Economic Equity - Jobs

Question #1. How does this institution/system (e.g., Mental Health System) contribute to/perpetuate racism and racist violence and other daily atrocities visited upon people of color?

Table Facilitator, Group 1

“Without a viable means to become economically stable, this institution remains a condition of servitude.”

“The US economy has a base of slavery and manifest destiny.” To have our current economy rest on this bias it perpetuates this bias through saracity and lack of opportunity, it perpetuates itself.

  • The hierarchy we see jobs. Lower skilled is considered less worthy.

  • Protocols of hiring in Seattle perpetuate these structures. For example, it costs money, to buy things you need.

  • The top earners are the ones who make the decisions about the salaries and jobs of the bottom 3/4.

  • The idea in our culture that wealth equals goodness.

  • The wealthiest 400 Americans have more wealth than all the Africa-Americans in the US.

  • Very few people of color in the tech sector. There’s a gap in economic opportunity.

  • Concern about the Supreme Court and its upcoming hearing of affirmative action.

  • White people who are not part of the ruling class feel cheated of their own birthright and angry about what they believe black people are taking from them.

Table Facilitator, Group 2

  • Opportunity to earn a living wage, system based on profits before people, foreclosing the opportunity and the hope and continuing the cycle of poverty with economic status becoming class and segregation and the fear of aristocracy. Perpetuating violence from above as well as below. Wealth = voice and influence, attacks on unions.

Violence in systematic oppression, violence as rooted in violence and discouraging success for people/students of color, inadequate education leading to job difficulty, early disenfranchised, lower pay and less benefits. With white supremacy, fully integrated into society, there is an “economic system” behind education.

Table Facilitator, Group 3

1. Prison system set, incarceration vs. rehabilitation and discrimination after time is served.

2 Corporate economic system, keeping people out of jobs and economic disparaging treatment.

3. Race and criminal background factors in getting entry level jobs. Stereotypes and presumption of criminality

4. Racism is at the core of many area’s job education, race plays a factor over qualifications.

5. Skin color being equated with criminology, historical perspective with regards to race.

6. Thinking about the illness and not just the symptoms.

7. Race does not exist, race definition.

8. Defining institution.

Table Facilitator, Group 4

  • Institutions don’t listen, want to teach but not listen.

  • White privilege conference taught the history of measures taken to exclude blacks and others from jobs, education access to wealth and whites have benefitted from other groups being pushed down.

  • Hard to pull yourself out when your family has been in poverty for generations.

  • We’ve only made a tiny bit of progress since slavery.

  • Need jobs to get power, success and to thrive.

  • Even applying for jobs, the typical African American name versus a white name have different rates hiring for the same qualifications.

  • Who is at your workplace? It perpetuates racism when it looks like the hard workers made it this far, but all those people are white, it affects how you see non-whites elsewhere.

  • Starting a business, how to influence the system so more people of color can build businesses and build equity.

  • Tim Weiss talks about white privilege, most white people only encounter a black person through TV, and they are sports players or in trouble with the law. Working with stereotypical images means you see those when you are hiring, you don’t need an athlete or a thug!

Question #2. What should have been done before the massacre in Charleston – what are the signs that we missed/are missing as a community in this area (e.g., Mental Health System)? Why does it take a massacre for so many white allies to recognize everyday racism and stand up to speak against it?

Table Facilitator, Group 1

  • Most white people do not have personal relationships with people of color, do not experience it emotionally until tragedy.

  • Fear keeps us isolated from each other, we are missing in our community a sense that we can develop a community that cares for each other and would like to see the Seattle Police Department and the Parks Department come out into community centers more. “It wasn’t in my face. So many things that weren’t in my awareness. Before I didn’t see it as my problem. Now it is.”

  • Role of prison, industrial complex and the criminalization of poverty, which takes resources and attention away from jobs and economic equity. Role of/for the profit prisons in all this. The Occupy Movement has raised awareness around class, but there is not a racial consciousness in that movement.

  • Boycotts and cross alliances with groups to create change in jobs and inequality. What will it take?

  • If white people are in jobs where they see themselves as the norm, then they do not have to feel empathy for people of color. When you have the economy so controlled by one group of people, you have people feeling economically isolated, you have isolated young white people who blame other people, rather than understanding the structures which are causing their suffering.

  • White people need to stop believing the dominant narrative and do our part to create equity.

Table Facilitator, Group 2

  • Reactive versus proactive, band aid solutions, especially in Washington following crisis and observing everyday racism, Obama presidency, observable racism in disrespect for office, symbols like the confederate flag, selectively deciding how and when to address issues, ignoring nationwide escalation, shock and horror and pain necessitating convo’s? (conversations), economic and social segregation and making these issues invisible. *White privilege, white people don’t have to see, “why don’t you know?” keep the momentum going, implicit racism becoming explicit, when you look around where are POC and what are they doing?, representation and visibility, there is power in works – language and economic access discomfort.

Table Facilitator, Group 3

  • Entitlement, a sign we missed.

  • Those who work hard to achieve the American dream and it remains outside of their grasp.

  • Have the conversations, bring awareness.

  • Break down assumptions.

  • Get out of denial.

  • Look at feat.

Table Facilitator, Group 4

  • This is no economic equity, system is set up that way and so hard to address it.

  • Minorities are pervasively discriminated against so they are easy targets. If we address economic equity, minorities may not be as easy to target.

  • Why massacre action? It’s ingrained in society. A fish doesn’t recognize what water is, it’s everywhere, it need a shock to recognize it.

  • People need to understand the concept of white privilege, they don’t recognize that these barriers exist, black president does not mean we can all get great jobs.

  • Critical of media, perpetuates racism without acknowledging it. Color-blind news, outlets without conflicting??? messages that might wake us up. Killing of blacks has always happened but only the big ones get mentioned.

  • Ingrained in history and teaching. How do we see something different? The African Americans shows chronology of African Americans since 1500s. Charleston was hub of slavery, 40% came through Charleston, whites have the records of which slaves were owned = more Africans then whites at some point in history yet no monuments to what happened! No apologies for slavery, no recognition and yet monuments to confederate history. Blacks have to live with that. Why no acknowledgment of the wrong? Silence.

  • Institutional racism engrained, but also now talking about racism and race is taboo . . . don’t want to be labeled. Only talk about it in hostile situations, so won’t talk about the uncomfortable situations that happen every day.

  • To create a dialogue you have to be open and listen give space for all to share and heal. Charleston is extreme and rare, but micro aggressions happen on a daily basis we need to talk about it.

  • What do we do, what opinions do we have?

  • So much contempt for Obama now, but they wouldn’t approach a whit president that way.

  • Need to build forums to have these discussions so we can work it all out. , name it, and move forward.

  • Reframe it, talking about its inconvenient, so those of us who fight for it need to bring it up, needs to be acknowledged as necessary to our survival as a nation.

Question #3. What specific actions can you take as an individual post – massacre – to eliminate racism in (e.g., the Mental Health System) in the Seattle area? In the US? Give Specific action recommendations.

Table Facilitator, Group 1

  • Provide resources to Black Lives Matter movement.

  • Supporting groups that advance the work of black leadership.

  • Boycotting, maybe organize some things.

  • Work one person at a time, mentoring some young men, develop some liaison with IT groups for job development.

  • Every church and community center, a group of teens, bring in other people and develop their own program. (this is a dream)

  • Inform myself and vote, look at our tax system and examine it, help raise other people’s awareness, participate with other people in solidarity.

  • Employ people of color, invite young people of color to these meetings, show up as a white religious leader, find ways to support participation of your women of color.

  • Writing a book about and debunking white supremacy.

Table Facilitator, Group 2

  • Support systems, media representation (news violence, social media/counter media) social security, services, wages, task forces to maintain momentum, being ready to mobilize, dealing on an individual basis, everyday basic checking, acknowledging privilege, churches as community organizations, women in the church, empowering each other within the community knowing how to address POC issues.

Table Facilitator, Group 3

  • Continue to do social work just work in the community.

  • Change the way the community looks.

  • Get money flowing to our community?

  • Acknowledge that the issue exists.

  • Accountability to communities of color.

  • Inter-fellowship with churches.

Table Facilitator, Group 4

  • Speak up in outrage!

  • Connect with organizations that work on these issues.

  • Target local hire, city projects that focus on the rate and hire in zip codes that have a lot of low income and people of color. Take in to King County. (Got Green)

  • Retreats in inequity and race. Be aware of privilege and how you treat others (in classroom, in workplace) bring awareness where there wasn’t before, how do you interact with different races?

  • Round table like this.

  • When interviewing for a job, ask who you will be working with and bring awareness to your employer and self.

  • Name it! Say something.

  • What do your words mean? Minorities mean, “less than” no longer the minority. Use words without put downs, check your terminology.

  • Bring awareness, civil rights didn’t end it!

  • What is the mix of folks at a business?

  • Speak truth to power, but be aware that you will be affected when you do so, get job then work against issues.

  • Get connected through your workplace to organizations that support race discussions and affect change.

  • Get communities to agree to racial equity standards set by racial empowerment organizations.

  • White privilege conference.

  • Make collections of works regarding race, like thumbs up or poems on Charleston.

  • Use social media.

Group 2 Summary: Recognize complicity, taking action

K-12: Parents need to be involved and engaged, to teach history it should be taught inclusively, teachers need to be accountable, prepared and committed, challenge standardized testing and privatization, SBAC

Medical: Inclusive hiring, seeking out stories that reflect POC authentically and their experiences, opening up coverage, media seeing their job as a gift and responsibility.

Faith: Build relationships, commitment

Higher Education: Accessible to all, volunteer and outreach when the community is not in crisis.

Criminal Justice: Advocate for change in groups, recognizing the current system is flawed, empower, educate communities and families.

Economy: Target local hiring, have cross cultural conversations recognizing the need for change, need for positive tension, media, families.

Justice system: Stop allowing system to profit off the incarceration of black youth, black POC involvement, establish reconciliation system for minor crimes.

Police: Arrest the right people, community relationship with police, police must reach out to community.

Mental Health: Equitable distribution of resources, recognize that we have all been traumatized.