On Diversity in our Organizing

At the last meeting of the Thurston County Progressives group, there was a call out from a member, a woman who identified herself and her partner as tribal members, that the mostly white room needs to reach out to people of color. There was a lot of head nodding in agreement.

That got me to thinking a lot about diversity and this common goal among white progressives to “reach out” to people of color, to create a plan for that outreach and execute it.

I want to push back against this a little bit. First, the notion that you have to create a special and separate plan for outreach to people of color kind of perpetuates white normalcy, does it not? Isn’t it saying that people of color are different and should be treated differently?

People are people, if you’re talking about and doing something about issues they care about, they’ll hang out with you. If you don’t, they won’t. So, instead of creating an outreach plan, just look around and you’ll find plenty of resources that will tell you what issues are important and make those issues your own. Start doing the work, and people will join you. Too many dead end invitations are exactly why we don’t see more participation. It’s time to earn trust – by proving we’re for real.

How do you feel about that?

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