- Home Truths 2 is complementary to BME-led race equity work – it cannot replace these efforts.
- BME-led race equity work is sometimes focused on changing mainstream institutions and HT2 can support that work.
- We know from feedback from race equity advocates and activists that Home Truths 1 opened new possibilities for change, and we expect HT2 to do the same.
The work will be intersectional in two main ways:
- Additive effects: the work will particularly consider how equity for Black and Minoritised Ethnic people in civil society is impacted when one is also a woman, non-binary, working class or disabled.
- Adjacent effects: the work will also consider how struggles for race equity feed into broader efforts for equitable practice for traditionally marginalised characteristics (such as being a woman or being ‘disabled’) when ‘race’ is not a factor.
- However, we are clear that ‘race’ and race equity is the project’s central and starting focus in order to keep the spotlight on race equity and racism.
There are other civil society leader groups on race equity – how will involvement in this initiative differ?
- While there are forums in the sector working to advance race equity, some of these are still very much focused on the listening and learning aspects of EDI work. While this is important and valuable, the focus of this initiative will be to turn lessons learnt into action and tangible outcomes. Because of a lack of representation, membership and leadership of many existing groups are by white leaders. This project seeks to be informed by and centre racially minoritised groups, who will work with leaders of mainstream civil society organisations to advance this work. The long-term project focus, with a series of events and resources, provides a focal point for other groups in the sector working on advancing race equity and, therefore, provides a support structure where the sector to share resources and learning.
- The further, faster cohort will be assembled based on applications and is for those intent on accelerating action on race equity in their organisation. The emphasis is very much on action and sharing learning.
- The wider engagement will engage the members of several membership bodies giving unprecedented reach.
What difference will this initiative make / what will look different in the sector because of this work?
- We have a number of measurable project targets, e.g., directly engaging 300+ mainstream civil society leaders and 100+ BME-led civil society leaders; providing online resources to 1,000+ civil society leaders in the life of the project; generating survey responses from 300+ BME people in civil society.
- We also aim to encourage discernible change with positive impact for thousands of Black and minoritised ethnic people inside civil society and those affected by it.
- As part of the evaluation, we will ask participants of the various convenings and the further, faster cohort how involvement has affected and accelerated their change efforts.
- A shift towards EDI awareness, and more specifically, anti-racism work in the sector, has led to learning and reflection by many organisations. There has also been progress made in committing to change. However, some of this change is happening slowly, or consists of commitments that haven’t yet translated into action.
- Home Truths 2 seeks to address this by adding depth and a platform to advance race equity work, with a focus on encouraging organisations and leaders through constructive and supportive challenge, while centring the experiences of racialised minorities in the sector, including leading some of this change.
How will you ensure this project is accessible to different types of organisations, including those with limited resources and capacity?
- All aspects of the programme are open to civil society organisations. The further, faster cohort will be more intensive and time-consuming, and we will be open with prospective participants about this. We will seek to ‘balance’ the further, faster cohort so that different size and sub-sector civil society organisations are involved.
- The other convenings for wider civil society will have low resource demands, especially as at least some of these will be virtual.
- BME-led civil society convenings will be open to Voice4Change members and beyond to the wider BME-led civil society sector.
- There will be honoraria payments available to facilitate participation for those for whom participation would otherwise not be possible.
There are many ideas, concepts and terms to engage with when trying to talk about, understand and overturn racism. Below are key terms used in Home Truths 2. They are our definitions set down in the knowledge that language evolves over time and that others may have different ideas. The aim is to promote greater clarity, to reduce misunderstanding and to build more solid foundations for change.
Different ethnic groups experience racist practice in distinct ways. In many instances it is most helpful to be specific about which populations are harmed by particular race inequities – for example, in terms of poverty rates, policing or maternal health.
At the same time, Home Truths 2 is, like other interventions, a contribution to ending racism as an overarching system of practice based on racial hierarchy that has negative impacts across multiple populations. Therefore, it is sometimes important to collectively name this group.
There is no perfect way to describe such a heterogenous collection of people. For our purposes, focussing on systems, structures and institutionalised practices in mainstream UK civil society, we use the term ‘Black and Minoritised.’
The term draws attention to ‘Blackness’ – which today mostly refers to people with (sub-Saharan) African ancestry – and to anti-Blackness which feels important in the UK context generally and for UK civil society, specifically.
The term ‘Minoritised’ points to the active processes of marginalisation involved in racist practice, including the unequal allocation of power, resources and status. It also draws into the definition a variety of populations negatively affected by racism, including individuals of East Asian and South Asian backgrounds, as well as others that ‘pass’ as white, such as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and Jewish people.
We acknowledge and see benefits of other terms in use, such as (Peoples of the) ‘Global Majority.’ This disturbs conventions on who is in the world and it defines people less in terms of their experiences of racism – which is a humanising antidote to racism. However, Home Truths 2 is about racism and our interest in naming a diverse minoritised populations is because of the common factor of racism.
Finally, language and ideas shift over time. Nothing is settled forever and we remain open to dialogue and new possibilities.
Home Truths 2 is a programme to advance anti-racism and race equity (see below for definitions) inside civil society organisations and in the work the sector does in the wider world. The focus reflects a purposeful effort focus specifically on issues of racism rather than on a broader Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda. EDI tends to look more broadly at groups with ‘protected characteristics’ (currently nine) who experience significant levels of discrimination in employment, as consumers and in accessing public services such as health and education.
In addition, efforts on EDI can end up being mostly about diversity and the absence or presence of Black and Minoritised people (and other populations) in certain industries or roles. But, increasing diversity, for example in a civil society organisation does not necessarily make it a more inclusive place to work. Nor, on its own, does it ensure that the work in the world the organisation does more for anti-racism and to secure more race equitable outcomes. Home Truths 2 aims to do more on these fronts and therefore puts anti-racism and race equity front and centre.
Anti-racism is the practice of identifying and ending racism by changing the values, structures and behaviours that enable racism.
‘Race’ is a socially constructed term to group humans often based on physical appearance. ‘Race’ was constructed as a hierarchal system of classification to identify and differentiate some groups to elevate some and marginalise others.
‘Race’ has no basis in science and therefore care should be taken not to use it as if it is meaningful – hence the quote marks. However, it may be necessary to use the term because this false category is vital to the practice of racism.
A related concept to ‘race’ is ethnicity – used to describe people who share a common history, geography and culture. Ethnicity can be self-selected, whereas ‘race’ is more usually imposed by others to classify groups in a hierarchy. However, ethnic categories are also socially constructed. And they can be intertwined with or become racial categories, e.g., African-Caribbean, Indian and Muslim, and can also be a basis for racist discrimination.
Race equity is the process of ending racial disparities and breaking the link between life outcomes and ‘race’ or ethnicity. Race equity builds on anti-racism because it focuses on treating people in an appropriate way – not necessarily in the same way – in order to overcome inequitable outcomes and to secure good outcomes for all people.
Racial justice, like race equity, is concerned with good outcomes for all, regardless of ‘race’ or ethnicity. But it represents a different state and order of magnitude compared to race equity.
Racial Justice is a vision for a transformed future beyond ‘race’, racial hierarchy and racism. It marks the end of racial discrimination and inequities and the normalisation of proactive measures, structures and systems to achieve and sustain racial equity so that Black and Minoritised and all people can thrive.
Racism is the ideologically based practice of classifying humans into a racial hierarchy which informs, requires and justifies actions and inactions – e.g., by legislators, decision-makers or individuals – that tend to harm Black and Minoritised people and help white people.
Racism as a practice is driven by three interacting elements. It involves actions (and inactions) of legislators, decision-makers and individuals informed by an ideology of racial hierarchy that requires and justifies, generally speaking, more harmful impacts for Black and Minoritised people relative to white people.
Institutional (or institutionalised) racism refers to unjust policies, procedures and prevailing social rules that tend to harm or work less well for Black and Minoritised people and to work in favour of white people.
Inside an organisation, institutional racism can impact Black and Minoritised staff through, for example, over-scrutiny and lack of career progression or sanctions if they report racism. In the outside world it can affect what an organisation does, e.g., influencing priorities and delivery in ways that work less well for Black and Minoritised people relative to white counterparts.
Structural racism refers to the legacies of historical, cultural, economic, political, legal and psychological arrangements that still today normalise and legitimise the practice of racism and racial inequity.
Structural racism manifests in multiple ways, e.g., what is and is not taught in school about empire and colonisation and in in news media and popular culture harmful and false depictions of ‘Black criminality.’
Systemic racism describes the ways that individual (inter-personal), institutional and structural racism jointly and cohesively produce relative harms to Black and Minoritised people and populations and relative help to white people and populations. Systems are so deeply set that to reset them requires fundamental, transformational change.
Racism as a practice has many specific effects, e.g., the poverty of Bangladeshi families and Black maternal deaths at four times that of white counterparts. Specificity helps to provide an account racism grounded in reality.
Home Truths 2 is focussed on ending racism as a system of practice with impacts on multiple populations. Therefore, it is important to collectively name those whose lives are curtailed by racism.
There is no perfect way to describe such a heterogenous group. The term that we use is Black and Minoritised. It calls attention to specifically to ‘Blackness’ (which today is rooted in – especially sub-Saharan – African ancestry but for others can includes other populations, including South Asian people). And the term ‘minoritised’ points to the active processes of marginalisation in racist practice around allocating power, resources and status.
The practice of racism does not only harm Black and Minoritised people. It simultaneously impacts white people too by conferring relative advantages – other things being equal.
That is not to say that all (or even most) white people live lives of advantage and privilege – it is a relative not absolute concept. White people also experience harms. But these harms – such as precarious employment, low income and class prejudice – are not because of someone’s whiteness. And these harms are also experienced by Black and Minoritised people.