Unit 2: The importance of a safe organisational culture


2.3 Barriers to change – racism and discrimination


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Watch the video above, Racism, power and truth, produced by Bond that provides testimony from people of colour working in our sector. It tells of their experiences of racism and discrimination and their lack of power to bring about change.

Do the testimonies resonate with your experiences or of others you have known?

The term BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethic) is used interchangeably to denote people of colour in the video.

Not only does ‘whiteness’ characterise many staff within our organisations, particularly at head office, but the international aid sector is also accused of doing development through a ‘white gaze’.

This holds Western approaches to development as the standards to which all should aspire. Whilst our organisations seek to help people of colour in low-resource settings around the globe, the in-country senior management teams are invariably white expatriates.

This has led to calls to shift away from our ‘white gaze’, critiquing the white, western framing of development and advocating mainstreaming racial tolerance in our understanding of development to overcome the ‘white-gaze’ problem (Pailey, 2019).

Only when each of us questions our position within development and our inherent subjectivity can development become racially aware and power inequalities and hierarchies be effectively challenged (Kothari, 2006).

This video accompanies the report Racism, power and truth:  Experiences of people of colour in development. You will see one of its authors -  Lena Bheeroo, Engagement & Equity Manager, BOND. - discussing this report in the webinar later in this unit.