How's Work? with Esther Pere - Race, Gender and Money


How’s work is an unscripted one.

Time counseling session focused on work for the purposes of maintaining confidentiality names, employers and other identifiable characteristics have been removed, but their voices and their stories are real.


He’s been with this rock for me in the last five, six years of life, all the things that I almost didn’t know that men could be.

I just really don’t want to lose it.

She’s my work wife and I was at work husband, then we got a divorce and we remain friends, but we don’t know how to really build a full functioning relationship because many of the prepositions are gone.


When we have like our work break up, we didn’t know how to have the conversation and it became clear that we were trying to have the conversation, but we just kept on missing the other person and it really fell apart.

All hell broke loose with conversations around race racism and white supremacy and racial Justice here in Minnesota.


And it challenged both of us.

The start of the social movement, George would happened in our backyard, in the middle of it.

I didn’t know all of the pressures upon him.

This kind of like one black neighborhood novels fate, but the rest of my life, the rest of my days are spent in almost all white environments.


He taught me a lot and one of the conversations that we ended up having was that if I really wanted to be an ally, it was my job to stand aside.

If there was a person of color that could take my place.

It was one of the reasons that I ended up seeing, what else was available at the time.


It was a financial decision.

She was recruited with a boatload of money.

So we end up in this fight for me to stay.

And I found out that The men were getting paid more money than I was and when I needed him to have my back, he didn’t and I hired somebody that could do what she couldn’t do.


If you can’t be a black woman.

I heard somebody who’s black woman and we don’t speak about it.

Like I’ve never said that to her but I feel like it is just barely unarticulated.

I would love for someone to help guide us through this conversation that we don’t know how to have so that we can heal.


If I can’t talk to her about race and being a black gay man in government.

You know, I’m only going to be able to go but so far in the friendship and, you know, I want to go farther.

She felt and she wants to go farther as well.

These two people have worked together for years.


He was her boss.

They were lobbyists together.

They have been Partners work spouses.

And then they divorced.

They’ve been trying to talk about what happened.

Race is a major topic of their conversation and there is no way that they can talk about race without my addressing the racial composition in this room at this moment.


So before they plunge, it’s important that I get to ask him here.

Is this black man who’s going to be talking with two white women?

How is that for him?

Well, I appreciate you bringing it up because that was an explicit conversation.


I had with my therapist last week when I talked about us doing this podcast and she asked me some blood concerns was like is she going to be okay sufficiently okay with me on race and I said well we’re having that conversation and I want to own that.


So thank you and you’re actually inviting an element of exchange that I wanted to have.

So I don’t feel like it’s two white women against black guy.

Here I went into this looking for some skills.


There’s like a bunch of wood and there’s tools and we need, we’re committed to building a house.

I don’t know how to do it.

I need somebody to teach you how to use a hammer and screwdriver and then I’m fine an experiential learner.

So right, but I’ll add a piece.

I made think that holding a hammer is super easy.


And if I make the wrong assumption, I need to know it.

You might hear that, from me good, I make mistakes.

And I asked to stand corrected when I do, I didn’t necessarily think you anticipate the two white women against, but but it’s too white women with their perception of the world.


Well, you know, just add I have been on a journey in my time here in Minnesota to really understand the nature of male privilege.

And so there’s an element of having a session facilitated by a woman that works for me.


The level of understanding I have has gotten me to understand the overwhelming amount of that.

I do not know.

Yeah, same here.

Some work pairs, enter my office and the I each other as to who’s going to start and it goes very slow.


This pair has been waiting for a year to have this conversation.

They’ve talked to themselves about the other and with the other in their mind that they haven’t been able to start that conversation, but it’s ready to burst.


And so when they walk in, I didn’t have to do much, except to stay out of the way to create a safe container and to slow them down.

I gave up everything.


I thought I wanted.

When I chose to be open enough to come to Minnesota, and I was lost mildly depressed.

Really had no bearing to, no friends.

No relationships and really didn’t know what I wanted to do professionally.


So I left myself hoping and landed a dream job.

In what?

Is perhaps one of the most difficult areas of the country.

For somebody like me to live on the surface?


It looks perfect, right underneath it.

It’s that shadow side to Minnesota.

Somebody like me again, a black man living in one of the whitest states in the country.

It presented a lot of challenges once if I didn’t understand, I was getting into when I got into where we live, the job.


I have, it’s like what I want to do, but have no idea how difficult it’s going to be.

And so, can I have nobody to talk to the very challenges?

I put myself into, I felt like I didn’t have any Partners, but I had this tremendous capacity to do good.


So within a few months, I felt like, wow, I’m in the right place in the right season, do so.

Fear and then you came into my life.

And there was this kind of click and things just kind of grew from there.


And so, as I got a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, I had a sense of, like, my always coming into my own power, and so, there’s like, a growth growth growth and then there’s this plateau.

And I think the shadow side to life here and the difficulties of life for people of color.


Came from sin and you are the only white person in my life at that time.

That I felt was even open to having the conversation about a conversation and I say Plateau because I got to know you even more deeply and I felt the friendship was going deeper.


So the question for me is in this day and age, what does it mean for a black man to have?

As of right now is a very close friend and this kind of work interface for our friendship as racial disparities and it’s hard working.


In a space where the authority and athlete ways to power in professional development based upon sex and gender.

I’m a black man supervising a white woman in the supposed to be deal with racial disparities. so, tremendous amount of opportunity in the whole lot of pitfalls and What are some of the opportunities and some of the pitfalls.


I don’t feel like I can mix up.

I feel like there are white eyes on me that are waiting to see his feet as good as he acts basically.

As good.

As everybody says, if he messes up, he will not get the benefit of the doubt.


I don’t disagree that.

That’s him.

So here’s the opportunity.

What makes Minnesota?

So fucked up for people coming.

These were deliberate sources for how the state was organized.

How the history with Native Americans.


Certainly the 20th century history, that Black minnesotans Point.

People listen to what people say, don’t listen black people.

It comes to race based different seeing outcomes.

We lived experiences all the kind of objective and subjective measures.

And my assessment in my gut, told me that you deliver, those messages would be far more impactful than me or your person color to something of actually gave me a glimmer of hope.


She’s the white person that may be able to break through here.

And so that was the hope and opportunity that you were unique to qualify to really seize that opportunity.


Now It breaks my heart about that is part of the reason I left because I didn’t think you saw it.


Like I was coming up against the only way to have this be solved to the only way to have this position.

You better was to elevate a person of color and that I didn’t belong in that position.

That is the only reason I left.

Did you know that I did not not until you told me later?


I genuinely thought that Really did come down to money.

So it was the conversations.

We had about money spoke to my experience with compensation.

I took pretty much a two-third salary cut.


So I gave up a very low paying job because this is what I wanted to do.

And so I knew that money could take you places if that’s what you need in this season of your life.

I didn’t want you to leave.

You could win over the white folks whose Minds really needed to be changed and you will be able to create space for people to cover you.


I felt like you would grow into a spot personally professionally spiritually on this job where I have created this space.

And now I’m going to fill it with all of this Talent who would be good color.


Like, that’s the best.

Like, I’m not going to inhabit.

I’m going to see.

You see the way that happened if you’re together.

Yeah, literally created ripples throughout the entire world.

I never wanted it to be because of police shooting of an unarmed black man.


I wanted to be because we decided to really be honest about and fucked up.

It is to be a person of color here and it’s a good we’re done.

We everybody, black white indigenous Vibe, like everybody say we’re done and we are going to do the really hard work of being honest about how we gave you got here and how we’re going to change.


I saw you is a partner.

Since the reason why I have a jury, I mean, it was competitive but it really was like, you were by far the best.

I think it’s so hot, like I’m so with you on all of those things.


Like that’s what I wanted to do it and it was funny as that.

I think that for both of us, like money became the Herring that we were fighting over because I think he didn’t want to talk about the other pieces.

And the only reason that money was a thing is because I knew two, guys were making more than me and I was doing way more work than they were.


And then when it was like, oh we reclassified the position.

Based on your work.

I was like with those guys didn’t even do the stuff so that became, you know, like they’re going to get raises to it.

For work that I was doing and already under pay for and that seems like the easier fight to have because numbers didn’t see this personal as like this and as as as as race and gender, and I think that’s what’s hard as even hearing me now.


Like, more than anything in the world in that moment.

I wanted to hear from you.


You just said.


I wanted to know that I Was on your team and the hardest thing for me in the job that I’m in now is, I feel like you’re on this battle and I’m not perfect.

I know that there’s huge disparities.


I see them play out all the time and it’s not fair and it’s not right?

And I was under the impression from some of what you said.

And also likes outside sources that the only way to have move this work forward, is to have somebody that didn’t look like the animal.


We had a conversation once reset, like, if you really want to be an ally step aside, to let black people leave and like, I thought that was the only choice I have left.

And then it was hard because as I was leaving, not only did I like have the grief of leaving but then I felt like I let you down.


Like I couldn’t cut it and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to burden have the passion.

It was just that I couldn’t find Space.

It’s hard to hear that and I wish we had some quality time to have talk these things through because you are right.


We were talking past each other.

The assessment you made about me saying good allies step aside.

It is true about creating space that that’s the mechanism for creating space typing side.

I believe is the right thing to do and I say same adequate because if staying in that position, allows you to create space, that is about same position.


I’m going to thank you.

Took it wrong here in the you now.

Wow, I can see why she what she took.

It was the whole everything that was happening all at once, and, you know.

Other people the organization and everything.

There was a huge push for for movement and change and for people of color to have voices in the rooms that we were in for meaning.


Well, I remember one meeting that we went to and it was for a bill that was specifically to help children of color and the authors of this piece of legislation were people of color and you look around the room and it was mostly people that were white and And I know the privilege that comes in those skin that I am that I’m in.


But like, I grew up in a family that didn’t have much, and I have family that struggles with mental illness, and I have family that struggles with addiction and your teenage pregnancies and court cases, but, you know, their stereotypes for everybody, their stereotypes, that comes with how I looked and, you know, I have privileged in those stereotypes.


What does one see when one sees you in that?

Typic frame.

I mean, I’m a white blond.

Skinny, not unattractive, female that you know, has a high degree of education.


And I’m usually the one that is dressed to the nines with all my makeup done and, you know, big high heels and they like that just comes with.

It opens doors.

I know it’ll consumes.

So you a beautiful thinking sharing your family and I understand the struggles intent, what day-to-day life is like in.


So, in that makes me proud of you, I give joy when I watch how crowd, especially your parents and both her sisters.

How much talk about?

They are you and yet.

When I look at your life through my experience, if anything, my experience here in Minnesota.


I can’t help think they it.

They’re racing ever hoping that he didn’t give family at a house.

So despite all the difficult circumstances and the Never raises the question.

Why is that so different than in my neighborhood?


Your family’s gone through.

Effectively the exact same things in their unstable housed.

Economically fragile and have lived on the margins and never has been historic.

Why is hard work and determination work for your family in doesn’t for black and brown zones?


And racism is huge.

No systemic racism and so many things.

And like I understood those pieces, but I think that when we were looking at the conversations between you and I, when I was leaving, I was seeing it through like this very personal.


Um, And I needed you on, you know, my side that I failed to see the macro level of all of the pressures that you have and it really wasn’t until George boy died.

And I watched what happened soda and I watched what happened country and world and I saw where I can take off the lens of but I recognize systemic racism was thing and I can take off that blends and I can go home at night.


You don’t get to do that.

What’s the story who owns the narrative for her?

The story is money, gender.


A friend.

That didn’t back me.

The man that I relied upon who let me down his story money, somewhat gender.

Somewhat race a lot.

She’s able to individualize their breakdown.


He sees it as part of a much larger.


And so the question is, can they align the story?

And the point is not to try to answer, who is right, but to find a way to integrate the different pieces of the story so that they can do the repair that they are.


So eager to do.


The sense I get is that you have had many conversations in your head with each other imaginary conversations.

And so they’ve just been waiting like here at the prefrontal, you know to come out and the only thing you don’t know is what’s going to come out first?


And then what it’s going to feel like when you actually say it out loud in front of the real.


And that’s the discomfort.

Yes, or the sadness, or the sense of loss, or the sense of missed opportunity and then to, you know, have fiction and reality find each other.


Yeah, how many times have we had this conversation in your head?

Oh, I’ve been happening since the June you before you left.

I mean, it’s scary because when you say things have to say them out loud, like I am so cautious of those, I already feel like I let you down.


I don’t want to hurt you.

And I don’t want to be like when we were talking about whether or not we were going to go on his podcast.

And you said, one of your biggest fears was that I would be the bougie white girl from the suburbs and Walk away from this.

I never want to be that for you.


I don’t want you to be there for yourself.

I don’t want that choice to be about me.

Well, but I mean, that’s who I like at my core.

I think that’s who I am.

Like, that’s why I want to be in this world.

I want to be on the right side of History.

I want to be the person that is, you know, giving voices and helping find voice.


And I recognize the mess that this world is ending.

I mean, it’s not just, you know, for you, you know, like my got most of my godchildren car.

Mixed race and like I worry about them every day.

The weight of all of that was in how I interface with you at that point, you know, it really was at the end of the day, stripping away our relationship, my friendship with you.


I’m using a lot of political capital and pushing all these boundaries for a white woman.


Well, I think that that’s what was hard as I didn’t know how much you had to push because there was all of these ways forward and then I don’t know what the barrier was for that to be known when I have the CEO saying.


Yes, and I have to like senior VP being like yes, and here’s money.

And then all of a sudden it fell apart.

Adding that instilled in me, that it really wasn’t about the money that it was something.

That I wasn’t doing or that I couldn’t do, which is why I think when you said that you do think that I had was in a position to do that with.


So like cut super deep because that’s what I thought wasn’t there.

And how many filters where they’re still probably a lot.

But what I will just say is you don’t have to be rude for the purpose of being rude or blunt, but You don’t have to be nice.


You can be caring but you don’t have to be nice.

But that’s the voice that’s been talking.

He let me down.

I can’t believe that that’s the dialogue in sight.

Yeah, and he has his own, you know, he also has one and it’s these dialogues that are standing in the way of your having the Friendship today that you want to have because they have not been addressed.


Those voices inside of you that say let down betrayal.

Are you for real?

Well, I think that maybe that’s why I feel let down whisper like for me, it felt so Mike.

So what down is you outside of work?


You were somebody who like, accepted me for who?

I was no matter what terrible thing was happening in my life or how crazy something was going on in my family, or how Off the Wall.

I was going to be with anything.

There was just this like complete level of acceptance for who we were.


And I have a history of, you know, sexual assault as a child assault as an adult and you were somebody that was always so safe for me and and somebody who saw that and wasn’t afraid of that and had those conversations with me.


And so really, you became like the man in my life that I was closest to and somebody that I looked up to and somebody that I cared about and some buddy that I saw as who had Cena just so much, so much wisdom and Probably unfair to you.


I thought that like that micro relationship was so valuable to me that it wouldn’t matter what happened with, you know, the board or what happened with the legislature.

What happened with the Senate that even in the breaking that might be like you would see who I was and the work that I was trying to do and it really did feel in that moment that it was like I wasn’t worth fighting for and like, It just broke me.


Again, let’s go. and, and it wasn’t even that I blamed for just, I Out of deference and probably fear of our, the scrutiny.


I had and our HR protocols.

I was never able to tell you how I had decided, and why it took so long, but I can share with you that the only pathway that I saw where I could create a path was the example of you and your totality.


Have this collateral, but the voters now it is, it’s hard for me to hear you talk about the pay because I’m feeling like, wow, she’s holding me accountable for something.

I didn’t create a problem, didn’t believe that was snow and you did it create it.



It was before you and I did a lot.

I did everything that I knew was within my power to solve for that, where I think I didn’t understand was what it meant to have to.

To have everybody out ride your coattails, I think, because I would, if I had known that, I probably I would have rather had a conversation about that.


I got to do it this way, because this is literally the up like this.

This has a ripple effect elsewhere.

If I can’t do it this way, but they telling me like it’s everybody in the body, but it was about you, like it was easy to do to the extent that it was about you.

So here’s where I’ll be in filter.


I’m hearing determination in your in how you’re talking about this and it fits a pattern for me that triggers a lot of resentment.

And so what you what this sounds like and most like to me is every other time I or some other black person.


I knew never got a hit because capable smart.

Ambitious, pretty white woman.

Got the advantages.

That was the person that the organization when taking this person that Society wanted to take care of, here we go with throwing money at a white person.


Would we do this?

If she were black?

Would we do this?

If she would not wait, but and I’m like and she’s my friend.

When you came to my office, you work fine.

I was like, I can’t cry.

I’m literally cries behind the tears.


Just at the back of my eye sockets.

I’m like, I can’t cry from my experience.

It’s like she’s got the privilege.

She’s got a job.

Offer was she wants it or not.

He got fucking good job.

Offer a shitload of money.

What do you want?

What do you want to dig?


Not having bad his privilege in and of itself and like and I’m sitting here like I can’t even cry.

I can’t even beat him.

Can I’ve Got to Be Stiff back, soft voice when you sober and I’m just completely dispassionate about all of them.


Is to understand the macro pieces and I think they’re all they’re valid and and you’re right about how people get promoted and you’re right about who gets promoted.

And we’ve seen that with a number of our friends organization that are not promoted.

Like I mean, that’s that’s real that is real is this is happening.


This is about me.

You don’t need me except that every Once in a while, I will just say take off another layer of filter.

You on some level want to individualize this and see, but it’s me and he on some level is saying to you.


There is you.

But then there is that bigger thing and you’re just one person in it and I cannot just make it about you and me.

I can never leave the macro frame of race of gender of power of money.


Of double standards.

We cannot think that we can insulate ourselves from all these larger factors.

And some level she may never have really understood why he didn’t stand by her, or give her the Rays that she felt she was fairly.


Do because in his mind there is a bigger unfairness, and he could not go to bat for her and Parade.

That from the larger historical and social reality of black white relationships in the workplace.


There’s only two other black people on my floor.

So, out of a floor of about maybe a hundred people, just three actually two are retiring.

I might be the only person, it’s a lonely, isolating place and there’s a lot of hope that black employees that placed in me that I’m only now becoming aware of and that gives me hope and inspiration.


Raishin, but fear and trepidation at the same time.

And that is disconcerting because it is a reflection of a power differential, a racialized power, differential.

I shouldn’t be going to black person and success for black people should not rest solely on my shoulders Force, the shoulders of a few people of a handful of people.


So you’re isolated as black and you are also isolated as gay or you have more of in the gay world.

You have more of a community to be truthful.

It is far more difficult for me to navigate.


My place of employment and this region has a black man and it’s a game.


You have a partner.


No, I’m asking her.

No, I have never understood why you don’t have a train of suitors story after you had question.


I don’t know how you feel objectified Capital all the time.

Like, when we were working in politics like they were, there was a time where like to legislators had a bet on a good sleep with me.

First, you talk about the I want to ask you, what could I have done differently, please support.


Yeah, I was, it was the four of us.

That’s funny.

I spoke with me for years now and I had never question.

I keep asking myself is what should I have done differently?


Tips important to you.

I wish I had an answer, but I honestly don’t remember you there.

Like that is so telling, what does it say?

Because I mean, I don’t, they totally believe you, you know, when you’d associate on some level, he may even remember.


Things that you don’t remember.

When he says I was there, but it stayed with you and you never brought it up somehow.

Why I think giving certain adequacy in shame of you of myself.


Wow, I feel badly because I didn’t interrupt what was going on.

Did you know what was going on?

I was scared.

I thought we would keep it.

Like, I remember trying to make it funny.


Well fun and not to cause a scene because it like they’re all of a sudden were tons of I didn’t know about the wedding.

Yeah, the fact that they were putting you in a compromising position to me.

It was what was important, you know, you’re being, you know, tossed as a toy and you’re trying to be classy about it and not to say anything and to just kind of joke it off or remain gracious or talk about something else.


And he’s watching the whole thing and as could have happened if it was not a woman’s story but a racial story and he said I sat there, I watch the whole thing.

And I said nothing.


One question is, since you remember it actually better than her.

What happened to you?


I kind of stood there in.

The only thing, I thought I could do was to create a diversion that involved your sister in mind, you, there was a obliquely homophobic remark that one of these people said to me earlier that evening and so I was, I was filtering everything through that and, you know, that’s, that’s how I walk in is like, oh my God, they’re already screwed with me and now they’re screwing with her.


How I rescue you.

And how can I minimize collateral damage to me?

And that was the, she’s got to go get her sister and that, and that worked like it.

Got me out.


So this is helpful because it’s to be honest ever since then, I kept asking myself.


Why don’t you call them out on what was going on?

What I meant?

Just articulated this was wrong and that you were going to leave where asked you if you wanted to leave.

Getting the out of there’s huge.

Thank you for getting me up.

This is a tricky situation in which she gets harassed.


He sees it.

He does help her to his deflection.

He gets her out of the situation and nevertheless.

He’s been haunted with this for quite a while wondering.

What else he could have done.

What else he could have said what he did and did not do in these situations as bystanders where we see other people take a fall.


Where we see other people blamed for mistakes, they didn’t make many situations that require a form of standing up and speaking out.

I think we all have these situations on our chart of conscience accountability.


It’s very hard to say something in that moment.

When you have just gotten your own dose of toxic stuff and you don’t want to be punched literally or metaphorically, you know, I wonder about that.


Okay, there’s a piece of me when I talk about not being able to breathe.

It creates range below.

It all.

I’m just, this is, this is not right, and it pisses me off.

And this piecemeal wants to find.


I’m in some ways itching for a fight.

I’m itching for a fight because it’s it’s like I’m going to take you mother fuckers on and I don’t care whether I win or not because it’s the having their bodies on my neck is dehumanizing.


And so as I’m sitting here with the discomfort, that moment, it’s like what I asked you questions at what, what’s really at the heart of the question is the piece of it is?

Did I do?


And then it’s the you were mad as fucking hell.

Yeah, and then if you’d like I was still mom, but I couldn’t get a meeting for almost two years after that.


And when you don’t go from the dissociation to the survival strategy and you actually measure the emotional Resonance of this because you sort will defend it as you need to be in the work space since the memory is creeping in.


On you.

I just want to Bring emotional resonance to this memory.

Not just survival skills. there’s almost a level of consistent fear that follows you around and it’s it’s frustrating and it’s degrading and it’s dehumanizing and It’s so much about.


A reminder.

Or wait, is that?

As a reminder in my mind of why I’m not enough.

And that’s what I carry with me.

I’m really bad at naming.

The feelings game.

I apologize.

That’s always a struggle for me.

What is the emotion?


What is the feeling?

To know what happens sometimes when I sit with someone who tells me that is that I feel it.

I was listening and I thought I’m not enough after all what I’ve done after how hard I try after how much I give after, how careful I am.


And you asking me why I don’t have a bunch of suitors because I have a sign on the front end of the back that says stay away.


Not because I don’t want but I just don’t know how to take off the sign and still feel that it’s okay to be available in open.


My first, I wasn’t expecting that one to come tonight.

Just admit it and I’ll be back in a second.


Have you doing?


Should we check it out?

I never thought I didn’t see two thirds of this coming.


I know.

It’s like the best therapy session when you like you going with an agenda and it’s completely disrupted.

I know it.

I’m in a really good head space because it’s allowing me to ask.


But what’s deeper, but here’s the fraud.

What’s pertinent?


Stupid, shit.


Why we talk about my day look like, oh, right.

That’s what hurts got it.

No, I talk to you.


I keep leaving.


In a three hour session, I sometimes have to go to the bathroom and I think that I should go to the bathroom each time because it’s quite interesting what happens in my absence and what they actually say to each other.

Welcome back.


What did I miss?

What have we not touched where you addressed, it in your head and now is the opportunity to what that discussion of this episode at this restaurant.

And until I brought it up and started talking through it.


I never realized how much I carry it with me situations like that.

I think are part of the reason that I Struggle to trust men and going back to that micro-level like you and I and the expectation of who you are for me, and that moment was probably a little bit unfair.


You shaking your head?

Unfair, felt did not stick well to me.

It felt like you’re being too hard on yourself.

That’s probably.

You know, critical thought himself, shaming are two in my mind that two very different things.


So my mind went to race and then it’s the He’s her work around racial difference, racism, white supremacy face in shame, or is it based in objective views and personal commitments to growth, white people, do it out of guilt.


Don’t do it for too long.

And I told you, yeah, one of my biggest fears is you’re going to this friendship will run.

Its course, you move to an excerpt and be a republican have had this episode.

We’re going to life.

Is Ellie used to have a?

I used to have a black friend?


One of my big concerns for our friendship.

Is that for you to deeply.

Be my friend in the way that would be ankle.

For me means that you will always be swimming against the current and a very strong current and a very personal one, especially if it comes from your family.


And I don’t want that to be based in Gilbert, you like the part about race for me, is not driven by what I feel guilty about the piece about race that really drives me is Comes from the people that I want.


But when I started like feeling race, and why I thought that race was important started long before you, I was 22 and I had a friend one night.

You know, she wanted to take me to this church.

It was going to be gospel music.


It was like 9 o’clock at night.

Did you want to go?

And I said, okay, you know, sure, and we walk in and we were late and it had already started in Berkeley.

It’s a bad.

We were the only two white people in the space and that was a situation.

I’ve never been in before, and we looked at each other and were like, you know what, I think this is going to be uncomfortable and probably don’t belong.



We probably should leave, but they were in the middle of prayer.

So we weren’t, we didn’t leave.

So we’re gonna sit and we’re going to wait and of course, you know, by church, so they’re like, okay.

Amen, go hug.

Somebody, you don’t know.

And it was like this huge, like there was something in that space that was unlike anything that I had experienced.


This group of people were the most kind of love.

Being supportive, wonderful people that I’ve ever met and that was my first experience in like a predominantly black community in.

When I moved away.

They like send me off with everything that I could possibly need.


They talk about what they went through in the 60s and what they go through now and it it hurts my spirit because I love these people and that experience changed how I see the world.

It’s not that I’m colorblind and I don’t see racer.


But it isn’t fair.

There’s a level of Injustice and is just not.


I have I’m struggling right now with, I don’t know what that looks like somebody.

I don’t know what it looks like to be part of this pie right now because, you know, I can I can go to the protests and I can write letters, I can do all that.


I’ve learned, it’s not my job to be the leader, and I’m a follower in this journey right now.

And that’s okay.

It’s hard right now being in a job that We’re not doing anything to change the world.

At the beginning of the session, they told me that they had brought a bottle of champagne that they wanted to open at the end and celebrate, but they didn’t know what the session was going to be.


Like, they had to hear a lot of difficult and challenging things from each other.

They still thought that they wanted to open the bottle of champagne that they had cleared the air, even though they were no longer working together.

And even though there’s a part of her that is deeply frustrated about Lost a profession in which she found tremendous meaning and that on some level.


He had decided that making money was more important for her.

And so they were living with all kinds of misunderstandings and false assumptions.

They did send me a picture after the session showing me that they had opened the bottle and so their relationship persevered and I raise my glass to them.


Esther perel is a therapist best-selling author speaker and host of the podcasts.

Where should we begin?

And how’s work to apply with a colleague or partner to do a session for the A podcast or to follow along with each episode show notes.

Go to house work dot Esther


How’s work is produced by magnificent noise for gimlet and Esther perel Productions.

Our production staff, includes Eric Newsome, evil.

Watch over Hewitt, a Gitana and Kristen Mueller.

Original music and additional production by Paul Schneider, and the executive producers of how’s work.


Our Esther perel and Jesse Baker.

We would also like to thank Lydia Pole, Green Colin Campbell, Courteney Hamilton, Nick oxen horn, Sarah, Kramer, Jax all, and the entire Esther perel Global media team.

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