Racial Equity Learning Resources
Why Race? A Learning Journey to Achieve Racial Equity
This resource page provides different methods, commitments, and points of entry that local, state, and national arts organizations use to address racial equity. It is important to recognize that every organization and individual decision-maker holds a different context and social position. Please use the resources below as inspiration to start, refine, and/or support the development of your racial equity statement and practice.
Be mindful of the fact that countless hours of labor, often by people who have been most impacted by white supremacy, racial inequity and injustice, have gone into creating these statements, frameworks, and tools. Please provide proper credit when using an organization’s or leader’s work. Let’s practice reciprocity and respect.
NOTE: The following resources and definitions are starting points. Racial equity work is an ongoing learning process and we offer this resource as a catalyst to support your research.
Adapted from LA County Department of Arts and Culture
Statement: brief explanation of why the organization is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, and the alignment of that commitment to the overall mission of the organization.
Policy: outlines the organization’s broad vision for and commitment to diversity, equity inclusion and access, and the alignment of that commitment to the overall mission of the organization as defined in their statement, and further details what the organization does to realize that statement.
Plan: outlines how the organization will work (now and in the future) toward complying fully with policy and evaluating progress on an annual basis.
NOTE: These three elements build on each other! Statements, policies, and plans should reflect organizational thinking about board, management, staff, volunteer, and artist composition, as well as programming and audiences/participants.
Diversity: The demographic mix of a specific collection of people, taking into account elements of human difference, but focusing particularly on race and ethnicity, lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) populations, people with disabilities, and women.
Equity: The promotion of justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the underlying or root causes of outcome disparities within our society.
Inclusion: The degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group
- Diversity ≠ equity (demographic variety is a means of advancing equity, not an end in itself)
- Diversity ≠ inclusion (presence does not ensure voice in decision-making processes)
- Equality ≠ equity (ideals of “sameness” differ from those of “fairness;” they fail to acknowledge structural imbalances and leave historically disadvantaged groups at the margins) Source: Philanthropy New York
Self-Determination: The Self-Determination theory of cultural equity calls for full participation in and expression of cultural life for communities of color through models that are organic to those communities, and that look beyond established nonprofit arts funding and advocacy tactics.
At its zenith, Self-Determination seeks nothing less than wholesale societal and cultural transformation. With Self-Determination, ownership of cultural decisions is located within the community: it’s the community members themselves who get to shape cultural life. Advocates of Self-Determination view the current nonprofit and funding system in the United States with heavy skepticism. To them, its legacy of racism and class hegemony is still very much alive today, and will remain so as long as it continues to be largely controlled by the same wealthy, white elite class that founded it. Source: Making sense of Cultural Equity: When visions of a better future diverge, how do we choose a path forward? | Clara Inés Schuhmacher, Katie Ingersoll, Fari Nzinga, and Ian David Moss
Privilege is unearned (conscious or unconscious) access and power based on systemic bias. White privilege refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally, white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it. Source: Peggy McIntosh, Racial Equity Tools
Racial bias is a harmful aversion to, stereotyping of, or discrimination against a race. Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Source: Cheryl Staats, Kirwan Institute, The Ohio State University
Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them. Source: Center for Assessment and Policy Development.
- Racial equity results when you cannot predict advantage or disadvantage by race. But the route to achieving equity will not be accomplished through treating everyone equally. It will be achieved by treating everyone equitably, or justly according to their circumstances. Source: Race Matters Institute
- Strategies that advance equity require an analysis of the historical and, in many cases persistent (systemic) factors that create unequal conditions and thus unequal opportunity for certain groups of people. The pursuit of equity recognizes and accounts for the complex interaction between the dynamics of identity, socio-economic forces, and policy and practice that operate in the environments and contexts in which philanthropic investments occur. Source: D5 Coalition
Racism is a complex system of beliefs and behaviors, grounded in a presumed superiority of the white race. These beliefs and behaviors are conscious and unconscious; personal and institutional; and result in the oppression of people of color and benefit the dominant group, whites. A simpler definition is racial prejudice + power = racism. Source: People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
- Council Racial Equity Training: Introduction to White Supremacy Culture & Systems Thinking presentation (June 22, 2021) – YouTube
- Council Racial Equity Training: Introduction to White Supremacy Culture & Systems Thinking presentation (June 22, 2021) – PDF
- Why Race? Workshop webinar recording (October 29, 2020) – YouTube
- Why Race? Workshop presentation (October 29, 2020) – PDF
- Why Race? Workshop worksheets (October 29, 2020)
- A brief history of race in the U.S
- A History: The Construction of Race and Racism | Dismantling Racism Project Western States Center
- Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity | Shakti Butler
- Explaining white privilege to a broke white person | Gina Crosley-Corcoran
- Making sense of Cultural Equity: When visions of a better future diverge, how do we choose a path forward? | Clara Inés Schuhmacher, Katie Ingersoll, Fari Nzinga and Ian David Moss
- What is Culture and Cultural Racism? | Dismantling Racism
- White Supremacy Culture | Tema Okun
- Amador County Arts Council Statement on Racial Equity & Anti-Racism
- California Arts Council Racial Equity Statement
- Cornish Statement and Resources on Racial Equity
- Emerging Arts Professionals San Francisco / Bay Area | Equity Framework
- Fremont Arts Council Commitment to Racial Equity and Inclusion
- Racial Equity at Nevada County Arts Council
- Racial Equity at Pratt Fine Arts Center: Our Statement of Purpose
- Racial Equity in Arts Funding Statement of Purpose and Recommendations for Action | Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA)
- Racial Equity Principles | National Arts Strategies
- San Francisco Arts Commission Racial Equity Statement
- Statement on Cultural Equity and Racial Justice June 2017 | Native Arts & Cultures Foundation
- Building Your Plan: A Cultural Equity & Inclusion Toolkit
- Floyd Case Forces Arts Groups to Enter the Fray | Robin Pogrebin and Julia Jacobs
- How Arts Organizations in Chicago Are Challenging Systemic Racism
- Organizational Change Process | Racial Equity Tools
- Racial Equity Here / Act: Understanding and Using a Racial Equity Tool
- Racial Equity Here / Learn: Training Deck – Facilitator Version
- Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab | Race Forward
- Racial Equity Toolkit An Opportunity to Operationalize Equity by Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE)