What Does it Mean to be Black in Corporate America? | Crooked Media
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October 21, 2022
What Does it Mean to be Black in Corporate America?

In This Episode

Landing your dream job in Corporate America is only half the battle if you’re Black. Microaggressions, code switching, and the feeling of having to work twice as hard as your white co-worker are just a few examples of being Black in Corporate America. The ladies of Imani State of Mind are shining the light on what it really means to be Black in corporate America.

Tell us what’s on your mind  and  email us at AskDrImani@crooked.com with all your questions and comments!




Dr. Imani Walker: This show is for general information and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific health care or medical advice and should not be construed as providing health care or medical advice. Please consult your physician with any questions related to your own health. [music break] Hey, beautiful people. Welcome to Imani State Of Mind. I’m Dr. Imani. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: And I’m the side kick Meg Scoop. Hey, how you doing? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Hey. Hey. I’m good. Um. I am a little better. Although I do have, like, my little snot rag here since I had a cold last week. Um.


Meg Scoop Thomas: Girl, everybody got something. Every–


Dr. Imani Walker: Everybody got something. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh, and the real flu is back, by the way. It is. It is. I saw this morning it has a stronghold in Georgia. Like it very, very bad. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Oh. Yeah, but y’all, I’m. Well, I mean, not to start shit, but, like, you know, in southern states and in, like, Florida, y’all. Like, not you, but, like, collectively, people really weren’t wearing masks out here. People don’t really wear masks either, because I’ve been doubly boosted. I got my flu shot. Like a month ago. I still got whatever this. I mean, I had a fever. Some consider it the flu. Yeah, but I’m just like, ugh I’m gonna have to wear a mask again. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It’s fine though. I don’t care. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I know, back to wearing masks.


Dr. Imani Walker: It’s fine. So long as I don’t get people sick and I don’t want to get sick. So. But in any case, what you, what you been up to? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Girl um? What do I do? Oh I went to the beach this weekend. I went to South Carolina. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Oh. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: The Hilton Head it was really–


Dr. Imani Walker: Oh nice. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I had never been there. It’s really nice. Just a quick little getaway. It’s not too far from Atlanta. Um. Took the kiddos. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: It was cool. But I will say I did notice there was like, not a lot of Black people at Hilton Head. Not really sure. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, yeah. No. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I just you know. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Not re– I mean, I’ve never been there. I never been there. But I heard that it’s like a really, I heard that it’s really, really nice. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: It’s nice yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And that it’s kind of like, you know, bougie, you know, schmoozy. Um. But you can tell me. I just heard it with like all my friends were like, yeah, we going to Hilton Head. And like my doctor friends who tend to be more on the bougier side but I never when I lived in Georgia I didn’t get a chance to go over there. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: It reminds me of like Florida. So you know how like Florida has a lot of old people except less diversity. And like, these old people are very active. Like they were running, biking, like, you know, I didn’t see, and they all had white hair. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah yeah yeah.


Meg Scoop Thomas: And I was like, okay, that’s cool. And I mean, it was nice. Everybody was– 


Dr. Imani Walker: That’s nice. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –super sweet to us. I just noticed I was like, oh, there’s not a lot of Black people here. Okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, yeah. No, that sounds like fun. I heard it’s I heard it’s nice over there. I have in case you were wondering, in case anybody out there was wondering, I basically have really just been chilling. Um. Planting more things. Um.


Meg Scoop Thomas: What do you have in your garden by the way? 


Dr. Imani Walker: I was going to go– I have a lot of like um tropical um fruit trees, but they’re kind of small. Um. So I have a strawberry guava tree. And this morning I got really excited. Yeah. Because I saw that it’s starting like it made little baby guavas, but like now it made a bigger one. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oooh okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Which actually is like pinkish. So I was like, Oh my God, it’s going to like because I’ve had that little tree for maybe two years. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So it’s going to start really kind of like kicking in. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I have a fig tree that are, that’s kind of small, but it’s produces figs. I have– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oooh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Lemon, lime, orange, mandarin orange, I have an apple tree, I have um– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Wait all these have fruit on them already? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. [gasp] Yeah. Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I’m so jealous. Okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: So I’m coming to your house when I’m coming to LA.


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah yeah yeah.


Meg Scoop Thomas: I’ll be at your house because I need to go. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah when–


Meg Scoop Thomas: Can I just pick off the trees? Can I just– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. For real. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I’m a bring me a little bag. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I don’t typically. [laughter] Yeah, I have two different kinds of lemons. I got regular lemons, I got meyer lemons. I have all, I have all kinds of stuff. But my new my new crop, um I just got some pa– um passionfruit seeds from Puerto Rico and I– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oooh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Got um Spanish lime seeds, which are also called guineps um in Jamaica or I guess the the yeah, I got, I got guineps so um, I’m waiting for those to sprout. And then I also have like– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: What! 


Dr. Imani Walker: –arugula and lettuce and collard greens. And I’ve so because it’s fall, so it’s like, you know– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –leafy vegetable season. You know what I ate last week? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: What? 


Dr. Imani Walker: On Sunday actually? Okay. So I was in my yard and I was, you know, like just cleaning up and I was like, I’m gonna get rid of these weeds. And I was like, wait a second, these aren’t weeds. They were dandelion greens. And because my gardeners can’t put pesticide on my grass because of my dog. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like I had Dandelion greens. So I ate them, I picked them and I washed them and I ate them and I made a salad. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yay! Look at that. You’re so healthy. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I was so I was like I did it. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes. You ate a–


Dr. Imani Walker: I man, I love salad. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –dandelion. Yes. Girl.


Dr. Imani Walker: I know. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I’m over here like–


Dr. Imani Walker: I was excited– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –fangirling out because your garden is exactly like I wish I lived in a more tropical place to have all these tropical fruit trees. The best I could do right now is like I have a cherry tree that hasn’t sprouted yet, but it’ll be on year two next year. So hopefully it will. But then like– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –because of the fall, my gardener replanted some of my stuff and it’s now I have, like, kale and lettuces and garlic. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Nice. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: And onions so I’m waiting, you know, I keep going every day. I’m looking like, ooh, I be taking like three or four little leaves off. Like, ooh I’m a eat this.


Dr. Imani Walker: I know. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: That’s all I got so far. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’ve I planted. I planted some garlic last week of course, Peter, I told him I was like, yo, don’t eat this garlic because this is for planting. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Uh huh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And and so I went to go like grab it to un like peel it. And I was like, um. [laughter] Who got in the garlic? And he was like oh um my bad. Those were good. I’m like, I bet they were. Because when you buy garlic in the store, you can’t plan it in the ground. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So I had to buy this special whatever garlic. But, but you know what? Like, it’s so funny that we’re discussing that because that is totally like, my, like, like happy place. I love, like, being in my garden it’s um, it’s actually going to be hot this week out here. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And then it’s going to, like, cool off next week. So I’m not really excited that it’s going to be 92 tomorrow, but it does mean I get to get into my pool. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oooh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Which is more like happy places and more like wellbeing. Okay. Speaking of wellbeing or those who aren’t into wellbeing, I. Okay. I wish that I could stop talking about this. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: That man. 


Dr. Imani Walker: About Kanye West girl. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: That man. Girl. 


Dr. Imani Walker: That man. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Mmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, so ugh um I saw yesterday that Kanye West said, no, this was over the weekend. It was it was at some point within the past few days, this ragged, this raggedy ass negro, said that George Floyd died from a drug overdose. Remember that? Remember, there was that whole, like, raggedy white people narrative when George Floyd, like, you know, was first killed and we had the video of him, like, literally dying in front of our eyes. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. The uh the the raggedy whites, who are mostly of the conservative political spectrum, were saying, oh, well, he you know, that was because he um, George Floyd, had had a history of substance abuse, but it did not. That has no nothing to do with the fact that somebody stepped on his neck. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Derek Chauvin, as a cop. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Stepped on his neck and killed him. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like even if he was on crack at the time, it doesn’t matter. Like he you can do crack and breathe and still have a life. But that being said, Kanye decided to come up out of nowhere. I don’t know who asked him. Probably nobody, because he just be sounding at off at the mouth, but was but said like, oh, George Floyd died of a drug overdose. He he died of um he overdosed on fentanyl. And so now George Floyd’s family is suing Kanye West, as they should. Um. Yeah, I just like I’ve said this before, and I actually got in to like a debate the other day about this because I was like, listen, just because, like me saying the Kanye has bipolar disorder is does is not does not excuse him from all of the foolishness that he likes to spew. Um.


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. I had a conversation with someone about that too. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I really wish [?] for somebody to slap him. Yeah, I’m waiting for somebody to, like, slap him. I’m waiting for somebody to, like, seriously, like, just, like, backhand him because. [sigh] How do I say this? I mean, when you’re like I when I worked at the hospital. And people got, you know, really agitated, like we had medication for that. But in the street, you don’t have medication. Like people got to catch these hands, like. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You got to subdue people whatever way you can. And I really need I’m not necessarily. Well, yeah, I am. I’m advocating for violence against Kanye West. Like somebody needs to, like, legit like slap the shit out of him. Like, it’s just getting it’s getting out of hand. Like we’ve now reached like, like critical mass. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: On like. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You got to shut it down. Yo, you know what I found out too, though? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: What happened? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Random, which also I found out this past week. So the white lives matter shirt. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Uh huh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Wasn’t originally designed by Kanye West. It was originally designed by Dov Charney. Dov Charney was the guy who has been essentially, like me too’d, and blacklisted because he was the guy who who started and owned American Apparel. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And he was the guy who like all those like girls. Some of them–. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Were girls, I believe, and like women were like, yo, this dude was like, you know, fully, like, sexually assaulting us at like photoshoots. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And at his crib and all this other stuff. So Dov Charney, who is Jewish, decided to make a White Lives Matter shirt. I guess somehow him and Kanye got together and Dov Charney was like, Yo, I don’t know if, like, you know, this might be too much but Kanye was like [flippant noise] Whatever, I’m cra– I’m manic. And and put it out. So um I’m just, I mean, I’m just like, you know what? Like, Dov Charney, you do know that Kanye wants to go Defcon 3 on your people so. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I know and– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: And it’s funny that he said that. Not funny, but it’s it’s the fact that he said that is like Kanye. I [sigh].


Dr. Imani Walker: Tired. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Now you got even Trump is distancing himself from Kanye. That’s how you know it’s bad. Okay.


Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. No, no. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Trump was like oh I can’t even. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Are you kidding? He like, oooh. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I can’t even be, because that was his boy, right? Like this whole time when Trump was in office we were just like, oh, my gosh, how could Kanye and Trump be cool like that? Blah, blah, blah. Now, Trump, is like nah, he need to get on his meds. He’s not right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Whatever. I don’t believe that.


Meg Scoop Thomas: Like you know it’s bad, Trump wouldn’t– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t believe that.


Meg Scoop Thomas: –even want to be your friend no more. Because, you can’t– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t believe that. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: You can’t. Because you can’t talk about the Jews. That’s the one thing Jewish people run entertainment. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Hell no. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Okay. You don’t talk about them. Everybody know that. 


Dr. Imani Walker: No. Like, what? Yeah, like, what do you d– No. I mean, and that’s why, [sigh] should I get into this here? I’m gonna say it I’m gonna say it. And anybody who has, like, an issue with me, you hit me up on on social. But the thing for me, like, this is my whole thing. And I, and, and just because you may be of Jewish heritage does not mean that you are a someone who practices Judaism. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But I have encountered people who, you know, claim like, yes, I identify as someone who is Jewish or of Jewish heritage. And there’s times when they will kind of put themselves into the person of color group. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh I see yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And then there’s other times when they’ll put themselves into the white you know, like the white person group. And so that’s why for Dov Charney, I’m like, first of all, you we should never hear about you again. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like you’re basically the Harvey Weinstein of, like, fashion. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You know what I mean? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And so the fact that you came out with this shirt, I’m like, so where what what group do you want to belong to? You know what I mean? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It’s just it’s messed up. But anyway, you telling me that Trump is like, Yo, I don’t even like, Kanye out here wilding like, he he doing too much. I guarantee you, like, cause cause he’s going to run like, you know, we’re coming up on uh 2023, so. So it’s going to it’s about to go into overdrive for the media in terms of like who’s going to be running for 2024 for– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Presidency. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And Trump is going to start. And I’m sure he’ll grab Kanye because Kanye um is buying Par– Parler. The the social media platform that nobody really uses. But like like um I guess it’s like a lot of people who are like conservatives. They have accounts over there because you won’t get banned the way that uh Kanye got banned on Twitter or Trump got banned on Twitter. Um. And of course, Trump has Truth Social, which I mean, I don’t know anybody on there, but I guess you know. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I know a couple of people– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t know. I don’t know. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –On there. But they there just– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t care. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –They over there just uh spying. But I no I will– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –Say this the um– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –That I think Trump I mean I think Kanye’s actually going to run in 2024. For 2024. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I do too. Cause he–


Meg Scoop Thomas: And so. 


Dr. Imani Walker: He out there. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah, he’s out there. He’s going to try to do it again. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Yeah, for sure he’s going to try. The only the issue is that when he did it last time, like if he because everybody was like freaking out like you’re going to take votes away. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: From Biden. And it ended up working out. Thank God. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You know, why did it work out? Because Black women were like, no. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like, Biden’s not great. He ain’t great he aight, but Trump is is um Sauron and we have to get him out of here. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Not Sauron. [laughing]


Dr. Imani Walker: So I mean. He is girl. He’s Sauron. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes he is. [laughing]


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m tired. I’m so tired. I’m tired of him. I’m tired. I’m so, so, so, so tired. Um. I’m tired of everybody. One thing that that I did see um as far as, like current events news that was actually like positive is that I found out that the newest FDA approved morning after pill was made by a Black woman. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Isn’t that cool? Yeah. So I thought that was really I thought that was really, really cool. It’s called Julie, the actual pill, and it’s available in all 50 states and it can be purchased for about $42 at Walmart. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Wow okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So I thought that was great. Yeah. Especially in light of the fact that um, you know, abortion is now no longer a federal right. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And um we’re just living in. I don’t want to say last days. People be. Remember remember back in like 1999. And everybody was like, the world’s going to end. It’s going to end, you guys. Like 2000 gonna come. And now it’s about to be 2023. I’m like, we still out here with uh, I mean, sliding backwards in in a lot of regards, but we’re not sliding backwards on Imani State Of Mind because what we’re going to be discussing today is we’re going to be discussing how to deal with being Black in corporate America. And when I say sliding backwards, I mean that even though, like, you know, how you get like a like a new job, you like, oh, you know, like this might be like, maybe not your dream job, but your job that like you see as like the next rung on your ladder. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And it’s like, okay, this is kind of corporate and you like, yay, and I’m ready. And you got your best white voice on and you got all your, you know, you been practicing your code switching, and then you get there and then they say something real, real stupid and you like damn.  


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It might as well be 1968. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Been there. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like, oh, wow. Like your your hair’s different today, like yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: It is. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It is. Because we can do that. But like, okay, Carol, [laughing] um in any case in any case. Um.I just want to remind you guys that if you are loving the show and I know you guys are. Please let us know by rating the show on your favorite podcast app, because when you do, I’m going to check it and I will shout you out. Okay. So in any case, we are going to get the show started. [music break] Okay. So me and Meg want to know what’s on your mind. We want to know what you guys are struggling with. And we love giving our professional and not so professional advice. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Ha! That’s right. So it is time for Ask Dr. Imani anything. Our first letter today comes from Maude, and here’s what she had to say. Dear Dr. Imani and Meg, I was just diagnosed with anxiety and it seems like my mom doesn’t understand my diagnosis. My anxiety gets so bad that sometimes I can’t leave the house and my mom will say, I’m being dramatic. When my mom brushes me off like that, it really hurts my feelings. It has me focusing on hiding my anxiety instead of trying to manage and cope with it. Every time I try to explain anxiety to my mom, she tells me to toughen up. It’s really putting a strain on our mother daughter relationship. I’m currently not talking to her for the sake of my personal mental growth. I can’t avoid my mom forever. But I’m not sure how to balance her perceptions and my realities with anxiety. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Maude, hi. This is actually a really good question. Um. It made me realize.


Meg Scoop Thomas: Wait. Wait. Hold on Dr. Imani. Before you start, I have to say this. 


Dr. Imani Walker: What? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I have to say this. Maude. 


Dr. Imani Walker: What? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: We know your mom is Black because only a Black mom would be like, you have diagnosed anxiety. Toughen up. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You’re right. Or Asian. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Or Asian. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Or, you know what? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: It could be Asian too. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Honestly, to me. Maude could be a made up name because I’m like, Maude, I’m like, damn girl. Like, are you from the seventies? Are you like an older woman from the seventies? Um. But, you know, Maude could be like, you know, a nom de plume. Um. Or, you know. Well, you know what I’m trying to say, um but yeah, I I I did imagine a Black mom. So here’s the thing, Maude. Your letter had me thinking about my own issues and not that I’ve ever had issues with my mother or my family understanding my anxiety, and really everyone in my family is pretty much anxious um or has anxiety. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But it what it did remind me of as far as like what might be helpful to discuss with your mom is the fact that anxiety can cause actual physical symptoms. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. So IBS, I have IBS, I have irritable bowel syndrome. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I didn’t always know that I had it. But um there are different types. I have the constipation type, so I have to take medication just to like go every day. And I know this seems like a little bit excessive, but I mean, we’re all friends here and–. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –I’m a doctor and I don’t really care about I don’t I don’t care. Anyway, my point is, is that when you have anxiety, a lot of times depression can go along with it. And when you have low serotonin in your body, it can affect not just your mental health as far as how you feel, but it it it also can invariably and and a lot of times uh it will affect your um your your gastrointestinal tract. So when your serotonin is low in your in your body, it’s low in your brain. It’s also low in your gut. And when your serotonin is low in your gut, you can definitely have some gastrointestinal disturbances. So for me, because my serotonin has a tendency to be low, I get depressed and anxious. So I take medication, but also I have IBS because the serotonin in your body, when it’s at the optimal level, it means that your gut can move food along the tract along your your GI tract. That’s called peristalsis. That’s what you want to have happen. My peristalsis is very low because my serotonin is just naturally low. And so I get like cramped. I get like, you know, like cramps in my stomach. I get really bloated. It’s a whole to do. Um sometimes when I get really anxious, I get headaches. Um. I get like really fatigued. Sometimes when I get anxious, like, I get, like flushing. Like I actually get, like, really swollen. So I don’t know if any of these symptoms are symptoms that sound familiar to you, Maude, but you may want to discuss with whomever diagnosed you with anxiety about any um physical symptoms or somatic symptoms that you might be experiencing, because that might be easier for your mom to understand, like, hey, Mom, I have this issue and this issue is caused by this chemical in my body being low or just not where it should be. And that’s why I have these physical symptoms and that’s why I’m, you know, getting therapy or I want to get therapy or I, you know, I’m looking into taking medication or I am taking medication. A lot of times when I had when I’ve had to describe to patient’s families what’s going on with them, I have to remind them that just like with what let’s say acid reflux, with acid reflux, your stomach is producing too much acid or too much hydrochloric acid and that can cause physical symptoms when your chemicals in your body in your body and in your brain are not optimal, then they can cause physical symptoms or they can cause like you’d experience like mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression, what have you. So I would kind of I would start there. I feel like when people have something like tactile or like tangible or something like they can use as a reference, like, oh, I remember I’m making this up. I remember when so-and-so passed away and I was really, really stressed about it and I didn’t feel well and I was really tired and I had a headache. And like, that can kind of help to maybe have your mom understand that it’s not just like, well, just walk it off like it’s please, if we could walk it off, I wouldn’t have a job. Like, I would definitely not have a job. And I and I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you guys about all this uh mental health stuff. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Because it’s not it’s not that easy to just be like, well, you know, just I don’t know, just like, you know, don’t worry about it. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like, that’s. You wouldn’t tell somebody who broke they arm not to worry about it. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You wouldn’t tell somebody like who, you know, has a perforated appendix like just walk it off, [laughter] like it don’t it don’t work like that. Like what like what– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Wait. Some mamas will–


Dr. Imani Walker: –mental health, actually– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Okay. Some mamas be like, you just go to sleep. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Just drink this Sprite then you gotta– [laughter]


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Okay. Like, you need to go to go take that Robitussin and– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Drink some and rub it on your arm. But it’s it’s very similar. So sometimes that helps to have um like especially people of an older generation.


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yup. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. Kind of sometimes need, need things explained to them that way. And they’ll be like, okay, well I’ll think about it. And it’s like, you could think about it because I’m a still be here, like–. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Trying to deal with my issues. So, so um, so yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s what I say–


Meg Scoop Thomas: Or the– 


Dr. Imani Walker: What do you say Meg? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I was going to say there might be, you know, a case, a chance that you do explain everything to your mom the way Dr. Imani said it. And then she still is like, suck it up. Um. That’s a high possibility. But if that happens, I think you’re doing the right thing by, you know, not being around her as much. And then you can even explain that to her because after a while she might be like, why aren’t you coming around? Or why aren’t you talking to me? And all that kind of stuff. And you can just explain, hey, like you don’t get that I have some things going on mentally and when you are dismissive of it, it makes me feel terrible. So I can’t have that because I’m trying to get better. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: As a mom. I mean, I’m sure it sounds like she loves you. She just doesn’t understand your your what you’re going through. Um. So I feel like as a mom, she she will understand eventually if if you guys have that separation for a while. Um. And I know you can’t avoid her because she is your mother. But I think if you balance with like, okay, I can only put up with a little bit of this for now, like then do that and just make it very clear any time her or anybody else oversteps their boundaries, oversteps your boundaries when it comes to your your mental health, you need to say something and let them know, okay, that is enough for me today, I’m out. Or that is you crossed the line. I got to get off the phone. All right. And that’s it. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: And go live your life. Live your best life. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. Also known as establishing boundaries. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Boom. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Because, you know, I love a boundary. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I know you do. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I love boundaries. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like, nope. No. I say, I mean to everybody, even my parents, I’m like, I don’t, No. I don’t think so. I can’t do that. So yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I love it.  


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. Yeah But I hope. I hope that helped. Um. And, you know, let us know if it did help. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Let us know if it didn’t help. And then we’ll try to give you some some other ways that you can kind of um not break the ice, but just kind of, you know, break it down to your mom. So so thanks for that. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. Let’s see. So we have another question. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes. Our next letter comes from a listener by the name of Ivy. She says, Dear Dr. Imani and Meg, I have always felt like I didn’t belong. I grew up in the hoods of Philly but worked my ass off to graduate top of my class at Penn State. I am the first to graduate in my family. I have a great marketing job and I’m building a dream life. I struggle with feeling insecure in who I am. I definitely overcompensate to feel okay with being the little hood girl from Philly. I don’t feel worthy of all that I have worked for either. I feel I am too educated to hang out with my family and those I grew up with and too hood and can’t relate with the circles I come across now. I feel like a sellout at work as I never acknowledge or share where I’m really from and at home I feel like I downplay the boss bitch I am to make everyone feel comfortable. While I make everyone else feel comfortable I feel so lost and uncomfortable. I am losing my mind trying to be a certain way for everyone around me. Both of you seem to be unapologetically yourselves. Were you always like that? Or how can I grow to be unapologetically on all sides of me? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, wow. This was man, this touched my heart. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: This did.


Dr. Imani Walker: This touched my heart in a really special place. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yup. Because I’ve been you Ivy, I’ve been you. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Aww. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Aww Ivy. Okay, so. So Ivy, here’s the thing. You kind of hit upon the issue towards the end of your letter, you said you’re losing your mind, trying to be a certain way for everyone around you. So, first of all, you need to stop doing that. And I know that obviously that’s why you wrote this letter. But well let me give you a little bit of background, I guess, as far as like how I grew up. So I always I mean, I was pretty much always middle class. Maybe as I got older kind of got like, you know, upper middle class um just because my mom was like busting her ass like you and was getting promoted and, you know, just hustling, hustle, hustling um like Rick Ross. Um. But but I guess I always my parents always instilled in me, like, first of all, they always were like, here’s the thing. We bust our ass, this is our money, like it belongs to us. We share with you because we love you and you’re our child. But once you, once you become an adult, you got to work it out. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And it sounds like you have worked it out. But I think also what what my parents were really, really worked hard to instill in me is that like I went to sometimes I went to public school, but I mostly went to private school. And when I would go home, it was like, okay, this is a Black house. I lived in a Black neighborhood. I grew up in Harlem um in high school, let’s say. But when I would go to school, I was mostly around white kids. I, I was always myself, I guess, at home, you know, some like with certain discussions, we might speak more proper or or more or, you know, more properly. Is that? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Is that makes sense? More properly? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Properly. 


Dr. Imani Walker: More properly, whatever it. Yeah. Like with certain topics we would, you know, we would speak, you know, in a more proper way um the way I’m speaking right now. And then sometimes it would just be like, you know what? This is how it’s going to be and da da da da da. I’ve always felt comfortable switching it up and even at work now, because I’ll put it to you like this, I’m I’m C-suite. So I’m the chief medical officer at the hospital I work at. And even though I codeswitch all day long, I really don’t care who I’m talking to because sometimes I have to just in order to punctuate what I’m trying to say. Sometimes I have to speak like regular. And when I say regular, I mean like the way I’m basically talking right now. And sometimes I’m just like, well, you know what? We need to do this. And I think we should like make sure that this is done and da da da da da. I guess what I’m saying is I’ve always felt really comfortable with myself. And you did touch upon that. You said, you know, both me and Meg seem to be unapologetically ourselves. It wasn’t trust me, it wasn’t always easy doing that. And I’m not going to sit here and say that like I just walked into, you know, all of my work environments, just feeling like, okay, whatever. Like I’m good, I’m the shit, but you do have to. But one thing that I that I never did was compromise. I’m like, This is me. I know that I and I know that I deserve first of all, I deserve to be here and I’m going to be here and I’m going to bust my ass and nobody can can take that away from me. The other thing that I would say to you, um Ivy, is that you’re you’re a Black person and you can’t take away the fact that you have to know everything that like white or popular culture knows. And then you also know like Black culture, too. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: That’s you. So when you’re at work, you don’t like all of that is within you. You don’t have to necessarily turn it off. You may not speak as you know, and I’m using quotes “Black” at work, but then when you see like your friends, you know, like your friends that you grew up with, then you just, you know, you just talk regular like. There I have I’ve had friends that I’ve had for a for a long time. Some of these people, you know, used to be block huggers. Some of these people, you know, like they didn’t necessarily, like, get to where they wanted to get to in life. But it doesn’t mean that that myself and them can’t have like a regular conversation because we we still grew up together. We still, you know, have a common bond. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So I don’t, you know, just because you got to, you know, you like, like good job and busting your ass and graduating the top of your class at Penn State. That doesn’t mean that you have to now all of a sudden present yourself a certain way to certain people like you just need to just just be you and step into that. And I don’t know how old you are, Ivy, but it may also come with more experience and more time. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. I’m of the age now where I heard somebody say this recently where basically, like, I’m old enough, where I only I only do what I want to do. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right, right. And you get to that. Yeah. You don’t get that. You don’t get that in your twenties usually you don’t get that in your twenties. So that’s why I think–


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –Ivy is younger. Yeah. The twenties. Early thirties. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Possibly. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Yeah. But, but I mean, Meg, you could speak to it more because you dealt more with corporate America than I did. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah, I did. I used to work at a financial accounting firm. And as soon as I got out of college and that’s when I really learned what code switching was on a personal level because like, you know, you read about it, you hear about it, but like, actually I take that back. I learned about it in college because I went to a predominantly white institution, a PWI, and that was the first time I had ever been in a room with like 300 white people and me because we had big lecture halls um at my college. And I remember being like, oh, I’m the representative here. Me, my little half Black self. I speak for the the nation of Black people. Okay. All right, all right. Let me represent my people well. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Where’d you go? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: University of Kentucky. So. You already know, girl. You just, I’ll just like Kentucky, right? So um. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: So I had to learn that. Okay, you know, there’s a there’s a time and a place for everything. As Black people I feel like we’ve just had to learn how to code switch. We end up becoming very successful sometimes based on the code switching. It’s not fun to wear that mask, right? But you have to learn how to, what’s the way, say play, play the game Ivy. Play the game, which is sometimes at work you’re going to feel uncomfortable because you’re probably working with all white people who have no similar background to you. But don’t ever take away who you are or lessen yourself or dampen your experiences. Because, yes, you might have be this little hood girl from Philly, but your experiences are very necessary in marketing, okay? Because somebody there don’t understand how people think from the hoods of Philly. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Or hoods across the world. Right. But you’re there. You provide a very unique perspective that makes you different and it makes you valuable. So don’t ever dampen who you are or lessen your light boo. Because like I said, you said you’re selling yourself short because they need that for some reason they need it, even though you might feel a little out of place. But guess what? That’s who you are. And at the end of the day, nobody. You want to walk away from any job or any group of people or anything being yourself because you got to be with yourself all day, every day for the rest of your life. You ain’t got to work at that job all the time. You ain’t got to see your family all the time. But you do have to be you all the time. So be. That’s how I learned to get comfortable with myself, because I too felt a little different. You know, my dad, while I didn’t grow up in a hood family. My dad is definitely a country country bumpkin. Okay, to this day, I be like, dad, that is not how you say that word like. And so. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Okay. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: You know, there’s some some things that I feel like my dad won’t understand, but at the end of the day, he’s still family. Your family is still family. Even though you might be more educated than them, you still grew up in the same hood as them. So you so there’s still–. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –Similarity. There’s there’s TV shows y’all watched. There’s, you know, memories y’all have together. There’s so to be like I can’t be around them is untrue. Maybe you can’t talk to them about the latest marketing trends, but you can definitely talk to them about, you know, shows that y’all like, I don’t know, whatever you all do as a family. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: So don’t feel like you can’t [?] you can’t you don’t have anything in common with them because you’re still you and you’re still you’re still a little hood girl from Philly. That’s who you always going to be. You’re just educated now. You’re you got your degree. You know, that’s the only difference. Um. And then the other part is, just like work when you’re at your job, is there times like like Imani said, you have to have a different voice, say things differently? Yes. It’s not fun, but make sure you balance that out with your homegirl time with your friend time where you can take the mask off and eventually you’ll get to the point where you don’t have to worry about taking a mask on or off because you’re just going to be yourself with more practice no matter where you are. And I learned that, I started working for Black people after after my code switching days, I was like, I can’t do this anymore. Ahh! So then I started– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –So all of my bosses just happen to be Black. And then to the point where now where I, I think when I first started working at All Def the culture was very Black. Like the CEO would come and be like, hey, niggas, what’s up? And I was like, Whoa. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Damn.


MegScoop Thomas: This is way different. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 


MegScoop Thomas: It was Russell Simmons girl. So you know.


Dr. Imani Walker: Like what’s up niggas. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Russell Simmons– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Girl okay. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –You know how much he cursed, okay. But he gone he ain’t there no more. 


Dr. Imani Walker: No. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: But he– 


Dr. Imani Walker: No. He in Thailand hiding out. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right. But just the the difference was like, oh, I I feel more comfortable when I don’t have to code switch. You know, I like it a lot better when I can just be regular old Megan so then you’ll eventually put yourself in places where you don’t have to code switch. And when you do, you’ll do it– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: –And you’ll do it well, but, you know, you’ll limit your time there. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean, do you when you were speaking, there was something that I thought of um. Did you ever see that movie Drop Squad back in the day? 


MegScoop Thomas: Wait, who’s in it? Who’s in it? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. Eriq La Salle is in it like. Um. Uh Uh. Oh, my God. Who? Who’s the voice of Arby’s? 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh! 


Dr. Imani Walker: He was in um uh Ving Rhames. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Ving Rhames is in it. It’s like, Vanessa Williams with dark skin Vanessa Williams is in it. 


MegScoop Thomas: I feel like I’ve seen this. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. Uh.


Meg Scoop Thomas: What’s. I’ve seen this. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It’s, it’s, it’s old. It came out like in 94. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: I feel like I’ve seen this.


Dr. Imani Walker: Because I remember like being in college. So there’s so Eriq La Salle okay so it’s like like one of my favorite movies and it’s basically about um the drop squad is about a group of Black folks who are on the more militant side of things, which is me. Um. And they there are people who they either find or people other or like their family or friends will tell them about like, yo, you need to drop squad this person because they acting just like very much, very much against what it what it means to be like a Black person. They either, like, forgot where they came from or they out here selling drugs or they’re like, you know, like claim to be religious, but they really just stealing from they congregation. So one of the one of the characters is Eriq La Salle’s character. His name is um Buford. Um I think it’s Buford, but his family calls him Booboo and his sister nominated him to get drop squaded and he and it and Ivy I’m not saying that you are this person [laughter] please. I’m not saying that. But basically, Eriq La Salle was like, oh, well, like he went to the family cookout and everybody was like, what’s up with you? Like, what’s going on? And he was like, Oh, I’m cool. Yeah, I I got to go. And they were like, why do you got to go? Like, What’s wrong with you? Um. He had a cousin who really, really needed his help and his cousin tried to get a job where he worked. And excuse me, Eriq La Salle’s character tried to get his cousin a job where he worked. And it spectacularly backfired. And it was it just there was something that you said that basically was like just because, you know, you a hood girl from Philly doesn’t mean that you can’t also, like, have the same friends or be able to speak to the people that you grew up with. Like, yeah, you have a degree, but like, please, I’m like, I I have three degrees. I know a bunch of stuff. I don’t know everything. I know certain things about certain things. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Right? 


Dr. Imani Walker: But there’s always going to be somebody who is is, you know, quote unquote, “less educated” than me that’s going to, you know, tell me something that I’m going to be like, oh, shit. Like, I never thought about it like that. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So, but, but I know Ivy at the root of your question, it’s like, how do I be me? You just have to step into it. Like, you just have to gradually step into it. And it will. It will, it will reveal itself to you and you’ll be able to step into yourself. And sometimes you’ll be at work and be like this some bullshit. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like. 


Meg Scoop Thomas: And you– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t know what is happening. 


MegScoop Thomas: You know, I was going to say the first thing that, I will give you an actionable thing to do tomorrow when you got to work err on Monday, when you go to work. And that is tell somebody where you’re from. Because you said– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: You don’t like to tell people you never told anyone that you grew up in the hoods of Philly at your job. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah tell them. 


MegScoop Thomas: Well guess what. Go ahead and tell somebody at work where you’re from and then go home and– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Tell somebody at home that’s how well you’re doing at work. That’s your homework– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Assignment for next week. That’s where you start. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: And then–


Dr. Imani Walker: Also you from Philly. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You from Philly. You know how much white people love Fresh Prince. I mean. 


MegScoop Thomas: There you go. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m not saying you from West Philly but like you be like yeah I’m from Philly, like, oh where are you from? Are you from West Philly? Like, No, I’m from North Philly or wherever you from. Girl, please, Ivy. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You could work this out. We believe in you. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. At a minimum, somebody white at your job likes a Philly cheesesteak. Okay, so there you go. There’s your connection. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I mean.


MegScoop Thomas: Like. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right, right, exactly. Exactly, exactly. You can be like, oh, do you like Gino’s or do you like [?]– 


MegScoop Thomas: See! 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Or do you like? 


MegScoop Thomas: See. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. See. See, that’s all I got from my one year of living in Philly. Um. But in any case, in any case. Um. Thank you, Maude. And thank you so much, Ivy, for submitting your questions. I really hope we were able to help you guys. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes. And if you have a question or a problem centered around your mental health and you want our expertise or lack thereof, please send your emails to AskDrImani@Crooked.com and you can also text or leave us a voicemail at 818-252-9462, hit us up. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. So, look, we’re going to switch gears right now. A few weeks ago, right, we had a listener write in and this person was struggling with not being labeled the, quote, “angry black woman” at work for speaking up. And it made us think that we really needed to do a whole deep dive on being Black in corporate America. 


MegScoop Thomas: Well, I have a lot to say about this topic. So let’s get this break on so we can get into this deep dive. [music break]


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay, you guys. So let’s get into this deep dive. So today we’re talking about code switching, um essentially what it’s like to be Black in corporate America. We say code switching. There’s actually an NPR podcast called Code Switch um that I really love. And pretty much I mean, we Black so we know what code switching is. For those of you who don’t know what code switching is, code switching is basically when I mean, the easiest way to explain it is to say, like when you answer the phone, and you use your white voice. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. The official like uh definition is practicing of alternating between two or more languages, and in this case, it’s the you language and the language you speak to white people. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Exactly. So. So, I mean that like Black folks, we know how to code switch from pretty much from like birth. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like I definitely remember. I was thinking about this like this morning. I don’t know why well probably because we had this show to do today but I was thinking about being like a little, little kid, like four or five and being with my white friends and like like somebody came up to us to ask us, like, oh, do you guys know where this is or something? Um. It wasn’t stranger danger. It was it was like, you know, somebody who was not trying to harm us or anything. And I remember, like, pausing for a second and being like, well, maybe I should let my white friend say something because I don’t want for because it was a white person, I’m like, I don’t want this white person to, you know, like, I don’t know, I was I was just I was I was worried about being misunderstood. 


MegScoop Thomas: Okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Even though I obviously can speak English like that’s not a problem. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. But I was just like, you know what, let me just, like, give you a like, let me just, like, you know, examine this, this situation. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And Um. And, I mean, it was fine, um but that’s basically code switching. Like, there’s some times, like my friend, calls and I’m like, hello whats up? Versus like, when it’s my job and I’m like, Hi, it’s Dr. Walker. You know, it’s, you know. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: We all learn how to do it. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. Like, when I was in corporate America, um I was fortunate enough to have some Black coworkers and a Black boss. But the other majority of our team was white. And I always remember, like when I would talk to I would, you know, call the cubicle over a couple cubicles over to my friend whose black. And I’d be like, Hey, girl, you got those files for blah, blah, blah. And then I would call the other cubicle, which was my white coworker, to be like, Hello, what’s up Charles? Um just calling to see if you’ve received those files that I asked for earlier this week. Like, clearly it’s the same. It’s the same request. But the way I said it– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Was totally different because I can’t call Charles the way I was calling Toya. You know what I mean? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right, exactly. Speaking of. Okay. So speaking of like like you used the word, you used the name Toya sometimes I’m like, oh, yeah, Tasha or whatever I have you okay, so have you ever encountered anybody who attempted to, like, not change their name? But– 


Meg Scoop Thomas: Oh yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I have seen people wear it, like, let’s say their first name is Tasha, but their middle name is like Elizabeth or, you know, something that’s more generic or, you know, quote unquote “white”. 


MegScoop Thomas: Oh yeah.  


Dr. Imani Walker: I seen people be like T, you know. T and then the middle name and then their last name. So like– 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You know–


MegScoop Thomas: That’s what, one of my good friends does that because– 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Tasha Elizabeth. 


MegScoop Thomas: –She has look, she got a super ghetto name and she would tell you it is, I’m not even gonna say her name because she’d be like, why would you tell everybody my real name? But that’s her real name. That’s the name–


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: We grew up calling her, it’s her birth name. But in corporate America she is like, I do T period and I go, with my middle name, she’s like, you come in my office Megan, do not call me by my first name. I was like, okay, okay, I got you. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Yeah. I mean, I don’t. I don’t know. I mean, obviously not your friend. Like, like whatever your friend feels comfortable doing. Obviously, you know, like more power to her, I guess, as somebody who has like an unapologetically Black name. Like, I have two Arabic first. I have two Arabic names. My middle and my, my first and my middle name, Imani Jahan and then Walker, which is, you know, it’s like very, you know, exotic name plus, like, you know, regular degular slave owner white name. So I never had the experience-. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Of of of ever wanting to change my name, but, oh, I just remembered. My mom will sometimes remind me that when I was four I would tell people that my name was Jennifer. 


MegScoop Thomas: Why? 


Dr. Imani Walker: And my mom. My mom, like one day was like, why would you tell these people that’s your name and I was like, cause I’m just tired of, like, having to, you know, like, like, say my name and spell it like, because I was like, I was four. I was like, it’s not hard to say and it’s not hard to spell. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But these people like, what is it? What? What is it? And I– 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Used to be mad too because I could never find, like, personalized keychains. [laughter] Or, like, personalized. Like. 


MegScoop Thomas: That is true. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I used to be so I used to look–


MegScoop Thomas: That is true. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Through, like, in the gas station, like– 


MegScoop Thomas: Sorry. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Cause’ my mom’s name would be there. Her, right. Her name is Paula. I was like, where is mine? So I just man. It was–


MegScoop Thomas: Sorry, Megan was always there, girl. I felt sorry for my all my friends [indistinct]. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I know. Girl. 


MegScoop Thomas: –[indistinct] Megan’s there. Ha ha. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I know. Well, here’s a question. Here’s a question. Did you ever so have you ever as somebody who does have a more generic name, let’s say. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Have you ever shown up to a job and they were expecting somebody who who wasn’t Black? 


MegScoop Thomas: You know, if I if they did, I didn’t know. Because here’s the thing. Like I grew up with– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –My father is from the Deep South. So he always raised even though I am half Korean, he was like, girl, don’t walk around thinking people going to understand and know what that is. Because in the Deep South you got a little kink to your hair, your Black like that it’s not a okay. Well, maybe you’re not. No, you’re Black. So my dad always taught me like the way people would perceive me. And he was correct. So because I grew up understanding that I understood also that I have to work twice as hard. Right? So any time I went into a room, I was always very confident when it came to interviews because I was like, I know my stuff. If you don’t hire me–. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –It’s not because it’s it’s it might be because I’m Black or it might be because you just don’t want to be excellent. And either way, I don’t need to work here if that’s the case. So if I if any time I ever went, you know, if they expected something different, they never showed it. But I just made sure if I applied, I was very well qualified or I had references to back me up. So you couldn’t ever say anything about me when it came to the color of my skin. It was you know. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 


MegScoop Thomas: You had like I basically I went in there to make I went in there making sure that I had my stuff together. And if you do that. It’s on them if they decide not to hire you. So I don’t know. I don’t know if they expected somebody different. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: I’ve always been good at interviews, too. That’s the other thing I did I remember when I was in a pageant in like the seventh grade and I got like Miss Congeniality and Miss Interview. I’ve always been good at interviews, so– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Aww. 


MegScoop Thomas: I don’t know if if that makes a difference. But who knows. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah. No, I knew that, I was like, y’all know a Black person coming so. [laugh] Here. I’m like, I don’t know if y’all you know what y’all expected me to look like but, I mean, I’m Lady Black, so. Hello. Hi how you doing.


MegScoop Thomas: But there’s. But, you know. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m Imani.


MegScoop Thomas: Right. [laughter] But there has been I mean, there’s been documented news stories about people who they they know that they have an ethnic name. And so they’re like, let me just change my name when applying, I saw- 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: Somebody. Like applied with a– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, yeah. I saw that.


MegScoop Thomas: –Resumé with their actual name. Didn’t get hired. They changed their name to something very European and got hired on the spot. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Then they got more. Yeah.


MegScoop Thomas: And of course they didn’t take the job because they were just like, I just wanted to see if it would work. And, you know, they can’t hire you. And now your name is something different on your documents so like. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: So they was like, I just wanted to see, and y’all are racist. I don’t want to work here. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. And you racist. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. I um which had me thinking. Okay, so what year is it, 2022? I guess this was last year. Was it was it it was last year that Juneteenth was officially declared a holiday, right? 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes. Correct. Wait was it?


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. So. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes, I think so. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I think it was, I know we celebrated it this year, like it actually popped up on my phone. [banter] Like Juneteenth observed. 


MegScoop Thomas: So last year yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I was like oooh.


MegScoop Thomas: Last year was the first year. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Now, here’s the thing. Juneteenth, as a Black person to me was always like our holiday. Like it was a secret holiday. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It was like a senior skip day for Black folks, you know what I mean? And like, I never was like. Oooh, I mean. I understand why there were definitely people that were like, yo, like, this country needs to acknowledge this holiday. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But to me as a Black person, it was always like, yo, you’re going to be at work tomorrow? Like hell no I’m not going to be at work tomorow. Bitch it’s Juneteenth I’m not going to be there. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right right.


Dr. Imani Walker: So like we would be conspicuously absent on that day and nobody would ever really like trip because they they know. They know. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So so when Juneteenth was declared officially a holiday, like a national holiday, I was like, see. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I was like. Because my whole thing is this. Not only did we get our senior skip day taken away, I mean, we all we all, you know, basically have it off. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But what that also means, though, is that. We have to deal with like white people, like what you doing on Juneteenth? I’m like, what the fuck are you doing on Juneteenth? Like, get away from me. 


MegScoop Thomas: And you– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like. 


MegScoop Thomas: And you can’t. And but here’s the, like we can’t be mad at it because now it’s a federal holiday, which means they get to celebrate it. So then you see people with these Juneteenth parties and I was like wait a minute, like, hold on so now we got to deal with white people– 


Dr. Imani Walker: So what you? What you going to make? What am I going to make? What am I going to make on Juneteenth? I don’t know. What you going to make? Oh, I was going to make some collard green wraps with, right? Like, get out, get away from me. 


MegScoop Thomas: And see and I don’t–


Dr. Imani Walker: No. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Want to be so mad, but at the same time like, how could I be like, am I happy that Juneteenth is a federal holiday? Absolutely. But that also has some cons with it. And that means that our fellow, you know, our fellow friends from the Caucasus Mountains are going to be able to celebrate it as well. And we can’t be mad about that because–


Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. 


MegScoop Thomas: –if you can’t take the good with the bad. I mean, we have to take the good with the bad. 


Dr. Imani Walker: These recipes. 


MegScoop Thomas: And unfortunately– [laugh] Share your recipe Imani. 


Dr. Imani Walker: These recipes I’ve seen. 


MegScoop Thomas: Share your recipe with Sarah–


Dr. Imani Walker: These– 


MegScoop Thomas: Okay? 


Dr. Imani Walker: These recipes, I seen girl, are, you know, it was collard greens with some cranberry. Uh collard green salad with cranberries in it. I was like, what it no? 


MegScoop Thomas: [indistinct] 


Dr. Imani Walker: So there was that. 


MegScoop Thomas: [indistinct] 


Dr. Imani Walker: Then there was the what was it, Walmart. That was like, oh. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: We have a red velvet ice cream for Juneteenth. I was like what. Like what part of that is–


MegScoop Thomas: No, they called it a Juneteenth Ice Cream. Okay. And it was just like why all that–


Dr. Imani Walker: It was red velvet? 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes, but it was. But but again, you got to take the good with the bad, right? Like, as much as that makes me– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t know. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Rub my temples and just, like, close my eyes at the same time, I am again grateful that Juneteenth is a federal holiday because it should have always been. This is a real this is real emancipation for all Black people. Like you need to recognize that. And like I said, unfortunately, everybody gets to recognize it. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But listen. But that also means that they’re white folks. That also means the white people, if they work on that day, they get overtime, they get time and a half. And I’m like, No. Uh uh. Uh uh no. I’m like, white people shouldn’t get it off. Y’all shouldn’t get it off. We get it off. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I still feel that way because, listen, when I see when I seen that uh Juneteenth ice cream, I was like, well what it taste like, freedom? Like, I don’t I’m like, what? What? I mean, red velvet is good. But I was like, I don’t eat red velvet and I’m like, ooh, I’m on an African Savannah. 


MegScoop Thomas: Isn’t that–


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. 


MegScoop Thomas: –but isn’t that kind of sad. Cause I I– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Just you know. 


MegScoop Thomas: I was mad about that too. I was like, Ooh, why would they do that? Why would they have Juneteenth ice cream? And then I was like, mm that probably tastes good though. Dang. They discontinued. Ah man. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You know what uh uh no, no, no, no. 


MegScoop Thomas: I wasn’t the only one Imani. 


Dr. Imani Walker: No. 


MegScoop Thomas: Okay. I was like, look it did look good though. I’m not even gonna front. It did look good. As a ice cream connoisseur. I can’t lie. I would have I would have I was going to buy it. I was to spend my good money on that farce. But I did– 


Dr. Imani Walker: You are wrong as hell. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Want to kind of like dip a spoon and run. I’m not going to lie. [laughing]


Dr. Imani Walker: First of all. First of all, I don’t know. I don’t know about no Walmart ice cream first. That don’t even sound good. 


MegScoop Thomas: Girl don’t, look


Dr. Imani Walker: But. 


MegScoop Thomas: Don’t don’t uh don’t don’t hate on it because Walmart be having some some great value brand stuff be bomb sometimes. Okay? [laugh]


Dr. Imani Walker: They do but still. Are they the ones that had the Patti LaBelle pie? 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. Patti pies are at–


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Walmart. Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 


MegScoop Thomas: Patti pies are good. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Well I can’t be that mad. I think it was red velvet cheesecake. And now I’m kind of like, I can’t eat dairy, but I was like, that do sound good though. 


MegScoop Thomas: See what I’m saying. I was like but you now–


Dr. Imani Walker: It sound, good, but you know? 


MegScoop Thomas: –I didn’t want to tell nobody. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You know what? No, no, y’all do it. 


MegScoop Thomas: Don’t do it. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Y’all can’t do it. 


MegScoop Thomas: No it’s discontinued anyway girl. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Don’t do it. 


MegScoop Thomas: Because I checked. So anyway. Uh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, that’s true. But what I. But I guess that also kind of brings up like just as far as I mean, when it comes to us being in corporate America, it’s the onus is always placed upon us, right? 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: The onus is always like, well, I got to change my name or I have to codeswitch it’s never about, like white people needing to understand what we go through because by default, our culture is white, it’s whiteness, right? 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Whether I mean, even if you live, even if you grew up in a completely like nonwhite neighborhood, like whiteness, is, is, is there. Like there’s–


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah.


Dr. Imani Walker: –Gonna be people upholding whiteness–


MegScoop Thomas: It’s still the standard. 


Dr. Imani Walker: It’s going to be, exactly, it’s still the standard. White people and even our white allies aren’t really asked to do anything it’s just kind of like, well, don’t touch her hair or don’t ask Keisha about like why her hairstyle is different today or you know, oh girl, I saw something. [laugh] I saw something okay so you and I love Southside the show. Big Up to Southside. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And the same people do Sherman’s Showcase. Girl. Why? [laugh] Why on Sherman’s Showcase. They had a song because it’s like supposed to be soul train. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: They had a song about Kente Cloth and they say Kente Cloth was was Black people plaid. [laughing] 


MegScoop Thomas: It is! 


Dr. Imani Walker: And I was– 


MegScoop Thomas: It’s so true. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –dying. I was dying. 


MegScoop Thomas: Ohhh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like that is Black people plaid. So I was thinking like, you know how like I remember I wore like a Kente cloth dress to work one day and nobody said anything because luckily like my job is really it’s very diverse. Like. 


MegScoop Thomas: Uh huh. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t even know if there’s a white person in the C-suite. Like, at my job. It’s it’s very indicative of Los Angeles, which is great. But I remember, like, I walked in to work and people were like, like, I like they were kind of like, oh, is it? Is it a cele–? Is it is it a holiday? Is it a celebration today? I was like, no, it’s just it’s just a dress. Like, I just. It’s Black people plaid. It’s Kente cloth. [laugh] It’s okay. So, so I mean it’s it’s kind of like it’s kind of like, our like white folks and even our white allies are just like, you know what? Just don’t say anything. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Instead of actually, like, doing work, like like work is actually an action verb. It’s an it’s an action word. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right right.


Dr. Imani Walker: It’s a verb. So you–


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Have to do the work like you have to actually, like, make corporate America more hospitable to people who aren’t just white or people who aren’t just, you know, upholding whiteness. Um.


MegScoop Thomas: But how do you do that? 


Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, I don’t know, because I mean that it can be real stressful. Listen, I’m the type of person where I mean, I don’t know very many people who just kick it at work. Some people do. They be having trying to trap me in conversations. I’m like, I got to go. I got to go. [laughing] When I’m done, I leave. I’m like, bye. Goodbye. Sometimes they’re like, oh I want to talk to you about something. I’m like, well, you know what? How. Okay, give me 5 minutes and call me on the phone because then I will be leaving and in the car and then we can have that conversation there and not here. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Like, I just want to be away from here. Um. I don’t. I don’t know, like, I mean, it’s it’s almost like I don’t really speak another language, but code switching is having to speak another language. They actually at my job a few years ago approved because there are a lot of people and I’ve been guilty of it too. But and I had to check myself like let’s say there’s um a patient or a family member who comes into the hospital and they don’t speak English and they speak Spanish, and we’ll kind of look around to like, oh, well, let me see if there’s somebody who’s who works here, who’s available to translate. They instituted at my job, if you do that, you have to record the time because then you will get paid because you’re a translator now. 


MegScoop Thomas: Oh that’s good. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And it can be really like. Yeah. It can be really taxing if you– 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Speak another language and then you try and do your job and then all of a sudden somebody like, yo, can you translate for me, like, well, I was working on this spreadsheet but–


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I guess so. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like, Alright. 


MegScoop Thomas: That’s good that they get compensated for that though. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So so they, they do have that. Yeah. And I mean, granted, it’s not the same as code switching, but it can be it can be a bit taxing to have to deal with. Like, okay, I got to like put on my white voice today. I can’t slap Carol because she want to, you know, share with me her collard green salad recipe like there probably got raisins in it and all that so it’s I mean the one thing that I will say is, you know, how how do we deal with that? Like, how do we maintain our mentals? How do we maintain like our space, like space for ourselves? 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I think it’s kind of similar to what we told Ivy. You just have to be true to yourself. Like, I don’t really see corporate America and you know, the white folks that are in corporate America like bending and wanting to understand us more because that’s more work for them. And and we all know that white people as a whole are like, well, we, we tired too, we had to deal with you guys, make us feel bad about slavery and stuff. [laugh] I’m like, well, not– 


MegScoop Thomas: Well. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Not daily, but I mean, all right. Like, I guess so. I mean, I guess I’m I guess I’m just kind of like, I know that it’s not going to get any easier for us. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I think that we’ve been thrown little bones like Juneteenth. Um. I think that, you know, remember back in 2020 and all of a sudden, like because what killed me about Geor–, about George Floyd, I mean aside from the fact that it was horrendous and just utterly like inhumane and disgusting was the fact that I just thought it really weird as a Black person cause I was like, so Tamir Rice didn’t, like, terrify you, like– 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Children being killed. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like Trayvon Martin didn’t– 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Terrify you. This terrified you, like? Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. But I was. And then all those corporations started coming out with like, well, we, you know, we stand, Black Lives Matter and we stand with this. We stand with that. I was like, we’ll see how you feel like in a year or two. 


MegScoop Thomas: Exactly. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Because it’s going to be the same shit. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So for all you Black folks out there who are wondering how to save your mentals when you got to work in corporate America, be yourself. And if you can’t just try to make sure that you can carve out some time to meditate or like punch a punching bag or get some exercise something. That that’s what helps me. I’m like, because I can’t carry these people’s dumbness– 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Around with me. 


MegScoop Thomas: And it and it’s tough because, you know, being in that environment, I can, you know, thank God when I was in corporate America, there was still enough Black people where we could have our own little stuff. Right? We had we had um– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –We would we would hit each other up. We had our own special chat. We would hit each other up, we’re going to lunch at this time, guys, because it got so taxing, you know, if you can do that, find your little Black friend at work, you know, so that way y’all can both take your mask off for lunch and just talk and just be yourselves, right? And then put it back on to go back to your office. But like you need little, little things like that to get you through, especially if you’re in a whole career that you love. But it’s really just you’re the one token, you know, it’s going to be really tough. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 


MegScoop Thomas: The years will, it’ll seem really slow at times and you’re like, okay, I have to be the representative for my race again today. Oh, you know, but but I feel like if you’re, you know, if you fight the good fight, which is you be yourself. But you’re also very like understanding of dynamics wherever you work. I feel like you are the change agent. So whoever comes after you, things are a little bit easier for them, right? Because people who are–


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –At my corporate job that had been there for years were the ones who instituted to make sure like, oh, hit hit up H.R. to say, hey, you know, these are the reasons why we need to have like a Black at work type of group. And it became an official thing. And it was actually such a relief because during the meetings we could talk about–


Dr. Imani Walker: Good for y’all because you know– 


MegScoop Thomas: You see what I’m saying.


Dr. Imani Walker: –White people like why y’all got to, why you get our own group. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So we should just have our own group too that’s segregation and [grumbling]. 


MegScoop Thomas: And and then that started not only did it, right. That started not only the group for Black people but it started a group for Latino people. It started a group for Asian people. So it was kind of like– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Everybody has their own little pocket. But that only came about because somebody what was in my profession before me had gone through these things themselves and saw that it was very necessary to have. So you might be the change agent, unfortunately, right? Somebody there might not be somebody in front of you. But that’s just understand that you’re you’re leaving a legacy for those that are coming after you and that take these take this education is what I call work. Take this education from them, because hopefully you can get to the point where you can quit working at this place and you can be a consultant doing the same exact thing on your own time for more money for these same people, because that’s what hap– and then you could do whatever you want, because I’ve seen a lot of people start doing that. They’re like, oh, you know, I was working in H.R. for all these years. I was working in, you know, as, as whatever, for all these years now I’ve gotten all this experience from this company. Now I’m going to start my own company as a consultant doing the same exact thing that I’m doing now. The only difference is you have to pay my company, and that means I can also work when I want to, and you got to pay me at a premium. That’s the goal. That is the goal. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Come on, independent contractors. 


MegScoop Thomas: See. Do it. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. That’s me.


MegScoop Thomas: And then you can do whatever you want? 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m an independant contractor. 


MegScoop Thomas: You don’t have to codeswitch at all, okay? Because they know your work experience, your resume is super long and thick and that’s what they want. And now you talk how you want to talk. 


Dr. Imani Walker: That’s me, because um sometimes I’ll be at work. I’m just like. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I ain’t doing that shit. So. [laughter] They’re like, come on, Dr. Walker. I’m like, No, I’m like, uh no. I don’t. I don’t wanna do that so. Or I’m like, that person is tripping. You are tripping. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: And they’re like, you know what? We’re not even going to argue with her. Because we, we she gonna have us in a whole lecture. 


MegScoop Thomas: See. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So. Anyway. But but in any case, hey, listen, there’s so much more that we could be talking about when it comes to code switching and being in corporate America. Like it’s, it is it can be taxing. It can also be rewarding. But the main thing is just to make sure that you’re yourself and that you are able to carve a space out for yourself. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Both at work and when you’re not at work. So that’s all we actually have for our deep dive conversation today. I hope. I hope that was helpful. 


MegScoop Thomas: That was a very good discussion. I I feel like everyone who is Black or of color can relate to that. So now we’re moving on to our favorite segment, pop culture diagnosis. [music break]


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. So let’s get right into our pop culture diagnosis for this week. Meg, please give our listeners a quick synopsis of Power Book III, Raising Kanan and who we are going to diagnose today. 


MegScoop Thomas: I love this show girl. So raising, Raising Kanan is one of the many spinoffs um of the star’s hit show Power, and it’s based in the nineties. We see 50 Cent’s character, Kanan, as a teenager trying to find his way through the drug game. We see that his family is, you know, they’re drug dealers, basically, and his mom is like the queen pin. Her name is Raquel Rock Thomas. And I’m telling you, she is a boss B alright. She will shoot– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Somebody in the head. She is making sure she expands her drug empire. And then she go home and she’ll cook Sunday dinner like. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: It’s almost an unrealistic character. But I was like, you know, I feel like if I was a drug queen pin I’d be like that, I think I’d be like her. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: You know, but I really like her. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah for sure. 


MegScoop Thomas: I like her character. She’s always dressed to the nines. She’s like, you know, she’s she– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Got her stuff together. She does not play, but she’s also a very loving mother. And I and I feel like that’s awesome because I don’t know if you always get to see that side of, like, drug kingpins, right? You get to see that– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Side of it. So it’s really cool to see her at in that character. Shout out to I think her name’s–


Dr. Imani Walker: I mean cause– 


MegScoop Thomas: –Patina Miller, the the actress. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah shouts out to you, girl. I mean, what what’s interesting in Raquel’s portrayal is and you kind of touched upon this, like when it comes to kingpins, right? We usually, like drug kingpins. What we usually see is like, you know. Oh. I’m, you know, a boss. And I, you know, I just kind of like run around and and give orders and I don’t care. Like, bring me his head and yeah I want to see his spine. And you stole from me like you don’t really you don’t really see, like, a more humane side. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: One notable exception is um Narcos. The first two seasons. 


MegScoop Thomas: Oh okay. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Did you see that? Did you see Narcos? 


MegScoop Thomas: Yes, yes. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Girl, these people really had me, like, falling in love with Pablo Escobar. [laughter]. 


MegScoop Thomas: I mean– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I was like, but he was, girl, when he was talking to his wife, I was like, oh, my. It was. It was so beautiful. Like, it was so loving and, I don’t know, Spanish. So I was like everything just sounded really, really dope. [laughter] But I was like, oh, my God. He he’s like, oh, Tata. He just, he’s like, girl, I love you so much. And they would like talk. And then there was that, I think it was season two when he was he was hiding. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: So he had to like talk to his wife through a radio. And it was– 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Just like Pablo Escobar was a terrible person. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like he killed kids. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: He blew up a plane. I mean he I mean, and that’s not in addition to what his main job was, which was to basically supply all of Colombia and beyond with top notch cocaine– 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –In the eighties, um it was I mean, it was a cutthroat life. But with the exception of of that character, a lot of what we see is we don’t see tender moments. We don’t see like, oh, you know, like I’m I’m like girl, Pablo Escobar was was dressed like somebody dad. Like. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, his his fashions back in 80 was bad for back then. I was like. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right, right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: What are you? What is this nautical theme like? Where, where are you going? You ain’t even on a boat. But yes, Raqi is like she is dipped. She is that bitch. She is she like you said, she really reminds me of if my mom or if I were like a, you know, female drug kingpin. It would be like, yeah, like I have to rule with an iron fist. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right.  


Dr. Imani Walker: Like you can get slapped. Don’t talk back to me. Do what I said. And, you know, maybe later I’ll explain to you why I slapped the shit out of you in front of all your friends. Um. But for right now, I need for you to like I am like I am the general, period. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. I would say that, you know, if it weren’t for the fact that Raquel didn’t have like a softer side. 


MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I would kind of say that she is pretty typical of a psychopath. I mean, she does have psychopathic tendencies. Like [indistinct]. 


MegScoop Thomas: [laughter] Really? Oh, you know what– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Like she’s– 


MegScoop Thomas: You right. You right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Yeah.


MegScoop Thomas: Because she can be she could be a cold blooded killer, but she–


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Does it because– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –She has to. She has to. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Well. 


MegScoop Thomas: I mean, not that anyone has to kill anyone. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Quote unquote, “she has to”


MegScoop Thomas: But, you know, and the in the show she has to.  


Dr. Imani Walker: No. And not that anybody has to be a drug queen pin either. [laughter] Um. 


MegScoop Thomas: True. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But yeah, but I mean, I think that, you know, part of the when it comes to characters like this, part of our empathy with them is the fact that it reminds us of people we know or or our family members. And it is kind of, you know, fun to fantasize and be like damn like, if my mom was a drug queen p– a drug queen pin, um she would be like this. When I was watching um when I was watching the show and I was watching Raquel, I was like, Oh, okay. I was like, This is my grandma. I was like this [laughter] this is how my grandma acts. Like this is–


MegScoop Thomas: Was it for real? Your grandpa your grandma was that much of a G. Oh wow.


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, she was. Well, she. I mean, my grandmother was bipolar and not that she ever was treated for it or got medication for it. But. But I will say that she was somebody who really like unlike Kanye, who really like he’s really, really manic. My grandmother would she was more so on the depressed side, but she was very, very passionate about like her kids, anybody who, you know, she loved, she was a beast. And if she if she knew of anybody who wronged somebody she cared about, like there was definitely like people was getting stabbed up. Like there were bats, there were holes in walls. There were all kinds of stuff. 


MegScoop Thomas: Oh wow. 


Dr. Imani Walker: She was not that person. But, you know, at the end of the day, she would be like oh okay, you know, like I cooked or, you know, like she was she could be nurturing in her own way. Just like Raquel. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: And, I mean, I don’t think my my grandmother wasn’t killing people that I know of um. And she so I wouldn’t say that my grandma was a psychopath, but I would say that, you know, if if my grandma had to, you know, had to be a drug queen pin, then she would definitely Raquel. I just think that Rachel is somebody who is a product of her environment. Um. 


MegScoop Thomas: For sure. 


Dr. Imani Walker: I’m sure she dealt with a lot of trauma. Still deals with inflicting trauma on other people. Um. Still deals with wading through trauma in her own life. I mean, I guess can’t everybody, you know, have the you know, can’t every can’t everybody can’t have the American dream. And most people can’t attain the–


MegScoop Thomas: The traditional way. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –American dream because it’s just too expensive. 


MegScoop Thomas: Right. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. So Raquel just basically figured out how to do it on her own terms. And if that means that, you know, people got to get popped or people got to get slapped, like she rules with fear. And in that world, that’s what you have to do. So I completely understand.


MegScoop Thomas: Right. And especially as a woman, nobody, you know, you see in the show that when she tries to expand to Jersey, how the the white mob is just kind of like what not only are they racist, they’re also sexist. So now she got two strikes against her, whereas, you know. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: Most men in the drug game only got the one which is racism. So she– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: –you know she deals with a lot. But she I think she handles it well, but you’ll see that, you know, she just she I like the fact that her character is very she does what she needs to do to make sure her family is protected and that she moves her empire forward. Right. Like she kills this wife beater. He but she needed to she needed his store to be one of her places, I guess, to, like, wash the money or like to keep the drugs, the store house. So, like. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 


MegScoop Thomas: But he was a wife beater, so you could ugh. So I do you really feel sorry for him because he was beating his wife every day? No. 


Dr. Imani Walker: No. 


MegScoop Thomas: And then you know, there’s this cougar who Kanan was dating the daughter, and then he slept with the mom because the mom was just a cougar like that. And the daughter went and told Rock, like, your son slept with my mama. My mom was messing with him. And she shows up to the woman’s door with a gun like, you won’t be talking to my son anymore, and then she was like– 


Dr. Imani Walker: That sounds like my mama. 


MegScoop Thomas: Okay. See, Okay. I won’t. [laughter] And poor Kanan. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 


MegScoop Thomas: –was all mad that his mama just cock blocked but guess what, that old lady, that older woman was like, no, sir, you ain’t gonna be around here. Bye bye. So I like her.


Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 


MegScoop Thomas: And she’s like and she’s a– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I like her too.


MegScoop Thomas: –really she she really is a good mom, I think there, you know, she makes mistakes like all moms. But on the show, you could tell she really– 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –Loves her son. She wants him to do better. She wants him to go to like a better school, all that kind of stuff, you know? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Then I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Raquel. I mean, she just she she hustling.


MegScoop Thomas: But she also teaching her son the drug game because he wanted– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I mean yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: –to get into it. And she and she also taught him to go kill somebody, which you’ll find out. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Well okay. 


MegScoop Thomas: And if you haven’t watched the show–


Dr. Imani Walker: No. 


MegScoop Thomas: –That is his real daddy. But he didn’t know so. [laughter] 


Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. That I don’t think that’s good parenting. 


MegScoop Thomas: You know it’s uhhhh– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t think that’s good parenting. 


MegScoop Thomas: You know. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But. 


MegScoop Thomas: But but she loves him. [laughter]


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 


MegScoop Thomas: So we’ll we’ll– 


Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t think that’s good parenting. 


MegScoop Thomas: –diagnose her as what, being a bad B and um a psychopath? 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yes, yes, exactly. Yeah. I mean, I. Look, I uh. I, I definitely, like, feel for Raquel. Raquel. Not that sure. Like a real person. But you know what um. You know, I I roll with you, you know, I know that in a fight um, you would have my back. And I would have– 


MegScoop Thomas: There you go. 


Dr. Imani Walker: –Your back, too, so. Yeah, so, you know, so, Raquel, you know what? You a good mom. Sometimes you make mistakes. 


MegScoop Thomas: Yep. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Um. And, hey, you know what maybe your son learns a drug game and maybe he is able to take that to corporate America and be, like, a really, like, bomb ass accountant. I don’t know. I don’t know. I knew drug dealers who kept spreadsheets, you know what I’m saying? And like–. 


MegScoop Thomas: That’s good. 


Dr. Imani Walker: You know, I love a spreadsheet, I was never a drug dealer, but I love a spreadsheet. 


MegScoop Thomas: Me too. 


Dr. Imani Walker: But I knew drug dealers who, you know, they had spreadsheets and it was like, yeah, this person owes me this and this person owes me that. So, you know, just hey, Raquel’s son Kanan, use those skills for for good. Your mom means well though.


MegScoop Thomas: But we know how, but we know unfortunately we know how the story turns out because the show Power. 


Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah we do,. 


MegScoop Thomas: But you know. [laughing]


Dr. Imani Walker: We do. Yeah, we do. We do. But you know what? I hope I hope you guys like that diagnosis um of Raquel, and that’s it for pop culture diagnosis. So we’re going to have another fun character to analyze next week. If you guys have any suggestions for any fictional characters out there that you would like for me to diagnose, hit me up on Twitter at @doctor_Imani hit up Meg up on Instagram at @MegScoop and email the show at AskDrImaniAnything@Crooked.com. And again, if you’re enjoying the show, please don’t forget to rate and review the show on your favorite podcast apps and I will shout you guys out. So thank you so much for listening to Imani State of Mind. Thank you as always to Meg for co-hosting and we’ll be back for an all new episode next week. This is a Crooked Media production. Our executive producer is Sandy Girard. Our producer is Lesley Martin. Music from Vasilis Fotopoulos, edited by Veronica Simonetti and special thanks to Brandon Williams, Gabi Leverette, Mellani Johnson and Matt DeGroot for promotional support.