“We need to start building people up, instead of tearing them down.” – Treste Loving
Equality is a problem that threatens global peace. It doesn’t have to be explicitly displayed for it to be considered existent because often, it dwells in our hearts. People need to understand how they should be treated in order to know how they should treat others. In today’s episode, Treste Loving teaches us the different areas in our life where prejudice takes place and how making the personal choice to combat inequality and racism can create a safe place for everyone. Our world is becoming more diverse. Therefore, we must do our utmost to be positive and open-minded. Tune in and learn how to root out prejudice.
Listen to the podcast here:
01:26 Culture Shock
08:54 Labeling And Being Different
14:42 Reaching Out Through Conversation
31:30 Economic Racism
48:13 Racial Equality, A Personal Choice
We dream of a world where there’s equality because it’s the only way humanity can rise as one. Join @myexpectation and @tresteloving in this timely and important conversation. #expectations #stereotype #prejudice #diversity #racialequality… Click To Tweet
23:34 “We’re not necessarily fearful of the person. We’re fearful of what we think that person is.” – Treste Loving
24:39 “Socialization is what we all go through. It comes to who we are, it makes us who we are.” – Treste Loving
31:09 “Anytime that you limit what somebody else can teach you, you’re really cutting yourself short.” -Art Costello
35:25 “(Stereotyping) is not going to go away, but we can make it better. But people have to step out and stand up and make it better.” – Treste Loving
39:18 “We need to start building people up, instead of tearing them down.” – Treste Loving
42:24 “It’s not impossible for someone to change their stereotypes and start to recognize the beauty everyone adds to the world.” – Treste Loving
55:32 “We must remember that right is right, even if no one agrees, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone agrees.” – Treste Loving
56:41 “Go out and make a difference in the world. We all owe it to ourselves to leave this place better.” – Art Costello
Tresté Loving is a Racial Divide Expert, specializing in Law Enforcement Relations and Corporate Culture. With over 25 years of intensive, cultural expertise, she has utilized her proven abilities for operational success around the globe, masterfully training over 76,000 people to combat discriminatory tendencies and alleviate profiling behaviors. A decorated Navy Veteran with a degree in International Business, Tresté is a successful author, speaker and radio talk show host. She has worked with top-level officers and executives, as well as students of all racial backgrounds.
Art Costello: Welcome to the Shower Epiphanies Podcast. Today, I am honored to have Treste Loving as our guests. She has spent 26 years in the Navy, Treste use her awesome skills and talents to work with police departments and Sheriff’s departments, helping them with internal and external race relations. She has over 25 years of experience in race relations and diversity. Treste provides the framework for the departments to improve teamwork, create stronger community connection, and work environments where they can thrive.
Welcome to the show Treste, love to have you here. We met at the New Media Summit. She is absolutely fascinating person, and have been myself a US Marine, we have a connection.
Treste Loving: Yes we do.
Art Costello: The Marines are under the department of the Navy. Anyway, Treste, welcome to the show. Glad to have you on. I’m really anxious, and I want to learn a lot about diversity and racial equality from you. And can you tell us your backstory, how this all began for you?
Treste Loving: Sure. Well, I spent 26 years in the Navy. I loved every minute of it, even though I may have said I didn’t like it on days, but it was no brainer for me to stay in as long as I did. And I’m from a small town in Kentucky, so I got a big, huge culture shock myself when I went to the Navy. And there were all these different ethnicities that I had never even laid eyes on, in there they were. So I had to start working it on the military. I started doing diversity and race relations while I was still in Navy. I spent over half my career doing diversity and race relations. So that’s where I got my experience in the Navy, which some of you would probably be shocked, but there are some serious issues along racial lines in the Navy. And I think it is in a lot of the other surfaces too. So I learned, I honed my skills, talking to racist, just talking to sailors about what is and is not acceptable behavior, and I just had a blast doing it. I had a total blast doing it. So when I retired in 2008 I said, one of course, I can go work for somebody else again, which I’m tired of. Or two, I could strike out and start my own business. So that’s what I’ve been working on for the last 10 years now, getting myself in place, and getting things in place so I can start my business. And that’s how I am, I ended up at New Media Summit, my first was earlier this year, so that’s why I was glad I got to do that.
Art Costello: Hey, it was great to meet you there. And I was in the service, I think probably a little, more probably a lot before you were. I went into the Marines in 1965, ended up in Vietnam, and it was my first exposure to so many diverse cultures. I grew up in Upstate New York, and I grew up on a dairy farm, potato farm, my rent workers came out of Florida, pick the potatoes and then went back. Some of the migrant workers stayed. And because of my growing up and how my life was, our family was kind of shunned where we were. So my best friend became David Wright, I should say, one of my best friends. And David, his parents were migrant workers that stayed to work in the potato warehouses and stuff. And David and I pretty had a lot of circumstances, very similar because we both lived in homes that were just absolutely dumps, had no indoor plumbing, had no indoor facilities. We had to haul water from the same spring up to our houses for water. And after I graduated, David stayed there and I went in the Marine Corps. And when I got in the Marine Corps, I had cultural shock. Even though I had been around David, and Mary, and their family, and everything. David was always a human to me. I never looked at color, but when I got into the service, I was subjected to a lot of men and women who would say things to people, to their face, and then say completely different things behind their back. And it was shocking for me, it was a culture shock for me. And that’s when I learned about racial inequality, and how people really think and speak in public and in private. And you have any thoughts on that? In the year was 1965 when I went in in there. So racial differences were very, very different heated because of what was going on in the South versus what was going on in the North, and all that. So it was very different. Was it different for you growing up?
Treste Loving: Well, since I grew up in a small town and where the only black people there were my family, so it was like 98% white. So I grew up as if you will, a white girl. My friends make fun of me because I try to sound like I’m street, and they just laughed. They said: “You should just stop crying because you really can’t do it.” So what I’ve found though, when growing up there that it was culture shock for my other white friends who eventually became my white friends, shall I say. Because they never seen a black person, we lived in one town,and they lived in different towns. So it was like, well, when we combined school, here you go, there’s this person and it’s like, who is she? And what is up with your skin? And one girl asked me what color my blood was because I was black. And I’m like, well as far as I know it’s red just like yours. That was an innocent question, but it just showed the signs of the times where I was. I was born in 62, so we’re talking about the 70’s, maybe the 70’s and just right at 80’s. So I did see a difference when I was in the Navy for traveling all over the world that there are different cultures and they will be polite. But sometimes I would say something and they didn’t realize what they said. They didn’t realize it was something that was taboo, something that would make someone uncomfortable. So yes, I did see that when I was growing up, and I know how people are now. So being in the Navy is no different than being on the outside. I just knew what I was going to put on every day, but still had to deal with the same types of people, same types of discussions, the same types of knowledge in the background, so yes, I agree with what you said.
Art Costello: One of the things that I noticed was the difference between Combat Marines and the Rear Echelon Marines because the Combat Marines, we live, slept together all the time, and our lives depended on each and every one of us. And the guys in the Rear, I noticed there was more division. In 1965 and 1966 in Vietnam, the Black Marines would hang out together pretty much by themselves in the Rear Echelon. And then the White Marines would be together, the Spanish guys would be together, and the Puerto Rican guys would to be together. It wasn’t only till we got into combat that all change because everybody has to rely on everybody. And of course, the Marine Corps is very disciplined about it. But the minute you broke away from it, well, you didn’t see it become puppets, ugly head up again. The prejudices, and there was a different between Northern Marines and Southern Marines. I mean, there was a lot of diversity in thought, and action, and all that. But one of the things that has always bothered me is I’m huge about labeling, because I believe that we live up to our labels. And if you have negative labels, you’ll live up to them. If you’re told that, it’s like telling kids in school, you’re stupid, if you keep telling children in school they’re stupid, sooner or later they’re going to believe they are stupid. So one of the things that I have always been adverse to is having people label people. Because once you label people, they tend to live up to that label. So I was very careful always about calling people of color, their color, calling them black or anything. And even to this day, I don’t believe it. I don’t look at you that way, I don’t look at other people that way, I just think that it taints us. Do you have any thoughts on that? On labeling?
Treste Loving: Yes, I do. I have thoughts on just about anything you’re going to ask me. Yes, labeling. Well, I’m as guilty as anyone. Sometimes I think a little bit more about labeling people, labeling things. And it was only because I worked with people and I know, when they tell me there’s something like the racist told me that they were racist and I can tell by the way they interacted with me, I feel by the way they talked to me, I could tell by the way they weren’t looking in my eyes. They were just like, I just got to get out of this room with you because I like you, because you’re black. So labels, yes, yes. I still, and I’m not going to call it labeling, I’m going to call it that, I am recognizing that there is a difference, because there is a difference. I am black and you are white, or Caucasian, have you liked to be called? So I know that, but I don’t use label as a stereotype the way some people will. And when they label something, sometimes they mean it in a derogatory sense, so you get people who labeled that way. And that’s who the people I tried to talk to, those are my clients, right there where they have something that they don’t like about someone. And it is something as simple as the color of the skin, their religion, their ethnic background. And it’s imperative that we all try to, when we hear something that sounds kind of off, one of the things that say, if you hear something, say something. Just like if you see something, say something. Well, I call on people, like I said, if you hear something wrong, you hear that it’s off, but then you could stand up and say, no, that’s not right. You shouldn’t have said it, or if you were going to say it like this or whatever, not right.
And it depends on if I do that and I have done that, and it depends on where I am. If I say it in front of a group of people like they did, or if I pulled them over to the side, and I tried to pull them over to the side though I don’t want to put anybody on the spot. So yes, labels, they do have their place, at least in my world. But it’s not the label to put the stereotype on someone to say, Oh, because you’re black, you’re lazy, you know? And it’s like, no, I just happened to be a black female, and how I am is beyond what my skin colors looks like. So it’s interesting, labels, you have to be careful. I’m definitely careful when I start talking to people who don’t look like me and try not to label them too much, but just get to know them. All you have to do is to ask one question to someone that you don’t know, or someone who doesn’t look like you to start a conversation. And it’s everyday questions like, what’s your favorite color? Something just that simple will help break the ice when people feel like, well, I’m not going to talk to them because I don’t want to hear what they have to say, or if it’s probably not the truth way. But when you’re talking about what’s your favorite color, you know what the truth is there, and it’s just a way to start a simple yet powerful conversation.
Art Costello: Am I hearing you right? If I was to say that one of the ways that we can get racial diversity and inclusion is by just starting the conversation and realizing that the person is human, just like we all are.
Treste Loving: Exactly, yep. That’s the way, and that’s what I use in training myself, I call it IMMERSION. So I tell to immerse themselves on their off duty, talking about police officers and sheriffs, when they’re not at work, and start talking to people who don’t look like you. I mean, it’s just that simple and you can start off with such an innocent question. It’s like, it’s a nice state, isn’t it? And somebody could say, yeah, and we haven’t had these, and then you just start talking. But you see in front of you actually kind of bleeds off, you can’t tell that I’m black or you’re white. That’s not the most important thing anymore. The most important thing is we have this conversation and you really want to talk to somebody.
Art Costello: And that’s pretty much how I operate with everybody, because I just start conversations. It can be about really anything. And then once I start the conversation, it just, then I delve into, and then sometimes people say to me, it’s none of your business, but people will open up and tell you about what they’re doing. I mean, just even on the show, I mean, we open it with, tell me your story, I want to hear your story. Because I think people stories create that human element of compassion and love. Because once we start listening to people’s stories, we learn how much we are alike, and how little difference there is. And we all hurt, we all love, we all care, we’ve all been through experiences, different experiences. But yet none of our experiences are the same. I can’t tell you how you feel because I’m not you, I don’t know you, I have not experienced life as you have. You can’t tell me about me. All you can do is empathize with me when I tell you my story and how I grew up. And then you empathize with me. And then we bond. We have that bond that gets there. And that’s the thing with me is that most people don’t reach out to other people even when they’re the same race. I mean, people can sit on a bus next to each other, it’d be the same race and never say a word to each other. But it’s that stepping out and telling a little bit about yourself so somebody feels comfortable around you. And I think it’s really important. And how does that work into, and I know you work with all these Sheriff’s departments and all that. I’ve been around law enforcement. My best friend’s a Texas DPS officer, Department of Public Safety. And him and I have been close for 30 years, and I’ve written with him, and I know some of the things that he has gone through out on the street. And just like in the real world, there’s policemen that are very quiet and you could work with them for 15 years and never know how many kids they had or what was going on. How does it work for you to get into that environment with such so many diverse points of view and all that? Is that a crazy question?
Treste Loving: No, it’s not crazy at all, it makes sense. On backtrack a little bit before I answered on what you said, yes. People have the same race, sometimes have problems talking to someone else. It’s not ingrained in a lot of people. When you’re down, well, [inaudible] but only sometimes, but I grew up down in the South. We automatically, when I saw another black person, I would automatically talk to them because they were actually different than the people around me. So I was actually trying to understand from a black perspective how my life is, and how my lenses were rather filtered. So I just wanted to bring that point up because you absolutely correct with sometimes the same race, they’ll reach out and talk to each other. And for the second part of that is, when I’m dealing with police officers or Sheriff’s deputies, I’ve tried to keep in mind what they’re there — to serve and protect. And the way I approach it is always help them serve better or protect more. And sometimes it can be challenging, and a lot of that goes back to socialization, which I’ll cover in a bit. But it can be challenging because of their status in a community, right? They’re there, like I said, serve and protect. They’re there to keep the law in order. So it can be difficult with some people, but it would be difficult with them whether they had a uniform on or not. They’re just some people who just don’t want to get along with anybody. And what I tried to do is to help them come back off of some of the stereotypes they have, because if they’re not talking to somebody who doesn’t look like them, the only thing they have to go by is stereotypes. With someone told them that these kind of people are, those kinds of people are. So I’ve tried to get them not to automatically default to their stereotype to where, when I do the training and I immerse them, and I ask them to immerse themselves in a whole different culture, then that can knock down some of the stereotypes they have. And then what they’ll be doing is when they see somebody who does look like them, there’s not a first negative thought. It’s like, Oh, yeah, I was talking to ABCDE, now this is all going in nanoseconds in her brain, right? But it’s giving them a better fallback on instead of just letting them go with their stereotypes and try to help them when they’re at work, try to immerse themselves because it’s not always conducive to that, but like I said, I like to get them when they’re awkward, they’re comfortable, they’re where they want to be, and then just have the conversation so it can be tricky sometimes with them.
Art Costello: One of the things for me that I understand, because I come from the perspective of having written with a police officer on patrol many times. I know one of the things that police officers right now are working under is extreme fear. They fear for their life, they want to go home. And we just had an incident this Saturday night in Fort Worth which is 300 miles from us, where a man, a deputy shot through a window, never said a word or ask anything because I’m sure he feared for his life and killed a young lady, 28 years old. And it’s going to turn into another thing like the Dallas police shooting in the apartments, and how do we get police officers and the public to where the fear isn’t so great from the police officers, and the fear isn’t so great from the black community, or the Hispanic, the minority communities, because I think it’s all minority communities have this fear of policemen. How do we immerse them too, into conversation where this can stop? How does it start? Does it start with the police officers first going into the communities and getting, knowing their environment?
Treste Loving: That’s one way for sure. And I talk a lot about community involvement, and police, and sheriffs. So the way that, and I understand fear is usually the thing that we call it, but it’s not like we’re necessarily fearful of the person. We’re fearful of what we think that person is. And that goes back to falling on stereotypes and relying on those to say, Hey, why all white people are ABC. So when I see a white person, I’m probably not going to want to talk to them on and on. And it starts with somebody who can tell the story. Like, I tell my story so they can understand me in the town I grew up in, and then I’ll ask them about their story. And people love to talk about themselves. Once you give them a few minutes and they’re gone, they’re really not that hard to get the conversation flowing. It’s just not being fearful of what you don’t know about them. What is it about them that makes them, or makes a group fearful of another group? And I go back to, it’s just how they were socialized. And I’ll go ahead and cover a little bit of socialization now because I think it’s a good spot. Socialization is what we all go through. It comes to who we are, it makes us who we are. And socialization is passed down from generation to generation. The things like language, or values, or beliefs, or truths, religion. So those types of things we learn, some of that we learn and we don’t know we’re learning it. We see other people’s actions, particularly our parents. Our parents are the ones who really give us that first look at looking at somebody else, and then your parents telling you what they know about that group of people, which may or may not be true. It was what was passed down to them, their parents. So I don’t ever say somebody’s parents raised you wrong because I’m not going to say that. What I can say though is your parents socialized you a little bit differently than somebody else who looks like you, and those other people don’t have a problem with somebody who’s a different color. But because of the way your parents passed it down to you, then you may have a problem with people with different colors.“We're not necessarily fearful of the person. We're fearful of what we think that person is.” - Treste Loving Click To Tweet
And I will tell real quick story to show that this is real, and this is what happened to me was one of my conversations with a racist on board. He had been onboard on the ship hours, I mean, literally hours, not days, not weeks. But this young man got to the ship, and within hours he started an uproar because he said that he couldn’t work the N-word. And it was like, well, that’s just not gonna function right. And he worked on the flight deck. So that’s like an orchestra that itself, everybody knows their placed, a worker’s supposed to get a certain time, and you can’t have somebody on a flight deck saying they’re not going to work for somebody, but for sure that it’ll work for somebody who is black. So they sent him down to talk to me, and his supervisor call to let me know he was coming down. About two or three minutes later, all of a sudden the door to my office slams open and here’s this 18 year old white kid saying, I can’t work for the N-word. And I’m like, Whoa, so you’re who I’m supposed to be talking to. I made him go back outside and come in, come in like a normal person would come in someone else’s office, and then we got started and it’s like, I know you probably don’t want to hear anything from me because I’m black, but let me tell you, this is my job, and I start conversation with, where are you from? What made you want to come in the Navy? What made you pick the job that you pick? Again, letting them feel comfortable talking about themselves first instead of me saying: “Oh, you’re wrong. You can’t say that, you just need to get yourself together and get back up there and go to work.” That’s how I operated with any of them. I sat down like three and a half hours with this kid and we finally got to the point to where he would come see me first if he thought he was being mistreated by anybody no matter what color, go down to see me. So I was his ally, and I told him: “Well, look look at you now, you coming down here to me, a black person for help. Did you ever think that that would happen?” And he looked up and he gave me the honest answer and said: “No, I never would’ve thought that would happen. That would never be my first choice to come and talk to you about anything.”“Socialization is what we all go through. It comes to who we are, it makes us who we are.” - Treste Loving Click To Tweet
But he grew up in a small town in Texas and there were only white people in his town. So the only thing he knew about somebody who didn’t look like him is what his parents, and grandparents, other family members told him, what his friends told him, what the teachers might be saying in class. So he’s picking up on all of this stuff. He’s getting socialized like bombarded with information, but he didn’t have any firsthand information. And that’s why I tried to do give him firsthand, this is how a black person can be for you. And if you work right and if you work hard, then you’re not going to have any problems with any color supervisor. That’s on you work hard and to be a part of the team. And I got him to about a month, and then he just fell back into his same old ways, and we had to discharge him because of his views and his language. But that was just, you know, he was an 18 year old kid, he’d never been anywhere. And he was loud on his socialization as he should from his parents, grandparents, school, etc. He relied on that to help him navigate the world. And then I come in and I totally throw his world off kilter. Now he’s like, wow, now I’m with somebody who doesn’t look like me for help and I used to think that they were lazy. I used to think I started fights all the time. I used to think that if there were drugs to be had on the ship, they were going to have them. And all these things started falling away. The more we talked, and we thought, Oh, my gosh, that child was in my office five, six times a day thinking somebody has done him wrong, and he wants me to make sure they haven’t done him wrong. And so it was, it got to be pretty funny. It was a shame that he couldn’t change, because he was a good worker. He would’ve been gone far in the Navy, but he couldn’t get past how we were socialized.
Art Costello: Yeah. And it’s a wonder that he even lasted that long in the Navy. I mean, because the Navy and the Marine Corps are very diverse. I mean, it’s usually picked up very early on, and he must have hidden it in the bootcamp, that kind of thing to get on ship. But we’re dealing with a lot of white supremacists and racism in this country right now. And for me, it disgust me and all that, and I have that view, any time that you limit what somebody else can teach you, you’re really cutting yourself short. And for me, I want to learn as much as I can. I mean, I’m 72 years old now and I still want to learn about people. I love people so much, that’s why I love talking to people because I learn from their experiences and I incorporate it into my life. How do we get to these hardcore, do you think we ever will get to these hardcore white supremacists?“Anytime that you limit what somebody else can teach you, you're really cutting yourself short.” -Art Costello Click To Tweet
Treste Loving: No, I know. And for the very thing I just said, they get socialized by their parents and then before you know it, they’re in this group of people, and they went to this group of people who not may not have been because they would think like they do or they seem to act like them. They get to the group of people like we do any other thing. It’s like they are looking for something that’s missing in their life and they know that all of a sudden this white supremacists group has what they’re looking for. They have friends, they can go camping together, they like the camp, they can go shooting together, they can do all these things together, and then they get immediately accepted into this group. I’ve talked to a lot of people who were white supremacists, I asked them the same very question. It’s like: “Do you think we could ever stop this?” And they answered the question like I did. It’s a nice dream to have, and can we get better? Oh, heck yeah. We can definitely get better. And it’s the same steps that I do with police officers and Sheriff’s deputies. I do with people who are racist. I sit them down and I tell them: “You need to go find people who treat you right and you’ll see this matter what color you are.” And then that will hopefully start having them overturn a few things in their mind, have them overturned that blacks are all lazy and they all sell drugs. And it’s the same thing with somebody who, if they omit, one, that they are a hardcore racist. And two, if they’re hardcore racist, how comfortable was I, and I’ll use myself, how comfortable was I to sit there and talk to somebody who I know they just didn’t like me because the way I look? So, no, because we go through socialization.
And as that one 18 year old I was talking about, 18 years old and that was, Oh, goodness, seven, eight years ago that this happened. But he was 18 and he already had such a hatred for black people. And 18 and it’s like, so he wasn’t born with the thought that black people are lazy. He was told black people are lazy, yeah. So what the media does, it’s unfortunate, there are two things I don’t like about the media. One is that, it’s a 24 hour news cycle now. So everything gets picked up in some things it looked over that I think would be better. And two, the media can sometimes pigeonhole different wastes and ethnicities into what they think they are. So when they want to make a TV show and they want somebody who’s going to be a housekeeper, well, they could need to go through a black person or they go to the Hispanic person, but they really wouldn’t think about the white person being someone who cleans up after themselves because that’s not how they were told. White people are not like that, this type of job was for this person, and they do it on TV shows, they do it in the movies. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s a good stereotype. And at the end of that, there’s some positive, and not just that you’re going off of what you were told, and what you were told, maybe a little off. So no, once again, I say no, it’s not going to go away, but we can make it better. But people have to step out and stand up to make it better. It’s not going to do it on its own, that’s for sure.“(Stereotyping) is not going to go away, but we can make it better. But people have to step out and stand up and make it better.” - Treste Loving Click To Tweet
Art Costello: When you were talking, one of the things that was going through my mind is what I call economic racism, where we don’t give people of color the chance to progress in jobs. Very similar to what you said, we subrogate to cleaning, and lawn services, and service jobs that white people don’t want to do. How do we start, I mean, I know it’s true education, I mean partly, but when you go into the inner cities and you see how suppressed so many black youths have come, we talk about stopping the drug culture in this country. Well, when your family’s starving and you don’t have anything else to do, that’s why they’re drug Lords prey are on economically disadvantaged, and I’m going to ask you, how do we change the economic racism that exists? How do we even start?
Treste Loving: Well, one thing is to back off some stereotypes, and I keep talking about stereotypes, but we all have them. That drives us a lot during our day depending on who we need up with. So it’s debunking some stereotypes, but also it’s to help, to me speaking for myself, the way that it’s going to change in a city where the only thing they have to choose from is either don’t eat food, or go out and sell some drugs to somebody so you can have money to eat. Understand that those are two very hard choices, and they’re at the opposite ends of the spectrum. So to help somebody who you can clearly see is disadvantaged just because the way they look, but no one has given them the chance to talk about themselves, talk about the things that they see going on, and maybe they have the remedy themselves and they can come up with it. But that’s not how we go about talking to them like that. We talk down to them about how they are, and when I am in a hotel or in a restaurant, I try to make it a point to thank particularly people who clean the hotels. I thank them at least two or three times that I’m there staying. I said: “You’re doing a really good job. And I really appreciate what you’re doing.” That makes those people start smiling, and it’s like somebody noticed me, me for just being the housekeeper. So we have to start doing more that as well. We need to start building people up instead of tearing them down.“We need to start building people up, instead of tearing them down.” - Treste Loving Click To Tweet
Art Costello: You brought up a good point. You know why? When I had never, and I’ve traveled extensively in my business and everything else. And when I married my wife, my current wife, I lost my other wife to cancer. And when I remarried, my wife taught me to leave a tip on the bed for the waitstaff, for the cleaning staff. And she would always write this beautiful note about how well they kept the room and everything. And the time I started doing that, it isn’t only for them, but it’s also for you because you learn to appreciate what they do. And when we were in New Media Summit, we to stay in a hotel, and I did that, I walked out and the lady that was cleaning our floor, she came up to me and she said: “You don’t know how much that means to me. For me, it was the difference between baby formula and diapers, and trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it.” And I just thought, I said” “That is so impactful to hear her say that.” Because my next thought was, what if everybody on this floor had done that for her?
Treste Loving: Yeah, right.
Art Costello: Imagine what it would have done for her life, change it immensely.
Treste Loving: Absolutely. And I’m glad your wife talks you into doing that.
Art Costello: She didn’t have to talk me much until–
Treste Loving: Probably do, but it just was you’re an unconscious mind.
Art Costello: I just had never thought of it before.
Treste Loving: I tried to do it. Even the people who are bringing us water at the New Media Summit, they come in, they give you cold water, if caught one of them I tell them: “Thank you for what you do because you’re making this possible.” And you’re right, they feel so much different about what they’re doing. It’s like, I can take pride in my service for real because somebody has acknowledged that I do the job and I’m going to keep doing that, keep doing the job and thinking that maybe somebody else will tell me them they’re doing a good job. If I put like 110% into this, no, yeah, that one simple gesture can help people so they don’t see them as, THIS IS THEIR JOB. Of course it’s their job, that’s what they were put on this earth for was to come clean up hotel rooms, and that’s the only thing they can do, which is so far from the truth. But it takes some people looking inside themselves to make that change in their thinking, and their stereotypes, and changing stereotypes are difficult because they are so ingrained. But it’s not impossible for someone to change their stereotypes and start to recognize the beauty everyone adds to the world.“It's not impossible for someone to change their stereotypes and start to recognize the beauty everyone adds to the world.” - Treste Loving Click To Tweet
Art Costello: I’ve always felt that leadership at any level, whether it be government, religious, social, educational, whatever. Leadership is always important in changing how cultures operate, and right now, in this country where probably more divisive than we have ever been because of what is going on in the government, and the presidency, and the Senate, and all that stuff. But it’s really, I think hurt in a different way, it hurt the movement to be inclusive. Because what it’s taken the focus away from what’s important in putting it on issues really don’t matter. Any thoughts on that?
Treste Loving: Well, I think I do agree with you that we are just way too divisive right now, and it’s unfortunate that you can see it. And I’m going to talk about this, this is one thing I meant to bring up when you said something, let me go back to that. When you were saying that all the Puerto Rican sit together, all the black sit together, all the white sit together in different places, that’s called self segregation. And all it takes is one person from a different group go and sit at that table for people to say, Hey, why do we all just sit here by ourselves? Like, why do we huddle when we all should be? Well, we all have to work together, we were on the same ship, we had no choice, we had to work with each other. And the self segregation, I brought up quite a few times, and I did CCTV on the ship so I would either be a roaming reporter talking about race and ethnicity, or I would be on a set with our CEO, our XO, and our CMC. We’d be talking and they would want me to say something, so I’m not going to say that I changed any, but people came up to me for that very thing for me saying: “Why don’t you just go over there and sit with somebody who doesn’t look like you.” You can freely talk, or if they don’t feel like talking, Oh, well, at least that person sees that, Oh, so I’m not thought of this, is that different? Because somebody else from another table came over to sit with me or my chow time, meal time, I’m still talking Navy. I hope that answered your question, I got all Navy.
Art Costello: After 26 years, you have the right to be all Navy. And I actually was thinking, back to my Marine Corps days, I don’t want to use the word difficult, how challenging it must’ve been for you because the military is so structured into classes, and I’m not talking about racial classes, I’m talking about military rank. The officers can’t talk or socialize with the enlisted, and warrant officers, I mean, there’s just a whole whole structure that they built, that structure and that discipline intact. I worked in the break in 32nd Street, and when I came back from Vietnam, I went to Parris Island, South Carolina as a coach on the rifle range, and then transferred to San Diego to 32nd Street where we got the prisoners off of the ships from Westpac, which were Vietnam. They were Marines, Navy prisoners that were all either going to Portsmouth or Leavenworth to serve out their sentences long term because most of them were really bad. The first job I had was as dorm supervisor. And one of the things that we had the hardest problem with was that everybody would self-segregate and it was extremely difficult to overcome that. When you force somebody into something, do you think it is as effective as if they just do it on their own? Or do you have any thoughts on that?
Treste Loving: No, I don’t think it says effective as if they do it on their own. That’s why I would mention it as I was walking around the ship or whatever I was doing because I was the person who, when I first got to the ship and everybody’s self-segregated, I put myself at every table, every meal. I was at a different table, and I would ask them the questions. So why do all you guys hang out together? Why do you eat chow together, and you have to work with [inaudible]. So why is it that you segregate yourself like that? And it went from, didn’t really think about it to: “Yeah, I tried but it didn’t work out so I’m not going to try it again.” And it was something that I didn’t force on anybody on the ship, but I highly suggested it and they decided to do it on their own because I could make them go sit at a different table. Like you said, I could have in the pure sense of what my rank was, but come on, that’s crazy. I’d like to see people do things on their own with their own thought process behind it.
Art Costello: Yeah. And I guess my thoughts behind it is we try as a society to dictate racial equality and all that when really this is a personal choice. This is personal behavior, and taking responsibility for your behavior, and creating an environment of inclusivity to everybody, it becomes part of your thought process. I think I had it way way before I ever got the Marine Corps about being inclusive with people. But I keep going back to the thing, I guess I try to be Mr. Fix it. How can we fix all this stuff? Because it’s so much easier and less stressful to get along than it is to put all your energy into being ugly, nasty because it’s negative. And anytime you deal with negatives, you’re just taking away what is good in the world, and I guess that’s my statement. I just want us to all be good. It was Rodney King that said: “Why can’t we all just be together.” I mean, that’s the question I think a lot of us asked everyday, why can’t we?
Treste Loving: And as you say, it’s a personal choice. And sometimes people don’t even look at it as though it’s a personal choice. It’s like, well, I’m just going to go with the flow of the crowd, and the crowd happens to be going this way. But if I turn around and go this way, I might find something even better, but I’m not going to do it. Because that would take too much, that would take a lot of bravery. A lot of looking at yourself to say, Hey, you know that this isn’t right. Takes a lot for somebody to come out and speak up against it. And because I didn’t mind coming out and speaking up against some of my bosses, hope that I would stop talking, but it was just something because of, when I was socialized, because I was socialized with a whole different ethnic group that I was. So I’ve learned things through a Caucasian filter, I didn’t know anything about black culture, but I knew I had to start reaching out because I am black and it would be nice to have people of my own ethnic group so I could talk about things that are unique to that group. But since I was socialized not with them, and I was socialized with Caucasians that I felt so much more comfortable talking to a Caucasian. I felt comfortable when there was a disagreement between me and a Caucasian person because now we’re just dealing on pure people level. We’re not dealing on some hierarchy. We’re not worried about somebody making somebody else look good and then they’re looking bad. It’s really about learning about each other. So there has to be a willing participant to do this, and like you said, because you can’t force it. I couldn’t force half that stuff on the kids that I did, but I talked about it through a different lens for them to show them this like, well, there’s nothing wrong with doing it, change it up, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And if your friends don’t want to take your lead, don’t worry about it, you be the best person you can be. That means that you might have to alienate some of your old friends because you’re making new friends, that’s okay, because you’ll come out better in the end.
Art Costello: I always get these thoughts when I’m talking to people, but I just had this other thought. Maybe one of the things that we need to really, I’m big on most emotional intelligence because if you can identify your emotions, you’re way ahead of the game, you can control them, you can have a different perspective on them, and all kinds of things. When you become emotionally intelligent, maybe that’s what we need to do is start making people more emotionally intelligent so they can better examine their perspectives, their motives, all their assets that they have as human beings. that’s an answer to it. I mean, because honestly, let’s get to the real crux of everything, racism is across all races. I mean, there are white people that are racist. There are black people that are racist. There are Puerto Ricans and Hispanics that are racist. I mean, some of the worst racism I ever saw in my life was between Hispanics and black people, they were so threatened by the blacks coming to take the Hispanic jobs away from them. I stepped back and I said: “Whoa, this is really odd.” So maybe it’s emotional intelligence that’ll change the world, I don’t know.
Treste Loving: It could help, it could help. And more organizations, businesses, they’re tuning up on their emotional intelligence, train him. So it definitely has a, if there’s a plus sport, but the only problem with trying to do a big thing that’s right is by us doing a little bitty thing that’s — if that’s right. Because the big thing that we want to do, usually, we definitely need a lot of help from somebody else and we don’t want to ask somebody to help us, or we don’t want to look like, Oh, now I look like the fool because I just asked this question and I should have known this is where that was going to go. So I think it really is my love emotional intelligence myself. I’ve really gotten used to looking at that, and it’s helped me during this job. Well, I just need to leave that alone, or maybe we should talk about that, and keep myself in check, and I’m not so up in arms. I can’t believe you said that, going ballistic on somebody just because they were asking a question.
Art Costello: Well, I can’t believe that we’ve spent this hour, it has gone so fast.
Treste Loving: Yes, it did.
Art Costello: Incredibly fast. And I wanted to give the audience the opportunity to learn where they can get ahold of you, and what you’re doing next, and leave us with some parting thoughts.
Treste Loving: Okay, you can find me on my website, its www.tiredofhate.com. You can email me at [email protected], and I spell my first name, [email protected], so either way. If you’re more interested in hearing more, put your name and email address and I’ll get it,and I can touch base with you because I don’t mind doing that. And my final thought is this, and I’ve learned this, I learned it when I was in the Navy teaching leadership classes. And it doesn’t matter where you are, what you’re doing, if it’s home, and that is, “We must remember that right is right even if no one agrees. And wrong is wrong, even if everyone agrees.” So if you can put yourself in that sentence and say: “I’m going to go do this because this is the right thing to do. And even if nobody else comes with me, I’m going to do it because it’s the right thing to do.” Then you’ll find that you’re at peace with yourself because you know the difference between right and wrong. The only thing that you have to do is step out into it. So that’s my parting words.“We must remember that right is right, even if no one agrees, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone agrees.” - Treste Loving Click To Tweet
Art Costello: That is beautiful because it fits right in with all the things that I talk about with expectations, because at the center of it is our integrity. Treste, thank you for being on the show, I can’t thank you enough. This has been enlightening and educational. And I hope that each one of us can go out and change, do our part in changing this world and making it a better place.
Everybody, you know where you can get ahold of me [email protected] or expectationtherapy.com is my website. Go out and make a difference in the world. We all owe it to ourselves to leave this place better. Thank you audience, and Heather White, go ahead and take us out of here.
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