During a speech at Harvard University in 1982, black lesbian poet Audre Lorde said, “If I didn’t define myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive." Her words are chilling, powerful, and wise. Far too many people live under the constraints and expectations of others, particularly when their very life and livelihood depend on it as it does for many Black Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC) in America. Choosing to live authentically is freeing but not without consequences.
Join Dismantle Racism with the Rev. Dr. TLC as she engages her guest, the Rev. Carlton E. Smith, on what it means to live authentically as a black and gay man. Rev. Smith reflects on the dangers that come with living as a black man such as being stopped and held at gunpoint by the police, the unconscious racial bias that exists within the LGBTQ+ community, the complexities of being a spiritual leader, and the uphill battles of running for political office. Longtime friends and colleagues who grew up in the state of Mississippi, Rev. Dr. TLC and Rev. Smith will share stories, insights, and powerful examples of how to live authentically.
The first segment starts with Rev Dr. Terrlyn introduces today's show and guest. On todays show we will be discussing what it means to live authentically as a black and gay man with Rev. Carlton E. Smith. After a short prayer, Rev. Dr. Terrlyn then starts the first conversation with letting Rev Carlton E Smith go into a detailed description of his professional background. Rev Carlton E Smith says that a lesson he learned in his career is that there's an illusion of race and we should not give into it. He explains that there is an underlying connectivity of the human race and if we decided to focus on that we could start to make some progress in race relations. Rev. Dr. Terrlyn affirms what Rev Carlton E Smith says about race relations, but adds that black people and people of color shouldn't be fooled by the illusion of race. There very much should still be a vigilant approach to their everyday lives in an effort to protect themselves.
The second segment opens with Rev. Dr. Terrlyn bringing the show back up from break. Rev Carlton E Smith then explains what it means to him to live authentically as a gay, black man. He goes into amazing detail of his early life always feeling like the outcast or the kid who never fit in. Rev Carlton E Smith says that him being ostracized at such an early age by his peers, church, and some family, led him to easily transition into a homosexual lifestyle. While he felt he was living authentically as himself, other parts of society were still trying to oppress him. This drove him deeper into his religion because that’s where he felt the most authentic.
The third segment starts with Rev Dr Terrlyn opening the discussion to Rev Carlton E Smith’s experiences living simply as a black man in the United States. Rev Carlton E Smith says that his relationship with racism begins at a very young age. Some of his earliest memories of having to deal with racism go back to the third grade. Rev Dr Terrlyn then goes into detail of some of these specific events and how the world sees and treats people of color.
The final segment starts with the show coming up from break. Rev Carlton E Smith goes right into discussing his experience running for state senate in Mississippi in 2019. Rev Carlton E Smith discusses how this affected living authentically. He explains the biggest obstacle was how he was going to own his identity as a black, gay, religious man. Rev Carlton E Smith says that as soon as he decided to live authentically, his political career changed, but his life changed. While hardships still occurred, he felt like he was better equipped with dealing the societal backlash with this feeling of authenticity.
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