Throughout history there have always been some white people who have worked for racial justice. But history also tells us that work has not always been as effective as it might be. When white anti-racist activists have not worked in accountable relationships with anti-racist people of color, the white activists have often gone astray, developing approaches and perspectives that have not advanced the cause of racial justice and equity.
Anti-racist activists and organizers have come to learn that white people need some basic understanding of what it means to organize other white people while working together with people of color. This requires white people to look at some ingrained cultural habits that may lead them astray in the process. White culture emphasizes action over relationship. White culture also discredits leadership of color. And white culture asserts the primacy of personal freedom and individual acts over collective responses. These ingrained features of white culture can make racial justice organizing efforts ineffective.
White anti-racist activists and organizers need to understand why and how accountable relationships with people of color are a necessary part of the work. This workshop is intended to give white people some basic knowledge about:
- why accountability is important for white people in anti-racist organizing
- basic dimensions of accountability
barriers to being accountable
- putting accountability into practice
The workshop touches on several topics in an introductory way, including:
- the ally model and where accountability fits in
- levels of accountability – personal, workgroup, institution/organization
- who are we accountable to?
- accountability principles
- ways to be not accountable
- consequences of unaccountable behavior
- white cultural practices
- accountability statements
- personal accountability networks