Race Reflections AT WORK

Race Reflections

The place to reflect on all things inequality injustice and oppression at work. You tell us what is up and will do some thinking will do some research and will propose some possible solutions so that together we can make the workplace work for everyone. Your workplace dilemmas, your challenges and your queries at work. Join Guilaine Kinouani every first and third Monday of every month!To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email Atwork@racereflections.co.uk read less
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Episodes

Social Media Policy Change
20-05-2024
Social Media Policy Change
In today's episode Guilaine reflects on her relationship with social media. The way she has used social media in the past and transition she is making in how she uses it going forward, and the reasons she is changing how she uses Twitter (or X).She gives some context about what social media has meant for both her and for Race Reflections. She thinks about how Race Reflections began as a blogging venture that was heavily influenced and developed by her writing being shared on social media. It allowed for a direct way to engage with communities and with the wider public and to improve her craft. This led to opportunities that resulted in peer reviewed publications, book contracts, conference invites and more consultancy work. There is no way that Race Reflections would be what it is today without social media. It gives or at least gave a space where radical thinking and marginalised groups could connect and find community, audiences and collaborators.Then she considers how over the years her experience of social media has changed, and challenges around others using her intellectual property without consent or plagiarising her content have become more common, she wonders if people see content shared on social media is to be less respected, particularly when shared by a Black woman. And by this point the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of using social media in this way have changed. This is related in part to peoples attitude to online content, partly due to the social and political climate we are currently within and also due to the change of leadership within this particular platform.She thinks about the different strands of herself and her thinking that she used to share on her personal account, her Race Reflections focused work, her commentary on news, politics and social events, and her personal experiences moving through the world as a Black woman. She argues for the value of showing your whole self and being open about your process of trying to learn about and make sense of the world. For people to connect to your ideas, particularly when those ideas are challenging you need to allow your readers to connect to you. If you want people to be open and vulnerable and transparent and compassionate you need to embody this in your work and practice. This is the liberatory case for this approach. But this needs to be balanced against avoiding self-sacrifice, to guard against necropolitics, the politics of the masters and of colonialism, that expect you to be extracted from and for your life to not be valued. And she thinks about this in this present context of multiple genocides and patriarchal whitelash. So this change of approach is not just related to protecting her work but also to prioritising safety.She ends by talking about the vulnerabilities that people carry and that she carries and that thinking about this during her recent trip to the Congo helped to clarify all of this and to see that to embody her politics she needs to also protect herself and respect her vulnerabilities and find new ways to be safe and sustainable. Previous episode: Social Media https://www.buzzsprout.com/1623760/11029464Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Reflections on a trip to the Congo
06-05-2024
Reflections on a trip to the Congo
In today's episode Guilaine reflects on her recent trip to the Congo. This topic was asked for when she polled people on twitter/x to find out what they wanted her to speak on for this episode.She begins with some context, first for her and then for the country and region in general. Covering how she was born in Bastille and grew up in inner city Paris and is of Congolese descent, specifically descending from Congo-Brazzaville. She then gives a brief overview of the history of colonialism, slavery, war and genocide experienced by Congo-Brazzaville and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.Then she talks about her experience there, being confronted by this paradox of death and life, beauty and horror, poverty and people thriving, learning more about the colonial atrocities that were committed but also at the same time being exposed to the pure beauty of the landscapes. She explores the complexity of these powerful dualities and contradictions, the paradox of life and death almost intertwined and dancing, the invitation to ask how do we hold these dualities at the same time, remembering the pain of the past but imagining alternative futures, the abundance and wealth of nature contrasted with the poverty of neocolonialism. It invites you to be deeply reflective about the possibility of life.She finishes by thinking about her writing and research around trauma and transference and how when talking to people on her travels and looking into cosmologies and autologies of the region she realised that a lot of what she had been writing corresponded with the thinking and cosmologies of this land. And so brings her back to her question of “what we know without knowing?” And to issues of ancestral communication and memory and how echoes form between generations, particularly within the African diaspora, particularly when it comes to issues of thinking about African consciousness in the context of Black suffering, and thinking about all of this within the Kikongo frame, Kikongo being the language, people and culture of the Congo.Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Consent
01-04-2024
Consent
In today's episode Guilaine reflects on consent, in relation to her research on whiteness, her lived experience, and the implications of this issue within the workplaceShe begins with a basic definition of consent, then she details some experiences related to going out dancing that she recently experienced, and links them to the wider issues that her research explores. Part of the theme that has come up again and again in her data is patients talking about experience of whiteness in the clinic where therapists appear to be breaching boundaries, oversharing, dismissing experiences of racism, using gaslighting tactics, and engaging in the politics of denialism. She links all this to her concept of epistemic homeless and names these behaviours as acts of occupying the epistemic space of the other.She considers how trauma is generally centered on some kind breach of boundary and how whiteness can be seen as colonial violence performed through spacial embodiment, that breaches of consent are the colonial enactment of whiteness, and that white supremacy is founded on breaching the boundaries, borders, and sovereignty of the other - bodily, territorial, psychic - and so in the everyday quotidian enactment of white violence we are going to see some repetition and reproduction of those wider politics She then concludes by thinking about the workplace and how the coloniality of interpersonal relationships, especially cross racial interpersonal relationships, is enacted in relation to the consent of employees of colour.Some links:Epistemic homelessness:https://mediadiversified.org/2017/11/24/epistemic-homelessness-feeling-like-a-stranger-in-a-familiar-land/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoKBLPbkB5IEnvy: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1623760/8728416Location of disturbance: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1623760/8127268White Minds: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-mindsLiving While Black: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/442992/living-while-black-by-kinouani-guilaine/9781529109436Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Feedback!
18-03-2024
Feedback!
In today's episode Guilaine reflects around a listeners query asking "how do we get mangers to understand how biased they are when it comes to the feedback that they give to employees of colour." After briefly questioning the terminology of bias and unconscious bias, she looks at the evidence from organisational psychology, considering how empirical evidence shows that marginalised employees tend to receive poorer quality feedback. Even though the research isn’t always intersectional what exists demonstrates the intersectional effect that takes place when axis of oppression and identity collide. This feedback tends to be lower quality: less precise, more global, less frequent, and there tends to be a lot of anxiety around the exercise of providing feedbackShe consider aversive racism where employers withhold negative feedback to avoid accusations of racism, but in act of withholding feedback deprive the employee of the opportunity to correct and to improve, and so sometimes to not be able to pass their probation periods or acquire skills and experience that would offer the opportunity for progression within their work. Basically in this dynamic employees of colour and other marginalised groups  are set to fail.She reflects on how a high percentage of disputes that end up in employment tribunals are related to evaluation or discipline, and that the provision of effective feedback is central and essential to fair and just treatment in the workplace.She spends some time talking about what employers racialised as white need to work on in regards to their anxiety and phobia around Blackness, considering what Fanon has said on these issues and the wider context of racist violence and exclusion, reflecting on how these conflicts are a liability for institutions when they are found lacking, and more frequently for black and brown individuals when they are not.She then gives some thought to what can be done to correct these issues.That whilst it’s worth making sure to avoiding it becoming self-fulfilling situation, most of the time people's instincts based on their  lived experience are astute and accurate/ We need to correct the misconception that people are misinterpreting the situations, marginalised people in general interpret things on balance correctly. So instead we need to take seriously these feelings and instincts and come up with strategies to mitigate and navigate these situations. Ultimately though it is really for employers and people racialised as white to address their issues around giving feedback because it isn’t something employees of colour can change alone.Further listening:Aversive Racism: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1623760/8346383Thinking about feeling, feeling about thinking: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1623760/14041582Further reading:White Minds: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-mindsLiving While Black: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/442992/living-while-black-by-kinouani-guilaine/9781529109436Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Whitelash
04-03-2024
Whitelash
In today's episode Guilaine reflects on the phenomenon and social dynamic of what has been called whitelash, a combination of white/whiteness and backlash. The term was coined by African-American journalist Van Jones to describe the backlash of White America coming together to reject what had been seen as a liberalisation of the USA under Obama. And in a more general sense it describes the sense of grievance, the sense of anger, the sense of frustration that originates from people racialised as White that comes from an often misconstrued and misconceived sense of displacement and social change which is a reaction to a perception that social advancements are being made in terms of equality. This is a concept and area that is expanded on in Guilaine’s second book White Minds.After defining and exploring the concept she then considers it within the terms of group analytic thinking, theory and practice, and looks the relationship between the socio-political and the ways that institutions, organisations and individuals relate and interact, focusing on the workplace.She considers the whitelash that we are currently experiencing almost 4 years after the murder of George Floyd galvanised institutions to make commitments and how those words and sometimes actions are now being pushed back against very strongly. And how this whitelash is also being felt across many intersections and identities.She then shares some observations from her experience of delivering work related DEI training and looks at the affect of whitelash on Race Reflections as both an organisation and as a business.White Minds is available to buy here: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-mindsVan Jones on whitelash: https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/9/13572182/van-jones-cnn-trump-election-2016Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Race Reflections in 2024
05-02-2024
Race Reflections in 2024
In today's episode Guilaine looks forwards towards Race Reflections path in 2024.She starts by wishing everyone a Happy New Year, followed by a brief reflection on global violence, specifically in Gaza and Congo, a topic she will return to in more detail in a future podcast later this year.Then she outlines what is planned and being developed for Race Reflections over the next 12 months:As Guilaine’s training is as a specialist clinician she wants to use this skillset more and will be setting up a group analytic clinic within Race Reflections establishing 2 to 3 regular groups this year.Race Reflections will establish a physical office so we can put down roots, form in person community, and disrupt the reproduction of displacement that can happen within purely online spaces and groups. The office will be based in Milton Keynes (30 mins from London, 45 mins from Birmingham and Coventry).Because of these first two developments there will be an even greater focus on in-person training.Race Reflections will be launching a video channel this year.Within the next 6 weeks we will announce a new programme for courses and training and in terms of the organisation we are looking into development around management both for existing team members and potentially in terms of recruitment. Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
RE-RELEASE: Podcasting and Power
22-01-2024
RE-RELEASE: Podcasting and Power
In this re-released episode first published  on 4th April 2022,  we explore the relationship between podcasting and power, both how podcasting has replicated and interacted with existing power systems, and how it offers a radical space for marginalised voices to create freely without gatekeepers. We think about how The Podcast Industry has developed into just another industry/workplace incorporating the issues inherent in those industries and workplaces. We look at the history and present of podcasting and ask you to consider adding your voice to its future. This episode is hosted by Race Reflection's Audio Wizard/Witch, Dave Pickering: http://davepickeringstoryteller.co.uk/LINKS: India.Arie on Joe Rogan/Spotify: https://www.nme.com/news/music/india-arie-says-she-left-spotify-because-of-its-treatment-of-artists-not-joe-rogan-3162696https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/india-arie-spotify-joe-rogan-interview-1299169/Why I’ve Decided to Take My Podcast Off Spotify by Roxane Gay: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/opinion/culture/joe-rogan-spotify-roxane-gay.htmlThe Test Kitchen: https://www.vulture.com/article/gimlet-reply-all-controversy-spotify-test-kitchen.htmlHidden in plain sight by CC Paschal: http://www.thechiquitachannel.com/criticism/2021/3/7/hidden-in-plain-sightGlass Walls by James T Green: https://www.jamestgreen.com/thoughts/115Another Round and The Nod:https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/30/21308074/the-nod-spotify-rss-feed-another-round-buzzfeed-podcast-ownershiphttps://hotpodnews.com/the-case-of-another-rounds-archives/Palace Shaw - Why I’m saying goodbye to PRX by Palace Shaw: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13j3H7BidesRD4zgz2aoZuwDcdocV7NpzNs3YqA5Rcg8/mobilebasic?urp=gmail_link“In response to Kerri Hoffman’s Letter”: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Uu1nOsqLsnZDXNJe04lJt3TQpt6-tvFhZnF4aQ_dwHc/edit https://www.vice.com/en/article/akdbbj/podcasters-are-reclaiming-storytelling-in-africa-and-becoming-celebrities-v28n1Rise and Shine: https://www.riseandshineaudio.comMultitrack Fellowship: https://www.multitrack.uk/Equality in Audio Pact: https://www.equalityinaudiopact.co.uk/How the Equality in Audio Pact came together by Renay Richardson: https://hotpodnews.com/how-the-equality-in-audio-pact-came-together-by-renay-richardson/To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.
Appearance
18-12-2023
Appearance
In today's episode Race Reflections' Associate Disruptor Simone reflects on workplace issues surrounding people's appearance, how appearance is policed, and how that relates to respectability politics and white supremacy.They first discuss how appearing Palestinian or showing solidarity with Palestine during the current genocide intersects with how people's appearances are policed in general, specifically looking at this issue from a US perspective.Then they consider how dress-codes in school set up dress-codes in the workplace, reflecting on how multiply marginalised people are the most affected by these dress codes, and the ways that dress-codes serve dominant cultures, patriarchy and white supremacy.They then discuss an essay by Aysa Gray called The Bias of ‘Professionalism’ Standards (https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_bias_of_professionalism_standards) which argues that the standards of professionalism are really just the standards of western white supremacy. They then challenge us to ask ourselves how we might be reinforcing white supremacy, xenophobia and other forms of systemic inequality and consider the role of hiring metrics in all this.Simone ends with a series of questions from that essay by Gray that aim to help de-centre the standards of whiteness within the workplace.Simone's website: https://www.simonekolysh.com/Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Thinking about feeling, feeling about thinking
04-12-2023
Thinking about feeling, feeling about thinking
In today's episode Guilaine takes us on a freeform reflection and roundup of her thinking and feeling in 2023.From the publication of her second book White Minds to the writing and collating of her third book Creative Disruption she shares her position as someone who doesn’t identify as an academic due to the violence she has experienced as a Black woman in academia and psychology (something she explores in both these books.)She then gives us an introduction to Creative Disruption beginning with its genesis at a conference that looked at creative disruption. The chapter she has written for that book also began at that conference in a talk she gave on Congolese music. Here she also makes links with Afrobeats (which she describes as the hybrid child of the African diaspora). She then expands on the reasons for highlighting and emphasising creativity and on the importance of thinking about feelings, and feeling about thinking. Thinking with the body or feeling with the mind. How these ‘things’ are split by Western society but are not split within us. For this she refers to Audre Lorde’s text Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.Then she asks some questions to you, the listeners: Do we do enough to engage with the creative in the work we do at Race Reflections? Are we playing into the splitting of the rational self and the erotic self, this splitting of the feeling self and the thinking self?She then talks about her latest piece (‘The world does not need more intelligent men’) which looks at the concept of intelligence and asks what intelligence is or might be. She explored these questions in relationship to the personal and the political overlapping and often being the same thing.She ends with another invitation or provocation to the audience: How do we find ways to reconnect body and mind, rationality and corporality, heart and head, as an organisation so that our dismantling, disruptive, anti-racist and anti-oppressive work continues to allow us to grow and be connected with the world and each other?Audre Lorde: Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power https://www.centraleurasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/audre_lorde_cool-beans.pdf‘The world does not need more intelligent men’ https://racereflections.co.uk/the-world-does-not-need-more-intelligent-men/Guilaine’s first book Living While Black is available to buy here:  https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/442992/living-while-black-by-kinouani-guilaine/9781529109436Her new book White Minds is available to buy here: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-mindsHer third book co-edited with Hannah Reeves and Claudia Di Gianfrancesco is called Creative Disruption: https://creativedisruptioncouk.wordpress.com/about/Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Money, money, money
06-11-2023
Money, money, money
In today's episode Guilaine expands on her thinking around money which she has previously covered a little on the podcast and on the Race Reflections website. She specifically reflects on the relationship between money and attachment, considering internalised scarcity, social class and social deprivation, framing her thoughts around her own background and lived experience. This episode was inspired by the work she was doing for the Freud Museum Conference about the relationship between psychotherapy and money.She begins by going over attachment theory as it exists from initial work done by Bowlby which relates to maternal or parental attachment. She offers some critique and complications around these theories but generally doesn't dispute the ideas and evidence around this topic. She does however suggest that whilst a lot of time is given to maternal attachment theory not enough has been done around how material circumstances influence attachment, and that maternal and material are seldom considered together. She has done some work in this area when writing Living While Black, specifically considering attachment to and with place. We attach to spaces as well as to bodies, and anyway bodies and spaces are related to each other. And looking at places means looking at the influence of geopolitical factors such as borders and money. She then covers her own relationship with money and with scarcity thinking, looking at how growing up poor can create adaptive behaviours/internalised issues around things like experiencing injustice, a lack of familiarity with wealth, and difficulties navigating spaces without cultural capital.  She asks us to imagine a graph that cross references material and maternal/parental attachments and how that kind of thinking can help us understand our own relationship to attachment and to how we relate to money. She ends by linking all this back to the workplace.The article she mentions is on the Race Reflections website for members (and if you are not a member you are welcome to join):  Poverty, deprivation and internalised scarcityHer book Living While Black where she explores some of what she talks about today is available to buy here:  https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/442992/living-while-black-by-kinouani-guilaine/9781529109436Her new book White Minds has just been published and is available to buy here: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-mindsSubscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Proximal Ambivalence
02-10-2023
Proximal Ambivalence
In today's episode Guilaine explore and defines the concept of proximal ambivalence and proximal dynamics. She begins with the recent incident covered in the news that highlighted issues of anti-blackness within communities of colour, specifically in this context south asian communities in the UK. She reflects that whilst it's important to avoid overgeneralising it's also important to draw parallels and see patterns when they occur. She goes on to talk about some of her experiences of these dynamics and examines the specific racialised and economic context and tensions around afro haircare shops in the UK and the long historical legacies of inter-"racial" conflicts and tensions that date back to colonial administration and the role south asian groups played in African colonies and the Caribbean.She then defines proximal ambivalence as a term that derives the ways that groups with proximity to power/Whiteness can have mixed feelings when it comes to justice, liberation and dismantling White Supremacy. This is because White Supremacy is a caste system or pyramid and everyone within its structures and strata can reproduce and enact racialised violence towards groups lower down the complex hierarchies. All groups including people racialised as white exist within these racialised hierarchies which is what creates these proximal dynamics.She then considers how these dynamics look within the workplace.Guilaine fully explores this subject in her upcoming book White Minds that you can pre-order here: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-mindsSubscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk
Ableism and Saneism in the workplace
21-08-2023
Ableism and Saneism in the workplace
In today's episode Race Reflections' Associate Disruptor Simone reflects on the issues and experiences around disability, mental health and neurodivergence in the workplace. They begin by defining the terms/identities/concepts ableism, disablism, saneism, visible/invisible disability, mental illness, neurodivergence and intersectionality. Then they consider how many of these terms overlap and are often umbrella terms for each other, and that they depend on the people/institutions that are defining them who hold the power to define what is typical and what is done to those who aren't typical. Neurodivergence, disability and mental illness are common human experiences and should not be pathologised. They are also tied into white norms and to other forms of, and systems of, marginalisation, normalisation and oppression. Then they consider how neurodiverse, disabled and mentally ill people often have no access to "legitimate" work, highlighting how prior to the workforce these groups have often experienced oppression and alienation at home, in school and in higher education, a model that continues into adult life. How they can be seen and framed as troubled/troublesome and how that becomes criminalisation and pathologisation. Not having access to "legitimate" work also means barriers to accessing housing, food and healthcare. Workplaces are set up around specific assumptions around work, productivity and success. These assumptions are within society and ourselves as much as they are within workplaces. By making them we miss other ways of being and viewing these things. Inclusive workplaces have a positive impact for all employees as they put the focus on the needs and different approaches of everyone. Simone ends by talking about the practical ways that workplaces can redesign themselves to be truly (and not just legally) inclusive places that accommodate multiple ways of working and crucially recruit a wider range of workers with different strengths and needs.Simone's website: https://www.simonekolysh.com/Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk