This time we will look at one final scenario specifically looking at the dynamics around whiteness and white supremacy in an organization. This scenario is based on real organizing contexts where the answer isn’t as simple as excluding people. With your comrades or organization, read through the scenario below and discuss the following questions. We will look at all the questions together this time, since we have already introduced them.
In an organization with a majority white membership, Black and Brown members call for the formation of an autonomous POC only space that has authority to use organizational funds without the agreement of the entire organization. In a meeting, support for the idea is clearly split according to race between white and POC members. After one comment supporting oversight of the autonomous space, a key POC organizer who was spearheading the project abruptly leaves the meeting.
Read over all the questions and as a group and decide which question feels like the starting point for you to discuss this situation. Make sure to cover each question and take some notes on your discussion so that you can highlight any ideas or proposals that you want to move forward with as an organization.
* Identify and describe any current threats presented both internally and externally by the current situation. (Internal threat examples: problematic behavior, conflict in relationships / external threat examples: the state, fascist right).
*Discuss the possible negative impacts of these threats. (Example: decrease in membership of women and/or nonbinary people).
*Brainstorm all possible options for responding to each threat. (Example: Ask this person to take a break from organizing).
*Discuss how the negative risks associated with each option relates to the possible positive results. (Example: a risk may be losing a relationship with the funding source, while a benefit could be building new relationships with the funding source).
*Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your organization that come up in dealing with a scenario like this. Specifically, discuss any relevant organizational structures and strong/weak forms of communication or relationships. Are there outside resources you can draw upon?
*Consider how these solutions might interact with systems of oppression (systems of colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, et al), and unexpected events (natural disaster, office burns down, etc.).
*Determine the best way forward to resolving this situation based on the evaluations made from questions 1 through 6.
*What can your organization learn from this? What could have been done to prevent this situation? What strengths and structures did you draw on to address this? What strengths and structures can you draw on or create to address this? What could be done or put in place to prevent this in the future?