Racial Caucusing

Racial Caucusing is one strategy to confront the effects of internalized racial oppression and internalized racial superiority in the organization. Members work separately in their respective identity groups as either POC or White people. In racial caucus, POC and White people learn to work towards dismantling racism from their separate and particular positionality. When they come back together, both identity groups have the skills and tools to move forward together to name, address and dismantle institutional racism. This work is imperative.

We understand that:

  • The construct of racism is created and upheld by the acceptance of a normative socialized understanding of race.

  • Racism continues to play out in our institutions when white people evade addressing internalized racial superiority and people of color are silenced by internalized racial oppression.

  • Racism is a complex, multi-generational socialization process in which People of Color accept, believe, and live out negative societal definitions and in which people who are white accept, believe and live out superior societal definitions of self to fit into and live out superior societal roles.

In Caucus, POC seek to address critical questions, for example:

  • In what ways do we perpetuate racism in our organization?

  • In what ways does IRO undermine the functioning of our team/group?

  • What does it look like for POC to hold our institution accountable?

  • What relationship do we have as individuals and as a collective to the POC communities of resistance?

  • What is the individual or collective responsibility we have to the communities of color we serve?

  • What strategies are used by our organization to keep us divided and competing with each other for access and resources? How can we individually and collectively resist these dynamics?

  • What does it look like as POC to heal?

In Caucus, white people seek to address critical questions, for example:

  • How was I socialized by IRS?

  • How does IRS affect my participation on a team; in leading a caucus?

  • How do we work to maintain our elitism and entitlement as individuals, teams, and institutions?

  • Identify white privilege and power working in your institution/team?

  • How do you collude with white culture in your institution/team at meetings, in organizing, during your day?

  • How is white supremacy reflected in your institution/team?

  • What does it look like for white people to heal?