How White Women Can Help Advance Women Of Color: Karen Fleshman On GHOGH Podcast Episode 10

Written by Dana Sanchez

Lawyer and activist Karen Fleshman believes that becoming more inclusive is a learnable skill, and one that will have increasing value in the marketplace.

Based in the San Francisco area, Fleshman speaks, writes, and offers training and coaching. Her company, Racy Conversations, helps people and companies understand how conscious and unconscious biases work.

Fleshman is one of the few white women speaking out about white women’s role in advancing equality. She helps companies develop inclusive cultures where all viewpoints are welcomed and valued. Fleshman dedicates much of her time to police accountability activism.

Recruiting is only part of the diversity equation, Fleshman says on her website. Inclusion may be even more important. Without it, “the best employees will become entrepreneurs or find another employer where they feel valued.”

Digital media pioneer Jamarlin Martin launched the GHOGH Podcast Franchise — Go Hard Or Go Home — at SXSW 2018, aimed at multicultural millennials.

Jamarlin talks to Karen about women of privilege exploiting civil rights and diversity movements, and whether Kamala Harris can be trusted on criminal justice reform. They also discuss Facebook’s problems, and whether these can be sourced to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Sheryl Sandberg’s values and ethics.

Karen Fleshman, Founder, Racy Conversation Photo: Anita Sanikop


Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Karen Fleshman on flipping the 10 percent:

The goal of Racy Conversations is to flip the 10 percent of white millennials and white Generation Z to anti-racism so we can have a majortity anti-racist generation. Forty-three percent of millennials are people of color and 47 percent of Gen Z are people of color. If we can reach 10 percent of the white people in those generations and flip them, then we can have a majority anti-racist generation.”

On famous white women talking about racism and white supremacy

“Freada Kapor — she is outstanding and a huge role model and mentor for me. I cannot name a single household-name white woman — celebrity, elected official, executive, a famous white woman — who’s out there talking about racism and white supremacy. They don’t exist …  I would say white women are the No. 1 enforcers of white supremacy in our society and we identify with white men. We’re very comfortable in our position of privilege. We are the ones who maintain the social order. In the workplace, white women are not kind to other women and they’re particularly not kind to women of color and to men of color. The great irony is that the folks who have done the most to advance white women are Black men.

On 52 percent of white women voting for Trump

“That’s the first thing I’ve thought about every morning since November 2016, and the last thing I think about every night before I go to sleep. And including some of my family members voted for him.”

On the message from the Womens March 1-year anniversary:

“I was in Las Vegas for the Womens March one-year anniversary and all of the speakers were women of color. The message was: white women, step aside and follow the lead of the women of color … just get out of the way, get behind us and we’re going to be the leaders. I think that is the role white women need to take in these movements — not calling the shots but bringing the resources and using our resources and influence to support the leadership of women of color.”

Hear more of Karen Fleshman’s interview with Jamarlin martin on Episode 10 of the GHOGH Podcast.

Other GHOGH episodes:

Episode 15: Clarence Wooten, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, sold his first tech business for $23 million. He discusses his new venture — STEAM Role — meritocracy, and common mistakes founders make. He also talks about Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and how blockchain has opened up new capital-raising opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Episode 14: Barron Channer, founder of Miami -based Woodwater Investments, talks about turning down Harvard Business School, and whether Black-on-Black murders need to be prioritized over police-on-Black murders. He also debates what is to blame for the Black murder rate in Chicago and whether most U.S. police departments are racist in the second of a 2-part podcast.

Episode 13Barron Channer, founder of Miami-based Woodwater Investments, shares how he got to work for billion-dollar real estate developer Don Peebles. This Wharton MBA’s business focuses on real estate development and tech. He revisits how Barack Obama handled Rev. Wright in the first of a 2-part podcast.

Episode 12Keenan Beasley, co-founder and managing partner of New York digital analytics company BLKBOX, talks about his early mistakes, how NY and Silicon Valley investors differ, and the advantages of getting experience in an industry before trying to disrupt it. The Westpoint grad and former P&G brand manager also discusses M&A activity involving Richelieu Dennis, Byron Allen and Robert Smith.

Episode 11Travis Holoway, founder and CEO of peer-to-peer lending startup SoLo Funds, discusses Mark Zuckerberg as a liberal tech version of Donald Trump, Jake Tapper’s double standards on CNN towards Black leaders, and whether Silicon Valley has “negro helpers” who set the community back.

Episode 10: Karen Fleshman, the founder of Racy Conversations, talks about women of privilege exploiting civil rights and diversity movements, and whether Kamala Harris can be trusted on criminal justice reform. She also discusses Facebook’s problems, and whether these can be primarily sourced to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Sheryl Sandberg’s values and ethics.

Episode 9: Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson talk about Black Tech Week, economic empowerment, and the potential impact of Atlanta landing Amazon HQ2. They also discuss the politics of diversity favoring women of privilege, and whether or not Silicon Valley is the global capital of white supremacy.

Episode 8: Marlin Nichols, co-founder of Cross Culture Ventures, talks about the culturally-themed fund he started with Troy Carter. He discusses the burger-flippin’ robot, Flippy, and socially responsible investing. Marlon offers advice to founders seeking investment, and answers questions about whether there is too much “shut-up-and-dribble” in Silicon Valley.

Episode 7: Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of leading Nigerian mobile payments company Paga, discusses bitcoin prospects, superior Nigerian academic performance in the U.S., and why Nigeria is the African economic opportunity. The podcast also touches on Elon Musk, Aliko Dangote, and whether Oviosu would ever run for president.

Episode 6: Rodney Sampson, founder of HBCU@SXSW and the Atlanta-based Opportunity Hub, discusses investing in Atlanta blockchain startups and the importance of connecting HBCU endowments to Black tech. He covers the intersectionality of oppression, discrimination, and holding SV leaders accountable for inequality.

Episode 5Angela Benton talks about starting NewMe Accelerator, building her personal brand as a single mother while battling cancer, and whether or not most of the “diversity” gains in Silicon Valley will go to privileged white women.

Episode 4Detavio Samuels, president of Interactive One, leads a $30M digital media business that in 2017 acquired Bossip, Madamenoire, and HiphopWired. He discusses Richelieu Dennis’ acquisition of Essence, Facebook’s recent fumbles, and whether Complex Media is a culture vulture.

Episode 3Arlan Hamilton talks about Backstage Capital, the VC fund she dreamed up while she was homeless. She talks about the Silicon Valley establishment and about Tamika Mallory, who attended Saviours’ Day with Louis Farrakhan.

Episode 2Rodney Williams, founder and CEO of Lisnr, talks about raising $10 million in venture capital, HBCU endowments that invest in black tech, and how to fire loyal employees you like.

Episode 1Brian Brackeen talks about his path to starting his facial recognition firm, Kairos, how blockchain can be applied to the NFL, and whether Disney’s’ “Black Panther” is revolutionary.