Bonus - (Part 2) On Challenging the Assumption that Single Mothers by Choice Hate Men w/ Clinton

Episode 22 June 14, 2023 00:20:51
Bonus - (Part 2) On Challenging the Assumption that Single Mothers by Choice Hate Men w/ Clinton
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
Bonus - (Part 2) On Challenging the Assumption that Single Mothers by Choice Hate Men w/ Clinton

Jun 14 2023 | 00:20:51

/

Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

Aisha and Clinton wrap up their conversation and discuss upcoming programing for NorthStar.org.

 

Clinton Johnson along with Aisha and others are founders of NorthStar of GIS an organization focused on increasing representation and inclusion in geostem fields.

 

 

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back Clinton. We are going to pick up our conversation where we left off. So what did you think when I told you I was a Single? Mother by Choice? Did you think I hated men? Hilarious. The first time I heard you say it, I was just thinking about like, oh, what does it mean to choose, it really had me on this philosophical journey of what it means to choose, and then you explained that it's just a, it's very specific thing, I had no preconceived notions about what that might mean as to your choice. That hadn't even occurred to me. Honestly, it hadn't even occurred to me that because of a person would [00:01:00] choose to be a parent, whether or not anybody else was involved, that they would therefore not want anybody else involved, hate other people who could possibly be like that. It just never occurred to me. it, my mind boggles every single time you talk about those kinds of experiences Yeah. It's crazy. Like to set the record straight. When a woman decides to become a mom, either by adoption or using a sperm bank, it is 100% about the woman and where she is in her life and her desire to parent a child. You know, people bring in all of their emotions and it's just like, But it isn't about you. , So I think if one lesson society could learn is like decenter. My story. Okay, so I know you say that you rarely leave your house, but if someone is looking for positive male role models, let's say a Single. Mother by Choice. Where should they be looking? [00:02:00] Inquiring Minds wanna know. Where should they be looking? Where would I go? Like I'm, you know, at the museums that are focused on the topics that you want your kids to be interested in. I don't know. At work, working in people, people for sure have found me. And said, Hey , son's into X, Y and Z z I think he'll be a good mentor for him. I've, I've absolutely had that experience. But yeah, I, I would think like in, in serious spaces. But if you're, if that's the thing you're actually doing, like looking for that. But I would, but I think you should find them in the spaces that you are in, honestly. Because. These will more likely be people , who you feel comfortable with, who have, who share some similar ideals as you to, to have been in those same shared spaces, but who may just happen to be men. I don't know. Yeah, I don't think there's necessary a place to look for them, but if I had to look, I would, if I had to look for, let's women to be great mentors to my son. you know, back in the day, I would've, I, I guess I would've looked [00:03:00] at work where I was. I would've for sure looked at museums that I like to go to. I'm not sure I would've looked at the theater where we liked to go, but mm-hmm. At the parks where we would hang out, to play or whatever in the spaces that, that we felt comfortable. I think I would, I would start. I don't know if that makes any sense. No, it absolutely does. And to be honest, I don't think I've ever really asked the man that question to find out and totally didn't think about it like that. Now as capable. As I am. I am not. A car person. My questions around a car is does it run? Does it go from point a to point B? Is it safe? Does it have seat belts? So you can imagine my shock and surprise when then seven year old started talking about a Tesla. So first as an aside, let me tell you. It goes down on the playground And by the playground, I mean the playground, the schoolyard, the classroom, wherever these kids are together, [00:04:00] socializing, they talk, they compare notes on all kinds of things. So one day my daughter told me that she was, that she and a, a few classmates were playing on the computer and one of the little friends said that they were going to buy a Tesla for one.. And he entered in all of the information and hits send. So I kept a straight face, but from that point forward, she's been talking about Teslas ever since. So Tesla's had been on her mind as we're driving. She sees a Tesla here. She sees a Tesla there and there just Teslas everywhere. every fourth car is a Tesla. I was just like, oh, okay. I'm starting to feel some kind of way I was like, do you not like my Subaru. Because it's not a Tesla. And then once I told her that I have a friend who has a Tesla. Her entire little face lit up, and I knew that I needed to invite you here so that she could see Tesla. , bless your heart. I asked you to drive your car up here and you did, [00:05:00] I like to drive, first of all, and I like to drive to the DC area, so that's not gonna be a problem. There's gonna be times when I'm down there anyway, so, yeah. And somebody put it into my head that black children need to see black people driving Teslas. . And I could, I could feel it when I'm driving through predominantly black neighborhoods in Philly and little kids are looking, they're asking questions. So without being like too pretentious, I try to make time for it. They say something nice about the car, I respond. They seem like they wanna see something cool. I try to show them something little, whatever. Try not to make a big deal of it. And when people ask me how much it costs, I tell them and I tell them because they think things like. oh, your car has the potential to drive itself, so it must cost a hundred thousand dollars. One person asked me how many hundred thousand dollars did the car cost? I laughed. They were dead serious. Mm-hmm. . Because there's a lot of, you know, luxury vehicles that don't drive themselves, that cost lots of [00:06:00] money. Mm-hmm. . But I got the lowest in Tesla. To be honest, I was completely oblivious of my, to my privilege when I got it mm-hmm. , when I was waiting for it, I was completely oblivious the path that I took to get there. It just, it felt really natural to me. And like you, I didn't really, I don't really know anything about cars. So when so whenever I'm, whenever I was looking for a car, , I asked the internet some questions and got some answers. Or I went to my cousin who's an electrical engineer and he's just interested in everything. Uhhuh, . So we, so, so the origin story to the, to electric was getting my son excited about the environment and, and being a great steward of the environment. And and while a lot of that just missed him, when he went to the Franklin Institute for, for camp for several. They got the land with him. And so the environment was like really important to him. So he asked me a few times, Hey dad, if you buy a car, would you buy a hybrid or an electric, you know, to, to help the environment? [00:07:00] And I said, yes. Now I was saying yes. When I had decided to myself, I was never gonna own a car. Cause I thought that a car is like this barrier to financial wellbeing. Cause people gotta buy a new car all the time. Mm-hmm. , it's a whole hustle. And then something happened with my. And she got lost on the way home because she was having a, a diabetic episode where she just, she got confused. And when she finally found her way home, she told us she was scared and I was thinking, man, I could have rode around the neighborhood when we noticed that she wasn't here. And then she had a situation where we needed to wait for an ambulance. for a hospital to take her to a hospital that's two, two minutes away, literally two minutes away. And we just had to wait. So I was like, okay, I gotta get a car. And I was gonna get a, I was gonna get some kind of Pontiac, cause I don't know anything about cars, but I liked the way Pontiacs drove and the commercial said something about 'em too. And my, and so I. , I'm shopping and I'm, I'm about there. And honestly, I was looking at, I [00:08:00] was, I was so resistant to the idea that I was getting a car that I was like, th there has to be something in this for me. I'm going to get a convertible. I don't even want a convertible, but I'm mad. I gotta get a car, I'm gonna get a convertible. So now I'm dead set on the same. And he was like, oh, you're looking for a car? So what kind of hybrid you're gonna get? And I was like, oh yeah, I told him I was gonna do that. So then I ended up getting. A hybrid Nissan Altima. And then the next car I got was a, a fully electric Nissan Leaf. It was a terrible driving experience, but it was more important that I have a positive impact on, on the environment is the story we were telling myself and that I didn't need to go far. Like I said, the hospital was really close for my mom. My mom lived right around the corner. Work wasn't that far. They were charging stations at work. I used to work downtown Philadelphia, so. 15 minutes away was nothing. And even when I was working in Chesterbrook is still, you know, I was still making it and I was saving so much [00:09:00] money on gas. Mm-hmm. that. Then I was looking for the next electric car and I, again, I don't know anything about cars, so I say to my cousin, yeah, I'm looking for my next electric car. And he ran down all these things about Teslas and I was like, that sounds cool. And I went for it. What he didn't say was, he didn't say it was a luxury. And I wasn't thinking about that. I was just thinking about, I was looking at my monthly payments. Could I afford it? Was I still going to save money? And I was, cause I drove to at work, were charging stations that I paid nothing for. Right. For about a year, maybe two years. I was, I was paying $0 for fuel unless I charge at my house. And then it's, it was like a. . I say this and people think I'm exaggerating. Mm-hmm. , but electricity at home was a 10th. The cost of gas a 10th. Right. And that's back when it was just like three, $4 a gallon. Now it's much more than that. So it was just like a, it, it made sense cost wise. And then like a month or two [00:10:00] before the Tesla arrives, my cousin, the same cousin says, so how do you feel about the luxury vehicle you're about to get? Almost like luxury. About luxury things. What are you talking about? And then, and then, you know, as I, as I got the car and I could see people's reactions to it, and I thought about. , you know, when I really thought about, well, how much the car actually cost relative to other sedans, like, I was like, how did you miss this Clinton? Like, what was your, what was your experience around p in the moment that you completely missed all of that anyway? Mm-hmm. That was my journey to, to Tesla. I wasn't definitely, I wasn't like a Tesla fan looking for a Tesla. I wasn't like this car enthusiast, but I was, I was definitely concerned with the environment . To be honest, I don't like loud cars. Mm-hmm. and, and the electric car is so quiet. It just, it, it was just hitting all the, it was hitting all the criteria. Yeah. So I got a Tesla. It's just, I don't like to talk about it though, cuz you know, it feels, I don't know, people get more excited about [00:11:00] Tesla than maybe they should. I don't know. Right. And definitely appreciate it because Subarus are noisy as hell. When, I mean that was like the craziest thing when suddenly my car was so quiet I could really hear the music and I didn't realize I couldn't really hear before. Yeah, it's wild. And i don't like to listen to music loud in the car but the subaru is so noisy someone told me that it's because of the all wheel drive so two things that you hit on are key for me. One is the diversity, right? Having my kid have diverse experiences, mom's never going to have a luxury car. Right. But to have people in my life so that she can have these experiences. And she was just so excited, you know, so memorable. So thank you. Oh, of course. Absolutely. There's lots of other things it does that that are interesting. I used to do tours and I'm, I would say to somebody, what's the Tesla tour? What, what should I show [00:12:00] people? From, watching movies in the car, watching YouTube in the car, watching Netflix in the car, playing games in the car. I got video games in the car. Now you can connect a video game controller to the car. It's like so wild. All the way to doing art pranks. The car will Fool people into thinking that someone is passing gas. And I have pranked a number of people You know what it sounds like, this might be dating us, but it reminds of Kit and Knight Rider, right. Yep. Yep. Actually, the next time I see you and I have my car remind me. I just remember I did find a Kit experience and , I will install it just so you can see it. Mm-hmm. . And there's a, there's a there's a whole show that the car can do with music and lights and uhhuh, , and I would love, love to do that for your kids too. Yes. Well, and then you're gonna have to make the car fart. They're gonna love it. [00:13:00] And then, you know, secondly how we manage to bring environmental awareness into our lives. It's kind of like, you know, cornerstone and one of the, the founding. Principles of why I decided to put in a garden for my kids so that they understand that they're one with the environment, they're part of an ecosystem that is their in-home community. We go out in the garden, they tend to the garden. Just they have a concept of where their food comes from. So the one thing my daughter was like we needed to have in our garden was milkweed because the Monarch butterflies are becoming extinct, and we want it to create spaces where the monarch butterflies can thrive. You know? And it has been such a learning opportunity for her. We saw salamanders, we've got a whole Disney forest in our backyard, bird watching, . Bees and understanding that whole concept. Like when we use insect repellent, we're cognizant of what types of insect repellants we use because [00:14:00] we have things in our garden that need certain insects and that need the bees and, , and so it's a whole different way of thinking that I'm so lucky to be able to be a part of, and that my kids actually like it. So Clinton, last but not least what is North Star? Where can we find out more about North Star ? So the first thing I wanted to say is there's a challenge that exists, that has called us into, into into existing and, and it's that geography and geospatial capabilities. Shape many public and private policies and many practices, and many people aren't even aware of that. Leaders and policy makers use geographic data and geospatial intelligence for things like pandemic response, federal infrastructure plans you know, figuring out where to invest in education locally. You use these tools in your ride sharing apps like Uber and. When you order something from Amazon, this stuff is, is used [00:15:00] extensively. So we're talking. An area of tech that is in high demand and is fun and exciting, and it's also an area of science that informs policy and impacts communities. But unfortunately very often these policies and these practices that, that are informed by, by g I s. Often lead to racial disparities or they sustain racial disparities. And on top of that, many of the, the people who are involved in that work, well, they don't, they don't, they either don't look like us or for those who do, they're not always invited to the tables that, that really matter. Mm-hmm. North Star exists to try to create a, what I talk about sometimes is a geo stem community. That centers on intersectional racial justice, meaning a, a community of, of all the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math that relate to geography. So there's geospatial, there's gis, there's, marine science marine [00:16:00] microbiology, ecology, archeology. We wanna make sure that when folks are doing. They're mapping work, doing their analysis, that they are considering people as a primary stakeholder and ensuring that the results of their work will lead to more racial justice. And we also wanna make sure that the people who do that practice, Better reflect the, the Black African diaspora, but also other underrepresented groups as well. So we, we, we do that work by trying to bringing together practitioners in geo stem focus on improving practices in geo stem and creating spaces where people from all backgrounds can find a sense of belonging. Some of the, the main ways that we do that is literally to engage people around events. We have a Black History Month event series coming up. And as with every year, we look to the Black History month theme for the year as for inspiration. And, and this year it's black resistance. So we've expanded that, that concept to, to think about ideas [00:17:00] of resilience, resistance, and empowerment in black communities across many different topics, like climate and environment. Food systems and food security. So thinking about the importance of growing locally and small scale farming health equity, community engagement, and really positive practices for justice, equity and belonging across geo stem. So we're gonna open up our conversation for the year around those topics. during February, this, this month in February and later in the year we'll, we'll have a, a big gathering of folks from across the globe, both virtual and in person in, in the DC area that we call homecoming initiative. And again, with that theme actually Aisha had this great idea of, of talking about it as homecoming r and r, and we can, we can think about r and r as resistance and resilience. Rest and relaxation, all the ways in which we have to recover and reclaim spaces that are necessary for black [00:18:00] communities to successfully resist and be resilient and, and be fully empowered. So we are excited to invite people from across the globe who see themselves as geography professionals or people working in this spaces related to geography, to joining in those conversations and, and be a part of the. Thank you for that. You know, being a member of north star. Clinton took me kicking and screaming. But when we put it together, it just resonated with me so much. And I'm so proud. I'm so I'm so inspired by what we do at north star. Even as I helped to create some of the things. I'm excited about the black history month programming. I'm excited to participate and help to coordinate the homecoming. And people who are equally just as excited. People from the black diaspora people from the, from across the globe, people consider themselves. Allies. Where can they go to find out more information about north star? They can visit us [00:19:00] @gisnorthstar.org online. They can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Also using GIS North. And we'll be engaging folks in a robust conversation again, about those topics of resilience, resistance, and empowerment in black communities all year long. So you know, go to the website, check us out. Consider joining our melanated and mapping community where we create safer spaces for folks to discuss these important issues and just disconnect from toxic spaces and find strength and solidarity together. and if you are interested in sponsoring an organization or an event that's focused on issues like climate and environment, health equity, food systems, workplace and economic justice, decolonization, then consider being a partner with North Star. And again, you can find out how to do that at our website. Gis Northstar. dot org. Thank you so much for coming to talk [00:20:00] to me today. And truly, truly, truly, thank you for supporting me and my family on My Single Mother by Choice journey. thanks for take care.

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