Race, Identity and Democracy with Hassan Hodges

Race, Identity and Democracy with Hassan Hodges

“Get curious, get involved, and I think everybody would like to be doing more. I know that I am not doing enough, but awareness is the place where it starts. You’re not going to go out and take a big action unless you’re aware that this is something that needs to be addressed.” - Hassan Hodges

With the US election right around the corner and tensions at an all-time high, I wanted to bring someone on the podcast to help tackle the issues about race, and to share the importance of getting out to vote and having your voice heard. 

Hassan Hodges spent 20 years telling himself that photography should just be an expensive hobby. The flood gates opened for him in 2019 though when he saw the joy he could spread by showing people the world as he sees it.

Hassan was born in a small village in Sierra Leone, and his American parents were former Peace Corps Volunteers who had stayed overseas building schools and doing other community development work. He lived in Sierra Leone and Liberia before moving to New Jersey while in elementary school, and he says this is where his compassion and dedication to doing work that matters was hatched. 

In this episode Hassan reveals his own perspectives that were formed during his childhood to current day, and we covered so many critical topics in this wide-ranging conversion. I’m so happy that he was able to join me here on Brave By Design so that I could share these insights with you.

Connect with Hassan: https://www.hassanhodgesphotography.com/

Connect with Laura Khalil online:

instagram.com/iambravebydesign

linkedIn.com/in/LauraKhalil

Learn the five habits that help women rise:

http://bravebydesign.net/fivehabits 

Invite Laura to speak at your live or virtual event http://bravebydesign.net

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • Hassan’s own experiences being biracial and how it’s differed depending on who he was with at the time [5:58]

  • The ways he’s realized that he’s been “colorblind” in certain situations, and what he’s now doing about this  [13:46]

  • Why it is so important to see differences and to not only have a singular perspective [22:14]

  • How we can each start to get curious, and then get involved [26:50]

  • A fascinating look at what happened in a past Liberian government coup, plus why this is so relevant in the United States at this current time  [28:15]

Additional Links & Resources:

Hassan’s Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn


Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, get curious, get involved. And I think everybody would like to be doing more I know that I am not doing enough. But you know, awareness is the place that that starts you know, you're not going to go out and take a big action unless you're aware that this is something that that needs to be addressed.

Laura Khalil:

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host, Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking bake, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Hey, everyone, welcome to this episode of brave by design, we're doing something different today, you have probably been used to listening to the show where we're talking about mindset tips, we're talking with leaders of industry, which we will be talking with today, however, we're going to be tackling an issue or at least that's going to be the starting point for something we don't normally discuss. And something that is, you know, really important to all of us, and that is race. And I don't even get into it too much. Before I introduce our guests, I am so pleased to have Hassan Hodges with me today, on brave by design. He is an entrepreneur based in Ann Arbor, Hassan and I have been like I said, we sort of been like circling around each other. For two or three years now I feel like we've been like we've been connected on LinkedIn, we sort of like seen each other at events. And finally, I was like, you know, I've seen you have some very interesting discussions on LinkedIn around just how open and honest and vulnerable you are. And we have some interesting commonalities around race and being biracial. And I just, I want to talk to you about it today. So welcome. Thank

Hassan Hodges:

you. Excited to be here. I'm happy to share all my adventures and some of the perspectives I have, I kind of wear a bunch of different hats and slide into a bunch of different worlds. So that lets me see the differences between those. So happy to happy to share those.

Laura Khalil:

I can't wait. So for those of you who are listening to this right now, Hassan How would you describe your appearance.

Hassan Hodges:

So I have a beard, it's kind of a landmark beard that if somebody is giving directions, the beard is a good place to point out.

Unknown:

I've got a

Hassan Hodges:

shaved head right now, earlier this year, when I had a barber that I was going to regularly I had a mohawk call, I've got thick glasses, and I've got kind of a an ambiguous ethnic appearance where I am definitely not white. I've never been on a cab ride where the driver is not said Are you from insert the name of his country. And yeah, so I get I get confused for a lot of different places that have you know, run the range from the Dominican Republic to Turkey. So I'm definitely kind of a an olive skin color. And I've got freckles. And that's me.

Laura Khalil:

You know, it's funny, because when we met, so for those of you who haven't seen a photo of me, I'm like the whitest Arab anyone's ever met. And when I saw your first name, I thought oh, Hassan must be Arab. Like, just from the first name, I thought, oh, like he's maybe his family's from the Middle East or something, or? I don't know. But that's not exactly the case.

Hassan Hodges:

Nope, that is not the case at all. So my name is it's really interesting. And it's been a wonderful marker of where I'm from, more so than which culture is I'm attached to that my parents were in the Peace Corps when they met. And they were in Sierra Leone, which is in West Africa. They met in the Peace Corps, and then they stayed overseas after they fell in love. And I was born in Sierra Leone. And they gave me a popular local name, a middle name matches another family name of my grandfather. But so it's Hassan Samuel Hodges, but that Hassan part matches the the culture of the place where I was living at that time. And then I lived in Liberia as well and came over to the states when I was seven. But I was I was born an American citizen, and my parents are American. They are an interracial couple, and that we

Laura Khalil:

get to learn what those races are. Yeah. We've really kept us guessing.

Hassan Hodges:

There's so many layers to unpack. So we'll do them one at a time. Okay. My mom is white. She was originally from Chicago. Her heritage is Lithuanian. So I've got a whole side of the family that are second and third generation Lithuanian immigrants and They're stories about the little grocery store that my grandfather ran in Chicago and to visit that house from where my mother grew up. And it's all a neighborhood of Mexican immigrants now. Wow. But it was Lithuanian immigrants. And there were Italian immigrants in the next neighborhood over, but it is evolved since then. And then my dad's side of the family, he is black, and from North Carolina. And that's a another whole very different family type. There were, this is a strong, rather religious family. And it is very organized and very successful family with a lot of strong traditions, and a lot of family heritage that we're very proud of. And a lot of stories that have been very well passed down through the family and a lot of family reunions, when I was growing up, you know, that type of strong family.

Laura Khalil:

Now I have to ask you a question, I'm going to ask it by way of sharing an experience I had when I was younger, I didn't really understand how different I looked until someone pointed it out to me from the community. And I remember being a little kid, and we would go to the Coptic church, for those who don't know what that is. That's the the Egyptian sort of version of Eastern Orthodoxy. So we would go to the Coptic church. And I remember very clearly people grabbing my hand and my arm, and holding back and looking at my forearm and saying, we can't believe how white she is. And it was the first time I never realized there was a difference between me and my dad. Until people would say that, and I thought, Oh, I guess I am, like, really different than all of these people. And so I want to ask you, was there an experience and really pivotal memory for you in childhood, where you realize, Oh, wait a minute, I'm a little bit different.

Unknown:

I've,

Hassan Hodges:

I don't know, if I had too many of those in childhood, I think I've been fairly oblivious to a lot of things. But there are different feelings that I have when out with different parents, whether I'm out with my, my dad, or whether I'm out with my mom, just of the ways that we move through stores and the ways that those experiences go and the times we've been stopped by police and things. And when I'm out with my mom, that never happens. Okay. Yeah. And then

Laura Khalil:

with your dad, it has, yeah, can you tell us a story about that,

Hassan Hodges:

I'll tell a story of driving through South Carolina one time, and if you've ever ridden with my father in a car, you'll know that he is not going anywhere near the speed limit. But he pulled over of being told that he was going over the speed limit. And he was nowhere near the speed limit. And just having questions asked at that point. And you know, these kids in the back of the car that do not fit the the normal script as to, you know, what people are going to look like?

Laura Khalil:

Like, why is this black guy have lighter skinned kids in the back?

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, I know, a white woman riding in the in the front seat with him as well. So it's just, you know, things like that. That never happened when I was out with my mom, but only when I've been out with my dad, or as a teenager, being at the mall and with friends. And like, if I'm out black friends, then we'll be stopped and questions will be asked are things that happen, you know, just as an adult these days where it's like, oh, somebody is following me in the hardware store, from one section of the store to another and just organizing things on the shelf. That's, you know, six steps behind, right? For 10 minutes. Switching to another shelf.

Laura Khalil:

They're really, really focused on you know, the screwdriver section. Right. Yeah.

Hassan Hodges:

And then about the next section over and the section. Right,

Laura Khalil:

right. Just wherever you happen to go is very critically important to their business. That's Yeah. So it's kind of interesting, because it seems like in some contexts, you quote unquote, pass. And in other contexts, you don't is that your experience? Is that how you view this or not?

Hassan Hodges:

That is very accurate. And as with focus of your show, being on a lot of workplace issues, I was searching my head for workplace experiences that I could relate here and actually don't have any. I don't have any stories to tell about, you know, unfair treatment in in the workplace this way. Maybe a place where I've run into some obliviousness and signs that I missed. But, you know, I found that in the workplace, you know, coming in and being excellent and doing amazing jobs and things that you don't have large teams doing Whereas, you know, other people don't fundamentally understand them, and you're doing something a little bit different, that I've been, you know, very accepted there. But at other times of, you know, being in stores, or as a photographer being out taking pictures of, you know, in places where you may not expect to see somebody taking pictures, having the police show up there, and, you know, saying, What is he doing?

Laura Khalil:

Yeah. And is he taking photos here?

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah. And not even just like, oh, what's he doing here, but we got a call of somebody, you know, doing something that was suspicious. And on that I happen to match the description of somebody who was wanted for a crime and things like that. So it's like stuff can so

Laura Khalil:

this has happened to you like multiple times?

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's just assumed was kind of a normal thing that happens to people in all sorts of different places. But, you know, just becoming more aware of things like, Oh, you don't have these types of interactions. And, yeah, there was a moment a couple months ago, where my wife, who was white, was talking to some friends of hers, and the friend mentioned that, you know, the friend lives in Seattle, and was scared about things that were going on, and like, oh, there's nothing to worry about, you know, you're not going to get accosted by the police, you're going to be okay. Turned out, the friend was actually scared of protesters. And it hadn't occurred to me to think that like, somebody would be scared of protesters, instead of scared of the police. And, you know, I don't walk around

Laura Khalil:

what a privilege for them to not have to ever be afraid of the police.

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah. And I do not walk around with, you know, with fear that, you know, police are about to kill me that there is a vendetta out or something cataclysmically wrong is about to happen. But it is a situation where I feel as though I need to be able to, you know, demonstrate that I am a good person, and that I am not a threat. And jail of times, I've spent time practicing my smile so that it is ready to go in situations that need to diffuse or, if I'm out driving late at night, wear a sport coat, so that if I am stopped, I can look like I am, you know, doing something that is on the up and up all sorts of tips like that don't drive a car that's too nice, don't drive a car that is too old, all sorts of tips.

Laura Khalil:

So you have you've just sort of integrated that way of being into your life.

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, it's, you know, my life has been my life. And, you know, it's taken some work to figure out that other people haven't dealt with these types of things. And, you know, seeing that there are a lot of places where I can just, I've had a a white woman's hand to hold many times in my life, whether it's my wife, or my mother, it's, you know, gives me a place where I can move through situations with much less friction. But other times, there's just proof to bring along. Or one time when I was out with my, my wife, when we had first met, we were living in New York at the time, and we'd gone shopping on a Saturday afternoon, and I had a bag and we were going to split up and I'm like, oh, but you have the receipt. And she's like, Well, why do you need the receipt like, because you always put the receipt in the bag. Because you need to have that proof. Nobody stops you, you need to be able to demonstrate that this is a purchase that you have made. So just you know that level of preparation is done. And it's like that's not a huge burden to bear. But it's still a burden. That's, that's there. And one of the things that you just unconsciously incorporate and like, yeah, I've kept track of like, where the receipt went where the bag went? Mm hmm. That's just part of it. I mean,

Laura Khalil:

it is a burden, though. I mean, it was I hear you talking. And while you know, I can't say my experience is anything like yours, but I can say that as a woman. We are also trained to think similarly, especially if you're going out at night, or you're going to be alone in a new place. Who have you texted to let them know where you are? What are you wearing? Have you been drinking? Do you need to be worried? You know, it's it's a very different type of fear. But that is something certainly that women deal with. And so basically, it sucks. Hassan's. What I'm saying is well, I'm hearing your story. And I'm like that blows and that's very, I mean, it's disturbing. Frankly, it's just disturbing. And one of the things that I know when you and I were chatting before we started recording, you said this interesting thing about not feeling black enough. What does that mean?

Hassan Hodges:

Well, I think it's a place where there are a lot of white worlds that I'm more integrated in than involved in black community and places of making sure that I'm actively fighting racism rather than just kind of being colorblind. I think I've had some some moments in my life where I have been somewhat colorblind, because yes, I have had the, you know, plenty of those experiences of, I'll call them oppression, but I don't want to, you know, make that seem too big. But at the same time, I've also had tons of privilege and opportunity. And all these places where I'm able to, you know, to take advantage of the able to operate in a world where I can move freely, and where there are benefits that are available to me. And about 10 years ago, when I moved to Ann Arbor, it kind of wound up with a different set of friends. And just by default, and by the community, those available here, it wound up being a wider set of friends than I had before that, and it's a place where just of my identity, it's very easy to kind of slip into kind of mainstream things. And it leaves me in a place where it's like I have I have I've done enough to, you know, to help my people, and you know, who are my people? Are they, you know, the Lithuanian immigrants? Are they the descendants of slaves, and you know, how to balance that type of stuff.

Laura Khalil:

One of the things that I have experienced, and I'm curious if you have experienced this, within the Egyptian community, especially as I got older, I would meet strangers, you know, on the street, and those strangers would be from anywhere in the Arab world. And I would say, Oh, well, I'm, you know, Lebanese and Egyptian. And they would say to me, no, you're not, they would tell me, I wasn't to the point where I actually stopped telling people my last name, because I was like, I don't actually want to go down this road, I don't want to have this discussion with you, I don't want to be debased by you, it was incredibly upsetting. And I'm wondering, if you have felt that from your community, maybe or from both communities, like you're not part of this one, you're not Has that ever happened?

Hassan Hodges:

Not so much in in that direction. It's, it's interesting that you're, you're hiding your your last name, whereas I've gone through efforts to, to hide my first name. So it's the reverse situation, we kind

Laura Khalil:

of are the reverse, though, it's kind of like, I'm too white for my community, well, maybe you are to wait for your community to I don't know,

Hassan Hodges:

I do not feel excluded in any community, that this is a place where this may be my obliviousness or the welcoming pneus of various communities, or that I have practiced my smile, and I've gotten very good at fitting in. But one of the things that I did professionally, when I started doing photography, I started it started about a year ago doing photography as a as a business. And I named it after I used my initials in naming the business and was, but that was a decision that I made out of fear. And the efforts to hide my first name. First impressions, I went with hh photographics. But I've now changed that to Hassan Hodges photography, and, you know, have that front and center as part of the identity, and just trying to be more authentic to who I am, and you know, that my experiences are, are different, and also just trying to include anti racism as part of the the mission of the work that I'm doing, I know, I still have a lot more work to do to, you know, to drive those goals. But you know, just acknowledging that this is stuff that needs to happen intentionally is important.

Laura Khalil:

I feel exactly the same way. It's, I think, for all of us who are engaged in that work, to your point, it just, it never ends, you know, you keep learning more, you keep growing, you keep humbling yourself, at least that's how I feel to the experience and you know, making mistakes, and, okay, I'm learning and let's keep going and don't get discouraged. But I applaud you for using your name because I didn't realize your first name was so smart. I'm looking for like, I just didn't realize all of the history around that you had experienced. Because when I remember when I saw your name, I'm like, Oh, he's one of us. That's my people. No, he's not Laura. He's not.

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, but it's a different us. It's the people who have kind of these intersectional identities in places that you know, that kind of span different worlds and where we don't exactly fit in anywhere, which makes us also somewhat fit in everywhere, but because our experiences have been our experiences. And kind of the you know, the baseline of things are our starting point in our frame of reference and, you know, like my, you know, as a child, the friend group that my parents had crafted for us happened to be a bunch Have Peace Corps volunteers and other people who are doing work overseas. And they often had a, you know, an interracial marriage component. So, you know, look at pictures of us out with friends when I was a kid. And it's like this whole, like interracial flock of kids who were, you know, all of us. And that was my, my baseline of like, yeah, that was my, my normal starting point is that everybody was a different color, and we're all somewhere in the middle. And then it got, you know, it's like, oh, no, wait, they're different groups, and there's just splits between them and other people aren't moving as freely between these worlds.

Laura Khalil:

You know, that's so interesting that you mentioned that because I was thinking back on my first very good friend, who I'm actually still friends with today. And her name is Christina Martinez. And we met in first grade. And she was the only brown kid in the school. And I never, we were basically like, for whatever I don't know, I don't know, I wish I remembered or knew why children had these dynamics to like other people, you know, like you're over. But for whatever reason, Christina and I were always the other. Like, I was like, for anyone who's listening to this, and who was ever like, the super unpopular kid. That was me. I was terribly unpopular. I had, like, you know, very few friends. But Christina was one of them. And she was the only brown kid in the class. And I was thinking about it more recently. And I was like, why was it that Christina and I became and maintain such a friendship now over? I mean, 30, almost 40 years. And I came to realize that I think Christina was one of the only people who look like my community. And I was like, Oh, she might have been from Bolivia, but she was brown. And I was like, well, that must I mean, probably in my little child's head. I was like, well, she looks like everyone else. I've been around. Maybe she's one of us, I don't know. But it's interesting how we grow up, seeking what we're familiar with, and how you've kind of managed to construct a life for yourself around that. I want to talk a little bit. You mentioned something about this intersectionality in race and identity, and I wanted, you touched on it. But I'd like to go a little deeper on what do you see as the benefits of that. Because a lot of people don't shift You and I have very different experiences. But a lot of people don't share our experiences, like they're just living in a whole other universe. So tell us what you think. Why is that a good thing? Why is that important? Why are people like us? I don't know, good to know, maybe, or provide a different perspective on things than the typical white folks.

Hassan Hodges:

I think it's, it's great to be able to see differences. And I know from from my life, when you have something that's just kind of your, your singular perspective, that can that becomes the framing of things. So the the high school that I went to in the town where I lived after I moved to the states from Africa, it was a a majority black community. And then I went to college, and my eyes were just wide open, if there are so many white people here, really, yeah, it was kind of just the place of like, oh, things are very different out here. Richard, the school is in New Jersey, went to Rutgers, and I'd grown up in a town called willingboro, which is outside of Philadelphia and South Jersey, okay. When I went to school, like there are so many white people here, and it does kind of the, you know, a different view to have. And I think the being able to, to notice things is something that, you know, I've kind of grown into more, you know, it's mentioned before, I spend a lot of time being oblivious. But, you know, as you start to notice stuff, there are differences and like they're, they're common patterns between things too. And, and there are a lot of things that are similar, when dealing with issues of women and issues of race, where there's just a lot of places where you have to demonstrate value, you can't just be but you have to be able to be more and when you are more of something than it overcomes whatever else is there that's holding you in place and the people who are not necessarily trying to, you know, actively keep you down, keep you out of something, but that require you to bring proof and whether it's showing a receipt that you purchase something, we're showing that your work is better. Those are the, you know, the forces that are at play there.

Laura Khalil:

Now, it's kind of an interesting argument. It's something that I deal with a lot in my work, where you know, when I'm teaching women, primarily like hey, here's here's how to ascend, let's say, into leadership, or here's how to make more money and my belief is always that we co create a reality. So while You and I have a, you know, a certain fate, we were born looking a certain way we were born to certain parents, we were born into certain communities and was certain societal structures in place that you and I can't, you know, control. I do think that we have some control. And one of the things that I guess I get disturbed by let's put it that way, or income or I get disturbed when I I feel like people sometimes think things are not in there, like nothing's in their control, and they're the victim to their circumstances. And I. So when I work with women, I'll say like, yeah, there's a lot that you can't control. And you know what, there's other things you can and that's what we're going to focus on. Is that how you look at stuff as well?

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, I think it's, it's important to only focus on the things that that you can change. And in a lot of other places, it's, it's really powerful to bring awareness to things but knowing that just a single bit of awareness is not going to, you know, not going to change the world, it may help introduce concepts to other people who can then spread them. And that's why it's important to, you know, to be an ally, and to always work to enable other people. And there are a lot of things in these times where you're dealing with, you know, if you're choosing the, you know, if you're choosing neutrality, you are choosing oppression. And it's very important to, you know, to recognize the stories that people have, and the experiences and when, when somebody says, This system is not working for me, like that's an important thing to listen to, just because that system may be working for you personally, when somebody else says, that's not working for me. That's the thing, right? We all need to listen to because they're curious. Yeah. Yeah, get curious, get involved. And I think everybody would like to be doing more I know that I am not doing enough. But you know, awareness is the place that that starts, you know, you're not going to go out and take a big action, unless you're aware that this is something that that needs to be addressed.

Laura Khalil:

Completely. Hey, to everyone who's listening to this. I'm just going to put out a PSA, please vote. Please, please, please vote. Also, if you are healthy and able bodied, please consider becoming an election poll worker. I will be doing that here in Michigan, which I'm very excited about. And I really encourage anyone who's listening to this to do it. I did it actually Amazon back in August for the Michigan primaries. never done it before. I thought that was really relegated to retirees. You know, you'd always go and it's like some 95 year old woman, and I'm like, how are they here for 18 hours a day. And then I did it. And I was like, holy, they're badass is because that is a long ass day. But it's totally awesome. And you get to meet people who are like, first time voters and like, like they either they just became Americans, or they just turned 18. It's really exciting. It's really fun. So anyway, I just want to put that out there because we need you. We need you at the polls. I hear you have a Liberian voting the story.

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, that's how much a voting story but just of the importance of government as one of the things that happened while I was living there, when I was a kid, there was a coup. So it was a a weekend where some people in the military decided to take over the government, and they deposed the government. And I was three at the time. So I did not have a lot of political activity at that time. But I but I did earn my My first memory. At that point. You're kidding. Yeah. That's we had been holed up in the house for for two weeks, because there was just violence in the streets. And my mom took us out to the swimming pool of the US Embassy. And then we heard gunshots in the distance. So let's go home. So rather than taking the main street through town, she said, Okay, we'll take the back road that goes by the beach and will go home that way. turned up, that's where they were executing the cabinet. Oh, my Oh,

Laura Khalil:

no. That was so it was that your first childhood image was people getting executed?

Hassan Hodges:

It was a mob that was around the car that we were in. So we were driving through a huge crowd. And we did eventually make it back home. Things weren't, you know, weren't that bad. But you know, after that point, the things just became much less stable. And it was just very difficult to you know, it was just a much less safe country after that, after the government had had changed like that. And you know, as foreigners who were living there, we had things that we would do where, you know, we'd never drive the same way. Two days in a row to avoid kidnapping. And, you know, we had a, you know, a cinderblock wall that surrounds our house, and that was topped with broken glass. And then there were, wow, German Shepherds inside of that. And it's just like that, that safety and security, when you're dealing with government change, it just kind of ripples all the way through society and all those layers, and that's why I'm such a huge fan of democracy and, you know, just maintaining order. And just even like, as a, a person who is faced, you know, some degree of discrimination, oppression on equal treatment at the hands of police. It's nothing compared to what you get when there's a lack of order and governmental structure and the way that that ripples down and, you know, just corruption that that flows from there. And we had another, you know, another story from, you know, from living in Liberia, where somebody had broken into, into our house and was on top of our car with a bunch of master keys. And the, you know, we went to the police got there. And then they said, Nope, no crime here, and they left and got their, their bribe from him. Because that's more money than they can make from their salaries. So it's just like, all these things. Were just like safety and security, you know, kind of comes down from having a government structure that enables these things and a lot of stuff that we take for granted with democracy. And you know, some form of order there. They're just a lot of places where a think about first world problems, it's like, yep, those are very different than actual, you know, problems that you'll run into, when you do not have those structures in place.

Laura Khalil:

How long did you end up living there? Before you came back to the US was that when you were seven, you said you were seven when you came back? Were you in Liberia the whole time? No, were you in Liberia?

Hassan Hodges:

Liberia, when I was two, and I was there, I was seven. So my, my childhood years when I was little, I have tons of memories of things that you know, for, for me, were super exciting when I was a kid, but then you like later in therapy like, Oh, wait, that was actually a traumatic event? Like, Oh, I got good stories out of it. So let's roll

Laura Khalil:

with it. Oh, my gosh, wow. Well, yes. And to your point, I think that that change of switching of power from one administration to the next is absolutely so critical. It's interesting to look at what's happening in the world today, and especially in our country. And I know that a lot of people in Europe and overseas are looking at us like we are bad, crazy. And the one thing and we are about to pricey, so guess you are right, this is nuts. Now, the one thing I want to point out, though, is that this can happen anywhere. And what has happened in the us right now is extremely disturbing. But it can happen in your country too. And I believe Hassan the story you told right now that we are not immune to that here, we are not immune to that type of abuse of power. If we don't stop it, before it, you know, gets out of control. And so I just say that as a warning to everyone who's listening to that thinking, those Americans are crazy. We're never going to be like that, or those Liberians are nuts. We're never going to be like that. You better watch you better watch very carefully. Do not forget to vote, do not forget to raise your voice and be heard. Because I hate to say this, but I feel like what's happening right now in the US is coming to Europe in the next decade. I am very not hopeful about these things. I wish I were more hopeful. But I have a bad feeling.

Hassan Hodges:

Yeah, I think there there are a lot of things that the internet has made better. But there are also a lot of things where it is enabled a lot of forces that drive us away from factual information and that enable demagogues and anti democratic forces to spread and things where you know, the internet is a very much a structure that benefits kind of singular ideas taking over and displacing other things. And if those become the wrong ideas, because those ideas are more exciting, which is the way a lot of these algorithms are tuned, where things that are more exciting, get pushed to the top, regardless of what they're accurate. So it's you know, similar teary, it's scary, but similar to identifying things that are, you know, are racist or misogynistic ideas. We have to identify things that are just inaccurate, and you know, and fight those back to something that, you know, we're all involved in.

Unknown:

I just feel like I could talk to you forever. We have a lot of interesting things to

Hassan Hodges:

chat about, and happy to share things with you and the world.

Laura Khalil:

Oh, thanks. So Hassan hajus How can people find you

Hassan Hodges:

so Hassan Hodges for typography, photography calm is my website. Find me on LinkedIn, my name actually there not a lot of other people with this combination, which makes me pretty easy to find. I'm also on Instagram, and you can probably find me on Facebook as well. If you're, if you'd like to be friends.

Laura Khalil:

I love it. You know, I just have to say one last thing when you mentioned there's not a lot of people with your name. Do you know who's stealing all of my Google juice right now? I do not. There is a Lebanese singer named Laura Khalil. Who people Google me and they're like, is she like an Emmy Award winning or Grammy Award winning winning Lebanese singer? No, I'm not folks. But luckily, there's only one Hassan hajus friends. So go find him. He's awesome to follow on LinkedIn and check out his website. Hassan, thanks so much for joining us on brave by design.

Hassan Hodges:

I'm very happy to be here. Love the show.

Laura Khalil:

I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date. And I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery. All that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave.