Culture is often defined as a learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, norms and social practices which affects the behaviors of a relatively large group of people. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. Like a fish in water, we can have a hard time seeing what we’re swimming in.
Paying attention to our culture and unconscious assumptions are an essential part of becoming antiracist, both individually and organizationally.
This is especially true as it relates to white supremacy culture. In short, white supremacy culture is the widespread ideology baked into the beliefs, values, norms, and standards of our groups, our communities, our towns, our states, our nation, and the Sierra Club itself - teaching us both overtly and covertly that whiteness holds value, whiteness is value.
Overall, white supremacy culture is reflected in the current realities of disproportionate and systemic harm and violence directed towards BIPOC people and communities in all aspects of our national life – health, education, employment, incarceration, policing, the law, the environment, immigration, agriculture, food, housing.
At the Sierra Club North Star Chapter (like many predominantly and historically white organizations), white supremacy culture has been reflected in our decisions and is backed into many of our processes - in which we value “white” priorities, ways of knowing, ways of meeting, etc., over others’.
We are committed to dismantling white supremacy culture to create an organization that works for all of us and better recognizes our organizational privilege. We will be collectively working to identify and dismantle the insidious ways that white supremacy culture shows up in our work, we will be drawing heavily on these resources:
White Supremacy Culture (and antidotes) overview, Sierra Club
Original White Supremacy Culture and antidotes by Tema Okun
Updated version by Tema Okun
White Supremacy Culture Resource page, Showing up for Racial Justice