Notes from – Challenging White Supremacy in the Workplace

Notes from - Challenging White Supremacy in the Workplace
A 3 hour workshop at the 15th Annual Summit Against Racism.
Facilitated by Mary C. Parker, Lizzie Anderson, Andrea Chiotte, and etta cetera -Ayanah Moor and Covus Strigiforum attended a planning discussion about this workshop.

There were about 30 people in each session, with many of the same people in both sessions. We didn’t have an official evaluation of the sessions so if you have any reflections or feedback that you would like to share please do! What did you like? What would you Change? How could we have made it better? Please email writealetta(at) with feedback
Participants Broke up into Pairs and shared their definitions of white supremacy and reported back to the large group. Notes on Report back to large group below
– All over the world
-independence of will – profit and self interest
-In U.S. there is a “unique” racism – denial (even though racism is everywhere in the world)
-Racism in China is extreme (need white people to teach English)
-it’s not always useful to compare racism in other countries with the way it plays out in the us.
-Slave ships as prison industrial complex
-Fear and threat – loosing something (power, wealth, privilege) and to be less than
-Success is a zero sum gain
-“Institutionally perpetuated” – decision makers (laws and rules)
Group Definition of White Supremacy
– Connected to everything/everyoneNotes from - Challenging White Supremacy in the Workplace
-World set up to separate our cultures
-Internalized and systematic
-Clear enemies and not so clear can make it harder to fight
– Expectation of white people to speak more, be leaders
-Can be unconscious
– Keeps whiteness on top – others made to fight each other not oppressors
– Standardization of whiteness
– Historical, colonization, creation of it
– Subtle ways to exert white supremacy even with in person of color groups
-Connection to class is deep
“White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.” –Elizabeth Martinez

Discussion After Breakout of White Supremacy at WorkplacesNotes from - Challenging White Supremacy in the Workplace
– Standards = different
-only certain people can deviate
– Policies not enacted/lived
-can push but may get silenced
– Awareness varies/ people can be uncomfortable. so TALK.
-backgrounds determine understanding
– Supposed to be empowering but shut down when expressing frustration
– Policies not known/not followed
– Race/class intersections
-white supremacy internalized and invisible
White Supremacy at Work
– White people in positions of power
-Politics of respectability
-people of color bodies being monitored and compared to white peoples’
– Media misinterpretation – criminalization
-Maintaining system of power to undermine group/race of people
-“white gatekeepers”
– Congratulating white perspectives on race – holding people of colors perspectives as gratuitous – When White people write about racism they are seen as brave, cutting edge/ when people of color write about racism is “angry and complaining”
– “limitations of people of color”
– People in power(white people) assuming that all people experience the same level of privilege
– Micromanagement
– Assumptions of relationships and abilities
– Class based
– Lack of diversity
Notes from - Challenging White Supremacy in the Workplace– White males taking up space
– Criminal background checks, how they are used
– continued persecution of past issues
-Control through income
– White monoculture instead of multicultural inclusion
an observation:
“The end product of all of these behaviors is less than what could be achieved”
– sometimes people want to be “called out” to learn?
-Being educated and sharing info
-Noticing and mentioning discomfort to open conversation
– Being transparent/asking for it
-Broken record tactic until concern is addressed
-Shared responsibility for success and failure
-pointing out perspectives that may not be addressed
-Taking the power that you have and were given
-Create a paper trail (filing complaints)
-Body language and physical movement toward the person who needs support
Strategies for Confronting White Supremacy at Work
– Educate and integrate (language and culture) into work
-i.e. Spanish word of the day
– Speak out – confidence in what you think and open conversation
– Build skillset on speaking
-Know the policies – create policies if none
-Validate people (people’s needs) in conversation to open conversation – and bring back to policies
– Always an opportunity to bring it up
– Equalizing labor and tasksNotes from - Challenging White Supremacy in the Workplace
-i.e. all people participate in “unsexy work”
– Validate various styles of discourse for inclusion
-various ways to get input and information
– Collective power/decision making
– Holding your ground, not personal
-assuming equality
-Be personal to effect change in power situation
_-face to face vs. email
-Persistence – continue to talk to management
– Build community of people to call out issues
-advocacy at work
-outside facilitators
– Tone is powerful – so much can be conveyed in tone or gesture. White supremacy is deep.
– Humor
– Asking clarifying questions
-One participant commented that their was no conversations or structures to have conversations about racism within his workplace


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