8 Ways People of Color are Tokenized in Nonprofits
Helen Kim Ho

You make a convincing and valid point. It was a worthwhile write-up for me to read.

My only issue with this piece and many others like it is the failure to acknowledge that these white people undertook this endeavor with good intentions and a decent heart. Despite shortcomings in the execution, they’ve probably done some good along the way. My guess is, that without pieces like this, they wouldn’t necessarily understand some of these issues precisely because it’s not native to their world. So these things need to be brought forth by people like you, to raise awareness.

However, the lack of some acknowledgement (and maybe you don’t feel they deserve such acknowledgement) that they’ve tried, and that there is an element of trying to serve a greater societal good, imparts a negative tinge to the piece (even if only subtle). The implication is that they really had no business even trying if they were going to get it so wrong. In today’s environment, this message of whites having gotten it so wrong is being replicated again and again by different groups. Nobody is willing to acknowledge the good intent when and where it’s applicable, even though the effort is presently imperfect. For the percentage of whites who are, in essence, a kind of swing vote of support, but not quite there just yet, this token gesture of acknowledgement might be helpful.

I guess the idea might be, start off with a feel good moment for them, and then gently guide them toward improvement considerations, rather than simply diving into here’s what’s wrong, which tends to come across as accusatory and can put people into a defensive mode.

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