Challenge

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Racialized Equity Labor, College Appropriation and Student Resistance

"Racialized equity labor" describes the often uncompensated efforts of people of color to address systematic racism and racial marginalization within organizations. Specifically, the labor of college students who, like many faculty and staff of color, often labor to make their campuses comfortable and functional for historically underrepresented populations, is invaluable to society.
95M
People Impacted
$ 803B
Potential Funding
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the problem
Nature and Context

We identify a cycle of racialized labor appropriation whereby: 1) people of color identify problems in the racial environment of their organizations and work to solve them; 2) leadership responds by blocking efforts and/or denying issues; 3) external and/or internal pressures force introspection and push leaders to resolve an organizational threat (e.g., to the university’s public image of diversity); and finally, 4) leadership appropriates racialized equity labor, and in doing so converts it into a diluted diversity initiative. Those engaged in racialized equity labor may resist appropriation, but the cycle takes a toll on activists. The ways in which organizations respond to racialized equity labor offers insight into the reproduction of racial inequities, despite the hard work of people of color to create meaningful racial change.

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