How to Discuss Identity, Race, and Prejudice with Charlie Gilkey – SASM 105

Charlie Gilkey and Joel Zaslofsky Combined Picture

I did not see us going there.

My friend and guest for this episode, Charlie Gilkey, just had a chat with me that neither of us saw coming (and wouldn't have been possible even a month ago).

I thought we'd focus on things like how Charlie decides what kind of personal or professional experiments to run and how to get better at asking for help.

However, this whole episode was an experiment I didn't even know I was running until about half-way through.

The type, tone, and topics of dialogue were so deep, vibrant, and emotionally-charged. We discussed things I've never touched before on Smart and Simple Matters like overthrowing cultural beliefs systems and institutionalized racial discrimination.

Here's a taste with some verbal highlights:

Systematic racism is not necessarily your individual behavior. It's the way that we as a collective society treat people. – Charlie Gilkey

It's so much easier to overthrow a government than it is to overthrow the beliefs of a culture. – Charlie Gilkey

We are multi-dimensional people living in a multi-dimensional society living in a multi-dimensional world. – Charlie Gilkey

Find [what] really matters to you. Then instead of figuring out whether you should express those, spend more time figuring out how you're going to express [them]. – Charlie Gilkey

I'm so happy we “went there” again and again in our conversation. And I'm so excited for you to go there with us and expand the conversation around all the things we're told we can't talk about but absolutely need to discuss.

We began by chatting about how to avoid fighting with white space and why co-creation is so rewarding. Then we moved beyond why Charlie's goal in life is to become a professional thought partner into the big, potentially scary, and heart of the talk: the possibilities around conversations about race, discrimination, self-identity, cultural assumptions, and other equally deep stuff.

As Charlie would say in his The Creative Giant Show podcast intro – “Lets' do this!” And as I like to say in this show – “Here … we … go.”

You're about to Learn ...

  • What's required to talk reasonably and openly about self-identity, race, and discrimination.
  • How to say, “Hey – what about this?” without discounting others' views.
  • Why Charlie shifted his focus to engage would-be allies more than current allies.
  • Why you need visual thinking to solve complex problems.
  • How to use co-creation to sidestep a brawl with white space.
  • How to handle your head trash.
  • Why touchdowns in the “creative red zone” can be so rare.
  • If it's possible to become a professional thought partner.

Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode

Timestamps and Topics

  • [06:50] How to integrate co-creation into your way of life
  • [10:14] What a thought partner is and how to be a good one
  • [13:07] Race, identity, oppression, and having conversations about them
  • [21:21] Overthrowing governments vs. overthrowing cultural beliefs
  • [24:16] “Hey, what about this … ” conversations
  • [31:16] Visual thinking and presentation to solve huge problems
  • [38:29] Final words from Charlie

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