Transcript of Episode 3 Season 2
Richard Streitz: And in a deep instilling way at a subconscious level that has become a foundational to me as, I am today as, an adult.
And it’s something that I. I still am actually very conscious. And as individuals who have heard us on this very God podcast, I. I speak carefully and I, choose my words carefully. And, that’s where that comes from. I am always cognizant about that, the perception of that and, the idea that I have to try to be as perfect as as I can
LaMondre Pough: Welcome to 3DVU, one conversation, three different perspectives. I am LaMondre Pough.
David Pérez: I am David Pérez.
Richard Streitz: And I’m Richard Streitz. Thank you for joining us
Today’s topic, we are going to be exploring the, complexities of identity. And in reference to self-identity how we perceive ourselves and identity in regard to how others perceive us, how we think others perceive us. These are not necessarily inclusive or, the same as some people may think. There are many different things that go into identifying how we think about ourselves and how we think others think about ourselves. And, the many layers of that is a lot of what we’re going to be trying to delve into today. One of the things that sort of made this this topic come up was an exchange that I saw on, CNN, one of the cable news channels.
Between the, handoff of shows between Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon. And there was a, one particular exchange that, that came to mind. And I’ll try, this wasn’t necessarily recently, this was a while ago but it, stuck with me. So I’ll try to recall it as accurately as I can.
Or at least as I think I remember. But, the question was asked about to Don from Chris, if he felt how he, perceives his persona being live when he’s broadcasting versus his personal off-camera persona. And and Don’s response as he does often in very honest thing. No, he, he does think about what he says and he, is a little different, he’s looking, he’s a little more guarded about his thought processes and so forth.
And and it’s something that he. That he consciously thinks about and sometimes subconsciously thinks about, but it’s present. He has an awareness of that. And, for Chris that it’s not necessarily the case. And I thought it was a very interesting and honest exchange about the realities of, perception and how one’s life’s experience can affect can affect that as well as environmental and other components as, we mature and grow.
And, develop things that, that stick with us that affect us and alter how we behave, how we speak, the words we use creates a very interesting and complex scenario for each of us as we, navigate through the world dealing in family and, outside. So that’s the topic and we’ll try to unpack all of that.
David Pérez: Yeah. And to start unpacking, I think we need to define what identity is. And identity is many things. It’s not just one single concept that you can recite because I think none, no definition is going to make justice to the, to the concept of identity, because identity is who you are, your essence, everything you are, it’s not only your skin color or where you’re from.
It’s a combination of all of those factors. And it’s not only those factors. It also includes who you’ve met, how society has perceived you, how society has treated you. And those are the building blocks of your identity. You put them all together and it starts building the person you are now. And there’s also the fact that identity is, it’s malleable.
You can put out whatever you want, depending on the scenario you’re in and you can be someone at work and be someone completely different at home. And both of those people are you, that’s your identity. That’s who you are. And all of those things are, built from, your past experiences. And there’s a beautiful quote from Shannon A . Thompson.
It says ‘I wouldn’t be who I am today. If I wasn’t, if it wasn’t for the people I had met and the people I had lost’ because all of those experiences in life end up building who you are. And the beautiful thing about identity is that it also builds the world around you because it’s the lens through which you are seeing the world.
So I think that this is a short, trying a short explanation of what identity is in this conversation, but it’s a very important thing to it to understand that identity covers every single thing a human being is. So from preferences to where they’re, where they were born, everything is included in identity.
LaMondre Pough: Yeah. I absolutely agree with that. And I absolutely love the concept of identity is, is the lens through which you see the world. But I also believe just as an addendum to that, identity is also the window through which the world sees you. And I think that those things, together those things, combined really are about how we live how we traverse this world, how we show up, how are we present in this world? And what’s really interesting about, showing up in the world as Richard was talking about the conversation that Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon had. One of the things that stood out to me about that conversation was, it was the kind of thing, when Don Lemon talked about that, he talked about it from the perspective of: I definitely think about it, but it’s not something that is always at the forefront of my mind, but it’s certainly present anytime I’m presenting, whether I’m at home, whether I’m, it’s there, but it’s not something that’s always at the forefront of my mind.
And it certainly does. It certainly does have a tendency to to weigh to weigh in on those on those situations and in those conversations. And David, as you were talking about as you were talking about life experiences and scenarios and situations in which people’s identity really becomes important and how they present to the world.
I started thinking just from a historical standpoint, in many instances, those things are to save your life. I remember I was in a literature class in college, and I remember we were reading this, the Toni Morrison novel, The Bluest Eye. And that’s, one of those I believe it’s by Toni Morrison.
But that’s one of those, that’s one of those books that is required reading in college and that kind of thing. And your basic English seminar classes. And I remember we were having a discussion about one particular passage when One of the children had gotten a beating from the parent because they threw rocks and because they threw rocks at little white children.
And I remember the conversation in the class and the conversation got really heated and it swirled around the concept of what a terrible parent to beat your child for playing for throwing rocks. What was that about? They must’ve had some anger issues and this was the commentary. That was going on in the class.
And I remember thinking, no that parent beat them to save their lives because this was taking place during the time where if you throw a rock and it hits someone, you could unleash a lynching hop, in, for you and for your family. So what that behavior was, an attempt to save the life because it was that serious of an offense that happened.
And the reason that I bring that up now is because I think about our behaviors and I think about my behaviors and, things that I’ve seen in public and, also in private, and how they’re meant as a way of protecting who I am or protecting the groups, the people, the, protecting those that I represent.
And I am cognizant of that. I do think about that. There has been as a speaker and as a presenter, of course there’s a difference in terms of when you’re presenting before an audience. And when you’re having a casual conversation between friends, there is certainly a difference.
And I remain who I am, but I often think about what I say and how I say it and the impact that it’s going to have. And honestly weigh, it does weigh. And I’ve made decisions based on how I present. And so we can have major life ramifications.
Richard Streitz: Wow. Yeah. Certainly having been at many of your talks and presentations, I can definitely say that what you say has dramatic impact to people that when you speak. Cause you’re just an amazing speaker, but but one of the things that I you, made a comment about representing and, when you say that, do you mean how, you feel representing African-Americans do you mean representing a, person with a disability?
What, how, or is it really just all of that?
LaMondre Pough: Yeah, my answer to that would be, yes it’s, all of that. It is all of that because I, would tell you especially living in the United States, I grew up with a family that made it very clear that number one, when I leave the house, I represent that house.
And so my behavior, my presentation, all of that was representative of what Betty Pough did at home. Betty Pough is my mama. Okay. What Betty Pough did at home. And if I was out there acting a fool, that meant that I’m making Betty Pough look like she’s acting a fool or that she raised a fool. And she did neither one of those things.
So I grew up with the, I grew up with the responsibility of presenting well, okay. Now fast forward that a little bit further as I, grew up and I became really active in advocacy and in work and in, in, business and just traversing the world as an adult, I recognized that many people would judge the groups that I belong to.
Whether that be being black or being a man with a disability based on the behavior that they see in me now, is that fair? No, because I’m an individual and I should be able to live my life the way that I want to. And I don’t represent in terms of, I am not the spokesman for the group, even though it seems like we always have to have a spokesman.
For our groups, but white people don’t necessarily have a spokesman. I thought that was interesting. But anyway and, so I didn’t want to come. I, remember, being in situations where things have happened and you’re advocating for yourself and you would hear things like, ‘boy, this guys sure is angry’, and then you hear terms like ‘the angry cripple’. Literally I’ve heard people say that. You would hear things like yeah. ‘He’s, one of those really aggressive black guys’ I’ve heard people say that kind of thing. And so I’m cognizant of it. Now here’s the thing. There are times when I am angry, there are times when I am aggressive.
And what’s interesting about that is that you’re held to a different standard because it’s not just that LaMondre is angry, is not just that LaMondre is being aggressive. Is that he’s the angry cripple or he’s the aggressive black guy. And so it created a commentary on the diversity groups that I belong to.
And honestly, those groups make up who I am. Now I want you to understand something. As I say that, I’m not saying that the totality of me is in being a person with a disability or even the totality of me being a man. The truth is I am all of those things and it simply means that I am human living this, but because I recognize guys that people are looking at me, it’s in my mind, I think about that.
And many times I have altered how I would say something. And the way that I would present something, because I’m cognizant and aware of how people view that. So yeah if I were to answer your question, all of that.
David Pérez: Yeah. Yeah. I was gonna say LaMondre from, my perspective, it’s not fair that you have to represent every day, every single community that you’re a part of.
Because it, as you said, white people don’t have a spokesperson. And most people, most white people don’t feel like they have to represent all white people all the time. Like, I am from Costa Rica. I’m definitely not white in the American sense of the word, but I’m pretty white in Costa Rica. So I have all the same privileges.
I would think that I would have had if I was born white in the US. So that has given me, I don’t know if the opportunity or the privilege of just being who I am all the time. It doesn’t matter, nothing matters because I can be who I am. I don’t have to think about all those things that you were saying that you have to think about when you’re trying to express yourself.
And this is hard because I am conscious about this and being conscious about the privilege, is, is a hard thing to understand for me. And it’s also hard to decide what I can do with it.
Or where my place is or what, I should be doing is the actual question. Because if I have privilege, I should be using it for good.
I believe I am with the work that we’re doing and the things that we’re trying to do, but there’s always the question for me if, it is enough and there’s also the question of what can we do, what would that world look like? Where identity was just part of who people are, but it’s not something that you’re judged for, from, or that you’re treated differently from how, to get to that world.
Respecting difference at the same time.
LaMondre Pough: Right,
David Pérez: Not trying to eliminate it.
LaMondre Pough: I believe that is part of the evolution too. I believe that is part of, the growing that, we’re experiencing. And you said something you said to think about it it’s not fair. It’s not, but let me tell you something else I were realizing: that life wasn’t fair for me. And I know, that, I know that Richard, you would identify with what I’m about to say, especially because you were young in, in, in operating in an industry, in an environment where everybody was eight to 10 to 15 to 20 years older than you.
And because of that, you had to perform 150% when other people would get by at 75. Honestly, that was, has kind of been my, my, path that has been my reality. That’s been what I have seen. And so when it comes down to when it comes down to fairness the thing that I realized is that many things in my life are not fair.
And the best way for me to deal with that is to bring excellence to everything that I try to do now, what that does as an individual, it creates a tremendous amount of pressure. It creates a tremendous amount of performance anxiety. Because, and this is just me being absolutely honest with you because many times value as an individual is connected to what I can produce or how I produce.
And so if. If there, if it’s not perfect, if it’s not as close to perfect as I can make it, then it’s not worth anything. And I’m not saying in anybody else’s eyes, I’m saying in my own eyes and it took me a long time. It took me a very long time to work through what I call the perfection paralysis. Wait, if I didn’t feel like something was perfect, I wasn’t putting it out.
If I didn’t feel like the topics that I had prepared, weren’t perfect. People would never hear them. And here’s the kicker. I would then see stuff that other people who were brave enough to put it out. Who were willing to accept good enough, and it will go and it will work and people will be transformed by it.
Light bulbs would go on, but my stuff would be nearly perfect sitting on a shelf and I haven’t done anything with it. And what I realized that did for me was that number one, dimmed my light, and it also allowed me to sit there and beat myself up unnecessarily. So this was something that I had to, work through and work over.
And as a part of my identity now is that I realized that I’m not perfect. And I recognize that the perf, the world does not need my perfection. The world needs my presence. And that’s what I just need to do. I just need to show up in that.
Richard Streitz: That’s, you there’s so much of what I went through, especially a younger growing up was very much that experiences as, you had mentioned it’s, interesting that I certainly feel very guarded and, I don’t, you know the, story you mentioned about your mom, and going out, and when you left the house, you represented your family, right? Your, your, your, tribe as it were your, family unit your your clique. And, so I very much grew up in that environment as well. At a young age we, came from a family working class family my dad worked very, hard and and, there were six of us.
It was, a tough, growing up money was scarce. And we had to stretch everything and, that instilled in us, I think as we, left the house and we interacted with individuals in communities that were far more privileged than we were, especially from a social or financial status that we had to be better, we had to always try to match or meet them and right or wrong.
That was just at the time of of keeping up with everyone around. And, so regardless of our financial status we, had to behave and speak in a, particular way that didn’t didn’t make us look foolish. As you, as you said or bring embarrassment to to our family.
And I’m, in the middle of, six individuals. So I had older, siblings and I have younger siblings and the older ones as they went through school achieved levels of excellence that there was a high level of expectation that You know that I had and my siblings behind me had to meet and match which we did with some degrees of success.
But it was tough. It was something that was always on, on, my mind. And and, I think growing up and starting to work and so forth, as LaMondre, as you said, I was in, I worked in the entertainment industry and that was very much the junior or especially in my earlier years.
And so having to overachieve, and I think what happened is that compounded the idea that I had to guard, be guarded about how I said, what I said when I spoke, how I was perceived and, persona image that I needed to create. And in a deep instilling way at a subconscious level that has become a foundational to me as, I am today as, an adult.
And it’s something that I. I still am actually very conscious. And as individuals who have heard us on this very God podcast, I. I speak carefully and I, choose my words carefully. And, that’s where that comes from. I am always cognizant about that, the perception of that and, the idea that I have to try to be as perfect as as I can again very similar to you, LaMondre. It’s I, and. I, think it comes from just a lot of different layers of of, experiences and situations that that I’ve grown through, but it is who I am.
And am I that way privately? When I, am just with my, siblings I would say, no I’m, not, I’m, I’m far less guarded.
I’m far less inhibited. And, I don’t know if that’s right or wrong or good or bad, it just is. And it is, who I am. Like you said, I LaMondre I think you were the one that made the analogy of no, the idea of the window that we see ourselves, but it goes both ways, individuals looking through that window, how they see us and those images aren’t necessarily the same.
And, so that’s what I think that was a really beautiful analogy because I think that it really sums up about the experience about identity and also how that it, transcends it, doesn’t necessarily stop with color, of one’s skin where, status or, situation that someone is born into what country it goes into, lifestyles and and, relationships and, all of that and how we use any of those experiences as our as, the item that that we use to identify ourselves or the item that we use to identify ourselves to others.
It’s it’s an interesting and fascinating journey and an experience to delve into. On an identity self-identity and perceived identity.
David Pérez: Yeah. Yeah. And a strong sense of self identity is considered desirable, right? Understanding who you are and being sure of who you are and whatnot. I don’t think anyone knows everything about their identity because it’s, so fluid.
LaMondre Pough: Exactly.
David Pérez: Wherever you are, and whatever happens to you. Because as I was saying, I was in a I am in a very privileged position here in Costa Rica because of being white, ‘being male and not being of part of the lower classes. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be treated the same in the US. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be treated the same in Europe.
I’m going to probably be very discriminated if I, ever end up living in one of those two places. But my reality has created a completely different sense of self. I feel very secure of who I am, of everything that I am. And as such, I am pretty proud of putting it out there wherever I am and whatever scenario I am.
I just try to be the best that I can be with everything I am. And an example of this is that I, was diagnosed with ADHD when I was very young, like four years old. That meant special classrooms for exams and special treatment in school and, all of those things. But I was the fourth son of my, family and I was the smallest child and all my brothers had the same ADHD diagnosis.
So I just thought this is cool. This is what’s cool. Oh, all of the other kids are, not cool because they aren’t, they don’t have ADHD. They don’t get more time in exams. They, have to, overexert themselves. And I, just felt that way. And that’s the way it was perceived by my friends. As you guys were saying that the concept of identity working both ways of being who I am, but also how people perceive me it’s 100% correct.
Because you can also define how people perceive you by who you are and you can change how people perceive you by being who you want to be. There’s also the, thing that it’s important to remember in communication and everything we do is communication. Is that not everything you do is going to be received with the intent that you said it or did it.
So you might be trying to be charming and it can be received completely differently.
Richard Streitz: Could be perceive as arrogance, for example.
David Pérez: Perceived as arrogance, perceived as stalking, percieved as…
There are, there are many different ways that people, based on who they are and how their th their environment has on their identity, they’re going to perceive things different. And that’s why I think it comes full circle to what LaMondre started talking about. You, do have to change your message and who you are based on the audience that you have.
Why? Because if not, people are not going to understand what you’re trying to say. People are not going to perceive what you’re trying them to perceive. And if anything, what we’re trying and to do here talking about identity is making sure that people understand that being who they are, the best that can happen to them.
Richard Streitz: That’s right.
David Pérez: And, being completely who you are with everything that entails is going to make your life better. 100%. Bring that to your work, bring that to your or religious organizations, bring them to wherever you go, because it’s who you are and you don’t have to hide it from anyone or you shouldn’t have to.
Richard Streitz: You shouldn’t have to.
LaMondre Pough: Exactly. You shouldn’t have to, you shouldn’t have to. I agree with that 100%, David, I think that’s absolutely beautiful. And I want to make something very clear about this. Even though it’s a question that’s in my head whenever I present, whenever I’m speaking and all those kinds of things, I have chosen to present myself authentically.
And so that is, if I’m angry, I’m going to present angry. If I’m happy, I’m going to be happy. I am not going to switch it to, I like to say it this way. I’m not going to dumb myself down or dim my shine to make someone else comfortable. But I will, make certain that the message is communicated to the best of my ability.
I don’t believe we should ever hide our wings because again, the world does not need our perfection. What they need is our presence. And what I mean by that they need for us, the world needs for you, the world needs for you. If you’re listening to this, if you’re watching this, the world needs for you, to show up just as you are. The greatest gift that you could ever give is you showing up authentically because somewhere in that authentic presentation, humility and humanity can be seen.
And if we just focus on that, if we focus on just showing up as we are, who we are, knowing that intrinsically we’re valuable. That intrinsically we matter and that somebody out there needs you to shine because somebody needs the light that you are. And I think that’s what really showing up authentically is.
And again, that is the choice that I believe that the three of us have made because even with all of the, corpse, all of the, differences, all of the I’ll speak of myself, proclivities that I’ve may have. The fact is I know that, this team, that these guys have chosen to show up authentically in this world, and I believe it makes a huge difference.
And I just would invite you to show up authentically in this world because you make a difference.
Richard Streitz: Absolutely. Beautiful. Beautiful words. And authenticity is just, is absolutely key and, transversely tolerance of other people’s authenticity. Because I think that’s, the other key part about this is everyone needs to be authentic and true to who they are as they show up as they’re, present.
But it’s also key that we understand individuals watching that, an individual and respect the individual’s authenticity and and, accept them for that. Yeah. Very, very, very important.
And be yourself. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
David Pérez: That was Dr. Seuss again.
LaMondre Pough: Stand out, baby, stand out, baby.
That’s it. That’s it. Listen, this is a fantastic conversation. And we certainly do thank you for tuning in to this edition of 3DVU. Keep listening. We got some great shows in store for you, and we certainly do appreciate your support. So tell a friend about us and share these episodes. Take care until the next time.
David Pérez: Thanks for joining us this week on 3DVU, make sure to visit our website Ruhglobal.com/3dvu. That’s RUHglobal.com/3DVU where you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts or join our YouTube channel. So you will never miss a show. While you’re at it, if you find value in the show, we appreciate it if you would leave a like or comment, or simply tell a friend about the show that would really help us a lot too. If you would like to join our conversations you can join our Facebook community 3DVU, three perspectives, one conversation. .