Unpacking anti-racism – are you a routine manager or a change maker?

When it comes to making change that drives equity and anti-racism in the aid sector, you do not need to be in charge to make a ruckus.

Your world view and your story affects how you will take a stance on racism and create equity. Your world view influences you actions, beliefs and judgements on situations. Your story is the narrative you tell yourself about who you are and what you do. As described by Seth Godin in his blog ‘Worldviews and stories.

Here’s our thoughts on the world views and narratives of the routine manager and a change maker – they can be the same person, but not necessarily.

The routine manager

  • I didn’t realise there was an issue of race, I thought we are a diverse organisation already.
  • I look around and yes, most of the leadership is white.
  • I am struggling to find out what and how to change.
  • Yes, I am privileged but I have also given up a lot of time to help people – why isn’t that being recognised?
  • I’ve been struggling during lockdown to keep on top of Covid-19 related issues.
  • My staff around me have either been furloughed or have worked odd hours due to family commitments.
  • There are even more donor reports than ever before.
  • I have decided to back reviewing our diversity and inclusion policy as a start.
  • I have been a big advocate for localisation but I know it hasn’t gone very far.
  • I worry about our programme income and project continuing with so many changes in donor priorities
  • I am grappling with management pressures about quality of work and the complexity of implementation.
  • I am here to provide feedback, manage risk and advise projects in the Global South.

The change maker

  • I want to make change happen. I believe our sector is too Western.  
  • Our organisation says the right thing on equity but the truth is – imbalance exists throughout the organisation.
  • Reviewing the organisational diversity and inclusion policy is not enough – we need to do more straight away.
  • I have spent time reading and learning about anti-racism – and recognise it is very complex.
  • Have I really utilised Covid-19 to make a shift and empower our local teams? I am not sure if I have.
  • I want to talk about the level of discrimination and micro-aggressions occurring in the organisation.
  • I want to seek ways of changing the system and I want to start having the unconformable conversations that lead to change.
  • I will look for ways to create space to hear from people of colour and discuss any issues with senior management.
  • I am an employee from the Global South and will look for ways to speak up and seek members of the team I trust to speak about discrimination.
  • I am not a member of the senior management but will discuss racism with them.
  • I realise that staff in the countries where our projects operate are often having to adapt to serious changes in their lives – from deaths to disaster. We need to be more empathetic to their situations.
  • I do not want my motivation for change to weaken over time, I will make a personal action plan – anti-racism is not a fad.
  • Creating equity and reshaping our work is an opportunity to be more effective.
  • I am here to empower and facilitate change through our projects in the Global South.

These are just some scribbles to make us think about change. If you want to get in touch and talk about how to make change happen in the aid sector – check out our programme Anti-racism Unpacked.