Whether our collaborations take the form of corporate sponsorships, speaking engagements at annual events, or a vendor-partnership, we must shift our outlook on collaborations to be inclusive, equitable, ethical, and respectful for both parties involved.
For the first time in my professional life, I can see that my response to the fear of scarcity doesn’t just harm me; it harms others. When I operate out of scarcity, I model the exact same oppressive leadership that I was taught and operated under. This model of individualism and perfectionism is seeped into all our bones but it was not until I entered a leadership role that I could see the nuance of its devastating effects.
Secrecy, exclusion, and collusions have hindered and oppressed racialized individuals in our sector. By “collusions,” I mean closed-door, non-transparent decision-making between those with power. These conversations do not include all affected parties. They maintain the status quo and cater to those in power; the results presented to those most harmed as final.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard these words spoken by folks who have been given the mantle of leadership by title: “I know enough to be dangerous.” Upon hearing this phrase, we politely chuckle or offer a waning smile. It’s just self-deprecating enough from the person using the phrase that we offer a pass and let it slide. Would we react the same if the speaker had said something more honest, like: I don’t know enough about this but I’m claiming I do.
As I reflected on my own experiences and dug into the research, I discovered that the deep sense of betrayal and rejection was not only a reaction to being laid off, but it was a symptom of codependency, something that I had struggled with in my personal relationships but had never applied the framework to my professional life.
Purity culture is a form of supremacy and oppression — controlling and dictating how people express themselves, causing anguish and keeping us from our best work. Michelle and Lorraine Nibut talk about the many ways purity culture holds us down — and what we can do to fight back against it!
One of the biggest stressors in the world of social services is money. Who has it? Who needs it? What does the person who has it want in return for giving it to the person who doesn’t? On a person-to-person level, most people don’t attach strings to the dollar they give to someone on the street (and if you do, please stop!). But on a funder-to-organization level, we have strings a-plenty! Why is that? What if there was another way?