It really is. A chance to do better. To work on fixing yesterday’s foibles. To make better choices. To work on remaining present and living intentionally. To be grateful for what I have and use it to bring positivity into the world.
(Sorry. That may sound cheesy but it’s just a pep talk I am giving to myself. Trying to remember this as I feel stuck in a rut but determined to crawl out. It is true — we get to start over every morning. This is one reason I love planners with daily pages!)
This week’s podcast episode features Jennifer Nagel, owner of personal training/coaching company Figured Out Fitness in East Lansing, MI. Her training is done entirely virtually which means she has been able to continue to help her clients over the past several months. It also means that anyone can work with her, even if you are nowhere near East Lansing.
She was a fantastic guest and I think I am going to sign up to experience her company’s services first hand after I finish my current 80 Day Obsession 🙂 She looks amazing (clearly, as you can see above!) and her story is inspiring but at the same time she really has a calm and nurturing presence. I am sure her programs reflect this.
This episode was arranged long before George Floyd’s murder, and recorded before the incident was receiving significant national press. So it is coincidental that we are featuring a Black woman in the wake of this tumultuous time with so much new attention on anti-racism.
However, I would like to state outright that we would like to feature more Black women and women of color on BOBW in the future. The reason for the relative Whiteness of our prior guests is . . . well, we generally select from those who pitch to us. If anything, I would say we were more likely to say “yes!” to a potential guest of color. BUT the submissions we received from Black women or other women of color were relatively few. I’m guessing this is likely due to who listens to our podcast and shares our networks in the first place, and also due to the societal factors that make it so difficult to succeed in the incredibly unfair playing field we currently live in.
I will actively admit we did not do the work of actively seeking out those with different perspectives. But I am determined to, moving forward. Laura is in full support of this as well. If you happen to have ideas of who we should approach, they are welcome!! Send them via email, in the comments, or on our Insta.
Two recent podcast episodes I have enjoyed:
- Discussing Flipping the Script on Health Disparities with Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako from Physician’s Guide to Doctoring. (The guest, a Yale med student, also has his own podcast Flip the Script — I added the subscription but haven’t listened yet!)
- A Summer Reading Pledge from The Lazy Genius Podcast.
How about my friend Sacha Black? She would have some great perspectives about identity and race. Her parents had different skin colours and so she could speak about the experience of not necessarily feeling black or white.
I’d love to connect you.
Please ask her and send me her contact!
I love suggesting guests. Here are some suggestions of African-American guests I know have kids who I’d like to hear on the show.
– Mandi Woodruff – financial journalist, also cohosts the podcast Brown Ambition
– Rebecca Carroll – journalist, also has a WNYC podcast about race/ racism
– Kaitlyn Greenidge, novelist who also writes for NYT parenting
– Clint Smith III – poet/ researcher/ teacher, his tweets about his 2 kids are hilarious
Some Black women I’d like to hear from:
I follow Angela Jones, JD on Instagram and I love her positive outlook and ambition. She is the CEO of Washington STEM.
Also Tracy Sturdivant is a social change activist and leader of The League.
Also, thank you for featuring Tiffany Dufu. It was one of my favorite episodes.
Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve been thinking about hiring a personal trainer since I can’t seem to motivate myself for more than a few weeks at a time (if that). Will keep her in mind if somehow my summer does not get sucked into a vortex of moving and suckitude.
I’d love it if you were able to get Mrsmommymd on the podcast!
Sarah, I’ve really appreciated your response to current events recently – it feels honest and thoughtful. But it’s strange to me that you posted this conversation about increasing diverse voices on your podcast and Laura posted the episode on her blog today without any acknowledgement of this idea at all.
I just saw the comments on your blog from a day or two ago about this and I do hate that I’m jumping in the fray a bit. I understand it’s not easy to figure out how to address these topics and I don’t envy you. But the very lopsided responses you two have presented is confusing. Do you two plan to discuss this on blogs/social/the podcast moving forward together? Is there a reason you are speaking about this topic as a “we” and Laura is not doing the same?
I can’t really answer for Laura about her blog content, but I am being truthful when I used “we” above. I brought up the topic but she did support it completely and is on board with actively working on significantly increasing the diversity of our guests in the future. Which I was very glad about 🙂
I read OMDG’s clarification of what she meant last week, and maybe this is it? You can’t just read books and listen to podcasts. You have to have the really hard conversations, too. Why aren’t descriptions and statements about BOBW appearing on the website as you also want? I get that the postings appear on Laura’s blog, but BOBW is also yours. Her response to seeking diverse voices was pretty lame — is that your view too? You are open to hearing from diverse voices, but not addressing whether you will seek them out?
That said, I see things pretty differently about LV than many of the commentators, The few times she has completed on “political” issues, I have found her comments so incredibly offputting, I’m glad that she doesn’t comment. Perhaps, she has had an epiphany on structural injustice and her role in it, but I’m not holding my breath.
I personally will make sure that we will seek them out (and I think that Laura is in agreement even if she didn’t make that as clear in her wording).
I have to echo Melissa (and some of the other commenters from a few days ago) here, as well. I’ve really appreciated your posts here on the topic of anti-racism, Sarah, and I hope you continue to talk about this. I really do believe that white silence is complicity here; at the very least, it betrays a lack of caring. For this reason, Laura’s posts have felt really jarring to me. I’m a huge BOBW fan and I read both of your blogs regularly. All I can think is that I suppose Laura’s blog posts are more tied to her livelihood than yours are, but even if that’s the case, her vague posts about ‘volunteering’ etc. have clearly shown that she doesn’t want to actually speak about this. In any case, thank you for continuing to do so. I’m a white woman in your audience, and I can only imagine what your BlPOC listeners must be feeling seeing this.
Kendra, you expressed my thoughts exactly.
I’m a POC regular listener who also reads both blogs regularly. The discrepancy is very obvious. Sarah, I really appreciate what you are posting. Readers are definitely paying attention.
I am really glad you are actively taking steps to diversify the podcast and for this reason I have placed a couple of suggestions below. However, educating ourselves with existing resources is an important first step before looking to Black women in particular for additional labor at this moment in time (what would they get out of being on your podcast, especially if they are not selling something?). As the other commenters in this thread have noted, you have made visible your work in this area. While I don’t think everyone has to post their learning on their blog, and it is an ongoing process for all of us, I agree with the other commenters that Laura’s silence/ tone-deaf posts give me the impression that she is not doing this work yet. Hopefully I am wrong, and you will both be able to share your learning and diversify BOBW.
Dr. Sylvia Perry: https://www.psychology.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/core/profiles/sylvia-perry.html
Also check out her recent research on parent/child conversations about race: https://psyarxiv.com/3xdg8/?fbclid=IwAR2naw6Ng_TsCp4PyFLLmDyuV0fsY9dEcRPZzC5HeIM7dDyRJyXTHPAAviA
Dr. Uju Anya: https://ed.psu.edu/directory/oca2
I’m a few weeks behind on podcasts (my 12 minute commute and time in the lab really did give me a lot of podcast time!) so I can’t wait to listen to this. I used to live in East Lansing, when I was in grad school! Loved it there. Don’t have any recommendations other than those listed above.
Jamilah Lemieux from Slate’s parenting podcast would be an awesome guest.
I appreciate your honesty and willingness to grow in front of your readers!
I don’t have suggestions for WoC that would be a good fit, unfortunately. In most cases, I enjoy your guests that are listeners more than those that are promoting a product or service. As your listenership has grown, I wonder if you have any non-white listeners (or anyone with a non-typical background) that would be willing to talk about their work/home lives & strategies?
thank you for addressing this! as a non-white minority in STEM, the nondiversity of the guests has always rubbed me the wrong way a bit (Tiffany Dufu, Parita Kutarappan and Jessica Nagel… is that correct? the rest are caucasian/white guests?), although I do still enjoy the content. Australian guests are going to be tough to interview due to timezone differences, but Debbie Kilroy helps advocates for the human rights of women (particularly aboriginal women) in the Australian criminal justice system, https://sistersinside.com.au/about/debbie-kilroy/
I note however that my recommendation is counterintuitive, as Debbie does not appear to be of non-white origin, although she was married to an indigenous man. Still, she is the only drug trafficker to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia. a feature of her background here might be interesting. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/04/time-served-how-debbie-kilroy-went-from-jail-to-advising-the-government-on-sentencing
Would also love to hear from Yassmin Abdel-Magied (a Sudanese-Australian writer, former engineer, based in London)…http://www.yassminam.com/
I would love to see BOBW take a closer look at one the core ideas of the podcast: productivity culture. I say this as a white professional woman who loves planning and checking off those boxes! But I’ve been learning lately that productivity culture is part of white supremacy – it’s one of those “air we breathe” kinds of things, where being productive is a part of whiteness that can be really hard to recognize. Rather than asking a woman of color to do that educational labor, this is a place where white women could take a hard look at their own assumptions and priorities. I’ve been trying to do this and would love to learn from others, too.
One resource: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html
I’m sorry, but I’ve read your link a couple times and don’t see the connection at all. The fanatic book The Checklist Manifesto, written by Atul Gawande, doesn’t exactly read like a white supremacist tract.
Laura has mentioned in past posts that she is a conservative. I am afraid that, if she spoke about Black Lives Matter, it would be a right-wing view that would likely alienate the majority of readers. I can only assume this is why she won’t address it.
I love that you are thinking so intentionally about diversifying the content of BOBW. A few thoughts: @laurascottandco – physician mom of (soon to be) 4 with an inspiring story, great work-life balance tips and also advocates for valuing Black lives and confronting racial injustice. Kimberly Seals Allers-journalist and maternal/fetal health advocate. She also wrote about how white women have been able to achieve work-life balance by shifting their domestic duties to WOC. I personally would just love to hear the two of you discuss your privilege as white women and what conversations you are having with your children.
I would love Laura Scott – she has over 100K followers and may be too famous to consider us 🙂 But we can try!
I have read all comments. I think you are very lucky to have all these intelligent/sensible/thoughtful readers. Sometimes I have felt a «white privileged» vibe in the comments section here, but I have the proof now that there is a diversity of readers waiting for change of minds.
It took me a few days of this post nagging at me before I decided to come back and say something, and I’m glad I did – there are some really good comments here that get to the heart of much of what I was wanting to say. (I’m a weird outlier reader who only found your blog last year via knowing about Laura from her books, and I have no interest in planners and am not really a podcast person, but I just keep reading 😂) With all due respect to Laura, it’s become pretty clear over the past couple of weeks that her silence around issues of race/racism in her books and blog, which previously came across as oblivion (to give her the benefit of the doubt because let’s be honest, all of us white people have experienced versions of that oblivion to varying degrees in our own lives – it comes with the territory!), is actually either purposeful oblivion or a conscious choice… either way, even when these issues are trending, it seems she’s having none of it. So yep, I echo the other commenters who shared appreciation that you’re talking about racism. Just going for it and bumbling through is the only way any of us get better at it! Anyways, that isn’t actually what I came here to say 🙂 One thing that wasn’t touched on in the previous comments was your mention of societal factors making it hard for women of color to succeed. This actually jumped out at me, because it echoes one of the really common “talent gap” narratives in hiring practices (if there were only qualified candidates of color we would totally hire them, but we haven’t found any so they must not exist!). No judgement here – I’ve been involved in hiring in the nonprofit field for years, and it took me forever (and much reading/learning!) to even begin to understand how to reframe in a way that puts the onus back on me/us: If we assume there’s a ton of skilled POC out there (ummm because there are) but none of them are applying for our job opening, what are WE doing wrong and what can WE change? This line of questioning opens up opportunities for really rich self-reflection, transformation, and evolution – all that stuff that’s so hard and uncomfortable, but the stuff that makes change possible. Which is a super long-winded way of saying – there are a ton of badass women of color out there who’d be super qualified to be on BOBW, they’re just not choosing to pitch. So part of it is doing some legwork yourselves to recruit POC guests (with the caveats that others mentioned above), the other part would be working on the podcast itself to resonate more strongly with people besides white women who share similar identities to you and Laura. Not at all to erase your listeners of color, but just to say that one of the main things that makes a (virtual or actual) space *feel* super white is when nobody ever mentions race or racism – rather than making things feel more welcoming, which is what we as white people usually imagine will happen if we don’t bring up “divisive” things like racism, it pretty much does the opposite. Haha omg this turned into the most ridiculously long debut comment ever so I will wrap it up here – in short, I echo the commenters above (even without featuring more WOC on the show, have more conversations about racism and whiteness! it’s okay to not have it be perfect!) and wanted to say again, thanks for addressing your own learning frankly and openly ❤️
ALL very good points/ideas. And yes, we need to do the work to recruit more diverse voices. I do have to think that there ARE societal factors making it harder for Black women to succeed (I have gleaned this from horrifying statistics about #s of CEOs, or even things like the NYT Bestseller List). I mean, that is sadly part of the whole issue – the job market is NOT a level playing field. But it is true that even if percentages are lopsided there are likely literally millions of amazing voices to choose from.
Oh totally – I didn’t at all mean to argue that this part of it isn’t true! Just that it can be a both/and rather than an either/or.