The assessment is a checklist of features that characterize units, departments, or institutions at different “places in terms of how they focus on racial equity. It provides a starting place for how to do more in advancing anti-racism work".
Anyone can use this tool at any time. However, it is best when used in groups (informally or formally). It can open up conversations about what steps can be taken towards moving your unit on anti-racism efforts and can be used to continue to benchmark progress towards advancing your unit’s work in equity, diversity and inclusion.
In each section, please check all items that describe your unit, and total the checkmarks as directed.
- Understands and communicates that reducing racial inequities is mission-critical.
- Collects, breaks out and analyzes data by race/ethnicity in programs and operations.
- Proposes strategies for its work that have been put through a racial impact assessment/analysis.
- Values diversity, and inquires about the cultural sensitivities and competencies of staff to work with diverse groups.
- Has mechanisms for management accountability around racial equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization.
- Has mechanisms for staff accountability around racial equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization.
- Supports the efforts of internal teams to work on issues of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion and decolonization.
In Section A, I checked ____ boxes.
- Has some recognition that expanding opportunity and closing racial gaps are important to its work.
- Collects and breaks out data by race/ethnicity in programming but is not sure what to do with it.
- Has gone through training about race, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and decolonization but is unclear about what to do next.
- Needs a better understanding of the distinctions between anti-racism, equity and diversity/inclusion.
- Has no mechanisms for management accountability around equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Has no mechanisms for staff accountability around equity, diversity and inclusion.
- Has an internal team working on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
In Section B, I checked ____ boxes.
- Does not collect, break out, or analyze data by race/ethnicity in programming.
- Proposes strategies that are presumed to work for all students.
- Looks for staff, consultants, and vendors with racial/ethnic backgrounds similar to the community.
- Sees diversity as an important organizational consideration.
- Has accountability mechanisms around diversity and inclusion, but not around equity (including racial equity)
- Has accountability mechanisms around diversity and inclusion, but not around decolonization
- Offers cultural competence training and opportunities for cross-cultural conversations and learning.
- Supports the efforts of internal groups to work on issues of diversity and inclusion.
In Section C, I checked ____ boxes.
- Does not collect, break out, or analyze data by race/ethnicity in programs or operations.
- Proposes strategies that are presumed to work for everyone.
- Presumes that all staff can work with all groups (i.e. racial, ethnic, historically underserved groups)
- Does not see diversity as an important organizational consideration.
- Believes that lifting up issues of race/ethnicity will only create conflict.
- Has no accountability mechanisms around equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Discourages the formation of internal groups to focus on race/ethnicity.
In Section D, I checked ___ boxes.
A Learning Continuum for Race-Focused Work
In which section were the most boxes checked? Discuss with your group your thoughts about our results.
At the end of the continuum is a "place" that is "colour-blind," either by design or by default. That is, the organization tends to think that what's good for "everyone" will necessarily be good for people of colour. Thus, it does not lift up issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion in any regular or routine way.
Further, it may even take up the position that paying attention to racial/ethnic diversity or disparities diverts attention away from shared concerns. For example, the "All Lives Matter" notion when inserted into a "Black Lives Matter" conversation or when someone says "reverse racism."
When organizations have decided, with deliberate emphasis, to focus on diversity (but diversity-only), recognizing that it offers value to the workplace/space and the work/environment. This "place" is not attuned to equity and may not even be active around issues of inclusion.
Organizations in this place may feel either a) doing the work of creating diversity will allow other goals to fall in place, or b) doing the work of diversity is itself labour-intensive, not really allowing space to work on issues of race. For example, when people dismiss diversity as not being a "black and white" issue or race issue when human resource policy says to recruit for diversity within the staff, but do not create an environment to support that diverse staff.
Those organizations that find data showing racial disparities troubling, know something needs to be done, and yet are not sure how to act systemically on that concern.
They may take a step or two in the way of funding or outreach or hiring a person responsible for diversity and inclusion.
They may also recognize that their own staff and board are not diverse but presume the slow turnover of staff and board members dictate slow change. For example, "We just don't know what to do, but we don't want to get it wrong."
The right end of the continuum is a racial equity approach, one which characterizes the most race-intentional organizations. This "place" recognizes that virtually all programmatic and operations functions must be culturally competent, race-informed, and anti-oppressive in order to advance the overall organizational mission. For example, elimination of disparities, closing the achievement gap, addressing health inequities, focusing on issues of social justice, etc.
Adapted from the Annie E. Casey Foundation