White supremacy shows up in even the most well-intentioned organizations. As explained by Tema Okun of dRworks, it doesn’t always look like overt discrimination; the subtler characteristics of white supremacy can be just as ingrained and harmful. By explicitly naming and challenging these characteristics, organizations can take steps towards establishing a more equitable and inclusive culture.
How Perfectionism Reinforces White Supremacy
Perfectionism is a characteristic of white supremacy that holds everyone’s work to an unreasonable standard set by those with the most privilege.
In practice, white supremacist perfectionism can look like:
- Failing to spend necessary time and energy on training
- Giving credit only to the loudest and most visible contributors
- Focusing on the few mistakes over the many successes
- Conflating someone’s work with their worth
Overcoming White Supremacist Perfectionism
Changing a culture of perfection can start right away, even just with one person.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Focus on the positives as well as areas for improvement
- Give consistent appreciation for everyday efforts
- Offer patience for mistakes and growing pains
- Invite suggestions for improving the feedback process
Be a Leader for Equity and Inclusion
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