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View Diary: White Privilege Diary Series #1 - White Feminist Privilege in Organizations (481 comments)

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  •  Sadly, I find this diary to be dead on accurate. (21+ / 0-)

    I was the Vice President on our Board for our local domestic violence organization. We live in a mountain community that is primarily a white, middle aged,  semi-retired community of fairly affluent people. We were losing grants because of our lack of diversity on the board. We had men on the board (all white), which was at least something since DV programs do not attract many men to their organizations.

    But, we did not have Latinos, African Americans, or anyone of color on the board. We had one gay woman and after working with her for a year, it became obvious that she had been recruited only because she was gay. Not because anyone wanted her input on ways to reach out to the gay community. We had a Spanish speaking employee who wasn't Latino, who worked with our DV clients.

    It became clear to me and increasingly frustrating, that the Board only wanted to add a minority to the Board in order to fulfill our grant obligations. Not to reflect our community, not to be a voice for the growing Latino community that his now thriving here. No, to fulfill granting obligations. And most folks that we approached were not affluent, worked full time and could not make the meetings because the meetings were on a Wednesday in the middle of a work day. Our executive director did not want to hold meetings at night because it would interfere with her private time. Well, guess who has time to meet in the middle of a work day on a Wed? White rich folks.

    About a year into my term, I simply refused the Executive Director when she complained that I wasn't actively seeking out minority Board members, which was part of our Board duties. Why wouldn't I? Because it was an insult to their intelligence to invite them onto a board that did not want to incorporate any of their ideas, their culture, or experiences.

    I ended up resigning after we finally purchased our shelter, which was why I joined in the first place--to see that dream fulfilled. I simply could not, in all good conscience, continue on a Board that really did not care very much about the larger picture of why we needed to diversify.

    I can just about forgive the Brits for starting our revolutionary war and burning DC to the ground during the war of 1812 for giving us Led Zeppelin.

    by Pager on Sun May 22, 2011 at 02:26:33 PM PDT

    •  I once worked for an organization (13+ / 0-)

      that loved how diverse it was and was consistently thrilled to tout its own diversity.  

      There were exactly two non-white employees in the main branch, which had over 150 people working for it.  They were about 20 years apart in age.   My boss thought one was the mother of the other.  I think in her head, she came across so few black people that the ones she meets must come from the same family.

      I am so glad I no longer work there.

      "The first rule of pillow fight club is do not talk about pillow fight club." --Keith Olbermann

      by Julie Waters on Sun May 22, 2011 at 02:39:59 PM PDT

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      •  I wish I hadn't laughed when I read (12+ / 0-)

        your comment, but I did. Because everything you just said is so true, if I didn't laugh, I'd probably cry.

        I live in a very small town and I've worked my ass off for a variety of candidates, issues and and organizations. I just refuse to damage what little credibility I've built up over the years by being affiliated with an organization that will never understand and DOES NOT WANT TO understand or see the larger issues.

        I have a large Latino clientele. The largest of anyone in my business. I like to think it's because I actually have a clue and also because I have reached out, actively, to get their business and to get involved in their lives instead of waiting for them to magically come to me. Until the folks in this town get that, our Latino community will continue to be marginalized and I can't live that way.

        We have a small Mexican grocery store that just moved into the front of my building. I have advertised for them (they have the only butcher shop in town and it's awesome), I've encouraged my clients to give them business. Not one single client has gone there yet. Hell, I frequent their place because it's convenient and because I'm a big believer in supporting small businesses over conglomerates like Safeway. But my white clients are so intimidated to go into a store where they are out side of their protective zone that they just won't go there.

        "Oh my God, all their food is in Spanish. How do I know what I'm buying?" That's the most common dumbass excuse I've heard. Here's just a thought--ASK THEM because Mario will tell you and guide you to what you are looking for. How hard is it to ask, really?

        Their loss, because the butcher shop has the best meat in town. Fuck 'em.

        I can just about forgive the Brits for starting our revolutionary war and burning DC to the ground during the war of 1812 for giving us Led Zeppelin.

        by Pager on Sun May 22, 2011 at 02:48:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, that's exactly what (6+ / 0-)

      I'm talking about...

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Sun May 22, 2011 at 02:41:13 PM PDT

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      •  It's one of those things that nobody (6+ / 0-)

        ever wants to talk about. Believe me, I tried. And I gave up. The blank looks from my fellow board members--the "What in the world are you talking about? We're progressive. We work with domestic violence victims. We empower women. We don't discriminate. We embrace all cultures..."

        Blah, blah, blah.

        I find that most people don't want to see it. It's uncomfortable because it addresses something that is within their very core and that's a really difficult thing to do--that level of self examination.

        I can just about forgive the Brits for starting our revolutionary war and burning DC to the ground during the war of 1812 for giving us Led Zeppelin.

        by Pager on Sun May 22, 2011 at 03:30:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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