Communicating for Racial Justice

MediaJustice offers the following definition of framing (a particular communication strategy – see Framing and Messaging) applied to communicating about racial justice. They note that justice framing “is a methodology that exposes structural inequity, emphasizes social responsibility and corporate accountability, and highlights the role of government and policy. Justice framing uses news coverage, policy, entertainment media, and all forms of communications to move public conversations toward a collective vision of progressive structural change.


When and how to be explicit about race is still controversial, even in the racial equity field. It is critical to be able to showcase and explain not just racial disparities, but also the full nar [...]

Practices

Title
Author
Organization
Building Narrative Power: Strategy, Infrastructure & Content for Culture Change
Rashad Robinson
Color of Change
Disrupting the Discourse: Framing at the Intersection of Racism and Opportunity
Makani Themba-Nixon
The Praxis Project
Echoing Justice: Communicating Strategies for Community Organizing in the 21st Century
Julie Quiroz, Jen Soriano, et al.
Center for Media Justice; Movement Strategy Center (MSC)
His Story: Shifting Narratives for Boys and Men of Color | A Guide for Philanthropy
Alexis McGill Johnson and Rachel Godsil et al.
Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color; Perception Institute
How to Tell Compelling Stories While Avoiding Exploitation
Abesha Shiferaw
Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN)
Improving Media Coverage and Public Perceptions of African-American Men and Boys
The Opportunity Agenda
smartMeme’s Story-based Strategy Campaign Model
smartMeme (Center for Story-based Strategy)
Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice
The Opportunity Agenda

Research and Analysis

Title
Author
Organization
Moving the Race Conversation Forward
Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation
Some Thoughts About Public Will
Sally A. Leiderman, Wendy C. Wolf, and Peter York
CAPD

Tools

Title
Author
Organization
Helpful Rebuttals for Racist* Talking Points
@CharCubed
Content Creators, Here’s An Equity Screen to Use as You Work on Your Next Blog Post, Book, Podcast, Or Video
Vu Le
NonProfit AF
Narrative Stress Test: A Collaborative Checklist for Social Justice Groups and Alliances Using Narrative Strategies for Change
Building Movement Project; The Opportunity Agenda; Center for Media Justice; Public Works
Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions
First Nations Development Institute; Echo Hawk Consulting
Talking About Race
National Museum of African American History & Culture
Vision, Values, and Voice: A Communications Toolkit
Julie Fisher-Rowe et al.
The Opportunity Agenda

“People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for: freedom, liberty and justice for all.”

~ Colin Kaepernick

SPOTLIGHT

The Shift: Narrative and Arts Amid the Culture Wars – Facing Race

Also in this section:
  • Implicit Bias

  • Using Social Media

  • Framing and Messaging

  • Working with the Media

GLOSSARY

Anti-Racist

An anti-racist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas. This includes the expression of ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing, and supporting policies that reduce racial inequity. 


SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Caucusing (Affinity Groups)

A caucus is an intentionally created space for those who share an identity to convene for learning, support, and connections. Caucuses based on racial identity are often comprised, respectively, of people of color, white people, people who hold multiracial identities, or people who share specific racial or ethnic identities.


To advance racial equity, there is work for white people and people of color to do separately and together. Caucuses provide spaces for people to work within their own racial/ethnic groups. For white people, a caucus provides time and space to work explicitly and intentionally on understanding white culture and white privilege and to increase one’s critical analysis around these concepts. A white caucus also puts the onus on white people to teach each other about these ideas, rather than placing a burden on people of color to teach them. For people of color, a caucus is a place to work with peers to address the impact of racism, to interrupt experiences of internalized racism, and to create a space for healing and working for individual and collective liberation. At times, people of color may also break into more specific race-based caucuses, sometimes based on experiences with a particular issue, for example police violence, immigration, or land rights. Groups that use caucuses in their organizational racial equity work, especially in workplaces and coalitions, generally meet separately and create a process to rejoin and work together collectively.


SOURCE:  RacialEquityTools.org (ACT / Strategies / Caucus and Affinity Groups)


Related Resources:  Caucus and Affinity Groups

Location: ACT / Strategies

Implicit Bias

Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics.


SOURCE:  Cheryl Staats, State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2013, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University. 


Related Resources:  Implicit Bias

Location: ACT / Communicating

Microaggression

The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.


SOURCE:  Derald Wing Sue, PhD, “Microaggressions: More than Just Race” (Psychology Today, 17 November 2010).


Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Interpersonal Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Multicultural Competency

A process of learning about and becoming allies with people from other cultures, thereby broadening our own understanding and ability to participate in a multicultural process. The key element to becoming more culturally competent is respect for the ways that others live in and organize the world and an openness to learn from them.


SOURCE:  Paul Kivel, “Multicultural Competence” (2007).


Related Resources:  Multicultural Competency

Location: ACT / Strategies

Power

  1. Power is unequally distributed globally and in U.S. society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualized as power overother individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which references an individual’s internal strength). Learning to “see” and understand relations of power is vital to organizing for progressive social change.

  2. Power may also be understood as the ability to influence others and impose one’s beliefs. All power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another. The importance of the concept of power to anti-racism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Power can be used malignantly and intentionally, but need not be, and individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware.


SOURCE: 

  1. Intergroup Resources, “Power” (2012).

  2. Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, “Racism and Power” (2018) / “CARED Glossary” (2020).

Racial Healing

To restore to health or soundness; to repair or set right; to restore to spiritual wholeness.


SOURCE:  Michael R. Wenger, Racial Equity Resource Guide (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 2012).


Related Resources:  Addressing Trauma and Healing and Trauma, Violence, and Healing

Locations: ACT / Strategies and PLAN / Issues

Racial Reconciliation

Reconciliation involves three ideas. First, it recognizes that racism in America is both systemic and institutionalized, with far–reaching effects on both political engagement and economic opportunities for minorities. Second, reconciliation is engendered by empowering local communities through relationship-building and truth-telling. Lastly, justice is the essential component of the conciliatory process—justice that is best termed as restorative rather than retributive, while still maintaining its vital punitive character.


SOURCE:  The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Position Statement on Reconciliation (2014).


Related Resources:  Racial Reconciliation

Location: ACT / Strategies

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It places decisions in the hands of those who have been most affected by a wrongdoing, and gives equal concern to the victim, the offender, and the surrounding community. Restorative responses are meant to repair harm, heal broken relationships, and address the underlying reasons for the offense. Restorative Justice emphasizes individual and collective accountability. Crime and conflict generate opportunities to build community and increase grassroots power when restorative practices are employed.


SOURCE:  The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), “Glossary.”


Related Resources:  Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice

Location: ACT / Strategies

White Supremacy Culture

  1. White Supremacy Culture refers to the dominant, unquestioned standards of behavior and ways of functioning embodied by the vast majority of institutions in the United States. These standards may be seen as mainstream, dominant cultural practices; they have evolved from the United States’ history of white supremacy. Because it is so normalized it can be hard to see, which only adds to its powerful hold. In many ways, it is indistinguishable from what we might call U.S. culture or norms – a focus on individuals over groups, for example, or an emphasis on the written word as a form of professional communication. But it operates in even more subtle ways, by actually defining what “normal” is – and likewise, what “professional,” “effective,” or even “good” is. In turn, white culture also defines what is not good, “at risk,” or “unsustainable.” White culture values some ways of thinking, behaving, deciding, and knowing – ways that are more familiar and come more naturally to those from a white, western tradition – while devaluing or rendering invisible other ways. And it does this without ever having to explicitly say so...

  2. An artificial, historically constructed culture which expresses, justifies, and binds together the United States white supremacy system. It is the glue that binds together white-controlled institutions into systems and white-controlled systems into the global white supremacy system.


SOURCE:

1. Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk, “Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity” (The Foundation Review vol. 6: issue 1, 2014).

2. Sharon Martinas and the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop, 4th revision (1995).


Related Resources:  Organizational Change Process (see the first section: “Addressing White Dominant Culture”)

Location: ACT / Strategies