“What was really fascinating for me in the course of writing about some of my own trauma was that my parents never really talked to me about racism,” shares Bettye Walker, Owner of B. Walker Consultants with more than three decades of professional experience in advisory leadership and administrative capacities. In today’s episode host D-Rich sits down with guests Bettye Walker and Kathy Murray, Owner of Fit Bodies Inc, for part one of a two-part series titled, “What My Eyes Have Seen” which focuses on generational stories. Here, Bettye and Kathy reflect on their experiences growing up as baby boomers and Black women.
As a child, Bettye did not have the voice or the understanding to really process or speak out about the racism she encountered during her schooling. Growing up in a military family and being educated in a multicultural environment, Bettye was shocked that when her family returned to the states, she was forced into a segregated learning environment. Bettye struggled academically until she graduated from high school because she had not been properly prepared to transition into a formal Black schoolhouse. She was too young to comprehend all of the differences like the schoolhouse’s lack of a library or a formal cafeteria .And being raised by parents from “the Silent Generation” meant that racism was not discussed.
In addition to navigating racism, there can be cultural challenges for Black Americans as well. Kathy shares that when she moved to Germany to be a fitness educator she did not even think about the implications of being Black until she was there and experiencing racism and anti-American sentiment all at once. She had difficulties even securing an apartment for herself due to her race and even her white American colleagues faced discrimination due to their nationality.
Baby boomers grew up during the time of Jim Crow laws and had unique experiences as a result of segregation. As children, it was difficult to understand the full extent of the racism being witnessed on a daily basis. Join Bettye Walker, Kathy Murray, and host D-Rich on this week’s episode of Southern Soul Live Stream - Podshow to learn more about what it was like to grow up as a baby boomer and how those experiences with racism have shaped the generation as a whole.
• “What was really fascinating for me in the course of writing about some of my own trauma was that my parents never really talked to me about racism. They never prepared me to transition from a multicultural learning environment and into a formal black schoolhouse.” (4:51-5:09 | Bettye)
• “As a child, you can't really process what's happening to you, you just do things because your parents tell you to do it. So there was that dynamic of really not being able to have a voice because I didn't know what voice to have as a child. I think it's important that adults and parents recognize that it is important to be able to be advocates for our children.” (11:48-12:14 | Bettye)
• “Unfortunately for a lot of us, we've gone through the problem and issues, but we never recovered from it. And to me, that's where the trauma comes in..” (22:30-22:50 | Bettye)
• “The challenge is cultural because not only did I have to go through a lot of racism, but anti-American. So I even found some of my white counterparts were being discriminated against because we were American. So it was kind of a double-edged sword there.” (41:51-42:12 | Kathy)
• “Don't be afraid to fail. No one likes to step out of their comfort zone. My advice would be to definitely go ahead and jump in, and the opportunity will come.” (52:29-52:59 | Kathy)
Bettye Walker, Owner of B.Walker Consultants
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Kathy Murray, Kathy Murray owner Fit Bodies Inc
Kathy's book is The Munich Cowboys Cheerleaders: A Novella
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