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Racial Dynamics to Watch For

The two-page tip sheet from Everyday DemocracyRacial Dynamics to Watch For, was published April 2010. The tip sheet gives pointers on how to keep racial dynamics in mind, in order to design better and more inclusive programs/events. The tip sheet gives advice for three categories: Planning and organizing, Dialogues and facilitation, and Working on Action. Below is an excerpt from the tip sheet and it’s available on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

From Everyday Democracy…

As you approach a large community-change initiative, pay attention to racial dynamics. Consider the following examples. Talk about how you might prevent or correct these situations.

Planning and organizing
– The organizing committee recruits one person of color to “represent” the African American / Latino / or Asian “community”.

-The chair of the group selects a large, prosperous, white church – or another venue frequented by whites – a a regular meeting site for the organizing team.

-The group decides to rotate meeting sites between a prosperous white church and a local black church. White attendance is very low when the meeting takes place as the black church.

Dialogues and facilitation
– The white facilitator seems to lead most of the times; the person of color who is co-facilitating tends to do more note-taking.

– The white organizer checks in with the white facilitator about how things are going.

– One or two people or color in a circle or 10 are asked to speak for their whole group.

Working on Action
– Action groups are often dominated by whites. While people of color may be invited to participate, they are more “for show”. Old habits and behaviors continue, and whites stay in the lead.

– As people form new partnerships to address problems in the community, they hesitate to include people from different racial groups.

– People who are most affected by new policies are shut out. They have no voice in the policy making.

This is a condensed version of Racial Dynamics to Watch For, the original can be found in full on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/resources/racial-dynamics-watch

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