White Dominant Culture & Something Different
In our society, the dominant culture that shapes our institutions, our media, the way we see ourselves and each other is that of the white, middle class. Racial equity trainer Tema Okun suggests that the characteristics of white dominant culture can be harmful not in and of themselves but ‘when they are used as norms and standards without being proactively named or chosen by the group…. These attitudes and behaviors can show up in any group or organization, whether it is white led or predominantly white or people of color led or predominantly people of color.’ In the table below, Okun calls the attitudes and behaviors in the left column aspects of white supremacist culture. The definition of white supremacist culture, or, white dominant culture, that we like to use is simple and expansive: The explicit to subtle ways that the norms, preferences and fears of white European descended people overwhelmingly shape how we organize our work and institutions, see ourselves and others, interact with one another and with time, and make decisions
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