Episode 89: Fighting Oppression With Joe Thurman


With everything happening around the race relations issue in the United States right now, thought leaders from all walks of life are stepping up and raising their voices in the fight against oppression. Joe Thurman is the Founder and CTO at Jobber Group – a corporate executive running a corporate organization. When not wearing his CEO suit, Joe is well aware that he is foremost a black person. With each turn of events, it becomes all the harder for him to ignore the realities around oppression and the struggle against it that is happening around him. Joining Brendan Meyers on this podcast, Joe shares his insights on the current state of events and raises a call to action against racial inequality and oppression.

Listen to the podcast here:

Fighting Oppression With Joe Thurman

I’m not going to lie, we recorded the intro a few times because I’m not used to calling someone a black entrepreneur. I’m not used to saying my black friend, Joe, but what’s going on in the world in the United States specifically, I’m at a loss of words, to be honest. This is Joe Thurman. He’s the Owner of a great business. What’s the business name?

Jobber Group, we’re a consulting company ad for five years, but yet to your point, Brendan, it is different. We had to do this take a couple of times because to call out my color is not what we do when we go and grab a drink and when we go hang out, you don’t say this, my black friend, Joe. We have to do that because of state of things.

I wanted to bring them on because I’m trying to find my own ways to be able to give back to the movement and to give to society and shift the way people are thinking about what’s going on positively. I want to change but more so, I want transformation. The way that I think with the change, like you’ve completely taken the opposite of certain things that are happening. Over the years, there has been transformation but it’s not moving at the pace that we want.

It’s important to start out by saying that mindset of giving back or why you and I are talking. This isn’t because of what’s happening. You and I have always given back to each other, gone and collaborated on business and sat down and talked about what’s going on. I don’t want anyone to think that, “Brendan called me because I’m black and he’s trying to give back.” That’s not the case, but people will say that. The thing is we are coming together because of the conversation that’s out there. I’m at a loss as much as you are many times in this situation as we watch everything unfold.

Do I want you here because of what is happening? Of course, but do we have conversations, talk about life, relationships and everything that we want to do? Yeah. I told him this before we got on the show. When I develop a relationship with someone that is black, I almost feel closer to them. I told Joe, I was like, “I look at you as a good friend of mine. I’ve been in Denver for a year. The second that I met you, it almost felt like you understood me more and it made me feel even more comfortable.”

My girlfriend, she’s white. She’s mixed with a lot of different things, a couple of generations deep, but ultimately her mom and dad are white. She grew up in Detroit and she grew up being the only white person that was in her school. For her, she’s the same way. She feels closer to people of color, to black people. She feels the pain of what we’re talking about. Still, unfortunately, that we’re saying this in 2020, it’s hard enough to be in a mixed-race relationship at times. I understand your perspective there. I live with it.

I want to start off by saying that, I can only express so much. I don’t know what it’s like being of color. Did I grow up around it? I did. Did I see the oppression? I did. Do I still understand it on the same level as someone that is of color? I don’t. I can’t speak off of that perspective but I can give maybe some ideas of how we can transform for what’s going on, but I can’t take too much of myself. I want you, if you can, to express, you’ve grown up in Colorado. You have family in in Atlanta and in other places in the United States. From your perspective, if you can share your experience what you told me in the kitchen.

For one, part of the problem is that many times, everyone categorizes people. That’s what we have happening. All white people, black people, Republicans and Democrats think this and that’s not true. We all know that when we think about it, but that’s not how we treat people. We’re going through this every black person experiences life the same way. Every white person thinks the same way and not everyone thinks that, but let’s say that’s a general thing that happens. People put people into boxes regardless.

Even me, some of my closest friends are black. I never thought anything about it but still, because of the societal, the stuff that’s been happening, it makes certain things different. I don’t even want to talk about any other races, which is the black man. When you see someone, something goes off. It could be good or bad. Something goes off. Why? I hate that.

That’s how we’re wired as humans as some of the work that I do you can’t avoid that. Back to even what you asked me, there are times where if you’ve reached a level in America, I’m an entrepreneur. I have a good network. I know people like I do business at a good level, yes. There are days where I try to live outside of it.

What is the reality of it? Give us the reality of it. Speak freely.

The reality of it is that every day, I wake up early. I go out and I walk my dog and this is not an exaggeration. Every morning, I think about the fact of, “What do the neighbors think about me? Am I out too early?” In my neighborhood, I’m a young black man who no one knows by looking at me that I’m a CEO because I looked like a young black man who’s walking in shorts and tennis shoes with a dog and they don’t know who I know. They don’t know who I interact with and to say every day. It’s hard to talk about it.

What comes up for you?

It’s hard because you can’t outpace it. You work, you connect with people. You’re a good person. It doesn’t matter what I have because at the end of the day, if I’m not in a meeting, boardroom, and in the suit, I’m safe. They look at me, I made it through like, “That’s Joe.” At the end of the day, when I go home and when I’m not the CEO in the CEO context around people, I’m a black man. There’s no way I can change that. I was telling you about my dad. My dad is a VP at US Bank in Atlanta. The conversations we still have is that he has to think about if he’s running in the evening or at dusk, what neighborhood is he going to? That makes no sense and it’s the conversation that we still have to have. I have to think about every single thing that I do. The reality is in order for me to survive and thrive as an entrepreneur, I can’t live there. I have to understand. When these things are happening, sometimes I’m guilty of trying to think about the fact that I’m doing my thing and I’m going to stand up for people. I’m going to do that, but I can’t focus on it because there’s no way to live. I didn’t know I was going to get choked up, talking to you about going for a walk in the morning. I don’t let myself deal with that but now we’re dealing with that.

That’s the reality of what’s happening in the United States. I want to say this, I felt that shit. It chills down my spine. This is the reality of the situation in the United States. If you are turning a shoulder and you’re being cold to the situation, you’re a part of the problem real shit. If companies aren’t speaking up about this stuff and until you sat here in this chair, I thought, “It’s okay if people and the companies have their own opinions.” No. They need to get in real-life situations and have some of their closest friends express themselves because they’ve been holding it in for so long. From a white man’s perspective, what’s going on with their specific rioting, whether there’s someone that’s coming in and doing it from an outside city or anything but it’s how everyone’s feeling.

That’s what you look at rioting. Not everyone has the opportunity to come to talk to their friend, Brendan, who’s a social media influencer with followers, and get on there and talk about it. They live in a world where their job is to be able to articulate the issue and a potential solution. That’s the world I live in. I’m not saying that from education or a different, I’m saying that’s what I’ve had to learn as a skill in my life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have it pent up. That’s what happened when we were talking. There’s a lot of systemic issues, let’s say you are on the lower end of education. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but you haven’t gone through, that’s not your job. You’re trying to live your life. You’re trying to make a living for your family. The only way that pain that I expressed to you is coming out in them is the way that they know. It’s in their interaction with other people in the streets because that’s their voice. They don’t have access.

If you’re turning a cold shoulder to the reality of race relations in the United States right now, you’re part of the problem. Click To Tweet

They’re not going to get to go talk to the person who’s the CEO of this company or that company and have a conversation and say, “You need to change this. You have 10,000 employees. You need to think differently.” They don’t have that. What do they have? They have their voice, their city, the way that they interact that’s what we’re seeing. They have the way that they know how to express that. I’m not knocking it at all. I’m not saying you know me and we’re on the same page as far as the fact that at the core love is the only thing that’s going to solve this. People loving people but we’re in a moment of everyone being faced with reality.

It is not turning your back on it and coming to terms with reality. Education isn’t supposed to be easy. When you learn anything, it’s hard. Do you know why they talk about Michael Jordan being in there, taking many free throws and shot after shot and practice and practice? It’s because how do you think Michael Jordan became Michael Jordan? It requires a lot of work. If people want change or transformation, like they say they do, then it’s action. That’s going to speak way louder. Social media can only go so far. I’ll be real. Social media can only do so much. Posting a black square is only going to help so much. It’s going to push the movement. It’s going to create awareness. That’s great, that’s the first step. 

Awareness is only the first step.

That’s the foundation. I have so much to say, but I want you to keep talking because you have different experiences. 

The one thing that you and I talked about as well is that it’s being on the receiving end. Experiencing oppression, hate, or whatever they’ve experienced and in the race issues that we’re facing, experiencing oppression doesn’t make you understand it anymore. It makes you understand how it feels. It doesn’t make you understand it. It doesn’t give you clarity around why it happens. There’s a lot of this on both sides like, “This is how you’d be a good white person or a black person.” I get it. People are looking for stuff to say but that’s not what it is. It’s not, “This is how you’d be my good white friend.” That’s not what it is. I use this analogy in business and when organizations are trying to hire someone to help them become more diverse that’s the thing that companies are doing and probably even more so.

It passed something in the NFL, the NBA.

I’ve seen over the last year both of them. Generally, what happens is we’ll see them say, “This needs to be a person of color.” I was asked them, I’ll say, “Your only criterion for this role is a person of color. What do you expect them to do?” My pushback to them is that because someone almost drowns five times does not make them a good swim instructor. You’ve been oppressed because you’ve been pushed down, it doesn’t automatically make you the person who comes in and solves it. You should be at the table. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have that opportunity to lead it, but we should all. It isn’t like, “Go solve your problem.” That’s what it is. “Joe, you’re black, go solve your problems.”

It’s like Band-Aids. They try and put these Band-Aids like a company, “You have to have 30% of African-American race or color.” I’m like, “Why not 80%?” 

That would never happen.

What if?

I know, but I’m saying because it will never happen. That’s the real question we have to ask is, “Why would that never happen?” I was on a call and they were telling me, “We’ve been struggling. We looked around at our board and we didn’t have any people of color.” My question back to them was, “Why?” You’re talking to me like, “We’re trying to fix this.” I said, “Why don’t you?” That’s the question you need to ask because you know me, you know other people, I’m not that special but for some reason we’re not special enough to be on the board. It’s not because you don’t know black. The question is back to we should have some goals. We talked about there’s laws and legislation, but that’s not going to change the way that you feel from me when I sit across the table from you. You and I were sitting across the table because we’re friends not because we’re black and white or anything like that. If you hired me for CreateU because you needed another black person, that’s how that’s wrong.

I can’t do that. To go and hire someone because the government would say, that doesn’t make sense. You walk into my office, Joe. You’re black. You’re going there. What you do? I’m like, “Fuck yeah, let’s do it.”

That’s hard for a lot of people to do. There is one thing that I heard, it was a white woman talking about race. She said that, “Some people who are white grew up not thinking that race is a thing in America.” They were them. They grew up in a neighborhood of people who looked like them they didn’t understand that they had an impact on their life because they were white. Whether they had doors open for them or anything like that, they rarely have a negative impact on their life because they’re white in America. They don’t realize that race is something that impacts people’s lives.

If you come to it with that perspective, that’s where we’ve seen this shift of people used to think it was good to say, “I don’t see color.” Now, it’s the shift of, “I hope you see it, it’s clear. I am different. I hope you appreciate that. That I grew up different from something if you don’t see that I’m black.” It used to be something good to say that was positive to everyone started to use it in this way of, “I don’t see color. I don’t see race.” You’re not getting into the conversation that we’re having. That’s where the All Lives Matter stuff is coming from. It’s like “Racism, the thing All Lives Matter.” Hell yeah. No shit. All lives matter. We understand that.

When I saw it, it was a graphic on Instagram, a guy got hurt and there was a medic with the guy and his leg was hurt. A random guy comes up and he says, “What about my leg?” He’s standing there and he’s healthy. That’s what’s happening. I was explaining to Joe and I was expressing how I felt like my perspective is it’s got to start somewhere. Muslims, if you’re of Arabic descent, you go through an airplane or anything, you get mistreated and you get harassed. That’s fucking real. If people want to call me out on that, go ahead.

Here in America, it’s real.

CUE 89 | Fighting Oppression
Fighting Oppression: Part of the problem is that in so many ways, everyone still categorizes people.


If you were of Mexican descent, they are also racially profiled all the time. I grew up in Florida and you have the Jamaicans, Haitians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Italians. You have all these different people. I’m thankful enough. I’m not saying like I’m happy that I saw it, but I’m thankful that I did see it so that I could stand up for people in a way that they may not have someone to stand for them. It does start with Black Lives Matter. Where do you think we get started? What can be done? I mentioned it in the kitchen, “If there’s legislation that’s passed, great.” That’s the first step to create a border so that we could do our work. Where do we start? What do you think?

For individuals, it starts with empathy. It starts with back to your scenario of what we’re talking about my life matters, but your life’s not at risk. If you can’t have enough empathy to take the perspective of the group that has been threatened, that is in danger and you don’t have to feel that need to have a reflex of, “My kids are white and their lives matter too.” We know no one said they didn’t. It’s this whole thing of that’s lack of empathy. That’s a lack of ability to relate to someone else without having to snap back and defend your position. You and I talked about that where pick any group. Pick Girls Scouts if something was happening to them and people started to post like, “Girl Scouts Matter.” We wouldn’t have this reflex reaction to say, “So as the Boy Scouts.” We already have reflexes.

It’s because something is going on. That’s the only reason why people have a reflex to something. When you’re defensive, it’s because there’s truth in it. I would agree. When you make a joke, you’re like, “I’m kidding.” What do you mean? That was a joke. Wasn’t it? There’s truth in all of it. 

People who cannot be self-reflective, but you got to go live with it. That’s one thing we’re coming out of. In COVID, people are dealing with, “I can’t live with my spouse.” What are we coming out of? People can’t live with themselves. The people who have been forced to be in and their thoughts. It’s a sad time, mental health is a real thing and I know that’s not what we’re talking about, but that is something that people are dealing with. We’re coming out of this. We’re coming out of people already being pent up, not able to live with their own thoughts. This is something where in order to deal with this, you got to deal with your thoughts. You have to deal with the fact that when you see me, you think something, and it’s not saying that you’re wrong that you thought that, but you didn’t even admit that you did. When you didn’t do that, then you’re not going to understand the follow on from there.

You’re not going to be able to deal with your position on that. You’re never going to be able to fight for me because you’re going to not fend for me. You’re going to fend for yourself. That’s the other thing we have to get out of what I call the scarcity mindset. There’s not enough. Someone has to lose. That’s where a lot of people are fighting from is, “Black people have been losing.” I don’t believe that for us to win, you have to lose. You and I don’t sit here for my businesses to succeed and Brendan has to lose. That’s why we work, talk together and both can succeed. The reality is we can do that. It’s not only those black people, white people, Mexicans or Asians whatever can succeed. That’s not the case. We do have to realize that there is a top-down system and the people at the top might have to give up a little space. You might have to give up a little room, move over. It’s not easy and it’s not likely to happen.

It’s not likely to happen without force.

I agree with you but there is enough. It’s people who aren’t willing to make space.

I can relate it back to CreateU, our brand. We had a choice and my new membership, The Body Evolution, I had a choice. I could charge $20 a month for this thing or I could charge $3 a month for it. You have a choice. I created a wiggle room for other people. It’s adding in the last five people. 

Letting them in making room.

That’s what’s happening. Let them in fully. Let them sit anywhere. With Rosa Parks and everything that’s happened over time. Maybe if they come in first, great. If they come in fifth, great. If they come in last, great. If we all go in together, life’s unstoppable.

I agree, except for when we put roadblocks in front of people to stop them.

That’s what’s happened with police brutality. When you drive, how do you feel if a cop pulls behind you?

You know the answer to that.

From your perspective, it may be different because you grew up here in Colorado. It may be different maybe you grew up around a lot of white people and then maybe it’s a different perspective.

I’m not afraid of them when they pulled me over immediately.

Some people are.

Posting on social media can only do so much. We need to take real action. Click To Tweet

Some people their reflex is complete fear. Mine is hesitation, deep thought, and concern. I’m a logical thinker. Mine is not fear and not anger, but concern. Regardless you could be pulling me over because my taillight’s out. I don’t know, so now I’m wondering. You put it in. I’ll be honest, this is regardless of where I live, I’m being pulled over at noon in Downtown Denver. I’m probably like, “Whatever.” I’m being pulled over at 2:00 AM between Denver and Colorado Springs.

Your heart starts pumping a little bit.

I’m scared. I’m not going to lie because I don’t even know. I don’t know why.

That’s the perspective. I wasn’t trying to be rude. I wanted to hear your perspective because you’re talking about daylight and nighttime.

It makes a big difference. In the more that things like this happen, the more regardless of who you are, you think about things differently depending on the time of day and on where you are as a black person, which isn’t fair. I’m still Joe. I’m still the same person. Integrity still everything knows the same people but when you don’t know and all I am to that person is a black man. That’s where Black Lives Matter comes from. Black Lives Matter isn’t even about “Don’t kill me.” That’s not what it is. That’s the extreme version and unfortunately, that’s what we’re dealing with. Black Lives Matter is saying that, “Why do the cops get called on me if I sit on the curb for the too long in the wrong neighborhood?” Why?

If a tall volleyball-looking white guy was on the curb for two hours on the phone, nothing. That’s the difference of when we look at the fact that you don’t think my life, my time, my experience, my integrity, and my personal belief about myself. You don’t think that stuff matters as much as it took for me as it does for you or your child. That’s the difference. That’s what we’re fighting for. Why do I have to fight harder for the job? Why do I have to fight harder as an entrepreneur for funding or this thing or justify myself more? If it was because my business sucked, that’s business. If it’s only in many times because I’m a black CEO, I’m too young and I’m too black, that’s what Black Lives Matter encompasses all of that.

How would you describe racism? Does it entail someone that’s aggressive? 

I don’t think it entails someone who is aggressive.

Is it someone that doesn’t understand? For instance, if you see a Spanish person, a Mexican, what’s your perception of them? If I see a black man, what’s my perception of them?

Which we all do.

We do that regardless of that’s of human nature. What extent is racism?

To me, racism is you can’t change the fact that your brain is going to do something. One of my favorite sushi chefs here in Denver, he owns a restaurant. Shout-out to Misaki. His name is Jesus. He’s the best sushi chef. If his name is on a list of sushi chefs, is anybody going to think Jesus is the best sushi chef? No, he talks to me about all the time. He’s like, “People don’t even think I am the chef. People think how could a guy, he’s named Jesus?” They don’t know anything about his story or anything. Off of names, clothes, and race, we do this. We think about people. We make a snap judgment.

What’s racism?

Racism is when you don’t challenge that within yourself and you make decisions based on that snap judgment that negatively impacts me. You think about, “I thought about that because of Joe because he’s black.” That was crazy. You walked in you push it out of your head and you deal with me like, “You’re not racist. You’re trying to educate yourself. You caught yourself.” The person who when I walk in and it’s like, “He’s black.” Told me out, won’t listen, that’s not unconscious anymore. When you move it to conscious and it starts to drive your decisions. Yeah. That’s where you cross over into racism because you’re doing it based on my race. Ageism, it’s the same thing you’re doing because of my age. You’re too old to do this.

Did I ever tell you my age? Do you remember? I don’t think I told you about my age. I don’t tell people my age. Imagine if you didn’t have to tell someone that you’re black. Think about that perspective.

Sometimes you’re raised that way. It’s funny because when you’re doing the phone interviews for jobs, you’re like, “I was taught early.” That’s where you see people when they’re around their friends they talk a little bit different. They change their vernacular. How they talk, all this other stuff. I had a black guy approached me in Boulder. We had done training and he approached me after it. He said, “I feel like I’m losing myself because I changed the way I talk and the way I dress because I’m trying to stay in my progressive path of Corporate America.” Back to your question of, “You’re taught to try to hide your blackness for as long as you can.” On that phone interview, don’t sound black, whatever that means. I’ve been told many times I don’t sound black but that’s a whole different conversation because it’s what it is. These categories, these boxes, people put you in.

CUE 89 | Fighting Oppression
Fighting Oppression: The “All Lives Matter” narrative shows a lack of empathy – a lack of ability to relate to someone else without having to snap back and defend your position.

People used to say to me, “Don’t try and act black. Don’t try and sound black.” My closest friends everywhere around me they’re black. 

I’m talking like the people who are around me and that’s what I grew up with.

It doesn’t make me a bad person. I recognized oppression at such a young age that I was like, “Damn.” Some were good athletes. In Florida, I’m going to state facts, more African-Americans and Haitians, Jamaicans are at the top when it comes to athletics. I was one of the only white guys accepted into these black groups. I used to feel honored in a way and then it came to a point where I would go back to a lot of my white friends or even Spanish friends. They would say the N-word as a joke. We’re around the same people in a way or whatever. They were trying to do it for themselves and it pissed me off. It started to evolve into something where I recognize that one of the reasons why many black people accepted me into their homes, their parents, and their friends is because I treated them like they were my brother. I didn’t think of anything wrong. When I saw them on the corner, I was like, “What’s up, bro? What’s popping out?” I dapped them up. It does start with kids, but adults need to get a grip and start treating people the same way. If you hear someone talk a certain way, let’s start shifting the narrative that maybe it’s something that is even of more education. 

Put in the work to educate yourself and the people around you. It’s one thing to stand up for me when I’m with you. It’s another thing to stand up for me when I didn’t even know that you did. That’s where it comes through genuine. That’s where it comes through that I don’t even have to know what you defended or that you ever defended me, but the people who are those people, you can still feel it when you’re with them. You know that you’re not putting on a front that it’s not like, “You’re cool with me.” It’s action from a personal perspective. You first agree and accept that there are groups that are mistreated. You’re saying oppression exists. Let’s deal with that and then I’m against that. I fight for the people who are oppressed. If you take that simple mindset, then everyone agrees. I rarely post, but I posted something on social media. I said, “When all lives do believe that Black Lives Matter, then trust me, there will be tears and crying of everyone. Finally saying, All Lives Matter.” That’s when we get there is when we believe that. For now, we’re talking about the guy with the broken leg.

People will disbelief.

Jess was telling me about something. It was a scripture thing that someone posted. There’s a scripture if anyone reads that stuff about “The 1 sheep that leaves the 100.” Jesus leaves to go get the one sheep and the other people saying, “What about the 99 over here? Don’t you care about us?” He’s like, “You’re over there in the field, eating, hanging out. I’m going after the one that’s in danger.” If you want to go to the religious area, it’s there. If you want to go to a logical level, it’s there. It makes so much sense. I don’t know why people have to feel like it doesn’t. You said the reflex, it’s hard.

It’s hard to accept it. 

It’s hard to be oppressed. It’s hard for everyone. That’s part of what we’re fighting is that finally there’s so much good coming out of it. I was talking to my brother-in-law and he was talking about the good that’s coming out of it. That many races are standing up and coming together for this. The media is going to talk about a lot of the bad stuff and the negative stuff. There’s going to be the vocal people on social media. I know some hits you up. I saw it and they were like, “What are you doing out here?” You can’t please those people, but you’re not talking to those people. We’re not talking to those people. We’re not talking to the person who’s going to nitpick every single thing that we said on this thing and find a problem because they would have found one, no matter what. We’re talking to the people who understand, who are listening and who are trying to come together. There are people of all races, all backgrounds who are doing that. That’s one thing that is happening. They might be a quiet person. They might be the person that doesn’t know what to say but the thing is it starts from a place of truth, authenticity, and love.

It’s a new language being learned to people.

What, truth, authenticity and love talking in that way?

Yeah. It’s a new language. The reason why I said its hard is because it’s a new language. When someone has to learn something, what do most people do? They quit because it’s too hard. Oppression is way more difficult than learning to accept it. 

People are walking away because it’s too hard to learn.

It’s too fucking hard to learn it and accept it because once you accept it, the uncomfortability hasn’t even begun. You’re going to walk by 100 black people in your day and it’s going to come up. You’re going to start feeling the pain of what it’s like for them. You’re not going to know exactly what it feels like. We’re going to feel the pain of what on the other side of people have done for years and years. That shit fucking hurts. When I look at a crowd and someone’s pointing out the one black person, this shit fucking hurts as a viewer. Imagine what the fucking guys feel like. How many people are willing to feel that pain? That’s the point of leaders. A lot of leaders take on that pain so that a lot of other people don’t have to feel it as much, but they can still believe in the same vision. They can still be a part of the same vision and grow with it.

It takes courageous people and it’s not everyone’s responsibility to be courageous. Some people are trying to live and survive and that’s where all their energy goes. Some people do have for whatever reason, God-given ability, position, or something where they can be courageous. Honestly, that’s what it takes is people willing to not everybody, but all types of people being willing to step into that place of being courageous. Someone’s going to hate it no matter what. In that courageous place is where we’re going to start to see some impact. If leaders aren’t willing to be courageous, then we’ll never see change. Even if you’re a small leader, whatever it is, however you take that in, you have to do it because not everyone’s going to be able to. Some people have to live and survive.

Do you know the two people that I think have one of the greatest impacts on the community? The Rock and LeBron James.

They have a big following of people who listen to them.

Whenever you get defensive about the issue of race relations, it’s likely because there’s some truth to it. Click To Tweet

Tiger Woods is big, but he doesn’t have as much of a voice as those guys through what they represent and the more so The Rock. He’s not black. The leader doesn’t have to be the same race. You have to have and be able to take on a lot and be able to speak and for the other people behind them. I feel like The Rock has many things dabbled in, the fitness industry, going out with a massive thing in Atlanta. He has movies, the WWE and football that he was a part of, TV shows and commercials. That’s generational stuff. Imagine if Michael Jordan’s sole purpose outside of basketball was oppression and everything. I’m not saying he didn’t try to do anything, but imagine if it was his whole thing. When Muhammad Ali passed away, everybody felt it. 

He wasn’t just a boxer.

Kobe Bryant, everybody felt it. We still feel it. He wasn’t just the basketball player. When you have that much influence where you could shift generations, that’s what LeBron James is. He’s a generational shift and Stephen Curry.

Together with people like that and so much more stepping out into that place of being courageous, things would shift.

There’s a lot of work. It’s every industry.

Shift and change are two different things.

Transformation is also a whole other thing. First, you need to change certain habits. Transformation comes and it encompasses a shift and change. First, you have to shift your mentality, then you need to change the way that you’re perceiving and behaving, then you can transform. You can’t skip the steps.

That’s huge. We’re talking about that with a country. You’re in the fitness space. Think about what you outlined those steps in fitness. Think about someone who was like all of those things that even an individual has to go through to try to get transformation. That’s hard for someone to do individually and something that is physical, visual, you can see and you’re going to have to commit to it for 1 or 2 years.

We’re still behind.

We’re talking about shifting, changing the behavior. It’s a lifetime, but honestly, no one’s looking for perfection. No one’s looking for that. That’s not what it means. We won’t achieve perfection, but people are looking for sustained growth.

Evolution, evolving getting a little bit better every day. I am not saying a little bit but every day, a little bit better with this.

What people are looking for is hope. That’s what people are looking for that it’s possible. Do you know how much stuff starts to happen when people believe that it’s possible? That takes a lot to create hope. You’re a leader, I’m a leader. In times like COVID, everything we had to go through. If your team didn’t have hope that they were going to come out of the other side of it, you wouldn’t have a team. It takes leadership. Hope’s not this thing that pops into everybody’s head. Hope is created by people who step out and create hope.

You can’t create a vision if you don’t even know what the vision is. It’s almost like you’ve seen some of the cops shooting rubber bullets. It may hurt a person but more times than not, it’s not going to kill a person. That’s horrible in itself after even years. I don’t even know why I use that example. It’s there. It’s the same thing with creating this transformation with oppression and racial inequality. Let’s paint the picture that we want so that we can take the right steps to get there because then the team knows and the different departments. Maybe a couple of senators that are like, “I want this. I’m going to make it happen.” A couple of people in the fitness industry, in the wellness space, in this space and tech space if that happens, then you have a movement towards something. When you’re doing things out of impulse and trying to create things. Do you know how many bumps in the road there are when you do it that way?

You’re running in circles more. You’re not going to get anywhere.

That’s why I love peaceful protesting is that they’re trying to come up with a solution peacefully where they can all think as one, “Why are we here? What are we doing? How can we get to here?” 

That’s what we need more personally because I’m not a social media person as much. That’s what we need on social media. I feel like social media is a party where everyone’s talking. No one’s listening. It feels to me as a party where everyone’s talking and I’m not saying the difference. I’m not saying posting is talking and not posting is listening. It’s not that easy of a metaphor. What I’m saying is it feels like everyone wants to talk. Imagine if you go to a party and you’re standing there and everyone in the room is talking. How many people are going to leave and be like, “Guess who I met?” No one knows who was there. No one knows what anyone said. No one knows anything because everyone in the room was talking. That’s not how it works.

CUE 89 | Fighting Oppression

In order for us to have change and social media is a big part of that, we do need people to figure a new way to use it. We need people to figure out a different way to create what you’re saying because the only way you create a vision is through communicating. You and I, when we’re doing business work and we’re trying to figure out the vision for CreateU or I’m looking at a job, group, or our new stuff interview and how we’re bringing new people into companies. It happens by sitting in the room, listening to an idea, looking at where it goes, mapping it out and challenging it. It comes through collaboration.

It’s separating yourself and giving your own time. That’s your own communication with yourself.

All of it, that’s what it takes to create a vision.

What’s happening in the United States is a relationship. It’s a shitty and abusive relationship, but it’s a relationship. Until we’re able to communicate properly, we will never have anything. It’s like in Israel with the Palestinians and what’s happening in Gaza. I went over there and I could feel it. I could feel the fucking tension. Everyone’s smoking cigarettes. At any point in time, they could be bombed vice-versa. Palestinians are pissed and I got death threats and I got all this stuff. I was able to experience it. Not firsthand but second hand. It’s like second-hand smoking in a way. If you can’t get past the pointing the fingers, you’re never going to get to a resolution together. You’re never going to hold hands. You keep pointing to fingers. This doesn’t interlock. There’s a reason why there’s this interlock going on everywhere on social media with what’s going on the interlock because that’s a connection. That’s communication. This is coming together as one, it’s 50/50 or 100/100.

I like that because 50/50, 1% falls off of either side or we’re not touching it anymore. That’s a relationship too. That’s what it is. Everyone has to go further. Don’t meet me in the middle. If we meet in the middle, that’s not communication. We don’t have that. We don’t have leadership, vision, and clarity. We’re missing many things. The people who are out there, unfortunately, the vocal, some of it is rhetoric. It’s talking and that’s who’s out there, but we have to figure out how to come together.

I’m going to close it here. I want to have you on more often talk about other topics and stuff. How do you want to close it? What do you want to say?

My biggest thing is focused on often what we talked about. There are a lot of white and black people that are like, “I don’t know what to say or if I should say anything or if I should call my black friend, and if I shouldn’t call my black friend.” All these different things. People are trying to figure out how to not step on a landmine. Back to the relationship thing. If you’ve ever been in a relationship where every single thing you did feels like you stepped on a landmine, you know how that feels. You’re never going to get through it. What we have to do is everyone has to be a little patient and you have to approach anyone and everything that you’re going to say from a place of authenticity and love. If you do that, then any real person is not going to come back to you like that. They’re going to understand, and that’s going to start to unlock. Someone will. That’s not who we’re talking to. It’s not who’s going to create change.

That’s what creates the cloudiness. That creates the fog and the confusion. For instance, people that post the black square everywhere on, all of a sudden three people come in like, “You should’ve done it sooner. You’re a bad person. Now, you want to talk about it?”

Someone else comes in and I saw it live of some people I know who are black. I’ve been black my whole life. I’m not posting this. It’s people who want to hate something.

You’re doing it right. Just be you.

Whether it’s because your dog peed on my grass and not yours, or you drive the wrong type of car or people want to hate. That’s what they want to do. What you have to do is do what your heart tells you to do. Make sure that is it. If you do that, that’s the only way we’re going to create change. If people are doing truly heartfelt for the right reason, activities, outreach, a text, a call or a post, and then ignore the cloudiness because the other thing is if it’s truly from your heart, should it be wrong? If it is that wrong and it’s from your heart, check your heart.

I can close off with that one. There are some facts in this.

I appreciate you having me. It’s good stuff we have to talk about it.

This is not even the beginning. I’m excited about transformation, the change, and the shifts. Even the fact that we’re interacting in this way, it’s cool. It’s cool that we’ve never talked about any of this type of stuff. All of a sudden, boom, you’re hit with an emotional wave immediately. I’m like, “Fuck, damn. I forgot about this for so long.” It’s time that America doesn’t forget about these things and globally. It starts in the United States. A lot of things start in the United States that are awesome and we can spread a good message. Is there anything else you want to say?

I’m good.


When all lives actually do believe that black lives matter, then we can get to the point of saying all lives really do matter. Click To Tweet

I appreciate it.

Where can they find you? 

You can find me on Instagram, @JoeThurman84. I’m mainly on LinkedIn. I don’t post anything. You could find me, Joe Thurman, Colorado. You google me, you’ll find ways to reach me. I run my company. We do the thing we’ve been here. That’s how you can find me.

What’s your business? What exactly do you do?

We help companies hire and build the right people, not a staffing company at all. We focus on building inclusive environments. We’ve been doing this work before this even happened, but this behavioral change, this putting this in lights has made people reach out to us more. We focus on the fact that in business, “The humans matter.” I’m not using that in the way of what we’re talking about but jobs are a cornerstone of our economy. People having work and every single person, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or anything, having the opportunity to have work that matters to them and that they find purpose in what you and I have conversations about all the time, that creates a life that people can truly live and thrive. That’s what our business focuses on. We go into companies and help them put the right cultures in place, put things in place, change, mindsets and behavior so that they can build great companies with great people. That’s what we do.

Look up Joe Thurman on Google.

I’m on LinkedIn, Google and Instagram. That’s the only thing I have.

Do you have a website?

JobberGroup.com. That’s how you’ll find me. We’re launching some new, cool stuff. Our platform’s coming out, I know we’re not even talking about that, but that’s where I will be. We’re shifting over.

What’s this platform that you do? 

It’s Interview IA. It’s a technology using AI and is fighting against bias. I’m wearing a shirt that says, “Breaking The Bias.” We do a lot of training on that. Technology is helping us to remove those barriers when you walk into that interview and someone’s like, “I’ve never met a black CEO. I don’t know if he could be our COO or whatever.” It removes those barriers and forces companies to have a structure and a process that they follow. That gives me a shot on my merit. Not on anything else. Our technology is focused on doing that. It’s where we’re going. It’s the future and now with remote hiring, we have a real opportunity to create that change. We’re all in on that. That’s where we’re going.

I’m excited for you.

Soon InterviewIA.com.

People can get in contact with you if they need to?

They’ll find me, Joe Thurman, Colorado. You can reach me.

CUE 89 | Fighting Oppression

Honestly, Joe knows his stuff. I’ve done it for a little bit of time. He shows up he’s grinding his ass off. We eat some tacos once in a while, maybe Margarita. Thanks for joining me. Thanks for holding up. Thanks for getting vulnerable. The tagline of CreateU is ignite your breakthrough and bring your vision to life. 

I always loved that too, Brendan.

I appreciate that. We strive for equality and bringing the best out of people. You can find us on all audio platforms if you’re listening on Spotify or iTunes, whatever. That’s it. See you next time. Peace. 

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