Shoulder to Shoulder: A Deeper Understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Dr. Karen Y. Wilson-Starks

When it comes to race, allyship and activism, many of us ask ourselves and our consulting psychologist colleagues, “what should we do?” Our hearts and intentions are squarely in the right place when we ask this question. Yet, there is so much more to social change than simply acting. Our actions and choices in consulting psychology can and will make a difference; however, we must not be so quick to act without deeper understanding. Just as we would advise our clients: we mustn't act hastily, nor should we stay idle just to collect more information. Progress through activism depends on understanding, so what exactly should we better understand? 

When this question was posed to Dr. Karen Y. Wilson-Starks, a rich discussion emerged about the diversity of experiences in the United States. Imagine an esteemed friend and colleague whom you admire, respect, and deeply trust being followed by grocery store employees, suspected of theft. Place yourself in the passenger seat of your friend’s car, while pulled over by police, and watch verbal commands be barked at them. Picture your colleague being told they are in the “wrong line” boarding a plane because it’s first class priority. Imagine your friend on their afternoon jog, tackled by police for suspecting them as a criminal in the high end neighborhood where they live. These and many similar situations are happening to our colleagues each day because of the color of their skin.