Inspiring Thought and Conversation, Founder of Wrong Speak Publishing: Adam Coleman
March 15, 2023
My guest for this episode is the author of Black Victim to Black Victor and the founder of "Wrong Speak Publishing", Adam Coleman. Their main goal is to provide a platform for "Free Speech with Intellectual Thought."
We talked about his life which inspired much of his writing. Learn more about him in this episode, so tune in and don't miss out!
Adam Coleman: But overall, is America a racist society? No. Are there racist people? Sure. And are there ignorant people on either side? Absolutely. You know, there's no political side that owns a monopoly on ignorance.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Hi, I’m Dr. Chloe Carmichael, clinical psychologist and author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety, and of course, your host of the High Functioning Hotspot where I get to interview interesting, accomplished people who are what psychologists call high-functioning people and learn how they got to be that way.
So today's guest is actually Adam Coleman, and he is a very interesting author as well as a journalist. His book, Black Victim To Black Victor, covers so much in his life, including his journey from being homeless onto growing into a very successful father, husband. This man just has an amazing life story and he really overcame so much.
It was truly a privilege to be able to just sit with him and learn a little bit about his background, how he got to develop the views that he has today, et cetera. So without further ado, I bring you Adam Coleman, author of Black Victim To Black Victor.
Congratulations on, you know, your own. I mean, I just have to say, first of all, congratulations. My blur is on so I can't see it very well. There we go. Truly an amazing book. My goodness. Like, I was just highlighting it and really struck by this book in so many ways. So I wanna dive into it, but first I also want to congratulate you.
I saw on Twitter that you announced that you are leaving your day job and you're going full-time into writing and speaking.
Adam Coleman: Yeah, and actually there might be a slight turn of events because my job is trying to see if I'm willing to do something part-time, but just do it remote. So, I might have a different outcome at the end of the day. I'll find out, but it was something that was just thrown to me this morning. So yeah.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah, there's nothing like showing people your walking shoes that makes them, you know, kind of become willing to accommodate and maybe keep you, as you said, like as a consultant or in a part-time way, or just some kind of other arrangement because they don't wanna lose you. That's awesome. So do they know about like your whole other life and your amazing books and everything?
Adam Coleman: Yeah, so they actually, cuz my last day was, well, as of right now, my last day is November 23rd, so right before Thanksgiving. So I just wanted to give my boss, cuz I like my boss and I respect him. I wanted to give him a lot of time to find someone to replace me. And so I was like, well here's why I'm leaving. It's not because of you or even the company per se. Here's why I'm leaving, because I'm trying to pursue this. So, he had put in my notice, but then like another manager who actually was the manager who initially hired me, and then he got promoted, he was like, can you talk?
And then he was like, you know, it's hard to find competent people and we don't wanna lose you completely. What can we do? And he knew about my book and he was very impressed and happy for me. So I'm like, all right, the cat's out of the bag and they still want to keep me. So, yeah, I guess they're fine with what I'm trying to do. And the fact that they're willing to do everything remote, which allows me to still travel and, you know, so I'll see what they say. He said, I think we will be able to accommodate that, but he'll let me know by the end of the day.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Well I really enjoy seeing you as well. I know you're on a lot of different networks talking about different issues and you know, you're in the New York Post it seems like, I don't know, maybe every week or so.
Adam Coleman: Yeah, basically . Yeah.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Which is really exciting. I'm just looking down cuz I have this whole list of questions and things that I was so excited to ask you about. But, I have to confess, I have not yet finished reading even though I'm loving this book. I'm just taking my time with it and for people that maybe haven't read the book yet, even though I definitely think they should. Black Victim To Black Victor: Identifying the ideologies, behavioral patterns and cultural norms that encourage a victimhood complex. Such an amazing book. Can you just tell people a little bit about what the book is about and how you came to write it?
Adam Coleman: Yes. So I came to write it because of the aftermath from George Floyd. I wanted an outlet basically because at the time it didn't seem like there was any way for me to express how I felt about all these different narratives that stemmed from this one situation. So it turned from, like, a tragic situation to a racial situation, to this narrative that this is the experience of all black men and that we constantly live in danger.
And as someone who has been in different economic levels and different parts of the country. I've been the racial minority in a particular neighborhood. I remember one time I was one of four black kids in the entire school, in middle school. So my experience as far as being around people who look differently than me has overall been positive.
And I've lived in five states and my viewpoint has been generally positive. So I think my perspective is a little bit different than most people. Most people live in the same general area throughout most of their life and their perspective on America is very small because either they don't travel a lot or they haven't even lived in different places.
So I just didn't like this narrative that was being ginned up by the media elite who live i n Washington, DC and New York City, who liked this idea that weirdness in this constant state of fear and things are always negative that are happening for us, or even portraying that most of us are poor when actually most black Americans are middle class.
So, you know, it's all these different things that I felt like it was difficult for me to say anything publicly on social media, or any other place as someone who really didn't have any social media presence except for Facebook to talk to family members, if that. So I initially actually started going into free speech forms and just finding out like, am I the only one who feels this way?
And once I found out people had different viewpoints on it and I started writing about it, I got encouragement for people to write more often. And to rewind a little bit, a couple years earlier, I wanted to write a book, but I didn't know what for. I want to write a book, kind of like asking questions, butI didn't have, like, a full premise.
So that's kind of why the introduction starts up with questions, cuz it's kind of going back to that original idea for the book. But yeah, it basically just hit me one day. I was like, I know what I wanna write about. So I just started writing down chapters, and just started writing from there. So it took me about nine, I wanna say eight and a half months to write, edit, and publish. And I published it myself.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: And did you go through, like, a journey, if you will, where at one point as a younger person that you had bought into that narrative? I mean, it says Black Victim To Black Victor. So how did you internalize the black victimhood narrative and then how did you really just come to step out of it? And I wanna share with you also just, you know, some of the very, what I think are interesting psychology points about that topic. But I really wanna just hear your story about it too, if you don't mind. I'm sure everybody asks you this, but would you mind sharing?
Adam Coleman: Yeah, yeah, no problem. I would say that there were parts of my life where I thought certain things were happening because I was black or if bad things were happening, I kind of had, like, a victim mentality about it. I wouldn't say I was like hardcore black victimhood kind of deep in this mentality, but there were definitely moments in my life where I kind of felt that is this contributing into it? And I would fight it off because I would always go back to like, well, actually my life is shown kind of otherwise.
But there were definitely moments where I experienced kind of like finding my identity and there were times where I was trying to find my identity as far as being black. What does that mean? And even kind of coming across like the leftist Marxist, you know, viewpoint on things. I remember learning the real definition of racism is privilege and power and all this other stuff, so I came across all that stuff, but it never, it just never took hold.
But there was definitely a searching for “Who am I?” in regards to race, because I spent a lot of time in my life trying to figure out “Who am I?”. I struggled for identity as a man. I struggled for identity as far as like, “Where am I from actually?, because I moved around a lot. I don't really have any childhood friends. My oldest friend is from high school, and so like, where am I from? Like when people say, where are you from? I'm like, well, it depends what you mean, you know, because I've lived in so many different places. So, I generally say I'm from New Jersey, but even within New Jersey, I've lived in six counties. And basically what, 20 years since I've lived here, or maybe less than 20 years.
But either way it, you know, identity is definitely a big, big part of my life. Trying to figure out who I am. Just like a lot of young people, you're trying to figure out who you are. But especially growing up without my father, it was like trying to figure out manhood and what it means to be a man. And then having my son at 21 trying to figure all these things out while trying to erase him.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: I mean, it's incredible. And I had that moment as well in graduate school, as you said, where you learn about, like, the real definition, you know. Which again, I actually find such an insulting framework to suggest that, like the idea, oh, well black people cannot be racist because they have no power. I'm just like, well, that's actually a very insulting framework to even suggest. I mean, I'm not even saying I buy into the definition that racism is privilege plus power. But even if I did, I think it would be insulting and kind of inaccurate to suggest that our country is one in which black people don't have power, you know? Where did you learn that definition? Because I looked as well, I think I messaged you about this. I could not find, like, a bio and stuff like that. So do you mind sharing this? Well, like, where did you learn that, that theory? Did you go to school? I'm so curious.
Adam Coleman: Yeah. You know, it's funny, I didn't, for one, I didn't write a whole bio within the book because one, it's my first book. I didn't realize that a lot of people do that. But as also, I just, I told my story and I just kind of left it there. I didn't want it to necessarily be about me, even though the book is very much so about me. It sounds kind of weird. So that's why, like my picture is not on it. Like, you know, I kind of veered away from that.
But, I learned about that online actually. I remember I had a job, an IT job that was overnight work and, or not completely overnight, I started work something like 2:00 AM, no, like 3:00 AM, and so I would've hours of nothing going on. So I just started watching all types of stuff on the internet, especially on YouTube, coming across like old Phil Donahue episodes. And that's when I was like, let me find out about Farhan, let me find out about this particular person. I started finding out about like the anti-racist, like, Tim Wise and all these, all these different people. And I thought they were interesting because I had never heard their ideas before.
And so I, you know, I just consumed a lot of content. And just deciphered it from there. But that's kind of like how I found out about power plus privilege and all this stuff. I know a lot of people find out through college, but I actually found out basically just going through the internet and just clicking on recommended and going from one place down the wormhole. So it was definitely interesting. But I'm a huge consumer of content, stuff I generally agree with, some I don't, and I just kind of take what makes sense and leave the rest or, you know, just kind of go from there.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah, you're an amazing writer. I have to say, like, the level of just insight and reflection as well as, you know, just the ability to use words to really pinpoint your own personal experience makes this such a rich book. Again, I did find myself curious about your education. I'll share with you, I dropped out of high school, so I had a GED and then I ended up graduating from Columbia and getting a PhD, but I didn't even finish college till I was, you know, 29 or something.
I'm just sharing that with you to say that, you know, I have kind of a non-traditional background in education, but I'm curious about yours because again, what it's really, an amazing book and it just made me curious about you.
Adam Coleman: Yeah, actually, I graduated high school. I didn't feel confident enough to go to college, so I went to tech school because I was always interested in technology. So I went to tech school, did an 11 month program and it actually took me some years to kind of get my career going. I finally kind of got it going by, doing over the phone tech support for a telecommunications company, andthen, got burnt out from that and finally left. And then it took some years to really do what I really wanted to do was actually like in-person support, you know, be the IT guy that comes over and helps you with so on and so forth.
And basically, I kind of, once I got my foot in the door from there, I just built myself up from there. I learned the most what I could learn in that particular job. And then I would leave, learn even more than I would leave, you know? So there's about like three or four years where I would leave a job, go to another one, make more money, and l learn new skills, build up my resume and find another job, make more money.
So, yeah, that was basically like my work path. But funny enough, I don't have a college degree and I actually don't have any certifications, which is kind of rare. But I have work experience.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: No wonder your mind is uncorrupted, that's how you've been able to maintain such clarity.
Adam Coleman: Yeah. I guess so. I've just, I guess one thing is I generally like people and I find people to be interesting. And I guess over a period of time I got interested in human psychology. And behavioral, like doing behavioral analysis of people and start picking up on patterns.
So that's why much of the book, especially like in the beginning, you kind of see me diagnosing society and, and giving like a behavioral standpoint what children learn and why people want certain things. So as someone, I felt really good cuz a psychologist friend read my book and she said, you're on point.
I was like, all right, cool. So as a, you know, I'm a layman. Technically, I have no schooling, but I have a high interest in it. And for me to kind of break that down and kind of get confirmation from someone who is a professional is cool.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Well, you can count that plus one because I'm a psychologist and I definitely agree.
So I'm tempted to talk about, you know, again, some of the psychology principles that your book made me think about. But I just wanna ask you other questions first, because the theme of this show, the high functioning hotspot, is for me as a psychologist, I focus on high functioning people, and I'm always curious about their paths.
And so, as you share in the book, you went through periods of homelessness, you had a father that was essentially absent. How is it that so many other people have that story and it becomes the reason, for people who are listening, I'm doing the scare quotes there, like the reason for them to have a life of dysfunction, violence, all these terrible things. But obviously those factors don't have to lead to that because you're living proof. What do you think made it different for you? Or how did you make it different for you? I don't mean to make it sound like it was something external.
Adam Coleman: No, I mean, it's both. As a kid, you know, even with this being homeless, so, I'll give you an example. One of the times that, I was homeless twice as a kid for a short period of time, one of the times we were homeless was because we were living with a family member. Things weren't working out and my mother wanted us out of there, right? And so we were bouncing from place to place, you know, some people that she knew.
And then we were staying in Motel Six, I think it's Motel Six for, I don't know, I was small, so my timeline might be a little bit off, but I would say weeks. My mom was always working, but I think she was just having trouble getting things together. But we were staying in a hotel and I think she wanted to get some sort of support from the city that we were staying at. And she met a woman that was, well, I guess a woman. The story is cuz I wasn't there, the story is that a woman overheard her talking and offered her a room to stay at and her trailer. So I actually remember I can kind of picture being in that trailer with my mom and my sister in one bedroom. Right.
And we were there for, I want to say at least a month. And until finally my mom got enough money to get an apartment. So, you know, there was all those different things happening. Another time we were moving, we were getting evicted. My mom gave money down for a deposit and the person took the money and left. My mother's crying on the lawn as they're taking the furniture out and having to put everything we own into a storage unit and then have no choice but to go to a homeless shelter. So, you know, all these different things that happened all these times that we were homeless. My mother was always working, my mom always worked and she wasn't giving up. Sometimes she had multiple jobs, but she was always working and there was never like a give up or I can't do this. Like, she always did what she had to do. And I guess for me, throughout, like all these negative things that happened for me. Like there were, I had lost my job. Like I got fired from a job and I was trying to get unemployment and they had denied me and it took over six months before my appeal.
So I had to figure out income wise, and I did all these different things and basically started over economically, you know, going from making, it was like $24 an hour back down to, you know, 11. So just trying to figure all these things out. But I didn't give up. I just kept going. And so, you know, I didn't grow up in an environment where even despite, like all the things that were happening, that giving up was like an option or having someone else do for you was an option. So I think that was definitely part of why I just kept going. And I was just kind of, especially as an adult, I started seeing like, all right, I lost my, my good job. Now I'm making crappy money and working customer service. But let me find that next job. Found the next job, made a couple more dials an hour.
All right, cool. Let me find another job. Another job. Made three more dials an hour then. You know, just kind of going from there. So yeah, I guess giving up just wasn't really an option.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Your mom modeled that for you. And then, kind of a related question is one of the just amazing chapters that you have in the book looks at single mothers and how they relate sometimes to men and how that can in some cases, depending on, you know, the pattern, but if it's a single mother, That is almost scorn full of men, perhaps even with good reason based on her own history with men or whatever, but that, that can impact the child as well.
So your mom was amazing. It sounds like she was kind of being the mom and the dad to a certain level in your household. How did you come to form your identity as a man, as a provider, as a protector of all the things that it appears you are today? As I watch you on social media and I watch you on TV and I read your book and I say, wow. Like, who and how did he become a man with this history? And what was your mom like in that picture?
Adam Coleman: So I'll answer the last question first. You know, my relationship with my mom, I love my mom, and you read in the book, I'm critical of my mom, but I'm also critical of myself and my dad. So I try to be fair. Our relationship is odd to a degree, you know, for a variety of reasons. And I don't want to give my mother's business away, but our relationship is up and down, especially throughout my adulthood. And I think some of it was her need to control, you know, her need to dictate and be involved.
And as I got older, I pulled away from that, you know, I don't want you to make decisions for me. I want to make my own decisions. And that was, you know, it was definitely an issue. It was difficult for her to kind of let that go. And there would be times where I'm like, I'm just not going to talk to you because you're not respecting what I'm saying. So I'm very strong about my personal boundaries and with anybody, including my mother.
So yeah, there've been times where she's violated those boundaries. And I say, I'm not talking to you until I feel like I wanna talk to you. And whether she respects it to a degree or not is not the point. The point is to protect myself.
And then when I feel like we are at a healthy spot, then I engage. But I'm kind of like a weird distance with her. I would love to be closer with my mom. She's physically in a different state now, but I would love to be closer to my mom. It's just that, sometimes I feel like I need to have some sort of distance. For a variety of reasons, but mainly to protect myself, you know, emotionally and not get to the point where I say I'm done and end things. So, you know, to kind of answer that question, and now I forgot, what was your first question?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Well, I mean, since you didn't have a father there and you yet modeled and grew into this amazing man, an amazing father yourself against so many people experienced fatherlessness and they, it becomes a springboard for them to perpetuate fatherlessness and a lack of a strong male identity of their own. How did that happen for you?
Adam Coleman: It might sound kind of crazy because I'm 38 years old now. I don't think I became a man until about four or five years ago. You know, putting everything together. And so, like the person you're seeing today, I've been like this basically for about like two, three years, of really just becoming my own and developing myself, working on myself, learning things that I've always wanted to learn and just doing it and actually like believing in myself cuz that was one thing I struggled with for years, you know, depression, lack of confidence, lack of self-esteem. And today I'm just like, I'm unbothered and to do the things that I'm doing today, I'm not worried, like sitting in a Fox News truck as I'm about to talk to, you know, an anchor in New York City. Like, I'm shaken a little bit, but it's like butterflies. But I'm not worried that I'm gonna screw up. I actually believe in myself, and I couldn't say that 10 years ago. Right. I would've been too nervous. I would've been too unsure. You know, I had social anxiety, I had all these different things. And it was definitely a journey. It was a development of, of understanding who I am and being satisfied with who I am, and I'm perfectly satisfied with who I am today.
But it just took a lot of, it took a lot of reflection. As far as being a father for my son, when my son was born, the thing that I told myself is that, I'm just not gonna be my father. And so that was pretty easy, you know, because my father just wasn't there. And on top of that, it just didn't sound like my father cared. So it wasn't, you know, we lived in a different state. I would barely hear from him. and he would barely come and visit. So, he had no real presence in my life. For my son, I just knew that I didn't want to be like my father. And so I guess as time went on, I just became the father that I thought I would've wanted.
I think in the book I actually detailed how I switched how I disciplined my son, and revolving around, like, spanking. You know, I grew up, I didn't get in a lot of trouble, but if I did get in trouble, I would get spanked. And so I started doing that with him, but I didn't like it. And I started realizing that I'm mimicking the behavior of my mom who's trying to control the behavior of a boy.
And I don't need to do that with my son in a lot of these different situations because my son wasn't like some crazy kid or anything like that, you know, he was small and so I started changing my methodology as to how I communicate with him and started talking to him more. And, you know, if I'm angry, I'll raise my voice and he responds.
So I'm like, I don't need to put my hands on him. I don't need to be violent with him. I don't need to do any of that stuff. So, you know, I haven't touched my son basically since, since I decided not to, and that yet he is a happy, healthy kid who listens to what I say, who rarely gives me any issues.
And it's because I do everything possible to talk to him and communicate with him. So, you know, because if I was a kid, you know, even when I got spanked by my mom some of the times I'm like, you don't have to curse at me. You don't have to hit me. Like you can talk to me. That would usually, that would really get me upset. But her anger was more important than actually communicating with me. So, I just didn't want to be that person because I remember what it was like when my mom got angry and didn't talk to me. Cuz if she did talk to me, I would've received it. Cuz I was a pretty sensitive kid too. And my son is much like me. He's a pretty sensitive kid, keeps to himself so you don't have to yell and scream and flip out if I mess. You can just talk to me.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. That's amazing. One of the other things that you have said in your book is that, you know, you mentioned seeing multiple therapists at different points in your life, which of course as a psychologist, you know, I love that. But I have to ask, the question I wrote by that one was, you know, did they, like, “infantilize” you? Because I feel like so many therapists can have such a condescending attitude, whether it be, again, like about people of color or people who have been homeless or, you know, whatever it is.
And I think they're trying to be “culturally” competent, you know, or sensitive or whatever. But I think that they can sometimes almost, it can become like an infantilization process, like, as if, again, like you wouldn't be able to just function. So I'm curious what that was like if you had to go through different therapists to find ones that were good or what the process was like?
Adam Coleman: So I went to two therapists throughout my adult years. My first therapist stemmed from, I started having panic attacks at work. And then it got to a point where I said, screw it. I'm just gonna go out on, on leave. But then I was out on leave a lot and I didn't leave the house and I started realizing, like, I remember like a moment where I had to leave the house, but I felt like I really didn't wanna leave the house, it was like almost fearful and it was like, oh my God. Like this is kind of like, I feel agoraphobic. This is what it feels like. And so from that moment I like, I need to do something cuz that's not a good feeling I just had. Like, it wasn't like I'm lazy. It felt like a fearful aspect. And I know that panic attacks can lead to that situation.
So I started seeing a therapist and yeah, it was just looked up a therapist, found one and we had a good connection. She was more motherly, more empathetic and got me to talk about things I hadn't even thought about. And it was like, I wanna say two weeks of crying. Like the first week, I think I saw her like three times.
Second week, I think I saw another three times. And pretty much all those visits were me crying because it was stuff that I hadn't let go and talked about from when I was a kid and how I really felt. And she was there to listen to that. And she was empathetic. And then once we kind of moved past that, we kind of looked at what was going on currently.
So she helped me to kind of transition. I was in a tumultuous relationship and she was kind of like, you know, I don't think this is gonna work out. So she was honest with me and she was right, for me to lead out of that relationship. So for that stage of my life, it was very beneficial. Like I said, it was one attempt, found a good therapist, and she really helped me.
I found another therapist years later where I kind of felt stuck, in progress, and I started seeing her and she kept it real with me. Like she didn't sugarcoat stuff. And I liked that about her. And I would come in and I don't know if I was, like, necessarily complaining, but I had concerns and stuff and she would be really honest with me. So I didn't need to cry or any of that stuff. I got all that stuff over, out of the way, but she just kept it real with me. And it was the same thing. Just looked up a therapist, found one, and it happened to be her.
And I had a great experience. So, you know, I hear people say like, I didn't find a therapist that match with me and, you know, they have to keep shopping. But, I guess I lucked out. I was supposed to meet these two people and, and they're really beneficial for me.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: That's awesome. I can't help but wonder also as some of it might have even been timing because I can tell you just my experience in the field. Like there's been this incredible shift in the way that we're looking and talking about race and culture and all these things to the point where I wonder if you were to just see a random therapist right now or if you've ever had this experience from people who are not therapists, but within the therapy world, I feel like this kind of thinking is so rampant that they would look at a book like yours, Black Victim To Black Victor, where you look at all these ways that you feel society is kind of trying to suggest to black people that they're victims. And then you reject that. What I think a lot of people in my profession look at that right now, they look at that and they sometimes try to label that as internalized racism. That they would say, well Adam is not acknowledging the systemic racism that exists in our society, and by denying it, it's a forum of internalized racism. I'm curious if you've ever encountered that type of attempt to label you in that way?
Adam Coleman: Very, very seldom actually. I think it's helped that I'm very careful with my words and I write, like when I write articles, I'm very particular in what I'm saying. And granted I'm not that famous or anything like that, but, you know, I'm just very, I'm very particular of what I say. Like for example, and probably if you asked me this two years ago, I didn't really think about it like this. But if you were to ask me today, is there systemic racism? I would say it depends what you mean by it. For example, I think the way abortion operates and how this disproportionately affects black women, in conjunction black children. I think that is a form of systemic racism, especially because of how they push it as this being a black woman issue, when in reality you're killing black children.
And this is why the population of black people has basically been about the same for, you know, at least 50 years, even more. So Roe v. Wade is, killed way more black people than any other form of systemic racism that you could probably think of and we're not allowed to say it. And if I do point this out, then you're, whatever, you know, internalized racism or misogynist because you don't want women to have rights or whatever thing that they wanted to say.
But I, you know, I talk a little bit about, I believe I talked a little bit about abortion within the book, because I know women who've gone through it and they're different afterwards. Like they're just not the same and they know what they did, but they're told by society to kind of, no, it's not really what it is.
And even when I was pro-choice years ago, kind of like by a default position, I was pro-choice. We never denied that it's a human being. You know, this is like a new kind of thing where we're supposed to say, well, it's not really a valid thing until it reaches a certain point. It's like, well, when did this become a thing? Because that, from what I remember, we never argued that point. We argue that it should be safe, legal, but rare. We didn't remix human, you know, human development. Like, if you didn't do anything, it would've turned into a child that was born. So why are we pretending that it's not when you are actually interrupting the process, hence aborting the process.
So, you know, that's, I'm kind of going off a little bit, but that's the systemic racism part that I would acknowledge that exists within our society. But overall, is America a racist society? No. Are there racist people? Sure. And are there ignorant people on either side? Absolutely. You know, there's no political side that owns a monopoly on ignorance.
You know, the difference is that what I see is a high promotion of racist attitudes and condescension that's coming from progressives within our society. And I'm usually very particular when I talk about progressives. So like the condescending psychologists that you're talking about. Thankfully, my psychologists were both white women, and I would venture to say they're, I know one for sure was a Democrat cuz we used to talk about politics. But the other one is probably left-leaning, but they were very, very empathetic. I don't think my race ever came up or if it came up very rarely. And it wasn't a focal point of me getting better because ultimately I'm a human being.
I think as someone who, well you obviously understand it from a psychology standpoint. You're like, the human brain is the human brain. And I feel like the way that we talk about black people or anybody else is like, we're this other type of species that can't be affected when our children aren't with their fathers or, you know, like, yeah, every child who's away from their father has some sort of negative outcome, right. Whether it's highly detrimental or not, you know, they experience some sort of detrimental outcome because there are benefits of being around their father. So when I'm talking about single parenthood, this is an American problem. It's more pronounced for black Americans, but it's a general problem because it's a human problem.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Oh, I totally agree. I mean, it's interesting also, like what you're saying is that, you know, you saw these two therapists, they were both white women. Race was not the focal point. I totally get it. I completely think that honestly makes a lot of sense and I'm glad it was a successful therapy in both cases.
However, you might be interested to know that, like in current, you know, psychology graduate school programs, as a white woman, you're basically told that if you do therapy with a person of color and you don't bring up race, that that's a racist act on your part. You know what I mean? That you have minimized or invisibilized, to make up a word, or whatever. That it's culturally incompetent to overlook that as a factor. I saw you laugh when I told you that so I'm curious what you think about that.
Adam Coleman: I think it's ridiculous. You know, to me it'd be like, if I went to a hospital for a broken leg, but they constantly want to talk to me about my shoulder. It was like, but what does my shoulder have to do with my broken leg? Just fix my broken leg. Yeah. But we don't want to ignore what could possibly happen with your shoulder. You know, we noticed that you have broad shoulders. I was like, but my leg. Yeah. I'm here to get work on my leg. So my skin, this is just pigmentation, right? That's all this is. And we've built some sort of cultural relevance around pigmentation.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: It's a fetish, like a fetish. I know.
Adam Coleman: I understand the historical context of it, and hence we're talking about black people as a group of people, and there's some sort of historical focal point for people of my skin tone, right, which is all complex. But the idea that my brain is different because I'm black or my psychological needs are different because I'm black. I don't know about that.
If I'm depressed, well, let's find out why I'm depressed. If I'm depressed because I'm experiencing racism, then let that, okay, fine, then let's talk about that. But to throw that out there, to pitch it to me, like if I was to go to a therapist today and I'm telling them like, you know, I had a really bad heartbreak and I'm struggling to, for confidence and all this stuff, and they're like, well, let's talk about, you know, that must be really tough because you're black. And I was just like, what does that have to do with this?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: I hear you. I really do. I really do. So I know we're running short here on time, but I wanted to also share with you just a couple of psychology principles that your book made me think about. But before I do that, again, I just have to thank you for this conversation already because it's so refreshing to hear your perspectives and to hear your thoughts about these things.
So anyway, there were two psychology principles that I wanted to share with you. One is called the internal locus of control versus the external locus of control. Have you heard about those? I mean, your book is internal locus of control personified. So in psychology, when people have an internal locus of control, it means that they believe in life, that it's their own choices, their own decisions, et cetera, that create and shape the life around them. Of course, there are circumstantial factors and everything else, but generally speaking, it's up to us in our choice. Thankfully when we live in a place like we do where there are certain baseline levels of freedom.
The external locus of control is where we, it's kind of a fatalistic mindset where you just feel like, again, like maybe there's this overarching system of systemic racism that no matter what you do, you're never going to succeed. Or, you know, for me as a woman that there's just these incredible barriers or whatever, which, you know, for people who are just listening, I'm like, you know, again, making the scare quotes because, you know, for me as a woman, because my business is successful. I'll sometimes get invited to speak at certain places about like being a woman in business, and I just, I always roll my eyes. I'm like, that is just not, you know, like what it's about for me.
So anyway, having an internal locus of control versus an external locus of control in psychology, having an internal locus of control is associated with higher resiliency, more success, learning more skills, having better relationships, all of these things. And it then shocks me that psychology then goes and embraces like all of these theories and ideologies that I think almost foster an external locus of control mindset in people. But anyway, I just wanted to share with you about the internal locus of control because that's totally what I think your book is about.
So I don't mean to put you on the spot, but if you have any thoughts or reactions to that principle, I'd be curious.
Adam Coleman: No, I mean that, the way you described it, I would say yeah, absolutely. I think for me, there were parts of my life where I was waiting for things to happen and I wasn't making it happen.
And on top of that, I didn't believe in myself enough to make it happen. So I kind of went in and out and then I guess that's the part of being depressed and, and, insecure and unsure of yourself because you have moments where you kind of feel good. Or let's say for example, one thing I would do is put value in someone else, like a girlfriend, and then when she leaves me, what's my value?
Right? And so there was, you know, one of my biggest transformations was actually after a breakup because now I had to figure out who am I and what's my value? So that's when I started traveling. That's when I started learning German, you know, because I was trying to build myself up and figure out who I am and put all that control back into me and to not give that to someone else. So yeah, you know, even especially that, that was like the beginning of my journey to becoming who I am today, to realize that I had surrendered who I am to a relationship, to someone else, and I relied on them to the point where when they left, I didn't know who I was.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: That makes so much sense. I never thought about that. But you're right. When you kind of lose yourself in a relationship, it almost becomes an external locus of control because that person is holding all the cards, you know, to your validity. And again, that external locus of control is where we feel like life is just kind of happening to us, like the weather, and we're not really in the driver's seat. And our book, I think, is about how to cultivate that internal locus of control.
So the second principle I wanted to share with you kind of along these lines that your book made me think about is in psychology there's also something called, incremental and entity theories of intelligence and capabilities.
The entity theorist tends to feel as if you're just born with certain abilities or you're not. And the incremental theorist tends to believe that pretty much all skills are grown and developed. We may have talents, but it's really about our practice. For example, if I swing a baseball and I miss it, an entity theorist would say, I guess I'm just not a good ball player. Whereas the incremental theorists would say, perhaps if I swing a hundred times, I'll gradually learn to get the hang of it.
Now, not surprisingly, it's the incremental theorists that tend to actually have the most success in life because when you believe that you can grow skills, you're more motivated to try. And so some psychology interventions are actually around helping people to develop an incremental mindset similar to developing an internal locus of control. And so your book again, I think really spoke to the idea that, that we can change ourselves, that we can grow our skills and we can develop ourselves again if we have that internal locus of control and we're taking the responsibility to see that it is within our own power to bit by bit, you know, grow and develop the life that we want.
So, I'm curious what you think about that type of vocabulary and framework.
Adam Coleman: No, I completely agree with the incremental aspect cuz that's basically been my life. Like even when I was talking about leaving one job after growing from there and just keep basically incrementally getting better and improving. Or even like, just the idea of building your resume, right? All that comes with experience. All that comes with skill sets. The thing I always tell people is focus on skill sets because that's what makes you valuable in the job market, right.
But you have to build those skill sets. You have to work hard to get to that point. So all these things revolve control of yourself. And you're the one who is building the skill sets. They're not given to you, and you know, you show up to work, that's one part. But you have to apply these things. You have to seek out information, you have to get better. You know, your existence in a particular area doesn't turn into anything. And sometimes that's how I feel about college. It's like, oh, well I went to this school. It's like, what did you learn? I didn't really learn anything. Like, you graduated, you went to four years. What'd you do? I just did enough to graduate,
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Just got a bunch of debt.
Adam Coleman: Just got a bunch of debt. Where's your skillset? I don't know. What'd you go for? I kind of feel like sometimes people are just existing, and they're just hoping things happen. You know, waiting for stuff to happen, waiting for the government to do something for them, waiting for people to empathize with them when they fail, you know, all these different things. And there are parts of my life where I kind of felt that way too a little bit.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: How did you click out of that?
Adam Coleman: No, it's fine. I guess I clicked out of it once I, once you start doing stuff and it works. I guess that's the biggest thing, cuz sometimes it's easy for us who have done these things and succeeded to tell someone who hasn't to keep doing what they're doing, even though what they're doing is not showing the outcome that they want yet, right. But it's like, yeah just keep doing it. And they're like, it is never gonna happen. So they don't really have that belief. But when you keep doing those things and then it works out. Once it works out, you're like, oh, I get it now. And you just keep doing those things and you start believing like, oh yeah, that's why.
So now when I look back, I remember people saying, you just gotta believe in yourself. You have to keep working hard. Hard work pays off. And you're kind of like, yeah, it paid off for you. You know, you're kind of like, very pessimistic about it, but when it does pay off, because you see how, you see how you succeeded. And also as you're succeeding in your passing people, you start to analyze what people are doing wrong, right? It starts to make sense. So it all makes sense when you see successful people telling other people who are less successful and trying to actually help them by saying, doing this is not helping you. You need to do it differently. That's why they actually do care.
You know, I've met very successful people who are extremely helpful and they can't wait to give you shortcuts. They can't wait to tell you, Hey, maybe you should look at it from this way. Maybe you should try this and. I wish more people understood that, that these people want you to climb up with them. Like they, they get nothing if everybody else fails. So that's kind of how I see things.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Well, I'm so glad you're sharing. Go ahead because I'm glad you're speaking too, because your message needs to get out.
Adam Coleman: Yeah. My whole thing is that I want to be a net positive within our society. Whether I'm critical about things is because I care, right? And throughout this book, I'm being critical of what you wanna call black culture. It's because I care. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have sat down for nine months and written this. You know, I'm not a mean person. I'm not antagonistic. I'm writing this because I think this can help people.
And I've actually met someone who it actually really did help him, and he's extremely grateful. Uh, he sent me a message on Instagram telling me how this book helped him in a dark place. And I didn't even, even writing the book, I didn't see someone even saying that. I just thought they would take like another perspective, but he said, I, you know, I give you credit for your book. It really helped me.
And it's stuff like that I'm really proud of the book, and what people are taking from it and, you know, but it's all these things. You know, I wasn't a writer before, but I just believed that I could write how I felt and improve from there. I rewrote things all the time throughout the book. I had to actually rewrite most of it at one point because I was getting better at writing and I was, my voice was developing.
And so all these different things are incremental improvements to come out with a product that people actually wanna spend their money on and buy and actually like it. So, you know, if I can do it as someone who is just an IT guy one day sitting in his office, say, you know what? Screw it. I'm gonna write a book. And nine months later put out something that leads for me to sit here and talk to you and you enjoyed it, then why can't other people do it? So that's why I'm always advocating for people to write. And I'm trying to move forward with helping to get people to publish books through Wrong Speak as well.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. I mean, I have to ask though, it's wonderful that you, you know, get the, some positive messages through social media, but as you said, you know, your book is in some places, you know, explicitly critical of black culture and as you said, you're doing it from a place of love. But that's again, where I'm surprised you don't get the charge of internalized racism, you know, more often. So you haven't really encountered much pushback around that.
Adam Coleman: No. So I kind of base things off of private messages and emails. I could probably count on one hand the number of private messages and emails that were negative. And it's because I'm careful with my words.
One of the things I did in the book, in the introduction, I established good faith. If at any point you think what I am saying here is coming from a hateful and negative place, stop reading the book, right? So I'm establishing good faith with a reader so they understand anything that I say from here comes from a place of caring, comes from a place of concern, and I'm being critical because I want things to get better, not because I'm wagging my finger and I'm stepping back. Even my word usage, I say “we”, right. I don't disconnect myself from that. I don't say black people. I say, we can do better. We are doing this, we are this.
So I'm including myself in the collective because I don't want people to see it as I'm standing back and I'm just pointing my finger at stuff, and trying to disassociate myself. So that's why I think language is extremely important. Communication is extremely important. And because I do all these different things, the level of negative feedback I get is extremely minimal.
I, granted, I don't go in the comments of like, you know, articles that I write and stuff like that, because you hear all types of crazy stuff. So those people don't really count to me. But the people who would take their time to send me a message, overwhelmingly it’s positive.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: And it is such a beautifully written book, I have to say. I mean, again, it's just, it's so just reflective and precise and takes you on a journey. I know you self-published, right? So, did you have an editor that you hired that would tell you like, hey this is unclear, or this needs help. Because it reads like velvet. You know what I mean? Did you have someone, like, give you constructive feedback along the way?
Adam Coleman: So the only feedback I ever got was, well, actually, let me phrase that. So throughout while I was writing the book, I only maybe like a handful of people even knew I was writing the book. So it was very much so like a personal venture for me. So I would send, like, for example, my wife, but at the time, you know, she was my girlfriend. And I would send her pieces here, pieces here, almost on a daily basis. She would ride in the train and she'd read it and tell me, basically she was like, wow, this is really good.
So I got some feedback from stuff that I wrote, but never to the point where I sent it to someone, or even the finished product and sentence of someone and told, and to have them tell me, oh, you should do this, you should do that. I wrote basically everything to how it felt. It felt good, like this felt good. And matter of fact, at the very end you do like the final edits. I was supposed to have someone do it for me, they fell through.
So literally it was me and my wife who edited it. Mainly looking for spelling errors and stuff like that, or making sure, like clarity on a particular phrase. But the direction that I went with, you know, getting rid of chapters that I felt like didn't need to be there, all everything else was me. So, you know, I just kind of felt, I just went with what felt good.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Well, I hope you do it as an audio book too, because, and I hope you read it yourself because there's something about the way that you talk and that you put, you know, your own stories into words that I've, you know, heard here. But, I know you said that there was an issue as far as the affordability of doing an audiobook. But I mean, goodness, you know, you're a tech guy, Adam, right? Like, you could probably create your own little sound booth and just, you know, read it because I would love to listen to it. I just wanna put in a vote for that. Like, I love reading it and I would love to listen to it also.
Adam Coleman: You know what, that could be something that I explore more now in December. Maybe I'll have more time to kind of go down that path and see how much actually would it cost and being able to do it. But also, from my perspective, I was an unknown, so, you know, the cost to do the audio book, I was like, I don't even know if you know a hundred people are gonna buy this book.
I could spend thousands of dollars and barely anybody listens to the audio book. So I think now is showing that there is value in doing so. There's, you know, there's a demand to do so, and so it's something that I wanna look more into.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. That would be awesome. So where can people find you?
Adam Coleman: I'm all over Twitter. So you can find me @wrong_speak. Definitely go to wrongspeak.net, and they'll bring you over to our substack for Wrong Speak. We have great writers who are now with Wrong Speak who write frequently about all different types of topics.
The purpose is to support free speech, but also to have some intellectual thought and some personal touch to it. So I'm trying to do everything to use my platform as I get bigger to support the people who are smaller and just basically I'm trying to do everything possible to help people write.
So I'm gonna be getting into coaching for writing and I have a couple people that we may go forward with as far as publishing their book through Wrong Speak. So, you know, all these things, a couple years ago I didn't think would actually be a thing, but God put these people in my direction and I'm gonna try and take advantage of it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Awesome! Well, thank you Adam for spending this time with me. And thank you for writing the book, Black Victim To Black Victor. An amazing book, an amazing person, and Wrong Speak seems like an amazing company. I'm so glad that you guys are doing what you do.
Adam Coleman: Thank you.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Thanks, Adam. Take care.
Adam Coleman: You too.Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Bye.
- The High Functioning Podcast Homepage - https://www.drchloe.com/podcast/
- Dr. Chloe’s Homepage - https://drchloe.com/
- Adam B. Coleman’s website - https://adambcoleman.substack.com/
- Wrong Speak Publishing Website - https://wrongspeak.net/
- Adam B. Coleman’s Twitter - https://twitter.com/wrong_speak
- Adam B. Coleman’s Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wrongspeakadam
- Adam B. Coleman’s Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wrong_speak/