DCP EP. 98 The Great Unlearning

Transcribed by: Sydney Henriques-Payne

Completion date: January 12, 2022

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:00:03] Welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast that gives you the news you can trust for the culture. I’m your co-host, Gerren Keith Gaynor, managing editor of Politics and Washington Correspondent at theGrio. [00:00:13][10.1]

Shana Pinnock: [00:00:14] Oh! fancy title! And I’m your co-host, Shana Pinnock, Social media director for the Grio. And this week we’re asking “Dear Culture, how do we heal our generational curses?” All right, your generational curses, cycles, whatever you want to call them, we’re all talking about them. Maybe it’s come up in conversation with your siblings, cousins, friends or preferably a therapist. And perhaps you’ve found an Instagram account that offers insights on how to heal longstanding family wounds. Either way, with so much happening in the world, more and more folks are turning inward to reflect on not only themselves, but also the folks that came before them. This week, we’re talking about our own journeys with understanding and healing family trauma and the things we’ve had to unlearn to become the best versions of ourselves. Let’s get into it. [00:01:06][52.9]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:01:15] Shana, I’m really happy we’re having this discussion, it’s a really hard discussion to talk about generational curses, but I think is something that’s really important for us to really dig into. I know for me, I’ve done a lot of that in my personal walk and trying to heal from things that have I’ve seen and experienced in my family. And I think it’s especially important for Black families in particular. Generational curses, I think, sometimes can sound jarring. Or I think sometimes it kind of pushes out this idea that there’s something sinister or evil, but in actuality is about practices and behaviors that just go from one generation to the next. And I think that the millennial generation in our generation is that that generation that really started to really break away from decades of behaviors and patterns and we’ll get more into it, but know one of the first acts you when do you think or when do you consider a habit, belief or practice to be a generational curse? [00:02:17][62.3]

Shana Pinnock: [00:02:20] Honestly, I think that would have to come from where things seem to be detrimental in the long run, right? So say, for instance, you know, if there’s a gen…, let’s you know, let’s talk about the one Beyoncé, Giselle Knowles-Carter. Right. So one of the things that she pointed out as a generational curse was the women in her family allowing for infidelity to occur. So when she found herself repeating generational curses, you know, we all know what happened with Miss Teen and Matthew, you know, and she found herself kind of having a very similar occurrence when with her went in between her marriage, between her and Jay-Z. And she said no more. I’m not going to raise my my daughter at the point at that point in time. What her name? Rumi and Sir. We’re not.. Were not around. So it was just Blue. And she said, No, I’m going to make sure that my daughter knows that this is not what love is supposed to look like. I think that also goes alongside, you know, aspects of of teen pregnancy. I think it can go alongside aspects of drug abuse and addiction. You know, I’ve definitely seen a lot of that in, you know, moving forward for or rather, I’ve seen a lot of that in terms of, you know, my own personal experiences from family and as well as just friends and seeing their own generational curses. I think aspects of —one thing that I often tell my boyfriend is that he comes from a generational curse of… Some of the people and his family are not that honest. You… You have a casual relationship with the truth that is not going to pop over here, sir. [00:04:09][109.0]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:04:12] OK. [00:04:12][0.0]

Shana Pinnock: [00:04:13] Like…fix that. You know, and it’s it’s one of those things of understanding, you know, where you’ve seen your grandparents or you’ve heard stories about your great grandparents or something like like something crazy happening. Case in point, there are a lot of people who have a generational curse of, unfortunately, physical abuse. You know, there are a lot of young men and women who have seen their mothers, you know, being hit or their fathers doing the hitting or have heard about some uncle doing something or a grandparent doing something or a great grandparent. It’s a generational curse, and it needs to stop. But so I guess and I know we kind of touched on it a little bit, but I do want to know, Gee, where do you think these generational curses actually come from? Like, what’s their root? Because it did it just, you know, magically pop up that your great grandpaw-paw was over here beating down your great grandmother, you know, like his. So where do you think all that stems from? [00:05:16][63.0]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:05:17] At the root, it’s this pain. It’s suffering. You know, when with trauma lives in the body and we are a product of our fathers and fore fathers and mothers and fore mothers. And so pain is something that can be difficult to to to navigate through. And when you look at the history of of Black people in particular, you know, we endured the deepest traumas with slavery and and our families being separated, our women being raped and pillaged, babies being ripped from their from their mother’s arms. That’s deep trauma that I don’t think the larger Black community has been able to to really heal from, and we’re starting to see the beginnings of all of that. But when you think about the Black community, there are specific things that we we just assume that is just part of Black culture like, you know, not not banking when we know that the banking. Institutions did not allow Black people to to do business with them, and so we didn’t have banks to go to, which is why the Freedman’s Bank was created centuries ago. We also think about doctors like right now during COVID, you have a lot of Black people who still are not trusting of medicine. That’s because the medical industry without permission used Black bodies to experiment and so there is a reason why we don’t trust doctors and the medical system. You think about how sometimes in our communities, we don’t dream beyond the four walls of our apartment or beyond our neighborhood lines and that’s because we weren’t we didn’t have access to money, capital to to travel. We were segregated. And yet and we can talk about when you think about the history of redlining and in the ways in which we are being kept in poverty for centuries. And so there are there are very clear historical reasons why why Black people exist sometimes the way in the in the way and the way we show up in the ways that we do, we deal or don’t deal with our panel trauma. And I think that is important for us to really do that self investigation as so that we don’t just accept that this is just how things are. This is how my family is. This is just how things are in my neighborhood. But they can be hard to imagine to use your imagination to think beyond what you mean, what might be around you. And that’s why I’ve been so grateful for my journey going to therapy and really like investigating, like, who am I and how I show up in the world in relation to my family in particular? So and I want to talk about family because I think that’s where it starts. You know what you what you know about yourself is where you come from. And so you’re what your parents, your grandparents, they are your first teachers in life. And our first relationships with the people who we love and the people who raised us, it affects our relationships with our partners, our relationships with our friends, how we show up at work. And and to that point, Shana, when did you first realize that not every lesson that maybe was taught to you or demonstrated it by your family that it wasn’t necessarily the right thing to do or behave or be? [00:08:54][217.0]

Shana Pinnock: [00:08:55] To be honest, it wasn’t until I had to kind of venture out on my own. Going to college and being… Having my own type of relationships and identity outside of my parents, outside of my family, outside of where I was from is the first time where you’re your eyes are open to. There’s so there’s such a bigger world than the little bubble that you’ve been raised in. And I recognize that not everybody is going to have, you know, their Spelman College or know not everybody chooses to go to college. But what is, I guess my thing is what? What are the the steps that you’re taking to, almost in a way kind of separate yourself from where you’ve been, only to really get the knowledge of where you could possibly go. So I’d give you a perfect example. You know, you guys, if you’ve been listening to the show, you know, I’m a fierce advocate for LGBT everything and growing up in a Caribbean household that was not necessarily the “right” thing, you know, I grew up with, you know, certain members of my family talking about Bati-man this and, you know, and girls being lesbians and going to hell and all of this other stuff wherein… then it’s not into, you know, and trans… Transgender people in the really derogatory names around that. And it’s not until you get to college and you start meeting people, you start having conversations with people, things and identities and people that you never would have had those kinds of experiences with, and really learning folks’ humanity outside of what you’ve been taught. I think another perfect example for that is religion. You know, my house is… My family is very interesting. The vast majority of my family members wore it like big, you know, Jesus-y people, you know, it wasn’t, Oh, we’re going to church every Sunday in X, Y, Z and all this other stuff. Really, really, was it? But the way that certain members of my family, especially the older ones, hold onto certain facets of the. Bible, but I’m like, you drink every Saturday. Hello. Wait, is that a part of the Bible too? Wait. are these? These these Christian words that you’re trying to tell me that you don’t abide by, that you’re expecting everybody else to live by because so that you can sit on your self-righteous high horse and yet you don’t follow all of the other stuff you hear in shrimp right now. I see… I seen you with oysters. Like, What is this like? Like, what are you talking about? You know, but again, it was definitely a process of recognizing that more times and not a lot of these, a lot of our family members, our ancestors, you know, who are here and who are not. They were just trying to survive. They were just trying to figure it out. I turned 35 in two months, and I’m still trying to figure out just what the hell is going on life wise. So for me, expecting four for grandma or, you know, my great grandmother or something like that to have it at had it all figured out, 40, 50, 60 sounds insane to me. So, yeah, [00:12:23][208.6]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:12:25] Yeah, I can relate. I mean, you mentioned LGBTQ, it made me think about my own, I guess this is definitely a generational curse that has been broken in my family– I think I may be the first person in my family to come out the closet and not just come out, but like, be like proudly gay. And because the work that I do is so visible and I often talk about being gay, I write about my sexuality and my journey and coming out and being proud of who I am. And I have members of my family cousins and, you know, my mother’s first cousins. I don’t and I won’t get in trouble. Let me not say too much, but there are people.. There are definitely people in my family who family members have suspected are gay. There are some members who I know who are gay, who, who, who don’t yet feel all the way comfortable being their authentic self. I’ve had conversations with a cousin who told me that, you know, they that they feel somewhat empowered, that I’m stepping into the stepping to the front of the line and kind of like taking those shots, if you will, because when you’re the first, you’re the one you’re going that you, you expose yourself to possibly being judged. But on the other side of that was seeing my family evolve and see, you know, aunts and uncles say, you know, I just just know that I love you. They they won’t say it like they won’t like give it. They won’t address it explicitly, but they’ll say, I love you anyway. I had and aunt who said, You can come visit us, you can bring whatever friend that you want. You know, that was her way [00:13:58][93.3]

Shana Pinnock: [00:14:00] Bring your boyfriend… [00:14:00][0.2]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:14:04] Ha! If I, If I had one. And but that makes me feel good because I was a kid and I was. I fear that my family would reject me for being gay because we came from the lineage of the Black church that said that being gay was wrong. I’m a… I’m a preacher’s kid at that. And so for me, getting… getting to a place of like self-acceptance and then pushing my family to accept me and and seeing that transformation has really is just like it’s enriched me in ways that I can’t really explain. It feels good to feel loved and supported. I think that’s what we all really want. And that’s what breaking those traumas and generational curses feels like. It’s just there’s a freedom and a liberation and a joy that comes from letting that stuff go and choosing a different path. I also think about my health. You know, my dad died as 60 years old. He was. And we’re seeing a lot of Black men die at between the age of 50 and sixty five years old, which is way too young. And it made me start thinking about my eating habits and what I put in my body. And we know in Black families, you know, and we can talk about the relationship between soul food and slavery and how, you know, eating pigs feet and chitlins was really just because, you know, the Massa, you know, gave the scraps to the enslaved. And and we just because Black people are just creative and we had ingenuity we created very tasty foods– even though I’ve never had chitlins. So I can’t speak for chitlins… But we created like these very tasty foods that we that generationally we eat. And but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t mean that is healthy. And I often find it difficult to go to be with family on like holidays where we’re at the dinner table, eating all this grease and fried food because I’m thinking about what this is doing to our bodies and seeing — when you have a parent, you know, die at 60, it just changes the way that you, you think about health. I went vegan for a few years. I’m more like. A blend between a vegan and vegetarian, and my family has been inspired by that, too. I mean, they won’t they won’t go completely like meatless, but they’ve tried. My mother eats vegan food. She buys like vegan cheese and vegan butter. And you know, that’s that’s progress. You know, sometimes you just have to show, you have to show the generations before you showed them that path. Lead the charge. And I’ve seen I’ve seen that transformation as well. And then I think about money, you know, I didn’t come from money and my parents had an unhealthy relationship with money. They had a lot of debt. And I’ll never forget when my parents weren’t able to get me like a Christmas gift, I think one year and I was in college. They got me a credit card in my name. And you know, I at the time, I was like, Yes, it’s money, you know, but it’s not free money. And I clearly didn’t adhere to that. And I just I just maxed out the credit card and then I had all this debt and it really just set me up for failure. And so even now at thirty two, almost thirty three, I’m trying to improve my relationship with money and unlearn these like spending habits that my parents have. My dad was a very “live in the moment” kind of person like you want to go on a shopping spree, like go shopping, go go travel. And so that’s kind of how I am shot. And you know, I love to travel people. People see me traveling, but where are you going next? And and while I am blessed to say that I’m not like broke, I’m also not like where I should be financially because I’m such a live in the moment kind of person. That’s something that I inherited from my dad. And while it could be seen as a good thing, you have to have your your, your, your, your ducks in a row before you start to like live lavishly. And so I’m starting to like, really take that time to to like, sit back and really evaluate my life and my behaviors and how what I want my life look thinking about what I want my life to look like in the future and what do I need to do to get there, you know? Mm hmm. Now, Shana, you are a social media queen. You are. I mean, I don’t know how you do it, but you do it so well. But it makes me think about the ways that social media impacts the ways that we, the information and the images that we that we absorb from social media and as we talk about wellness and healing. I can’t help but think about some of the negativity that we see on social media. And so what do you think about that? Like, what role do you think social media is playing in the conversations that that people are having about all learning and and healing those generational cycles? [00:18:59][295.7]

Shana Pinnock: [00:19:01] I tell people all the time that social media is, and I apologize in advance if you are from New Orleans, but I’m just going to, I’m going to live my truth, OK? New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the world, right? And I always tell people that people, I was like, Well, why? And I’m like, New Orleans is a filthy, disgusting, debaucherous, dirty place. Especially if you’re talking about, you know, Mardi Gras, you know which COVID has taken from me. But it is all of those things. But New Orleans is also magical and amazing and wonderful and beautiful and inspirational. And you have to take the sometimes unseemly with the really, really good that is the internet. The internet to me and social media rather is New Orleans. It could either be a very harmful, negative evil place, or it could be something that is beautiful and again inspirational. And I’ve found that there are so many the legitimate ones anyway. There are so many social media influencers who are using their platforms to help, first off, give voice to a lot of the traumas that I think so many of us have, but we don’t know how to verbalize them. I don’t really think we know how to talk about them, but there are, you know, but they’re they’re they’re giving us the tools to not only recognize them and talk about them, but also to figure out how are we going to unlearn them for the future? You know, and for ther rather for the future generation. So I’ll give you an example. I don’t think I think in the last recent years, I don’t think I’ve ever come across so many conversations of cis het Black men who are finally acknowledging and recognizing that they were sexually abused in some way. And with that, I mean, not just like your typical oh, some, you know, uncle went and did . I mean, like, there are so many Black men who had sexual experiences at eight, nine, 10, 11 years old and they’re like, Oh yeah. But it was this older woman and you know, it was cool and dry. Not that it’s not that I didn’t like it, and it’s like you didn’t have the capacity to know any of that. You really did it. And that’s the problem with having adults or, you know, some older, some high school person or something like that. Do that to you and it can warp your… Your perceptions, and it can actually cause a whole lot more trauma. Seeing men talk about that, some who are still very lost in the sauce, but some who acknowledge like no like this actually was effed up. And we as a society have to stop being OK. Like if there’s an example of a of a teacher sleep… Of a male teacher sleeping with a female student, we’re up in arms and we want that that male teacher, you know, that string them up somewhere like, that’s where we are. But the little Black boys don’t get that same type of protection, you know? And it’s like, Oh, well, that you know, I say that fine. teacher – she was sleeping with him? Yeah, but he was a child, you know, like, let’s let’s acknowledge those things, and I think those are examples of generational curses. Even, you know, y’all know how I how I feel about corporal punishment for for the babies. I personally do not believe in hitting children. It it. As I’ve gotten older, it feels grosser and grosser to me. Now, I’m not going to lie. Let me let me put this out here because I believe in truth. I’m not gonna lie. You ever seen like a really misbehaving child? Get like tatted up a little bit. I might chuckle in my breath because, you know, I might chuckle. However, I still recognize that. No, you know what I’m saying. If you are saying that you are raising this child— you cannot. It doesn’t make sense to expect a child whose brain isn’t fully developed yet, who knows nothing to be able to express themselves in a way that makes sense to you. There are adults who don’t even know how to do that, who are….you know for them to be able to… There is some of us who while out right now. I was telling our producers before the recording of this show, like when I get overwhelmed, you know what I do? I go on my walk, my new walk in closet, in my new apartment. It’s dark, it’s cold, and I just lay on the floor and I will be in there for 10, 15, 20 minutes just to decompress. But that’s me as an adult, realizing that I need to do that if I was a toddler and I can’t express that, I’m feeling overwhelmed. There’s too much sensory things happening around me. I’m throwing it around the room like, this is where I am. So watching influencers like she calls herself supernova, mama or supernova, I look her up, but she is amazing on Twitter. She is, I believe, her entire family, I think, has autism or some form of it. Her two young daughters, her husband and herself. So there are certain triggers and sensory things that you know, those kids and the adults, you know that they have to learn how to navigate in order to have healthy parenting skills. That is amazing. And you know, I’m not I’m not a parent. Hopefully will be one day. So watching those kind of influences and seeing like, Oh wow, this is sold dope, this is another way to parent. This is another way to make sure that you know you’re teaching your kids how to verbalize their feelings. And even if we don’t, guess what, that’s fine, too. Let’s work. Let’s work through it. Do you need to bang it out? Do you need to stop? Are you mad? Because I’m mad? Like, I love that, and I think it’s it’s pretty amazing. But Gee, I know, like you said, you know, you’ve had to kind of do a lot of unlearning all the patterns and the cycles. And one thing that I think is so interesting is more times than not, unlearning patterns and cycles that are a part of like generational curses requires you to establish boundaries. Right. And we know establishing boundaries can sometimes feel like an attack or a rebuke to other people. And it can definitely change some things. So how has your journey with unlearning certain patterns and cycles and having to establish boundaries? How, if at all, has that changed any of your family dynamics? [00:25:43][402.0]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:25:44] That’s a really good question. You know, I would say it’s changed my family dynamic in a good way. I’ve seen there’s been again going back to what I mean, being out. I’ve seen the ways even my grandparents, they in their own way, some. That they that they love me despite my sexuality. And I think that for me has been I’ve seen my family be more loving and I grew up not really using the word love a lot. My parents didn’t say, “I love you.” Often my love language is actually physical touch. And and I think it’s because my parents didn’t really. They were affectionate with me and they were hug me like on my birthday. I say, thank you when I got them a gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. But generally speaking, like they didn’t like and it wasn’t like the kind of kid that was laid up in the bed with my parents and like, “Oh, mommy, I love you, daddy, I love you.” And I didn’t really say, I love you until my dad died because it really reinforced it, woke me up, and I was like, I need to say, I love you. Like, if my mother was a lead tomorrow, I want him to know that I love her. And so now, whenever I before I even hang up the phone, I say, I love you to her, to everyone in my family. And and that’s for me. That’s something that has been transformative, like saying, I love you to my family. Hear them say it back. My family is a very quiet family. They are not people of many words. And learning how to communicate and speak up has been something that I had to unlearn, right? Or are not speaking. I had to unlearn and to actually not do that. And it came through therapy. I remember my first therapy session. My therapist was like asking me questions about my family and my childhood. And I was incredibly uncomfortable because I didn’t come from a family that talked about those things we were. We were reared into believing that you stay quiet about your family issues. You keep that at home. You don’t bring that to anyone, especially not some white therapists. But as I started to get used to the practice of like using my voice and like saying out loud what I’m actually feeling and thinking, I’ve been able to, you know, listen to my family and like, hear what’s going on up and like, point up, like, no, I was call a thing a thing. And I would say, that’s the thing that has really I’ve seen those dynamic changing in my family is like hearing them speak to what is bothering them. And I and I and I, I’ve tried to take the lead on that and my family guys, because no one in my family likes to talk about therapy. No one likes to talk about these generational issues of like violence. There are issues of my family, people being a marriage that they’re not happy in and I have been trying to. I haven’t seen the changes that I really would like to see, but I’m starting to see the remnants of it. You know, I think that it starts somewhere, and for many of us, it starts with us and we can inspire our families to to to reimagine the way that we relate. But I’m still I’m still waiting to to see some of those changes for my family. And I believe that you’re never too old. It’s never too late to adopt those changes. And so I just I just continue to be the best version of myself and try to be loving always. And and yeah, I think that that’s that’s the best that we can actually do for ourselves and for our families to transition a bit. Shana, I want to like really talk about Black women and the ways in which they relate and relationships. This is more so hetero heterosexual relationships because oftentimes –and we can call this struggle love– I know that you talked about this a lot into our culture in the past, because oftentimes women, Black women in particular, they have to stand by their man and just and just accept whatever, whether they’re cheating on them, whether they’re being abusive verbally or physically. There’s a lot to unpack there as to why that that is. But what does that mean? The struggle love and what has been the most challenging thing about unlearning that for you as a Black woman? [00:29:57][252.7]

Shana Pinnock: [00:29:58] The most challenging thing about unlearning that is that. The idea that you should stick by struggle love is reinforced every single day. The idea that you should be avoiding it, that you are better and deserve much more and then then struggle love is not as a pervasive message. It’s almost something that you have to internally tell yourself, whereas you know, there are certain struggle of situations that are glorified. I mean, Fabulous knocked Emily B’s whole mouth out, you know, and they’re still going strong and their goals and whatever else. You know, there have been endless LeBron James cheating rumors, but oh, look at look at that couple. And she’s standing by her man. Hell, if you want to go to hip love and hip hop. There’s Rasheeda Ali and Kirk, who had a whole baby on her. Like this nonsense that you see on a regular basis? Future. We could go on and on about future. We can go on and on about London on the Track. and Summer Walker out here, you know, writing whole songs about how your mama should of whooped your behind like, oh, you know, just all of those things. And but it’s in, and it can be frustrating, especially if you grew up in an environment like that. What’s so funny is in my family, there’s a different kind of struggle love. And when I say that, I mean, like my mother, for instance, especially like in the early starts of her relationship with my father and maybe until I was about like maybe until like five or six, like my father was trash. Like he was horrible. Great daddy, amazing father, terrible partner. And you know, my mother has held has held on to, I think, now in her. Well, let me not tell her age before she gets me out, but in her and at her age, you know, she’s managed to learn how to let certain things go. But I know that there were certain see, we’ve had in-depth conversations about how certain things that my father has done or done in the past or did in the past. Rather, that chipped away at who she was and things that she thought that she would stand for and never stand for. And I’ve asked my mom, you know, she’s been with my father thirty plus years. Would you if you knew then what you know now, would you have stuck around? And she goes, “Honestly, I don’t know. Probably not. She’s like, because as much as I love your father, that is my best friend. That is my person. There was a lot of stuff, and it changed me, and it changed how I react to certain things, it it’s trauma, you know,” and it’s it’s a matter of what will or will not stand for. In my family, you know, there have been there are some aunts who are in very abusive relationships, but you know, oh, for the idea of having a marriage, you got to stick it out. What what for it’s like, what for my grandmother, my mom’s mom who passed away, God, rest her soul. She, you know, had nine children with my grandfather, and he went off and had a baby on her with somebody else, you know, and she was still out here doing stuff for him because stand by your man. Hey, yo – oh no. There’s no way. There’s absolutely no way my grandmother who is alive, she was in a really trash loveless marriage for a very long time. Technically, she still is in one. They have not lived together in 20 plus years. Just haven’t signed paperwork. I don’t know. Caribbeans be.. be weird. But but you know, all of these things and and these these family traditions and legacies that we’re trying to get away from like for me, I have no interest in that if I feel that you are dishonoring me, if I feel that you are not loving me in the way in which that I want and need, I’m out. Like, period, I’m out. For like, what is the purpose? And I think although there’s room for forgiveness in certain aspects, there is. At the end of the day, if you’re going to unlearn those kind of generational curses, you have to learn how to be true to yourself. And also, when I try to keep in mind, is my future daughter or daughters? What do I want them to know? My future sons? What do I expect them? How do I expect them to treat other women? You know, if they if they happen to be sees it, you know, I don’t expect them to treat their partners in general. How do I expect them to receive love? How do I expect them to acknowledge it? How do I expect them to to give it? So, yeah, but I mean, and it’s so funny because I think there are things that like just as a culture, we have had to unlearn what. So I guess this is my question for you, Gee. What do you think are some of the things that we’ve unfortunately may have inherited in Black culture that you’re starting to see as unlearn as a collective? [00:35:14][315.8]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:35:15] That’s a really good question. And there was this meme that I saw on social media. It was about a parent posting a picture of their son playing with a kitchen set, and it just like it became like this. This debate on social media about boys and like, What’s what’s a boys be doing? And I really that really resonated with me because I was a kid, a boy young boy who didn’t feel masculine. I did like to, you know, I mean, we had in kindergarten, we would have like different stations where you can play in different stations and the boys would be like playing with like, I don’t know, like some toy cars or something like that, there would be getting physical. And I went to the the station where there was a kitchen set and I would be with I would be with the girls played with the kitchen. And I’m not sure what is really funny because at thirty two, I actually hate being in the kitchen. But maybe it’s because I saw my mom and my grandmother, you know, in in the kitchen and I might the feminine part of me. The feminine energy in me resonated with that. And but I also was, you know, t sometimes told to not play in that, in that station and in the classroom. And so that me really, really connected with me because I think we’re seeing more parents, why we’re seeing more kids really just be more open about who they are. They are coming out the closet more as gay, as trans, as non-binary parents are allowing their boys to play with dolls and their girls to play with traditionally masculine toys. And I think that that’s so beautiful because we’re like, we’re like getting away from these gender norms that I think are so harmful to to all of us, not just those of us who are who identify as queer because not every woman wants to be in the kitchen and likes dolls. Some women want to. Some women want to be bees. But what is not traditionally accepted as what women do? And I think that that’s so important. I think it’s really beautiful to see that these gender norms changing because it a lot. It gives that child the space to like, explore who they are. I had to explore who I was in my 20s and even still discovering more about who I am. I early thirties and and when we this shift that we’re seeing is allowing kids to do that exploration at the age of they should be when they’re when they are at that adolescent age. And I wish that I had that and I don’t. But I think that there’s nothing more. There’s something really sweet about seeing younger generations having it better than you. And that’s what we should want for the generations after us. And I hope that the generation before us, you know, want it more for us and that I can speak for my family. I know that they want it more for me. But when it comes to like sexuality and gender identity, we’re seeing that shift. And then also just therapy. You know, I talked about a bit of this earlier at the top of the top of the show, but we’re not we’re not seeing Black people just go in droves that they’re like, let’s be clear, like we have. I think we have a long way to go. But I am seeing more of my peers at least are saying, Hey, I go to therapy maybe once a month. Maybe it’s when I need it. Some people go daily. But it’s part of the is part of that. The conversation now in sometimes is not just therapy. Sometimes it’s just about why they call it protecting your peace. You see a lot of that. A lot of that. Language on social media in particular. And I think they even starting, they’re even identifying that this is toxic. This is not for me. I want better like that is a precursor, I think, to to doing going to therapy and like really investigating, you know what? What are the things that I cannot allow in order for me to live a happy life in order to be fulfilled, in order to have to feel liberated? And I think that, you know, the generation generation Z. I mean, look, I mean, you talked about Utah, they are free, they are free, they are free. Some of them let me not even say anything. I’m going to get in trouble away. But like this generation they are. They are fearless. And I’m so proud to see that because I was so fearful as a child and and to see this generation, the younger generation, be bold and be authentic, you know, they still make mistakes as young people do. But it means that where we’re going, we’re stepping in in the right direction. So I can only imagine what their children and their grandchildren are going to, who they’re going to be when they come into this world. It’s just really beautiful to see. And it’s also really important to celebrate, I think, the ancestral gems, because we’re not… Not everything about who we are as a community or not. Everything about our family is necessarily bad. There are things that we inherit that are really actually great. You know, actually love the fact that Black people, you know, know one can do what we do when it comes to dance and being creative, like the best athletes, the best singers and entertainers are Black, you know? And I think that that’s by that’s something I don’t know if it’s genetic or just energetic, but everybody wants to be Black for a reason. So what are some of those traditions and practices or believes that you think that you are thankful for? And as a future ancestor yourself, what legacy and what gems do you hope to leave behind? [00:41:06][351.2]

Shana Pinnock: [00:41:08] I think a few things. My family, especially the women in my family, on both sides, are fiercely independent and self-reliant. And I think that’s something that it’s beautiful to see and not on some strong Black woman nonsense. That not it. Not that it’s more so a hey, if something needs to get done, I’m going to make sure that it gets done. I’m going to make sure whatever it is that is in my power, I’m going to take it. Whether it’s take care of my kids, take care of my family, take care of myself, you know, make sure that my my team is good. Being again self-reliant being and a person who has essentially decided, regardless of anything, I’m going to make a way out of no way. You know, it’s it’s going to happen one way or another. Like, just watch my smoke. That’s it. Just watch my smoke. So I definitely give all praise and honor to the my ancestors who have kind of in it, whether generationally or things that I’ve actually like, seen, seen, I have driven that point home for me. I think ultimately what I want to do and leave behind as an ancestor is, honestly, I want to leave a legacy of, well, a few things. One money I would like to help, you know, make sure they’re cool it in playlist. Let’s get some wealth going. Or at least starting to build it. But definitely, if I can. If I know that I’ve created children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and even more God willing, we’re all surviving. You know who approach this world and approach people with acceptance, tolerance and love. Then I think I’ve done my job. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t believe in corporal punishment. You know, it’s no, we’re going to talk it out. We’re going to be some the pinnacle. Whoever’s are going to be very chatty, chatty people who know how to express themselves and know how to express their feelings and their wants and needs and desires and frustrations. You know, people who are going to fight for the marginalized people who are going to make sure that they’re using whatever positions of power that they have to make the world a the world a better place. And that is what is important to me. But what about you? [00:43:26][137.2]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:43:26] You know, I would just say that just succinctly, you know, when I think when I used to think about, you know, me being an ancestor, but like, I didn’t, I guess it brought up trepidation for me because I don’t… I’m not sure if I’m ever going to have children. But then I thought about the ancestors like James Baldwin, who was a great influence for me as a Black queer writer and thinker. And, you know, he left behind his work, and I’ve been inspired by that. And so I hope to leave behind a body of work that. Inspires generations after me to to love and love radically, the bell hooks kind of love the type of love that is absent of patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy because that’s the type of love that I’m working hard every day to, not only embody but to inspire others to live that way as well. And so that’s the kind of legacy that I want to leave behind. Shana, it’s just been really… I always enjoy speaking with you, but I really enjoy having this particular conversation with you, and I wouldn’t have wanted to have this conversation with anyone else. So thank you so much for sharing, sharing your heart. And and I think that I hope our audience really takes something from this conversation. [00:44:39][72.9]

Shana Pinnock: [00:44:40] Anytime, Gee. Anytime. [00:44:40][0.1]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:44:43] And for more commentary on the culture, visit theGrio’s website at WWW Dot theGrio dot com and follow DCP on Instagram at Dear Culture Pod. [00:44:52][9.5]

Shana Pinnock: [00:45:01] We want to remind our listeners to support your local Black businesses and donate to your local organizations and religious institutions. The business that we will highlight this week is Black Girls Breathing. Founder and CEO Jasmine Marie says she created Black girls breathing as a safe space for Black women to actively manage their mental health through breathwork and community. Black Girls Breathing offers workshops that guide girls and women on releasing past mistakes and attachments, tapping into their own greatness. Welcoming new intentions. And so much more. Jasmine Marie and Black Girls Breathing have been featured in Vogue, Marie Claire and Nylon, to name a few. To learn more about Black girls breathing, visit their website at WWW dot Black Girls Breathing dot com. That’s Black GI RLS, BREATHING DOT com. The group has published a list of 50+ Black businesses to support during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’d like your business to be featured. Email us at info at theGrio dot com. That’s GRIO dot com. [00:46:04][62.6]

Gerren Keith Gaynor: [00:46:05] Thank you for listening to Dear Culture. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Subscribe to the show wherever you listen to your podcast and share it with everyone you know, [00:46:13][8.1]

Shana Pinnock: [00:46:13] and please email all questions, suggestions and compliments — we love those — to podcasts at theGrio dot com. The Dear Culture podcast is brought to you by theGrio and co-produced by Taji Senior Sydney Henriques-Payne and Abdul-Quddas. [00:46:13][0.0]

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