Theory Behind the Work

There are good reasons to articulate the theory underlying racial equity work. The process helps groups surface differing assumptions about how change happens, including how privilege and systemic and individual levels of racism might be playing out.  This helps to reconcile differences or to build in different assumptions to the evaluation.  The process can also point out gaps or redundancies in strategies.  The resulting picture also can serve as a communication tool, making it easier for others to see where their interests do or do not align with the intended strategies and goals. All of those benefits serve the work, as well as evaluation.


At the same time, while it is always useful to get clear about intentions for racial equity work, it is not always possible to specify in advance how that work will unfold, or what it will accomplish at various points in time. Much of the work being done to pr [...]

Resources

Title
Author
Organization
Transformative Paradigm: Mixed Methods and Social Justice
Donna Merten
American Behavioral Scientist
The Equity Imperative in Collective Impact
John Kania and Mark Kramer, FSG
Stanford Social Innovation Review
The Culture of Collective Impact
Paul Schmitz
HuffPost
From Theory to Practice: Three Lessons on Equity and Collective Impact
Junious Williams and Sarah Marxer
Living Cities
Ten Essential Questions for Policy Development, Review and Evaluation
Associated Black Charities
Indigenous Research Methodologies
Angela Easby
Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community-University Engagement (ISICUE), University of Victoria
Reframing Evaluation: Defining an Indigenous Evaluation Framework
Joan LaFrance and Richard Nichols
The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation
Lessons on Decolonizing Evaluation From Kaupapa Māori Evaluation
Fiona Cram
Katoa Ltd
Multiple Ways of Knowing: Expanding How We Know
Elissa Sloane Perry and Aja Couchois Duncan
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
Towards a Reexamination of White Identity Models
European American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness

“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?”

~ Langston Hughes, American Poet and Activist

SPOTLIGHT

Lucky Zip Codes – Amy Hunter, TEDxGatewayArch

Also in this section:
  • Defining the Work

  • Desired Outcomes

  • Knowledge Development and Evaluation Research Questions

GLOSSARY

Cultural Appropriation

Theft of cultural elements—including symbols, art, language, customs, etc.—for one’s own use, commodification, or profit, often without understanding, acknowledgement,or respect for its value in the original culture. Results from the assumption of a dominant (i.e. white) culture’s right to take other cultural elements.


SOURCE:  Colours of Resistance Archive, “Cultural Appropriation (accessed 28 June 2013).

Cultural Racism

Cultural racism refers to representations, messages and stories conveying the idea that behaviors and values associated with white people or “whiteness” are automatically “better” or more “normal” than those associated with other racially defined groups. Cultural racism shows up in advertising, movies, history books, definitions of patriotism, and in policies and laws. Cultural racism is also a powerful force in maintaining systems of internalized supremacy and internalized racism. It does that by influencing collective beliefs about what constitutes appropriate behavior, what is seen as beautiful, and the value placed on various forms of expression. All of these cultural norms and values in the U.S. have explicitly or implicitly racialized ideals and assumptions (for example, what “nude” means as a color, which facial features and body types are considered beautiful, which child-rearing practices are considered appropriate.)


SOURCE:  RacialEquityTools.org


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

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Ethnicity

A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and ancestral geographical base.


Examples of different ethnic groups are: Cape Verdean, Haitian, African American (Black); Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese (Asian); Cherokee, Mohawk, Navaho (Native American); Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican (Latino); Polish, Irish, and Swedish (White).


SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, Routledge, 1997.


Related Resources:  Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Ethnicity”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Inclusion

Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.


SOURCE:  OpenSource Leadership Strategies

People of Color

Often the preferred collective term for referring to non-White racial groups. Racial justice advocates have been using the term “people of color” (not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people”) since the late 1970s as an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups that are not White, to address racial inequities. While “people of color” can be a politically useful term, and describes people with their own attributes (as opposed to what they are not, e.g., “non-White”), it is also important whenever possible to identify people through their own racial/ethnic group, as each has its own distinct experience and meaning and may be more appropriate.


SOURCE:  Race Forward, “Race Reporting Guide” (2015).

Racial and Ethnic Identity

An individual’s awareness and experience of being a member of a racial and ethnic group; the racial and ethnic categories that an individual chooses to describe him or herself based on such factors as biological heritage, physical appearance, cultural affiliation, early socialization, and personal experience.


SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, Routledge, 1997.


Related Resources:  Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity (includes “Resources by Specific Racial/Ethnic Groups”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Structural Racialization

Structural racialization connotes the dynamic process that creates cumulative and durable inequalities based on race. Interactions between individuals are shaped by and reflect underlying and often hidden structures that shape biases and create disparate outcomes even in the absence of racist actors or racist intentions. The presence of structural racialization is evidenced by consistent differences in outcomes in education attainment, family wealth, and even life span.


SOURCE:  Systems Thinking and Race: Workshop Summary by john a. powell, Connie Cagampang Heller, and Fayza Bundalli (The California Endowment, 2011).


Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Whiteness

  1. The term white, referring to people, was created by Virginia slave owners and colonial rules in the 17th century. It replaced terms like Christian and Englishman to distinguish European colonists from Africans and indigenous peoples. European colonial powers established whiteness as a legal concept after Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, during which indentured servants of European and African descent had united against the colonial elite. The legal distinction of white separated the servant class on the basis of skin color and continental origin. The creation of ‘whiteness’ meant giving privileges to some, while denying them to others with the justification of biological and social inferiority.

  2. Whiteness itself refers to the specific dimensions of racism that serve to elevate white people over people of color. This definition counters the dominant representation of racism in mainstream education as isolated in discrete behaviors that some individuals may or may not demonstrate, and goes beyond naming specific privileges (McIntosh, 1988). Whites are theorized as actively shaped, affected, defined, and elevated through their racialization and the individual and collective consciousness formed within it ... Whiteness is thus conceptualized as a constellation of processes and practices rather than as a discrete entity (i.e. skin color alone). Whiteness is dynamic, relational, and operating at all times and on myriad levels. These processes and practices include basic rights, values, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences purported to be commonly shared by all but which are actually only consistently afforded to white people.


SOURCE:

1. PBS, “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (2018–2019 relaunch of 2003 series).

2. Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility” (International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 2011).


Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts