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Building Bridges Across Differences to Meet Social Action Goals: Being and Creating Allies Among People of Color

  • Karen L. Suyemoto
  • Claudia A. Fox Tree
Original Paper

Abstract

Although challenges of anti-racist work are most commonly framed in relation to White people and People of Color, there are significant challenges involved in creating allies across minority racial groups. This article describes our experiences within a community organization aimed at training anti-racist culturally sensitive K-12 educators. As Asian American and Native American facilitators within a group of facilitators of color who were predominantly Black, we describe our experiences of relative marginalization and our (mostly failed) attempts to create change within the organization to be more inclusive of the perspectives, experiences, and needs of non-Black people/students of color. We contextualize these experienced conflicts in relation to race hierarchies, the “divide and conquer strategy” and the maintenance of White privilege. We offer reflections for how racial minorities engaged in anti-racist education could be better allies and how organizations might better foster environments that contribute to the creation of these alliances.

Keywords

Racial and ethnic relations Conflict Allies Antiracist education Multicultural education 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Jesse Tauriac, Carin Rosenberg, Jennifer Wolfrum, and Cass Turner for their helpful feedback and editing in the process of writing this article, as well as the additional readers who preferred to stay anonymous. We also wish to thank the facilitators who struggled with us through this challenge, to express our regret that we were not able to create the bridges we envision here, and to extend an apology and acknowledgement that, in spite of our best efforts and intentions, we contributed to pain.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen L. Suyemoto
    • 1
  • Claudia A. Fox Tree
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology & Asian American StudiesUniversity of Massachusetts, BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Lincoln Public SchoolsLincolnUSA

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