Opinion: White saviourism is the backbone of the social impact sector

A breakdown of white saviourism’s danger to racialized communities — and what you should do now to root it out of your organization

Why It Matters

The social impact workforce is overwhelmingly white — for instance, StatsCan recently found that only 11 percent of charity board members are visible minorities. Meanwhile, the issues these organizations work on disproportionately impact racialized communities. The result? White saviourism — and in many cases, more harm than good.

The last year has brought about the heightened visibility of systemic racism across all spheres of life — most notably its impact on Black lives. It has also facilitated a disturbing trend of organizations suddenly realizing the existence of anti-Blackness and scrambling to address it. Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour (BIPOC) are being called upon to share their stories as a means to contextualize these realities. But, when concrete claims about systemic racism are raised, there is a strong tendency to have people prove that this actually exists. Black and other people of colour are put on the spot, only to have their claims denied,

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