S2E17: The Intersectionality of the
Black, Trans and Economic Experience

S2E17: The Intersectionality of the
Black, Trans and Economic Experience


We sit down with Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative and chat about her experience in the black and trans community. As a leader in the LGBTQ+ space, and a justice & equality example for us all, Tori talks some concerning bills & policies being passed, intersectional identities, and how all others can be the best or more impactful allies.

This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

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Read more about Tori's journey here, and follow her on Twitter. 


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Check out The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee here.

View Transcript

Nolan: (00:45)

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Your World, Your Money. This is your co-host Nolan, And I am so happy to be back with you all and continue our conversation around gender, sexuality, and money.

Lauren: (00:56)
Hi everyone. This is Lauren and I'm so ready to be back. Getting into the good conversations we are having in this mini-series. Last week, we had a powerful conversation with Dr. Nicholas Salter about heteronormative pay gaps and barriers that queer people encounter in the workplace, talking science and experience. Today, we are thrilled to have an amazing guest, leader, educator in all-around awesome human from the Human Rights Campaign. Joining us on the conversation about and transgender health care. Tori Cooper.

Nolan: (01:26)
Tori Cooper is a health and equity advocate, community organizer, educator, published author, and leader in the transgender and HIV communities. She leads with more than 30 years of experience at all levels of HIV service, from volunteer roles to her service as executive director and founder of Advocates for Better Care Atlanta, LLC. She now serves as the Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative. In this role, her focus includes economic empowerment; capacity building programs; public safety; and expanded public education campaigns. Before joining HRC, Tori was a consultant and Prevention Specialist at Positive Impact Health Centers in metro Atlanta. In 2015, Tori created Advocates for Better Care Atlanta, LLC which is an organization dedicated to the education and empowerment of marginalized people across the country. Since its inception, she has self-financed this agency which prioritizes transgender women and men as well as people living with HIV.Tori has received numerous awards for her work and is a published author, most recently appearing in print and video. Her work is featured in a new documentary titled, “Silent Epidemic” where she talks about the trans community and HIV in the South. She is currently matriculating towards her Master of Arts degree in Public Health. Tori believes that empowerment, education, and opportunity are three important factors in success. Tori, we are so happy to have you on

Tori: (02:49)
Thank you. What an honor it is to be here today.

Lauren: (02:53)
Tori, is there anything that we missed? Do you want to share about yourself? I mean, I was blown away by the documentary. I think that's going to be incredible discussing HIV in the south specifically and the trans community.

Tori: (03:07)
No. I think the only thing you don't have is my social security number. And more than that, to give that away in an interview, then that you've covered quite a few bases.

Nolan: (03:17)
It's a really good rule for podcasts. If they're asking for your social security number, it's probably not legit.

Lauren: (03:23)
So, I'm really happy to be here and to dive in these conversations that we normally don't get to have in the finance world. Finance is not exactly my background. So it's been really interesting being part of a community that wants to talk about it. It still has an emphasis on finance in general, though, in this workspace, we often exclude the LGBTQ+ community in general. Moving forward, how can we begin to fill in the gaps that center the queer community specifically in the realm of economic empowerment?

Tori: (03:53)
So economic empowerment. So my official title by day is the director of community engagement. Um, and at the organization where I work at the human rights campaign, economic empowerment is actually one of the four pillars of our program. And with that being said, I'm also a health and equity consultant, which I've been doing for a number of years, and economic empowerment is important. And without question, intentional inclusion is a term that I like to use. I think I created this term, but maybe not, but intentional and inclusion. And that means to incorporate voices that have previously society within those voices is marginalized. Often. It's just folks who've been left out of conversations, certainly, folks and black folks and people other than white, the systems that we have to navigate were created for the benefit of white heterosexual system, the men of a certain socioeconomic status.

Tori: (04:53)
And so for everyone, who's not a cisgender, heterosexual man of a certain socioeconomic status. You'll have more problems navigating those systems and for black and queer folks and black trans folks in the more commas you have to describe yourself, the more problems you're going to have in society. And so really intentionally, including voices without tokenizing folks and without tokenizing communities, that's the best way to bring about equality and equity, which are two different ideals. We think of them as the same thing, but equality says everyone gets the same thing. Equity says everybody gets what they need. And there needs to be both in terms of finances in terms of economic empowerment.

Lauren: (05:40)
So I think to that same point, Nolan and I and the team were discussing, how can we intertwine this question of how to cis people can have a conversation about the trans community in a still impactful and authentic way. Also avoiding this topic of tokenizing and so avoiding taking over space and leading the conversation. Um, and I was told that you wanted to wait to answer this question until today. So I would really love to hear your thoughts on that and how we can best move forward with that work.

Tori: (06:14)
So, because I'm 50, when I tell a story with everything you do after 37, you tell stories to get to an answer. Um, I don't speak Mandarin. I speak several languages, but Mandarin is not one of them. So if I want someone to speak Mandarin, or if I want to talk about issues that affect people who speak Mandarin, then I'm going to bring someone on the team who speaks Mandarin, who is connected to the community. And I'd like to think of us in the same way at the most culturally appropriate way. When we want to talk about trans people or non-binary people, if we are neither of those two, then we need to bring people into the conversation for whom that's their lived experience and the same thing for black people and brown people and all folks, we need to have very specific - this going to feel like we're just checking off boxes for a little while. And until intentional inclusion simply becomes inclusion and standard practice, then we need to check off some of those boxes. So that's why I didn't want to answer that question beforehand. And so we have really engaged folks. We have to pay folks equitable wages for doing work and notice, I didn't say equal. I said equitable. Folks who are subject matter experts in their own lived experience, perhaps deserve a little bit more to talk about those things. They're folks who simply know about topics. And that's what equity looks like as a black woman. I can say non-black folks about our experiences probably more than most non-black folks can.

Nolan: (07:51)
That makes sense. And the lesson I want to keep learning in my own life is how to not just engage in these conversations to make sure we're bringing in those perspectives from the people with the most relevant lived experiences, but how we carry that forward. And how do you think we best continue to bring about the most authentic perspectives from the trans community, even when, if we're two hosts going on talking about issues related to economic empowerment, but fundamentally we're cis-gendered individuals. What's the best way that we can always keep in mind and center that trans experience and the experience of people of color and everyone from marginalized communities,

Tori: (08:37)
Hier folks, hire folks, and pay folks. Hire folks and pay folks. And that's not just to be on their personalities, which is really, really important because those are people see on their personalities. That's the image that gets played in play but hire trans and black and Asian and Latin X producers and writers and editors, and that's really important. Editors are great at translating stories or providing the public with a version of the story. And so if I, as a black woman, without my trans identity and being subjected to it, a person to an editor who has no idea about the black experience, other than what you've read, or a class that they took in grad school, then their version of my story may be different than how it was intended. Does that make sense?

Nolan: (09:43)
Makes total sense, and I love that straightforward answer. Like there's no beating around the bush, hire people. That's what matters.

Tori: (09:49)
Yeah. Cause we will continue to beat around the Bush until we hire people. And we often, and I have this conversation - I work with a lot of white folks and most of them get, I sometimes I don't ever tell anyone I said this, I sometimes feel bad for white people. I sometimes feel bad for them because we're now in a period of racial reckoning where some white folks are getting tired of talking about black people.

Lauren: (10:14)
I can't believe you just said that Tori.

Tori: (10:19)
I said it. But that's my experience. Some white folks are sick of hearing about blackness and are sick about hearing about racism because they feel that it is not a part of their lives and of the experience, but the truth is until we have these conversations, there's no alive who was a slave owner in the traditional sense of slavery. However, until we continue to have these conversations and resolve many of the conflicts in the remnants of slavery, they still exist in our society. Then we're going to continue to have the problem. They're going to continue to manifest itself. We need greater prison reform. That's, that's a tangential issue to financial equity. But if you're a person with a felon, you're probably going to make less money in your lifetime. That's a financial issue. And that effect, because we know that the criminal justice system, disproportionately people who are black and brown, particularly black people are sentenced much harsher than their white counterparts. That's the financial justice issue. And so until we break down these different systems that were created, not for us and some that were even created against us with the purpose of minimizing the black person's experience in the United States. Until we dismantled those systems and rebuild them so that they're much more equitable, then we can't stop having these conversations.

Lauren: (11:46)
As you talked about the intersectionality of your identity with your blackness and your transness, how do you think that helps you understand issues at hand, such as all these issues that relate to fiscal empowerment, that being mass incarceration, that being different instances of racial oppression, how does this intersectional identity give language to your lived experience in so many others?

Tori: (12:10)
I know that as a black trans - black comma trans comma, woman, comma, who lives in the south comma, who is descended from immigrants, comma, who is descended from slaves comma, and I could continue on that. Each of those different commas represents an intersectional part of my identity. And I also know, and I sent this kind of in a different way earlier that each of those intersectional identities comes with its own specific set of struggles that are ingrained in the American experience. I am one of the proudest Americans that has ever lived and breathe on this land that was formerly settled by native Americans who were here before Columbus and who were here before pilgrims and all these other folks. I'm very, very proud of that. And I acknowledge that, but I also understand the fact that we had a representative of Congress who said that this country, that until white people got here, this country was nothing. He just said that last week. And he really believes that. And there are a lot of people who believe that they believe that whiteness is the end all be all they do. And the truth is there are so many people for whom that's not our everyday experience. I'm cool with white people. I happen to love white people because you can love people without liking them. I love white people in our life, white people, but what I hate is racism. I hate segregationists. I hate the fact that people who are not white have more problems navigating every system in this country.

Nolan: (13:52)
I want to bring up something you talked about earlier in our conversation before the podcast, Tori, which was when white people are talking about issues and perspectives related to the experience of people of color. And when cis-gender people talk about the issues and perspectives of trans individuals, it should feel uncomfortable. We're talking about systemic problems. And when we're talking about the need to fix systemic problems and what will be needed to change that, to change the realities of our thinking and the way these systems just fundamentally work and fundamentally are displacing perspectives and individuals at this point, it should be uncomfortable. It requires change. It requires like a dramatic change in society. And in the way, we think, and if we're not experiencing that feeling of uncomfortableness, then we're probably doing it wrong. And I really liked that. And as we talk about these issues coming up about the, the issues related to the trans community, and how we as a society can better be addressing this. I'm trying to center that feeling and I'm glad you brought it up.

Tori: (14:59)
Thank you. And in fact, I can share very briefly a little bit about what we were talking about. So I said, I sometimes feel sorry for white people, and I don't want you all to quote me on it. Just kidding. You can quote them. I sometimes feel sorry because some folks still don't get it. They don't understand how so many systems, again are anti-everything other than white, even though they didn't create the systems, they benefit from them. They benefit from redlining. They benefit from the nutritional chart, which is based on the body of white men, not white women, but of white wins. And so, because there are some differences in black bodies and in white bodies, white becomes the status quo because it was built around him. And that's it. Everything, you know, there's still medicines in 2021 that have only been tested on white people, but yet they're marketed to all people.

Tori: (15:57)
And all people include folks who are not whites, right? So there are a whole bunch of things they end. The conversation that we have about these conversations has to be a little tough. They have to make you feel as my girlfriend, Monica would say a certain kind of way. There should be little uncomfortability in these conversations. I'm a plus-size woman. And so when I hear people talking about people who are obese and now it puts you at greater risk for certain illnesses, that's a little uncomfortable for me because I've eaten a relatively healthy diet. And I live a relatively healthy lifestyle it's uncomfortable. And when we think of the healing process, even just as simple as a band-aid when you hurt yourself or when you are hurt, your body's natural defense is to create a scab under that. Scab is brand new skin, but there's a process that needs to go along. And sometimes their scalp needs to pull off. And that hurts in order for the ooze to come over. That ooze is a protective thing. And then once that gets there, the new skin can grow, but there has to be a little pain involved. That's the body's natural response. That's our emotional response is to feel pain. And so we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain in order to promote a new scan if you will, or something new to happen, we got to feel the pain.

Lauren: (17:19)
Hmm. Hmm. I think for me, I'm a woman of color. And I think that, well, especially like when I work with younger students, I'm only 23, but even when I work with people who are in high school, there's so much frustration there, there's so much anger there. And that ooze from not the white perspective from a personal color perspective is infinite. Right. And it runs deep. And it's so challenging as I get older, I'm in this interesting like we need to do this through the system to see change as well as you need to feel your pain and your anger is justified, but we need to do it through the system because this is our system. A lot of the work that you do is through the system. And I think that that is incredibly, you know, it's incredible by itself, but it also is I'm sure triggering or frustrating, or it can be sad at times to really see the pace at which we're seeing this change if it does happen.

Lauren: (18:15)
And I think that some of the conversations that we want to have is about policy and it's about policy for the movement. And I would love to hear more of your thoughts on the different equality acts that are happening at the federal level, within the Biden administration thus far, can you express more of the frustration you're feeling as an individual, but also as a professional when seeing this happening. And then I have some conversations at the state level as well, but for your expertise, if we could start there and just learn more about the policy impact of what's happening in this community,

Tori: (18:47)
Thank you for that. And yes, I am a person of color as well, but I've made sure to identify myself as a black woman and as a black person. And the reason I do that, and I'm going to get to the policy question because I think it also has to deal with policy is because POC is a term to describe everyone who's not white and all POC don't have the same issues when it comes to legislation when it comes to the way that society views them. And there's this model minority myth that evades black people altogether, it's something that is often ascribed to Asian folks who are also people of color. And so we can't talk about policy until we understand that there's equity, even when it comes to POC folks. So with that being said, let's talk a little bit about hate crime legislation about hate crime.

Tori: (19:38)
Because again, I'm a black trans woman, hate crimes still exist and perhaps are existing with greater visibility, less accountability, and at a faster rate now than they have in the last few years. And in part is because there are some white folks who feel that their voices have not been heard that their racist ideology has been ignored or put to the side. And so they're lashing out in ways that they feel that they can, they are oppressing folks who have less privilege in society than they do. And that's people of color. They're not rich white folks who are going out and covering these hate crimes by and large. These are folks who are in the same situations financially and economically as some of the folks, any worse than some of the folks that they're committing, these egregious acts against. And so that's important to remember, you can be the poorest.

Tori: (20:35)
My father used to say this, and my father is not a racist man, but my father said poor white people are still white. And where he was essentially saying is that when comes to politics, many of them will vote with white folks who hate. They have very, very little in common with simply because they're whites or because they feel that folks like me and folks like you Lauren, folks who have similar backgrounds as we are, are there to take their jobs, or are there too muddy, intentional word they erase or for whatever the case is. And so when we look at the Biden administration, we would look at politics in general, politics are supposed to represent the people, they're supposed to. And we're now seeing greater division and less unification among the two major parties. Then again, we have in decades and it is it's frightening.

Tori: (21:40)
There is a loud minority of folks who are attempting to force their will upon the less loud majority of folks. The fact that Biden handily, the Biden administration, Biden and Harris, handily won the election. And that there are some folks who are still saying where our voices need to be heard to certainly, therefore, need to be heard, but they also need to understand that the majority of folks buying one by over 8 million votes, that's just where people who voted and voted legally. So the minority of folks are saying that their voices are more important than the majority. And the majority of people understand that trans rights are human rights, that all folks deserve the right to get married. That abortion is an issue between one person and their medical provider and about their own personal health. And shouldn't be dictated by people who don't have a uterus is in can't have abortions.

Tori: (22:37)
And that trans people are real people. And all of these things, then the loud minority of folks need to shut up and using their own terminology to stay in their place because it's not right. We have the most LGBTQ plus affirming administration in the history of this country. And yet they're facing simple legislation that is there to help all people, not just people whose ideology they share, but it's there to help all people is being fought tooth and nail by a loud minority people. The fact that Marjorie Taylor Greene just in the last few days has likened wearing a mask for a public health emergency. A worldwide pandemic has trivialized it and trivialized the Holocaust and made them comparable. It's disgusting, but she represents a loud minority of people who feel that way. And so it is inappropriate to silence any voices, but it is also equally as important and perhaps even more important for those of us who represent the minority, who are on the right side of justice and who on the right side of equality and who are on the right side of civil and human rights. It is important for us to not just use our voices, but to use that privilege and to use our finances and to use everything our social capital use everything that we have to make sure that folks who have these ideas to make us 1821 again, playing on political slogans, but the folks who want to get us back there, that they have no power in society any longer, and they're fighting tooth and nail to hold on to that power and to convince folks that they're right. And they're clearly not.

Nolan: (24:35)
I know the extensiveness of this like right-wing reactionary mindset is really worrying to me one particular part of it. That's incredibly worrying to me. And I think to so many, it's just the uptick in using trans rights as this culture war focal point. And I just saw just this morning, a graph showing how much more Fox News is focusing on these issues as a means of division and trying to rile up this right-wing base in this mindset that you mentioned is just like triggering that fear sense in the right-wing, very loud minority, predominantly white male space, that things are changing. And it shouldn't be that way. And I think this is popping up in state after state trying to pass legislation. That is a real threat to trans rights. And I'm curious, what's your take on this really worrying trend about trans issues as becoming this new culture war focal point, and how can we most impactfully push back against that? How can allies be most impactful in jumping into the fight and what can we do?

Tori: (25:50)
So we must do something. Everyone is not incented to stand on the corner, protesting, holding signs. Everyone also doesn't have access to board rooms, corporate board rooms. And then again, there are some people who don't have opportunities or the wherewithal to testify before Congress to help to pass legislation. So whatever it is that you do, do it with Gusto and do it with intentionality. There's a racist undertone. And if you're not black, or if you're not a person of color, then you may not understand it. But there's a certain racial undertone. The fact that all of this, so much of this is really centered around two black trans girls in Connecticut, but in Connecticut who have graduated from the school since who didn't win state titles, by the way, they didn't win all of them racist. But the fact that they competed for these white girls and one against some of them, not all of them, but one against some of them.

Tori: (26:48)
I actually read a rather incensing article over the weekend from one of the white girls who lost where she was blaming them. She said she was the fastest girl in Connecticut. That's what she said in the article. She wasn't, but she was saying that she lost out. So she came in second to one of these trans girls, and that's why trans kids shouldn't compete. So certainly there's some racism there, there's an undercurrent of racism, but there's also this undercurrent of men know better than women about women. There's this thing that makes no better. And there's also this thing that these same white, old, cisgender heterosexual ish, men of a certain socioeconomic status are making the argument about women who look like me, who happened to be a bit more busty, or we happen to have a bit more muscle tone or a little taller than most of my,

Tori: (27:50)
Most not all of my cisgender counterparts, um, cisgender male counterparts. But what they're not doing is they're not saying that trans men who looked like Nolan, can't compete with other boys. They are instead saying is I can't compete with girls, but Nolan can, if Nolan were a trans boy, they're not making that case because they also understand how stupid that is. They understand how stupid it is to say that if Nolan were a trans man, that he could go into a girl's locker room and folks wouldn't be a little span by that. You know, there's so many things they're saying that women and girls, in particular, are so fragile that these old white heterosexual ish cis-gender man of a certain socioeconomic status who happened to have one, some type of elect or race, know more about our bodies as teenagers, than doctors, than parents, than trans people and than kids themselves.

Lauren: (28:52)
Tori, going back to this conversation on frustration, how do you encounter frustration on this consistent basis and are able to channel it in ways that move you forward or in ways that helped you to understand the world in a sense that is engaging.

Tori: (29:14)
So I will be honest and transparent and say, sometimes my frustration does not move me forward. I'd like to say that it does, but sometimes it's sometimes, sometimes I get stuck. Sometimes I get angry. And as a Christian, I ascribed to the theology that we should be slow to anger, but that's not always the case because when I hear idiots like Rand Paul, who refuses to be vaccinated when I hear idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene. And that's my word. That's not the Human Rights Campaign where that's Tori Cooper. All right. When I hear idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene compared a public health policy to the Holocaust, to the murder of over 6 million Jewish people at Auschwitz. When I hear that I am incensed and I am in a sense so much that sometimes it keeps me from doing that missing just long enough that I have to sit here and pray that the Lord will give me strength to get over these feelings that I have about these people that they get hit by a runaway train or a satellite falling from the sky because those are thoughts that I have sometimes.

Tori: (30:22)
But then when I gain my composure again, and when I understand that good, always overcomes evil and that these people represent a loud minority of idiots. I am reminded that there are folks across the country who are doing amazing work, even in some of the areas. I am reminded that the tiny house project in Memphis, Tennessee in Memphis, Tennessee, where they are currently pushing forward with some of the worst in our trans legislation, I am reminded that there are folks who are creating housing programs for transmasculine folks and transfeminine folks in Atlanta, Georgia, where governor Kemp, who was in my opinion, one of the greatest idiots to ever serve native Georgia is passing and has successfully passed restrictive voting laws at a time when we should be increasing the ability for people to vote. And we've already confirmed that across the country. And certainly, here in Georgia, that was one of, if not the safest elections in the history of the United States, and yet they're passing votes legislation that will restrict people from accessing their rights to vote. I am reminded that there are folks who are doing great work all across the country. A lot of folks who are trans and nonbinding that in spite of the fact that there's legislation being promoted, that attempts to minimize our experience in our existence, that their folks were still fighting the good fight.

Nolan: (31:54)
One thing Tori that I really want to make sure we have time to discuss is your lead at HRC, the transgender justice initiative. And I'd love for you to tell us a little bit about that. One of the amazing things around this is the work is centered around violence and how we can work as a society to dismantle a culture of violence. Tell us about that work and what have your learnings been?

Tori: (32:17)
So I lead a team and that's the important thing. It's not just one person. It is a team of folks. We're a team of three that has a larger team of support, and we're also an initiative, not a program. And so that means that the entire foundation, the entire human rights campaign foundation is really supportive and helps to promote issues of trans justice. I will often now here's why we're respectfully caution us, not just to think that the trans justice initiative is just about violence because it is about other things as well. Certainly, what we do is we make sure that we're providing reports on fatal violence. Very regularly. You keep a running tally of the victims that we know of here in the United States. And even across the world who have been victimized, who are trans and non-binary and gender-nonconforming who've been murdered. We know that last year we recorded the highest number since we've been recording.

Tori: (33:11)
And this year we're on pace. We're well ahead of where we were at this time last year, and unfortunately on pace to record even more deaths, but there are four pillars, certainly about public safety, but there's also strategic communication. And making sure that people understand that trans people are as colorful and it's vibrant and are as diverse as any other community of people. That's strategic communication. Because one of the ways that the opposition is winning is they're telling folks who don't know trans people who are not connected to trans people in their personal lives. They're telling them these myths, trues, and some folks are falling for it. And so strategic communication makes sure that we're bringing trans people into your homes for the very first time, whether that's on television with sauna radio, maybe we need a Sirius XM program. Whatever the case is, that's a part of what we do this also the economic opportunity pillar, what we work with organizations like trans can work and the black trans advocacy coalition was headed by Carter brown out of Dallas.

Tori: (34:17)
We're making sure that trans people, our trans people have access to employment, job skills, training, resume building, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and so many other things. So that's a part of it. But then there is that public safety component as well. And then capacity building where we have programs like fellowships, like elevate and activate. Well, we're building leadership among trans-non-binary and gender non-conforming folks, making sure that they have the tools that are necessary to navigate the systems, which again were not created for us. And so all of these, it's not just anti-trans violence, that's certainly a part of it, but there are these other tools as well that we're making sure that people have to really change the narrative of trans folks because they are folks who still believe that we're all this or we're all that. And the truth is none of us are just all one thing,

Nolan: (35:12)
Big focus of what we do at our organization is focused around economic violence and the financial abuse or coercion. And I know that this is an issue that is particularly prevalent and a serious issue within the trans community. And I'm curious through your work if you can tell us anything about the particular challenges that some individuals in the trans community, particularly perhaps trans individuals of color may face around financial abuse or economic coercion in ways. And what do we need to do to change that situation?

Tori: (35:46)
Use your power, use your power and your privilege to change things. Sometimes changing things means standing up for trans and non-binary folks when we're not in the room. All the time, it means that if we're not invited to the table, that you make sure that there's a seat or, or a few seats for us, the next time you meet, that's also part of it. So that's representation. That's making sure that everybody, that you're a part of, everybody, every entity that you're a part of is inclusive of all kinds of voices. We have to make sure that we do that in all entities that we're a part of. Understanding that we're in a board room and there are no people of color. There are. If there's only one, then that's telling me that you don't want people of color as business. That's what you're saying. You may not look at it that way if you're not a person of color, but that's what many of us are saying. You're saying that if you don't want to have voices to be heard, then you don't want our money. And who doesn't want black people's money, who doesn't want Asian Americans' money, who doesn't want native American's money, who doesn't? What business does not want. That if they don't, then please say so. So I can make sure that myself and folks who are, whom we share community don't invest in those companies.

Nolan: (37:04)
I think that's really powerful. And yeah, it, that first rule of like, look at who's represented, look at who's controlling things. Look at who's in the boardroom. Does it reflect the actual diversity of America? That should be step number one.

Tori: (37:18)
Of course it should. Of course it should. There are a lot of organizations that have people of color in front-facing positions, but they have folks who write the speeches and work in communications and work in marketing that have no idea about the lived experience. And certainly, a white person could write from me, but a white person may not get the nuances of when I talk about systemic racism, they may not understand because that's something that perhaps they don't have lived experience in. And certainly, they can write about it. And we're not going to disqualify white people for that. But what we're saying is we need, rather than having fewer people, we need to incorporate more voices. White people don't need to lose their jobs simply because black people want jobs and that's problem because the opposition will tell us that black people are trying to take their jobs. And that's not the case because if true equity was achieved all around. First of all, if there was greater equality, perhaps there would be no need to ask questions. The demographic questions on job applications or college admissions, because equality says everybody gets the same thing. Let me ask you a question. I know we're about to wrap up Lauren, what size shoes do you wear?

Lauren: (38:31)
Wear a nine, nine and a half if I'm buying Converse.

Tori: (38:35)
Wonderful. Thank you. I was going to give a shout-out to our vice-president. So I don't wear a nine and a half. So equality says that Nolan is going to spend in his entire check and buy both of us a pair of special Louboutin Converse, crossover shoes, all right. $1,700 a payment. Equality says that you get a nine and a half and I get a nine and a half. That's wonderful. Right?

Lauren: (39:03)
Umm umm.

Tori: (39:03)
You wouldn't want that.

Lauren: (39:07)
I thought your point was going to be that if we had the same size shoe equality, does it mean that we both need that same size.

Tori: (39:13)
That's it! That's the point that I'm making - see, black woman brown person of color. You figured that out. So equality says I get a nine and a half. You get a nine and a half. But I wear a 12. And so I could wear a nine and a half is earrings. So equality says we get the exact same thing and we should both be happy with it. I can't wear them. So they're not really going to benefit me. However, equity means you get your nine and a half and I get my twelve. It didn't cost Nolan, the white guy, anything more. Do we get that? Equity doesn't cost people more because he's going to pay the exact same amount for me to get a 12 and you to get a nine and a half. That's what equity looks like versus equality. And we have to understand there's a difference and there needs to be both. Did that make sense?

Lauren: (40:04)
No, that does make sense. Makes total sense.

Nolan: (40:06)
And Hey Lauren, Tori, I'm going to send you some great shoes and earrings. Don't worry. I love that though. Is that the fundamental foundation we need to come into? This is, it needs to be positive. Some thinking we don't need it to take away from others to create that equity, correct. I'll plug briefly a former boss of mine. Heather McGee just came out with a great book the Sum of Us, which delves into the racial history in America, about how so much of the reactionary anti-black racism in this country is fundamentally negative. Summit's taking away the public good to hurt the other. When in reality, everyone is worse off and we can create a better society. If we just embrace that positive-sum we can provide for everyone. If we embrace that inclusive thinking and acknowledge that everyone no matter who deserves the foundational benefits of society, and we shouldn't be taking that away from anybody.

Lauren: (41:06)
Something that I'm going to walk away thinking of too, is this idea of when we have these conversations, oftentimes we're talking about the binary of blackness and whiteness, but I think that as we get deeper into it, and that has come to the surface is this idea of blackness is not a monolithic group of people. And I hate when it seems like that, or I dislike when an academia or in policy or in marketing, how it's listed in those strategic frameworks. So I think it's very impactful to hear you talk about the intersectionality of each, but within that intersectionality, there are different people who have different needs and different interests. And I think that I'm going to walk away knowing that within a financial space and we consider that on a deeper level is when we can make the most change.

Nolan: (41:53)
Thank you so much for coming on. I mean, your perspective is just amazing. And I'm going to be thinking about this conversation for a long time in terms of, yeah, just there's a lot that can be improved both within and within society.

Tori: (42:09)
And I also like to make sure that folks understand that these opinions are exclusively my own. They do not represent any organization. They simply represent me and some folks from my community because there is they'll believe that is entirely just yours. And my opinions, plural is not so unique. I simply have a lot of privilege in society. And because I happen to have a couple of degrees that come with a little power too. And so people listen to me and they trust what I have to say rightly or wrongly. And so all of those who hold power and privilege in society have to use those powers for good and not for evil.

Nolan: (42:51)
So thank you so much for joining us today. Next week, we will wrap up our gender, sexuality, and money series with a conversation on financial socialization in the home and breaking those gender stereotypes. It will be the final episode of our season. So make sure you join us, listen in and we hope you enjoy it.

Lauren: (43:11)
It was a great pleasure guest hosting these past few episodes. I hope you are and were as inspired as I was. You have any thoughts or feedback on the episodes or ideas for topics we should cover. Drop us a line at hi@ywympodcast.com. We'd love to hear from you.

Nolan: (43:27)
Thanks so much. See you next week