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TALKING ABOUT RACISM / WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE WORKPLACE

It is important to look at the history of non-profits, community organizations, politically motivated organizations and services to see the context that they were born out of. • How was / is race and ethnicity talked about in coming together to create a group? • Who led the formation of the group? • Were there open conversations about racism and leadership of people of color? • What was gained / lost in their formation? • How did things change over years / decades? • How is racism in the workplace distinct from classism? • What is different about perception, visibility, lived experience, intention, and group dynamic? In the organization, what is the history and current state of who is promoted / elevated to leadership? • promoted with title / salary • autonomy in job - can determine own hours, work tasks, etc. • given positions of leadership, managing self or others • decision-making • control of resources, budget • given opportunities to represent organization and own interests to other people with decisionmaking, resources, power And who is NOT elevated and instead repressed in undesirable positions: • consistently given tasks no one wants to do • not given opportunities to develop / use skills • experience of being tundervalued and skills dismissed or ignored • no or limited access to discuss decisions with people who have resources, power, decisionmaking authority • given "opportunities" to do unnoticed, unpaid, undervalued work (even if it is enjoyable) • experience of being tokenized (asked to represent only on system terms) • consistently asked to represent the organization to your community (people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ for examples) without increased autonomy, decision-making, resources, budget • experience of being micro-managed or second-guessed about limited decisions • the organization takes credit for a specific skill / ability / training / achievement of yours to represent the organization and does not identify or acknowledge that you are the specific person (perhaps the only one) with that skill (ie co-optation and consumption of your skills without your consent, approval, and without acknowledgement, promotion, autonomy, compensation) TOOLS: we need a tool to assess indicators and measure the depth of the experience of racism in the workplace among co-workers. maybe an interactive questionnaire at first would be helpful. maybe WWHAT'S UP!? members would find this interesting / revealing to answer for their own workplaces first and maybe it would generate more ideas? in making up these questions i thought about things that pissed me off about places that i've worked and places where i hit a wall in trying to talk about it.

Some questions:
• • is there a significant racial and/or ethnic difference between the people you serve / represent / advocate for and the people who make up your staff? is there a significant racial and/or ethnic difference between your staff and your neighbors? what is the intentional or unintentional purpose that a racial difference between staff and clients achieves? what is the outcome of this difference if it exists? for example, what do you imagine the experience is currently for: staff; people served; people who support your organization externally (funders, board members, donors, volunteers, etc.); people who live in the neighborhood where your office / work events is/are located? how does your organization as a group talk about and value concepts such as: trust building, honoring lived experience, respect, healthy conflict, open communication? who makes up your organizational leadership? is this group significantly different racially or ethnically from the rest of staff / people served? how and when are staff promoted to positions of leadership (with or without change of title or pay)? is there a history of only/mostly people of privilege in these positions? who interviews / decides about hiring and firing? when you look over the years of staff leaving in a planned way (ie, i am going back to school / moving / having a baby / spending more time at another job in 4 months, so that is when i will be leaving), resigning urgently (ie unresolved conflict / hostile work environment) or being fired, is there a significant racial and ethnic difference to who has a planned job end-date, urgent resignation, and who is fired? how are "job performance reviews" conducted? how do you imagine different people may experience them? how are staff meetings / retreats managed? what is the style of communication? does everyone have equal access to present ideas / thoughts / concerns in a manner that they are comfortable with? how are conflicts processed? how are grievances processed? does your organization have designated persons to assist with conflict resolution? if so are these people within or outside of the organization?

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