Giving Compass’ Take:
• Alex Tammaro and Jessica Shakesprere, at Urban Institute, encourage researches to put their own practices under the microscope, as inequity in research often reinforces racist structures.
• How does inequity in research neglect and underrepresent the communities under study? What can you do to dismantle inequity in research within your organization and join the fight to end systemic racism?
• Learn more about the devastating consequences of racism on mental and physical health.
Research cannot be excluded from conversations about systemic racism. And if we are to dismantle persistent racist structures, our work as a research organization begins with us.
Since the Urban Institute’s founding 50 years ago by then-president Lyndon B. Johnson, we’ve had to reckon with the behavior and the environment that shaped our founding principles. But beyond good intentions, the solution requires critical evaluation, explicit action, and accountability measures, often disruptive and uncomfortable, to effectively dismantle racist structures.
Examining how community organizations, researchers, and funders show up in the research process and evaluating their roles and responsibilities is the first step in discovering space for increased equity and more authentic, valuable results.
In a recent presentation at Urban, Chicago Beyond’s Shruti Jayaraman and Ifeanyi Nwachukwu guided us through a close and often uncomfortable examination of our research methods, creating space for us to critically assess how we view the limits of our roles and responsibilities, as well as opportunities to shift the dynamic for the benefit of community organizations, funders, and the communities we work with.
We examined seven critical junctures in the research process, places where inequities are established and reproduced by institutionalized power dynamics: access, information, validity, ownership, value, accountability, and authorship.
Embedded in these seven areas are questions designed to challenge notions of responsibility:
- Could we be making uninformed decisions because of who or what we allow as valued inputs?
- Whose ownership is assumed, and whose must be earned?
- Whose costs and risks matter, whose are invisible?
- Are we holding the right parties accountable if our approach creates harm or doesn’t work?
These are huge questions, but they demand to be answered, and doing so requires clear commitment to community members.
Read the full article about inequity in research by Alex Tammaro and Jessica Shakesprere at Urban Institute.
Since you are interested in Advocacy and Policy, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Advocacy and Policy?
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