Anti-Racism Initiatives

 

WELCOME

Welcome to the Cambridgeport Parent Teacher Organization’s Equity and Diversity Committee’s web page. Following some troubling incidents of racism during the 2018-2019 school year, the school began a series of Community Conversations about Racism at Cambridgeport. We also engaged in an Equity Audit performed by Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University which offered several recommendations for how the Cambridgeport School could be more equitable. There were also many discussions held at school council meetings about these incidents and related topics, and additional conversations were held by various family members, teachers, and staff.

As these many conversations continued, and given recent upheavals and reckonings around our country, it became apparent that it would be helpful for our community to build a shared vocabulary about the terms related to these discussions and have access to additional resources for a deeper understanding of the issues we are facing, allowing us to be receptive to learning how to be more inclusive and empathic community members and move towards active antiracism in our school and community.

While far from comprehensive, we hope these resources are helpful. If you have questions or suggestions, or would like to be a part of the CPTO Equity and Diversity Committee, please email officers@cambridgeportpto.org.

CALENDAR

Join us for upcoming events related to equity, diversity, and racism in our community sponsored by Cambridgeport, the CPTO, and the City of Cambridge.

Wednesday, January 27, 7pm-9pm (rescheduled from January 12)
Should the Squeaky Wheel Get the Grease? 

The Cambridgeport School community is invited to a workshop on opportunity hoarding developed and facilitated by CPSD teachers as part of the Building Equity Bridges grant. Please click here to register to receive the Zoom link and learn more about the workshop.

HISTORY OF RACISM AT CAMBRIDGEPORT

We want to acknowledge the incidents that gave rise to these conversations by sharing the Cambridgeport History of Racism. We also want to acknowledge that there are many other lived experiences not included in this document, and that incidents of racism and prejudice continue to be experienced at Cambridgeport and in our broader community.

TERMS, DEFINITIONS, AND ONLINE RESOURCES

**Starred terms and definitions are courtesy of White People Challenging Racism: Moving from Talk to Action and are largely based on those created by the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop.

Introduction: What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? – Diverse City

**Race: A social construct with no biological validity, one that divides people into distinct groups by categorizing them based on arbitrary elements of physical appearance, particularly skin color.

Ethnicity: The way in which one identifies learned aspects of themselves—i.e., nationality, language, and culture.

**Prejudice: An attitude or opinion—usually negative—about a socially defined group (racial, religious, national, etc.) or any person perceived to be a member of that group, formed with insufficient knowledge, reason, or deliberation.

**Racism: Most people use the word “racism” the way they use the word “prejudice.” But anti-racist activitsts see racism as “race prejudice PLUS power,” in other words, discrimination based on racial stereotyping (conscious or unconscious; active or passive), that is backed by significant institutional power. (Note: white people use “reverse racism” to equate instances of hostile behavior toward them by people of color, with the pervasive racism that people of color face, ignoring who has power.)

Internalized Racism: The personal conscious or subconscious acceptance of the dominant society’s racist views, stereotypes, and biases of one’s own ethnic group. It gives rise to patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that result in discriminating, minimizing, criticizing, finding fault, invalidating, and hating oneself while simultaneously valuing the dominant culture.

Microaggressions: Brief and commonplace daily statements, actions, or instances, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups. For instance, assuming a person of Mexican descent speaks Spanish, or telling a black person that they are articulate.

Overt Racism: Intentional and/or obvious harmful attitudes or behaviors towards another minority individual or group because of the color of his/her skin.

**Structural or Institutionalized Racism: Race, prejudice, and power embedded in institutions (social, political, educational, cultural, financial, religious, medical, housing, jobs, criminal justice) that created and perpetuate systems that advantage white people at the expense of people of color. It is not a consciously enforced system of oppression—instead it is inequality embedded at every level.

Implicit Bias: Unconsciously held attitudes or stereotypes toward others that often come from the messages, attitudes, and stereotypes we pick up from the world we live in, which often don’t align with our declared beliefs.

**Intersectionality: The complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, classism, transphobia) combine, overlap, or intersect and can’t be abolished separately. Women of color, for example, face the combined and intersecting oppressive forces of both racism and sexism.

**White Privilege: Unearned advantages that benefit white people (whether they seek such benefits or not) by virtue of their skin color in a racist society.

**White Fragility: The tendency among members of the dominant white cultural group to have a defensive, wounded, angry, or dismissive response to evidence of racism, racial inequality, and racial injustice.

**White Supremacy: Once used only by racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the word is now used in anti-racism work to describe the historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of domination and exploitation of people of color by white people, and which maintains white people’s position of relative wealth, power, and privilege.

**Anti-racism: Making a conscious choice and persistent efforts to challenge white supremacy, including your own white privilege, and actively opposing forms of oppression of people of color.

**Restitution/Reparations/Restorative Justice: Acknowledgement of complicity with past and present oppression followed by taking concrete actions (including financial compensation) to rectify the effect of those human rights abuses (e.g. Truth & Reconciliation in South Africa, Canada, and most recently, Maine and five indigenous tribes).

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER READING AND LEARNING

Embrace Race

A multiracial community of parents, teachers, experts, and other caring adults who support each other to meet the challenges that race poses to our children, families, and communities.

Courageous Conversations

The award-winning protocol for effectively engaging, sustaining, and deepening interracial dialogue Pacific Educational Group, founded by Glenn E. Singleton in 1992.

Building Equity Bridges

A joint effort between the Cambridge Public Schools and the Cambridge Education Association, funded by the Nellie Mae Foundation, to facilitate a comprehensive, and transparent process to uncover the root causes of inequities in the Cambridge Public Schools.

Cambridge Digs DEEP

An initiative launched by former Mayor Marc McGovern and current Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui to engage the community in conversations about equity, privilege, diversity, inclusion, and race in a series of forums and workshops.

Showing Up for Racial Justice

SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice.

White People Challenging Racism: Moving from Talk to Action

A workshop offered at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and elsewhere that aims to bring people together to examine white privilege and racism in order to galvanize them to anti-racist action.

Hard Conversations: An Intro to Racism

A month-long online seminar program hosted by authors, speakers, and social justice activists Patti Digh and Victor Lee Lewis, who was featured in the documentary film, The Color of Fear, with help from a community of people who want and are willing to help us understand the reality of racism by telling their stories and sharing their resources.

Hard Conversations: Whiteness, Race, and Social Justice

A four-week online course/forum co-facilitated by social justice educators and authors, Victor Lee Lewis and Patti Digh that explores the question “What does it mean to be White in a racist world?”

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action 2019 Educator Reading, Viewing and Website List

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action 2019 Book and Video Lists for Elementary School Children

Teachers Undoing Racism Now (TURN)