Host of the popular Baltimore radio show, Today with Dr. Kaye, Karsonya Wise Whitehead is an accomplished scholar, author, activist and speaker. She has had many missions in the course of her career: street activist, advocate for public education and prolific writer for black mothers who are trying to raise healthy black children in America. In this episode, she talks about making the choice to serve her mission based on wherever she was in her life at the time. She explains that a challenge from a listener of her radio show sparked her to examine how she could use herself and her show to bring the racial disparities in Baltimore to the forefront of its residents’ awareness. As a university professor and speaker, Dr. Kaye shares how she has come to reclaim her time and energy. She rejects the expectation that black women, in general, and black women scholars, in particular, should make it their mission to educate white people on white supremacy. Dr. Kaye candidly expresses her disinterest in playing mammy to white America as it still struggles to figure out how to unpack its privilege. When asked about being a free black woman, she provides a nuanced answer that speaks to the complexities of being nonwhite and nonmale in today’s world. She notes freedom is a process and not a goal that one is even consciously seeking most times. “Part of what freedom looks like for me,” Karsonya says, “is being able to have difficult conversations with myself and forgiving myself when I fall short. It is allowing myself not to be perfect.”
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