At our February meeting, we were guided by Dr. Kyra Garson in looking at the stages of intercultural capacity and intercultural development, and at our April meeting, we added onto that by looking at layers of racial advantage. We were thinking about attitudes, knowledge, and skills and the many ways the intercultural capacity might be seen as a foundation or piece to think more broadly about other equity issues.
Equity is described as a state of freedom from discrimination and bias as well as a commitment to action for the process of a fair distribution of opportunities and experiences. Is about allowing each person to have what they need. It is access to fairness and justice essentially. We have to Identify what and where the issues are and then think about how we address them making commitments to distribute those access to opportunities and participation more fairly.
When we think about equity we also need to think about inequity. Inequity is the unfair distribution of material and nonmaterial access but also, it’s about how outcomes and experiences are different because of inequity. These outcomes are predictable by all these socially constructed realities like race, economic status, gender identity, etc. During this session, we focused on the race piece, but all these factors can intersect.
We must develop Equity literacy rather than just intercultural capacity. Both are related but Equity literacy is really thinking about making a commitment and this is both as individuals but also as an organization. For all institutions is to really think about and understand how inequity operates and how we in our sphere of influence can become a threat to inequity.
How do we both identify and eliminate the inequities and then begin to cultivate equity? Making a commitment to identify where that inequity is operating, how it is operating, and then begin to launch some form of campaign against it.
These different conceptualizations come from the Equity Literacy Institute. They have these four layers of racism:
Socio-historical racism- The way we are socialized to make meaning of race—ascription of inferiority, for example—is so deeply embedded in people’s psyches and normalized that it’s implicitly considered by many people to be the truth.
Institutional racism – The cumulative impact of racist policies, practices, institutional cultures, and ideologies within a particular institution or organization. The impact targets or harms People of Color while advantaging white people.
Cultural Racism – Constant societal messaging supporting white supremacy by sources that control the means of perception, such as broadcast media and school textbooks, feeding a sense of white exceptionality.
Structural racism – The full network and implications of patterns of racial advantage and disadvantage built into all systems and structures in society. These include, but are not limited to, the education, criminal justice, legal, judicial, and employment systems.
We went to breakout rooms to reflect on these four layers. How does all this work in food systems? What are the differences between them? Who might be advantaged? Who might be disadvantaged by these different layers of racism that are operating in our society or community and the organization?
We pasted the jamb boards to give you a picture of the discussion.
To wrap up the discussion, Dr. Garson mentioned equity literacy emphasizes to start thinking of all the “isms” that affect equity. For the purpose of this workshop, we were thinking about racism but we could also think about sexism, ageism, ableism, all sorts of “isms”. There is a need to shift this, recognizing and calling out that these “isms” are right there, ongoing cumulative impacts of institutional, cultural and structural justice.
At the second part of the meeting, we had a meaningful presentation by Stone Healy. The topic addressed was about the relevance of permission asking in traditional territories. How to practice the 4 R’s. (Respect, Relevance, Relationship, Reciprocity) and how these relate to the work of the KFPC on the Secwepemc territory.
To introduce us to the topic they talked about their experience on the Kamloops Pride Board and Pride Parade organizing. This led the discussion to reflect on who and how to ask permission when any activity is carried out in the traditional territories.
These were the questions discussed:
● If you were going to start a project on the land and wanted to practice using the four R’s, who would you ask?
● If you were going to ask someone for permission to start a project that would alter the and, how would you ask?
● Making a sacrifice- what is a situation in your life right now where you have power, what did you have to sacrifice to be collaborative with other people?