Jeff Grey: From Teenage Diary to Professor Grey
Jeff Grey, also known as Professor Grey, is a father, a record producer/studio engineer, podcaster, as well as human services/non-profit consultant.
Our conversation travels through the most unexpected places.
Jeff and I met at The Podcast Garage in Brighton, MA during an event featuring guest speaker, Radio Diaries Founder and Executive Producer Joe Richman. Joe is a Peabody award-winning producer and reporter whose pioneering series Teenage Diaries brought the voices of teenagers to a national audience on NPR’s All Things Considered.
When Jeff Grey recorded his Teenage Diary back in 1998, he referred to himself as a ‘halfrican.’ He had a black father and a white mother, and like many teenagers, he was trying to figure out who he was.
Nearly 20 years later, Jeff calls himself a ‘mulatto.’ In fact, he’s the founder of something called Mulatto History Month that celebrates the unique experience of mulattos. It’s from February 15 – March 15.
To learn more about Jeff, check out his podcast called The Platform Podcast (a show about book signing, polyamory, sex, drugs, killer whales and sharks): www.The_platform.blubrry.com. Here's a recommended episode: http://the_platform.blubrry.com/2017/04/13/the-platform-episode-21-sex-drugs-groundhogs/ .
- [06:00] Jeff and Fei talking about stereotypes we often use with people.
- [08:20] What was it like for you to grow up in Boston?
- [13:00] There are a lot of things we don’t question about our origins and cultures. Do you know why?
- [14:00] How do you know so much about China and Asia in general?
- [15:00] How can we all learn more about other cultures?
- [18:00] Growing up in China, we think extracurricular activities will prepare you for different goals in life. What’s your take about that?
- [20:00] Could you tell us about how you got started with Radio Diaries?
- [22:00] You looked very mature at that age. What was going through your head at that moment, and how did you approach that project (Radio Diaries)?
- [26:00] You mentioned your life was all over the place before, and now you are building your own business and podcast. What changed and when?
- [05:00] What have you learned from parenthood?
- [08:00] You are involved in charity and nonprofit organizations. Can you tell us about that?
- [11:00] Instead of forcing kids, I like the model where we help kids to become more exploratory.
- [13:00] You have lived many interesting and life-changing experiences. Are you still blessed with them today?
- [17:00] How are people finding more about you and what are you hired to do these days?
- [33:00] Fei and Jeff talking about how to deal with kids vs adults and how to engage them into learning and thinking
-- Part 1 --
[29:00 ] I know a lot of people who have kids 15-17. However, you can look at it by age or by preparedness. Was I prepared to have a child? No. Did I have a career? No. Did I have a house? Did I have a car? No.
-- Part 2 --
[10:00] A lot of what we do for children is designed for the experience of bureaucracy. What does a classroom have? The teacher up in front, and all the chairs facing forward, and they take tests on Fridays, and study on Mondays… it’s the factory model of education. [we have that] but not because it works very well…
[24:00] I think we do a great job at rewarding the absolute gold medal winners, but we don’t do a good job of maximizing the utility and the enjoyment that average people get out of life, and that’s what most people are.
[30:00] A lot of times, you ask kids ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’. And that has the in-built notion that your job is your identity. That assumes that the person will move to perfectly fit the job. But instead you can ask ‘what do you want to do?’, and you don’t have to know the name of the job yet. You just need to know what you enjoy doing and the types of problems you want to solve.
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