GROWL’s Guest

Wayne Hare

The Civil Conversations Project

the full report

Greg Olson (00:00):

Hey, welcome to another growl connects episode. My name is Greg Olsen. I’m the founder of GROWL agency. And today I got a good friend on and, or becoming a good friend. His name is Wayne Hare of a civil conversations. And we’re excited to be having this conversation today, Wayne, with you, and we’re actually going to record it. So, you know, some of our friends and, you know, family, and I’m going to probably share it with my mom later. So hope that’s okay with you.

Wayne Hare (00:32):

Well, we’ll see what mom thinks. Right.

Speaker 1 (00:35):

So, Wayne before we get started into some questions, I thought maybe could you take a couple minutes and tell my mom and the other moms that are listening a little bit about who the heck is Wayne Hare. Okay.

Wayne Hare (00:47):

I’ll give it a shot. Sure. And you know, I think we have some of the Civil Conversations Project, a community on here with us today. So that would be that that’d be well. That’s great. But yeah. So who am I? I’m just kind of a, just a, a crazy guy. I think that I retired from the park service and the Bureau of land management as a back country ranger about 2013. And so I had a great career really entirely in the back country before that I was I worked for Dartmouth college outdoor programs office, and also some project work, you know, some, some leadership work with outward bound and Boston Harbor. So I’ve knocked around a bit, had had quite a few years just in the business world and, that didn’t suit me no pun intended. But yeah, so when I retired and I tried to you know, fish and, and bike and do the things I liked. And you know, politicians have always tried to divide the American people using race, but it kind of got amped up maybe 2015 or so. So, I jumped into the Civil Conversations Project thing that we’re here to talk about.

Greg Olson (02:08):

Well, I sure appreciate meeting you, you know, at GROWL we’ve been, you know, listening and our team has been engaged listener, let’s say, throughout this and working to have a voice about racism and you know, I spent some time reading a lot. You as a we’ll say an author you know, writing op-eds, different publications, and all of that we’ll have up afterwards on our connex page for the listeners to read through contact that you have out there with like high-country news and things like that. And I appreciate us having time to spend together because, you know, one thing we were talking about is racism in the West or racism across America, and, you know, how do we have these conversations and the stories that you’re going around the country and talking to law enforcement, I think you were just in Joshua tree last week and having these kinds of conversations, these very important conversations you know, I commend you for it and thank you for opening up your time for us today to learn a little bit more. So what I’d like to do is why don’t we jump into what is a civil conversation project? What is its mission? You know, well, you know, what are you want to talk about that with people again, we’ll have some more information out the, up on that, and we’ll continue to help promote it. And we’ll have you back on the show too, but let’s kick it off by talking about the civil conversations project.

Wayne Hare (03:34):

So, I guess I’ll start with the mission. All right. And the mission is you know, we’re changing the conversation, changing the narrative, the false narrative that America has about race. So that’s what we’re here to do, change that false narrative. So when you talk about a false narrative to explain to people, you have to dehumanize them, you know, you have to, you can’t think of them as humans. I kind of liken it to when I was in Vietnam, is that as a Marine helicopter gunner you know, we’d never called Vietnamese people or humans we had derogatory words for them which I’m, you know, I’ll be ashamed of for the rest of my life, but you know, made you made it, you know, we weren’t shooting it real people. And so that, that dehumanization that started really in 1619, and it’s really thick you know, we’ve never gone through a process of rehumanizing black Americans. So, we have this kind of myth really about who we are as a country and, you know, we sell it to ourselves and we sell around the world life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and you know, all people are created equal, so on and so forth. And that myth, it really, it glorifies you know, white Americans and their accomplishments and, and it you know, maybe at best leaves out the participation of black Americans. And this is always this undercurrent of black Americans aren’t you know, smart enough, strong enough, have a good enough work ethic and so on. And I get asked the question fairly frequently now that everything is now the playing field is all level, how come black Americans aren’t further ahead? So, but it’s a series of stories and films. We try to connect you know, this long history to the present and, and, you know it, it kind of show, so an example might be the massacre in Tulsa 99 years ago, right. This large black American community that was quite prosperous and doing very well. And you know, and, and, and, you know, white Tulsan burned it to the ground completely. And so, a difference between white Americans and black Americans is the inheritance that each group received. And so, if you look at Tulsa and here, we are, you know, maybe what three generations later, and people are receiving you know, much smaller inheritances, or no inheritances. So that makes a difference in their wealth. Is that, so that’s, that’s one kind of dramatic example to show why black Americans haven’t caught up with white American. So that’s kind of a, that’s kind of what we do. And we’re trying to change that story about, about America and the myth that we tell ourselves, and by telling these sort of stories through writing and film.

Greg Olson (06:54):

Yeah. It’s interesting to hold de-humanized factor. I think of war, like, you’re talking about that and thank you for your service, by the way Wayne and all those tough years. And but, you know, tell we have to rehumanize things. So I never thought of it that way. So I appreciate that, you know talking in that nature, because I don’t, I don’t think that, you know, like I don’t see people in that way, you know, you, and I’ve had this thing, like, I don’t see color and you’re like, how can you not see me? I’m sitting in the room. I’m the only black person here, you know, but it’s like, and we joke, it’s a joke, but it’s true where I don’t know, I don’t, you know, it’s not, you know, but it, there’s a big struggle. And I think that’s why I wanted to have you on the show. So, we can kind of open up the narrative. I’m not going to solve anything today, but I want to put it out there to people to explore more through readings and listening and stuff like that. And I think our team has done that too. We have some fantastic GROWLers here that are really you know, enlightening me with different stories on history and things like that. So that’s been fascinating, you know, who else is involved in this civil conversations and project across that? We’re starting to see that you’re starting to connect to you on this because I mean, you’re traveling now, you’re getting calls for podcasts and shows and things like that, but you know, who else would you, who else is involved or maybe who, or how do you get involved?

Wayne Hare (08:14):

Well, you know, first I’d like to say that you’re involved GROWL agency. You haven’t talked about that at all, but you know, you guys do something called branding. And I thought that was what Cowboys did with a hot piece of metal to cow. So I don’t still don’t know exactly what brand is, but you’re helping me find out, but, you know, we’ve we, we we’re, we’re in the process, we’re almost have completed a process of starting a nonprofit. And, and you guys are helping us with the branding and getting us out there at, at a deep, deep discount. So, you’re involved as I said, we do some filming and Mara is involved.

Greg Olson (09:00):

Fantastic, fantastic woman.

Wayne Harris (09:02):

She’s great. And renowned videographer documentarian. And so we’ve done we did one short video for our first fundraiser, and then we did a 12 minute video on an agricultural community of African-Americans that was started right after the civil war slaves coming up from Tennessee. And we did a, a video on that and that received some pretty good buzz and our you know, w we intend to do, you know, probably as many videos as, as, as stories Joe Newhalf jumped into this, you know, two years ago, and when we needed some money, he said, yeah, he’s pretty, he’s kind of a bad executive director and fundraiser organizations. Yes, he is. And he said, well, I can raise $25,000 in 30 days. And I just chuckled. And 30 days later we had $26,000. And so, these couple of board, again, as our volunteer executive director and chief fundraiser and, and then and then his sister Katie Newhalf does technical work and you know, web design and you know, graphic design out in, in, you know, out in Hollywood of all places you know, she’s, she’s at the top of her field in this, and, and she came aboard. So we have we have we have an attorney, so we have you agency sort of folks. And we have three other folks involved in this, getting up and running and getting us some money and making this happen.

Greg Olson (10:46):

Yeah. It’s been a pleasure working with the whole team on that, for sure. And I know our team has enjoyed learning and we were looking for an opportunity to one, explore everything that’s been, especially in the last couple months, unfortunately, however things popped up and you know, about race. And so rather than us just have a really figuring out, like, how do we have a voice in this? I think you and the team for allowing us to have to learn and have a voice through you, Wayne. So thank you for that. So we went through a little bit of why you got into this, and I think you know, the journey is going to continue for a while. One of the things, you know, we were talking about as we step into some questions, but I’d like you know, can you talk a little bit about some of these conversations you’re having, or like you were on Joshua tree and talking to different you know, police and stuff like that, how is that going? And how do you, we, you know, continue to do those things and, you know, what, what are you learning from it?

Wayne Hare (11:46):

Well, you know, I learned, I learned a lot. I learned all the time. You know, I think we envisioned the team and I, at most of these conversations you know, being written or filmed, and I don’t really know where the input you’re actually guiding a conversation will take us. But yeah, because of my park service background with people, I worked with way back when, and I was in pretty high, high places. And so, I got a call from the chief law enforcement ranger at Joshua tree and chief law enforcement ranger at Glen Canyon, AKA Lake Powell, maybe to most people and asked me if I would facilitate a conversation with their, with their law enforcement officers. And I did and it was literally a conversation. You know, people don’t, they don’t have a clue of the, of the race history of this country. And that’s true. Yeah. I mean they don’t know that strong myth of meritocracy, you know, lives strongly in American, well, just, you know, everything that feels playing field’s level and names, it’s not, you know, just reached out and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And there’s always been all kinds of obstacles to doing that. So I try to have a conversation about you know, about those you know, obstacles, whether they’re, you know, legal or physical or mental, or, you know, customs laws that, that have always been involved in the kind of exist under the surface. And of course, we have politicians just always, always stirring the pot.

Greg Olson (13:42):

It’s quite the year for that too, unfortunately. So, we’re going to get

Wayne Hare (13:46):

Yeah, but it’s always been quite the year for that. You know, Greg, when Ronald Reagan announces a bid for the presence presidency, he did that from the Philadelphia state, Philadelphia, Mississippi state fair. And as you say, Hmm, must have good acoustics or a beautiful bag. No. you’ve heard the movie, Mississippi burning, you know, that was Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were, were murdered by the sheriff and buried in a in a dam. And so, you know, Nixon was using, you know, a little code language there, a little secret language to, you know, to talk to the fears of Southern whites. You know, that just goes on and on and on you know, the whole phrase, state’s rights law and order.

Greg Olson (14:38):

Certain words, I mean, I’ve been learning that just aren’t, I didn’t know, they weren’t appropriate, right. Because of where they came from and history, you know what I mean? And I think there’s a, and I’m a little embarrassed, I mean, just because it’s like, I don’t know, you just, you, you know, you grew up hearing things maybe from your grandparents or, you know, it wasn’t so much, I didn’t think derogatory or racist, but again, in a way to just attends the way history imbeds things in stories. Right. And again, I think that’s the wrong story. It’s just, you know, whatever we learn the way we did, but you’re right. We don’t really understand history properly.

Wayne Hare (15:13):

Well, politicians do, and they know how to, they know how to tweak, you know, how to, how to gin up fear and anger. But, you know, it’s just, to me it’s been extraordinary. You know fortunately Spiro Agnew has, has come and gone and been forgotten. Most people don’t know who the hell he was, but he was vice president of the United States in the late seventies, and he had to leave the vice presidency because he was going to be convicted of financial fraud and sent to jail and the compromise was to leave public office. But when he left, he said, I have often been accused of dividing the American people. That’s a charge to which I not only plead guilty, but of which I am proud.And you know, and he did that, like politicians do using there’s a governor of Maryland. When King was when Dr. King was murdered there were many riots including the big one in Baltimore and he came down to Baltimore and just stirred the flames, you know, just inflamed the tensions and made it much worse. And in portrayed the riot, putting it on the backs of the black leaders in Baltimore. And then it became, he became a, you know, a national figure because of that and was reached out and tapped to be a vice-president because he had stirred the people using race. So you know, we try to like in person conversations it gives me an opportunity to talk about that. But having said that, you know, you know, what did I learn? The conversations with those police departments went well and they were very cordial and polite and bi-partisan, but the review showed me that we still have so far to go, you know, some of the you know, officers said, Oh, you know, we were just talking about things from the past. I don’t know why things could have improved now? I don’t even know why we’re talking about race. There are other hard subjects.” And that’s the thing, Greg people they don’t even want to, they don’t want to talk about race, including me. I don’t want to talk about race. I was a back country ranger. I want to talk about, you know, mountains and rivers and bears.

Greg Olson (17:42):

Yeah. Well, I appreciate you coming out of the woods to have this conversation with us. So even though I know you’d duck back in the quite honest, quite frequently, you know, I appreciate you talking about you still divisions in the country, so I don’t want to belabor this, but it is still going on to this day. And it’s been going on for, you know, over hundreds of years, maybe how were politicians divide? And I don’t know if you have any like, recommendations for our listeners and people to say, like, you know, to learn more or how not to feel that it’s being divided. I feel like politicians are perfect at dividing the nation on different subjects, but especially about race and especially what’s happening, you know, they’re jumping on different bandwagons and you don’t know, just because, you know, if you’re a Republican, you feel like you should follow this or Democrat, you should follow this, but I don’t know if you have any advice for people to stop watching the news or what kind of things do you tell people or recommend?

Wayne Hare (18:40):

You know, that’s a question that comes up often and I should have a better answer by now. You know, it, it’s so thick and so deep, you know, the misinformation in the myths that are out there you know, I would say, you know, to white people, to talking and listen. I’d say to black people start talking and to talk civilly so that people can hear you it, which is as we all know, that’s a challenge. But you know I, one of my eye-opening experiences was a year and a half ago, went out to orange County, California to write a story, or, or to you know, to kind of check out a situation out there there’s a, some Marine County is you know, in theory, one of the most liberal you know, bastions of liberality in the country voted for Obama hands down and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But they had a school district mayor called the Dixie school district. And some black Americans had been trying for 30 years to get the school board and the community to consider changing the name of the Dixie school district, just because of the images that that brings up, you know? And so, there’s every buddy I talked to in, in Marine County and maybe without exception told me about what a diverse, welcoming community Marine County is. But Greg, when I would ask them what they did to in, in this County that is two and a half percent black, all right, what does, what does very welcoming community with almost no black people in it did to portray the welcomeness? Nobody could think of one thing that they, that they did. I do know that when you know, when the local government tried to extend the trolley, whatever you want to call it out into Rin County, it was a lot of opposition to that. And people in those, you know, very white, wealthy communities don’t like that sort of transportation coming in, because then anybody could come in. Anybody, you know, in any dark-skinned person from the Bay area can hop on and go out to Marine County. So it was a ton of opposition to that. But what they kept saying was that the white people that were opposed to changing the name, what they kept saying was you know, Dixie doesn’t represent anything offensive. And so here you have all these white people telling black people how they ought to feel about the name Dixie. And so that’s, that’s kind of, it’s kind of a subtle, but I don’t know poignant example of, of white people you know, they, you know, they just, don’t like, can they not listen, but they have to tell you that you’re wrong. They tell you about the RA that you’re wrong, but the way you feel, how can you be wrong about the way you feel? The name did finally get changed, but not in a not in a really collaborative way. It was kind of got rammed down the throats of the folks there. So, the name is changed, I’m not showing you the hearts and minds have changed along with it.

Greg Olson (22:07):

And I appreciate that, it’s amazing. And you’re exactly right. It’s no one likes to be told how to think. Right. And I think we’re seeing that a lot right now. And it’s, it’s opened up my mind to it, like, listen more. We’re seeing that name changing for you know, different football fields and baseball stadiums and stuff like that. Right. And names we’re going to see change. Right. And rightly so, I just, it’s very interesting to me following this right about now, whether they’re just pressured by money to make change right. By sponsors and things like that. But now we’re seeing that kind of, that narrative being told maybe, Hey, I’m, I just want to shout out, do you have a friend on here, Bill Gwaltney?

Wayne Hare (22:49):

Bill is a past president of the African American museum curator’s association, the long service and the national park service. He was a consultant and an actor on the movie glory. And he was, went on a long detail to Washington DC from his home in Colorado to help get the African American Museum of Natural History or African American museum on the Mall, whatever it’s called started. So, we just got the stud.

Greg Olson (23:24):

Well, he’s had a lot to say on here, which will capture he said, sadly, more Americans feel the Dred Scott decision more than the 13th, 14th, or 15th amendment to the constitution. So he has some really interesting comments in here. So I’d love to, if he was even on, if I could give, get him on the, on the show we would hear, but we can bring him on in a future show. It’d be great to have that discussion more. I really appreciate your comments, Bill. Thank you very much for being on there. You know, so a shout out for you taking time to listen into us and Wayne have a conversation today.

Wayne Hare (24:01):

I mean, exactly what that Dred Scott decision, you know, basically the Supreme court, a slave sued for his freedom, because he’d been living in a free territory and went to the Supreme court and then the Supreme court said you’re not even a person, so you have no standing to sue. And that decision was a honcho through, by a judge. His last name was Taney. So, we are talking about, you know, statues and they represent history, you know, Baltimore has a statue to judge Taney and, the only thing of note he ever did was drive home that that court decision that said you know, black slaves aren’t people. So you can’t sue. So, you know, that’s Baltimore’s concept of preserving history.

Greg Olson (24:53):

Hmm. That’s interesting. Where’d you grow up, Wayne? I’m curious.

Wayne Hare (24:59):

I don’t know. Most people would say that I didn’t, but I got bigger at a little dairy farm in New Hampshire a long time ago. And you know, I guess that’s where my I kind of popped out of the womb loving you know, nature of the woods and mountains. Yeah, we have woods back then we had more cows and people so lots and lots of woods and mountains and places to play.

Greg Olson (25:30):

Yeah, that’s good. That’s my, I grew up in mainly in Northern Minnesota. We moved around a lot, but I was a boy scout and, you know, spent a lot of times out in the woods and middle of winter, I would be like winter camping before, so I was the same way. I’d rather spend time in the woods and outside in the city. So, we probably have a very similar kind of upbringing on things like that. Hey, I got a question. We talk a little bit, you know, you brought up Dr. Martin Luther King. Where were you when he was murdered?

Wayne Hare (26:01):

Yeah, so that’s an interesting story. At least in my mind I was in the Marines. I was just out of bootcamp and I was in I was in camp Lazoom North Carolina when he was, when he was, when he was murdered. And you know, my memory of his murder is the celebrations of, it seemed like all of my fellow white Marines, they were pretty, pretty happy to see him murdered. And even, I forget that when Martin Luther King was alive, he was despised by much of white American. So, you know, a lot of there was way more people living today who weren’t alive when Martin Luther King was alive and that were, and they probably know nothing about that. It seems like he’s just a revered and loved human being, but when he was alive, he was despised and it took 15 years pushed through a holiday in his name. So anyway, that’s where I was.

Greg Olson (27:02):

Interesting. Well, thank you for sharing. Well, I was going to have Bill come on, but he’s packing for his move to a lot of, so it sounds like he’s pretty busy doing that. We do have some questions. I want to get to we have someone that came on a chat, so I appreciate it. And I think that’s a great question. So let’s see how you answered it. Is it still appropriate to call black people black? I assume since we say white males, females it’s, but I don’t ever want to offend it is rare to call people yellow, pink, or brown, or sometimes still doesn’t seem right. So that’s a good question. I mean, I don’t, I just like to call them people. I think it’s humanizing, but I don’t know, like, you know, I think it’s from a white person, how to, what do we call each other? You know, like, I don’t care. You call me white, look at me. I mean, I’m almost transparent, you know, right now. So I’m okay with that. So how do we answer that question Wayne?

Wayne Hare (27:56):

Well, I’m usually called ugly, and I don’t take offense, but you know.

Greg Olson (28:03):

I bet you were a beautiful baby though. Well, what do you think? How do we answer that question? I mean, there’s probably no right answer but.

Wayne Hare (28:14):

I probably was. Okay. So, you know black is certainly not offensive. Black American is not offensive. African-American is not offensive. You know, I often read in really recently that the term Negro is offensive. It’s not, it’s just a really old fashioned term. I just assumed not, not hear it, but you do sometimes from people who were 90 years old and, you know, and that’s that. But yeah, you know, black, black American, African American, they’re all fine. You know, I get that as confusing. I mean yeah, I get that.

Greg Olson (28:51):

You know, just sensitivity, just, it’s a caring when I think it comes from, I know who asked this, it comes from a very caring individual, you know, it’s just, there’s sensitivity there and, you know, or just, it’s just when I think when you’re having conversations like in a workplace or something like that, and, you know, we talked, so I’ll switch over, we have some questions coming in from Facebook, but I didn’t know, you know, we’re not going to spend a lot of time on like corporate diversity and things like that, but, you know, we get asked a lot and we kind of lead by example here at GROWL, and you’ve met a lot of our team, you know, we have women leaders, you know Latino, we have you know, we just we want to have, you know, we’re just really just, we want to grow our organization and in all kinds of ways. So, I don’t know. Do you have any advice you have for employers who want to engage in more diversity and inclusion programming in their organization? It’s a weird thing to have discussion about Wayne that we’re having, but I think you know how to listen, and I know there’s experts out there and stuff, and I struggle with it as a growing business. So, I don’t know if you have any wise words or where you should, where should turn people to, you know, maybe we get Bill on the phone and another one and have a conversation with him too, but anything?

Wayne Hare (30:02):

Well, Bill would be a good guide having the phone and he spent his last, I don’t know, maybe 10 years in the parks service trying to increase the diversity of the workforce. You know, increasing diversity is a challenge. I think that’s why people sort of give up or whether they start including, you know you know, really, really low hanging fruit in the diversity pool, people who wear glasses, you know, okay. We hired one of them and, you know, people who are tall, Hey, we hired one of them. And so we have a very diverse pool. I don’t know that I have a good answer for that. You know, one answer would be you know you’ll make sure you have a diverse pool of applicants. And then, and then from that diverse pool of qualified applicants, you know, pick the best one, but, you know, start with a diverse pool. I had a conversation a couple of years ago when I was out mountain biking with a, a wild land fire manager, and he was bemoaning that he was you know, there’s pressure on him to hire a woman into a management position. And he’s, you know, he was, you know, good guy was living in a huff about that. And asked me what I thought. And I guess my main message to him was you know, his thing was like, you know, advertise the job. And I hire the best person. My message to him was, you know, if you continue to do that, and everybody continues to do that, then how is it going to be change? Yeah, the person you hire should be the best person, but he should also go to the effort of making sure that woman, know of the job announcement maybe advertisement advertise that job in non-traditional places that were women might be looking and men might not be looking at, you know, just make sure he a darn good pool that includes women. And I know, and then pick the best one. And, you know, now, and again, the best one is going to be a woman, but if you do just a traditional stuff, all your applicants in a fire position like that, or, or the great majority of them are going to be males. So, you know, we’ve got to start somewhere.

Greg Olson (32:14):

I think if I have a chance here, let me go to Bill. I want to allow him to talk. He said, he’ll, I think we hit a button here that he wants to talk to. So, I’m going to allow him to talk. So hang on here.

Wayne Hare (32:25):

Hopefully it doesn’t tell me, I’ve been saying the wrong stuff.

Greg Olson (32:28):

Bill, are you there? I appreciate all the comments on chat. I know you’re packing. I’m going to send you an email and we’re going to you on a future show here to continue this discussion, but for now, I’ll let you banter with Wayne over here because you know, I like what’s going on. So what do you want to say, bill? Thanks again for coming on.

Bill Gwaltney (32:52):

First, I’d say that Wayne is right on target. He’s looked at this a long time as have I there’s so many issues, but specifically to talk to your last point, when it, when you’re trying to diversify a business for a government agency, there are often two sets of rules. They’re the ones that are published, but then there are the other rules that are not published. And those are the ones where people who are new to a business or new to a community often trip and fall, because they’re not looking for the hidden rules. So you’ve got to help people understand all of the rules. Sometimes companies or agencies don’t even understand that there are hidden rules, for instance if your boss shows up at seven and work starts at eight, that means something. If your boss, you know, where is it tailored uniform shirt? That means something you know, there’s all these other kinds of things. It’s not just about showing up. And so you’ve got to help people understand all of the rules. And again, sometimes the unpublished ones are the ones that are most important. It’s how people end up sort of getting pushed to the curb.

Greg Olson (34:06):

Yeah. What do you think Wayne?

Wayne Hare (34:09):

Well, well, I think Bill is smarter than I am, but you know, so that kind of goes to, when you talk about institutional racism and people get in a huff because they think that, well, if you’re saying that my agency, my police department, my you know, the federal housing administration, my highly department has racist, institutionally racist. And you’re saying I’m a racist and no, that’s not what I’m saying in the least, you know, but we’re saying that these things like, like Bill is just talking about, I think that what Bill is implying is that these unwritten rules you know, the normal traditional workforce understands those rules and, and the in, in the, in the incoming black applicant or workforce, doesn’t understand. And so he’s saying that you know, that those applicants or those employees probably need some mentorship that they’ve never had, so they can you know, get a board and get up to speed and not be kind of you know, standing out because you know, they don’t have a tailored uniform shirt.

Bill Gwaltney (35:28):

Wayne’s again, just right. And I would also offer that they’re the sort of there at least two big problems in, in any workforce is structural barriers are the kind that, that Maine’s talked about, but there’s also the issue of either social isolation or a lack of social permission. So structural barriers are things like hidden rules or, or just an awkwardness that is built in, because if you’ve had a 200 year history of racism and don’t see it, it’s hard to then fix it. But the social stuff is if somebody comes in and doesn’t feel welcome, doesn’t feel part of the group, doesn’t feel like they’re being given to understand what the, what the business is about. There’s that, but they also may come from a scenario where their family is worried about them. The family doesn’t think they should have gone to that part of the world or into that business because it’s not familiar to them. So, there are social pressures that can affect people’s ability to be fully functional in the workplace.

Greg Olson (36:41):

That’s interesting. We are going to have you on a show Bill to talk about this deeper, because these are questions, we get now from companies, especially with everything happening is companies and good companies. I work a lot with startups across the country, and everybody’s trying to do the right thing. And, you know, I think you are right about, I mean, you aren’t right about the hiring and things like that, that we’ve been having conversations about. You know, and so, and again, it sounds so easy when we talk about it, but if it was so easy, then we could be able to solve this problem. But we’ll continue to have those conversations. I want to keep you both on. And one of the questions we’re going to wrap up here in a couple of a few minutes, but I think one of the questions we talked about, Wayne, I think Bill could offer this up to, maybe you guys can banter this back and forth is how the hell do you think we got here as a country, right? And maybe you know, a little bit, I think is that is the history part of it. But I think if you guys had any comments on that is I’m just trying to educate and people are listening online right now. We have a very like engaged audience right now. I’d say more so engaged in any of our other shows. So thank you again for both of you being on, but how did we get here?

Wayne Hare (37:47):

Well, I wish I had my, I’ve had my notes with me. I’d give you some quotes. And like I said, we de-humanize you know, Africans and black Americans that ever since 1619, right. 401 years you know, back in the, you know, so when States were considering succession, they were, they were very clear why there was a seating there’s 9,000 pages of original documents from, you know, the priestess session or during the session. I see Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley is online with us now. He was the chief historian for the national park service and now teaches the civil war era at New Mexico state. And I’ve read, you know, maybe a thousand of those pages, he studied all 9,000 and, and so you know, all of the speeches that were given the editorials that were written that the state conventions that were held all of them without any exceptions, you know, talking about the inferiority of Africans and that it’s, God’s plan to have you know, white Americans take care of these, you know, kind of stupid, smelly, ugly people who can’t take care of themselves. That’s when carried forward from 1619 until 2020 you know, like the term thugs that only applies to black Americans, you know, it doesn’t apply if I say to you and to your audience you know, welfare queen, you picture that, like, you just did an overweight black woman because you know, Reagan put that out there and he kind of hammered that welfare queen thing, and that’s who she was, you know, but, you know, and so it’s never stopped. I think that it was part of our national DNA. It’s been crammed into our brains. And I think, you can’t watch a commercial about doing something fun outdoors without that person almost always being a white person. So that message has been hammered, you know, hammered home. So that’s kind of a simplistic, quick description of how I think we got here.

Greg Olson:

Do you want to add anything to that?

Bill Gwaltney (40:33):

Well, sure. If Wayne thinks he can be simplistic, I can be more simplistic. I think that when you go back far enough in our history, slavery was justified based on a concept of inferiority and racism, as people who were enslaved helped to build the country, they weren’t growing issues, which came to a head as we all know with the civil war. And I’m delighted to hear that Dwight Pitcaithley is on, Dwight is just a brilliant historian and has a wonderful book on the topic of not just the slave codes, but the constitution and the reasons why States became Confederate, and slavery is always at the heart of it. Well, at the end of the civil war, there was a need for the country to come back together. Slavery died, but racism was given a new life. And so this is why, you know, slavery is gone. The civil war is over, but racism is very much still with us.

Greg Olson (41:11):

Hmm. Yeah. There’s a lot to think about here. Yeah. Some deep subjects and a lot. And I know it’s hard to simplify it down. I appreciate you both giving me our listeners that insight and you are right. We do have some great listeners on, and I look forward to having maybe Dwight on too. We could have a nice panel discussion virtually. You know, usually we try to have live events where we can obviously with everything going on, we’re not so I guess we’re getting close here. I’d like to wrap up and bill, please stay on if you have a couple of minutes more I guess if either of you had one or two or three books that you might recommend you had given me Wayne a nice list here that we’re going to put up on after this, on our connects page, but I didn’t know if the interview had something for our listeners that maybe they want to dig into this more, that you might recommend off the top of your head.

Wayne Hare (42:09):

Well, the easy stuff, you know, it’s an easy stuff to go through. First and foremost me would be the the documentary called 13th. It’s about the 13th amendment, which, which abolished slavery and you know whatever you call free labor, except in the case of incarceration. Yeah, you’ll learn a lot by looking at that very enjoyable, relatively short documentary. I think it’s a tad less than two hours. I’d recommend strongly that you read a Ta-Nehisi Coates article, so it’s not even a book called The Case for Reparations. You will come away with a very different view and understanding of what is meant by the term reparations. I’d read the Color of Law by Rothstein because it goes into the whole housing history and the foundation of the turmoil and the struggle that black Americans live with today is in fact housing and our inability to own homes for a really, even up to today and is a great short docu-series called Flint Town. And it, and it goes into which is, you know, predominantly a black town predominantly white police force. And it’s a great, it’s not, it doesn’t denigrate the police that shows that their warts, but it shows a heroism. I’d look at those four or read those four things.

Bill Gwaltney (43:40):

I’d offer a couple of other ones. And certainly, John Hope Franklins from Slavery to Freedom is remains a classic. Also, there’s a video series by California newsreel called Race: The Power of Illusion, which I think very highly of, because it looks at race through the lenses of science history and public policy, which are still the ghosts in our closet. And the last one to kind of take a very different approach sort of like walking around in the woods at night. You never want to look directly where you’re going. You want to look a little to the left, or right. It’s called the Warmth of other Suns by a woman named Isabel Wilkinson. It is about the great migration and the motives people had to get out of the South, they to escape institutionalized racism only to find a different kind when they got to the North in the Midwest. Yeah.

Greg Olson (44:40):

Willy will include those as a recap also, bill. So thank you very much for those. Any last closing moments points? Anything you guys each want to say as we close out this? We look forward to more of more see what Wayne’s going to do on civil conversations. It’s taken off Wayne. I think you’re going to be the big deal of helping people listen and help get us connected to a different narrative and to humanize think about making sure we’re humanizing people. So I wrote down a lot of notes here, so thank you, Wayne for that. And then for bill I appreciate you taking time from packing and letting coming on the show to have a conversation. It means a lot to all of our listeners, and we will share this out as a link and it will be live a recording on Facebook, on the grill agency, Facebook page, and then we’ll also have it on our connects page. And we’ll make sure we send out a link. I’ll give it to Wayne; we’ll send it out to his followers so people can share it and be able to tell their story. I will look forward to having more conversations like this in the near future, and I’ll reach out to Bill and Wayne and some of the other individuals to keep having these conversations every month. That’s what I want to do as my company. So, any last closing remarks before we go back to work?

Bill Gwaltney (46:07):

This is Bill. Just a couple of one is we should listen more and talk less and think about this all the time. But one thing I think we, all of us need to be concerned about is I guess, what you could call compassion fatigue. If we get tired of the conversation, we’re going to have to have this conversation again and again and again.

Greg Olson (46:31):

Truer words have never been said. So, I agree to those a hundred percent, Wayne as we close it?

Wayne Hare (46:38):

I say truer words than Bill, but what I would say is it point that I try to drive home is that, and I think that’s, what’s happening. I’ve never, I’ve lived through a lot, you know, from the civil rights that are on, on to the George Floyd black lives matter. I’ve never seen so many white people so pissed off. And I think that what they’re subconsciously understanding finally, is that the same institutions and policies and customs that, that perpetuate the hurt of racism also hurt them, you know, kind of keep their thumb on white people. I think white people are maybe subconscious is saying to themselves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All people are created equal. That sounds like a cool place. And I want live there when I don’t. So you know, studies have said that if we could actually solve racism, it would dump a trillion and a half dollars into the economy. There aren’t any problems that we are looking at that we couldn’t solve with a trillion and a half dollars every year. The equitable communities, better communities in every single way teen pregnancy incarceration wealth. And, and so I, the point I think that’s critically important is that white people get is that solving racism isn’t it doesn’t have only to do with empathy or sympathy, and it has to do with making their family’s lives better.

Greg Olson (48:11):

Well, thank you for that. I look forward to learning more. I look forward to having both on a future upcoming show. We had a lot of comments in chat on Facebook, and people want to have you back on. So, when there is a need and you both rock for taking times, I see that you put that in their chat Bill. So thank you. There’s a lot of commentary here. We’re going to sign off, you’ve been on GROWL Connex. We host bi-weekly shows on different topics. And this is going to be one that we’re going to continually have on an ongoing basis here to continue to listen and educate and go from there. So, thank you, both Bill and Wayne for being on the show today. So it’s been a pleasure.

Wayne Hare and Bill Gwaltney (48:56):

Thank you, definitely. Thank you much.

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