The social impact world is far from immune to anti-Black racism. Here’s my story.

From microaggressions to blatant racism, the social impact world has just as pressing a racism problem as other sectors

Why It Matters

The social impact world has a duty to root out systemic racism — both for the racialized professionals working in the sector and for the racialized communities it’s trying to serve. The problem is that many white leaders of organizations doing good see their work as inherently anti-racist. This is not the case.

Future of Good issued a call for personal essay submissions about racism in social impact work — this piece was submitted in response.

One year for my birthday, my dad bought me a flowering cactus as a gift and I brought it into work and placed it on my desk to brighten up my grey cubicle space. A co-worker saw the cactus while passing by and asked who had gotten it for me? When I replied that it was from my dad, he seemed shocked and said “Oh, I didn’t know you had a father!” At first I was confused. Doesn’t everyone have a father? As his face went beet red and he began mumbling some sort of apology, I quickly realized why he had made that comment. Was his intention to be racist? I doubt it, but his comment was rooted in harmful bias and stereotypes that people of colour are subjected to constantly on a daily basis. 

I have had many amazing opportuni

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