World Trust

Baltimore: Where Do We Step Into the Story?

Posted by Shakti Butler on May 19, 2015

The story of Baltimore is connected to a long-standing struggle for access and equality, which is as old as this nation’s history. This is a story of resistance to injustice, brutality, economic exploitation and domination. One cannot truly grasp the meaning of Baltimore without considering it within the context of a long history of uprisings and protests folded into what is just the latest expression of outrage. We cannot really understand the response of this latest uprising without looking at the meta-narrative of oppression. As long as there are people who are routinely excluded and marginalized there will be disquiet.

I remember Daddy saying that I have to stay off the block. It’s 1964 and I am 17 years old. He’s afraid I’ll get hurt on 125th Street in Harlem. There have been six days of unrest after an African American teenager is shot and killed by an NYPD lieutenant.

Folks are, as Fannie Lou Hammer said long ago, “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  

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Topics: System of Inequity, Talk about Race, Shakti Butler, Diversity Workshop, Responding to a Racist Incident, Diversity Initiative, Racial Equity Learning

Systems Create and Maintain Inequity: the SAE Greek Example

Posted by Dia Penning on March 24, 2015

World Trust Director of Curriculum, Education Manager and Workshop Facilitator Dia Penning weighs in on how the recent exposure of the racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon members is not a one-off example of a few racist students singing a racist song but an example of how systemic inequity is reinforced and passed on from generation to generation of those with influence and power positions in the United States.    

When the whole country saw a bus full of Sigma Alpha Epsilon(SAE) brothers singing, “there will never be a n***er in SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me,” media outlets claimed it was an isolated incident and parents insisted their nice boys made a mistake. But, I started thinking about power, about wealth, and about who runs this country.

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Topics: Higher Ed, System of Inequity, Resources for Facilitators & Educators, Responding to a Racist Incident, Racial Equity Learning

Week Eight Clip for the Summer of #JusticeandRacialHealing

Posted by World Trust Team on March 1, 2015

Watch this clip, ask yourself the questions we offer, share this with your community and have a conversation that may lead to meaningful connection and change:

What other things intersect and overlap?

How can looking at race from multiple angles support reform and justice?

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Topics: System of Inequity, Talk about Race

World Trust Tribute to MLK: In the Name of Love

Posted by Shakti Butler on January 17, 2015


From Shakti Butler, Founder of World Trust:
We at World Trust join you in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the man and his legacy. In 1967, Dr. King gave a speech in which he asked, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?"

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Topics: System of Inequity, Diversity Workshop, Community Building

Being White is Okay. Ignoring Racism is Not Okay.

Posted by Lisa Abbott on December 2, 2014

The Reindeer Analogy
As we approach the Christmas season in the USA, this meme has been showing up in our social media feeds:

Being an atheist is okay.

Being an atheist and shaming religions and spirituality as silly and not real is not okay.

Being a Christian is okay.

Being homophobic, misogynistic, racist ... in the name of Christianity is not okay.

Being a reindeer is okay.

Bullying and excluding another reindeer because he has a shiny red nose is not okay.

A pattern that shuts down communication.
These words poke fun at the way people can feel personally attacked when, in fact, it is their behavior that is being critiqued.  All kidding aside, this defense mechanism is a problem.  If you believe that someone is disrespecting your character or identity, you may feel you have carte blanche to disengage and disregard that person. This shuts down conversation and critical thinking. It deepen

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Topics: Film: Cracking the Codes, Diversity Workshops, System of Inequity, White Privilege, Talk about Race, Engaging White People in Racial Equity

Mourning the American Myth of Meritocracy in Diversity Training

Posted by Lisa Abbott on November 4, 2014

Luke Visconti, CEO of Diversity Inc wrote in a recent blog post: "On the subject of diversity and inclusion, I see the most mourning from good-hearted white, heterosexual men with no disabilities. Good people who don’t intentionally discriminate themselves and have a vision that America is an honest meritocracy and who resist information that would tell them otherwise."

What we are taught
In diversity & inclusion workshops, we often find that participants do resist information that challenges that vision of meritocracy.

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Topics: System of Inequity

Explaining Unconscious Bias: You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on August 26, 2014

Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific was just as popular a hit as all of their musicals, several of which have been turned into films. But as this NPR piece argues, the great musical theater duo were just as successful in advocating against systemic inequity as they were at turning out great song and dance routines. Here at World Trust, we were struck by what the song "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught" exposes about unconscious bias.

How Does Bias Occur?
Implicit, or unconscious, bias can be a tough thing to pinpoint or understand in ourselves, or explain to others when they display it. These are attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that affect us on a level that is by definition outside our conscious control. Maybe you are progressive, open-minded, and as tolerant as they come - but when a young man of color in sagging pants walks toward you on the sidewalk, you clutch your purse a little tighter until he's passed you.

What's that about? And why doesn't your conscious brain match up with your unconscious behaviors? It has to do with the way the brain is wired. We'll let Rodgers and Hammerstein explain.

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Topics: System of Inequity

Big Little Man: Exposing Systemic Inequity for Asian-Americans

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on July 24, 2014

One thing’s for certain: no one could accuse Alex Tizon of not being thorough.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist won the award for a meticulously reported series about fraud in the Federal Indian Housing Program. When it came time to tell his own story, as he does in the new book Big Little Man, he was aided by an exhaustive collection of clippings. He’d been keeping them since he was a young boy – they document every mention he could find of Asian or Asian-American men in the media. After nearly forty years of documentation, he uses the book to lay out stereotypes from origin to present-day manifestation – and then debunks them.

As an organization that offers racial equity workshops, this made us stop and think about the fact that Asian Americans are often overlooked when it comes to planning for diversity and inclusion. The image of Asians as the 'model minority' glosses over stereotypes, masking it all under the false assumption that 'Asians are doing okay.' By documenting these stereotypes, Tizon accomplished something extraordinary: he made a physical map of unconscious bias.

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Topics: System of Inequity