For over forty years, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has worked to produce equal outcomes for children, families and communities. The organization’s commitment to equity, especially racial equity, means we’re constantly evolving our thinking. Part of this evolution has led us to start using an anti-racist, intersectional frame to guide our work.

Race is one aspect of one’s identity, and it isn’t siloed. Intersectionality describes how other aspects of our identities “intersect” or interact with one another, for example: class, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ability, citizenship status, etc.

The behavior of BIPOC is often deemed wrong or deviant in our society, something that has been well documented throughout history.

When we pathologize behavior, we ignore the structural inequities that people, families and communities experience, leading to these disparate outcomes. And when the root causes of inequities are buried behind individual blame, it’s harder to work towards undoing racism and racial inequities.

Our institutions are rooted in racism and white supremacy. Case in point, our policing system’s origins are tied to slavery. Police were used to kidnap enslaved Black people trying to escape to freedom. And policing was also used to empower white people more broadly—many who were not formally “the police” engaged in entrapping escaped slaves.

Understanding the roots of today’s inequities, and employing an anti-racist intersectional frame, better equips us to work towards eradicating racism and inequities. In part three of this series, we’ll share some questions for funders to use in assessing how they operate and approach grantmaking in ways that are anti-racist.

Read the full article about an intersectional approach to ending racism by Maya Pendleton and Juanita Gallion at Exponent Philanthropy.