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CBID Conversations: PMG’s ‘DIG In’ Session with Activist and Podcaster Jesal Parikh

3 MINUTE READ | September 10, 2021

CBID Conversations: PMG’s ‘DIG In’ Session with Activist and Podcaster Jesal Parikh

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Lauren Albert

Lauren Albert has written this article. More details coming soon.

Our ‘DE&I Conversations’ series covers what we’ve learned during PMG’s ‘DIG In’ speaker series, a new initiative that brings speakers with diverse backgrounds to PMG to spark meaningful conversations that celebrate diverse people, voices, perspectives, and experiences. Our first post shares some of the most important learnings Lauren took from the DIG In session with activist and podcaster Jesal Parikh.

Writing as an ally, this post reflects my experience and takeaways from attending PMG’s latest ‘DIG In’ session with Jesal Parikh. Please visit Jesal Parikh’s website for more insight into her work as well as additional resources on diversity, equity, and inclusion from BIPOC voices. 

There is a recurring cycle that occurs surrounding racial bias. “It begins with a racial conflict,” Parikh explains. “An incident occurs where harm is caused to a person of color. Then, there is a moment of confrontation where the culprit of the incident is asked to take accountability. The culprit then experiences that disconnect — they hear something different than what is being told to them. They are told their action was racist, and they hear all of those implied things. And then fragility shows up, the culprit reacts poorly and makes the situation worse.” The cycle then repeats, but Parikh believes we can break this cycle altogether. 

Addressing the disconnect and the ways we react to confrontation is a great way to start breaking the cycle. It starts with learning about what is causing the racial conflict in the first place. 

Screengrab of Jesal Parikh presentation

Being called ‘racist’ can feel like a brutal attack. It feels like being called a bad person (a concept known as white fragility). We must reframe this in our minds. Parikh says, “When someone calls us racist, they are coming from a place of feeling unseen, unheard, and wanting to change the situation.” Instead of being defensive when faced with a moment of confrontation, Parikh recommends hitting pause, taking a breath, and understanding that we can learn more. This is similar to adopting a growth mindset in response to any feedback we would get from a manager or coworker. Keeping a growth mindset through the journey to become a better ally will prevent defensiveness, nurture more productive conversations, and break the cycle of conflict.

I have wanted to learn about racial equity for a long time, but I wasn’t sure where to start. It wasn’t until one of my friends, Meghan Gupta, started a newsletter dedicated to Native American and Indigenous news and history that I started regularly following her and building awareness of racial inequalities. This format worked well because I like email newsletters, and I read them regularly about other topics. 

Similarly, Parikh recommends finding topics and formats that resonate with you to become more educated on racial injustice. 

Parikh herself said, “Before creating the podcast, I would never have thought that I would be interested in social justice…It felt like a veil had lifted for me, and I had seen the world in a new way.” So, if you’re into podcasts and wellness, you’ll be captivated by Parikh’s Yoga Is Dead podcast. If you’re a semi-professional binge-watcher, start with Ava DuVernay’s The 13th. Learning about racial inequality is going to be uncomfortable, but it is essential to stick with it. Using resources that resonate with you will help you stay engaged and become a lifelong learner.

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Thank you to Jessal for speaking with us and bringing this conversation to PMG.

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