My sister passed along a very good article by Kenneth Jones and Dr. Tema Okun that is used in her workplace identifying characteristics of white supremacy culture. While I couldn’t find the exact article online, I found another very similar one, “Dismantling Racism: White Supremacy Culture,” with many researchers cited and the study summarized by Dr. Tema Okun and reviewed by Becky Mer. It details nuances of white supremacy culture that are glossed over in many organizations. Here are 15 characteristics listed with antidotes from the article:
- Perfectionism, such as pointing out how a person or their work is inadequate. Instead, expect that everyone will make mistakes and that mistakes offer opportunities for learning.
- Sense of Urgency, such as prioritizing quick or highly visible results that can exclude potential allies. Instead, discuss what it means to set goals of inclusivity and diversity, particularly in terms of timing.
- Defensiveness, such as spending energy trying to protect power or defend against charges of racism. Instead, work on your own defensiveness and understand the link between defensiveness and fear.
- Valuing Quantity Over Quality, such as directing organizational resources toward measurable goals. Instead, develop a values statement which expresses the ways in which you want to work, and make sure it is a living document that people apply to their daily work.
- Worshipping the Written Word, such as valuing strong documentation and writing skills. Instead, work to recognize the contributions and skills that every person brings to the organization.
- Believing in Only One Right Way, such as concluding something is wrong with people who refuse to adapt or change. Instead, never assume that you or your organization know what’s best.
- Paternalism, such as decision-making processes that are only understood by those with power and unclear to those without it. Instead, include people who are affected by decisions in decision-making.
- Either/or Thinking, such as trying to simplify complex things. Instead, slow down, encourage people to do a deeper analysis, and sense that things can be both/and.
- Power Hoarding, such as feeling threatened when anyone suggests organizational changes. Instead, understand that change is inevitable and that challenges can be both healthy and productive.
- Fear of Open Conflict, such as equating the raising of difficult issues with being rude or impolite. Instead, don’t require those who raise difficult issues to do so in ‘acceptable’ ways, particularly if you’re using the ways in which issues are raised as an excuse not to address them.
- Individualism, such as wanting individual recognition and credit. Instead, make sure credit is given to everyone who participates, not just the leaders.
- Believing I’m the Only One, such as thinking that if something is going to get done right, then ‘I’ have to do it. Instead, evaluate people based on their ability to delegate to others.
- Believing Progress is Bigger and More, such as defining success as hiring more staff, developing more projects, or serving more people. Instead, make sure your goals speak to how you want to work, not just what you want to do.
- Believing in Objectivity, such as considering emotions to be irrational and destructive to decision-making. Instead, push yourself to sit with discomfort when people express themselves in unfamiliar ways.
- Claiming a Right to Comfort, such as scapegoating those who cause emotional or psychological discomfort. Instead, welcome discomfort as much as you can and understand that it is the root of all growth and learning.
Here are a few photos from my New Year/winter break in beautiful Phoenix. Pinkish and cornflower blue skies, the freshness of the dry air, the clean lines of the city, the mountains, time with loved ones: the start of the New Year. ❤️
When I was lee and little My teen sister illustrated (and wrote dainty lines) a book for me Each image swept with Movement and bulgy A lady enjoying a day at the zoo. First and foremost I remember her solitudinal pleasure on a day at the zoo Second was the knobby knees Her knobby-kneed thick legs I will never forget And her hair bounced giddily in Golden curls just like my sister’s Then a marmalade picnic and Page after page of animals Christened in soft colored pencils My favorite was the elephant delighting in the gift of peanuts On that day I knew the elephant Was my spirit animal And it still is
Risen in crimson
Radiator bird coolly
Composed in the wings
A Poem for Oskar Werner
Austrian sun-catcher, wise jewel of film,
What is it to walk as well as Hamlet?
To immerse in the complex waters of
Jules, and regale us so intimately?
We are only a stone’s throw from your ship,
Caressed in the salty mist. Crossing sides.
Are you the wiser for it, and does it
Take a toll? Or extol the heart’s confides?
This week the idea came to me to start noting odd things that make me very happy, in case I forget them when I’m in a bad mood (another of the many things I feel the need to journal). Apart from the obvious, like spending time with family and friends, so far I’ve remembered two things that make me very happy: decluttering and visiting plant nurseries, the latter of which can also get expensive if I’m not careful!
Today I went to our local Raska Nursery in Broken Arrow, my favorite place to shop for plants, and found a beautiful little blue juniper evergreen to replace the evergreen that died in this last winter freeze. I was advised to plant it a bit raised because we have a lot of clay soil in our region and if you plant trees too deep here, they can’t drain well in the clay soil.
In other news, my little tropical/succulent garden is doing well. The tropical plant is flowering like crazy in our rainy, hot summer! Some of the succulents are starting to form new buds, too.
I’ve also planted about 100 watermelon seeds in the backyard raised beds and I think all of the seeds sprouted and they are growing fast! On dry days I mist the garden for about 20 minutes and they’re thriving! I hope we have lots of wonderful watermelons soon!!
Lately I’ve been having fun making these Mermaid Pride rainbow jar candles for the shop. There is something so satisfying for me in making different candles: choosing the wax and scent combinations, pouring the warm wax, and having a physical item as a result of it. And there was more of a learning curve to making these colored layers than I expected; I went through several jar candles before I got it right! But each one gets better with practice and I now have some up in the shop. They come in a sweet, crisp sparkling grapefruit scent.
If you want to pour your own rainbow candles, here are three important tips I learned:
- Don’t pour the wax if it is too hot, or it will melt with the other colors. I keep my wax on a low-medium setting on the stovetop.
- Don’t let any wax drip or splash on the sides of the jar, because the drips and splashes will be visible after the next color pour. It took a little time for me to learn to pour without splashing. If you do splash, you can clean it up between pours.
- Don’t let the wax in the jar cool too much between pours, because if this happens, wax in another color will slide down the sides of the cooled wax in the jar and it will look very messy. It took me several hours of sitting and waiting to get all of the colors in just right, and not letting the candles sit overnight between pours because they would cool too much.
Shall I wait for you,
my only love, or walk land’s