“The idea of liberation is: What if we just got rid of the fence? So we don’t need the boxes and we don’t need these amplifications to see over the socially and systemically constructed barriers that keep us from watching the game and being part of the game.” — Dr. Han Ren
Since the onset of the pandemic, the interest in mental health and self-care have both increased exponentially. Along with this, a gradual shift toward applying a more intersectional lens to these practices has emerged, especially after the concerns of BIPOC have long been left out of these spaces.
That’s why we’re thrilled to sit down with licensed psychologist Dr. Han Ren – one of the field’s leading experts in anti-oppressive and liberation psychological practices. In this conversation, we discuss a whole range of topics, from her perspective on accepted norms in Western psychology to the very important reasons why she joined TikTok!
Transformational Moments in this Episode:
- Why we need to re-evaluate Western psychology to serve the needs of BIPOC individuals.
- The differences between equality, equity, and liberation.
- How DEI practitioners can preserve and protect their energy for this work.
- Why it’s necessary for white people to lead other white people in this work.
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About Dr. Han Ren
Dr. Han Ren is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP) in Austin, Texas who specializes in anxiety, perfectionism, high achievers, racial trauma, and children of immigrants. She works from a systems-informed framework incorporating anti-oppressive and liberation psychological practices. When she’s not in the therapy chair, she manages a group private practice, creates mental health content, and speaks, advocates, and consults on Asian-American mental health and perfectionism. She has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas and taught pre-k special education as part of Teach for America.
Jason Rebello: Dr. Ren, it’s an absolute honor to have you part of our podcast today. Our inspiration for this podcast was obviously to be able to share these moments with incredible professionals like yourself. But I think over the course of these last few podcasts, to Oana’s point, it’s been as much about our own therapy, professional development session, where we get to be poured into, almost, instead of constantly pouring into others. And so to be able to have the opportunity to connect and dialogue and learn from someone of your stature and given the work that you’re doing in the space is, again, an absolute honor.
Jason Rebello: And I’d love for you to share a bit about yourself with our listeners, your path. How did you get on this mission, this concept of decolonizing mental health? And then your inspiration for taking that to TikTok, to be able to reach a completely different audience than might be on your LinkedIn or your traditional blog posts and things like that. So wanted to give you some space to just tell us about yourself and how you found yourself on this path and on this mission.
Dr. Han Ren: Yeah. Thank you. I’m Dr. Han Ren. I’m a licensed psychologist and a licensed specialist in school psychology. I’m based out of Austin, Texas. I have a private practice here and my background is also in school psychology and education. So I’ve worked a lot with children and parents and educators, and I am a 1.5 generation Chinese American. That means I immigrated to the US as a child and I grew up in the US with pretty traditional Chinese parents. I identify as a third culture kid with one foot in each world, belonging to neither, which has always felt lonely growing up, a lot of code switching, a lot of trying to contort myself so I can find spaces that would accept and have me fit in.
Dr. Han Ren: My background is in psychology and a lot of what I learned in school was from this Western perspective, which created by a lot of older white men. The way that I’ve really learned about issues of inclusivity and equity was either from this kind of saviorism, social justice perspective, or from this check box diversity perspective. You become more versed in working with different clienteles by working with them and checking that off. And so it really didn’t have this bottom up rounded foundation or idea of what it means to honor the clients that we’re working with and the cultures and the collective experiences of the people that we’re serving.
Dr. Han Ren: So, I had this dream when I was in grad school. I’m going to start a practice and it’s going to be focused on multi-cultural clientele. I want to have a specialty in working with Asian Americans based on my own lived experience. But that’s not something I got really any formal education in because of how few clinicians of color there are and how, especially in academia, professors of color, so I didn’t really feel like I had a great path towards mentorship in that regard.
Dr. Han Ren: After I started my practice, it was in 2017, the spring of 2017. And that was right after Trump was inaugurated and just a very fraught time in terms of mental health for our people of color. And so when I started my practice and listed these are my values, and this is who I am, my practice very quickly filled with people of color. And that really gave me the information and data that I needed. I’m onto something. This is a need, this is a niche and this is something that people don’t talk about enough. We try to just shift what we know about modern Western psychology to make it fit in this cultural competence lens, but we are not actually culturally affirmed or are culturally humble when it comes to working with people from different backgrounds.
Dr. Han Ren: From there, I inherited this local Facebook group for mental health professionals in Austin that was going through this big rift due to some racist acts that were perpetuated on this board. And I put together this team of moderators, and that’s where I really learned more about what does this look like from this bottom up kind of community organization perspective. How do you shape your group norms and protocols to really center equity and anti-oppressive practice and not just have that be a be nice kind of thing. And from there, I met a lot of other really awesome bright minds in the space, and they have really helped guide me, teach me and hold me accountable to this greater work and mission.
Dr. Han Ren: As for TikTok, after six months of doing pandemic therapy, I was feeling a little burnt out just on the clinical work, and just really zoomed out and trying to find a outlet, a more creative outlet. Such an extrovert that thrives on human connection and the energetic fields of other people, and I was really missing that by October of last year. So I started a TikTok and because I saw the other mental health professionals there, and was like, “I could do that.” And also noticed there was such a lack in centering the BIPOC mental health experience and integrating culture and systemic oppression into the ways that we talk about and conceptualize mental health.
Dr. Han Ren: And so I started talking about white supremacy in psychology, and that was my first video that really took off. And I found myself with a platform. It’s also just a place where I can not take myself too seriously. Pretty silly on there and kind of tongue in cheek with some of my non serious videos. And that’s helped me grow my own skin to be a little thicker with all of the feedback I’ve gotten. So it’s mostly just been pretty fun.
Jason Rebello: Love that. Thank you so much. Thank you. My goodness, there’s so many things, so many different paths to go down. We’ll try and touch as much as we can during this conversation. But it’s welcome. Welcome.
Dr. Han Ren: Thank you.
Oana Amaria: I love the parallels, Jason, right? How much of this are we like, “Yep?” Us too, especially the piece… So for me, the culture I identify with is third culture kid and it took me a long time to find that middle, to find that is the culture I can be. I often, I tell people it’s not even about a national thing, like I’m not Romanian enough, I’m not American enough, but also as a refugee, that’s a whole other subset of experiences that my Romanian friends that immigrated had that is not the experience that I had, so it’s a whole other thing.
Oana Amaria: I was laughing and I had this big smile around, you tackled white supremacy and we do that in our sessions. As Jason mentioned, we first came across to you with your unpacking of Maslow’s hierarchy and just the connection to Blackfoot Nation and their beliefs and how that was actually appropriated. And again, none of us are the experts on these theories, but the lineage is striking. Even when I went through my education and transformation work, I was like, “They’re all white guys. Are we really saying that everything about transformation?” Even as a white woman, I was like, “That just can’t be okay. Where are the people of color and their perspectives on this.” And European white men, to be specific.
Oana Amaria: So, I find that fascinating because a lot of… If you think about work on values or work in transformation, they’re all in the… Our education or our mindset, our lens is built upon those concepts or those paradigms. And when you talk about decolonizing the mental health, I also think it’s about understanding how to start getting people to think, or to be critical thinkers and not be accepting and have those questions. And so be the squeaky wheel when you’re in your class or in your session. For us, it’s very hard sometimes, because you have people that push back, because it is scary to think that you are contributing to systems and norms that are oppressive, that are not equitable, that are not multicultural, even though we think we’re in multicultural organizations that prioritize these things.
Oana Amaria: And so I’d love for you to share maybe beyond Maslow, but what’s something else that you came across that you’re like, “What? What are you… did no one ever think about this?” Because even social psychology research is, 80% is based on North Americans, university students. And then our whole entire understanding of the world then gets panned, whether it’s game theory or fill in the blank. So what other paradigms should we be questioning beyond Maslow? Yeah, We’ll stop there.
Dr. Han Ren: I think, this is something that I have noticed recently and, I guess it’s a paradigm, but it’s with the use of psychedelic assistance in psychotherapy. And I found this so fascinating because I read Michael Pollan’s book, How To Change Your Mind, and learned a lot about history of psychedelic research in the US and how Timothy Leary really derailed it and how it got so associated with this counter culture, the subculture. And then if you really dive a little bit deeper and look at the history of peyote, ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, it’s all very much rooted in indigenous practices, in shamanic, spiritual journeys. And of course, Timothy Leary, Harvard, white guy comes and puts his spin on it and completely stops all discovery, research, conversation about it. It very much makes it so stigmatized. And yet we have this long rich journey of the ways that it can be absolutely healing in practice.
Dr. Han Ren: In the past 10 years, since MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has really come up and normalized this. It’s been really hot. I went to a psychedelic sciences summit in 2019, and it was fascinating. My mind was so blown. They had really great diverse speakers that I really appreciated, but then looking around, oh my gosh, these are all white, tech, cannabros. It was full of just white people, and realizing, gosh, we have such a long way to go here. Tim Ferriss facilitated, which people have feelings about Tim Ferriss, but I think he represents a bit of that life hack your way through and the way they talked about it was absolutely amplifying the history of roots. But when you think about the consumers, when you think about the way that it manifests or presents itself in conversation, we think about it like, oh, new discovery, psychedelic medicine. Wow. And we don’t really honor hundreds of years of traditional indigenous practice. I think that is my current example of how this presents.
Oana Amaria: Actually, I think some of that, and I can’t remember where I read it, but it’s this piece around, it was associated with the hippies. And then it was this fear of you are not going to conform. And it makes me think of the interest in psychedelics or any kind of use of these types of maybe tools, I think it actually conflicts with this idea that it wouldn’t maintain the norms we’ve created and it wouldn’t maintain the rules of the classisms and all the other isms, because we would blur the lines. That is completely my opinion. I don’t have any research to back that up, but I think that’s part of the reason, is that our entire history was built on very specific ways to be and ways to opt in.
Oana Amaria: I just read this really great article on whiteness and how actually what whiteness meant throughout history is very different and what you had to do to be considered white, and it’s really around class. To me, that’s what I think that challenge is. We often talk about unmet needs and what are the fears and where is that coming from? And I think it’s the fear of lack of control and purity and the religious perspective on what is good and what is good character.
Dr. Han Ren: Individualism and siloing our connections to each other. Because a big element of what makes psychedelic medicine work, the change mechanisms of it is this ego dissolution, where you lose your sense of self and feel connected to the universe and others. And it melts the defenses around who we think we should be and the rules that we are currently operating from.
Jason Rebello: Oh my gosh, I don’t even want to ask questions. I just want to sit back and just take notes. It’s interesting, one of the things, again, as we continue this conversation that pops in my mind, especially around this concept of ego dissolution and melting the defenses, is this concept of liberation. And part of the work that you’re doing… one of your TikTok videos that I had the opportunity to watch was fascinating and I would love to give you some space to talk about it a little bit more, about this transition from equality to equity, to the concept of liberation and what does that look like? And should that be… I just want to give you space to share more about that.
Jason Rebello: It resonated with me when I heard it in that really small soundbite. It made a lot of sense to me, even from a visual standpoint of just knocking down the barriers instead of figuring out all these artificial constructs. Almost made it seem like these are bandaid type of paths forward as opposed to just really transforming and breaking down the whole thing and rethinking what it means to move forward collectively. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on… Or share more about your thoughts around that.
Dr. Han Ren: Yeah. The TikTok I made was this graphic of kids standing on boxes, looking over a fence to watch a baseball game. The idea of equality is that even though people have different heights, everyone gets a box. Everyone gets the same size box, so if you’re really short, even though you have a box, you still can’t see over that fence. And then equity is you adjust the boxes according to the person’s individual needs and the height of the box that they need. So the shorter person gets a taller box so then everybody is lifted enough so they can all see over the fence. And then the idea of liberation is what if we just got rid of the fence? So we don’t need the boxes and we don’t need these amplifications to see over the socially constructed, systemically constructed barriers that keep us from watching the game, being part of the game.
Dr. Han Ren: I loved that idea of liberation because it reimagines what systems can exist. How do we abolish our existing systems and recreate and reconstruct systems that are more communal, serves the people, so that we don’t need to put all these band-aids in there? What does reimagining our systems look like that wouldn’t manufacturer trauma. When we think about that, we have to go to every single level, policing, prisons, education, test scores, every single system in which we operate have some degree of inequity and the need for these boxes. And if you reduce it all the way down, they all manufacture trauma for some people. They actually elevate and make life very easy for other people.
Dr. Han Ren: Do I have ideas of what reimagined systems can look like? Some, but not really, because this is such a Herculean feat. And I think whenever I start talking about these really high in the sky ideas, people are like, “What would you imagine? What would you do instead?” I’m like, “I don’t know.” Decoloniality is imperfect and it’s not something that we have the answers for the people who are talking about this, and we’re trying to foster some different possibilities, but I think it’s important that we still continue to talk about it so we can begin to reimagine what new systems can look like.
Jason Rebello: No, absolutely. Whenever I think about this, because I’ve done a lot of economic development work for communities of color and my thesis is that we have to operate in micro environments to be able to see this lifetime or our in the next 10 years type of change. And I think there’s real power in that. And even when you look at just the reality of going back to the more indigenous ways of being, there’s the micro element that you see repeated throughout, not a disconnection from the macro, but a how do we operate in our micro to ensure that the members of our community can thrive? Exactly.
Jason Rebello: What we’re talking about, again, I think people get paralyzed with this idea of how do we transform everything simultaneously in parallel, which is overwhelming, when you think about it that way. And the way I try and keep my own sanity is what can I do in these micro environments to test some of the things that we’re talking about to see, oh, is this a better way of doing it? Do we get the outcomes that we want? Are people able to thrive despite not having whatever because of the micro that we’ve constructed? It’s something I want to definitely continue to follow you. And if you have things, you come across more examples of, or if you further this idea of this liberation versus just equity, it’s something I want to continue to learn more about and engage with. So thank you for bringing that to the forefront.
Dr. Han Ren: Yeah. It all starts from within. What we do within ourselves and within our individual communities affects change on a larger scale. And that this idea of the liberation psychology, psychology for the oppressed by the oppressed. We build up from where we are.
Oana Amaria: Yeah. What’s so interesting in hearing you both share, the irony is that it’s actually not very different. In our world who we do a lot in tech and how is that different than disruption? It should align. The companies we work with are all about either reimagining or blowing it all up. And then, Jason, what you talked about in the micro environments is V1 and descoping and figuring out what’s your MVP of this version.
Oana Amaria: It’s so interesting to me that the things that should align are probably the hardest points to sell for us, Jay. I say this because, Dr. Ren, we shared earlier, you spent a lot of time facilitating really hard conversations because many of our clients have signed up to do the super hard work of figuring out what does equity look like in their organization? What does anti-racism look like in their organization? And we are spending our days holding space. And one of the things that we’ve talked about a lot as a team is how do we protect our energy with our schedules or with meditation or chanting, or what do we do to ensure that we show up and we meet people where they are every day, and we don’t bring the stuff from the other session, from the other clients, from the other conversation and really show up because that matters. And every person and every moment for us really matters.
Oana Amaria: But it feels like there’s a emotional residue in that work. And we’re not trained clinicians. We don’t have a lot of the preparation that you have had, but I would feel like maybe you could give us some tips. And I recently learned that there’s a term for this. Vicarious trauma is what in your space, is what you are trained to identify and support and unpack. There are so many practitioners, especially BIPOC practitioners in the DI space where not only are you going through it in your life, we often talk about how Jason has to show up with all his blackness every day and I have to show up with all my white supremacy and when we talk about white supremacy and, that’s hard. So you do that, you live your experience and you show up and you do that for your living. And I don’t think we have the tools really in this space.
Oana Amaria: And there’s a lot of new DI practitioners out there. It’s this brand new field for a lot of people. We’ve been doing it for 15 years. It’s not new for us. We’re like the battered, in a way, the seasoned, the beat down. We’ve got the limp as we’re walking in. And so I’d love to just ask, and I know that it’s tricky because you’re not going to give medical advice and this is a conversation, but I think it’s very powerful and helpful for all of us to hear from your perspective.
Dr. Han Ren: Yeah. I have really lived this year and had to practice what I preach around it, especially with the rise in Asian hate and the trauma that shows up in my body of feeling unsafe in spaces, worrying about my children or about my parents. And then also being pulled in to do a lot of talks to corporations and different organizations around Asian hate. It was like I was doing it at work, I was living it at home, the containers got really blurred.
Dr. Han Ren: I think the idea of trauma stewardship is really important, where you can heal and work and be with other people’s trauma, while also healing and working and being with your own trauma and letting each inform the other. I think the most powerful work that I do and the clients that I work best with are the ones where we have some shared similar lived experiences, because I do know what it’s like to overcome some of that. But I find that if I get really emotional and I feel it in my body, then I know that, okay, my boundaries are blurring a little bit. I need to take a step back.
Dr. Han Ren: I think when it comes to preserving your energy and protecting yourself, there’s several things that I always go to. Number one is physical activity. Moving my body, stretching, getting a good cardio workout, really helps discharge some of that stress, complete some of that stress cycle. Another one is play. I think as adults we really under estimate the value and necessity of play. And so whether that’s playing with kids or going dancing, or just finding different ways where I can be silly and goofy. So much of my TikToks are like that because I’m dancing off rhythm and I don’t even care. It’s fun. It’s play for me. And then social connection is another huge one. Feeling like you have peers who can hold space for you, who you can dump on with permission, of course, when you are really needing that support and holding.
Dr. Han Ren: And then finally, just being able to diversify what work looks like for you. I realized that for me, just seeing client after client made me feel burned out and the lines did get a little bit blurry, so I made a conscious effort to not take anyone else on. And then slowly as my people have graduated, that has left me with more room and space to be creative in other ways, and take on different types of projects that are more invigorating for me personally and allow me to tap into these pockets of joy. It’s always an ongoing process, so it’s imperfect.
Oana Amaria: What would you say, because I’ve heard this, to practitioners that are like, “But this work is so important.” How we often feel like you can’t opt out because this is what’s going on and I’m not going to go do DI light. Feeling the responsibility of that fight or being in that trench always, which obviously is that death spiral of experience and energy and emotion.
Dr. Han Ren: I think this is where we really need to tap into the idea of community care and collective care. We are just one voice amongst many. And so when we normalize this in activism work or social justice work where we’re one communal creature, and then the mouthpiece just goes to the back every once in a while, where rest is baked in and normalized. And if you can really think about rest as an act of resistance in this capitalistic world and society that we live in, rest is pretty radical. Pleasure is radical. Joy is radical. And you really get to practice some of what you’re preaching through taking care of your body, through taking naps, through playing and finding joy and that also sustains you for the long-term. It’s one of people’s favorite analogies in the therapy world is, put on your mask before assisting others. As healers and as change makers I think we forget to do that because there is such a sense of urgency.
Dr. Han Ren: But then even with that, zooming out and thinking about time as a constructed concept, construct and thinking of we are here for this short little moment in time, this work has existed way before us and it’ll exist way after us. And so whatever we can do right now, preserving and protecting our own resources is pretty cool. And that kind of takes the pressure off a little bit. It’s easy to get wrapped up in it and I’m constantly have to pull myself out, pull my friends, my colleagues out, and that accountability with pulling each other out is also so essential to this work. We cannot do this alone. We will burn out.
Jason Rebello: It’s incredible what you’re saying, because I know Oana and I have experienced this. We talk about it even going into sessions and then after sessions, it’s how are we ensuring that we maintain health across the board, because it is challenging. To that point, I have two questions for you that could either be connected or separate. One of the things is what have you found that has been most challenging in your particular work? And then from the standpoint of collective support from the community, what is a request or an ask that you have of the community, inclusion champions, practitioners, to support your mission and purpose?
Dr. Han Ren: Such a great question. I think one of the biggest challenges that I have is as a more liberation focused psychologist, I’m working in some radical concepts, more radical space. And the way that I present my information and the way that I present, whether it’s a TikTok or a keynote speech is I center the BIPOC experience, whoever that may be. And so that rubs against people’s defenses and all this fragility comes out and people get really upset. And then when that happens, people question my credentials, they question my authority or ability to speak on it. I’m like, “I’m just one person, but I’m taking what I know and transforming it and packaging it in a way that I feel like people can understand.” Do I have years of scientific evidence and research to support what I’m saying? Maybe not. But I also know that it resonates, especially to the people that I’m trying to reach. And that is the biggest evidence that I need that I’m on some sort of path towards helping people find their own voice in their journey with this.
Dr. Han Ren: But it can be really hard when I get institutional pushback, when I get individual pushback. People said, you have really othered me in this presentation or in this TikTok, or you’re racist against me as a white person. I know enough about how white supremacy culture operates and how this wildness operates to not really take it personally, but it builds up, it hurts, it stings, especially when you’re faced with it time and time again. Not everyone’s ready for what I have to say. I would say probably most people aren’t. And that can be really challenging when I am trying to advocate for this in more traditional psychology spaces, more professional development spaces where people get really uncomfortable with it, which quite honestly is part of the work and a necessary part of unlearning and growing.
Dr. Han Ren: And in terms of what kinds of support and resources I would like, I think this work really all just starts from within. And people think I’m here to help other people, and you can’t do that until you have done your own work. I did this training by a good friend of mine, Melody Li. She started inclusivetherapists.com, and she has this training in there called tending to racial in times of crisis. And one of the things that she and her co facilitator Sam Lee talked about was the necessity and importance of white people to love their whiteness. Because if they love their whiteness and they love themselves, then they don’t need me to take up more space. We can be equals in that way, instead of coming from this place of guilt and shame and compensating to a fault. If you can just do your own work and become comfortable and integrated in who you are, that lets me take up space in the ways that I can naturally take up space instead of having to pander to your comfort or reassure you for your guilt and your feelings of shame.
Dr. Han Ren: And so I think this work truly comes from the inside out. We think, okay, let’s fast track BIPOC to leadership positions. You can’t just put people of color in leadership positions. You got to take the white supremacy out. And that is very much an inside out process. It’s not something that just exists out there. We’re fighting against racism out there. It takes up space everywhere. It’s in here. It’s in me. I very much have a lot of internalized white supremacy that I’m continuing to unlearn every single day. When people really understand that, and they’re less focused on fixing and doing out in the world and okay, fixing and doing means I have to examine myself and unlearn and get really uncomfortable with the baggage that I’m carrying, that’s where I feel like we can be in community with each other and have these collective conversations that really move us to a new space.
Oana Amaria: I find that so interesting. Jay, I’m going to jump in on this one, because there’s a lot… You, I’m sure, have seen this Dr. Ren, But what is the space for white DI professionals like myself in this work? It’s quite the controversy and I experience it a lot around, who are you? I think for some, it depends. For some it may be more guilt, for some it may feel more like shame. I think for me personally, it has been the work for me. How do I give myself permission to be in this space and to say that this matters to me and my identity is value neutral. It’s what my experience and what I bring and my intention and my purpose, but man, is it rough. It’s some rough stuff. And having the courage to say that this matters and that we have to harvest the white voices to talk to the white people about white supremacy. And that’s my value add.
Oana Amaria: But there are many practitioners that just don’t, because of their pain, because of all of these other things that speak louder than our interconnectedness, that speak louder than… anti-racism is about connecting with humanity and that we need all of us to do this in order for it to work. I think it’s hard, because it’s experiencing stereotype threat every day, basically. And whether you’re a BIPOC person in corporate America or corporate Europe, or wherever you are in the world, or whether you’re a white person trying to do activism work, it’s the same muscle. It’s the same trigger. It’s the same tendency. And I think that’s a real thing that people are dealing with.
Oana Amaria: I can really empathize with your ask, because it’s what I go through every day. It’s like we were on a meeting and someone’s like, “Why? Who are you?” I was like, “Oh my God.” If we were in Pinky and the Brain, it would be a zoom out. And I’d be like, “Who am I?” Because it’s hard. It’s a hard question to ask.
Dr. Han Ren: And it’s so necessary. And that is, I guess, maybe another thing is like, what do we need? What do I need? I need white people to listen to other white people who are further along in their journey’s, because there’s not enough BIPOC people in this world and we’re going to burn out. I have had people tell me, I’m not going to learn about racism and anti-oppressive stuff from a white person, because what do they know? I’m only going to learn from, not even like an Asian person, I’m only going to learn from a black person. Gosh, what kind of emotional labor are you demanding from people who are already exhausted and oppressed and dealing with this on a lived experience level every single day.
Dr. Han Ren: It is so necessary that white people lead other white people because they are not in the same place in their journey and then feeling the permission and authority to corral the fragility and wildness up. As BIPOC we can actually just take up a little bit more space and do the work that we love to do, which may not always be only anti-racism, anti-oppressive work.
Oana Amaria: And frankly, be the buffer. Gee, just tap somebody out. Tap them out, I’ll get that. Let me answer that question. And I think that’s what works about Jason and I and our partnership is that we get to tap out and say, “I got this Oana.” Or “I got this Jason.” Because it cannot be the same voice and frankly, that doesn’t work with all the different identities people have and experiences.
Oana Amaria: I think that if we are going to get past this, we can’t just flip it and now somebody else is going to be the supremacy. That’s not going to get us anywhere either. So I think it is about gathering the fragility and then meeting them where they are to say, what is that about though? And is that fear real? And is that thing true? The projections, the interpretations, the perceptions that we have, but is that real? Will you have less? Will you be less important? Will you be left behind? Will your voice not be heard? Which are all the things that we say in our sessions, because I genuinely, in my heart, maybe I’m an optimist. I believe that people do want to do the work, but the fear, the paralysis of what Jason said, oh, it has to be all of these things.
Dr. Han Ren: Yeah. The fear of scarcity.
Oana Amaria: The fear of scarcity.
Dr. Han Ren: The manufactured scarcity that feeds capitalism.
Oana Amaria: And we had an amazing conversation with one of our other friends, Busi who talked about, we don’t have to play this game. It doesn’t work for any of us. White supremacy culture, the characteristics, or over focusing on capitalism and capitalist tendencies, it actually doesn’t work for any of us. So it’s fascinating that… How do we move them on that spectrum of understanding to be able to say, “Hey bro, from the cannabis business, it’s also not going to work for you. One day that system will turn on you.”
Dr. Han Ren: Yeah. It harms everyone.
Jason Rebello: Dr. Ren, it has been, again, an honor, and a pleasure to engage in this dialogue with you. Thank you so much for coming on. And I hope you enjoyed this conversation as well.
Dr. Han Ren: Oh, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. This was really fun. It’s really fun to be able to have conversations so organically around these really important topics that are obviously very interesting to me.
Oana Amaria: It’s been such a pleasure and a blast also on our end. Thank you for having us.