Welcome to the Racial Justice page. On this page you'll find things like our current ongoing racial justice initiatives, historical context for how the fight for racial justice has progressed here at Twin Oaks, endorsement and mutual aid opportunities for BIPOC communities, and other Racial Justice resources.
Supporting BIPOC Communities
Supporting BIPOC Communities
Twin Oaks recognizes that the Intentional Communities movement has historically been, and presently is, a predominantly white movement. Our community is no exception to this. We owe our longevity and stability in part to our white privilege. When BIPOC have pursued an alternative, communitatian lifestyle, their members have historically been met with violence and oppression (for example, the MOVE community in Philadelphia that was started in 1981 and lasted until it was bombed by the police department in 1985, the aftermath of which found many of its members incarcerated for decades). Despite these atrocities, there have always been BIPOC communities, like those formed by self-liberated black people in the Dismal Swamp and across the South before the Civil War, and Indigenous Nations across the country who carry on their ancestral traditions in spite of attempted cultural erasure. This legacy of resilience is continued by BIPOC who are creating their own intentional communities in the present day.
Part of our work as a well-established, majority-white community is to offer support to BIPOC communities in whatever way is wanted. This does not absolve us of the responsibilities of examining our privilege and restructuring our own community to become safer and more inclusive for BIPOC. However, we recognize that at this time, many BIPOC community-seekers may feel more drawn to spaces where they are able to have full autonomy over the functions and goals of their community.
Due to systemic racism and economic inequality, BIPOC communities have more obstacles to overcome than majority-white communities such as Twin Oaks. If you are reading this, we hope you will consider donating to a BIPOC community.
You can also donate to the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC) fund for BIPOC communities here.
You can learn about and donate to other BIPOC communities and community organizations below:
Soul Fire Farm, Upstate NY
Wildseed Community, Upstate NY
Cooperative Community of New West Jackson, Jackson, MS
Earthseed Land Collective, NC
Black Oaks Center, IL
Soulflower Farm, Bay Area, CA
Avalon Village, Detroit MI
BIPOC Community Organizations
UJAMAA Cooperative Farming Alliance
BIPOC Intentional Community Council
Native American Rights Fund
People Of Color Sustainable Housing Network
New Economy Coalition
National Black Food & Justice Alliance
East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Transparency on REAL and RET Teams
Transparency on REAL and RET teams
In 2017, Twin Oaks members created the Diversity Team to offer support and solidarity to members whose identities have been historically, and are continually, marginalized. That evolved into the BIPOC-led Racial Equity & Advocacy Leaders team (REAL), which selected a group of white allies to form as a solidarity team, the White Allies Team. After much painful growth and learning, including an exodus of several BIPOC members, the teams re-formed as one team, the Racial Equity Team (RET).
Currently (April 2023), there are no BIPOC members interested in serving on the REAL team. RET is built to continue the pursuit of anti-racism even without a driving force of BIPOC members. The complexity and nuance of this arrangement is based on the wants and needs of the people at the time of its writing. Any BIPOC members who wished to join REAL would have agency and autonomy to meet separately, make decisions, and help shape and direct the operations of RET, the umbrella team. RET is open and responsive to the possibility of changing our structure to reflect the aims of new BIPOC people who want to go in a different, self-governed direction. The intention of both groups is to engage in long-term systemic change and to keep the community focused on our goal of dismantling white supremacy in our culture.
RET's current focus is on self-education, providing space and content for community discussions on racial justice, and examining and developing policy focused on these aims. The team also helps spearhead outreach efforts to make Twin Oaks a more inclusive space for BIPOC and to support BIPOC-led community endeavors.
If you are planning a visit and RET's work is of interest to you, please contact
We plan to update this content regularly. If you read content that you feel does not reflect what you have seen or experienced at Twin Oaks, please email us so that we can make updates.
Current Efforts to Address Racism at Twin Oaks
Current Efforts to Address Racism at Twin Oaks
The Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 were a moment of reckoning for Twin Oaks and it’s history of trivializing and dismissing the voices of its BIPOC members. The long-overdue discussions about racism at Twin Oaks that took place that summer resulted in the establishment of racial justice task forces. Twin Oaks held a community meeting in 2022 to revisit these task forces to discuss their efficacy and generate new ideas for combating racism and systemic bias at Twin Oaks, as well as for supporting BIPOC communities locally. We revived and expanded our task forces with a commitment to reevaluate our progress on an ongoing basis.
Currently, our active initiatives include the following:
- Supporting a local, nearby BIPOC community as it works to establish itself
- Working on a Community Access Commitment policy for BIPOC at Twin Oaks
- Working on alternative pathways to membership
- Making our policy binder more concise and easier to navigate
- Developing anti-racism education in our home-school program
- Creating a racial justice orientation session as part of the visitor program
- Looking into a racial sensitivity training workshop for TO
- Facilitating prison abolition study group
- Running a “Me and White Supremacy” journaling and discussion group
- Working with Crystal Byrd Farmer’s book “The Token”
These efforts are ongoing and we are committed to continuing to evaluate how we can better use the time and resources we have to make this place safer and more welcoming for BIPOC members, visitors and guests. Part of the intention of posting this statement on our current efforts is to hold ourselves accountable publicly and help ensure that we revisit and update this page and the ideas behind it.
Last Updated: June 2022
A Brief History of Twin Oaks
A Brief History of Twin Oaks
Twin Oaks was started in 1967 by a small group of white founders. We have always held inclusivity and racial equality as one of our stated goals. However, as an institution, we have lacked the awareness, tools and motivation to address the racism inherent in our structures. As a result, our white-centering culture has been alienating to BIPOC. We have maintained a population that is roughly 90% white throughout our existence. This is because BIPOC come to Twin Oaks hoping for what we all hope to find in community, a sense of acceptance and solidarity. Instead, BIPOC are often met with pressure to conform and white fragility when racist norms are challenged. Despite many attempts at change over the years, our white membership has repeatedly failed to make the large-scale reforms needed to make our community both accessible and nurturing for our BIPOC members.
As it was for many white people, 2020 was a year of heightened awareness about racism for Twin Oaks. Our community started to have larger conversations about whiteness and racism that are continuing to this day. We have started to actually direct resources towards dismantling white supremacy in our culture. There is still resistance and apathy within the community, but more and more of our white members are committed to this life-long process. We want anyone who wishes to join us to also be committed as well. A more detailed version of the history of racism and Racial Justice is below.
Twin Oaks was founded in 1967 by a small group of white people who all wanted to make a better alternative to mainstream society. They hoped to create an egalitarian society in which all people could thrive. One of our stated values is to endeavor “to eliminate classism, racism, ageism, patriarchy and other forms of oppression, both in ourselves and in other people.” We, as a community, have liked the idea that we could be diverse and inclusive. Unfortunately, in our founding and in subsequent years, we have lacked the critical awareness, language and tools to see and confront whiteness in a meaningful way. As a result, our structures and culture are inherently white-centering. For the past 50 years, we have constantly maintained a majority white population. Our population is and always has been roughly 90% white or more. Considering that white people made up only 61.6% of the American population in 2020, there seems to be little else to point to besides systemic racism at Twin Oaks that could explain our overwhelming whiteness. Twin Oaks is one of the longest standing communes in the United States and our ability to endure in a broader oppressive system is, at least in part, due to our replication of many of the oppressive elements of that system.
The experience of BIPOC members is inherently different and more difficult than that of white members. Most BIPOC members who have come to Twin Oaks have attempted to shift our culture with some support from white allies. Unfortunately, many become increasingly alienated and frustrated by microaggressions, white fragility and policy being leveraged to impede their goals. This experience is not necessarily universal for every BIPOC member who has been part of our community, but it is very frequent and concerning.
One member who conducted some interviews with ex-BIPOC members summarized their experience and criticism as such:
‘Most of the POC that I have talked to have felt unheard and not taken seriously about racial issues. This was the predominant point made to me when I tried to reach out to several ex-members. So much so that when asked if they'd be willing to engage with Twin Oaks in an effort to correct this they said they didn't want to waste their breath. POC (particularly black) ex-members of both Twin Oaks and Acorn (a neighboring commune) have been accused of being "aggressive", though they were not threatening anyone, or even yelling, during their time in community, or of not being a good "cultural fit". Black and POC children have been the recipients of biased treatment from both white adults and children, with children intentionally picking on POC children or calling them "ugly" and adults judging POC children to be mis-behaved, though they were no more mis-behaved than other children of the same age. I would say the overarching sentiment from ex-members who are POC is that Twin Oaks does not consider or care about the different needs and experiences of POC, has historically ignored its own lack of diversity, and refused to acknowledge the systemic biases against POC. White folks at Twin Oaks are complacent in this system because it benefits them and they are unwilling to make changes that may lessen the privilege that they hold in order to correct this problem.’
This is an issue we have been aware of for a while and have been trying to amend for years with varying degrees of community buy-in. We have archived community material that documents the voices of BIPOC members and the attempts that Twin Oaks has made to examine its whiteness over the past few decades. In 2006, a BIPOC member wrote a letter to the community titled, “Why so White?”, that was calling for more racial awareness here and a change to our culture. Its call echoes the same calls that white people heard in 2020 and have been ignoring for decades. By all accounts, the letter was met with a generally positive but short-lived reception. Over the years there have been various process groups and discussions here to try and progress our culture. There have been talks about the “isms'”, previous attempts at making an orientation for new members designed to educate people about race/oppression and many members who have tried to engage the community at large in discussions about race. Our basic pattern has been to have a sizable minority of people get excited about changing our culture, with pushes spearheaded by BIPOC members. A conversation gets started that energizes people but then many of the white members get distracted because they have the privilege to and because our structures are not yet designed to facilitate large-scale structural change. A lot of progress has been made over the years, but Twin Oaks still has a long way to go in addressing White Supremacy and making a truly safe space for BIPOC people.\
The most recent push to progress our culture was in 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Several members, headed by the few BIPOC members here at time took over our community communication boards, taking all the materials down and replacing them with BLM statements. This group of members effectively put a halt to the normal functioning of Twin Oaks and insisted we have conversations about racism. Several meetings took place in which we decided to enact some policy changes and engage in anti-racism work. We formed the REAL team, started crafting a racial aggression response policy to make more processes around micro/macro aggressions and identified how white supremacy permeated through our organization. Among other things, groups were started for white members to work through Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy workbook together and more resources for group and individual education were created. We examined our recruitment and visitor program to determine how we could open membership to more people. From that, we started a travel fund for BIPOC people to join our visitor groups and made it so visitors can split up the period into several weeks to accommodate people who don't have the luxury to take a month off of work. We have started to shift some things but progress on these initiatives has been slow. The REAL team disbanded and we currently just have the RET, the white-ally subgroup of the REAL team. The Racial aggression policy got started and is still in process. Some of the MWS groups finished the work book, others didn’t. We have rewritten some policies, but there is still a lot of work to do. We lost a lot of members in 2020 and 2021, including most of the BIPOC people who were part of spearheading that.
We are starting again. In the beginning of 2022, we had another community meeting about racial justice and have had several since. We revisited the old list of things we were working on and have started on some new things. A lot more of our members are aware of how insidious and pervasive White Supremacy is and are committed to the life-long process of dismantling it. Now we are looking for new members that have the energy and motivation to join us in this work.
Previous Racial Justice Statement
Previous Racial Justice Statement
The following statement was written by a BIPOC member who is no longer in our community and was posted on our front page in 2020. We have recently updated it to more accurately reflect the state of Racial Justice at Twin Oaks currently. In particular, we wanted to address the othering of BIPOC members that is inherent in its language. This piece was written by a BIPOC member, but it was revised and approved by white members. We can’t ignore that the voice is one that still centers whiteness because it speaks for Twin Oaks as an organization. Phrases like “we failed to recognize how the culture we created perpetuate systemic racism” is true for Twin Oaks as a structural entity and for the majority of white members, but very untrue for the many BIPOC members who are also Twin Oakers and have repeatedly attempted to get others to see this. Additionally, we wanted to move away from grand statements of reconciliation like “This time, we won’t make this mistake again” because they ring hollow. Twin Oaks is just starting down the long journey of confronting white supremacy and it will take us years of dedicated work until BIPOC members can feel like they can truly thrive here without the burden of educating white people or the expectation of conforming to white norms.
We wanted to preserve this statement because it documents our stance on racial justice during this period and also because we greatly appreciate the work of its writer.
Twin Oaks Commitment to Addressing Our Racism
Even though our world today is remarkably different from the one Twin Oaks was born into in 1967, history echoes in the social & political movements happening in our streets and in our homes. 2020’s charged cultural atmosphere in combination with internal energy from our POC members forced us to recognize the discrepancies between our stated values and our racial blindness. It forced us to reckon with our past actions taken in ignorant pursuit of a culturally exclusionary concept of egalitarianism. In our pursuit of this egalitarian lifestyle, we failed to recognize how the culture we created perpetuated systemic racism and injustice. By not deliberately and intentionally recognizing race as an important issue separate from other intersections of power & privilege, we failed to see how our color blindness ignored and marginalized the wants and needs of the few POC who have been through our community, and have directly led to their exodus and discontent with the communities movement. Our attempt at equality for all people created an unequal place for POC. This realization is sobering and saddening. We need to change.
In the past year, the POC of Twin Oaks created a team to begin the work of changing the culture around racial justice. At the inception it was called the Diversity Team; recently, the name was changed to REAL (Racial Equity & Advocacy Leaders) to better reflect its mission and goals. Because POC membership is consistently below ten, it has been difficult to make meaningful gains. The efforts of our few POC members were met with resistance and skepticism. Our ignorance of the seriousness of POC issues allowed us to be apathetic and overly bureaucratic. Their ideas have been trivialized or dismissed, called “crazy” and “moot.” For the most part, their struggles stayed silenced. This time, we won’t make the same mistakes again.
Corporations, woke celebs, and politicians have released their statements in support of Black Lives Matter. As a community founded in the spirit of egalitarianism & social justice, we would like to claim “we stand” with the outcry of the oppressed, the marches of the marginalized, and the struggles of the silenced. But what does it mean for a place with roots in white supremacy and a 90% white population to say they simply stand with the movements happening now? What does it mean to give hollow words & lip-service to changes that POC in the movement and in our own community have been proposing since the beginning?...Nothing. Now is the time for actions.
REAL facilitated two community meetings on June 24th & July 1st about racial justice in our community. The first served to establish an atmosphere of change to disrupt the stagnancy, while the second ended with the creation of several teams each dedicated to manifesting that change. This statement will be updated as we continue to implement policies and projects to improve our racial diversity, educate ourselves on our white supremacy, and support the POC who live at Twin Oaks.
Characteristics of White Supremacy in an Organization
Characteristics of White Supremacy in an Organization
The following is a document from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups written by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun in 2001. We wanted to post this here because we have found this document incredibly instructmental in giving us some of the language we need to see and confront White Supremacist culture here at Twin Oaks. We have conducted several community conversations over the past two years with this document as a starting point. We have identified all of the elements outlined here to some degree or another. For example, we have a very strong reliance on written communication in order to talk to each other as well as create new policy through our message board and community O/I board. If someone has an idea for change, there is almost no other route to do so besides writing a very convincing paper that adheres to certain expectations of writing that favor those with a college education and extensive experience navigating the cryptic form of communication used by liberal white people. Additionally, our system for organizing our labor and cultural norms around work create a strong sense of urgency in our organization, causing us to be largely reactionary, and value quantity and speed or quality. To some degree all of these characteristics are present at Twin Oaks, and everyone's individual perception of them varies as well. We hope you review this document before visiting us so you can determine what elements of our culture fit into this framework for yourself.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WHITE SUPREMACY CULTURE
From Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001
Below is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people. Organizations that are people of color-led or a majority people of color can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.
Right to Comfort
- the belief that those with power have a right to emotional and psychological comfort (another aspect of valuing logic over emotion)
- scapegoating those who cause discomfort
- equating individual acts of unfairness against white people with systemic racism which daily targets people of color
Antidotes: understand that discomfort is at the root of all growth and learning; welcome it as much as you can; deepen your political analysis of racism and oppression so you have a strong understanding of how your personal experience and feelings fit into a larger picture; don't take everything personally
Sense of Urgency
- continued sense of urgency that makes it difficult to take time to be inclusive, encourage democratic and/or thoughtful decision-making, to think long-term, to consider consequences
- frequently results in sacrificing potential allies for quick or highly visible results, for example sacrificing interests of communities of color in order to win victories for white people (seen as default or norm community)
- reinforced by funding proposals which promise too much work for too little money and by funders who expect too much for too little
Antidotes: realistic work plans; leadership which understands that things take longer than anyone expects; discuss and plan for what it means to set goals of inclusivity and diversity, particularly in terms of time; learn from past experience how long things take; write realistic funding proposals with realistic time frames; be clear about how you will make good decisions in an atmosphere of urgency
Worship of the Written Word
- if it's not in a memo, it doesn't exist
- the organization does not take into account or value other ways in which information gets shared
- those with strong documentation and writing skills are more highly valued, even in organizations where ability to relate to others is key to the mission
Antidotes: take the time to analyze how people inside and outside the organization get and share information; figure out which things need to be written down and come up with alternative ways to document what is happening; work to recognize the contributions and skills that every person brings to the organization (for example, the ability to build relationships with those who are important to the organization’s mission)
Only One Right Way
- the belief there is one right way to do things and once people are introduced to the right way, they will see the light and adopt it
- when they do not adapt or change, then something is wrong with them (the other, those not changing), not with us (those who know the right way)
- similar to the missionary who does not see value in the culture of other communities, sees only value in their beliefs about what is good
Antidotes: accept that there are many ways to get to the same goal; once the group has made a decision about which way will be taken, honor that decision and see what you and the organization will learn from taking that way, even and especially if it is not the way you would have chosen; work on developing the ability to notice when people do things differently and how those different ways might improve your approach; look for the tendency for a group or a person to keep pushing the same point over and over out of a belief that there is only one right way and then name it; when working with communities from a different culture than yours or your organization's, be clear that you have some learning to do about the communities' ways of doing; never assume that you or your organization know what's best for the community in isolation from meaningful relationships with that community
- the organizational structure is set up and much energy spent trying to prevent abuse and protect power as it exists rather than to facilitate the best out of each person or to clarify who has power and how they are expected to use it
- because of either/or thinking (see below), criticism of those with power is viewed as threatening and inappropriate (or rude)
- people respond to new or challenging ideas with defensiveness, making it very difficult to raise these ideas
- a lot of energy in the organization is spent trying to make sure that people's feelings aren't getting hurt or working around defensive people
- the defensiveness of people in power creates an oppressive culture
Antidotes: understand that structure cannot in and of itself facilitate or prevent abuse; understand the link between defensiveness and fear (of losing power, losing face, losing comfort, losing privilege); work on your own defensiveness; name defensiveness as a problem when it is one; give people credit for being able to handle more than you think; discuss the ways in which defensiveness or resistance to new ideas gets in the way of the mission
- little appreciation expressed among people for the work that others are doing; appreciation that is expressed usually directed to those who get most of the credit anyway
- more common is to point out either how the person or work is inadequate
- or even more common, to talk to others about the inadequacies of a person or their work without ever talking directly to them
- mistakes are seen as personal, i.e. they reflect badly on the person making them as opposed to being seen for what they are -- mistakes
- making a mistake is confused with being a mistake, doing wrong with being wrong
- little time, energy, or money put into reflection or identifying lessons learned that can improve practice, in other words little or no learning from mistakes
- tendency to identify what’s wrong; little ability to identify, name, and appreciate what’s right
Antidotes: develop a culture of appreciation, where the organization takes time to make sure that people’s work and efforts are appreciated; develop a learning organization, where it is expected that everyone will make mistakes and those mistakes offer opportunities for learning; create an environment where people can recognize that mistakes sometimes lead to positive results; separate the person from the mistake; when offering feedback, always speak to the things that went well before offering criticism; ask people to offer specific suggestions for how to do things differently when offering criticism
Quantity Over Quality
- all resources of organization are directed toward producing measurable goals
- things that can be measured are more highly valued than things that cannot, for example numbers of people attending a meeting, newsletter circulation, money spent are valued more than quality of relationships, democratic decision-making, ability to constructively deal with conflict
- little or no value attached to process; if it can't be measured, it has no value
- discomfort with emotion and feelings
- no understanding that when there is a conflict between content (the agenda of the meeting) and process (people's need to be heard or engaged), process will prevail (for example, you may get through the agenda, but if you haven't paid attention to people's need to be heard, the decisions made at the meeting are undermined and/or disregarded)
Antidotes: include process or quality goals in your planning; make sure your organization has a values statement which expresses the ways in which you want to do your work; make sure this is a living document and that people are using it in their day to day work; look for ways to measure process goals (for example if you have a goal of inclusivity, think about ways you can measure whether or not you have achieved that goal); learn to recognize those times when you need to get off the agenda in order to address people's underlying concerns
- decision-making is clear to those with power and unclear to those without it
- those with power think they are capable of making decisions for and in the interests of those without power
- those with power often don't think it is important or necessary to understand the viewpoint or experience of those for whom they are making decisions
- those without power understand they do not have it and understand who does
- those without power do not really know how decisions get made and who makes what decisions, and yet they are completely familiar with the impact of those decisions on them
Antidotes: make sure that everyone knows and understands who makes what decisions in the organization; make sure everyone knows and understands their level of responsibility and authority in the organization; include people who are affected by decisions in the decision-making
Fear of Open Conflict
- emphasis on being polite
- people in power are scared of conflict and try to ignore it or run from it
when someone raises an issue that causes discomfort, the response is to blame the person for raising the issue rather than to look at the issue which is actually causing the problem
- equating the raising of difficult issues with being impolite, rude, or out of line
Antidotes: role play ways to handle conflict before conflict happens; distinguish between being polite and raising hard issues; don't require those who raise hard issues to raise them in acceptable ways, especially if you are using the ways in which issues are raised as an excuse not to address the issues being raised; once a conflict is resolved, take the opportunity to revisit it and see how it might have been handled differently
- things are either/or, good/bad, right/wrong, with us/against us
- closely linked to perfectionism in making it difficult to learn from mistakes or accommodate conflict
- no sense that things can be both/and
- results in trying to simplify complex things, for example believing that poverty is simply a result of lack of education
- creates conflict and increases sense of urgency, as people are felt they have to make decisions to do either this or that, with no time or encouragement to consider alternatives, particularly those which may require more time or resources
Antidotes: notice when people use either/or language and push to come up with more than two alternatives; notice when people are simplifying complex issues, particularly when the stakes seem high or an urgent decision needs to be made; slow it down and encourage people to do a deeper analysis; when people are faced with an urgent decision, take a break and give people some breathing room to think creatively; avoid making decisions under extreme pressure
- little, if any, value around sharing power
- power seen as limited, only so much to go around
- those with power feel threatened when anyone suggests changes in how things should be done in the organization, feel suggestions for change are a reflection on their leadership
- those with power don't see themselves as hoarding power or as feeling threatened
- those with power assume they have the best interests of the organization at heart and assume those wanting change are ill-informed (stupid), emotional, inexperienced
Antidotes: include power sharing in your organization's values statement; discuss what good leadership looks like and make sure people understand that a good leader develops the power and skills of others; understand that change is inevitable and challenges to your leadership can be healthy and productive; make sure the organization is focused on the mission.
- little experience or comfort working as part of a team
- people in organization believe they are responsible for solving problems alone
- accountability, if any, goes up and down, not sideways to peers or to those the organization is set up to serve
- desire for individual recognition and credit
- leads to isolation
- competition more highly valued than cooperation and where cooperation is valued, little time or resources devoted to developing skills in how to cooperate
- creates a lack of accountability, as the organization values those who can get things done on their own without needing supervision or guidance antidotes: include teamwork as an important value in your values statement; make sure the organization is working towards shared goals and people understand how working together will improve performance; evaluate people's ability to work in a team as well as their ability to get the job done; make sure that credit is given to all those who participate in an effort, not just the leaders or most public person; make people accountable as a group rather than as individuals; create a culture where people bring problems to the group; use staff meetings as a place to solve problems, not just a place to report activities
- I'm the only one
- connected to individualism, the belief that if something is going to get done right, I have to do it
- little or no ability to delegate work to others
Antidotes: evaluate people based on their ability to delegate to others; evaluate people based on their ability to work as part of a team to accomplish shared goals
Progress is Bigger, More
- observed in systems of accountability and ways we determine success
- progress is an organization which expands (adds staff, adds projects) or develops the ability to serve more people (regardless of how well they are serving them)
- gives no value, not even negative value, to its cost, for example, increased accountability to funders as the budget grows, ways in which those we serve may be exploited, excluded, or underserved as we focus on how many we are serving instead of quality of service or values created by the ways in which we serve
Antidotes: create Seventh Generation thinking by asking how the actions of the group now will affect people seven generations from now; make sure that any cost/benefit analysis includes all the costs, not just the financial ones, for example the cost in morale, the cost in credibility, the cost in the use of resources; include process goals in your planning, for example make sure that your goals speak to how you want to do your work, not just what you want to do; ask those you work with and for to evaluate your performance
- the belief that there is such a thing as being objective
- the belief that emotions are inherently destructive, irrational, and should not play a role in decision-making or group process
- invalidating people who show emotion
- requiring people to think in a linear fashion and ignoring or invalidating those who think in other ways
- impatience with any thinking that does not appear logical to those with power
Antidotes: realize that everybody has a world view and that everybody's world view affects the way they understand things; realize this means you too; push yourself to sit with discomfort when people are expressing themselves in ways which are not familiar to you; assume that everybody has a valid point and your job is to understand what that point is
One of the purposes of listing characteristics of white supremacy culture is to point out how organizations which unconsciously use these characteristics as their norms and standards make it difficult, if not impossible, to open the door to other cultural norms and standards. As a result, many of our organizations, while saying we want to be multicultural, really only allow other people and cultures to come in if they adapt or conform to already existing cultural norms. Being able to identify and name the cultural norms and standards you want is a first step to making room for a truly multicultural organization.
Racial Justice and Anti-Racism Resources
Racial Justice and Anti-Racism Resources
The following is a list of Racial Justice and Anti-Racism resources. This list is by no means exhaustive, but is a good place to start.
Books (don’t buy them from Amazon)
So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo
How to Be Less Stupid About Race - Crystal Marie Fleming
Me and White Supremacy - Layla Saad
Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence - Derald Wing Sue White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
Witnessing Whiteness - Shelly Tochluk
Good White People - Shannon Sullivan
Memoir of a Race Traitor - Mab Segrest
A Promise and a Way of Life - Becky Thompson My Grandmother’s Hands - Resmaa Menakem Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson
Waking Up White - Debby Irving
History of Race
Race: The Power of an Illusion
The Color of Law - Richard Rothstein
The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? - Beverly Daniel Tatum Birth of a White Nation - Jacqueline Battalora
Colorblind - Tim Wise
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome - Joy Degruy
Stamped From the Beginning - Ibram X. Kendi
The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
We Were Eight Years In Power - Ta-Nehisi Coates The Souls of Black Folk - W. E. B. Du Bois
The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
Documentaries and Podcasts
13th, about racial inequality and America’s prison industrial complex
Let the Fire Burn, about the bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia
Arc of Justice, about New Communities, the first Community Land Trust in the US, organized by black farmers in Georgia in 1969
Seeing White - Scene on Radio
Code Switch (NPR)
1619 (New York Times)
Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
Organizing Against Racism (OAR)
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
Stop AAPI Hate
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Reparations Land Map
Introduction to Power and Privilege Online Workshop
Examples of Racial Microaggressions
Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism
Conspire for Change: Anti-Oppression Resources
The Political Whiteness of #MeToo
Weinstein, White Tears, and the Boundaries of Black Women's Empathy
'Model Minority' Myth Again Used As A Racial Wedge Between Asians And Blacks
Dismantling Racism Workbook
University of Michigan Inclusive Teachinghttp://www.dismantlingracism.org
ADL Hate Symbols Database
Whites for Racial Equity
Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice