Dr Julie Olson, Ph.D. PSY14768
I'm glad you are here! Having a personal therapist is like having a personal trainer for your life. I am someone who assists you to move your life forward toward your dreams and away from emotional pain and conflict.
As a therapist, I am known to be calm, peaceful, understanding, focused, inspiring, challenging, and fun. However, there are no quick cures when you are in emotional pain. I can promise you that your feelings and behavior can change and that you can achieve the goals that you want for yourself if you put into action the ideas and understanding we uncover. Creating a better life for yourself takes courage and self-awareness. You will notice as soon as you walk into my office that it is easy to focus on yourself and you will gain a feeling of calm, focused control with higher confidence.
Uncover the layers of yourself, heal your heart and never lose faith. Setbacks are just steps on the ladder to your ideal life. You are braver than you know and stronger for everything that has happened to you.
My Standing on Racism
Do not assume that your therapist is not a racist. Bottom-line, I am an anti-racist. But, I do not preach. I won't be bringing this up in session unless it is relevant for you. I believe that this work the world is doing right now to change the way we relate to one another is deep, meaningful, and challenging work. To be able to step into the shoes of someone that comes from a different race, ethnicity, or walk of life takes courage. It takes intention. This work can start at a young age. Racism is taught. Mostly unconsciously and sometimes explicitly. But, fortunately, that means we can unlearn it and learn a new way to be.
If you would like to learn more about white privilege and what it means to be "a Karen", and how not to teach your kids to be a Karen, read on.
From my understanding, white privilege means that most white people, no matter what socioeconomic status or ethnic background, are automatically given rights, opportunities, and concerns above any other race. This doesn't mean the white people don't have levels and classes of privilege in their culture. Most other races and colors of skin have experienced the feeling of being a 2nd class citizen in some way. When a white person is not even aware of this experience, that is a privilege. It doesn't mean they are racist. From a white woman's experience, I have only experienced this as a gender-related issue. Although, I did have sort of a vicarious experience of white privilege through a black person's eyes.
My husband and I were going around with a couple that were realtors, looking to purchase a home in Southern California about 20 years ago. The realtor couple were African American. After looking over a home, a neighbor came over to my husband and I and pulled us aside, assuming we were the realtors. He pointed to the black couple and said that "they" were not welcome in this neighborhood. It was shocking. First, that the man assumed we were the realtors because we were white, and then to blatantly say that the African Americans were not welcome, so don't sell them this home. The realtors said, "don't worry about him." and asked us to move on. I said, "Gladly. He is not a neighbor I would like to have." I wanted to call him out on his racist behavior, but the realtors pulled me away, wanting us to ignore him and stay focused on our task of finding a home. This is probably something they have had to learn to do. Our realtors were in their late 60's and I am sure they have seen much worse in their lifetime. I had the privilege of talking to him straight out, while they didn't want to stir up trouble. More on white privilege below.*
Not being a racist isn't enough. We need to be anti-racist. If we see one of our friends saying something that sounds like white privilege or like they don't understand white privilege, we need to gently teach them. It takes courage because you may ruffle some feathers. Have an educated discussion. You could start out by saying, "Ooh, what you just said makes me feel uncomfortable. It sounds kinda racist, eh?" One thing we may try is to ask ourselves and others, "Is this being a Karen", or "Was I being a Karen when I did this?"
Learn not to be a "Karen." A "Karen" is what's become common internet slang for an entitled and privileged white woman-- Karen's tend to call the police on normal and appropriate behavior of a person who happens to be black, because she deems them a threat. These are her learned beliefs. An example of a "Karen" is when a black man, Christian Cooper, was bird-watching recently in New York's Central Park when he encountered a woman (Amy Cooper, unrelated) whose dog was loose. He says he politely asked her to leash the animal, but she became agitated. Because his experiences have taught him that if a white person becomes agitated with him, it might become dangerous, he decided to film the interaction. As he filmed her reaction, the woman called police and told them: "There is an African American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening me and my dog. He is threatening my life." Cooper believes the woman was using his race to get the police to respond. And of course, racism isn't reserved for white people only. All races can have prejudices, stereotypes, and assumptions about other races.
Dr. Jennifer Harvey did a webinar with Embracerace.org on "How do I make sure I'm not raising the next 'Amy Cooper'?" you can see it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=481&v=ExeinaiNtUM&feature=emb_logo
Jennifer' Harvey's work focuses primarily on racial justice and white anti-racism. Her most recent book, Raising white Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, great title, brings her longtime experience in multi-racial activism to her journey as a parent. Jennifer is also a professor of religion and serves as Faculty Director for the Crew Scholars Program at Drake University, and is ordained in the American Baptist Churches. Check out Jennifer's work. Her journey may enlighten you.
No matter our open-minded, socially conscious and anti-racist I think I am, I still have old, learned, hidden biases that I need to examine. It is my responsibility to check myself daily for stereotyped, prejudiced, and marginalizing thoughts and behaviors. If you hear me say anything like this, please gently call me on it.
Black lives matter means that their lives matter as much as anyone else's and they are not "throw-away" or "disposable" people. Do not kill them. Of course all lives matter, but when a person says that, it negates the idea that they are trying to express-- that many people do not think it is important to protect people of color, or black people. "All lives matter" creates a colorblind society, which again, sounds good, but is not. If you say you are colorblind, then you are saying, "I don't see you for you and all that you are, culture and all."
Love is love means that someone who is a heterosexual person does not have the right to say which sexual orientations can love or who can love who.
Science is real means that if someone researches a topic using the scientific method, then those results are real, especially if the results are replicable (when a group of researchers can investigate the same process and arrive at the same results as the original study, establishing its validity). Some studies are better than others. If there is a large sample size with many variety of people, it is better. Research is expensive, so scientists tend to keep the sample size as small as realistically possible, excluding gender and color. It is important to know who the sample included and if the results can be generalized to you. Just because we don't like the results doesn't make them false or made up, or even political. For instance, global warming, whether to wear a mask to prevent spreading a virus, or how to go into space. And data, as it is collected, changes the results, so we need to keep up on the research.
Feminism is for everyone means that the genders ought to be regarded as having equal worth, at work and at home.
No human is illegal means that a person may break an immigration law, but the person is not illegal.
Kindness is everything means that we don't know the backstory on why people do what they do, what their situation is, or what they believe. Therefore, we should be kind anyway. Listen. Try to put yourself in their shoes before you judge.
This is what I believe.
I can go birdwatching (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AhmaudArbery)
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson)
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can go to church (#Charleston9)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live #FreddieGray)
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED #GeorgeFloyd)
I have many other "isms" I could talk about (for instance, Ageism, Ableism, Sexism, etc.), but are not relevant at this time.
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