Don’t be Racist: You Can’t Say That

October 23, 2020

Last week on the podcast, we talked about the importance of using your voice to confront racist behavior. On today's episode, we're flipping the script to discuss what NOT to say as an anti-racist warrior. In other words, how to avoid ever having someone say to you, 'You can't say that, that's racist.' Listen in to hear my list of questions, sentences and phrases you should remove from your vocabulary and why…if you want to be a good anti-racist warrior. Note, white people, this episode really is for you. 

 

Clearly this episode would take hours if I actually covered every single word or phrase that could be considered racist. So, I don't do that. Instead, I’m sharing a short list of common phrases, questions and sentences that people say, that for the most part are considered racist or racially insensitive when uttered by white people. Of course, there is always an exception to the rules I'm sharing – and nuance and context matter too – but if you remove these phrases from your daily chatter, I promise it will aid you on your journey to being a good anti-racist. 

Links and Additional Resources on What Not to Say

The racist history of mispronouncing and renaming people of color.

Teen Vogue explains why 'Black on Black crime' is a racist phrase that falsely pathologizes the Black community.

A hilarious video that demonstrates why you shouldn't ask Asian Americans and Latinos where they are from.

A heartfelt column from the Chicago Tribune that explains why we should make the shift from 'slave' to 'enslaved' when referencing African Americans in antebellum America.

Proof, that hard shell tacos with tomatoes and cheddar are not Mexican food.

You can grab a copy of Anti-Racist Baby for yourself or a friend on the My American Meltingpot online bookstore.

 

And don't forget to visit My American Meltingpot for more resources and inspiration. 

 

Don’t Be Racist: Use Your Voice

Don’t Be Racist: Use Your Voice

October 16, 2020

Did you realize you can live your whole entire life and never say a single racist thing or have a single racist thought, but if you’re not using your voice to speak out against racism, then you're not an anti-racist? In fact, some might even say you’re an accomplice or at least complicit in the crime of maintaining a racist system. 

On episode 52 of the podcast, the fourth lesson in our Don't Be Racist series, we're going to be talking about using your voice as an anti-racist warrior. So far, we’ve spoken about mindset and taking action. On this episode, we’re going to deep-dive into taking action by using your voice to call out racism when you see it. On the show, I break down how and why anti-racism warriors must do this. 

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Don't Forget

Vote!: There’s still time in many states to register, request a mail-in ballot and to participate in early voting. The Republicans would love a close race and we can’t let that happen. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris need a decisive win in November. Please vote like your life depended it. Because mine sure does. 

Shop the My American Meltingpot online bookshop: You will find a delightful – and newly updated – collection of books for kids and adults with a multicultural focus. Every purchase you make on the My American Meltingpot online bookshop, supports the production of the podcast and independent bookstores all over the country. 

Read: This list of inspirational quotes from some of our greatest leaders and thinkers about the importance of using your voice in the face of racism, oppression and injustice. 

 

Don’t Be Racist -  Decolonize Your Mind

Don’t Be Racist - Decolonize Your Mind

October 9, 2020

This is our third episode in the Don’t Be Racist Series on the My American Meltingpot podcast. Last week we spoke about taking action. This week, we're going to work on decolonizing our minds. In order to be a true anti-racism warrior, decolonizing and unlearning many of the untruths we’ve been taught our whole lives is essential. So, today’s lesson is all about how and why decolonizing your mind is a must.

This episode is just the beginning of a process because decolonizing your mind is a lifelong pursuit. Opening up to the idea that you need to unlearn and relearn American history is the first step. And then you must keep educating yourself with resources that are not written by the so-called winners of history. During the show, I share seven decolonized truth nuggets that will jump start your decolonized education. 

Resources to Help You Decolonize Your Mind

For teachers and educators, a great article on decolonizing your history classroom with additional resources.

A moving essay by a young Black woman who explains what decolonizing her mind and life looks like. 

A great list of book titles from bookship.org to help decolonize your mind.

A short Ted Talk to watch called: Decolonization is for Everyone.

People of color might want to follow @decolonizingtherapy on IG.

Educators and Parents might want to check out @decolonizeliteracy on IG for resources related to Black and Native experiences.

Thank you for listening. Please stay motivated and don't forget to vote. A vote for Joe Biden is a vote against four more years with an openly racist, dangerous president. 

Thank you for listening and please be sure to check out the show notes on the My American Meltingpot blog, where you can also leave me a comment about how you're enjoying the show and/or what lessons you'd like to learn in the series. 

 

Lesson 2: Don’t Be Racist: Take Action

Lesson 2: Don’t Be Racist: Take Action

October 2, 2020

On episode 50 of the podcast, we're continuing our "Don't Be Racist" series. And the lesson for this episode is all about taking action. Do Take Action to be an anti-racism warrior. Don’t sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do the work.

Last week we talked about mastering your mindset. Finding your why for doing this work. Hopefully, it is now clear in your mind why you need to become an anti-racism warrior. So, the next step is to take action to bring about the change we want and need in this country.

During the episode, I break down how to get yourself motivated to take action as an anti-racism warrior, and the types of actions you can take, especially if you're just getting started as an activist. I don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed or get burned out too fast, so take my advice to heart. We need our warriors in the game for all four quarters.

Do This: To Be An Anti-Racism Warrior in Action

Here's what you should remember about taking action as an anti-racism warrior:

  1. Start small - Don’t overwhelm yourself. But keep in mind that little actions can have big results.
  2. Find your zone of genius to make it easier to get in the game. Use the skills you have in the area where it is most needed.
  3. Find a friend to do the work together. Anti-racism work is more fun with a friend.
  4.  Don’t reinvent the wheel, you can just help roll the wheel up the hill. There are hundreds of local and national organizations doing anti-racism work and they need help. Volunteer for one of these organizations instead of trying to think up something new to do.

I would love to hear what kind of action you’re taking on your journey to become an anti-racist warrior. Please leave a comment on the show notes page on the My American Meltingpot blog and tell me what you're up to! You'll also find more resources to help you take action.

*This episode is sponsored by a new course on Teachable called, “Finding Your Role in this Moment of Social Change.” This course is ideal for anyone who wants to make a change in the world but doesn’t know how or where to start. This self-paced, 90-minute course will help you figure out the role you want to play in social movements and how you can make effective, lasting change. If you're looking for more instruction and a deeper understanding of how activists really make change with their work, definitely check out this course - taught by author and and activist Eileen Flanagan. You may remember Eileen from the moving essay she wrote about the connections between racism and climate change on the MAMP blog. She is the real deal and an excellent teacher.

Lesson #1: Master Your Mindset to be an Anti-Racism Warrior

Lesson #1: Master Your Mindset to be an Anti-Racism Warrior

September 25, 2020

Episode 49 of the podcast is our first official lesson in the "Don’t Be Racist Series." And the first  lesson is all about Mindset. In order to be an anti-racist warrior, you have to master your mindset. On the show I share why this is necessary, and how to get it done.

Research shows that the difference between those who succeed with their goals and those who fail, often comes down to mindset. But the good thing is, we control our mindset. So, essentially, we are in control of whether we’re going to be successful at something or not. And because I want everyone who listens to this podcast to become confident and successful anti-racism warriors, then we have to make sure we're coming to anti-racist work with the right attitude, energy and purpose. 

For the record, anti-racism work isn't about saving the colored people and it shouldn't be approached out of sense of guilt or ancestral obligation. Listen in as I break down why white people should be embracing anti-racism work and how to get in the right frame of mind for something that may seem scary or intimidating. 

It's a short but useful episode, so listen in and take notes. 

Useful Links + Resources 

I wrote a blog post about the importance of a mindset change for white America as they approach anti-racism work. It should be helpful as you contemplate this work. 

Check out the My American Meltingpot Bookstore on Bookshop.org for anti-racism titles and great multicultural fiction and nonfiction. 

Homework Assignment to Help Master Your Mindset

Watch one documentary about racial injustice. Here are three offerings on Netflix you might want to check out:

13th -This award-winning documentary by Ava DuVernay is about the criminal justice system and its treatment of African Americans.

Immigration Nation - This new docu-series takes a deep look at immigration in the United States today. 

The Two Killings of Sam Cooke - "While Sam Cooke rose to stardom as a soul singer, his outspoken views on civil rights drew attention that may have contributed to his death at age 33."

Thank you for listening!

Welcome to the “Don’t be Racist” Series

Welcome to the “Don’t be Racist” Series

September 18, 2020

On Season five of the podcast, we’re doing something a little different. From now until the end of November, we’re running a special series called, “Don’t Be Racist.” On each episode, I’ll be sharing short, actionable, bite-sized lessons on how to be an anti-racist. New episodes will appear every Friday. 

On episode 48, I'm sharing my reasons for launching this series and explaining what you can expect from me, your favorite anti-racism educator. In a nutshell, I plan to show up to make this series as pleasant and invigorating as anti-racism work can be. I'm giving you real-life lessons that you can start applying to your daily life right away. I’m not here to guilt you into doing better, or to beat you up for your ancestors' crimes. I just want to be the spark that inspires you to embrace an anti-racist attitude and take action.

America needs you. The world needs you. I need you.

So, tune in next Friday and be ready to work.

Also, tell your friends about the series. Remember, sharing is caring.

In the meantime, if you want some homework, go listen to a few of our past podcast episodes that will help get you thinking about anti-racism work, white supremacy and how to have conversations about race. This post offers a list of episodes to get you started.

Finally, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I will be sharing additional content meant to inspire you on your anti-racism journey.

Let's do this! 

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