Lets Talk Race | POF93

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By Robbin McManne. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Let’s talk about race…we have to. We ALL have to. Stories of racial inequality and systemic racism permeate the news headlines. We can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. I have been so ignorant to this topic. As a white woman, I didn’t know what white privilege was and that I have it.

I am honoured to talk about this important subject with two incredible women, Fern Johnson and Marlene Fine, who have written the book, Let’s Talk Race, a Guide for White People. In their book, they talk about their journey to adopt children that lead them to adopt two black boys.

Both Fern and Marlene are accomplished professors, researchers and authors in the areas of communication, race, gender, cultural language diversity and multiculturalism. Because of their backgrounds, they thought they were up to the task of raising two African American boys, and although they were, there was still a lot they needed to learn.

In this episode we talk about:

How language communicates race and racism

How we need to understand and learn black history and have empathy for black experiences.

How to talk with your children about race and interracial adoption

Fern and Marlene’s book, Let’s Talk Race – a Guide for White People is available anywhere books are sold.

For a free copy of their guide, Tips for Communicating Race and Racial Identity, follow this link: https://1drv.ms/b/s!AqxowX5Jqw4HgdhRhzXLdENw2dcrDQ?e=mZGyYK

About Fern Johnson and Marlene Fine

Fern L. Johnson is a native Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, which is a suburb of Minneapolis. She attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees and received a M.A. degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Throughout her teaching and research career, her interests have focused on the relationship of language and communication to society and culture, with emphasis on cultural and language diversity in the U.S. and how language channels and shapes our beliefs, values, and attitudes. Johnson is the author of Speaking Culturally—Language Diversity in the United States (Sage) and Imaging in Advertising—Verbal and Visual Codes of Commerce (Routledge) plus numerous articles and book chapters. She and Marlene Fine co-authored The Interracial Adoption Adoption—Creating a Family Across Race (Jessica Kingsley), which grew out of their experience as white parents of adopted African American children.

Prior to her Ph.D. work, Johnson taught at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. After the Ph.D., she moved to Massachusetts as a faculty member in the Communication department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she also served as Deputy Provost. After 13 years at UMass, she was appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following her years in administration at Clark, she was a full time professor of English and Director of the Interdisciplinary Communication and Culture Program.

Johnson’s interest in how race, ethnicity, and gender impact communication reaches back to her undergraduate studies when she was first introduced to linguistic research on African American language structure and history. In graduate school, she deepened her knowledge of sociolinguistics and also became engaged in newly developing inquiry into how culture shapes language to conform to a male-female binary, and how that communication binary leads to judgments about language users. As the U.S. became increasingly diverse and languages other than English reshaped the national language landscape, Johnson’s work explored the implications of a multilingual society for education and public policy both in the U.S. and Europe.

In addition to her teaching and research, Johnson has conducted seminars and workshops on issues related to race and to gender equity and interracial adoption.

Johnson has received national recognition for her accomplishments through two major awards from the National Communication Association: The Robert J. Kibler Memorial Award for dedication to excellence, vision, and diversity, and the Women’s Caucus Francine Merritt Award for outstanding contributions to the lives of women in the Association and the communication discipline.

Johnson resides west of Boston in Holliston, Massachusetts. She currently serves on the Advancement Council for the Greater Boston Food Bank and works as a volunteer in support of the food pantry in her community.

Marlene G. Fine, Ph.D.

Marlene G. Fine grew up on the Jersey Shore and attended Asbury Park High School. She received her B.A. in Speech from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her M.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. After teaching for two years at Clarion State University in Pennsylvania, she returned to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for her Ph.D. She started a small communications consulting firm (with William Erklauer) while she was completing her doctorate and became interested in finance through her work with clients. She pursued her M.B.A. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst intending to change careers but was lured away from finance by an opportunity to become the Associate Dean of the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She remained there for eleven years as a faculty member and serving as director of the MBA Program and then chair of the Marketing and Communications Department. Fine then went to Emerson College as the Dean of Graduate Studies. She spent the last fifteen years of her academic career at Simmons College as a Professor of Communications. Early in her time at Simmons, she served as Director of the Master’s in Communications Management program.

Throughout her career, Fine’s research interests focused on issues of race and gender. Fine is the author of Building Successful Multicultural Organizations—Challenges and Opportunities (Quorum) and the co-author (with Fern L. Johnson) of The Interracial Adoption Option—Building a Family Across Race (Jessica Kingsley) and the forthcoming Let’s Talk Race—A Guide for White People (New Society). Fine and Johnson’s work on interracial adoption grew out of their experience as the white parents of adopted African American children. Her early research examined the use of Black English Vernacular on television. As she developed an interest in organizational communication, her later work focused on cultural diversity in organizations, women and leadership, and interracial adoption. Fine has led numerous seminars and workshops on cultural diversity and (with Fern L. Johnson) on interracial adoption.

Fine has also been active in community volunteer work related to race. She was a facilitator with the YW Boston Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity for many years and worked with the Boston Busing Desegregation Project (sponsored by the Union of Minority Neighborhoods) on creating an oral history of what happened from 1974-1988 when Boston was forced to desegregate its public schools through court-ordered busing.

Fine lives in Holliston, Massachusetts, a suburb west of Boston, where she volunteers with her local food pantry. She also serves on the board of Hillel, an international organization for Jewish college students, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Thanks for listening!

It means so much to me that you listened to my podcast! If you would like to purchase my book or other parenting resources, visit me at www.yellingcurebook.com

With this podcast, my intention is to build a community of parents that can have open and honest conversations about parenting without judgement or criticism. We have too much of that! I honor each parent and their path towards becoming the best parent they can be. My hope is to inspire more parents to consider the practice of Peaceful Parenting. If you know somebody who would benefit from this message, or would be an awesome addition to our community, please share it using the social media buttons on this page.

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148 episodes