Arts and Culture

Arts and culture are among the most powerful ways to share anti-racist, decolonizing and pro-Blackness representations, messages and stories. They are also useful tools for engaging groups around racial equity topics, and for support of transformative learning. See the Racial Equity Learning curricula on this site, as well as the resources in this section, for ways in which groups have been creative in shifting culture, engaging people, and taking action in their racial equity work. Please also see the Cultural Racism section on how racial/ethnic stereotypes and narratives are formed and maintained.

Community/Sector Specific

Practices

Title
Author
Organization
Reckoning With Race: A Storytelling Initiative
Living Cities and Gumbo Media
Strengthening and Connecting to the Social Fabric of Communities
Lorrie Chang and Victor Rubin
PolicyLink
How Do You Visualize a World You Haven’t Yet Seen?
Cultural Organizing
Voice of Art - Migration Is Beautiful, Pt. 3
Favianna Rodriguez
iamOTHER
A Cultural Strategy: An Introduction and a Primer
Nayantara Sen
Art/Work Practice (AWP)
Art and Organizing / Art as Organizing
Paul Kuttner
Sistas and Brothas United
Arts and Culture in Communities: Systems of Support
Maria Rosario Jackson, Joaquin Herranz, and Florence Kabwasa-Green
The Urban Institute
How to Reimagine the World: Collaboration Principles for Artists and Social Justice Organizations
Micah Bazant
Forward Together; CultureStrike
Making Waves: A Guide to Cultural Strategy
The Culture Group
The Storytelling Project Curriculum: Learning About Race and Racism Through Storytelling and the Arts
Lee Anne Belle et al.
Storytelling Project, Barnard College
Until We Are All Free: Racial Justice Art and Story Sessions
Jidan Terry-Koon, Gerald Lenoir, Favianna Rodriguez, et al.
Mobilize the Immigrant Vote; CultureStrike; Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Voice of Art - Migration Is Beautiful, Pt. 1
Favianna Rodriguez
iamOTHER
Voice of Art - Migration Is Beautiful, Pt. 2
Favianna Rodriguez
iamOTHER

Resources

Title
Author
Organization
George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art Database
Todd Lawrence, P. Lorah, and H. Shirey et al.
Urban Art Mapping
Pop Culture Collab
The Pop Culture Collaborative
Exclusion Is Oppression: From Pedagogy to Performance
Gregory King
Dance Magazine
An Artist’s Unflinching Look at Racial Violence
Sanford Biggers
TED Talks
Art, Creative Practice, Action, and Leadership: A Next Generation Leadership Alumni Network Cooperative Inquiry
Elizabeth Canner, Kathie deNobriga, Timothea Howard, Annie Lanzillotto, Pam McMichael, Cara Page
Next Generation Leadership (NGL) Alumni Network; Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA)
Creative Change
The Opportunity Agenda
It’s Time to Let Classical Music Die
Nebal Maysaud
New Music US
Notes on a Cultural Strategy for Belonging
Evan Bissell
Othering & Belonging Institute
Race in America
Guernuica
Titus Kaphar: How Can We Address Centuries of Racism in Art?
TED Radio Hour, NPR

“Our mind sees in images. We have dreams of how we want things to be around us. We need a radical documentary work. It’s about questioning things and interrogating things.”

~ LaToya Ruby Frazier in the ART21 “New York Close Up” film, LaToya Ruby Frazier Makes Moving Pictures

SPOTLIGHT

Can Art Amend History? – Titus Kaphar, TED

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Trauma and Healing

  • Community Building

  • Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice

  • Leadership Development

  • Organizational Change Process

  • Training and Popular Education

  • Advocacy

  • Community Engagement

  • Dialogue and Deliberation

  • Multicultural Competency

  • Policy and Legislative Change

  • Youth Activism and Intergenerational Work

  • Caucus and Affinity Groups

  • Community Organizing

  • Hate Crimes Prevention and Response

  • Narrative Change

  • Racial Reconciliation

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.

  3. (A) The ability to name or define. (B) The ability to decide. (C) The ability the set the rule, standard, or policy. (D) The ability to change the rule, standard, or policy to serve your needs, wants, or desires. (E) The ability to influence decision makers to make choices in favor of your cause, issue, or concern. Each of these definitions can manifest on personal, social, institutional, or structural levels:  

  • Personal Power - 1. Self-determination. 2. Power that an individual possesses or builds in their personal life and interpersonal relationships.  

  • Social Power - 1. Communal self-determination. 2. A grassroots collective organization of personal power. 3. Power that social groups possess or build among themselves to determine and shape their collective lives.  

  • Institutional Power - 1. Power to create and shape the rules, policies, and actions of an institution. 2. To have institutional power is to be a decision maker or to have great influence upon a decision maker of an institution.  

  • Structural Power - To have structural power is to create and shape the rules, policies, and actions that govern multiple and intersecting institutions or an industry.


SOURCE: 

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

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

  3. Our Shared Language: Social Justice Glossary, YWCA (2016).

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