Roberto Germán 0:00
Welcome to our classroom. In this space we talk about education, which is inclusive of but not limited to what happens in schools. Education is taking place whenever and wherever we are willing to learn. I am your host, Roberto Germán. And our classroom is officially in session.
Welcome back to another episode of our classroom. In this episode, we're talking about removing the stigma with JD Fuller. J.Denise Fuller is an African American licensed social worker who has over 25 years of experience as a mental health clinician, educator, writer and consultant. JD earned a Master of Social Work from the renowned Smith College School of Social Work. She is an adjunct professor, an abolitionist and a truth teller. JD is an advocate for equity, inclusion, and speaks out against inequality. She is passionate about changing the narrative. With us today, JD Fuller.
Welcome back to our classroom, folks. Yes, we have J.Denise Fuller with us today. And we're gonna be talking about mental health, a very important topic. Some of us don't talk about it enough. And so we are gonna dig in, especially as it relates to folks of the global majority. So eager to learn from J.Denise Fuller, who is a therapist, among many other things. Just a person who has many talents and serves people in a multitude of ways. I mentioned that she's a therapist in private practice, also an adjunct professor and school counselor, as well as consultant and trainer, and a podcast host, Changing the Narrative, folks. If you don't know, go and check it out because it's a dope podcast, getting into heavy topics, really unpacking it, getting real, having real conversations about things that are packed in us in our society. And so we need to hear from folks like J.Denise Fuller because we learn a lot from folks like J.Denise Fuller. So thank you for being here.
J.Denise Fuller 2:27
Absolutely. And I learn a lot from you and what you're doing. Multicultural Classroom is amazing. I love your lens, your focus, your ability, your talent. So it's mutual, brother.
Roberto Germán 2:37
Thank you, thank you. There's a lot of synergy in our work. So I appreciate learning from you, hearing from you, seeing what you're doing. And I'm interested to hear a bit about you, and what led you to this line of work, the mental health field. And to be honest with you, I don't know a lot of black folks-- Actually, I don't know a lot of folks of color in the mental health field. I know a handful but I don't know a tonne. So I'm glad that I know you. And I'm excited about the work that you're doing because you can speak into mental health from a lens that relates to my experience. And, you know, we don't always necessarily get that. That's not necessarily the options when we're looking at like, hey, if you're going through your health insurance, and these are the folks who are available, even if you're not going through your health insurance, and you're looking at, hey, you know, where is there a therapist that I could talk to who's gonna understand the lens of what I'm living through? So let's start with you sharing a bit about yourself and what led you to this line of work?
J.Denise Fuller 3:50
Yeah, that's a great question. You know, I always say to students that I teach and to clients, don't get it twisted. A therapist didn't wake up one day and say, oh, I wanna be a therapist just ‘cause it's fun. We've had our own mental health challenges in our lifetime, whether it's trauma, exposure to trauma, communities of color who have been in trauma or come from families that are dysfunctional. I don't know anybody who doesn't come from some dysfunction in their life. Therapists are people who tend to think, I wanna teach somebody what I didn't have access to. I wanna be a part of someone finding the truth within themselves that I didn't find early enough. And in terms of people of color, people from the global majority, you know, we haven't really had access to even understand the depths of mental health, particularly in academia because we're taught through a white Eurocentric lens.
So there's additional exploration you have to do if you truly wanna become, you know, a clinician who has cultural competency. So that took me to wanting to become a therapist, but then wanting to teach other therapists about how to do therapy, and then realizing, my goodness, there's so much that people who are licensed and professionally in the field don't know. So that's when I started consulting other clinicians, both white body clinicians and clinicians from a global majority, who desire to understand an anti-racist lens through a clinical process, and, and learn to decolonize mental health. That's really the focus these days. That's what we're truly excited about. And then in terms of podcasting, you know, I saw a niche, you know. Just sort of identifying people on social media who I wanna elevate. I just wanna share their story and what they do ‘cause I think it's important. And so that's the focus there. And then, as far as my private practice, I try to do things like provide people an opportunity for an experience to collaborate with a clinician who has a lot of years of experience, but also wants to help you find your journey, and not create your journey for you. So that's pretty much how I got to do what I do.
Roberto Germán 5:53
That's amazing. That's amazing. So I wanna talk about stigma that we know exists. And while things seem to be gradually changing, there remains a stigma as it relates to mental health amongst people of the global majority. What does-- Or not what. But where does that stigma come from and why does it remain a present barrier?
J.Denise Fuller 6:19
Yeah, so all things that were inherited in the global majority are from white supremacy. Let's just wrap that up like that. Therapy was set up as something that we shouldn't have access to. It's very normalized in white body communities, and something that was elusive and sort of kept away from us. And in terms of understanding both mental health and medical health, you know, we have not had a lot of positive experiences historically with medical health and mental health. We've been used as subjects for testing, we've been pathologized in a way that is inhumane. So there's so many reasons why it's been a stigma in our community. Now, in terms of changing that, I think there's-- I think there's been a lot, there's been a lot of resources and opportunities to shift the narrative. But you know who also colludes with white supremacy? Actually, perpetuates white supremacy is insurance companies. Insurance companies perpetuate white supremacy.
Roberto Germán 7:16
Hmm. Oh, talk about it. Talk about it.
J.Denise Fuller 7:18
So when you think about-- Okay, we not only have to understand it through a multicultural lens and decolonization of something we haven't had access to, but then we have to overcome the barrier of the insurance because, you know, they don't pay clinicians anything. I mean, it is embarrassing what clinicians get paid. And so many of us just don't even opt to go through the rigor of getting on insurance panels to get paid nothing, which then makes it more difficult for people of the global majority to just find a therapist.
Now, thank goodness for resources like people I've had on the podcast, you know, inclusive therapists, is one of those platforms that tries to help people who don't know how to find a therapist find a therapist, and that's wonderful. And in terms of my own individual process, if I can't do the service myself, I'm gonna try to help you find someone. So I think it's a matter of linkage and understanding what a person's need is, and not making it so scary. You know, they just-- they send you to these platforms that don't cater to our needs. And then say, just find a therapist. It's not that easy. People don't even know what they're looking for. And it's a huge obstacle to even pick up that laptop or pick up that phone and call someone. We have to make it user friendly. And that's how we can further destigmatize it, but that is why the stigma is continuing, ongoing.
Roberto Germán 8:35
So you talked about this trust a little bit, right? I'm wondering, what do you say to folks from the global majority that perhaps need therapy or would benefit from therapy but are hesitant because of what you just laid out? Because of the distrust that we've experienced? Like, what's your pitch? What's the argument for why they should do this? Because we know these things come up. I've had people telling me the same thing in terms of like, hey, you know, they've tested on our bodies, and, you know, these doctors just wanna hit us with pills and whatnot. What do we say to folks?
J.Denise Fuller 9:19
So it's a matter of access to education. People need to understand that our bodies are telling us what we need. And when you're having high blood pressure, sleepless nights, um, anger issues, you know, sadness that feels like it won't go away, those are indications that you need to check out resources, ask questions, talk to people. You have to become your own advocate, both in your medical health and in your mental health. When somebody-- When you vibe with somebody, you know it, you know. And I'll tell clients right off the bat, I'm not for everybody. You know, I have a couple of different modalities I use and it may not be for you. But what I will tell you is the truth about what I see as an observer, as a witness to your process.
Now if people are educated about that and understand that not every therapist matches with every person, then I think it makes it less scary in one degree. And then as far as the other level that you talk about, which is how do we convince people? If people listen to their bodies, they know they need more than what they're doing, right? There's exercise, there's eating healthfully, there is spirituality, absolutely, there's learning for yourself and reading. But we all need a mentor in something, we all need help finding a way. Whether you think it's your minister, and he or she can lead you part of the way, there might be other parts that aren't met. And then people need to be open to the idea that there is help out there but you have to be willing to find the help or let someone help you find the help, or to understand that help comes in many different forms. Does that make sense?
Roberto Germán 10:51
That does. That does make sense. All right, let's talk about disparities. ‘Cause you mentioned something earlier that alluded to disparity because mental health wasn't meant to be accessible to our people. And so, what are some concerns that you have as it relates to disparities in mental health treatment? And what can be done to address these disparities? I mean, you've already started talking about it. But let's go deeper on that.
J.Denise Fuller 11:26
I'll give you a quick story. So I was on social media. And there's this therapist page. And I don't know, I think I started a conversation about white supremacy and racism and mental health. And this white gentleman says, um, “Well, I don't see race. I just do therapy with whomever.” And I told him, “You shouldn't be doing therapy with brown and black bodies. Because if that's your take, it comes from a white supremacist lens, and our community should not be accessible to you.” That's why I want brown and black bodies to know, if somebody starts talking like that to you, somebody starts saying something that doesn't validate your story and your experience, if they don't have a language for racial trauma, run, run, run, report them, get out and find someone else. It's the reason why many people believe that people from the global majority should see people from the global majority in therapy. There are people who are firm believers in that. And I understand why. If someone's not willing to question their whiteness and their ownership of white supremacy and racism, that's problematic in and of itself.
So there are cues to what you're looking for and how you find it. But you need to know not everybody who, you know, hangs a shingle, has your best interest at heart. And I think what happens, Roberto is that when we-- when our bodies break down, when our minds feel like, okay, I have to go see somebody, there's a level of desperation. And what happens at that level of desperation, you'll see anybody, you'll look up on that insurance, and you'll see somebody, you'll grab him, you go see him, you're not interviewing them, you're not asking them the right questions. What is your stance on this political belief that I have? Or what is your stance on white supremacy? If they can't answer you straight out, again, run for the door. So there's techniques that you can use to find out if somebody is a good fit. But we also have to understand not everybody who went to school believes that all bodies are equal. And there is inequitable practices in society, and they're not educated about the depth to which that occurs.
Roberto Germán 13:23
Hmm. That's good. That's good. interviewing the therapist before you even get started. Yeah, that's probably something that most people don't necessarily do. But it makes sense to come in, come in and establish that clarity, right?
J.Denise Fuller 13:38
Hmm. Yeah, if someone isn't speaking your language, you need to find out right away. You know, what happens a lot of time, like I said, when people are desperate to feel better, they'll go to a doctor or a therapist or, you know, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and they'll say, just make it go away. And there's a couple of things people need to understand. Psychiatry is about medicine. They're gonna help you with, um, maybe the chemical imbalances, some deep symptoms that are so deep, you need some help to just stabilize them so you can do the work. Psychologists are often not trained in psychotherapy, they're often trained in testing. And they know about psychotherapy because they went to school, but they're not trained in how to do psychotherapy, but they get a lot of props because they have the doctor in front of their name. And, you know, there are some who absolutely know, but there are many who don't know the intricacies of psychotherapy.
And then there are psychotherapists like myself. We are trained in how to have therapy. I went to an anti-racist institution, or at least an institution that wanted to be anti-racist. It failed in some ways, but at least they had the intention. The outcome might not have been as accurate but the intention was there, which at that time, it's something not known so much. But, you know, you gotta know where people went to school, what they studied, what they believe in, and I suggest people go before they get to that desperate point ‘cause then you have the space to do some of the work to find out is this the best fit for me? I think that's a super important piece that's often missed.
Roberto Germán 15:03
What are some other things that folks can do proactively? As you’re mentioning going before they get to that desperate place. But what are some things that people can just make part of their regular practice...
J.Denise Fuller 15:18
Roberto Germán 15:19
…to help them maintain a good approach to their own mental health?
J.Denise Fuller 15:26
Exercise is so important. I mean, I cannot tell you. It's one of the most important things that I think people can do for themselves. You know, their mind, their body, not everybody has to have the same body or level of fitness. And this isn't about body shaming, it's about getting your blood pumping, and your heart going and the endorphins jumping in a way that you haven't felt. Like, it wakes you up in a way that's super important to your own mental health. It's not just physical, it's also mental. And then journaling is so important. Again, it's just one of those things where, when you sit down-- And I'm not talking about on a laptop. I'm talking about, you know, like pen to paper, you know, when you sit down, open a pad-- That's what I'm talking about. When you sit down and open a pad-- And I suggest that people when they first start, set a timer, set a timer for three minutes. Don't think about what you're writing. Write. Don't even go back to read it. Just write.
Roberto Germán 16:21
Yeah, just do a free write.
J.Denise Fuller 16:24
Just write. And you get to five minutes, great. Get to 10 minutes, even better. But to do that as a daily practice allows you to empty out, you know. As people who come from racial trauma, we are filled with stuff every day more and more and more. And that impacts our mental health. It has to. How can it not? And as a result of that, at the end of the day, or even at the start of the day, sometimes it's just important to empty out all that poison, you know, and so that you can start again, you can just have a do over. And it's not perfect, but it is a practice that helps. So it's exercise, it's journaling, and also what we put in our bodies. And I'm not gonna shame any of our cultural foods and how we came by it. I just wanna acknowledge that there are foods that benefit us differently than what we've had access to. And learning about that and finding that. Those three things alone can set you on the path to something different.
Roberto Germán 17:18
That's good. That's good. So exercise, journaling, and then identifying the right foods that could better benefit your body.
J.Denise Fuller 17:28
Hmm. And there's also the spiritual practice, right? It's whatever you believe in. Higher power, lower power, whatever you wanna call it, whatever you believe in. To just believe even in something outside of yourself, I think is beneficial as well. So I'd add that to it as well.
Roberto Germán 17:41
All right, so the spirituality element as a fourth.
J.Denise Fuller 17:45
Roberto Germán 17:46
So what are three action steps that we can take now to help destigmatize mental health among people of the global majority?
J.Denise Fuller 17:57
Talk about it. We don't have to be strong, we don't have to be resilient. Strong means that we can lift a million pounds and not fall. Resilient means you can keep knocking me down, and I'm gonna get up, shake it off and start again. We have to give back all of that language that the oppressor has taught us that we must be. We don't have to be black excellence, brown excellence, we can just be us. We have to give back the language they gave us to perpetuate, to keep perpetrating us and to perpetuate this belief, no matter what we do to them, they're gonna come back. I think that's like-- That's an antecedent. That's a priority. That's a prerequisite for us to consider. Just realize we're human beings, we've been through a lot, your children are gonna go through a lot ‘cause you went through a lot.
It's important that we start to validate that for each other and talk about mental health in a way so that it doesn't sound like it comes from white bodies. Our mental health matters to us. That's what we need to consider. Talking about it, making it user friendly. And when people tell me on the show, you know, I go to therapy, I pause and celebrate them. Because it's hard to acknowledge that but it shouldn't be hard. That's what makes me sad. It shouldn't be hard. And it shouldn't be a surprise. It can be like, oh, cool. Where did you get your therapist? I'd like to talk about mine.
Roberto Germán 19:16
Yeah, that's-- Yeah, it's interesting to think about how normal and not that conversation is, right? In our respective circles.
J.Denise Fuller 19:27
Roberto Germán 19:29
And even as I think about my own experience, like I've encouraged folks to do therapy at times, and then there's been moments where someone has encouraged me to go to therapy, and I'm like, aah.
J.Denise Fuller 19:42
Roberto Germán 19:43
You know, and it's just-- It's not ‘cause I don't value it. It's just one of those things I'm like, oh, wait a second. Like, I'm also caught up in the trap of like, hey, I don't need that.
J.Denise Fuller 19:58
So wait. So your language is really important there. Need, I don't need, right? We're so used as a people of not getting what we need that we get into and adapt to the idea of survival. I have what I have, I don't need this and I don't need that. It's not about need. It's about deserve. You deserve to have a space of your own to process things that maybe you don't wanna burden your partner with because they're also from the global majority and they're also carrying their own stuff. And it's hard to have healthy relationships in our community because white supremacy has told us we don't deserve it. And so when we have them, they are deeply challenged by a historical context of pain and punishment and how the system has taught us to turn on each other.
It's so deep, the pain, from which we have emerged that we have to understand that every obstacle and barrier is out there for us to fail ourselves emotionally and in terms of our relationships. And the way to find your way through it is to seek support, and mentoring, you know, as an opportunity to see something different. Be around people who have healthy relationships who are elders, or have relationships who are elders, looking at what they've done, consider what you can do differently, consider having somebody support you in the process of learning how to love differently. That's what therapy is about. It's not what you need. It's what you deserve.
Roberto Germán 21:16
Hmm. That's a good framing. That's a good framing. And what you just laid out, right? ‘Cause I--
Most of the time we think of therapy as going to meet with the licensed person or whatnot. Well, you just laid out a couple of elements that are like, oh, this is a kinda broader approach to therapy, a more holistic approach, if you will, and particularly when you’re mentioning the elders, you know, elders and mentors and connecting with them, find that as a way to receive the therapy that you deserve.
J.Denise Fuller 21:52
Look, we come from collective communities. It's a village, it's never one. You can have a therapist, you can have a mentor, you can have a coach, and you can have an elder, you can have a minister. You know, it's a community to help us thrive. You know, I no longer even adapt to the language of survive. Survive means I'm hanging on by one hand hoping not to let go. Thrive to me means I'm putting one step in front of the other consciously, and I'll keep moving forward to the best of my ability. And when I can't, I'm seeking support because that's what my community is about. And so I think we have to think of it more as a collective collaborative approach because that's what our ancestors have taught us. We come from cultures that are about community. And so, as a result of that, we need to stay in community. That's what's key.
Roberto Germán 22:37
Yeah, maybe that's-- Maybe that's what I was missing in terms of why I was just like, nah, I don't-- You know, I, again, I'm using the term need.
J.Denise Fuller 22:48
Roberto Germán 22:49
But like, what you're saying now, I did not consider when I was saying, like, nah, I'm gonna sit this one out because I have these other elements in place. You know, I have accountability partners. You know, I have my, um, you know, pastor who I can talk to about different situations. I have elders in my life. I mean, my father was one of them but he passed away. It'll be a year next week, but I have other individuals who are elders in my life that I've received good counsel from.
J.Denise Fuller 23:26
Roberto Germán 23:27
You know, I have my mother that I could talk to and receive good co-- So I have a lot of pieces in place within my community, and I've seen some therapists in the past. Yeah, they've been okay. They've been okay. But it's helpful to think about it in the way you're framing it and thinking about it based on, like, our experience, how we experience community, right? In this collected manner. Thank you for framing that.
J.Denise Fuller 24:00
Yeah. And I would just add that, you know, I really think that one of the things that I've heard so many black and brown-bodied people say is, I don't need therapy. I'm not crazy. What is crazy? What's crazy look like? Sometimes I feel crazy. Crazy can be the person walking down the street next year. Whatever it is, whatever you imagine crazy to be, it's not just the homeless person who is hearing voices. That's not crazy, that's underserved, that's underserved and that is forgotten. That's not crazy. Just like poverty has been criminalized. No, poverty is poverty, and it causes criminal behavior. But poverty should not be criminalized. And so mental health is not because you need it. It's just because it's beneficial to speak to someone who has gone through the training and doesn't have the subjectivity of the rest of your community. It's an objective space ideally for you to process things in a way that offer what I paid for in terms of education, which can augment the rest of what you have in your community. Not replace it.
Roberto Germán 25:05
That's good. That's good. All right. We're not gonna stay stuck on me and my therapeutic...
J.Denise Fuller 25:17
Roberto Germán 25:18
Barrier, yes. Um… All right. So what are three action steps that-- Did I ask you this question? I'm losing it now. You know, we were--
J.Denise Fuller 25:30
Yes, yes. No, we got this. We got this.
Roberto Germán 25:31
Okay. Okay. Yeah, it’s good--
J.Denise Fuller 25:33
Yeah, I got that.
Roberto Germán 25:34
You know, this is like a therapy session, a free therapy session for me. This is good.
J.Denise Fuller 25:39
Roberto Germán 25:40
You’re making me lose my questions here. Okay. All right. Um, if you had the opportunity to have lunch with anybody that are allowed to discuss the state of mental health in this country, and what could be done to improve it, who would that be and why?
J.Denise Fuller 25:59
Oh, that question. Man, it stuck me when I saw it. It is sticking me now. It tripped me up when you said mental health.
Roberto Germán 26:05
J.Denise Fuller 26:06
I don't know. I mean, I don't--
Roberto Germán 26:09
It doesn't have to be a mental health practitioner.
J.Denise Fuller 26:11
Oh, okay. Okay.
Roberto Germán 26:12
But the conversation during lunch would be about mental health.
J.Denise Fuller 26:21
Okay. It's interesting ‘cause when you said [inaudible 00:26:23] someone I would talk to obviously, it's the people I've studied under, you know, Dr. William Cross, and-- Not under. I wish I had, but their literature I used. You know, it's people like that who started looking at therapy through a multicultural lens. So there's many of those people.
Roberto Germán 26:28
This is why I gotta ask this question ‘cause I don't know who all these people are. So you know, you're my teacher right now. I'm learning. You know, I gotta write this down. I gotta look him up.
J.Denise Fuller 26:48
Yeah, for sure. He's definitely one of them. But I said, the other person who's no longer here, who is tattooed on my arm, who's just been everything to me is Malcolm X. Just so ahead of his time, you know, he was talking about mental health before we understood, you know, the depths of mental health. And he was just on another level with understanding of spirituality that was connected to mental health in a way that I still don't think we fully understand. He was just amazing. I will forever be grateful for his biography that I've read twice, and just constantly, I channel him all the time. I definitely do.
Roberto Germán 27:32
I interviewed Jamila Dugan, not too long ago, and she had mentioned Malcolm X was one of the individuals that she would have lunch with.
J.Denise Fuller 27:41
Yeah, man. For sure.
Roberto Germán 27:43
Yeah, that's great. So, Denise, what is your message of encouragement to our listeners?
J.Denise Fuller 27:53
Yeah. Look, is what white supremacy does not want us to have. It is community. They, you know, like Paulo Ferreira said, the oppressor will toss a crumb in the middle of an oppressed population and watch you fight for that crumb.
Roberto Germán 28:08
J.Denise Fuller 28:09
And take it out of the other oppressed person's mouth. The global majority is the global majority. We need to realize the larger part of our community. Yes, we have our individual collective experiences. But as a global majority, we can take this thing away, and they know it. That's why they're stressing. That's why all of this higher level oppressive, systemic actions are being taken. Because they know when we figure out we are not the enemy of each other, then all this changes, the narrative does really change for good. So I just wanna encourage us to see each other in another light, see us all as the larger community and begin to act as such.
Roberto Germán 28:51
Thank you, thank you. Yeah, community is important, community is of the essence. And we definitely need to kick down the walls of division and come together. So thank you for that encouragement. Working for--
J.Denise Fuller 29:10
Can I add one more thing? Can I add one more thing?
Roberto Germán 29:11
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
J.Denise Fuller 29:12
You know, the thing that's been most pressing on my mind is hearing that black chief of police talk about this most recent murder that I know will be, you know, unfortunately, there'll be more before, you know, the show is aired. But just to think of that, because it was done by these four or five black officers. To hear her say, you know, “This is not about racism.” To hear that come out of a black person's mouth was crazy to me, you know, because it's always about white supremacy and racism. And these black officers thought they were living in a blue life and that is nothing but racist.
So the fact that the media has grabbed hold of it, you know, so many white bodies are putting it out there. See, it's not about racism, these bad, bad policemen, you know, they are good cops. My theory is, if there were good cops, there would be no bad cuffs. So when you think about that, because if they're that far and few between, it's a problem in the system in and of itself. And that's what we need to consider. White supremacy is the enemy. And we need to just wrap ourselves round that, buckle up, you know, put our arms in each other's and be ready to move forward. That's what it takes.
Roberto Germán 30:26
Hmm. Yeah, that's, um... I don't know. I don't-- I just don't have many words left.
J.Denise Fuller 30:36
There aren’t any words. I hear you. Yeah.
Roberto Germán 30:37
You know, like, it's a broken record.
J.Denise Fuller 30:40
It's pain. It's-- You know, when people say, you know, I no longer use language about healing, there is no healing. How do you heal when the wound keeps being, you know, dug into? Ripped apart? There is no healing. Most we can hope for is, you know, put the antiseptic in, and continue to have that motivate us to fight harder, you know, push further, because healing is a myth as far as I'm concerned, at least when it comes to racial trauma for sure.
Roberto Germán 31:08
Hmm. Yeah, there's, um, there's so much work, so much work to do. And there's-- I think that we have a lot of-- Well, I mean, and this is not new, right?
J.Denise Fuller 31:22
Roberto Germán 31:23
There's more tension ahead of us to continue to wrestle with in order to confront these systemic issues that are impacting our community, right? Like, there's no other way around it, you know. In order to get to a better place, we're gonna have to continue to fight, we're gonna have to continue to go into the battle, right? However we are defining that.
J.Denise Fuller 31:48
Roberto Germán 31:49
Whether in words or policy or physically, you know, there's a number of different ways that we can look at the notion of battle. But clearly, we need to continue to go into battle because we're not safe out here.
J.Denise Fuller 32:03
We're not safe.
Roberto Germán 32:04
We're not safe out here, right? And, yeah, it'd be interesting to dig deeper into the chief of police comments, you know, like, to-- I'd wanna ask her, like, hey, you know, like, when you say that, what's your thinking behind that? Like, how is this disconnected? You know, why is there a disconnect here for you? You know, why are we able to see that this is tied to white supremacy, right? And you're not, you know, or you're just choosing not to use that language or not to identify it as such, or also like, oh, because they were black cops. And that's just, you know-- Then that becomes the argument for like, nah, this isn't-- You know, they're black cops. You see, it’s not white supremacy. They are black cops.
J.Denise Fuller 32:53
Right, right. Look, I think as long as we fight for seats at the table that weren't meant for us, this is the kind of rhetoric we'll hear, we will hear, right? So in other words, she wants to keep her job. Capitalism, you know, and racism, I mean, they are, you know, first cousins, step siblings, they are together in this. And so one can’t function without the other. And so she has to keep the money coming in. And she's not gonna keep the money coming in by talking about what white supremacy is and what it looks like. It's blue.
Roberto Germán 33:30
Hmm. Well, there's your message of encouragement, people.
J.Denise Fuller 33:36
Keep fighting. That is the message of encouragement.
Roberto Germán 33:38
Keep fighting. Keep fighting. Yes, keep fighting and keep growing in community.
J.Denise Fuller 33:44
You know, look, the reason why I'm really getting a kick out of being a counselor in the school now is because these young minds just like you, right, we have an opportunity to offer them something that they didn't have before I showed up maybe and before you showed up. And so that's where the hope comes in. Find young people and impress upon them something you didn't get when you were younger.
Roberto Germán 34:05
Hmm. Yeah, right, which you mentioned earlier. In terms of part of what led you into this line of work, you know. And what many therapists do, right?
J.Denise Fuller 34:18
Right, yes, absolutely.
Roberto Germán 34:19
Trying to teach you something that you didn't have or give you access to tools that you didn't have. So, you know, we appreciate you. Appreciate you, Denise. For folks that wanna learn more about you, learn more about your work, understand your lens as a mental health practitioner, where can they follow you?
J.Denise Fuller 34:41
You know, I'm on-- Probably the best way to get my handles is through Linktree. J.Denise Fuller on Linktree. Change the narrative, take out the A and put a little dash after that change. That’s all. Dash narrative. You put that in there you're gonna find me and then Change the Narrative with JD Fuller podcast. Yeah
Roberto Germán 35:00
And you also have a YouTube channel with all your episodes up there. So folks, you could check out the YouTube channel.
J.Denise Fuller 35:10
Yeah, I'm not too active on-- I'm not too active on Twitter, but I do put things on TikTok. I do put episodes on TikTok but I’d probably say Insta is probably the most-- the place I'm most active with my immediate thoughts, but I also have a couple of articles on Medium and Facebook. I mean, I try to just spread myself around a little bit so I can have access to people.
Roberto Germán 35:33
Indeed, indeed. Well, continue doing the great work that you're doing, putting out this content for us. Again, very helpful to be able to dig into your insight as a mental health practitioner, person of color, having-- You know, understanding our experience, but also being trained, being trained in anti-bias, anti-racist approach. And so thank you. Thanks for what you're doing. Thanks for training up others, other counselors, other therapists, to be able to come into this work with that similar approach, similar lands, similar spirit. And so, I encourage you, know that you have a supporter, not just in me, but here and what we do at Multicultural Classroom where we're always checking out your content and, you know, grateful, grateful for what you bring to the table.
J.Denise Fuller 36:31
Well, I hope you know that mutual respect, you know, we call it some healthy narcissistic mirroring. When we can reflect the positivity and the messages and empower each other. It matters, man. Community matters, it really does. So I feel the exact same about what y'all are doing and look to you for insight that I might have, may not have, I try to put my perspective on it, mix it all up, see what we come out with. So it's all good. I value you and what you do as well. Thank you so much for having me on today. It means a lot to me.
Roberto Germán 36:59
My pleasure, my pleasure. As always, your engagement in our classroom is greatly appreciated. Be sure to subscribe, rate the show and write a review. Finally, for resources to help you understand the intersection of race bias, education and society, go to multiculturalclassroom.com. Peace and love from your host, Roberto Germán.