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Dr. Sarah Webb | “Courageous Voice” | connect.faith
“..when you exercise courage, you also open up lanes and spaces for other people to feel safe as well.”
– Dr. Sarah Webb
Meet Dr. Sarah Webb, colorism expert, writer, media creator. A world traveler, an Auntie, and the founder and owner of Colorism Healing llc, which is a global leader in raising awareness, shifting attitudes, and taking action to dismantle colorism. Enjoy our conversation on bravery, healing, and choosing to share our personal truths and values with the world.
In this episode we chat about:
- Healing trauma and relationships
- Writing and the Healing process
- Exercising bravery and choosing to go against the grain
- Setting boundaries and dealing with push back
- Navigating the “spiral staircase” of the Healing journey
- How to spread awareness about colorism
Get more content on colorism and be in touch with Dr. Webb on LinkedIn, Instagram, or YouTube at colorismhealing. You can also find more information about her organization and about colorism on her website, www.colorismhealing.com.
Today is the day you vow to follow your heart and not your fear. If only it were that easy! The Courageous Voice podcast chronicles international artists, creatives, plus a handful of scientists, and their stories of fear, courageousness and creativity. Hosted by singer, storyteller and self-proclaimed joy spreader, Chanda Rule, The Courageous Voice inspires us to share our voices courageously in spite of our fears through courageous conversation and community.
Chanda: Hello and welcome back to the Courageous Voice Podcast. My name is Chanda Rule. Thank you so much for listening today. I am super excited to welcome Dr. Sarah Webb to the podcast. Hello, Dr. Webb. [00:01:00] Welcome.
Dr Webb: Hey, how are you? It’s so great to be in conversation with you.
Chanda: I am. I am so good. I am so grateful that you are joining me today. For those of you all that do not know, Dr. Webb, she is a colorism expert, a writer, a media creator. A world traveler, an Auntie, and the founder and owner of Colorism Healing llc, which is a global leader in raising awareness, shifting attitudes, and taking action to dismantle colorism.
Wow. This is a beautiful statement. I got this from your website.
Dr Webb: Thank you. Yes. I have recently been updating and evolving a little bit, the exact description of myself, and this feels right for right now.
Okay. I love that, "for right now." I love that. I love that. So listen, I will [00:02:00] tell you, a lot of people do not know what colorism is, and I was one of those people up until a few years ago.
So can you tell us in your words, what is colorism?
Dr Webb: Colorism is the social hierarchy that places people with lighter skin tones at the top of the social hierarchy, and people with darker skin tones are pushed down to the lower end of the hierarchy, and it’s something that happens across all cultures. It happens across the globe and it impacts people’s mental health, their sense of self-worth, but also it impacts relationships.
It impacts their experiences in the larger society because there are stereotypes that we have against people with darker skin tones, but there are also stereotypes associated with people of lighter skin tones. And so it creates a lot of internal and external conflicts within our society based solely on skin tone, and that’s really regardless or independent of racial and ethnic [00:03:00] identity.
Chanda: Oh my goodness. Now, you know, what I love about what you’re doing, which is in your name is it is not just giving information about what this is, which of course is important. It is also the healing aspect. And, I think when I first started digging into colorism, I was getting a lot of information and it was very overwhelming because of course it was triggering a lot of things and bringing up a lot of things that I wasn’t aware of, which is why I was so attracted to what you were doing. So tell me about this process of bringing these two things together, this healing and the colorism. ‘Cause you don’t really see a lot of that today, right? I feel like a lot of things are only appealing to our mental intellect and not to the heart and the spirit.
So, what prompted you to blend these things together?
Dr Webb: Absolutely. So what is now Colorism Healing LLC really started as just a blog that I was writing, ’cause again, my background is in writing and when I thought about how I wanted to address colorism, I leaned on [00:04:00] that ’cause that’s where my training was.
That’s where my passions were and are, and so I was thinking about the title of the blog and I said, well, yes, it definitely has to have colorism in it. Um, that’s the very explicit subject matter, but there has to be something else in terms of stopping colorism. How do we end it? What do we do about it?
Like, what’s the solution to it? And I came up with the concepts of colorism healing. I focused on that word specifically. At the time — this was in 2013 ,when I was thinking of a name for the blog — I said, well, if we heal ourselves, then that helps us not to perpetuate it in the world, right?
Dr Webb: So that was really how the concept of healing started is that a lot of people act from unhealed trauma, or we act from a place of not being healed in terms of our biases and our own hurts.
And so we end up hurting other people. You know, the common phrase, "Hurt people hurt people."
Dr Webb: So I said, well, if we are doing our personal healing, [00:05:00] then we’re less likely to perpetuate colorism against other folks. But then as time went on, so it’s been over a decade since I first started looking into this topic, is, we also have to heal relationships, right?
Dr Webb: Yes, we heal ourselves, but because colorism has been at play in our lives for years and decades, we probably have caused harm, experienced harm in our relationships with each other.
Dr Webb: So now I’ve expanded the idea of healing, not just to the individual, but to that interpersonal, that social dynamic, right?
Dr Webb: And then of course colorism is a systemic problem.
Dr Webb: It’s not just a personal problem, right? When I grew up, there was this thing like, "oh, that sounds like a personal problem ," meaning, "you just go deal with that by yourself in the corner." But it really is a cultural phenomenon, and so we have responsibilities as members of society, as you know, citizens of the world, to also try to heal this form of discrimination and bias collectively as well.
Chanda: Okay. So with the writing, it’s so interesting [00:06:00] because, you know, I love journaling and I love writing and. I’m just wondering like, what is this triggering? What is so healing about writing? Is it really just the writing process or is it the sharing? Because I would love to talk a little bit about your writing contest, so I feel like it’s kind of two different things.
It’s like, writing is healing or can be healing. I don’t really understand the science behind it. But I do know a little bit of the science behind sharing our stories. So I don’t know, but just coming from a writing standpoint, what is behind that? I’m just so curious as to why it is so healing.
I know that it is, but.
Dr Webb: So one of the reasons why it’s healing is because it externalizes the thoughts.
Dr Webb: And so instead of having them sort of just be circuitous or circulating in the head, spiraling — people talk about like the downward spiral or competitive thinking. The process of writing it out like in a journal or you know, even writing something more official, like an [00:07:00] essay or a poem helps you to externalize the thoughts that you can actually see them and look at them. Right.
Dr Webb: But then also the process of writing literally frees up your short term memory.
Dr Webb: So that you have more processing capability. Right. ‘Cause if we’re just thinking, we have very, very limited short term memory. Like there’s so much RAM, if we’re thinking about a computer analogy, that our brains can’t juggle a lot of different thoughts and ideas.
But when we start using journals and we start using writing, then it frees up our processing capacity to be able to look at an experience or to look at our attitudes, look at our emotions, look at our biases and our belief systems, and actually process them. Like have a space to process them. Cause we’re not trying to both hold the story, and analyze the story, right? So get the story out on paper and then your brain doesn’t have to try to remember the details and can just focus on, let’s actually look at the story and then analyze it and process it and [00:08:00] reflect on it. So that’s some of the science behind it. But also I think it is… it’s a form of saying. So thinking can be cathartic, right? It’s just thinking and acknowledging something.
Dr Webb: But for a lot of people, writing it down is like that first act of speaking a truth that they might have been afraid to verbalize, to give language to something, to a feeling. And that’s the other thing too. A lot of experiences with colorism, we don’t even have conscious thoughts about them.
They’re just feelings that we keep stored in our bodies, they’re sensations in our bodies, right?
Dr Webb: So when we start to journal, what comes up is like, oh, we’re able to start naming and describing those sensations and feelings that have been difficult and uncomfortable putting words to them. And so that is a huge part of what’s so healing for a lot of people.
Chanda: Oh my goodness. So, are you still doing the writing work with people? Cause I know you’re, I don’t know if you’re still coaching, but I know you’re working more like on the corporate sphere. [00:09:00] Like are you doing this through writing as well or are you doing other things? Has it morphed into something different?
Or more, I don’t wanna say different. More.
Dr Webb: So, I love this question because it’s, it just is very indicative of how I am as a person. Like, what are you doing now? Like, explain it to me again. Like what changes have you made again? So I’m still doing the writing contest.
Dr Webb: I think I’m gonna take next year off because I am starting a new business venture with the writing contest this year.
We’re actually working on the anthology again, we have a book launch coming up, right? So for the folks who don’t know, I host an international writing contest on the subject of colorism. And we have writers from different ethnic backgrounds, different cultures, people speak different languages, and they’re all sharing their experiences and perspectives on colorism.
So that’s definitely, even since the very beginning, like that has been one of the most fulfilling endeavors that I’ve done as a part of Colorism Healing because of what you’re saying, like people get the experience [00:10:00] of writing.
Dr Webb: But then the fact that it’s a collective effort too.
There’s that sharing component. That’s really, really huge and really, really significant I think for people. And I’ve scaled back my coaching to a support group for dark skinned Black women. I was doing one on one things, but I think the support group is more sustainable for me.
Dr Webb: In terms of like, my capacity to do all the things I would want to do.
And yeah, the corporate clients has been a casual part of colorism healing over the past decade. But starting in January has really become a focus. So doing, you know, speaking, doing webinars, doing trainings, because the workplace, people spend a majority of their days in their workplaces, and if we have experiences with colorism or if an organization or institution or a school is perpetuating colorism, or not being aware of it as an issue, then it’s creating significant impacts. And we think about our stories. So many people experience colorism at school, right? And so what can I do to train teachers [00:11:00] and train administrators about what this is and how to address it?
And you know, other workplace environments, it’s a similar thing.
Chanda: Okay. Okay. This is beautiful. Like I said, I’m bringing you, I’m gonna figure out a way to get you here in Vienna. So, you know, I have a question about bravery, about pushback, and I guess it’s maybe a personal question for me because I think that entering your contest was one of the scariest things that I ever did. Like this whole process of becoming more aware, like you’re saying, like being able to put words to emotions and even like noticing emotions that I just, I mean, I didn’t even, I didn’t even know I had, like I knew that I had them, but I, I guess I was pushing them under the rug. And so just from what I know, because of course I have experienced a lot of colorism as a dark-skinned woman and was always like afraid to mention it or to acknowledge it or whatever. I thought it was the discrimination that I was experiencing that I didn’t know the name of and I didn’t call colorism. [00:12:00] And, um, when I was stalking you on your website, I saw something about bravery. It was one of your first values to be brave.
And so, there are so many brave things that I have witnessed. From quitting your job after you’ve reached tenure, right? And being like, "all right, I’m gonna travel around the world," to the vulnerability that you share. ‘Cause when you were doing your IG Live, and certain things that I think even within the colorism community that we didn’t wanna acknowledge because it’s like, you a lot of times feel like you have to put on this front of, Yep, I’m dealing with this and I’m strong. And so, can you talk a bit about what bravery means for you and maybe a bit about your process and doing this because I feel like it could not have been a thing where, okay, I’m about to do this and this is gonna be easy. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna like say what I think on this. So, yes. Talk to me about bravery and your [00:13:00] steps into dedicating your life to this really.
Dr Webb: Mm. I am so happy you asked this question because courage and bravery have been my passions even before I started writing and talking about colorism.
Dr Webb: And I really thought, like my first iteration of a blog, of being a so-called blogger, I was like, oh, I’m gonna do a blog all about courage and being brave. Right. Not knowing that that was the work I needed to do to be prepared to talk about colorism. But absolutely. People talk about New Year’s resolutions and I remember one year I was like, okay, I’m just gonna have a theme.
I’m just gonna have a word, like a theme for my year. And I chose courage for the year, and I was like, every day, I’m gonna say like, in what ways can I exercise courage or be courageous? And for me, I think the need to be brave and to be courageous came from realizing that my life mattered [00:14:00] and in order for me to live the life I deserved and desired, it will require courage on my part.
And I think like some of my other values that are under the umbrella of the ones that you might see on the website or like justice and fairness for people, for other people, for myself. And, I remember when I was in high school, some early, well, even before being a young girl, some early acts of courage that had to do with my personal ethics and morals and, just caring about how other people felt.
And in order to stay true to those values and ethics and morals and caring for other people, it required courage. And it reminds me of the Maya Angelou quote. Maya Angelou says, "Of all the virtues in the world, courage is the most important because you need courage in order to exercise all the other virtues consistently."
So I’ll give you some specific examples. When [00:15:00] I was maybe six years old, we were playing a game with my older brother and a family friend. And my other cousin, so me and my cousin are about the same age, and my brother and the family friend, were significantly older.
Dr Webb: And we were playing like family, right?
So they were playing the mom and the dad, and me and my younger cousin were gonna be the kids. And the friend of the family was a young girl. She might have been like 11 or 12 years old, and she had a skin condition, right? I think it might have been something like eczema, right?
Dr Webb: But it was a really severe form of it. And so it was like all over her body. And she had always been that way since we’d known her.
Dr Webb: So during the game we were gonna sit on their laps and play like a family. And my other cousin, well looked at her and she said, Ew, no, I don’t wanna touch you.
I don’t wanna sit on your lap. I don’t, you know, she act, she had a very averse reaction
Dr Webb: to the thought of touching or hugging or being held by this young woman. And I remember at six the empathy [00:16:00] that welled up in me and imagining what that must feel like for her. And so I remember at six consciously saying, oh, I’ll play your child, I’ll be your daughter.
And intentionally like sitting on her lap and like giving her a hug. And I think I still remember that because even at the time, I knew that I was setting myself apart from people who would ostracize someone for things that they can’t control. Right.
Dr Webb: I remember consciously making the decision, like, I want to be someone who is gonna go against the grain.
Dr Webb: And you know, growing up, some of my best friends were also some of the most bullied people in school, right?
Dr Webb: And so, that requires bravery. That requires courage to say, yes, I’m gonna sit with the person at school, that everyone else is bullying and I’m gonna also be a target.
But I mentioned an experience in high school as well. A lot of times the friends we make in high school are just out of convenience ’cause they’re the people we happen to be around.
Dr Webb: So, I was friends with some young women and they were not aligned with [00:17:00] my personal values.
And they were like, oh, we’re gonna go and do these things.
Dr Webb: And I remember one day I was just like, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna go with y’all. I’m just gonna sit at this big lunch table by myself and you, you all go ahead, do whatever you’re gonna do, but I’m gonna choose to just sit here by myself.
Dr Webb: Because I don’t wanna go and hang with y’all. And it was scary in high school to sit at a lunch table by yourself, right?
Dr Webb: But then the beauty in that is, after I made that decision in the coming days and weeks, other people started to stay back with me because they also did not wanna go and hang out with the girls who were gonna be kind of like bullies and, and you know,
Dr Webb: Break rules and things like that. We just wanted a chill, casual lunch. But when you exercise courage, you also open up lanes and spaces for other people to feel safe as well.
Dr Webb: So I think those were like two really important moments in my life where the commitment to courage was really reinforced at a young age, and then definitely that [00:18:00] applies to showing up online and being vulner — simply showing up even if you’re not sharing personal things.
Dr Webb: just being willing to do a podcast or start a YouTube channel or post anything online takes some level of courage.
Chanda: Yeah, this is true. I think I was really encouraged by you during, I guess it was during, I don’t know, lockdown number, whatever. But I think you had your IG live on Tuesday, and I think just like you showing up every week really encouraged me to start showing up and I was doing these posts every day called Today’s Joy, and I’m like, I’m just gonna take a picture of myself. I’m not gonna put on a bunch of makeup, all this kind stuff. Picture of myself a day and do this Today’s Joy thing.
Dr Webb: It was beautiful. I remember it.
Chanda: Do you remember it?
Dr Webb: It brought me joy to see those posts. They were so beautiful because you are such a poet.
Like the visuals that you would post were poetic, and then your captions would be poetic. I was just like, I’m loving this, so I do [00:19:00] remember that.
Chanda: Thank you. Yeah, I decided to publish a book about it, so I was like, all right, let me stop and see how to do this ’cause you know, there’s so much business part to figure out which you are really navigating well also, you’re like doing the thing, doing it.
Dr Webb: I’m navigating it, yeah.
Chanda: So tell me, have you gotten a lot of pushback? I mean, hopefully not a lot, but I’m sure there’s some, because that’s just how, unfortunately the world works. So I’ll rephrase that question, how are you dealing with it? Or not? Or do you just like kind of say, okay, I’m just gonna stay in my lane and not get suckered into other stuff.
Dr Webb: Again, I love that we’re having this conversation ’cause so often I’m talking about colorism itself and there’s like all these things behind the curtain that I love to share, but it’s usually not what people are asking me to talk about. So thank you. This side of the conversation because it’s crucial.
And what I tell people too is when I wrote one of my first blog [00:20:00] posts on colorism, it was about why I had stayed silenced about colorism for so long.
Dr Webb: and so absolutely there’s fear around, what are people gonna think if I acknowledge that I’ve been hurt by this? They’re gonna think I’m weak.
They’re gonna think I just need to get over it. And they’re gonna be like, oh, you’re so shallow for talking about this, or whatever the things are, right. And that stops so many people from speaking their truth. That stops so many people from sharing something online again, and it doesn’t even have to be the personal things, just fear of, what are people gonna think?
Dr Webb: Are people gonna respond or reject it or laugh at it?
Dr Webb: So definitely that’s a big part of the fear and like having to have bravery. But when you’re talking about something like colorism and you know this, it’s considered, people label it a quote unquote "divisive topic," or people say, oh, it’s um, too personal.
You’re airing the dirty laundry. So it, it, that topic is particularly taboo in many communities, right?
Dr Webb: And so [00:21:00] one of the first responses, early responses, like I was like one or two blog posts in, I really had people who I considered part of my friendship circle, like my larger friendship network that I had met in school, like, cursing me out on Facebook and saying, how dare you talk about this?
Dr Webb: This person was lighter skinned and had like looser, curlier hair and her argument was, there are wars going on and there are children who are hungry and there are people who don’t have a place to live. And you’re talking about something as you know, silly as this. And then I had other people who were all dark skinned like me, and they were saying, you’re just making this up and you just want a reason to be angry.
And I’ve never had any experiences like that. Right. So there was a lot of resistance. A lot of pushback, but that’s precisely why I knew I had to keep talking about it. It’s a paradox, right? I was like, to have such a visceral reaction to this
Dr Webb: means that there’s something there [00:22:00] that we as a community need to unpack.
Dr Webb: Right. ‘Cause if it was truly trivial, then people would just keep scrolling. It was like, oh, oh, okay. You’re talking about what you had for breakfast, whatever, right?
Dr Webb: But for people to take their time to write what I call dissertations in my comments about why I’m wrong and about why I need to stop saying this or that, like that means that there’s a deep rooted wound
Dr Webb: That is triggering people, you know?
Chanda: Yes, yes.
Dr Webb: But also to how I’m navigating that.
Dr Webb: It’s been a process. Chanda, the way I used to respond is not how I respond now, thankfully, it used to be a lot harder, a lot more painful. I would spend a lot more time again in that downward thought spiral of like, oh my gosh, this is so terrible.
But now boundaries are important. You know, getting away from the need to be popular or famous. Right. So I’ve changed my settings on social media where it’s possible you can only [00:23:00] comment if you already follow my page. Right.
Dr Webb: You know, so things like that. Because people are like, oh no, I want as many people as possible to interact with my posts cuz it boosts me in the algorithm.
I was like, the algorithm is not worth my peace of mind.
Chanda: Got you.
Dr Webb: I would rather have less engagement if it means I have to deal with less trolling or less, you know, vitriol and pushback. So I think having healthy boundaries like with the audience, but also with myself and just doing the my own healing work, my own mental wellness work of what other people say about me, other people’s perspectives of me.
I don’t have to internalize that, right?
Dr Webb: I can choose my mirrors, I can choose the people who are healthy and constructive reflections of me, right?
Dr Webb: So that’s been a big part of how I continue to navigate it.
Chanda: Oh my gosh. And I love how you put that about, that you continue to do your own healing work ’cause I feel like there’s this notion of being healed, period. Stop. You know, or, or if you are one to be an inspiration such as [00:24:00] yourself that you have done the work period. Stop, right? And it doesn’t continue. So I love, I love that. That’s beautiful. And I’m also wondering as we’re healing, just in your opinion, how to navigate through these triggers. Because I know for me, especially during lockdown, I was just like, all right, I’m gonna, I’m eating this, I’m getting so much information, and then it was like complete overwhelm and I just couldn’t. I’m like, okay, I can’t see anything else about colorism, you know, I was going on other things.
I’m like, I can’t deal with it. I can’t deal with it.
Dr Webb: Mm-hmm.
Chanda: Right. And I don’t know if that’s, you know, is that just part of the healing process or… part of me feels like it is, and the other part of me feels like, man, like I dropped the ball on this. I kind of shied away.
And kind of lost my like, brave spirit and seeing this. So I don’t know. Are there like tools or tips that you would share for anyone else feeling like me?
Dr Webb: Yeah.
Chanda: In this journey?
Dr Webb: Absolutely. So I didn’t come up with this idea, but it’s an idea that I share as often as [00:25:00] possible, is that healing is like a spiral staircase.
It’s not linear, it is cyclical. And so people often say, why do I keep dealing with the same thing? Why do I keep circling back around to the same problem? I’m like, well, one, because we’re building capacity every time we come back to something. Right? If we think about a callus. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but let’s use it for now.
A callus that forms on your hand. It doesn’t go from being baby soft to being like rock hard overnight, right? Like every time you apply pressure to it, it adds another layer, right?
Dr Webb: And so eventually your hands are callused enough to be able to pull an anchor out of the water or do what’s necessary to get the job done right?
And so healing is sort of similar in that your first time around through something or through the cycle of healing probably’s gonna feel extremely traumatic, right?
Dr Webb: But you’re building capacity for the next time you revisit it. And so that’s why I encourage people to journal, because you can look at your progress and you can see, [00:26:00] oh, in 2020 I was, you know, underwater with this thing.
But in 2025, yeah, it comes back up, but I’m responding to it very differently. I see it very differently. It doesn’t last as long, right?
Dr Webb: Like when I’m triggered, the period of my triggered experience doesn’t last quite as long. So for me, what I started to say is, the frequency and the duration.
So how frequently am I feeling depressed? How frequently am I feeling sad or triggered? And then how long do those periods last, right?
Dr Webb: So throughout my healing journey, I found that that decreased, so there was less times. And when those times did come, they were shorter periods of time. Right. And so you have more days over time where you’re not depressed, you’re not sad, you’re not triggered, you’re not resentful or scornful.
Dr Webb: And when you do experience those difficult feelings, they last for shorter and shorter periods of time. So I think that is definitely part of the process. And so my advice is [00:27:00] to take note, like have your own way of taking note of that moment.
Dr Webb: And then when it comes back, you know, say, okay, so you know, last time it took me a month to get over this thing, this time it only took me two weeks, right?
Dr Webb: And so I think that’s how you can gain perspective for yourself and use that self-compassion piece. Self-compassion is hugely important. I will also say take breaks. The healing process can make us really, really raw.
Dr Webb: So we need to give ourselves space to like regenerate and to like recuperate because the healing process is not like a walk in the park. It’s not rainbows and sunshine. It’s, it’s work. It’s like doing, I did staircases today for my exercise this morning.
Chanda: Oh my god.
Dr Webb: or it’s like, I can’t just do that nonstop.
Like I have to stop and say this thing is healthy for me, but it’s not healthy to do it nonstop.
Dr Webb: And so healing and facing those wounds, facing that, you know, pain and that trauma is [00:28:00] healthy for you, but it becomes very unhealthy if you’re just constantly like exposing yourself to that.
Dr Webb: So absolutely, take breaks, take a year off from looking at it, and then come back to it next year, and then you know, maybe you’re taking a few days off or a few weeks off from looking at it. And then like for me, where I am, people see colorism healing, but there have definitely been period in my life where I’ve focused on other things besides colorism healing.
There have been months where I wasn’t creating any content.
Dr Webb: There have been months when I wasn’t interacting with the public. So even for me, in this very public facing advocacy work, it has not been a nonstop bullet train for sure.
Chanda: Okay. That’s very helpful and I’m sure it’s helpful for so many people to hear. I have one more question for you. And this is, you know, even though I feel like I got so overwhelmed, the thing that shifted was, I couldn’t turn a blind eye to things anymore. And I think maybe [00:29:00] that’s not even a great way to say it, turning a blind eye, because I really, I still can’t believe like how clueless I was about this, actually.
I can believe it because, actually, especially about how you’re saying that we don’t, as a culture, a lot of times, in America specifically, don’t wanna deal with it. And I think for me, I internalize a lot of things as personal. I was like, okay, well this, this isn’t about my color. My family was like very conscious and very Afrocentric.
So you know, the way I’m being treated must be because of something that I did. However, like the big shift for me is that I’m so aware of when I see things and I can’t believe that I didn’t see them before. Especially in my family or, you know, simple things, you know, with friends and, and seeing these groups that I used to belong to and I’m like, wow, was I always the only dark skinned person?
I’m like, wow. Are people still having complete like dance companies or singing groups with like all like lighter-skinned people? Is this still happening in 2020? 2022. Yes. And wow, I know the [00:30:00] organizers of these things, right? And so I’m just wondering, um, and I know you have them, so what are some steps or some ways to really begin to address this in a way that, that keeps people open, that doesn’t make the other party shut down, ways that we can really start to create change in a healing way.
So I guess stepping out of that personal journey into helping our communities, people that we love.
Dr Webb: Yeah.
Chanda: To begin to, I guess this is also, this is also a type of healing. Right. To be able to embrace and to see where we’ve been and what we’re doing and how we’re hurting one another. Yeah. What are some steps?
Dr Webb: So I think there are so many steps. One. I will say ’cause people often don’t wanna hear this, but it is, it’s to make sure you are indeed doing your personal work.
Chanda: Mm. Mm-hmm.
Dr Webb: This is not. I know for sure that this is not where you’re coming from, but a lot of [00:31:00] times when I’m doing a webinar or whatever, especially in the corporate spaces, people want to know like, what’s the answer?
What’s the solution? And my first question is, well, are you committed to doing your personal work? Right? Like we do have to realize that like that’s an important step. We act from our subconscious programming. And so we can’t hope to really take action in the external world if we aren’t doing inner work as well.
So for anyone who might be trying to skip that part, and to be honest, sometimes it’s easier to look elsewhere and say like, oh, there’s colorism over there. Let me go fix colorism over there.
Dr Webb: That can actually feel safer and easier than looking at your own programming. Mm. Looking at your own biases, your own belief, but have my own attitudes and beliefs been, you know, and what are they now?
So definitely continuing to do that. And when you are doing that work, it does become easier. It becomes, it’s easier to do it if you’re doing your inner work. I’ll say that. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, it’s just easier.
Dr Webb: It’s [00:32:00] not as hard as trying to do it from a place that’s unhealed, right?
Dr Webb: or not healing. And then I think what we were saying about sharing personal stories, I think that is one of the ways to open a door or open that gate, is to don’t jump to preaching at someone else and saying like, oh, you’re doing this act of colorism and here’s how you need to change, right?
Dr Webb: I think if we want to start to open conversations with other people, definitely start with a very simple question. Hey, have you heard of colorism?
Dr Webb: Everyone can ask that question, right? Because it has no, um, implications for where you’re gonna go next, right? And so based on what people say, they say, yes, I have heard of colorism.
You can follow it up with another question. Oh, so what do you know about it? Right? Because I think people hesitate. To talk about colorism, to address colorism because they think they have to be the expert. I can’t talk about colorism cause I don’t know enough about it, right? But really if we say, well, what if I just get curious?
What if I [00:33:00] just start asking questions, right?
Dr Webb: then it takes the pressure off of us to have all of the quote unquote right things to say.
Dr Webb: So really I think entering into these conversations from a place of curiosity
Dr Webb: rather than a place of, oh, I need to teach, oh, I need to educate this person, I need to correct them.
I need to make sure that they change their ways. Right. You know, how you kind of wanna get in there and be like, you need to stop doing this, this, and…
Dr Webb: Sometimes that energy is required, but in terms of having it be, um, being able to create spaces that feel more open
Dr Webb: I think approaching it from curiosity and leading with questions and really being genuinely curious about that person’s experiences, why they think the way they do.
Right. If they are, if they do have colorist beliefs, like again, we can delay judgment and just say, do you know where that comes from? Right. Do you know why you have this preference? Where do you think that preference came from? And so in addition to that, right, starting with asking [00:34:00] questions, I think also equipping yourself with like quick and easy references and resources.
Obviously I have to plug ColorismHealing.com or you know, the YouTube channel if you wanna quick or easy resource to point people to.
Dr Webb: And again, taking the pressure off of yourself like you are helping to raise awareness, but you don’t necessarily have to be the one who can do all the explaining and response all the questions, right?
Dr Webb: You can say, you know, yeah, I recently learned about colorism too. Um, so if you’re interested, here’s this account that I’ve been following, right? Or here’s this article that I read the other day. You know, it reminds me a lot about what you were saying and, you might look up the author and contact them if you wanna learn more.
Right? So again, take the pressure off of yourself for having to do it all. You’re really just planting seeds and inviting people to a conversation by starting with questions.
Chanda: Okay. Wow, that’s beautiful. All right. I’m committed. I’m committed. Wow. This has been such a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful [00:35:00] conversation.
I’m, again, just so grateful that you joined me today. Listen, um, where can people find you if they wanna be in touch?
Dr Webb: My favorite place for like actual connection, interaction is now LinkedIn, and Instagram would be number two for interaction and engagement. Now, if you want information and insights, go to ColorismHealing.com.
Or Colorism Healing on YouTube. Right? So one is more like where you wanna consume content and information. LinkedIn and Instagram, you can consume a lot of content there, but it’s also better if you wanna like actually be able to interact with me and engage.
Chanda: Okay. And on LinkedIn and Instagram, it’s every, everything is Colorism Healing, right?
Dr Webb: Everything is Colorism Healing. Yep.
Chanda: Wonderful. And on
Dr Webb: C O L O R I S M. Cause I know many other places in the world use a U,
Chanda: Right. Right.
Dr Webb: There’s no U in mine.
[00:36:00] And you just got chosen for something with LinkedIn, right? You’re a content creator, award or something?
Dr Webb: Yeah, so that was, so two things happened with LinkedIn and last year I applied for their first creator accelerator program.
So I got accepted into that. It was a huge deal. We were the first one hundred to be supported by LinkedIn, and so I did that in the first quarter of the year, and then halfway through the year, they also acknowledged me as one of their top voices for, um, diversity, equity, and inclusion on LinkedIn.
Dr Webb: I, I really like LinkedIn.
I think they’re an organization that’s trying to walk the walk when it comes to diversity and they’re not just, um, putting out platitudes. So I really like them.
Chanda: Okay. Well, congratulations.
Dr Webb: Thank you.
Chanda: Y’all, please, if you have not checked out this YouTube, I think I’ve watched all, everything. I love your list. So check out the lists.
There’s like this movie list, the woman king list, book [00:37:00] lists. Um, and you know, check out the website for the writing contest, especially since you’re taken next year off. Um, it is a beautiful experience, very healing and I really recommend it, so…
Dr Webb: Yes. And if you’re a fan, if you’re a fan of Chanda, um, you can read her award-winning essay
Chanda: Ah, you can. Oh my God, do you know?
I was like, I’m gonna apply for this and I’m just gonna, I was like, I’m gonna write, I’m gonna write my truth. And I’m like, I’m scared because I know that once I do this, I know, I know they gonna call me, just because I was so scared.
Dr Webb: And we did.
Chanda: I know! It was, it was beautiful.
Dr Webb: It was a great essay.
Chanda: It was beautiful.
Dr Webb: Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Chanda: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.