Empowerment Starts Here

This site is dedicated to the professional and academic work of Dr. Angela Dye.

The Case of Family Secrets (Ep21)

Empowerment Starts Here with Val Brown (Ep21).


I met Val Brown on Twitter and because she offers dynamic tweets around equity and justice in education, I contacted her about being on the show.  Thinking that she was going to be a part of our education set, which will start in a few weeks, I was surprised when our pre-chat took an unsuspected turn.

Scroll down to access links and other resources mentioned in Episode 21- “The Case of Family Secrets.”

Now to her credit, Val graciously considered equity and justice in education but I got the sense that another topic was possible.  So I probed.  I asked her if she was deeply passionate about a different topic and not to my surprise, I got an emphatic “Yes!”

Val told me she wanted to talk about Family but in that initial call, we were not able to identify a meaningful case to explore power.  So we decided to end and promised to come back in a week to process a little more.  Now within minutes of that second chat, I knew we had made the right call!  The case was to be about family secrets and hearing what Val had to say, I am so glad we followed our instinct to imagine a stronger conversation!

Are you struggling with power dynamics at your job, school or home?  Know that a life coach can help you problem solve!!  Please contact me if you want to learn more.

I am drawn to some of my informants and the cases that they offer because they know about power.  And then there are those that are doing power.  They are in the world wrestling with power holders and in my opinion, they are doing the damn thing! But, as much as I am in awe of those who are knowing power and doing power, I am completely humbled by those who are being power.  That means that by their very existence, they have embodied power when the world deems they are unworthy of such embodiment.

This is how I saw my call with Val.  Most people in the margins have the opportunity to be power but not many of us get there.  Instead, we get stuck doing power because we are not able to sit with ourselves and go inward.  To be power is to not only contend with the external world… it is also to also contend with the internal world.  And THAT is what Val does in this call.

Please visit our Episodes at a Glance page to get a full list of episodes for Seasons 1 and 2.

My conversation with Val can easily be divided into two halves.  The first half  is where she talks about family secrets, why it is a topic for her, and how she was frustrated upon discovering some of her family’s secretes.  While I am really connected to the second half (see the next paragraph), the first is really good.  It is here that you learn a lot (through Val) about how family secrets negatively impact future generations

Now, it is the second half that I cannot help but to tease out a little more.  In the second half, Val goes inward and checks herself about her capacity, or not, to disclose some of her own secrets for her children and their future children and grandchildren.  When you listen to the call, you will hear her having what some of us call a come to Jesus moment.  This is a moment where we take off the masks that we wear to cope in the external world and become raw, honest and vulnerable with the self.  And that is what she does on this call.  On this very, public call.

I am going to end the tease right here.  To listen to the call for yourself, please click here (will be released on 2/27/18).  Take a look at the show notes below and please do come back and make a comment!

Key Points Discussed:

  • Historical slavery and modern slavery in the United States
  • Mudbound (Netflix) and Coco (Pixar)
  • Internal and external worlds
  • Masks and protecting self in social relationships
  • Family as a social instituion
  • Mothering and mother-daughter communications
  • Individual secrets versus family secrets
  • Personal mistakes
  • Courage, transparency, and being vulnerable

Resources and Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Terms and Concepts:

Social Institutions, Socialization Process, Emotional Safety, Family, Parenting, Human Development

Other Episodes Mentioned:

Ep19- The Case of Black Women Loving White Men


Please feel free to let me if you catch mistake.  Thanks!!

The Full Link for the Episode…



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This entry was posted on February 25, 2018 by in Parenting, Principle 6: Sense of Self, The ESH Podcast.
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