Burn Bright

Defining Allyship w/ Christian List

April 13, 2022 Kelley Anne
Defining Allyship w/ Christian List
Burn Bright
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Burn Bright
Defining Allyship w/ Christian List
Apr 13, 2022
Kelley Anne

Today I speak with Christian List.  Christian List is a doctoral candidate and antiracism committee member within the Human and Organizational Learning department at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. His dissertation research adopts a critical framework and is focused on organizational antiracism commitments in 2020.
In today's conversation, we discuss what allyship is and what it is not.   We also discuss with Christian how people can be true allies in the workplace.  As always you can connect with this podcast on Instagram and through the website.  Finally, don’t forget you can buy me a coffee and donate to keep the podcast going.

Show Notes Transcript

Today I speak with Christian List.  Christian List is a doctoral candidate and antiracism committee member within the Human and Organizational Learning department at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. His dissertation research adopts a critical framework and is focused on organizational antiracism commitments in 2020.
In today's conversation, we discuss what allyship is and what it is not.   We also discuss with Christian how people can be true allies in the workplace.  As always you can connect with this podcast on Instagram and through the website.  Finally, don’t forget you can buy me a coffee and donate to keep the podcast going.

Defining Allyship with Christian List

[00:00:00] Kelley: Welcome to the Burn Bright Podcast, a podcast dedicated to helping big-hearted, creative women battle burnout, and live happy, healthy, vibrant lives. I'm Kelly, a fellow big-hearted creative, a licensed therapist, and a proud quirky millennial. Welcome back, everyone. I'm excited about today's episode.

[00:00:20] Today, we're going to deep dive into allyship and what it means and what it doesn't mean. And we're going to talk to somebody named, Christian List, who has basically made his whole life about this academically in studying this topic. So, before we get into that though, and have this great and fascinating conversation with Christian, let's talk about ways you can support this podcast.

[00:00:42] There's really four key ways. The first way is to share this podcast far and wide with people who think may resonate with it. The second way is to subscribe to the podcast, so you can have each episode as it drops. The third way is to like and review the podcast. Spotify has this new feature now where you can actually like the podcast and Apple Podcast as always. More reviews make my day. Last but not least, for the price of a cup of coffee, you can also support the podcast financially.

[00:01:18] You can do this at buymeacoffee.com/burnbright. Okay, let's get into today's [inaudible 00:01:24]. Let's talk about Christian List. Here's who Christian List is, he is a doctoral candidate and an anti-racism committee member within the Human and Organizational Learning Department at George Washington University.

[00:01:38] He is pursuing his degree out of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. His dissertation research adopts a critical framework and his focus on organizational anti-racism commitment. This is truly as we all could remember, an interesting time for us all. 

[00:01:56] Through his studies, Christian’s also founded out poetry, he's a former naval aviation rescue swimmer. Christian loves the water and believes the best crab cake is the one you catch and make for himself. We’re definitely going to be talking about that today in the episode. And through this framework, Christian believes that no one can enact allyship, just in their current sphere of influence without engaging directly with folks and questioning ones [inaudible 00:02:25].

[00:02:27] So, with some background from Christian, I'm excited to this conversation going [inaudible 00:02:32]. Here's my interview [00:02:34]

[00:02:36] Hi, Christian. I'm so excited to speak to you today. Thank you for being here. 

[00:02:41] Christian: Thanks for having me, Kelley. 

[00:02:43] Kelley: Of course. I'm excited. So, you are the second male guest that I've had as well. Male identified person on this podcast. So, it's another reason why I'm also excited because I'm expanding this season, including more male voices as we balance out.

[00:02:58] Even those podcasts, primarily for women. I've noticed that people are responding to hearing from men and particularly, on this topic today. When we talk about allyship and you being a white male-identified person, I really wanted to talk to you and get your perspective because I think it's very unique.

[00:03:14] So, to kick us off and get started, I just really want to know a little bit more about you and I'm sure the audience does too. Who is Christian? And then, how did you come on this journey of becoming invested and interested in, really, those kind of dynamics associated with diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, accessibility – the whole list?

[00:03:38] Christian: Yeah. Well, thank you. And I'm glad to be a part of this conversation and contribute to this. I also want to recognize the fact that first of all, there's a little bit of paradox in me being in this podcast, and we're centering a white male’s experience. So, I just wanted to name that, and maybe that's part of some of the questions we might hear about. What does it take to be an ally?

[00:04:04] But a little bit about myself. I am still a transitioning veteran from the US Navy. I was a helicopter rescue swimmer and decided to go for my masters, and so I left the Navy and I went to George Washington University in the Organizational Leadership and Learning Program.

[00:04:25] And that's when I would say my jump into DEI occurred. I have to give credit to one of my – who I would probably consider a peer now. Their experience, like a seemingly simple experience out in town, near GW, and their experience, basically, was eye-opening for me because it was just a simple interaction where two people met at an impasse in a crosswalk.

[00:04:59] And my peer said that they just stopped in the middle of that crosswalk and didn't want to move because they've been moving aside for people their entire life. And that really hit home for me. Not only because my first instinct was, well, why couldn't you move aside?

[00:05:24] You know, it seems such like a simple interaction, but impactful for me because later, maybe a day later, I was going to the university via the metro and I used to get on a stop that was pretty far out. I think it was one of the last stops on the train. So, I would get on, and I worked out at the gym at GW, prior to going to class. And I had my gym bag, and I had my backpack with my reading material, and I would read on the train prior to getting to class. 

[00:06:00] And as I got on the train, it was empty and we kept filling up stop, by stop, by stop. And until I got to the city center, I was still reading, not really noticing my surroundings and my bag, my gym bag was sitting right next to me on the seat there, I was in a spot with two seats. And all of a sudden, my gym bag was pushed into me as this woman was sitting down, this black woman, pushed my gym bag aside into me and sat down, and I immediately thought of, I am this person that was walking in front of my peer.

[00:06:44] And this was a woman who said, no, your bag does not take place over my ability to sit, you know. So, I think about this occasion often, every time I come up with a new concept of whiteness, of racism that really talks about the body and whose space belongs where, I come back to my gym bag being an extension of myself and saying that, quite possibly, me saying that this space and this space around me is white.

[00:07:22] And what you need to do is actually push that gym bag into me, in order for you to sit down. So, I think about that all the time. So, that is sort of my progression into the space and what I would probably call one of those transformative racialized moments in my development. 

[00:07:40] Kelley: It's really interesting. Thanks for sharing that. It's really an interesting story because on the surface like you said, it doesn't seem like much, right? I'm sure every day, in some people's lives, people have done that or side-eyed people who have their gym bag taking up a seat, but it doesn't go any deeper than that. And then, even the experience that you told me of your peer, that they didn't want to move anymore because they are always moving and always kind of making space for whiteness, but that's not reciprocated, right? 

[00:08:10] And so, it's a small… to the outsider, right? It seems like a really small moment that probably only lasted five seconds, right? To you, it is this transformative, pause and think about this being this metaphor for whiteness; that like you're taking up all this space and people were just having to force themselves to fit into the space, and it's an afterthought. 

[00:08:34] When you take up space all the time, it lends to me thinking about like, when we talk about trains and stuff, people talk about manspreading, and like how men naturally take up space and everybody else, kind of women have to, you know, the other side, have to like cross their legs and make themselves as small as possible.

[00:08:50] So, it's really interesting how these small moments add up, one, and have big impacts and that small moments are transformative. I think when we start talking about allyship, I think that's a key concept, right? But it's not the big stuff. You didn't read something or see something that was huge, that made international news that moved you, but it was a small moment that resonated with you.

[00:09:15] And that I think people benefit from those small moments. And so, you have this epiphany. And then, what do you do as far as education? Because I know you've like chosen a path. How does this shape your educational experience? 

[00:09:30] Christian: Yeah. Thank you. And I used the term whiteness and that's essentially what I study. So, now I'm in a doctorate program at GW. I'm a candidate now, so I’m into my dissertation phase. And I am studying, basically, whiteness as a phenomena and I'm doing that within the context of higher education. 

[00:09:56] Kelley: That's amazing. It's just really amazing because we think about critical race theory and all the controversy around that. And then this reaction to whiteness, people talking about it. What is whiteness – defining it? What does that mean? And is it a real thing? Is it a social construct? All these kinds of questions have swirled around for, I think, a long, long time. 

[00:10:22] But it's always interesting to me and always striking to me when white people are interested in understanding whiteness in the context of race and in the context of, like, social interactions versus it being a defensiveness, right?

[00:10:39] A lot of times, people do talk about whiteness, but it's very, when it's from white folks, typically it's a defense reaction. Like, oh, I'm a bad person because you're trying to tell me I'm a bad person because I'm white or I think there should be white studies in response to there being black studies, right?

[00:10:52] Like, why isn't there a study on whiteness? It's just a very unique decision. I think that a lot of people don't do, let's be clear, to study whiteness. And what is your particular interest in studying whiteness? 

[00:11:07] Christian: Yeah. Thank you. So, particularly, we talked about the nuance, you know, the seemingly, like, the hidden aspects of whiteness, right? In the everyday.

[00:11:19] So, 2020 occurred, right? Institutions of higher education all around the country committed themselves to some sort of racial solidarity or anti-racism. I'm interested specifically, in whiteness within anti-racism. So, the paradoxical event of whiteness embedding itself within the structures that we know let institutions commit themselves to anti-racism. 

[00:11:56] Kelley: Okay. Now we got to get into it. So, yes, this is super interesting. I think, one, 2020 has been this pivotal year for so many people and I think there's been a lot of positive to that. Before we can, you know, deconstruct some of the negative pieces of it, I want to acknowledge that there have been some positive things. People have had these moments, or epiphanies or transformative moments like you're describing on smaller scales, where they're realizing, okay, world is different for different people, right? 

[00:12:27] Particularly as a white person, if I'm a white person, I'm realizing that my experience – I don't have to worry about certain things and yet, I see that black peers or other black people, just in general, or people of color have to worry about their engagement with the police, particularly in 2020, and all the other things that trickle from that. 

[00:12:45] Because when we start talking about, you know, George Floyd, for example, which has become this person who has been, like sparked – in some ways people think of “movement.” I'm using quotes for that. There's so much around that. Like, you talked about the nature of taking up space. Critical race theory is coming out really around that time as being – popularity is 1619 project. And all of this backlash about what it means to center people of color and to center blackness, in this instance.

[00:13:14] And then there are people who are having these epiphanies and these moments, and they're like this, particularly with George Floyd. For those, I tell people not to watch the eight-minute video. I think it's traumatic for black folks. I think, honestly, it's for more white folks to see who are unaware that this is actually a reality for folks. 

[00:13:33] But people were seeing it and a lot of people in corporate world, in private spaces where particularly white folks were waking up and saying, oh, this is bad. Like, this is not good and wanting to do something. And so, we have a bunch of people who rush out to want to do something. And this kind of ties into – this is my long-winded way of us shifting into allyship, a conversation about allyship, that all these folks were feeling, you know, the amount of women who were crying when they saw the video.

[00:14:03] And of course, it's a human response. It's a horrible thing to watch. The tears. The what can I do? And there was a lot of, like, rush to do that. And I want to know, from your perspective, how did you interpret that moment and seeing people's reaction? And then I would really like to, after that, just have us define, what allyship is and what it isn't? Because I think people then jumped up wanting to be allies but didn't necessarily know where to begin.

[00:14:30] And so, how did you experience that moment and see people around you experiencing it? Let's start with that in 2020. 

[00:14:36] Christian: So, how I experienced it, initially, I thought people's reaction to this was, first of all, positive overall. Now, if organizations are committing themselves to move the needle, that's always a good thing, right?

[00:15:01] Kelley: Absolutely.

[00:15:02] Christian: The problem though, comes when the moving that needle requires the people who committed themselves to do more than they're willing to. So, I think having a real expectation on what is achievable/what do we know that we can achieve, is something that people really need to have a deep conversation about. 

[00:15:33] Kelley: I think most people in 2020 had awakenings. And so, before we get deep-diving into intention versus capacity, what does it mean to be an ally? Because I think a lot of people say it. I don't know if they know what it means when they say it. And do you use that word? 

[00:15:52] Christian: I think ally as a noun, could be problematic. 

[00:16:02] Kelley: Tell us why. 

[00:16:02] Christian: First of all, if you're seeking to become an ally, right, allyship is earned and it's very contextual. If you're trying to name yourself as an ally, I would ask yourself, why? Are you naming yourself as an ally, as say, a distancing strategy from racism? Because then, you could consider that to be like, non-racist. How I think about racism is you have racists who are, like legit racists, like outwardly racist, right?

[00:16:42] And then you have the non-racists, which are pretty much everyday people who don't necessarily understand how systemic racism is perpetuated within themselves, right? And then, there's anti-racist and I'll generalize to those three just for the ease of conversation. 

[00:17:05] But an anti-racist, who I would more classify as an ally, right, is someone who can understand and accept that racism is pretty much everywhere. It's in all of our institutions, it's in our language, it's in our call to way of being within the world, and those structures of oppression come out most of the time, unknowingly. And we have that term, right? Microaggressions.

[00:17:40] Kelley: Yes. 

[00:17:42] Christian: Yes. And there's scholars that have named what microaggressions are. There's micro-insults, micro-assaults, micro-invalidations. And especially now, what we've seen and it's always been there, but probably more so due to the heightened, you know, events of 2020 is what I would call micro-exploitation. Right?

[00:18:08] The need to be informed by marginalized groups on how to better not be racist, you know. And anti-racism and true allyship is really the onus on the self to understand how you contribute to that. And one way that you could first, not contribute to exploitation, is to really do your own research.

[00:18:42] There are so many books, there's so many articles, the experience of -- and I shouldn't say the experience like it's a monolith, but experiences, which is a tenant of critical race theory, right? Experiences of marginalized people, specifically to race has been researched and talked about for years and years. There's no reason to ask anybody about their experience like their experience speaks to everybody. 

[00:19:13] Kelley: Yeah, that particularly. There's so much you said that I want to unpack, but we'll start with that. And micro-exploitation, because I love that, I tell people all the time when I work with organizations that I train, and I particularly work with, like, their employee resource groups that I will work with, whether it's Latinx or they're African-American, you employ resource groups.

[00:19:34] And one of the things I always train and tell them is teach them how to self-advocate and to tell people, you know, Google scholar is a beautiful thing. I have wasted many a time. You may not identify with this, but I have wasted many a time going down a Pinterest rabbit hole, looking at the dumbest thing, like I want to know how to make frosting on cupcakes. And I have lost an hour of my life learning that.

[00:19:59] And many people, whatever it is, or lost an hour of my life Googling up a random fact I want to know more about. If you can do that, then you can Google, why I shouldn't say the N-word, as a white person.

[00:20:11] You can Google scholar, you know, what is a microaggression? You don't have to ask your black friend, your Latin friend. You know, we've seen a real spike in Asian hate. Asking your Asian friends, oh, well, why don't we say Oriental? And what has happened is curiosity has turned into, like you said, exploitation, where you now are leaning on people who are marginalized, to then explain, why.

[00:20:39] And within groups, that happens because, obviously, being a black woman doesn’t mean I'm an expert on every other marginalized identity. And so, it's very easy to be – it's a lazy way out to go and ask somebody who asks a gay friend, well, what can you tell me more about this? That's not allyship.

[00:20:54] So, that's one thing I think that's really brilliant that you brought up. The other thing is the way that you described ally, as it is as a noun, can be problematic because it can be reactionary. Like, are you saying I'm an ally? But people think it's a binary. Racist ally.

[00:21:15] And so, they hurry to say, I’m an ally, right? Because they don’t want us – like, I’m not a racist, I’m an ally. Without really knowing what that means. It’s just a way as a shield. I’ve seen it used as a shield. It’s really what they’re trying to say is, I’m not a racist. I’m an ally. But it’s like, no you’ve arrived at a destination. 


[00:21:34] If it’s a noun, it’s a thing that you are through and through, and like you said, have you done your own work? A lot of times people just say that as a response to, okay, if I’m not racist, then I have to be an ally. Without understanding truly what that means. So, along those lines, I’d love to talk to you about, you know, what is the difference then, between true allyship and performative allyship or people rushing to say, I’m not racist to code, I’m an ally. 


[00:22:04] Christian: Yeah. Thank you. Well, I think true allyship comes really – I’ll put this simply, and have this kind of be acceptable or accessible to everybody, is owning impact. So, first and foremost, owning impact. And intent should come later. The first thing that we want to do is if we do something that is taken as racist or offensive is to say, oh, I didn’t mean it that way. I meant it another way.


[00:22:39] No, I meant it like this. I didn’t mean to offend you or hurt your feelings or cause trauma, right? But instead say, I recognize that this caused trauma, I apologize. What I would like to do is suspend on how that occurred and think about, really, like what that means to me. Really dialogue with that action, right? Internally dialogue.


[00:23:08] And there’s a word for this. It’s called suspension, where you suspend on justifying what just occurred and really think about, you know, what were the assumptions behind that action, behind what I just said, behind the look I just gave, behind the movement I just made in an enclosed space. It’s really going internal. Trying to say, hey, I didn’t mean that, I’m an ally. And you take my word for it, right? That’s performative allyship, right? Yeah, so what do you think? 


[00:23:43] Kelley: Yeah, I agree. I think it ties into one of – we’ve talked before about tools to allyship. And one of them you’ve said before is understanding, it’s the focus on the impact and letting the intent come later. 


[00:23:58] And it’s a human nature, we all want to make people know that we’re good people. We don’t intend bad things, and in this type of work, and really in general, when we’re offering repair or we’re analyzing our actions, intent is secondary to the fact that, what are the impacts of my actions? 


[00:24:20] It sounds like you’re saying that should be one of the first questions someone who wants to be a true ally should be asking versus the question of, I’m not a racist, which goes to intent, right? I’m not a bad person. I’m an ally. Instead, it’s like, let’s think about and deconstruct. 


[00:24:33] And you said suspension is a technical term. To suspend kind of all your internal stuff, and insecurity, or guilt, or whatever that is, or defensiveness, and think about your impact. What would you say? Is there any other tools you think would help people shift from being performative to true allies? 


[00:24:58] Christian: Sure. Well on that, so you can project possible impact on say, if you work in an organization and you’re in charge of an initiative, you can project how this might impact people who you are not trying to directly impact, right? The indirect impact of these, like policies or initiatives. And just thinking of, and again, just dialoguing with whatever you’re working on, how could this possibly affect somebody else? 


[00:25:35] This is just systems thinking all around. And also, when you do that and you practice doing that, you get to transcend certain paradigms of lived experience. You get to transcend different realities. And we’ve talked to about this before about kind of allyship and what it means to be considered an ally as a white male – that giving up power, right? 


[00:26:08] And when you can hop to different realities, that’s empowerment. That is not only empowerment for the people who are within your sphere of influence, but empowerment for yourself. That’s growth, right? And growth is change. 


[00:26:30] Kelley: Yeah, I think so. And it’s really like, you can’t teach empathy. People either have it or not, but I do think most people have empathy. 


[00:26:39] And so, really that shifting into different experiences and understanding that it’s not all about you, it’s not all about you being centered, is growth. Like you said, some people might think that on the surface, there’s a lot of people who will react to that and then find it disempowering.  


[00:26:54] What do you mean I need to give up my power and then jump into other people’s lived it? Like, try to understand other people’s lived experiences as to why I should not be at the center of the universe. What do you mean? That feels like giving up, feels painful, right? It feels like I’m losing to give, and it’s not seen as gaining, which I think is a lot of the reason why people don’t go on this journey is because they feel like they have to radically change who they are at a loss. 


[00:27:21] It’s okay to make a change, but when you feel like I’m going to lose, people become even more protective. And so, being able to shift, and we all need to do this, to shift into other people in marginalized and racialized identities. We need to learn to empathize and understand and not center, suspend our guilt and focusing on intent, and at the same time, be willing to shift or move. Is there anything else you want to add? I don’t want to stop you if we have anything else to add before I shift a little bit in the conversation. Anything else? 


[00:27:56] Christian: If I could. I found this quote from Audre Lorde. I’d love to –


[00:28:01] Kelley: Absolutely, we love Audre here. Go for it. 


[00:28:03] Christian: Perfect. And this is from her essay on age, race, class, and sex, and if you have the book, it might be on page 123, but it says, “For we have built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response, old structures of oppression, and these must be altered at the same time as we alter the living conditions, which are a result of those structures. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” I’m sure that quote is very familiar. 


[00:28:39] Kelley: Very popular. 


[00:28:40] Christian: Right. But also, further down she says, “Change means growth and growth can be painful, but we sharpened self-definition by exposing the self and work and struggle together with those whom we define as different from ourselves.” And her poem, “We have chosen each other and the edge of each other’s battles, the war is the same if we lose, someday, women’s blood will congeal upon a dead planet. If we win, there is no telling. We seek beyond history for a new impossible meeting.” 


[00:29:20] Kelley: I love that. I don’t think many people know the rest of that quote, but they know the one about, “you cannot dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools,” but they don’t know the rest of it of her talking about being on the edge of battles. When we come together, there’s some risk there as they’re saying, but the rewards are beyond what we can imagine. 


[00:29:40] And I think if people thought more about that, when they engaged in true allyship, we would win more than we lose because there is more out there. There is more of a risk. The risk is worth it for the growth, and just even for the fact that you know who Audre Lorde is, like you’ve already grown as a person.  


[00:29:57] If people don’t know who she is, look her up. I love Audre Lorde. We’re a fan of her on this podcast, but not everybody may know who Audre Lorde was, but her words ring true in 2022 as we’re recording this. And I think that’s beautiful and well said. And I think for the audience and people, we’re starting to talk about what it looks like at work and what it’s not. 


[00:30:21] I don’t think we need to go into a whole bunch of things. I think you’ve left us with two resonant things, which is that thinking of centering on impact interactions and day-to-day work life. Like, what is the impact? When we talk over someone at a meeting, right? What is the impact?  


[00:30:37] And then focusing on empathy and really being able to go into other people’s experiences to learn about other people’s experience as a catalyst to understanding why people are the way they are, why the systems are the way they are, and it gives you a jumping point to start to dismantle. You get new tools to dismantle these systems that have not been historically created for women or for other marginalized groups. So, well said. The last piece I want to talk to you about is self-care. So, you’re getting into this work. You’re a white guy. You probably don’t have a ton of white guy peers. 


[00:31:22] I don’t know I’m being ignorant. You might have a ton of white guy peers who are interested in this work. But this work in general, I think anybody who does this work, it doesn’t matter who you are, what identity you have, it is tough, and sustaining it is extremely difficult, extremely, extremely difficult. 


[00:31:40] So my question for you is what do you do for self-care to keep yourself in this work? As this is going to be your life’s work, it seems like. So, what do you do to take care of yourself? 


[00:31:53] Christian: Before I went to this doctorate program, I wouldn’t call myself a poet. I don’t necessarily know if I’d call myself a poet now, but I have found sort of therapeutic environment with poetry. I think in anti-racism work, there is so much paradox within it, and that’s kind of like one of the key aspects of, I think anti-racism is understanding that the path is not linear. 


[00:32:26] Kelley: Yes.


[00:32:26] Christian: It has its ups and downs, but it will continue to progress. It’s just a matter of understanding that there are some ebbs and flows to it. But really, I’m so steeped in this literature that sometimes you just need to express what you’re feeling without having, I guess, judgment placed upon it by other people, and just write without having to produce citations or anything. And again, I’m going to turn to Audre Lorde real quick, I’m just going to –


[00:33:04] Kelley: Go for it.


[00:33:06] Christian: So, this is a poetry. “Of all the art forms, poetry is the most economical. It is the one which is the most secret, which requires the least physical labor, the least material, and the one which can be done between shifts in the hospital pantry, on the subway, and on scraps of surplus paper.” And I think poetry, for me, has been one of those outlets where I can take a concept within the literature and I can relate it to my own experiences.  


[00:33:39] And like I said, with my experience on the subway, I’ve probably thought about that a thousand times over the course of my doctoral work because I can think about it in so many different ways with different concepts. 


[00:33:55] Kelley: So, very thoughtful. Also, Christian had challenged me, we did self-care to drinking a pint of water during this interview. I did not see Christian drinking anything. I drank a lot. That’s all I’m going to say. I drank a lot of water. That’s part of your self-care, it’s health and fitness. So, he’s got a pint right here and he’s going to chug it, I’m guessing. We have to chug it in the next five minutes. 


[00:34:19] Christian: You can, it’s up to you. I’m not going to tell you what to do.  


[00:34:23] Kelley: A white man who’s learning, don’t tell a black woman what to do. I’m going to try to chug some of this, and while we’re chugging it, I’m going to get ready to ask you the rapid-fire questions. These are questions I ask everybody and I was going to cut it for this season. But I said, you know what? I want to know who everybody’s celebrity crush is because as serious as I am, I’m also a child. 


[00:34:43] And I have to get the tea on everything with everyone and it says a lot about people. So, I’m going to chug some water and then we’re going to rapid-fire here for Christian, and find out a little bit about, what makes you tick? 


[00:35:00] Christian: Oh, boy. 


[00:35:01] Kelley: Okay. I’m bringing my list. I feel really good about this list. Like I said, I go back and forth, but as much as I’m serious about the topics that we talked about, I’m also a child. So, I have to ask these questions. First question, rapid-fire with Christian List. What is a quote saying or song lyric that you live by? 


[00:35:24] Christian: A quote saying or song lyric. Being, I think, in this field – hope. If I can reduce it down to a word, it would be hope. And it’s a constant reoccurrence within this work, and I’m thinking specifically of Paulo Freire, that one must hope. 


[00:35:42] Kelley: I love that. All right, second question here. If you could choose another career, what would it be? So, you cannot go back into the Navy and you cannot get the PhD that you’re getting. What would it be if you could choose another career? 


[00:35:58] Christian: I think being a Smokejumper. 


[00:36:01] Kelley: What is that? Is that like a firefighter who jumps into the fire? 


[00:36:05] Christian: Essentially, yeah. Like, with a [inaudible 00:36:09].


[00:36:10] Kelley: Of course. 


[00:36:12] Christian: I really like chainsaws. It’s not called a woodpile unless you move it three or four times. 


[00:36:22] Kelley: So, jumping in fires with a chainsaw. Is that what you’re essentially telling us would be your other career? I’m learning so much. 


[00:36:28] Christian: I’m not sure. And that’s right off the cuff. Maybe a –


[00:36:22] Kelley: It’s okay.


[00:36:34] Christian: Yeah. Maybe a Lobsterman too. 


[00:36:38] Kelley: Equal. That’s a little safer. A lobsterman. But the Smokejumper or a Lobsterman, I also want to highlight that I completed the challenge and drink 20 ounces of water while you’re doing that. You have to answer questions. So, I do feel for you. It’s a little harder. All right. Next question. Celebrity crush. Oh, that’s insane. You just chugged that. Wait a minute. Did you just chug that whole thing just now? 


[00:37:02] Christian: It was just a half. 


[00:37:04] Kelley: Okay. All right. So, celebrity crush. 


[00:37:06] Christian: Maybe not a celebrity to everybody, but Sara Ahmed. She’s a scholar. 


[00:37:15] Kelley: I think I know who Sara Ahmed is. She’s English, right? 


[00:37:19] Christian: Yes. She wrote: On Being Included, so – 


[00:37:22] Kelley: Okay. Sara Ahmed? 


[00:37:26] Christian:  Yeah. 


[00:37:27] Kelley: We may not know who that is, but we will find out. I do know who Sara Ahmed is. 


[00:37:32] Christian: And if Sara Ahmed is listening to this podcast, I would love for her to be on my dissertation committee. 


[00:37:40] Kelley: Okay. Plug for Sara Ahmed, if you’re listening, please be on Christian’s dissertation committee. We endorse it. We endorse it here. All right. An ideal way to spend a weekend. 


[00:37:56] Christian: You know, I really love hiking. Again, if there’s some self-care there, it’s really therapeutic for me. I also love crabbing. 


[00:38:05] Kelley: I love crabs. The process of catching crabs, you’re saying it’s something that you enjoy? 


[00:38:11] Christian: I mean, I guess the entire process of getting ready, of going out. And let me just say that the way I crabbed, is on a surfboard with strapping traps to the front of my board. So, it’s very not [inaudible 00:38:30]


[00:38:31] Kelley: Okay. It’s very unique. That’s a different kind of crabbing. 


[00:38:31] Christian: [inaudible] work out because you’re paddling all day. Yeah. It’s stupid if you saw my setup, but I do catch crabs and they are just as tasty as the ones you could catch in a boat maybe. 


[00:38:45] Kelley: Yeah, I feel like it might be tastier because you put more energy and effort into it. So, an ideal weekend would be you hiking around and crabbing. This isn’t judgment. This is just a recap. All right, we’ve got it. All right, perfect weekend. You’re definitely from Maine. By the way, Christian’s from Maine, you can tell. The advice you wish someone gave you five years ago. 


[00:39:10] Christian: Five years ago, I was in the Navy. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that I would be in a doctorate. So, I guess this, again, sounds stupid, but learning Excel. 


[00:39:29] Kelley: No, that is actually very good advice. I wish my younger self had told me it’d be a lot more than five years. But I wish my younger self had said learn Excel because to this day, when I’m doing things, I’m like, ah, I don’t know how to make this spreadsheet work. I don’t know how to do the formulas. I have a very, very, very kindergarten level understanding of Excel. It’s a very useful skill. I wish someone would have told me that. 


[00:39:54] Christian: I know, I think I just called myself out. I don’t know if I have that on my resume, that I’m an expert in Excel.


[00:40:01] Kelley: You heard it first, exposé. Christian is not an expert at Excel. Last question for you. What’s a song that gets you through tough times? 


[00:40:17] Christian: A song. You know what, I really like Sam Smith’s, Pray. 


[00:40:24] Kelley: All right. 


[00:40:25] Christian: And if you listen to it, it really just comes down to like, everybody’s in this together. Everybody’s living in this world and being in this world. And especially when it gets to the choruses singing, you can really feel that, know you? 


[00:40:43] Kelley: It’s a good song. I endorse it. I approve. All right, Christian, you made it through, you drank your water. Thank you for joining us. 


[00:40:50] Christian: You drank your water.


[00:40:52] Kelley: I drank mine. Look, I nailed this. I’m very competitive. So, if you tell me there’s a challenge, I’m going to do it. I drank not only one bottle, 20 ounces in under, like, two minutes. I also drank a solo cup. I don’t know how many ounces. Oh, 18 ounces it says at the bottom of this. I’ve almost finished that. So, I think I’ve drank 16 ounces additionally, during this short interview.


[00:41:15] Christian: You’re on your way to a gallon. 


[00:41:18] Kelley: Easily. I drink a ton of water in a day, but I will not be defeated. There is no challenge I will not try to win because I am nothing but petty and competitive. It’s a thing. Thank you for joining us. It was really exciting to talk to you. Hopefully, we’ll talk to you more because I think this is a conversation that needs to continue to happen not just once but many times. And so, I’m really thrilled that you came in today and you chatted. So, I’m glad we had this conversation, Christian. Thank you. Thank you so much. 


[00:41:49] Christian: Thank you, Kelley, it was such a pleasure to speak with you. 


[00:41:53] Kelley: All right. 


[00:41:55] So, that’s it for this week’s episode of the podcast. Thank you for joining me on the Burn Bright Podcast. You can find me on Instagram at Burn Bright Podcast, and at letsburnbright.com for more info on self-care and mindfulness, as well as burnout prevention. You can find this podcast on a host of platforms. We’re talking to all the major ones, Apple, and Google, as well as Spotify. Please make sure to subscribe and leave a review if you feel inclined [inaudible 00:42:23] episodes. Until next week. Take care of yourself.