Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:09):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but you don't hear being discussed in other places and it's very important to us to bring people onto the podcast who we can learn from.
Beth Demme (00:19):
And right now, our country is hurting. Coronavirus has shined a light on some disparities that have always existed. And with the death of George Floyd, the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests should not be ignored.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:32):
Which is why I'm actually excited that we have one of my good friends, Ashley. She's a DIY friend of mine. She's agreed to be a guest on today's show. Hi, Ashley.
Beth Demme (00:42):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (00:42):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:44):
Now, before we get into the show, let me give you a little background on Ashley because she's a really cool lady. Ashley works full time as a software engineer for Boeing and in her spare time, although I don't know where that comes from, she also is a DIY blogger specializing in easy to follow furniture plans. She has multiple sponsorships including the Home Depot and did a full back deck build after winning the Home Depot Orange Tank competition.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:07):
Oh yeah, and you may have seen her on NBC. They have a show called Making It and she was on season two. I loved the dog house that she built. And on Sunday I saw an Instagram post from her and it really made me say, "Beth, we need to have her on the podcast." So we'll put a link in the description to the post that she put on Instagram and you'll be able to see the great sign she made for a peaceful protest she went to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:30):
But Ashley, I'd love to see if you would read that post for us just so we can hear it in your own words.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (01:35):
The post says, "The past couple of days have produced so many emotions for me. I've had ups and downs, highs and lows, felt peace and anger. I don't have to repeat what's going on, but this stuff is real life. People are hurting. People are scared. People are angry and I'm heartbroken. Today I participated in a peaceful protest as a step to make things better, but also will continue to find ways to fight for my people. To my people of color, I love you. I see you. I feel your pain and I feel your hurt. I'm here with you and I'm willing to put it all on the line to stop the oppression that continues to invade our lives, you matter. To my non people of color, thanks for speaking up. You know who you are. Thanks for personally reaching out. Thanks for not tip toeing around the situation but drawing a line in the sand. I was amazed at how many non people of color were at the protest just handing out water, snacks, hand sanitizer, making sure we were safe and taken care of. I love and appreciate you for it and I see you. We are stronger together."
Beth Demme (02:34):
Thank you so much for sharing that. That was awesome to hear.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:39):
So, we want to get into this, Ashley. And this is a time we want to hear from you. We don't want to spend a lot of time giving our opinions on anything because I don't think we have...
Beth Demme (02:50):
I think our opinions are well represented in the world. As two white women, I feel like, yeah we have the privilege of having been heard a lot. Our voice, I think is less important here. But I think something you said in your post that really resonated with me was, "People of color and non people of color." Right? I think this is something that we can all work on together. We're saying that we just don't want to amplify our own voices but we do very much want to be part of working on this together in a way that is productive without coming in and taking over. That kind of a thing. I feel like that's a little bit of a tension that I'm walking in my own life. So I kind of wanted to name that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:30):
And I do want to say that I have really been educating myself, as much as I can, with the different media streams and things like that. And I actually, I'll have to say, I saw on social media that the George Floyd, I saw the information but I didn't really watch it because I could tell that from it, it was basically the murder of somebody and was like, "I don't want to see that." And as we were getting read for this podcast, that is, I have to see that. I have to see that. And I watched it and I watched, I mean, we've all seen that now. I realized how important is was for me to see that life go out and to really understand the story. I mean, it's infuriating when you just spend the two seconds to really understand. I mean, it was a $20 counterfeit, or allegedly, $20 counterfeit money was what this all started with.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:31):
In this point in history, what are we going to call this protest? What are we protesting right now?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (04:37):
So yeah. Originally the Black Lives Matter movement was started in 2013 and it was based on, it came about after the acquittal of the murder of Trayvon Martin. After realizing, hey this is on video, this is nationwide and we still can't seek justice, I think that was the moment where black people were like, we need to start something. We need to speak out and show people that there truly is an injustice to black people and that's kind of how it started.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (05:08):
It's kind of funny, because with the Black Lives Matter movement, there's a lot of people that are like, all lives matter, things like that and that's a discussion that's...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:17):
Oh, we're going to ask, we're going to ask.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (05:19):
Yes an exhausting one, but really it was just created to fight white supremacy and injustices to black people that are very apparent and that people clearly aren't seeing or identifying and that's the purpose of it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:35):
So, right now, the protest that is really taking over everything, is the protest, are we protesting Black Lives Matter or are we protesting police brutality? The injustices within the criminal justice system, is that what we're fighting or are those both the same thing?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (05:52):
So, it's typically, so the Black Lives Matter movement is to fight the injustices against black people, whether it be police brutality, racism, things like that. So that is what the movement is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:03):
So we can say, the protest is Black Lives Matter protest? We can use those terminology and that would be accurate?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (06:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:09):
Perfect. There are phrases that I've been listening to all the news and everything and there's phrases I've said in the past that I've learned are wrong.
Beth Demme (06:18):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:19):
I will tell you, you said the movement started in 2013, I've heard of it. I know it. I've never really dug into it. I've never truly tried to understand it. I've never been against it in anyway, but I have in the past said, "All lives matter." And now that I am really listening and hearing, I realized how insensitive that is. Can you explain why that's so hurtful when the response to #BlackLivesMatter is, all lives matter and why that's wrong?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (06:54):
For sure. I've explained this over and over and time again, but when we started this movement it was to show people that black lives actually don't matter. So, when people started saying, "All lives matter." It just felt like they were minimizing us, once again. To us it was just like, "Hey, this is just another injustice to black people." We get that all lives matter. We didn't start this movement as a proclamation that only black lives matter. It was actually the opposite. It was like, not all lives matter. We know all lives matter, but it's apparent that black lives don't.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (07:37):
And it's like if you make a movement or you're protesting something, you're not going to go protest what's right in the world. We're trying to shine a light on what's wrong and that's all we're doing. We love all people of color and we want people to join us. It's actually not something to divide us but it's something to bring us together.
Beth Demme (07:56):
Yeah, after the Ahmaud Arbery, when the video was released and it became apparent that he had been murdered, I posted something to Facebook and tried to challenge my friends who are the ones who would say, "All lives matter." Well, all lives matter, right? So, Ahmaud's life matters, right? And his death matters, right? Yes, we can say, "Black lives matter." Because all lives matter. So, let's just get behind this understanding that, yes, black lives matter and that's where we need to be really focusing our learning and our desire for change so that that becomes a truth. That really it is true that black lives matter so that we're a little bit closer to living in a society to where all lives matter.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (08:44):
And I've heard a lot of people saying like, "All lives won't matter until black lives do."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:51):
Yes, yeah. What do you, do you like that phrase?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (08:52):
I do like that because I think it makes it easier for people to understand why we're singling out blacks.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:00):
Yeah, I agree. I like that. I heard that and thought, "Oh, I like that." I really try to understand something and I never will truly understand what it's like to live in your world. I'll never understand that, but I think that I try to put some kind of connection in my own life to try and figure out and try to have some kind of connection.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:22):
So, I want to see if this analogy, just want to put this out there and see what you think of this. So I was talking with a friend today. We were going on a walk and she said the phrase, "All lives matter." And now that I've been researching, I'm like, "That's the wrong phrase." And we were two white women and I'm like, okay. And I heard that white people need to be talking to white people about this also. I heard that's important, that we need to be talking to each other. We all need to be talking.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:49):
So, instead of saying, "That's wrong. No, you haven't been paying attention." I said to her, I said, I asked her if she had ever been pulled over by a police officer before. And she said, "Yeah." And I said, "Well how did that make you feel?" And she told me and talked about it. And I said, "Yeah I've been pulled over before and I was annoyed. Because A, I didn't know why they pulled me over and B, I had somewhere to go. I was annoyed." But a black man being pulled over, his first thought is not, "I'm annoyed." His first thought, I mean I can't say what it is but I'm assuming it's, "Am I going to die today?"
Beth Demme (10:23):
Will I survive this?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:24):
Will I survive this? Anxious, nervous, all of those things. Is that accurate? Is that what we're talking about here? We're privileged to know that the system when we're pulled over it's going to be okay. They're going to, 95% of the time, they're going to follow all the right procedures. Is that what we're talking about here, is that it's not equal for black and white people?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (10:46):
Yes, I definitely think that that's a big part of it. Even in my experiences, I mean, even when cops drive by me or they're around me, I don't know. I was having this discussion with my mom. I'm always thinking like, "Okay, is my registration up to date? Am I doing something wrong?" I can know for a fact that I'm doing nothing wrong, but in my head I'm just like, "Am I driving the speed limit." Just to make sure that I don't get pulled over because at the end of the day, you never know who you're going to get. I realize there are good cops. I realize there are bad cops and you just never know. I've been stopped by good cops. I've been stopped by bad cops. So, you just never know and just to see what's going on in the world.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (11:27):
And not only to see police brutality, but to see people doing absolutely nothing. To know that I can do absolutely nothing. I can do everything right and something can still can happen. And just the fact of knowing, thinking like, if I ever encountered a bad cop, I hope that there's someone there to film it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:48):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (11:50):
Because without that, I may not get justice. It's hard to deal with. And it's hard, especially with knowing there's good cops, it's hard to put your trust into those people. So it just kind of makes it hard when that discussion comes up of like, "You know, but there are good cops." There are bad cops, but it's kind of that thing where it's like a job like a police officer where they're supposed to protect you, that's a job where you can't really be like, there are a few bad, there are a few good. It's, I want to be able to trust this group of people to protect me which I feel like is that what they should be there for.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:29):
Beth Demme (12:30):
And I think that there's increasing pressure on the good cops to not put up with or make excuses for the bad cops, right? Because there are so many dedicated men and women who are effective law enforcement officers and they shouldn't be putting up with the ones who are racists, who are mistreating people.
Beth Demme (12:52):
I've been pulled over a few times and my first thought is usually, "I'm probably going to get out of this."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:59):
Without a ticket?
Beth Demme (13:00):
Yes. I've gotten pulled over way more times than I've gotten tickets.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:03):
Beth Demme (13:04):
So last time I got pulled over, you can edit this out if you want. The last time I got pulled over, the cop said, it was just up here. Just down the road. And it was a guy a little bit older than me, had the belly, had the southern accent. "Well ma'am, what's your husband going to say about you gettin' pulled over today?" And I said, "Oh, sir. He's probably not going to like it." "Well, I'm going to have to let you off with a warning, then." And I said, "Thank you so much. I promise to be more careful." And I went on about my business.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:39):
Oh, my gosh.
Beth Demme (13:39):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:40):
That is ridiculous.
Beth Demme (13:41):
I mean that's a very different experience, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:44):
Do you think that would've happened to you though, Ashley?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (13:46):
I think it's hard to say. Because again, I've encountered cops where they've let me go. They've been nice about it. But also I feel like, that has a lot to do with my response. I'm never a person that's combative. And I think it's a thin line there because I also feel like if a officer does come off the wrong way then people should have the right to respond in a way that's, "Hey, you're not talking to me in a good way. So, I don't feel like I should talk to you in a good way." But, normally when that happens, it always turns left. So, it's a thin line there, you know?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:24):
When you are pulled over or see a cop, what is that first initial thought in your head?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (14:29):
First initial thought is just, I mean, put your hands in clear view. Don't be combative just, because it's always, I feel like when the cop walks out and they speak you can always kind of tell. If it's going to be a good cop, bad cop, you can always, so it's always, I feel like it's a little anxious when they walk up, but then after that it's like, if it's a good cop and they're just like, "Hey, this is why I pulled you over." It's fine. But you can always tell when it's a different kind of person.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (15:03):
So, I mean, it's definitely a feeling of anxiousness. I feel like because I've encountered it so much, it's kind of a thing where this is just something we have to deal with, which is unfortunate.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:15):
How many interactions do you think you've had with a police officers?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (15:18):
I don't know, maybe like 11 or 12.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:22):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (15:23):
And I'm not a bad driver.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:24):
I know, yeah. I bet you aren't.
Beth Demme (15:27):
I have had an equal number.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:28):
I've only had one, that's why I'm just like, I don't drive a lot though.
Beth Demme (15:33):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (15:34):
And most of the ones were just like me speeding, those were fine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:38):
Yeah, that's normal.
Beth Demme (15:41):
It's like, "Yeah, I messed up."
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (15:42):
[crosstalk 00:15:42] It's okay you're speeding, I'm like, yeah it's cool. But, I've had instances on college campuses just encountering police. There was a time I got pulled over and they were like, "Have you been smoking weed?" And I'm like, "I don't smoke weed." I was, my car was searched, all of that, the whole nine. And I just felt like it was them trying to embarrass me and also just having been stopped and then them trying to detain me because they thought the person in my car was a drug dealer or selling drugs and this was a person that was from out of town.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (16:16):
There's different encounters. You never really know. And just to see that on TV and see things happening to other black individuals, you're just like, man that could be me.
Beth Demme (16:27):
So, I went to law school in the 1900's because I'm older than...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:31):
She loves to say that.
Beth Demme (16:32):
Than you guys. And I remember, this just came back to me, that I remember being in our big lecture hall and I remember an African American woman saying, "You all..." Because most of us were white, "You all don't understand what it's like." She's like, "My husband and I drive..." I don't remember what the car was, but it was like a white Volvo or something. And she's like, "And we get pulled over and they'll say things like, 'Well, we've had a lot of issues with vehicles that look like this." Right? And it's always, it was clear, so she was like, "It doesn't matter what car we're in, because what doesn't change about the car we're in, is the color of our skin. That's the reason we're getting pulled over. They just have to come up with some pretext because we automatically look suspicious to them." And that was a long time ago and we haven't really made any progress.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:24):
So I'm curious, Ashley, when you were a child, did your parents sit you down and tell you about how to interact with police? Did you ever, was that a conversation in your family?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (17:38):
So that wasn't really a conversation in my family. Fortunately for me, my mom did work at the courthouse where I stayed. She was a clerk of court, so she knew a lot of the law enforcement, which for me was good because a lot of people that I did get pulled over from in my earlier days were people that she knew. So when I would hand them my ID and they would see her name or the last name, they'd be like, "Wait, are you so and so's daughter?" And then it'd be a different story. So fortunately, I feel like that was a good thing for me.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (18:09):
But yeah, we never really had that conversation. But it was evident that was a problem. We just ever had that sit down.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:16):
Do you have siblings?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (18:18):
I do. I have three older brothers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:19):
Oh, wow. What's the age difference?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (18:22):
So it's 36, 34, and then 30.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:27):
Oh wow. And you're young. How old are you?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (18:30):
I'm 29. I just, like April 30th.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:33):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (18:33):
I just turned 29, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:33):
Oh, well happy birthday.
Beth Demme (18:35):
So how are your brothers feeling these days?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (18:40):
So, I don't know. I feel like my youngest brother is kind of like, if there was anyone who was kind of the outlaw or the rebel, it's probably him. He's kind of like, I'm not dealing with it. If the police come up to me, I'm not going to be peaceful, which I feel like he has every right to feel that way.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:00):
My middle brother is actually incarcerated in federal prison, which is another, I don't know, to me kind of injustice because he's serving 30 years for a drug charge.
Beth Demme (19:10):
Wow. That's part of the whole mass incarceration problem that we have.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:13):
Yep. Yep. So that's also another concern just knowing that he's every day in police presence, you know?
Beth Demme (19:19):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:19):
That's another reason why I feel like...
Beth Demme (19:22):
30 years? 30 years for a drug charge?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:24):
Beth Demme (19:26):
30 years is a long time. More than you've been alive now that I think about the math on that.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:32):
During when Obama was in president, he was trying to, I think he was trying to get it reduced but just circumstances didn't allow it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:41):
Do you get to see him?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:42):
I don't. I haven't seen him in 12 years. I write him though.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:47):
Yeah, how's he doing with the virus and everything?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:53):
I haven't actually talked to him since then.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:55):
Oh my gosh.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (19:56):
Which is crazy. So it's like having older brothers, cousins, nephews and just thinking about them, it just makes it harder.
Beth Demme (20:04):
And your oldest brother?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (20:06):
My oldest brother, he's in Raleigh. So he's more conservative. He doesn't talk a lot about it, so I really don't know his stances on it.
Beth Demme (20:14):
So you wrote in your Instagram post that you participated in a peaceful protest where you live there in Oklahoma. Tell us about your decision to participate in that.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (20:25):
So yeah, I think it was important just to get out there, to be a part of the movement so our voice can be heard. I think protests are great because they bring awareness. Just seeing all the protests across the world, I feel like people are stopping and actually listening and trying to learn. So, I think that that's important. And it's important to just further spread our message. Because I feel like there are people who've heard of Black Lives Matter but they don't necessarily understand what it is or there may be confusion. So I feel like protests just kind of allow for that opportunity for that to happen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:59):
Do you think we're just like, have the perfect storm right now with the coronavirus shutting down society for so long. We've had so many of these actually filmed acts or racism that have been happening for years, they just weren't on film. Do you think it's that perfect storm of how this has all, there's been Black Lives Matter protest before, but this is huge. It's happening in Tallahassee. It's happening right down our street.
Beth Demme (21:25):
And all around the world.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:27):
Yeah. Exactly. Do you think, why now?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (21:33):
I definitely think it was a perfect storm of just, one people being cooped up and this being a way for them to get out. But also with the recent happenings with Ahmaud and Breonna Taylor and then George Floyd, I feel like people are riled up and they're just tired. People are just tired. They're sick of seeing it.
Beth Demme (21:53):
And that woman in Central Park, Amy Cooper...
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (21:57):
Amy Cooper, yeah.
Beth Demme (21:58):
Who called the police and...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:59):
Yeah. You did a great job, Ashley, today on your Instagram story, you kind of explained that. And I've been really enjoying your stories because, I don't know if enjoying is the word, but you're educating in a helpful way. And I think that's what this time period is right now. I'm going to sources of people that I know and trust like you. I also, I don't know if you read it, but Obama put a post, like a short post...
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (22:24):
Yes, very good.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:24):
I thought that was so good about talking about protests where you get the voices heard, like you just said. And then and voting. We got to vote. And local government is super important. As much as federal government, yes, that's a whole thing, but local government is where that change gets made. So, it wasn't a this or that, it was a both and I liked hearing that. I thought that was great.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (22:47):
It was a great post.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:47):
Yeah. One thing he did mention, Obama mentioned in that post actually, he did make a mention of the riots. And he mentioned Martin Luther King and what his thoughts were on rioting. And so, I will tell you, I've seen the protests and I saw the rioting and I was really saddened to see things destroyed. And I was talking to Beth about it when we were preparing for this and I was like, "The rioting is not right. This is not right." And she kind of looked at me like not really...
Beth Demme (23:24):
Like, I love you so much Steph. That was what I was thinking. I love you so much and of course the rioting doesn't make sense, of course it doesn't. It's anger. It's emotion that is boiling over because there has been no healthy outlet for it and because people have not been heard.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:42):
I want to get your thoughts, Ashley. What are your thoughts on the rioting?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (23:46):
Yeah, me personally, I don't believe that rioting is the answer but I also feel, like you said, people are upset, they are angry and it's almost like this is the only way that we can be heard. This is the only avenue that we have, we will use it. Because we are dying. People are literally killing us on video with witnesses and nothing's being done. So it's, again, I feel like nothing's ever black and white. If we could do it in a peaceful way we would, but it's been made clear that that's not working. And that's why it's so important for people to speak up and learn and speak out with us because it's only going to get worse. I mean, this is bad, but if blacks keep getting killed, this is the tip of the iceberg.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (24:39):
And that's not something that I want to see and I know it's not something people want to see. So, that's why we're trying to get people to see that we matter, we want justice.
Beth Demme (24:49):
I heard it put this way the other day, this was a meme that got shared that I thought was really effective. So, I'm just going to read it the way that it's written. "Here's an example of how white privilege sounds: You keep saying, 'It's horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property has to stop.' Try saying, 'It's horrible that's property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men has to stop.' You're prioritizing the wrong part." And I felt like that was such a great synthesis of what's happening.
Beth Demme (25:19):
It's like, yes it is not good that property is being destroyed, but it's not good that people are being destroyed. So let's talk about the real issue here and not get distracted by this conversation about the destruction of property.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (25:33):
I was about to say, I think that happens a lot. People are quick to point out the symptom instead of addressing the real issue.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:40):
Yeah, and how many times do we say like hurricanes and things, houses are destroyed all this, but no lives were lost. Things can be replaced, people can't. We talk about that so many times then this. That's true. It's like, we've got to flip that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:59):
And I also think, I used to work at Apple and when people were civil and nice, they didn't get, like if they were trying to get something free, they wouldn't. But if they made a ruckus, if they were screaming and saying, "I need a manager." We'd give them free stuff.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:17):
We have been teaching people, every type of person that when you scream and yell and make a scene, things get done. So, what do you expect? What do you expect? We're trying the peaceful protest. We're trying this and so, I don't condone it, obviously. But, I can start to at least see it with different eyes and not just blanket say, "You're wrong." I can see that and there's things in my life where the emotions are too much and I don't go with the right action. But I just take an action because that's all I can do at that time. So, it's important to try and understand and not just blanket say, "It's wrong." I mean it's wrong in the sense that now what are we, especially these communities that are already devastated and businesses that are already devastated with COVID, now what are they going to do?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:05):
But that's not the conversation. The conversation is what about all these innocent black men that have been killed recently? That's what we're talking about here.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (27:14):
And I also feel like, I don't know, it just seems hypocritical because a lot of people are like, "Riots are wrong." But when people riot over football games and other things when people are taking AR-15's to the capitol because they want to get their nails done, there's no outrage for that, but when black people do it, it's like, "Oh, it's wrong!" And it may be wrong, but why do we get such scrutiny when we do it, you know?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:41):
I hear you, yeah.
Beth Demme (27:42):
That's been one of the most enlightening split screenshots for me is the protesters in the face of capitol police because they wanted their states reopened and from the highest levels of government tweets saying, "Yes, you should get in there and protest. You should open up your state." And then being like, well actually, yeah, like you're saying, you should protest so that you can have the salon open but don't protest the fact that people are being murdered. That's crazy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:16):
So, I have a question. So one thing that I've said in the past and I feel like is wrong now based on looking at stuff is, and not exactly these words but, I don't see color. I don't see your skin color. I don't say, these are my black friends and these are my white friends. I just say, they're my friends. Why is that wrong?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (28:33):
So, I feel like that's a little problematic because it kind of promotes the idea that, you know, blacks aren't necessarily going through what they're going through. It's like, I don't see color, you know? I love you the same, dah, dah, dah, dah, and it's like we're living in a world where we're not treated the same. So instead of saying, "I don't see your color." I'd rather you say, "I see your color and I love you for it, even though you're black and there are other people who may not see you for who you are, I see you for who you are, in your likeness, in your blackness and I love that." And I feel like that's a better way to acknowledge it.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (29:13):
And again, I see people's heart behind it. But, I feel like with the way people say things it can make us feel inferior so it's just educating people in how to love us in a way where we actually feel as a part of the group.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:30):
I love that. I think that's the quote for this episode, Ashley. What you just said, I was like, "Oh my gosh. That was awesome."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:34):
So, is it appropriate to say, what's the correct term? Black? Is it African-American, I think that's a big thing that we, as a white woman, tip toe around, is I want to be sensitive and I want to be politically correct and I don't want to offend, but I also don't, I don't know how to say it.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (29:55):
Right. I mean, I think black is fine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:57):
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (29:57):
A lot of people associate on social media's been using people of color I think because they don't want to come off wrong, but I think black is fine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:05):
Is African American still a correct term?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (30:07):
I think African American is fine. Sometimes I feel like when I hear African American it's kind of like people don't really know what to say so they use African American, but black is fine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:17):
Because like you're an American. I mean you've been here your whole life kind of thing.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (30:21):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:22):
I don't know. It's like I don't call myself a Greek American. It's like, that's my heritage. I recognize it but I don't need it to be part of my terminology.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (30:30):
A lady at my church, she actually posted something. She used the word, colored. And I mean, she didn't mean any harm in it, but one of my friends had to tell her like, "Hey, say people of color or African American." But for me, I don't, some people may have a different preference but I mean, I'm fine with African American, black.
Beth Demme (30:51):
I used to be uncomfortable saying black because I had been trained, I had been taught, I had been educated to say African American. But then when I went to seminary I realized we talked about black churches, we talked about black preaching, like that's a very specific style of preaching. And I was like, "Oh, yeah. This is a great word. Of course!" This represents not just a skin color, but this represents cultural things that we should be celebrating.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:18):
So Ashley, like I said I think at the beginning, I feel, I don't know what to say right now and is this the time for white people to be talking? Is this the time for black people to be talking? Is this the time for us to talk together? I need permission on what to do. Can you give me permission on what I should be doing?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (31:37):
Yes. Even though I'm in no place to give permission. But I definitely think it's a time for everyone to be talking. I feel like we as black people were like, we have been talking. And it's like this is a system that we feel was never set up to protect us. So, in order to break that system we can't do it on our own. We need non people of color who may have privilege and maybe can get further than we can, we need people to speak up. I feel like there are people that I can't necessarily reach that maybe a non person of color will. There are certain things that people just won't listen to me because I'm black and that's just a simple fact. But, they'll listen to non people of color. They maybe can open a door that I can't. So, I feel like people should be speaking up.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (32:25):
And I know, I've heard a lot of people say that they don't know what to say and things like that. But, I'd rather you come and say something and it not be the right thing to say, then you to be silent. For me, just looking on even my Instagram, there are a lot of people that while I'm protesting, they're posting DIY videos and having a good ole' time on Instagram. And to me I'm just like, I don't know how you're doing this right now because I feel like I'm just in a war right now. I'm fighting for my people and to see that, it's almost kind of hurtful in a way.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (33:02):
And even if it's just saying something simple. It doesn't even have to be some profound, you know like, I stand with you, or people just texting me, "Hey, just checking on you." Little things matter.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:14):
Is it appropriate to, you know, I have a lot of friends like you in the DIY community. Is it appropriate to put links to my favorite black creators? Is that appropriate?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (33:26):
Yeah, I think that's definitely appropriate. I feel like and that's a way that people are trying to voice that they're standing with us. Like I said, it doesn't have to be perfect, but just to see people wanting to share black creators that shows that, "Hey, we're at least listening. We're at least trying." If you're trying, that's way better than just being silent, to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:52):
I love to have these conversations. I think it's so important to talk and to hear your stories, to hear everyone's different stories because that's how we get better and that's how we get stronger to hear that. And I feel uncomfortable sometimes. I mean, I was nervous talking with you, but you're just you. You're my Ashley, it's like, oh my gosh, totally normal. I know you.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (34:13):
I definitely think it's important as black people to be open and willing to talk because I do feel like there are some people that are so hurt that they don't want to have discussions because they feel like they've been trying to have the discussion for so long. So it's definitely a fight just to try and just stay willing to just be open to people and just open to discussion and willing to teach and learn.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:34):
Well, one thing it reminds me of is, again, when I worked for Apple. I don't know why all the examples are Apple but they, one of their big things is this is how we sell products. Is people come to our store. They get excited about the product. They buy it. They love it. They tell two friends, then they tell two friends, then they tell two friends. Well, it's the same idea. If you're willing to have a conversation, from that conversation I had with those two black creators at that event, that stuck with me. I've shared that story. That's made an impact on my heart that I can share with other people. They don't live where I live, so I'm going to be able to affect people where I am. The more that we are all willing to share, the more that trickle effect will have. So yeah...
Beth Demme (35:18):
It's the old school evangelism model.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:20):
Oh, is it?
Beth Demme (35:21):
Yeah, that's like the old school Christian evangelism model about how you've got to multiply the followers of Christ. It's like, well what story are you going to tell, right? No, you're going to tell a story about justice and I'm going to look at my own learning and my own mistakes and be honest about the things that I've said that were wrong and how I've learned from that and how I've been taught by generous people like you to be better.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (35:48):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:49):
Yeah, Jimmy Fallon did his Tonight Show from home and he addressed something. I guess he had done black face when he was on SNL. I didn't see it but he just mentioned it. And he said he was advised not to say anything. And he said, "That wasn't okay." And he had to say something and I thought that was huge that he would, we need white men to be sharing their voices. We need them to say, "I don't understand."
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (36:15):
We do. And again, I feel like that gets misconstrued because people think with Black Lives Matter that we want division but we don't. We want people to see the injustice and call it out for what it is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:27):
Exactly. Get their phones out. If they see it, to get their phones out.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (36:30):
Yes, please. Because I mean, because I know this time with the George Floyd, a lot of people were saying, "Why are people recording? Why aren't they helping him?" But it's a sad fact that someone would walk up to a cop and try and help him, I don't know what would happen to that person. But if it was a white person, they could probably do that and nothing happen versus if we did that.
Beth Demme (36:54):
I mean, I would hope that if someone were doing something wrong and they knew they were being filmed by multiple people it would cause them to go, "Oh wait. Maybe I should adjust my behavior." And he just didn't. He just didn't. He did not take his knee off of that poor man's neck.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (37:09):
And I just saw an article. It looks like they all are going to be arrested.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:12):
Oh, good. Did that just come out?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (37:15):
On CNN. It just popped up on my screen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:18):
Beth Demme (37:19):
This conversation is so timely.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:20):
Wow. We got down to the minute news. Well that's great to hear. Wow. So I think my last question is, how do you want the future to be different from the present? What do you hope comes from this moment in time, this shared experience?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (37:38):
I think just people being more willing to listen, actual change happening. I don't, I feel like change will happen. I don't necessarily feel like I may be around to see that change, but I do hope that people will just be willing to listen and actually act, take steps to have real reform and that we can at least get out and vote for people who will act on that reform and act on injustices. And we can just continue to understand each other. And yeah, I feel like we're stronger together. I truly believe that and as a woman of God, I'm all about love. And I just want us to continue to love one another and just equality for all.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:31):
Well, Ashley, we definitely have to thank you so much for being here today and being part of this conversation. I feel way better. I was super nervous when we started. I just was like, I want to say the right things and I don't know if I did but, you made me feel comfortable to say the wrong things if I did. So thank you so much, Ashley, for being part of this and for being my friend.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (38:55):
Yeah. Thank you guys for having me and being willing to have the conversation.
Beth Demme (39:00):
You keep talking. Keep posting on Instagram. We'll keep reading and listening and having our honest conversations in our circles where we can. So if people do want to find you online, where are the best places? We've mentioned your Instagram but maybe tell us your handle for that.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (39:13):
Yeah, so Instagram, obviously, @smashingdiy. I'm obviously on Facebook, well my personal is my name, obviously. But Handmade Haven LLC is my Facebook page. But Instagram, if you want to have a discussion or talk to me one on one, that' probably the best place to go.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:30):
Very good, very good. And what's your website?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (39:34):
My website is handmade-haven.com. So if you're looking for a DIY project, videos, check me out there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:42):
Some really good plans.
Beth Demme (39:44):
If you want to know how to turn a bench into a table, she's got a plan for that folks.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:48):
She has all the plans. So I'm curious, what right now, what is your favorite book, TV show, or podcast? What are you excited about right now?
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (39:57):
I actually am reading this book and I don't want to butcher the title so let me just, so right now I'm reading book called, Healing the Wounded Heart. It's actually a book of walking through sexual abuse, things like that. I've been actually going to therapy for the past maybe six or seven months just walking through sexual abuse that I experienced in my past and just trying to gain further healing to be able to be a voice to abused woman. So that's kind of been what I've been focused on. I also have been trying to get more into helping with the human trafficking initiative effort. So, just been reading resources on that. So, that's kind of where I am at right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:39):
Very cool. And I do want to say that Beth started watching you recently on Making It, so if people want to see you on a TV show, you can find Making It online.
Beth Demme (40:50):
And it's actually a really great show to watch right now because it's not heavy and so much is. I just get to the end of the day and I'm like, oh my word, the world is so heavy and there's so much pain. And I just want to do something to make it better. Then it's like, oh I can just watch this show and be refreshed. It is a good show to watch right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:12):
And no COVID on it.
Ashley (@SmashingDIY) (41:13):
So if you have Hulu you can check it out on Hulu, season two.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:17):
Beth Demme (41:17):
Yep, I have a new thing called Peacock.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:22):
At the end of each episode we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that you can answer to yourself, in your head, or you can download a PDF of them on our website.
Beth Demme (41:33):
Number one, what do you think when you hear, black lives matter?
Beth Demme (41:38):
Number two, can you articulate your feelings about the current protests and riots?
Beth Demme (41:44):
Number three, list two or three people you can have an honest conversation about race with.
Beth Demme (41:50):
Number four, have you ever been pulled over by the police? Were you afraid, annoyed? How might it have been different if your skin color were different?
Beth Demme (42:00):
And number five, how do you want the future to be different from the present?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:05):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.