Empathy in Black & White from the U.S. to the U.K. | Ayishat Akanbi & John Wood, Jr.

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Fashion stylist and cultural commentator Ayishat Akanbi is a uniquely refreshing voice in the social discourse of the United Kingdom. Increasingly however Ayishat’s following is growing in the United States where people of widely differing backgrounds are drawing value from her empathetic and deeply perceptive approach to communicating across ethnic and political differences. Ayishat joins John Wood, Jr. to talk about the parallels of their owns experiences as people of African descent and strong multicultural experience in majority white countries. Listen as Ayishat and John compare notes on the projects of empathy building across the divides in both Britain and America and the shared idealism that animates the work of these profound cultural voices on each side of the pond.

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This article, however, features speakers across a racial rather than a partisan divide. For this conversation, the white speaker is Cameron Swallow, a Braver Angels leader and local bluegrass musician in Wisconsin. The Black speaker is Austin Willacy, a professional songwriter, musician, and activist near Oakland, California.

2 thoughts on “Empathy in Black & White from the U.S. to the U.K. | Ayishat Akanbi & John Wood, Jr.”

  1. That was a lovely conversation toward a promise of a social landscape that we deeply know can exist. So much has come between to obscure our vision, making those pathways back to the home of our humanity overgrown. There will be lots of transient distractions placed along the way to capture our attentions and falsely cleared paths to a promised land, and so It is in making our commitment to seeing the real journey our life’s work an imperative that we can achieve those stable states of joy and peace, irrespective of all perceptible turmoil.

    There are so many layers to this integrity we are growing. Uncovering each bravely and courageously in exposing ourself, to ourself and to others, shamelessly embracIng each of us reflected. We can stand truly mirrored in the steady balance of an ‘other’ before us, held unshaken, allowing transient emotions of fear and it’s associated judgments to pass through us and clear. Instead, plant firmly in love’s fertile soil – unwavering, united – inhabitants of this one human house.

  2. Interesting discussion about reactions of store clerks. I am a white female, but when I was around 10, I had a very similar experience, and I always assumed that it was because we were quite poor, although I don’t know what would have made her think I might have been less than trustworthy. I was even asked to leave the store.

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