“They Said It Out Loud!”

A CMJ Collaborations logo appears in the upper right corner. Head shots of a white woman, Black woman and Asian American woman are in the other four quadrants.

A few weeks ago, my co-conspirators and I facilitated our quarterly workshop called “Disrupting White Supremacy Culture in Nonprofits.” It’s based on the Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture in Organizations, developed by Tema Okun.

Some of the comments we hear in the workshop and outside of it are:

Hard Questions

“Do you have to say white supremacy? Doesn’t that turn off some people?”

“How do we talk to people who aren’t comfortable with the words ‘white supremacy’?”

“You’re not concerned that people will walk out?”

“Wouldn’t it be better to say DEI or anti-racism?”

I love those questions because it gives me an opportunity to talk about the culture part of white supremacy culture.

When someone is uneasy with the terms, I start out by saying “No one thinks you have a confederate flag in the closet!”

The issue is the culture we’ve all internalized because it’s all around us.

The fault is not in being born in a place and time. The fault is in not questioning our socialization because it’s uncomfortable or might seem threatening.

Disrupting White Supremacy Culture in Campaigns

The workshop came to life when I started to wonder what I’d done in my campaigns that perpetuated, rather than disrupted white supremacy culture. I thought if I was asking these questions, other people might be thinking the same thing.

So I called a friend – a teacher and expert in anti-bias and anti-racism education who has designed ethnic studies curriculum – and said “Hey, do you want to do a conference workshop with me? Less about theory and intellectualism and more about everyday life.”

A New Workshop is Born

The initial Disrupting workshop was born.

Our third co-conspirator saw the recording of the workshop and said “Wow! They said it out loud.”

The three of us have been working together ever since.

We work with nonprofit organizations to create programs that disrupt white supremacy culture.

But TBH, we’re not for everyone. So, we created a workbook to help organizations (1) determine where they are in their own journeys to live up to their values statements and (2) find the best partner to do it.

The “How to DEI” workbook is free. Download it here.

If you lead an organization that is exploring how to live up to your values statement, check it out! I’d love to know what you think.

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