WHOA ok so did you hear what happened this week? Check out this twitter thread.
Let’s just get one thing straight. I am a racist and misogynist jerk sometimes.
But here’s the difference between me and TA. I know it.
This whole mess is… emblematic of our nonprofit world.
And it’s also our larger world writ small. Consider how many older adults you know who do not understand why we need to start talking about white supremacy, or why the sector needs to rethink its language in ethical storytelling. Right now I see AFP and Bloomerang taking a stand against people who don’t want to learn, and I applaud them for it. (see below).
After this post another white male Republican fundraiser came out and said that Tom Ahern being cancelled was part of anti-white racism. Just… wow. When this guy comes out to bat for you and THAT’S his defense? That’s what I call Fuckin YIKES.
That’s when MAYBE, JUST MAYBE you are on the wrong side of history.
So, what do I think about all this?
THIS is what progressive millennial and Gen X consultants talk about after the cameras are turned off.
I think THIS particular conversation is why we can no longer ignore the call to address the inherent white supremacy in our sector.
We ask each other, why does this panel have 19 out of 22 people on it who are dudes when the sector is 85% women?
Why does this guy still have a bigger voice than all of us put together?
We ask each other, WHY bother trying to convince AFP or other larger organizations to listen to us, when this is what they get away with?
We ask each other, should we try to leave the sector? Or should we try to change it?
Let me tie it back together for you with the recent white supremacist terrorist killings of six Asian American women in Atlanta, and the Atlanta cops saying the guy was “just having a really bad day“.
I’m not going to be like those cops. He wasn’t just having a bad day. Vu Le’s Community Centric Fundraising called out white supremacy and Tom Ahern said get over it, oh, and also, FU. This is white supremacy inherent in our nonprofit sector, and in the consulting industry. This is what he is really like. AND our system amplified his voice. And I’m not going to give him or the system a pass.
What do we do instead of focusing on him now?
Here’s what I would like to see AFP, Bloomerang and every single association focus on now, whether ADRP, or others. I would like each of them to instead ask,
Could we have a woman from an oppressed group share non-oppressive appeal letter language and speak instead, and pay her as much as we were going to pay him? (Short answer, OF COURSE!) (See Kishshana Palmer’s Rooted Collaborative, F3 (Fabulous Female Fundraisers), Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, AADO (African American Development Officers)
Is there in fact something wrong with “donorlove?” (Hint: there is)
Could staff love instead be the first order of business? (It could)
Could we work together to figure out how to create more ethical storytelling in our organizations? (A good step)
Could we ask our funders to consider the ethical implications of their own language around funding? (Rewording At risk populations, marginalized populations vs Oppressed people) (yep)
But what will stop this problem at the root?
NUMBER ONE: Don’t work with white male fundraisers who have no interest in looking at their own privilege and uplifting oppressed women’s voices.
Start putting your money where you say your values are.
(This is why I buy books and classes to try to learn to be less of a racist and misogynist jerk. This is why I pay BIPOC folks to teach for me. This is why I work with oppressed people as vendors for the work that I need done in my business. For example my web designer, my admin, podcast editors and transcribers). They help me publish my interviews with oppressed people, and also my podcast called Name It, which talks about these issues in the nonprofit sector, all stemming from white supremacy. This is why I am a monthly donor to a Black woman founded and led nonprofit. Every month, my values are in my spending.)
NUMBER TWO: Every time you look for a new executive, a consultant, or a new staff hire, ask yourself, is there a person from an oppressed group that could do this role?
NUMBER THREE: Start budgeting to have oppressed people write for you, lead your board retreats, and speak at your conferences. (This is why I started paying mainly oppressed women and women-identified people to speak at my events in 2018.)
NUMBER FOUR: Start hiring folks who can teach you about the deep roots of white supremacy inside your organization. Consider it a long term process, that will take years to unpack and educate folks about. (This is why I recommend the work of Desiree Adaway, Kishshana Palmer, Nneka Allen, and others. If you’re looking for people to pay to be better, they are a fantastic start.)
Let me make one thing perfectly clear.
If you think you do not have the budget to do this, you absolutely have it.
If you think you don’t have time to find people to pay to help you do this work, let me assure you, you can find that time.
If you think this issue does not touch you, believe me, it does.
Do not waste this moment. It is powerful. It is important. And we need to keep the awareness and momentum going so that Black and Asian lives are not lost in vain.