What is the best way to guide online discourse toward compassion and inclusivity?
Today’s guest, Dr. Evelyn R. Carter, runs cutting-edge studies on detecting and discussing racial bias. She is a social psychologist and president of Paradigm, a platform for building diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations.
This episode is bursting with actionable tips for anyone looking to create welcoming digital spaces.
Dr. Carter shares the steps for planting the seeds of empathy in others and the gold standard approach for changing undesirable behavior within a community. She and Jillian chat about using research to inform and shape company policy, how stereotype threat theory affects us, self-regulating our biases, and leading with firm kindness.
This is a fun and enlightening conversation that reveals the science-backed tools we can use at work and in our personal lives to reshape the culture around us. Enjoy!
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter is a social psychologist who has conducted cutting-edge research on how to detect and discuss racial bias. As Paradigm’s President, Dr. Carter is focused on evolving and advancing the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior to this, she led Paradigm’s Training & People Development team and advised organizations such as DocuSign, the NFL, Snap, and United Talent Agency.
Dr. Carter's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, and in 2018, she was featured on the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences “20 Under 40” list. In addition to her peer-reviewed scholarship, Dr. Carter is a highly sought-after thought leader. Her work and insights have been published in popular press outlets such as The Atlantic, Bloomberg, CBS This Morning, CNBC, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and NPR. Dr. Carter holds a doctorate from Indiana University, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.
In This Episode
- How stereotype threat theory affects us
- Using research to inform and shape company culture
- The value of being exposed to other cultures
- Tips and tools for self-regulating our biases
- Positive and negative reactions to the new The Little Mermaid
- Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusivity online
- Being kind but firm as a community manager
- Why you don’t have to change people’s minds
- The Little Mermaid trailer
- Expecting Better by Emily Oster [Amazon affiliate link]
- Connect with @TeamSPI on Twitter
The CX 063: Looking Past the Default With Dr. Evelyn R. Carter
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Research shows that if you want to stop the harm, it does not matter what you say or how you say it. What matters is that you say something. That something could be an eye roll if you were in an in-person conversation. It can be a thumbs-down on a community post.
But my research actually finds that there is a gold standard if you want to not only stop the harm but change the behavior for the future. And that gold standard is doing things like appealing to shared values.
Jillian Benbow: Hi, welcome to this episode of the Community Experience Podcast. I'm Jillian Benbow. I'm the hostess with the mostess. And welcome, especially this is your first time. Welcome to the party. Today, I am talking to Dr. Evelyn R. Carter, who is a social psychologist and who has conducted cutting-edge research on how to detect and discuss racial bias. She's also the president of Paradigm, which is a DEI consultancy who helps build a company people are proud to work for, which, can I get a hell, yeah. And yeah, today, we're talking about, you guessed it, racial bias. I love talking about this. I know that sounds strange, but it's a thing.
And I think as humanity are evolving in a more compassionate way, I'd like to say, and just being more open to seeing those biases and those privileges and those blind spots that maybe we didn't see 10, 20, 50, certainly not 50, years ago. And that it's okay and we're learning together, and let's keep moving forward and be more of a collective. So, I obviously am into this and I hope you are too.
I hope if DEI and that thing, if you think of it as a buzzword and just sick of it, I would really encourage you to just listen anyways, get a perspective from a person you might not have gotten before and enjoy the ride. So, I will stop talking about why I like talking about this and we'll actually talk about it with Evelyn now, this episode of the Community Experience Podcast.
Jillian Benbow: All right, y'all, I am so excited today. I have Dr. Evelyn R. Carter here, and I'm going to read a just quick little bio and then let you actually introduce yourself like a human, but it's too good not to share. So, Dr. Evelyn Carter is a social psychologist who has conducted cutting-edge research on how to detect and discuss Rachel... see, I already did it, Rachel bias. We're all biased against Rachel.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: We're bias against Rachels, Rachel Green in particular.
Jillian Benbow: Let me tell you. Okay. Dr. Evelyn R. Carter is a social psychologist who has conducted cutting-edge research on how to detect and discuss racial bias and is the president of Paradigm, which we will get into, but is a place that practices educating and just helping people with DEI, also known as diversity, equity, inclusion, which is a super-hot topic right now, but I feel like it's starting to... it's community starting to become a marketing term and it's like, let's make sure the intentions are still here when we talk about this. So, Evelyn, thank you for listening to me just ramble on. Welcome to the show.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Thanks for having me, Jillian. I'm happy to be here.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Oh, I'm so excited to have you here. You've done so many cool things, cool research, been on all the big shows, been in all the big press. You're in Fast Company, which is my favorite. You're in Harvard Business Review and NPR, oh my gosh. So, tell us, Evelyn, about you. How did you get into all of this and what drives you with all this work?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Oh, my goodness, that's a great question. So, the thing that drives me in all of this work has to be research. So, I tell people all the time, I'm a data geek, it's something I'm very proud of. And I came to social psychology through a meandering path that actually started off being pre-med. I wanted to be a plastic surgeon, and through a series of very unfortunate events including organic chemistry and college-level physics. I had to switch my major from biology to something else. And I had a very astute college advisor who suggested that I look into social sciences since I seemed to like the life sciences of biology.
And so, I took intro to psychology. And as is the practice at many universities at mine, I went to Northwestern, NUCATS. I had to participate in different research studies as a way to get partial course credit. And I think I was probably the only person who was excited about doing this. I remember doing a study that was run by principal investigator, Dr. Jennifer Richeson, who is now at Yale. And I remember reading the debrief form, which is where they tell you about what the study was actually about and all that. I was like, "This is so cool."
And so, I got into research, started becoming a research assistant through the rest of college and then ended up applying to and getting into one Ph.D. program. But all I needed was one with Dr. Mary Murphy at University of Illinois at Chicago. And what was really interesting to me is in the summer before I started graduate school, I joined the lab that I was going to be participating in for grad school in a book club and we read Claude Steele's book, Whistling Vivaldi. Now, Claude Steele is technically my academic grandfather, which means he's the advisor of my advisor.
But people actually know him for being the discoverer, the father of stereotype threat. And stereotype threat theory refers to the fear of confirming or being seen to confirm negative stereotypes about your group. So, a lot of the initial research was done looking at Black and Hispanic or Latin A students who are negatively stereotyped as unintelligent. And when you tell them that they are taking an intelligence test, their performance plummets compared to when you tell them they're taking some neutral exam, like a problem-solving test.
When you tell women that they are taking a math test that has been shown to show gender differences, their performance plummets compared to when you tell them that they're taking a test that has not shown any differences. The reason for this is that when you are a part of a group that is negatively stereotyped, even if you don't believe in the stereotype, your brain starts wondering if every challenge you're encountering on that exam is because you don't have what it takes. And that takes up mental resources that you could otherwise be using to perform well on the test.
So, Claude Steele's book, Whistling Vivaldi, read it. And I remember having this feeling of how did I not know that this was a thing. So, as I mentioned, I was pre-med. Let me tell you, I was definitely experiencing stereotype threat in my pre-med courses. I had bad test anxiety. I actually had to go to the on-campus therapist to help me figure out how to manage it. I was reluctant to go to office hours because my professor actually told one of my other friends who was a Black woman that she should just drop the course. And she had gotten the same grade on the test that I had. So, why should I go?
I was apprehensive about asking my peers to study with me because I felt like I didn't know anything. And I remember reading the book and thinking, this research was originally published in 1995. Here we are over a decade later, I am heading into grad school to study many of these same things. And I didn't know about this phenomenon and that felt wrong.
So, to me, my goal is to make sure that the research that folks like I and others are doing gets into the hands of people who can actually use it. Because it's not enough to do the research, but it's important to help translate it. So, that's the long story of how I got here, but it all begins with research and that's my favorite thing to talk about as you can probably tell.
Jillian Benbow: Well, I'm so in because as you were talking about your college journey, mine was very similar even down to the thinking I wanted to be a plastic surgeon.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Oh, my gosh, that's amazing.
Jillian Benbow: And then, going into psychology. But the main difference is I never even bothered trying to be pre-med because I knew it was never going to happen because I didn't want to work that hard. Nobody wants a surgeon that has that going in.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: It's like, we'll just cut corners.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. It was like, nose job me. And really, I don't know why I thought I wanted to do that other than... let's be real. It was, for me, speaking on my experience, I was like, "They make a lot of money, and it's glamorous, and I like guts and gores so this is perfect." And it's like low pressure because it's just Karen down the street trying to nip-tuck. Yeah. But I had a very similar experience with, so I went to CU Boulder since we're doing go buffs, since we're doing our alma maters. And the psychology department there also was very research-based. And so, same thing, you had to go do the research time and same, I fell in love with the research, just the department and all the different studies and getting to work with professors on that level.
I, of course, didn't take it anywhere because I was really majoring in partying. So, I didn't do the grad school and the rest. But at the time, I had dreams of getting into research psychology and possibly counseling. I think in the end, it all worked out but fun. So, we're going to have fun talking.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah, I love it. Lots of connections.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. So, let's fast forward to your work at Paradigm. Tell everybody about Paradigm and what you do at Paradigm.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yes. So, Paradigm is a diversity, equity, and inclusion firm and we have a combination of products and services that help our clients build more inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces. So, what does that actually mean? Well, we think about the way that change needs to happen in a few ways. The first is that or one of the ways is that you need structural changes. So, if I am talking to you about the ways that you can improve your hiring practice, for example. I can say, "Jillian, I would love for you to use this rubric.
I really think it's important that you review resumes and think about not the hobbies that somebody talks about, not the gender at the top of the page that's indicated by the name, but all of the qualifications that this person shares." That's really important, but I don't have time to do that at scale with every single Jillian in an organization. What better would it be if our talent acquisition team required all hiring managers to use a particular rubric, a set of way of questions and ways you're going to evaluate them?
What better if everybody who was doing interviews was required to use a standardized set of questions as opposed to just coming off the top of your head with like, oh, what's your favorite TV show or other things like that that are irrelevant to the hiring process? So, what I mean by structural changes, the organization has to make changes at the top that say, "Here is how we do things." And that's really important.
But on the flip side, you can imagine that if you're someone who doesn't understand why you have to use these standardized questions because you're really drawn to the question that you ask people, that tongue-tied teaser that you always ask that really seems to get people going, "You're going to have a hard time complying with this new standardized process." And so, that's where education becomes really important.
I need to tell you, teach you about the research behind how you're asking those wild, off-the-wall questions, actually doesn't lead to the outcomes you want and in fact how they can undermine equity. And so, at Paradigm, we do this combination of helping our clients make structural changes that are going to advance equity, making sure that people who are from groups that are historically and currently marginalized in society have a fair chance to get ahead.
And we have education, trainings, and things like that that are going to help individuals understand why those changes are important and what their role is in doing that. And so, we got our start about eight years ago doing this purely as a consulting business, having a team of consultants who would go into your organization and assess what's working and what's not and tell you how to do things differently and support you on that journey. A team of consultants who would do workshops on unconscious bias and inclusive leadership.
And now we have scaled to have two products that are built by those teams of consultants to help push those things forward. So, to me, it's all about how do we, again, back to what I was saying before about my own journey, how do we take the research that we know is going to help organizations be better for everyone and get that into the hands of the leaders and the individuals who can actually use it to see change. And then, of course, we measure that change and share what we've learned with others so that they can learn from our practices.
Jillian Benbow: I love it. And I'm curious, and maybe I should have asked this first, but we do what we want here. How did you go from, you get your Ph.D. in social psychology to now leading Paradigm? What was the bridge there?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah, so the bridge was actually, I think one of the bridges was my advisor in grad school, Dr. Mary Murphy, who was very thoughtful I think about helping me see the path that I actually wanted to go on, especially when I was in grad school, I think less so now that the norms are shifting. But definitely, when I was in grad school, there was an expectation that you go to grad school to get your Ph.D. and you go and you pursue a tenure track position at a research one institution. What that basically means is you get a Ph.D. because you want to do a research baby. And I love research, I still love it. I didn't really love the writing part. You have to publish in journals in order to get ahead thing.
And I also, going back to my own experience, didn't really see as much of the value in doing research on how people decide what counts as bias, publishing it in research journals and being like, "Great." Because I don't know if you've looked around, but there are some people in the world who could use some help figuring out how to talk about racism. So, when I told my advisor I was struggling with figuring out where I wanted to go, she actually said, "Well, it sounds like maybe a role that could be interesting for you is a chief diversity officer position." And these were positions that were quite new at the time.
And so, she actually sat me down in her office. We pulled up a few web pages of people who had that role and she helped me figure out what their path was. And she was like, "Evelyn, all of these people for the most part are folks of color or White women and they don't have the credentials that you do." She was like, "If you get your Ph.D. and you're publishing research in this area, that'll get you the credibility and you've got the passion for this, you'll be unstoppable." And so, it was that conversation that really solidified for me that research was always going to be the thing that helped me stand out. Because I loved research it was also good, I should just keep doing it. And so, I followed that through post-doctoral fellowship I applied for and won and was awarded a National Science Foundation postdoc to work at Purdue University with Dr. Margo Monteith. I, throughout grad school, did some applied work, understanding how to foster belonging for students at moments of transition. Brought that to UCLA for a few years. And as I was thinking about how I wanted to have the biggest impact with research, my focus shifted from wanting to be in higher education to really wanting to work at a broader scale within corporate America, within the corporate world, more globally quite frankly.
And I had been dabbling and consulting. It's a crossroads of, am I going to do this as an entrepreneur? Am I going to do this internally? What am I going to do? And actually, I don't tell this story very often, but I remember being... it was October of 2018 and I had been looking for DEI, diversity, equity, and inclusion jobs for quite some time. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and there was nothing. Everything that was a DEI job was in San Francisco and I just wasn't moving to the Bay Area. And I remember getting ready to go to the gym.
It was a Saturday and I was crying because I was like, "Oh, my gosh, I know I want to be in this field. I know I want to be working with the companies like Snap and American Express and the NFL. There's no way to get into that unless I move. And then, I went to the gym and I came back, and I had an email from Joelle Emerson who is a CEO of Paradigm. We had been in touch years before and she said, "Hey, we just signed a big contract with a client based in Los Angeles and we need a local consultant. Are you interested in the role?" And I was like," Wooh."
Jillian Benbow: Let me think about it. Yes.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Literally, I was like, "Oh, my god, this is amazing." And so, what was great to me about it is that first of all, there weren't a lot of diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firms at the time. Paradigm was one of the few, if not the only. And it certainly was the only one that was doing this work in the way that I did, which is taking research, putting it into context that real workers would understand and sharing it in a way that was true to this science that was engaging and measuring the impact. And so, being able to have that opportunity was amazing, I will say because I was talking about the importance of structured hiring processes before I still went through the whole structured hiring process.
I did the take-home, did all the interviews, all that stuff. And I was very fortunate to land the role. And so, I've been quite frankly working my way up through the organization and now I get the wonderful joy of helping to lead the direction that we go, which is pretty awesome.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. Well, and you're being, not coy, but you're the president. You're the boss. It's awesome. Yes.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah, thank you.
Jillian Benbow: That's amazing. So, I'd love to shift a bit and talk about the work you're doing and relate it to communities in general. And we talked a little before we started recording specifically just about how racial bias shows up in communities and so, tell me more about just the observations, the research that you've seen with community culture right now.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: One of the areas of research I really like talking about is research on belonging. And one of the reasons for that is that belonging is one of two fundamental human needs. We have the human need to be accurate, we like to be right, and we have the human need to be liked. Everybody has a need to belong. And so, because this is so fundamental, I think it's really interesting to see how this shows up in a variety of ways. And one of the things that is so interesting to me is how this need to belong can show up and who we can gravitate toward.
And so, there's a concept called similarity bias, which literally means you just tend to favor people who are like you a little bit more and you don't have that same favor, maybe you're neutral toward people who are not like you. And there's lots of really interesting examples of this. So, when I was teaching intro to social psychology, I would simply ask people, "Hey, raise your hand if your birthday is in October." And people who did, it's like, "Oh, yeah, my birthday's October 13th." I was like, "Look at that. We're besties." Or if you went to Northwestern like I did, you're probably going to just feel a little bit warmer toward me.
And what's interesting about this is that those connections are really helpful when it comes to creating our personal relationships, right? Because you need that something to keep you coming back to that person. The issue is that if we are really trying to create diverse communities, one of the biggest sources of similarity bias are the things that we can immediately detect about a person. Your race, your gender identity, your expression, at least in terms of what we presume we know and your relative age. So, this is why as a young Black woman myself, if I am in a space and I see another young Black woman, I'm like, "Ooh, going toward you."
Now, in many ways, this makes sense. We like to be around people who look like us, who think like us. We presume the conversation will flow more naturally and it usually does. But if our goal is to cultivate more diverse friendship groups, the challenge is that we're actually gravitating toward people who are like us and excluding people who are not like us. And especially if you are part of a group that is dominant in society because you are White, because you are Christian, because you are straight, gravitating toward people who are like you means that you are creating these enclaves of majority dominance and leaving out people from underrepresented groups.
So, that's one of the reasons that I think belonging is so interesting. It's something that we all need, but we need to be intentional about creating more inclusive communities and reaching out to people who are different from us if we really want to foster that sense of belonging in the modern sense, so to speak.
Jillian Benbow: It's so fascinating and I think something I've observed as someone who very much appears in the majority, I'd like to say I still look somewhat young White girl.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I always think about this. I'm like, "Eventually, I'm going to have to stop saying I'm a young Black woman," but I'm still young.
Jillian Benbow: I would say you look the part, so go forth. I'm in that middle-aged area where I'm like-
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: You're young-looking. I'll give it to you.
Jillian Benbow: I'm going to stick with young. I think my name in Gaelic or something means youthful. So, we'll just go with that. I don't know if that's true, but I like it so I'll keep perpetuating it. But something I've noticed, especially being what I would say is I easily, well, pass, I am. I'm the majority in many of the categories that our society calculates that. It's interesting how when you're a part of that, it's just very easy to not realize the things that you're interested in. The way you experience the world is not the way everyone does. And so, there's this challenge to pay attention and be open to the fact that maybe this isn't a truth, it's just my experience.
And so, I'm curious, and I'm sure you come across this with your client work and whatnot, there's so many people out there who think they are fine and not perpetuating these things. How can we all who are in those one or many of those categories just be more aware of maybe not just making those assumptions, and then through that, being hopefully more inclusive or more approachable?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: That's a great question. I will answer your question by telling the story, which is that when I lived inside... I currently live in Long Beach, California. Love it. Best kept secret. Before I moved down here, I lived in Los Angeles and I actually lived in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which is known for being a very orthodox Jewish community. I did not know this before I moved there, but what this meant actually is that there were lots of synagogues, there were lots of kosher restaurants. And many of my neighbors, in fact, in the building where I lived, I'm pretty sure I was the only non-Jewish tenant. I was renting from somebody who actually was Jewish as well.
And so, I learned for example that on the Sabbath, it was on Friday night, everything shut down. Don't expect to get anything in your neighborhood on Saturdays because it's closed. And so, those were some interesting things that I learned. Now, one of the things that was interesting to me as I was moving in and as I lived there for the two years that I did is that I rarely thought about my Christian identity. So, I was raised Christian, still do identify in that way. And I'm the default in America. I was not the default in that neighborhood. And my Christian identity, and quite frankly, my non-Jewish identity became very salient.
It was very top of mind for me because my neighbors would invite me over for Shabbat dinner and I would ask them what I could bring and they would say, "Oh, don't buy anything on Saturday." So, only bring something that you bought on Friday before sundown. Because I needed to observe the Sabbath. I was going to bring it into their house. Or a couple of times, my neighbor would come up to my door and say, "Oh, I forgot to turn off the burner or the light." And because they're not supposed to work during the Sabbath, I would need to go and help her out. And she was like, "It's great to have my little Gentile friend."
And so, it was so interesting to me because I would've never thought of myself as the Gentile friend, but here I was in this environment where I was not the default and I was very aware of all of those things. And so, while I don't know that everybody has the opportunity to move into a neighborhood where you are not the default, I do think seeking out those places is a really great way to make yourself more aware. Because considering things, where are the places that you typically shop?
What are the restaurants that you typically go to? In that neighborhood, there was a market that I went to one day because I really was out of eggs and it was the closest one and walking distance and I walked in. None of the signs were in English and nothing was where I thought it was going to be. And I felt the panic rising in my chest because I didn't know who to ask for help. And I felt like I stuck out. People were very kind and very helpful. I found the eggs. They were really expensive and I went home and made my pancakes.
But I say all of this because I think it's a privilege that I have to be able to move throughout the world as a Christian woman and have everything set up for me. And it was important for me to have those moments of awareness to say, "You are not the default everywhere." And to really consider how I move throughout the world, even in spaces where I was presumed to be the default.
And so, other ways to get that awareness, I think simple things like reading books that are written by authors that are from different identities, or if you are really into social media, explicitly working to follow people on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Twitter is my favorite, who are different than you because what we need to do is infuse our atmosphere with different stories and perspectives as that baseline way to get that increased awareness and maybe maximum exposure, move into a neighborhood where you are not the default. Minimum exposure, read a book.
Jillian Benbow: But don't everybody move into that neighborhood and take it over.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Please. That is something else entirely, which we can talk about, but it's called gentrification. Don't do it.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. That's like, we'll get a cocktail and do that one for episode two live.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I love it.
Jillian Benbow: And it's funny. I think I've talked about this on the show. Surely I have before, but I had a really unique upbringing in that way. We lived in different countries because of my dad's job. And then, because of doing that stuff, we also just traveled a lot. So, I feel very rich in culture and have been the... I know what it's like to be the racial minority in a country and not speak the language and be... I mean, even gawked at because I'm the first White Westerner someone's seen and things like that. So, I think having that has helped my view of the world. And I often forget that it's a very unique view. And not to say, like I know I have racial bias and gender, like I work on it all the time.
It's not a check, done. There's always something and something I've found in myself that I think I just want to talk about because I think it's helpful. Because I've found when I bring it up, other people are like, "Huh," especially in the society where we are increasingly like, to your point, finding our people and the people we gravitate to. And you look at it on the political spectrum and it's just nuts right now, frankly.
I found that, and I'd like to use the Little Mermaid as an example because as we're recording this, social media is going insane in both ways, of course about the Little Mermaid. And if you're living under a rock, let me inform you, the new Little Mermaid trailer finally came out and it's very well done. And at the end, Ariel is revealed, and I'm just blanking on her name, the actress.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Halle Bailey.
Jillian Benbow: Thank you. And she's very gorgeous, her voice of an angel and she's Black. She's a woman of color. And when you see her, your reaction says everything about you in my opinion. And I will bring this all around to my point, I promise. But sidebar, TikTok made me cry a whole bunch yesterday watching-
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: The reaction videos.
Jillian Benbow: Moms and dads would record their daughters, their sons, but mainly daughters watching this trailer. And, oh, my gosh, these girls, their reactions. One girl just is like, "She's Black." But in this so positive, like I see myself, again, that belonging, that feeling of being seen and represented. And then, there's the other side of it, and it is wild. If it wasn't so awful, but it's hilarious in a train wreck way. People are mad and they're like, "This is woke, and you don't have to change the story." And it's like, Susan, she's a fish. We're not changing what-
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: A fictional fish.
Jillian Benbow: The color of her skin, her gender, all of that. She's a mermaid. She's not real. There's also a talking crab. Come on. But anyways, all of this to say, it reminds me of when, like every once in a while someone will say something or I'll see something. And I start getting a little uppity. I start feeling a little defensive and a little hmm. And to me, and I think this has helped me a lot, when I feel that, I have trained myself to say, "Oh, uncomfortable feelings. What's this about?" And to think about it, like 10 times out of 10, I have some little bias that's drumming up.
And if I really think about it objectively, I can see, oh, interesting, I'm having a reaction like that and work through it and realize I'm feeling threatened about this, but do I need to be, like why? And the answer is always, no, no. Anyways, big long story. I really just also wanted to talk about the Little Mermaid with you because I'm so excited about it. But also just these reactions, I think it's a really good example of just society and how we all see things differently.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah. So, first of all, love a chance to talk about Little Mermaid at any time because it is indeed my favorite Disney movie. Top three, but it's up there, one or two.
But you stumbled onto literally one of my favorite studies to ever talk about. I know.
Jillian Benbow: Yes.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Which is about the process of embracing discomfort, right? So, my post-doctoral advisor, Dr. Margo Monteith, has done now at this point, 25 years of research on this process, which is how you can self-regulate your bias. What does that mean? It means that thing when you notice, "I'm having a reaction," instead of requiring someone else to calm you down, working on processes to essentially soothe yourself. Right? Now, what she finds in her research is that there's a couple of requirements for people who can do this well. Requirement number one is that you really care about inclusion, right? So, you're really motivated to do this well, and it comes from a place internally.
It's like a personal value of yours. It's not because someone else is telling you to do it. It's because you matters to you. And the other requirement is that you have to be aware in these moments when it happens. So, let's say you have that reaction to Halle Bailey, a Black woman playing the fictional mermaid character of Ariel, which by the way is only depicted as a White character, likely because of the person who created her at the beginning, working off of their own default and the Disney writers in the early days and the animators working off of their own default of whiteness.
So, there's a lot to unpack there. But let's say you're watching the trailer and you're like, "I'm incensed, Ariel must be White." If you are someone that has that deep internal urge to be inclusive and to be what's called egalitarian, to really treat people equally, you have two options. Option one is you can notice that you had that reaction and say, "Whoa, what's going on here? Where did that come from?"
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, woohoo.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Exactly. That thing that you were just talking about, right? That errrk. And what's interesting is that if you go through that process of pausing, of asking yourself where that feeling came from, you're probably going to encounter some things that make you feel uncomfortable. In the research, it's actually described as negative self-directed emotion. You are feeling guilty, disappointed in yourself, ashamed. These are big words. So, if you think about it, your internal self is trying to hide in a corner, being like, "Oh my God, I can't believe we just did that." But when you work through that discomfort, what actually happens is that your brain sets up what are called cues for control.
I think of it as little mental landmarks that tell you, "Hey, we don't like how this made us feel. Let's not do this again." And what's cool is that if you take this path of going through the discomfort, changing your behavior with the mental shortcuts, you actually do end up having a new default reaction over time. So, what research finds is that if you practice this approach of noticing when you've done a biased thing, digging into the why and trying to be intentional about what you can do differently, you replace that biased reaction with a new default.
And so, maybe five years from now when the next Black woman is, I don't know, becoming a character and what have you, your reaction will be like, "Woohoo, go her." As opposed to, "What's going on here?" Now I mentioned there were two paths you could take. The other one is just to avoid it altogether and be like, "I'm not a biased person, they're wrong." That's not the path to take."
Jillian Benbow: I'm not racist.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Exactly. I'm not racist. I just believe that a fictional mermaid should only be White because, what? And so, I love that. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Clearly, this Caribbean ocean should be full of white gingers.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: That makes most the most sense.
Jillian Benbow: It makes the most sense.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: So, I love that because I think a lot of times, especially as adults, we learn that discomfort is something to be avoided. And we often think that our discomfort is the litmus test for whether things are going well. And while that might be true in many cases when it comes to our biases, discomfort actually is a good sign that we're pushing ourselves, that we're challenging our biases, that we're challenging our held beliefs to do something different in the future.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I think too, a lot of it, I'm interested to see, and I'm sure there's research about this, but I feel like it's going to become more prominent if it isn't already. And it's just this idea of certain groups and fear. And just the fear-based reactions. And really at the root of it, there is this larger resistance movement, whatever you want to call it, especially White-identifying people being afraid of losing that majority.
And we see it with, all things happening in this country and abroad. And just the fear-based fear turns to anger and lashing out.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yes, absolutely. Well, you used my favorite, it's like my call to action phrase. I'm sure there's research about this, and there is. Dr. Maureen Craig at NYU in conjunction with Dr. Jennifer Richeson, who I mentioned earlier, has done a lot of research on the ways that talking about diversity can actually lead White people to feel threatened. And they do some really interesting work looking at this in terms of telling White people that ethnic minority groups are soon going to be in the majority. They do some interesting work and others have extended this, looking at maps where there's actually increased diversity in different zip codes.
And then, looking through public data sets, through Project Implicit, the different biases in terms of implicit bias and explicit bias that are shown in those regions. And there's some really interesting findings. So, I encourage people to dig into it. But essentially, you're absolutely right. And part of that is because it's hard to shift our default. So, going back to my story about being the only non-Jewish person in my neighborhood, I could easily have been someone that would be upset that I couldn't get a pizza from the shop around the corner on a Saturday afternoon and feel like this was an affront to my religious freedom.
But that would be very shortsighted of me because what I would need to pause and think about is that literally, every other pizza place is designed for me. And when I think about White folks who react negatively to conversations about increased racial and ethnic diversity or wanting to have a Black woman who depicts Ariel, or having Hamilton, a show about the Founding Fathers of the United States depicted by people of all different races and ethnicities. What I hear from people is them saying, "Well, I want my story to be centered." And what they need to realize is that you have plenty of stories that center you.
There is no shortage of movies that have White protagonists. In many cases, there are White people who are playing people of color. So, they shouldn't be in the movie. But if you just focus on, well, I'm not getting what I want in this instance, you're being shortsighted and not realizing that the entire world in many cases is created for you. And so, it is only right, it equitable that people who are underrepresented get a chance to have their shine too.
Jillian Benbow: And if anybody listening, go look at the reaction videos to the Little Mermaid and see these little girls. And if you don't cry, like, monster. No, just kidding. But I think it's a good example, especially seeing something through the lens of a child, especially because there's just such an innocence there, to see someone react and light up in a way, just the delight and the joy and surprise. If you've always wondered, because people say representation matters and things like that. I think it's such a good example to see this is what it... because it's magic to this is the difference.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Well, I think you make a great point about representation I think, and bringing it back to where we started the conversation about belonging and how important representation is. I think this is true not just in the communities that we're a part of, but especially when I'm thinking about workplaces, there's a lot of research on the benefits of belonging, on the benefits of representation. People who see themselves represented within their organizations trust those organizations more. They experience less of that stereotype threat that we were talking about before. Because one of the reasons you experience stereotype threat is when you look around and you don't, people who are like, you wonder why.
You wonder, where did they go? Am I going to have the same fate as they did? And so, when you see people who are like you, it's a cue of safety that, hey, you're going to be okay here. And when it comes to representation, especially in roles that you are aspiring to, it opens up a world of possibility for you that you might not have considered. So, when I was in undergrad, one of the cool things about participating in Dr. Jennifer Richeson's study was not just that the research itself was cool, but it was that she was the only Black woman in the psychology department at the time. And I got a chance to study under her as a junior heading into my senior year.
I got a chance to do independent research, guided by her. And that transformed the way that I think about research, the questions that I wanted to investigate. And it made me a prouder social psychologist. And so, representation goes beyond being able to see a young girl, watch her reaction to the Little Mermaid video and think, "Oh, how cute." What we're actually seeing is the process of her brain saying, "I can do that. A path has been unlocked for me." And that is the power of representation. That is the power of belonging.
Jillian Benbow: I love it. It's so fun to just focus on the really good positive, you know what I mean? Which, of course, we've been talking about all the different things, but just back to that magic. So, let's put that in the context of communities. So, we've talked a little bit about workplaces, which very much are a type of community. But as you know on the show, we talk about a lot of, mostly digital but also in-person communities and the experiences with that, and this is something I'm actually currently working on in SPI Pro, is that identifying, do we need spaces that are specific?
We're looking at doing specifically a BIPOC space, private space within our community and then also LGBTQ-plus space in our community for those members. Demographically, I mean we're fortunate, it's a global community, so we have a lot of backgrounds, experiences, people coming from different countries. But overwhelmingly I would say it's pretty White. So, I'm curious from your perspective with a community such as that, because I think a lot of people listening is similar and the leadership staff-wise of the community were all White, a decent amount of female representation. But what should we be as community leaders really paying attention to?
Or what tips could you give anybody leading community of just, how can I make sure that the sense of belonging is, there's a level of it for everyone? How do I make sure I'm investing in that?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: The first thing I would say for any leader, especially if you are not a member of the identity group that the community is for, is make sure you're listening to the people who are part of those communities. When I talk to my clients about allyship, which we define at Paradigm as committing to ongoing learning and taking courageous action to foster a more inclusive workplace and world. So, there's a couple of things there. Ongoing learning, courageous action, embrace that discomfort. And your goal is inclusion and equity in your context. Now, what I tell people is that first of all, allyship is not noun.
You don't just get to be like, "I'm an ally." It's a verb. It's a thing you do and it's never done. And the second thing that I tell them is that I often find overzealous people go into spaces and say, "I know what you need. I am going to create this thing for you and you will clap for me. And then, when the claps don't happen, I get upset with you because I put all this time in and how dare you. And now, I'm not going to support you anymore." And so, it devolves very quickly.
So, remembering that it's not about you, it's actually about what people want is really important. And so, if that means that what people want is a space where you are not a part of it, put that ego away. It's not for you. Or if there is a space where people are asking for particular resources that you can provide access to because of the privileges that you have afforded by your various identities, think about how you can follow through on some of those needs.
But listening to what people are saying they need in that community, following their lead, and delivering on it is the number one thing that I would say for anyone seeking to create community, particularly for groups that you are not a part of in your own identities.
Jillian Benbow: You touched on something that could be a whole other episode, but just slightly. I see and understand what you're saying. And I think it's worth everybody just thinking about this idea, the overzealous, I'm coming in, I like to call it White savior complex. It's not always White people of course, but you see it a lot. And I'm seeing a lot in, like the current iteration of feminism with Roe versus Wade, and feminism as a whole and just the pussyhats back during the Women's Marches. All of it to say, I think it's important to realize, especially to my palm-colored friends, to my White family listening.
I think it's easy for us especially to be like, "We're going to do this thing and everyone's included," but then it's so important to then listen to other voices and make sure it's a good plan. And even saying, don't make the plan and then present it and then, like you said, get mad when people aren't into it and say, "Well, never mind, because that makes you very untrustworthy," especially as an ally, I would say. And I think the pussyhat is a very good example of that. It was this, "We're doing this thing."
And Black women were saying, "Hey, I don't identify with that hat at all. My flesh color is not pink," or whatever. And then, the White women getting pissed and being like, "Whatever, we're going to do it anyway." And it's like, well, and that's why no one trusts you. And I think that's a really good lesson for our community and to your point, working with and that's what I'm doing. I'm working with community members who identify in those groups and just asking, do you want this, what do want it to look like? How can we build this together?
Because obviously, yeah, do you want me in there to help or do you want me not in there? I'm curious and we'll end on this because again, we could just talk forever, but I'm curious your thoughts on, so in communities, sometimes someone says something or something happens. There's a scuffle, different communities fight on different levels, but sometimes someone will say something and it's either just a little, maybe they weren't paying attention to his cringe.
And then, another community member may come in and correct them either gently or not so gently. Anyways. Squabbles can happen over things that, I mean or increasingly, people are saying it's political, but it's not. It has to do with safety and identity. And so, I'm curious your thoughts to when you see that happen in your communities. Is there anything we can do to, one, deescalate, but two, then make sure anybody who felt marginalized or attacked by something feel safe? How do we bring it back?
Because obviously, not everything's going to be sunshine and roses and people are going to disagree. As community builders, we want to make sure we're maintaining a safe environment but also a learning place. I let the learning things happen. If community members explaining something well, I'm like, "They got it. I'm not inserting myself." But sometimes we need to insert ourselves. So, what are your thoughts? And that was very vague, but what are your thoughts just in general?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Well, Jillian, you have, again, stumbled upon one of my favorite research areas to talk about. And this was actually the research that I did as a post-doctoral fellow because I spent graduate school researching how people decide what counts as racial bias and how they have conversations about it. A natural progression from that is what happens when you disagree and how do you correct people in a way that is going to lead to change. So, there's a few things that come out of that research and since we're talking about communities and especially the community that you're describing is mostly White, mostly America. I'm going to frame it in that way.
But this is true for any community where there is a large group of people who are in some default. The first thing that you need to remember is that as the default, as the White people in the room, it is your responsibility to call out racial bias whenever possible. Do not leave it up to the people of color. If you are straight, do not leave it up to the members of the LGBTQ-plus community to call out homophobia. Right? Don't do it. Think about whatever your identity is. If you are the dominant group, this is your calling card, get out there and speak up.
The reason for that actually comes from my own research, but did a very simple study where I asked people to tell me about times where they were called out for biased actions that they did. And what was so fascinating is that we went back and coded these stories, literally reading through 100s of stories from people about these times where they were called out and I asked them who did it. And it blew my mind, Jillian, that in 98% of the cases, people talked about a close friend, family member, or acquaintance calling them out. Only 2% of people said that it was a stranger.
So, when I think about the responsibility that we have that I have as a straight person, if somebody in my family or in my close friendship network is being homophobic, I have to say something because the likelihood that somebody else is going to is very slim. So, first thing to remember, it's on you, speak up. The second thing that is interesting from my own research is that we often think that when we call people out that they are going to hate us.
What's really interesting is that in most of the cases when I was going back and coding these stories, people were talking about how much they learned from the person who called them out. They said, "Wow, that person knows how to be inclusive, I want to be like them." Is that always the case? No, but in the majority of cases, it was. Right? So, that leads me to point number two, which is don't worry that somebody is not going to like you for speaking up because actually, the more likely case is that they are going to elevate you in their minds and say, "Well, I want to be like them."
And the third thing to keep in mind is that research shows that if you want to stop the harm, it does not matter what you say or how you say it. What matters is that you say something. That something could be an eye roll if you were in an in-person conversation. It could be, "Not cool, man," and walking away. It can be a thumbs-down on a community post. It can be a, "Oh, I wouldn't say that. And here is why," if you want to stop the harm. But my research actually finds that there is a gold standard if you want to not only stop the harm but change the behavior for the future.
And that gold standard is doing things like appealing to shared values, right? Saying things like, "Hey, we're all part of a community here and we've agreed to these particular things." In a workplace, saying, "Hey, we have these company values that we have agreed to live by." In a family unit, sometimes talking about the shared religious belief that you have can be important or talking about how important a family it is for you to really be inclusive.
My mom used to say, "Let's all think more carefully about what we're saying, impacts others” as our call to our shared values. So, appealing to those shared values is nice because you're bringing people in. And then, what's also helpful in terms of this gold standard about how to call people out is to do so in a way that talks about your own experiences of growth. Because a lot of times, what people are feeling when they get defensive, when you say, "Hey, don't say that," is they think that you're trying to sell them that you're perfect and they're not. And the reality is that none of us is perfect.
So, instead, what you should do is say, "Hey, you know what? I understand why," to take the example before, you might have this reaction to seeing a black Ariel. I get it. You're used to a certain thing that was shown to you. Have you considered that the reason you're having this reaction might be because you're seeing a shift in the default away from something that is familiar to you and that that's where the reaction is coming from? Have you considered that people of color really are seeing this as a moment of triumph because for once, they get to see themselves reflected? I definitely, like I get where you're coming from.
And in fact, I was like you too, because I like seeing things that look like me, but I had to pause and consider something different instead. And so, as you're appealing to shared values, bringing them in by talking about your own growth experiences, you're helping them see that there is a community actually as we're all learning together. Not that you're saying you're a bad person, but saying, "Hey, come back over here on this side of things, let's talk about this more." And that leads to a prolonged conversation that's going to lead to behavior and attitude change over time.
Jillian Benbow: I love that. Actually, I'm writing myself a note right now because we're updating our community guidelines and I think we are all learning together no one's perfect. Some phrasing like that I think would be great because we do keep changing them. I always think community guidelines should never be static. Because as things come up, you realize what needs to be clarified or what maybe you missed.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah, I love that perspective.
Jillian Benbow: So, I appreciate the gold standard, especially that that's really, really great tips. And I also just want to, and then promise, we'll wrap it up after this, but just want to dig in a little bit to how you call someone out, I think probably plays a big role in how they react as you were saying that I was thinking about a time I totally... there were margaritas involved and someone said something, and it ended in shouting. Let's put it that way. And whatever it is what it is. And I'd say that's not the way, especially in community, it does have to come from a very... I think you can be gentle with people but also hold a line and be like, "Yeah, no, we don't do that here."
I think you already answered this question with explaining your gold standard from your research, but do you find there's any particular, whether it's language or structure or just in general of just being able to do that, like have it be kind so they don't get... you don't make it worse. You don't yell at them over margaritas, but firm to be like, "It's a learning moment but knock it off. That doesn't work here. You're in my house."
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Well, first I want to give you some grace for you yelling over margaritas moment, because we've all probably had those moments.
Jillian Benbow: I don't regret it either.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: See, okay.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I'll do it again.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: So, this is the thing we have to talk. This is the thing we have to talk about. So, first of all, there is a severity thing that we need to consider here, right? Everything that I'm talking about with the gold standard is what I would recommend for situations where it is a relationship that you want to continue or a conversation that you want to continue to have. And where the offense is not so egregious that you really need to just shut it down. There are some things that I do not care about using the gold standard. You are wrong. Stop it. Right? That's it. But there are lots of people who are repeating things that we want to correct and who are people that we believe can change. And there are people who want to change as well. And in those cases, I go back to what I said before, which is if you're shouting over margaritas, you still told them they were wrong. And so, the research shows their behavior is going to change. At a minimum, they will stop talking about whatever it was that caused the shouting to you.
But there is something going on in their mind that will say, "Ugh, last time I talked about this with Jillian, it ended poorly. So, I won't." What happens in other settings when you're not there? I don't know. I really want to impress upon people that if all you've got is the shouting over margaritas moment, that's better than staying quiet. If you want to do a little bit better than that, if it's somebody that you believe can change and that they want to change and it's a relationship that you want to continue, then what I would say is take a deep breath and name how you're feeling.
Say, "Hey, that thing that you just said really negatively impacted me. Or, ooh, I don't love what just happened here. Let's pause." I actually recommend a lot with my clients using some shorthand like pause as a way to just stop, be like, "Whatever is happening, we need to stop." And then, the person who calls a pause can say something like, "I really want to go back to what was just said, or this isn't sitting well with me." And the response can be, "Let me rewind or let me try again. Or thanks for raising that."
But having those short call-and-response phrases, especially within community, can be really helpful because you're setting the expectation that the person who throws out the pause deserves to be listened to. And the person who said the thing that was paused needs to listen and then they get a chance to try again. So, I like that shorthand. Something else that I would recommend is after saying, "Hey, this thing really negatively impacted me," is saying why. So, doing a little bit of that explaining and saying... I had a family member, an uncle who I was talking about White privilege with once.
He asked me some questions about it after seeing a Facebook post. And I described what it was. As per usual, sent him some research on it and he said, "Well, I hope to benefit from this so-called White privilege. I've worked for everything that I've gotten." And while I don't doubt that's true, this person also has a lot of benefits in his life that were absolutely afforded due to his Whiteness.
And so, in that moment, what I don't think I did do, but what I could have done is said, "I understand why you're saying that, but what you're obscuring is the fact that there is not only a lot of research on this, but there are lots of examples in your own life about how your identity has shielded you from things that would be very hard for people who weren't White men living in the South as you are. And so, I encourage you to learn more about that." And so, you're providing information. And then, here's the magical part, once you say that, you don't have to be the one to continue to hammer in the point.
One of the things that I think about, I believe this so strongly that I have a tattoo that represents this, is that we are all on a journey and that it is not my responsibility to transform someone's mind and behavior in a single interaction. I think about people as little seeds, flowers that I'm trying to cultivate in this garden of inclusion. And so, when I encounter someone who has a biased belief or think that White privilege isn't real, for example, it's an opportunity for me to plant a seed. Now, if I've done my duty and responded in that moment, I've planted the seed and I get to walk away.
What I hope and expect is that someone else later on the line is going to also do their part, maybe water that seed a little bit and then someone else will come along and prune some of the weeds. And over time, we are as a community creating a garden of people who are thinking differently because we have each been contributing to the flower as it's been growing.
So, I think giving yourself some grace to remember that you don't have to be the person that transforms them right then and there, but you do need to do your part and say something and that you are contributing to the collective process that we are trying to engage in. And that's really important.
Jillian Benbow: It's our collective community garden.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yes.
Jillian Benbow: Just got to sow those seeds. It's going to make a Johnny Appleseed reference. And I was like, "I don't actually remember, is he cool?" I don't know.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I don't remember either. I was reading... this is so random, but I was reading the Fairy Tale of Rumpelstiltskin recently. And my husband and I were talking about it and he was like, I don't remember this at all." And he was like, "What was Rumpelstiltskin doing? Who is this guy? Is he bad?" And it was just like a very-
Jillian Benbow: Just weaving gold. Yeah.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Very bizarre. Yeah. Who knows? But yeah, collective community garden of inclusion.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I'm in. Let's water that garden. All right. Well, I've taken up so much of your time.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: It's been a pleasure.
Jillian Benbow: It's been wonderful. We have one more really quick thing and then I will let you go, which is the rapid fire.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yes.
Jillian Benbow: It's really fun. I'm going to do my best not to ask follow-up questions, especially because we've been talking a while. This is just a sentence or less, first thing that comes into your mind. It gets harder as we... no, I'm just kidding. It's all for fun. It's all for fun.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I tend to be very verbose. I'm going to get in the zone.
Jillian Benbow: Both of us. We'll both challenge each other. Just bam, bam. All right. First question, Evelyn, when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Dentist first, then plastic surgeon.
Jillian Benbow: Hey, it's just all about the.... okay, I'm already breaking my own rules. How do you define community?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: The people that you connect with and that make you feel like home.
Jillian Benbow: I love it. Something on your bucket list that you have done.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I want to go back to the place where my husband and I did our honeymoon. Oh, no, you mean... oh, I get it. Nope, you try again. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: That's okay. That was the next question. You answer answered the, what's something on your bucket list that you want.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Something on my bucket list that I have done? Oh, God, I don't think I have a bucket list really.
Jillian Benbow: Or a life goal or accomplishment that was amazing.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: When I graduated from grad school, I took a two-week trip to Italy.
Jillian Benbow: Awesome.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: That was my congratulations to myself. My husband, who I had known for six months at the time. He was just my boyfriend then, also invited himself on the trip and it was great.
Jillian Benbow: Lovely.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah. So, that was great.
Jillian Benbow: That is great. So, real quick, where did you honeymoon that you want to go back to as your thing you haven't done?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Oh, we went to Mexico. We were at the El Dorado Royale, Casitas Resort, all inclusive. It feels like we were there for 10 days. I don't think we actually were there for that long, but it was amazing and I literally just wish I could go back all the time.
Jillian Benbow: Which part of Mexico is it in?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Near Cancun-ish. Like the Riviera Maya region.
Jillian Benbow: Playa del Carmen.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Yes. That's also where I went on my honeymoon.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: It's fantastic.
Jillian Benbow: I love Yucatan Peninsula so much. Anywho, not about me. Evelyn, what's a book you are loving or a book you would wish everyone would read?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Okay. So, a book I am reading right now is Expecting Better by Emily Oster. It is a pregnancy book that is all about the data. I'm a big fan of that. And it also, I think digs into... this is more than a sentence, but it digs into some of the misconceptions and just the very straight rules that particularly women are given when they are pregnant and digs into some data about how those rules might be able to be softened a little bit. So, it's good stuff.
Jillian Benbow: I'm down with that. When I was pregnant, I was like, "All of this is just so people don't get sued," like a lot of the things. It's like, do not eat soft cheese or you will die.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I have been eating a deli sandwich here or there, and I regret nothing.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. In the grand scheme, I just look to France. I'm like, "What do they do in France? I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going to do."
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Amen.
Jillian Benbow: All right. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you want to live?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I'm always bad at answering this question. I don't think I'd go anywhere else. Mostly because I don't know enough about different regions. And I think as a Black person and as a Black American, it's hard for me to figure out the perfect combination of location, affordability, lack of racism. I don't know. So, I feel like you just stick with the devil that you know, so I'm good here in California.
Jillian Benbow: All right. And then, final question, Evelyn, how do you want to be remembered?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: I want to be remembered as someone who tried very hard to be kind even if people don't think I was kind, I tried. And who really, really loves research and loves creating community. I love people. I love trying to be a connector of people even as I'm an introvert myself. So, yeah, a kind, nerdy community creator.
Jillian Benbow: I think you're there. I don't know about nerdy, but I think you're kind.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: How many studies have I talked about today, Jillian? What are we doing?
Jillian Benbow: Well. But maybe I'm a nerd too, so my definition of nerd is like, nah, we're good.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Yeah, I love it. Good company.
Jillian Benbow: I don't see a problem here. Well, Evelyn, this has been so lovely. Thank you for talking everything through. It was just so fun. I've been excited about this and it was everything I hope for and more except for my own inability to recall names and facts as I do.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: It's okay. It's a team. That's why I'm here.
Jillian Benbow: We're just living our life.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Exactly.
Jillian Benbow: We're doing our best. Evelyn, where can people find you if they want to learn more or follow you? Sounds like you're on the Twitter.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Oh, I am on the Twitter. I love tweeting sometimes serious things, sometimes just pictures of my pets and musings about my husband who is awesome.
Jillian Benbow: I can't wait.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Oh yeah, four dogs and a cat. You won't be disappointed.
Jillian Benbow: I'm there. What's your handle?
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: My Twitter is @drevvycarter, D-R-E-V as in violin,-V as in violin,-Ycarter. So, you can find me there. And then, if you want to learn more about Paradigm, you can go to our website, which is paradigmiq.com. That's P-A-R-A-D as in dog,-I-G-M as in mother,-I-Q. Whoa. So, yeah, find me on the internet.
Jillian Benbow: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I just said that so funny.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Thank you.
Jillian Benbow: Thank you so much. Bye. Evelyn, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it. I think this was just such a great conversation, and I can't wait to see what else you do or what you do next.
Dr. Evelyn R. Carter: Thanks so much for having me, Jillian. This was wonderful.
Jillian Benbow: Hey, you made it to the end. Hello. Now, we can have our super swanky VIP end of the show experience together. So, yes, Evelyn is amazing. I agree. Love the conversation. I just love everything about Evelyn and the work she's doing. A great takeaway from this, if we're all on a journey with improving ourselves and being more mindful, aware, empathetic, it's always going to be a part of our lives. And the takeaway I'm taking from this conversation is just to remember to stop assuming.
So, stop assuming everyone sees the world the way you do. And it's really easy to assume that, again, because we have biases and specifically, similarity bias. So, in our day-to-day, there's a good chance that we may be able to make that assumption and be somewhat correct, but especially, as community builders, people managing community, it's our responsibility not to assume that anymore. So, I challenge you, and I challenge myself very much as well to stop assuming. Instead assume they do not maybe have the same, they don't look at the world through the same lens as you.
And I'm saying a very collective they, of course, I mean everybody. And be mindful of how that might reframe how you communicate something or what questions you ask or how you go about getting feedback. I think that alone, just as something we all just try to do in our day-to-day would be a huge impact. I also think we touched on this and I fully agree, is we should all, all of us, anybody, everybody, we should all be making an effort to maybe push out of our comfort zone and experience life in a new way. And that can be as simple as reading a book that is written by a person who doesn't look like you or did not grow up like you and reading it from how they create a story.
And it can be even as low lift as following someone like Evelyn or following someone else on social media who is doing this work and is good at talking about it and educating. And the key there I think is just listening. Just listen. Somebody I really like, I like their style. They're very patient. They're very patient is the Conscious Lee. So, it's @theconsciouslee on social media. He actually goes around and speaks publicly about different things. I just like his tone, his message, everything about him and what he's doing, obviously. You'll find the people that you find inspiring. And I think if you have the means and ability, it's even what live events in your area would it be appropriate for you to go to that maybe it's a cultural event, like something coming up at the time of this recording is Dia de los Muertos, that I adore. So, going to some event or cultural festival that you are, it's not like a closed practice obviously. And just experiencing something, experiencing how a different culture does something. It's just the best.
And finally, of course, travel. Travel is just anytime you can travel somewhere where you are the minority in that place in whatever way. I mean, obviously, race is the easiest to figure out, but it could be religion. If your faith is more the typical Christian, the thing that is everywhere here, would you be willing to go to a country that is Muslim or Jewish or Hindu and just be willing to really experience that culture? That is beautiful, and vice versa, right? It's just a great way to see how other humans experience the world.
So, as we said, talking about guidelines, policies, all that, we are all learning together. I'm not perfect. I'm sure I said lots of dumb stuff in this episode, but I am confident that I will still try my darndest each day to do better. And I hope you do the same. And so, I think I'll leave it at that. Don't forget to go follow Evelyn, @drevvycarter on the Twitter. And of course, you can check out the work and her colleagues are doing at paradigmiq.com. And on that, friends, thanks for listening. I'll see you next Tuesday.
Go give Dr. Evelyn a follow at @drevvycarter and of course, you can follow her amazing work at paradigmiq.com. Your lead host for the Community Experience is me, Jillian Benbow. Our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our editor is Paul Grigoras. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Theme music by David Grabowski. See you next Tuesday.