In this episode, psychotherapist, social worker, and parent coach Teva Johnstone and I…
- question the identity points system, particularly as it appears online, and how neoliberal identitarianism values identity and identity points when deciding if someone is allowed to speak or not
- discuss why people are so attracted to labels and identity markers, particularly after the disconnection from community and belonging so many people experienced in 2020 and beyond
- discuss the labels and identities we hold dear, such as woman and mother
- share Teva’s experience with her Instagram account being suddenly deleted without notification after she made a post that went against far left social justice culture
- revist the Chris Rock/Will Smith incident and discuss neurodivergence, violence, and race
- talk about the problem with grouping identities together as if they are a monolith
- talk about colorism and white supremacy
- discuss privilege: when it matters and when it’s weaponized to silence people
- discuss class disparity and why that’s where we can make the most impact in social justice
This Episode’s Guest
Teva Johnstone is a Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Parent Consultant, and Southern California Mother. She is the Owner and Founder of Neurodiversity Parenting LLC—a coaching, consulting, and online education company. She has worked with children and parents since 2017.
I’m teaching Nervous System 101 again on Tuesday, September 13 at 6pm CDT. This is a live Zoom workshop all about the role of the autonomic nervous system, how it’s impaired by trauma, the role of brain inflammation in chronic and mysterious symptoms, and what to do about it to start healing. Cost is $55, but financial aid is available, no questions asked. Get on the waitlist to be notified when tickets are on sale again!
Hello? Hello. I’m alive. Are you so. Crazy right. I’m alive. Um, I was not intending to take two months off. From the podcast. I was actually planning on doing an episode every two weeks, this summer. And then I got COVID. At the beginning of June. And basically completely lost the month of June. Um,
I didn’t get super sick. I was sick for maybe a week. Um, didn’t really have respiratory symptoms, which I was kind of expecting, but the fatigue. Oh my gosh, the fatigue. So I was like down, down, had to cancel clients, had to cancel podcast interviews, all of it for like 10 days. And then for about three weeks after that, every afternoon at like three, four in the afternoon, I would just hit a wall of tired.
And it was like, okay. I’ve done all I can do for today. And I now have to go sit on the porch or lay on a blanket in the yard or go to bed and watch Netflix. So. I am finally over COVID. Um, the other thing that COVID triggered was a relapse of insomnia. So just when you need to be sleeping so that you can heal.
There’s enough inflammation in the brain and body that my brain and body are like, well, we will not be sleeping. So I am now on week seven. Uh, or eight of insomnia. I’m doing okay. Doing okay. Doing some new things to support my body and my brain practicing a lot of awareness. And I’m really happy that although I’m having a relapse of insomnia, I.
I’m actually feeling okay. Um, not nearly the anxiety that I normally experience whenever I have insomnia, usually for me, anxiety and insomnia are like twins that go together and they come as a pair. And this time it’s just been insomnia and I haven’t really had anxiety. So. I’m still doing all my things to support my brain and my brain inflammation, practicing my nervous system, hygiene, spending a lot of time outside, prioritizing rest, putting myself on a schedule, you know, all the things.
And I trust that sleep will come back. Eventually I know that my body knows how to sleep and so sleep will eventually return. I’ve also in the past two months taught my nervous system 1 0 1 workshop four times, four times. So in June I taught the workshop. On a Tuesday. And then for the very first time ever, we offered a Saturday morning version of the same workshop.
I’d received a lot of requests from people in different time zones, like, um, Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Who were never able to attend the Tuesday workshops live because they were either working or sleeping. During that time. And so we decided to try out offering a Saturday morning workshop and it was wildly successful.
So then in July we turned around and we did it again. And we actually sold out of, to nervous system 1 0 1 workshops. And today is Sunday, July 31st. So I just taught the Saturday workshop yesterday morning at 11. And it’s so fun. I love, love, love teaching to groups. I especially love teaching on the nervous system. I feel like I could talk about the nervous system.
All day, every day, I frequently do talk about it all day, every day. And I am just so grateful that my path brought me to the knowledge of the nervous system. And. The true magic that really unlocks. Whenever we start to honor our nervous systems and learn how to regulate our nervous systems and process trauma through the body to alleviate the load that our nervous systems are carrying. And then that ultimately ends up in us creating a lot more safety in our bodies and we feel a lot better.
About showing up in our world and in our relationships. So, if you are interested in attending my nervous system, 1 0 1 workshop, the next one is going to be on Tuesday, September 13th. At 6:00 PM central daylight time. So I will have a link below in the show notes where you can join the wait list so that you are going to get an email.
As soon as the tickets, uh, are for sale for that workshop, tickets are $55 a piece. And that includes attending the live if you want to, but whether you attend the live workshop or you don’t. Your ticket includes the replay lifetime access to the replay. That includes the Q and a at the end. And then also lifetime access to my teaching notes. So you will have my notes and the workshop and you can rewatch anytime you need to.
So put yourself on the wait list. If you want to get an email for whenever I am selling tickets for that workshop again. Um, I have now taught. Almost a thousand people in the multiple times that I’ve offered nervous system 1 0 1 and holy shit, that is humbling and satisfying and just lights me up. So.
If you have attended my nervous system one-on-one workshop. Thank you. Thank you. If you have any testimonials that you would like to share, please send me a message on Instagram, or you can send an email to email@example.com and share your experience with nervous system 1 0 1. And I would really, really appreciate it because I can use that to help reach more people so that they can get that same life-changing nervous system information.
So other than nervous system workshops and COVID recovery. I don’t really have much else to report. Um, we’ve been gardening the summer. We’ve been doing a lot of swimming. I’ve been doing cold plunges and lake superior. Lake superior has been super cold this year. Um, I haven’t even been in it when the water has been above 52 degrees.
And that is pretty freaking cold. Um, so doing cold plunges gardening, our garden is looking beautiful. Our broccoli cauliflower and cabbage is all amazing. I grew more strawberries this year than I’ve ever grown before. Um, and I have planted pumpkin’s and zucchini, but then I had some volunteer pumpkin’s and zucchini come up in my compost.
And the volunteer pumpkin’s and zucchini are like literally 20 times bigger than the pumpkins and zucchini that are in the actual garden itself. So. Talk about ironic. Um, I would say, I guess, besides the broccoli cauliflower and cabbage, the thing that’s doing the best is the potatoes. And, uh, other than that, not much good stuff in my garden this year. Oddly.
Um, so anyway, I would just love to dive into today’s episode. We are talking about identity, identity, identities, something that’s such a hot topic. Um, especially in the past two years, um, with social media, Activism and social justice warriors. So my guest for this episode is Teva, Johnstone, and Teva is a social worker, a psychotherapist, a parent consultant.
And she’s a mom in Southern California. She owns neurodiversity parenting, LLC, which is her business where she coaches and consults and does online education. And she has worked with children and parents since 2017. I’ll have links to Tevez website, as well as her Instagram account in the show notes below.
And what we’re talking about in this conversation is identity where almost everything’s made up and the points don’t matter if you grew up watching whose line is it? Anyway, that’s something that drew Carey said at the beginning of every show. And I think it is a catchy way. Uh, catchy little phrase to apply to identity. So in this episode, Teva and I are talking about questioning the identity point system, um, particularly online and how the boxes were supposed to check according to extreme near liberal identitarianism are kind of.
Ridiculous. And that it’s ridiculous to even have these identity check boxes because people who don’t have identity markers are silenced and told that they’re not allowed to have a voice. We also discuss why people are so attracted to labels and identity markers. Um, including back in 2020, when we were forced to disconnect from each other because of the pandemic.
And our search for belonging. Had to kind of start, you know, and we started finding belonging and people who identified with us online rather than people that we had real life relationships with that. Um, because those relationships weren’t allowed for awhile. Um, we also discuss certain labels and identities that we hold dear, such as, uh, for Teva and I both the identities of woman and mother.
And we share some identity and gender experiences that are dear to us, like birth and breastfeeding. We also share tape as experience with her Instagram account being totally deleted last spring, after she posted a viewpoint that is contrary to social justice culture. We revisit the Chris rock will Smith incidents at the Oscars, which I’m sure you remember. Um, and this led to a discussion on neurodivergent identities.
And sort of, you know, what her perspective as a black woman was when the Chris rock willsmith incident happened. We also talk with, uh, I’m sorry. We talk about the problem. Um, when we say like the XYZ community, like as a member of the gay community, or as a member of the black community, or as a member of the indigenous community, sort of like these larger communities are a monolith and, um, Teva as a black woman helps us to understand why these communities actually are not a monolith.
And there’s a lot of divergence. And maybe even sub identities in these communities. We talk about colorism privilege and white supremacy and some of the wildly inappropriate justifications and excuses. That often pass in our society based on what color or nationality or race one person is. We discussed how we put people on pedestals based on identity markers and how this actually dehumanizes them.
We talk about a concept called feature ism, which at the time of this recording was a new concept for Teva and she shares some personal experience with that. We talk about privilege when it actually matters, versus when it’s weaponized and used to shut down conversation. And we talk about class disparity and how, if we actually focused our social activism on class disparity.
Rather than gender and race, how we would be creating a much more equitable. Society. So I hope that you enjoy this conversation about identity, and if you find yourself feeling offended, Please just notice that notice any triggers that you may feel notice if those triggers or offenses. Are causing you to question some beliefs that you may have been holding onto really deeply.
And also just know that this is a really nuanced conversation and there’s probably a lot of perspective that Teva and I didn’t bring into this conversation that you might have, and regardless of your color or gender, your perspective and your voice also matter. So I hope that you enjoy this conversation with Teva Johnstone and, um, welcome back to the podcast.
Yes. Hello, Teva. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. I’m so excited to finally meet you. Face-to-face we were just talking about how following each other on Instagram. It feels like we already know each other, but we’ve never actually spoken. So it’s nice to finally be speaking to you.
You too, Lindsay, thank you for having me. Oh yes. Oh yeah, me too. And as I was just sharing with you before I hit the record button, I am terrified to have this conversation. And so I want our listeners to know that I’m terrified to have this conversation. And you were like, why are you terrified? And I was like, because I’m white.
And actually I think that’s a really good place to. Go into the chat we’re going to have today. Is that what we’ve seen in the last couple of years, especially since the murder of George Floyd especially on the internet, is this sort of like we heard social justice culture movement that is essentially creating points out of identity.
And if you don’t have enough points. Then you don’t get to talk and you don’t get to have an opinion and what you say doesn’t matter, and you really need to just sit down and shut up. And I am someone that does not have a lot of points. So I am white. I am in a heterosexual marriage. I have full ability in my body.
I’m not autistic. I suspect that I am probably neurodivergent, but I don’t really know enough about it. To say how I’m neurodivergent. I just always feel like I’m marching to the beat of my own drum and in different than everyone else. And I’m not clear so I don’t really have a whole lot of identity points and social justice culture would say, then you need to turn that microphone off and you need to stop having this conversation.
And you need to hand the mic to people who are black or indigenous or people of color who are queer, who are trans, who are disabled, who are neurodivergent or autistic, like who have the identity points that you don’t have. Can you speak to that at all?
Yeah, definitely. Where do I even start? First I guess I should just say that I have. I have some identity points, if you will. I am a multiracial black person and a woman. I don’t usually list I’m neurodivergent, but I don’t usually list all of my identity points because I think it’s. I think it’s a little bit ridiculous.
Like sometimes I don’t, I just don’t want to play by that game. Especially with the internet. If we were just you and I know recording nothing, like I’m such an open book and I would probably tell you everything within five minutes, but. After being online publicly for a year, I’m like the internet is so it’s so mean sometimes I’m like, why should I tell you all the details about my family and my history and my background and my medical record, just so you can give me permission to speak.
No, I’m sorry. I do not play that game. So I just really disagree with meeting to check the boxes, to be able to speak. I realized that it’s like a main tenant of social justice culture, and it’s one that I don’t agree with. And that. I am vocal about these things and I make people mad and I’ve accepted that.
And I just think that it’s really anti intellectual. I think that we limit good ideas by saying you don’t check those boxes. You can not offer your brain. You cannot offer your ideas or your voice because of the lack of melanin in your skin. It is so backwards. It goes against everything that I was raised to believe in.
And because I have had the privilege of Thomas Chatterton Williams put this really well. I have always been loved and. I have always loved and been loved by white people and black people. So this like binary of like good and evil oppressor and oppressed, I just there’s no room for me. And that makes you really not low.
It makes me not woke. And I am someone who has been woke like my whole life. Like my family’s low. I’ve always been progressive. I’m in probably the most woke field, like possible a social worker, but by modern day standards, I am not woke. And I’m fine with that. Yeah. I don’t want to be part of the club based on their tenants and their behavior.
Yeah. Yeah. So you shared a quote from the late great bell hooks on Instagram. And so bell said the way we use labels and the way labels, isolate people. And what does it mean to imagine a world where we are not bound by labels? Why do you think it is? People are so hung up on labels these days, and so afraid to imagine a world where.
Quite honestly, it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago where we did live in a world where we weren’t bound by all these labels. I remember that in my life, like not that long ago. Why do you think there is this just focus on labels and people really getting hung up on that and making that the most important thing?
Yeah. Gosh, I feel there are many reasons. I think that people want to belong to something. I think that we’re living in a day and age where we are so disconnected from one another, particularly starting in 2020 with the pandemic. And then, everybody becoming activists after George Floyd’s murder.
I think that we so desperately want to belong. And even before 2020, with social media and our smartphones, like just cutting us off from each other. Like I grew up all of my formative years. I’m a late millennial I’m like, I just made millennial. We had in-person relationships that made us feel like we belonged to our friend groups.
And now that is just, it’s becoming less common. And I think that online people just want to grasp to these identities. Feel part of something. And I think that also, so there’s the lack of in-person interactions combined with people don’t have religion. People don’t have spirituality. People are lacking a lot of meaning in their life.
And so having this. Identity Marion social justice culture firm, grasp of these labels helps them feel like their life means something. I think it serves as almost like a spiritual purpose. Yeah. That makes sense. Do you think that do you think that labels ever serve a good purpose? Yeah, I I think labels are okay.
I just think that it’s like how we use that. To divide and to punish and to silence. I love certainly labels about myself. I love certain identities about myself, mother being one of them, which I also post about frequently. Yeah. Like I hold the identity of breastfeeding momma. Like I no longer am nursing, but I was that person for a long time, many years.
And I love being with my other breastfeeding moms. That’s a label and an identity that I hold very dear. And I know that some people like really want to make everything, gender neutral and like cool. If they want to. But I don’t want to, I love my gender labels and identities. I love being a woman.
I love connecting with my sisters, literal sisters and figurative soul sisters. That means a lot to me. So I think that, yeah, I think that labels can serve a positive purpose, but just like anything, I think they can be overused and warp into not so great. Yeah, for sure.
I’m really glad you brought that up. I also definitely love being a woman, w O M a N woman. I love like being able to share space with other women particularly a lot of my friends and I, we hang out so often and we live in such close proximity to each other that we often are on a very similar menstrual cycle.
And so it’s like a really special, almost makes you feel like you’re part of a club the way, like we all do this fucking cold thing together at the same time. And we’re all like witchy and like powerful. And I noticed myself, not even allowing myself to talk about being a woman, being a mother a lot on line because I’m terrified somebody is going to land in my dance is going to tell me how not inclusive I am and how like I’m making it an unsafe, harmful, problematic space for.
Non-gender conforming people like it’s. So it makes my head want to explode. Same. And I’ve been doing the same self-censorship for quite some time and I’m blossoming out of it now. It feels really good. And some people are upset by it and may feel threatened by it. But just if you’re going to be obsessed about your identity over here.
And want to make sure everyone’s using the right language that you connect to want to make sure you’re not misidentified in any way? Hello, I’m going to ask for the same. Yeah. And the group that I love to be a part of is the mama group. Like it’s gendered and I’m okay with that.
And like when I was newly in post-partum, crazy postpartum anxiety. Who can connect to that other moms and like going to my breastfeeding sisterhood group, which I don’t even know what it’s called now, they may have changed the name, but it was called breastfeeding sisterhood. And it was the first time in my adult life that I had.
I had my boobs out around other people and that was okay. Like I felt safe, yeah. And so those identity and gendered experiences are important and I’m co I’m in a part I’m in a stage of my life where I’m reclaiming those things that I’m not going to be scared of the DMS anymore, or the common.
Yeah, fuck. Yeah. Yeah. I think I am afraid of the DMS. I have gone through a couple of. I would say minor cancellations, although in my nervous system, they certainly did not feel minor. But it’s not even just the DMS and the shitty comments. It’s frightening to me, it’s the actual censorship of the platform, Instagram and or Facebook.
And I know not too long ago, your entire account of tens of thousands of people was literally like one day it existed and the next day it didn’t. And you reshared the posts that got you deleted or got your account taken down and I couldn’t even understand why, like I was like, I’ve posted way more shit than this.
So you said one slide said problematic. I don’t like their views or personality and I feel threatened. The next slide said they caused harm. They refuse to conform to my ideas and I feel powerless. So you’re taking these statements that people in social justice culture use a lot. And you’re basically saying.
No, this is what it really means. It really you think someone’s harmful, but really they’re just not conforming to who you want them to be. Like, you think something is problematic that you actually just don’t like them or their personality and you disagree with them. Like it’s not harmful. It’s not probably.
What was it like for you to wake up one day and your account to be totally gone like that? The internet did the censoring for you. And then you got your account back, which was, I think miraculous. What was that like? It was crazy. So it wasn’t like I woke up one day and it was gone.
I watched it happen in real time. Oh my gosh. So I made the post and I felt really good about the post. I felt like it had depth. It was like, and Insta therapy posts, but it wasn’t, rainbows and butterflies. And like I was offering an alternative. Viewpoint an alternative perspective. And I even said in the caption, this obviously is not true for true abuse and true violence.
This may not be true for your situation. Please take what fits and leave the rest and these kinds of things. So I like had the disclaimers in there, but I was offering a diverse viewpoint and the engagement was super fast, like way faster than normal for me. And I was like, oh, whoa, people are into this.
And I was having some good faith discussion in the comments, which I don’t often engage in the comments and that kind of way. And next thing you know, oh, I had it up on my laptop and my phone. Yeah. It was like double fisting it. And and then next thing you know, I get these alerts, I get this alert to my phone that says we’ve suspected suspicious activity and we’ve logged you out.
From Instagram. And I was like, oh, weird. Okay. So they locked me out. So I’m like just go and log back in. Couldn’t get back in. Then they’re like, we’ll send you a code to get back in code. Never comes. I try over and over again. You’ve maxed out. You can’t try anymore. Wait 24 hours. I wait 24 hours.
I try again, nothing happens. You’ve maxed out. It just kept going. Trying to reach them is like a black hole. Yeah. Then I had my friends check my account and it was just disappeared. Just wiped off the internet. Yeah. It was wild. Talk about nervous system. Yeah, dude, my nervous system was activated for you.
Cause like I was following you at that point and really loving what you’re sharing and feeling very resonant with it. And it was like one day you were there and then you weren’t. And I was like, oh my God. And of course the first thing I thought is what if this happens to me? Yup. Yep. And I was telling everyone like you, you’re not immune.
So don’t rely on Instagram for your entire business.
It was like the stages of grief. Like I went through like shock, denial, anger, sadness. I was pretty pissed because I had spent like 10 months building the account up to nearly 15,000 followers.
And I know that I had a lot of opportunity come my way because of the size of the account. And I was just, I was angry because I felt like I had been targeted and I still don’t know for sure what it was, but I think that I was target. Like targeted by hacker or buy a big account. I just don’t know.
I think I was either targeted by a hacker who didn’t like my views or targeted by maybe a large account that didn’t like my views. And so they fall asleep, reported that I was like posting something dangerous. And maybe they reported I was instigating violence or something. Cause it like was gone immediately.
No warnings, nothing. I didn’t get a notice saying I violated terms and conditions. So I still don’t know what happened. And throughout that week, numerous people reached out to me saying I have a friend who works at Instagram. I have a neighbor who works at Instagram and lots of people tried to help, but nothing came of it until someone contacted me directly from Instagram and said, I’m a parent.
I love your work. I’d like to help you. I hope you saved their phone number or their email address or whatever in case it ever happens. I did. I so did. And then yeah, then, so they were like, I can maybe get your account back in a few weeks, a few days or never.
And within 10 hours it was now. But it had been closed for a week. It had vanished for a week. So crazy. Yeah. I wonder if it was just, cause you said it got a lot of engagement and the very beginning, I wonder if Instagram saw the engagement that was happening and something was like telling the algorithm like this is spam or, ah, that’s what I wonder too.
And the person who reinstated the account for me. They haven’t shared with me what it was interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So we’re all at risk. We are. Yeah, because I don’t personally think that post is what got you taken down. You don’t think so. I don’t. To me, there’s nothing like violence or harmful or like it’s very informational.
Yeah. I don’t think it was the post itself. Yeah. I feel like I tend to make people I’m so agreeable by nature, but I also make people mad and you know how that goes online. So I do, I love a good mic drama. Yeah for myself. Yeah, totally. So speaking of violence, I know that this is super old news.
We’ve moved on to a lot of other things, but it, I want to have this conversation with you because you talked a lot about the Chris Rockwell Smith incident that happened at the Oscars and. I know there was a meme circulating that was like, if it hadn’t been for the Chris rock willsmith altercation, I wouldn’t have even known the Oscars happened.
And that’s totally me. Like I don’t watch the Oscars me too. So something that I noticed during that, of course I don’t watch the news, but I did go YouTube the scene and I watched it and I was like, holy shit. The first thing that came to my head had nothing to do with these men being black.
I feel really solid in being able to say if that had been two Asian dudes, if that had been two white dudes, if that had been to women, if that had been to queer people, like I would have thought the same thing and what I thought was. Holy shit, Chris rock. That was a jerk thing to say. And then holy shit will Smith.
That was a violent jerky thing to do. So I was like looking at both of these men, it had nothing to do with their race, just being like, come on, you guys. And I know you might disagree with me about Chris rock because I know he’s neurodivergent and that was something that was highlighted during that thing.
It is using Chris Rock’s, neurodivergence an excuse for him being a jerk or is it like, this is how we allow it, because that was how I was interpreting that. But as someone who knows a lot about neurodivergent people, I’m curious what your opinion on all that? No, I definitely don’t think it, it should be used as an excuse for being a jerk that’s for sure.
My thoughts on his. Comedic monologue was that he was doing his job and comedians are sometimes jerks in their comedy. That’s what they do for a living. And so I viewed Chris rock as a man working. Man, onstage telling jokes, doing his job jokes are funny because they’re subversive in my opinion.
That’s comedy, right? They say the things that we don’t want to say, but that we might be thinking. And me bringing up Chris Rock’s neurodivergence was because a huge portion of my following. They are neurodivergent or parents of neurodivergent kids. Most of them neurodivergence are thought of as disabilities.
And so I’m if you want to play the identity politics game, which I did not want to play, but. I’m happy to play by your rules. And let’s talk about it. Someone with a disability was on stage doing their job and assaulted. So I just wanted to bring that to my following, to the forefront of their mind, but neurodivergent, or not, the violence is violence to me.
I don’t care about their race, their gender. To me. It was violence. When I watched it, I was. Holy. Oh my God. That is awful. Yeah. And it happened on international television and unlike a movie, it wasn’t scripted. It was just like, it really happened. It wasn’t pretend exactly. And I could tell by Chris Rock’s face, like I read his face that like he was humiliated and it’s dehumanizing to be assaulted and on national television in front of everyone and so I just viewed it as just violence.
And then when I saw all this stuff popping up about, you’re only allowed to talk about this, if you’re black. Oh, hell no. That’s where I was going to go next. Yeah. So I’m like, okay, you want to listen to black voices? Here you go. Here’s mine. Why do you think people immediately were like, you can only talk about this if you’re a black.
I think there’s like the point of the optics. They’re both black men and then within, there’s no monolith community, but we use the term, in the black community. There’s this thing about protecting our men, not bringing the family violence out into the public light.
Protecting black women as if we need protection. Are you kidding me? I don’t need your protection, internet stranger. I’m sorry. That is like the most racist thing. Especially like when people of other races are saying stop. We need to protect black women. It’s do you understand how racist that looks?
You’re treating me? I’m an infant. I can speak for myself. Thank you. And no, I’m not going to hide the family violence for your comfort. I view it as this like secrecy. Let’s not bring it to the, the national forefront. Let’s just keep hush so we can save face. And I’m like, Nope, not willing to do that.
I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna protect violence. It’s not what I do for a living. It’s not. It doesn’t align with my values at all. So I just felt very strongly about it. I don’t care about celebrities for me. It was about violence. Yeah. That brings me to my next point, which as I was watching all of your highlights about that in preparation for this conversation, I noticed both you and some of your followers and you sharing their responses saying Chris rockin will Smith aside like this one event aside, there is a lot of justifying the harmful things, the actual harmful things that black indigenous people of color do because of their race.
And so it’s if a white person does that, it’s unacceptable. If a black indigenous person of color does the same thing, it’s justified and maybe not even only justified, but also protected because. Of their race. Can you speak to that at all? Or like what the fuck is going on? Can you give me more like an example?
On your on your Instagram, like you talked about justifying harmful stuff because of race, like being afraid, like people are afraid to say what a black person does is harmful. Or I haven’t. Okay. Because they’re black. Especially in today’s climate. Yeah, I guess I just mean exactly that.
Within the black community, there is there’s violence towards one another. That is a fact just like in any community there’s violence towards one another. There’s this color cased system where yes, people with lighter skin often are offered more privileges and more like benefit of the doubt by society.
There’s no doubt about that. And also another truth within that is that people with lighter skin are sometimes bullied by people with darker skin in this colorist colorism system. And we are told we’re not allowed to talk about it. It’s like you’re bringing the family business. You’re airing our dirty laundry.
Shut up. And even when we do talk about it, because I’ve experienced this in my own life, even when we do talk about it, people find a way to connect it back to white supremacy, which there’s some truth there. Lighter skin. It has a higher value in society because of you could call it a tradition of white supremacy, if you will.
And when someone is a victim of violence from someone within the black community, with darker skin, it is so wildly inappropriate to blame it on white supremacy. You can add, you can edit this if you need to, but I’m just like, fuck off. I’m sorry.
That’s like justifying domestic violence, justifying child abuse saying, it is true that in the time of slavery, there were people were whipped and that tradition carried on into some black parenting disciplinary practices. However, if a child were to be known to child welfare, because they’re being abused, it would be wildly inappropriate to say, oh yeah, that’s because of white supremacy.
Like what talk about gas lighting. Yeah. That’s really curious. I’ve never heard that like that the whipping from slavery was carried through. I was with. I was a child. So by my white stepfather and I am white and he was married to wipe my white mother. Yeah. So what would somebody say that, that.
It’s not the same is that light supremacy too. They would probably say that’s patriarchy. Oh, okay. Because it would, they would say that it was the white slave owners who were doing the whipping and they were usually men. And so that culture passed down into families of both black and white, they would say, oh, C.
It was always justified to me. It had nothing to do with patriarchy or race. It was always that because the Bible says that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child and that God disciplines, those, he loves. So that was the justification for it. And granted it wasn’t with. A stick with like leather straps.
It was just with massive leather belt. No, but again, I would never now look at a child who is experiencing that regardless of their color and be like, oh, that’s why it’s. Exactly. No it’s fucking child abuse. Exactly. Exactly. And this is same thing with domestic violence and it’s the same thing with assault, the assault that we watched at the Oscars to me, I’m like violence is violence.
I don’t care what race, the perpetrator or the victim is. And imagine, cause I did have this conversation with a few people. Imagine if will Smith would have been white. Oh, Ghana gone up there and assaulted a black male disabled comedian. Oh my gosh. Imagine so for me, I’m like, we are not going to make special rules for different racial groups.
I’m not having it. Yeah. Or what if Chris rock had been white and will Smith had been black? That would be interesting as well. I think we would’ve seen the same silencing online. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Probably. I guess that’s a good place for me to talk to you about like pedestal losing that, putting black people on a pedestal, putting indigenous people on a pedestal and like the way that we elevate.
And I even hate to use the word them because then that creates an us versus them. But I’ve said it so now everyone knows I’m aware of it. Yeah. I’m owning it. I’m just, I’m really curious about that because, I guess the only parallel that I have to that being a white person is where. A lot of times men are elevated over women or adults are elevated over children.
Sure. But where I see a problem and you point this out in your work as well, is it like you are a black woman and people have told you that your skin isn’t dark enough and your hair is a kinky enough. So how does it work to elevate a person of color? And then also have are there levels of kinkiness and blackness and like levels?
And if you have a certain level, then you get to. Say something or like what you say matters or there’s truth in what you say, but if you don’t have that level of melanin or it makes sense, Teva, make it make sense. I know. Oh, Lindsey. I will try. I will offer you the explanation that I hear, but I can’t make it make sense because it does not make sense.
It’s deranged. When we elevate when we put people on pedestals, based on their race or amount of melanin in their skin, we dehumanize. It’s the same thing that, we talk about in the autistic community, that when you put an autistic person on a pedestal and say, they’re not capable of lying, you are dehumanizing them.
So when you, when someone says that black women are immune from conversation, it dehumanizes black women. Because everyone is capable of the full range of human experience, including malice and benevolence. And when we deny these human qualities to one, another based on race or disability or class, we are in essence, dehumanizing each other.
And within the black community. There are times where, you know, someone who looks like myself might be told and the telling might not be explicit. It might be implicit. But basically the messaging is you’re not black enough. There’s this new concept that I just learned of it’s called feature is um, so my features.
Make me maybe not black enough. Meanwhile, my sister, we share the same parents. She has a facial features that might identify her as being someone who is descendant of the African continent. And we are blood biological sisters. So is she allowed to speak on an issue and I’m not. Simply because our noses are a little bit different simply because someone’s skin color is a teeny bit darker.
What time of the year are we talking? Are we talking summer? Are we talking winter? Like seriously, my skin changes like that. Are we talking if I am wearing my hair down and curly and big, or are we talking? If I straightened my hair that day, it makes zero sense to allow me to speak or not speak based on if your subjective experience thinks that I’m black and not.
It is crazy, so backwards. And then other things will come into the picture. Okay. You are privileged because you have a master’s degree. Okay. Fine. I have black colleagues that also have master’s degrees. Do you know that we are professionals in this world to, do you know how hard I worked for this master’s degree while my friends were at the bar?
Do you know what sacrifices I gave to be where I am now? Or they’ll say you own a home. Okay. Darker people than myself, also own homes. Like it just, it there’s no logic. There’s no logic. And when we strip it all away, what we really see in my opinion is that people who are truly in poverty are the ones who really need our focus of social justice and more movements for equality, whereas people of many different races who are professionals and not financially.
Marginalized. We share very similar privileges. So I just hate this black and white thinking. I just cannot stand it. And I do call it out where I see it and I make people upset.
it’s you’re not allowed to tell me what I am. Yeah. Or what. What’s that or what to say or what to say or the only if I see and am I allowed to speak only if I told the party line, am I allowed to speak? No. Yeah. So fuck off. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think we could talk a lot about privilege.
I recently made a post on Instagram where I was like, people think that labels and identity markers matter when it comes to trial. It actually doesn’t everyone’s nervous system responds the same way to threat of survival. And. You should see the comments in that post. Like I had to delete a lot because people were like as a queer person, I can tell you that the queer nervous system has been oppressed and blahdy, blahdy, blah.
And I’m like, show me a study. Show me a study that says queer nervous systems behave differently than straight nervous systems. Show me the study that says that black nervous systems. Are inherently less resilient because they are black versus someone with a white nervous system.
And. I’ll be honest. Like I have not been involved in activism spaces. The death of George flight in 2020 was like a huge thrust into this world of social justice that I admit I was ignorant to that probably had a lot to do with my whiteness and my privilege. And I definitely in the beginning I definitely fond a lot.
Like I posted the black square on Instagram that day I later deleted it because I was like, I just did that to look like I was doing something like, performative. Yeah. But that was all I needed to do, cause it’s like you see this big systemic problem. And you feel powerless and you want to feel like you’re doing something, like you want to feel like you care, and you feel like you care whenever other people are like, oh, you care.
You know? it was, it’s been really confusing for me. Honestly, I will admit it. It’s been really confusing and fuck. If anyone emails me and says, it’s confusing because I’m white and that’s a sign of my privilege. I will fucking block you. It hasn’t really confusing. And so I’m curious, like where do you see privilege, truly affecting the conversation and where do you see people?
Weaponizing someone else’s privilege in order to shut them up? Okay. What was the first part of the question again? Sorry. Like, where do you see that privilege actually does keep someone from activism or from helping or from getting it. I’m using air quotes there from getting it and wear it because I see most of the time I see privilege.
As like something that someone will weaponize against you and be like, will be because you have an education and you own your home and you’re white and your SIS and you’re, neuro-typical or whatever. Then that means like you should just shut up, just shut up.
So where does privilege actually like matter in the conversation and where is it used as something to just shut down the conversation? Sure. Okay. I’ll start with, I’ll start with where it’s used to shut down the conversation. Cause I feel like I’m most experienced with that. It just seems how do I even phrase this? Let me think for a sec. It just seems if you say anything off of the typical social justice culture script, someone will go looking for your privilege as a way to silence. Yeah. So you can throw out your different identity markers as a way to be like, Hey, listen to me, please.
I, I want to speak on this too. And then someone will say it’s because of this. It’s because of this. And the amount of intersectionalities, if you will, that can be like added or subtracted are in depth. Indefinite. Like I said we now have feature is what the F you know, is there a tractive ism too?
Because we know that people who are attractive get many privileges in society, right? Yeah. We call that pretty privileged, right? Yeah. Pretty privileged. So it’s I don’t know. It’s just, I just see it as.
I think that like class privilege is much more significant than we talk about. I think that when you are not living in the inner city where people are truly impoverished and there’s so much murder and the kids are illiterate, I think that when you are separated from that. It’s easy to not really know what’s happening of any race.
But as far as what’s amplified at the top of the tree, which is usually race, although now it seems to be gender, but it just seems a little bit. Ridiculous. Like my friends, I have island I’m in Southern California. Most of my friends are women of color of diverse origins. And we all have class and education privilege.
None of us are marginalized. And I just hate seeing this conversation that infantilizes us. And wants to make us like homogenous, like in my own professional community, when we were talking a lot about hot topic vaccines which I know you didn’t want to go there in this conversation. Like Yeah.
So many of my friends are highly educated women. They are married to highly educated men. Both parties are of color and they did not want to vaccinate themselves or their children. They are scientists. So in my professional community, I heard a lot about oh, these ignorant racist, backwards country folk.
Who are Republicans, Trump supporter, conspiracy theorist, Porter, conspiracy theory, theorist, who don’t want to vaccinate their children or themselves. And I’m like, actually, let me show you this other type of person that I know they are not racist. They are not ignorant. They are not anti-science and people just, they don’t want to hear it because it disrupts their narratives.
It disrupts the script that they’ve been fed, and this is everybody white people, black people. Sometimes white people will try to protect black people and be the most outspoken ones about it. And that’s just like wildly racist. I’m like, we don’t need your protection, please. Literally the two Instagram accounts that.
Participated the most in my, like somewhat minor cancellation that felt major to my nervous system. We’re both white women and like constantly screenshotting stuff. And then talking about how racist I was. And I’m just like, I don’t want to tell anybody to just shut the fuck up or sit down and shut out because I know that’s the problem, but like everything in me wanted to be like, Do you see how backwards, this is you are literally trying to be the voice for black people as a white person.
No. They also accused me of being in the next same-sex cult. I think we could say, to say that they’re not credible people, totally anything I’ve gotten it myself. They will say anything. And all they do is discredit their own $10 words as far as I’m concerned.
And they make them mean nothing. And I think that Robin DeAngelo’s white privilege. I think she was like their preacher. She was like their minister of the gospel that said if you’re white, this is what you need to do. It’s like a call to action. Yeah. Yeah, confession. I never read white. I never went red, white fragility.
I never read it.
I was going to say, I don’t think I’m missing anything. Speaking of time, I want to be considerate of yours. I know you have to go and you have clients this afternoon, before we wrap up. I just want to check in and see if there’s anything that you wanted to say that you didn’t say yet, or if you want to add anything to haven’t said yet.
I just want to give you the chance to make sure you finish however you want to finish. Thank you. Yeah. This was just a really fun conversation. It was good to be able to talk about it. And I think that, I think we’re seeing a movement of more and more people coming out of the closet if you will.
And saying no, this feels really coercive. This feels really anti intellectual. I think we need to add a little bit more nuance to this conversation and authoritarianism and backwards thinking. And Polarization can be promoted by either side and please stop putting certain groups on a pedestal because it’s so dehumanizing, I guess I just want to make that point.
And yeah, we all just need to talk to each other a little bit more and get together in person and realize that we probably agree on a lot more than we think. Yeah. And stop throwing out the $10 words because you are discrediting your entire movement and you’re losing really good people.
Yeah. Yeah. And we’re going to see a backlash. Yeah. I don’t even, I don’t even know. Thank you for making me feel sane and an insane world. Opportunity to talk about this. If you didn’t have to get off, I feel like I could keep talking to you for another hour, but I’ll have to have you back and we’ll have to talk about neurodiversity.
Cause that’s something that I personally would like to find out more about just for my own. My own knowledge. But before we hop off, would you like to tell my listeners how they can follow you, where they can find you and offerings that you have? Sure. Sure. So on Instagram I’m at neuro curious therapist, My website is Teva johnstone.com.
My sub stack is Teva dot sub stack.com. And I offer groups for parents. Mostly parents of neurodivergent kids. I also offer groups for like online content, creators and therapists who are scared of being canceled and want to develop some courage and some strategy on like how. Speak and be authentic online with the threat of the mob.
Love it. I should probably look into that. I go back and forth. I’ll go through a period where I’m like, it’s all out there. Like I’m putting it all out there. I don’t give any fucks. I don’t care who comes after me. And then inevitably someone will come after me. And so then I’m like rated in a little bit.
And then I wait, I give a time, you give it 48 hours. It usually for bills out and then I’ll do it again. So I do this. Have a disorganized attachment.
Yeah, I see it as like a titrating or like a totally, because it isn’t, it does affect our nervous system and we do have to pace ourselves. It’s not wise to go in there and just like totally get dysregulated all the time. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s wise. Thank you my dear for coming on the show. Thank you for having me.
I’d love to come back sometime. Okay. Awesome.
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