Entitlement BINGO– What About ME!

entitlement bingo

If you are reading this blog post you probably know about the fakequity chart. We were worried about being a one-chart wonder so we worked hard to bring you our second chart—Entitlement BINGO. Like the fakequity chart this one makes fun of things said, done, or not done. It is also meant to help us all recognize and call out our privilege and entitlement.

Entitlement BINGO was born out an annoyance of listening to people talk about themselves and feel that equity work should be centered on their needs versus community needs. There are times we may slip into entitlement and privileged positions. The true test is can we recognize and own our privilege, and figure out why we are uncomfortable and feeling the need to take control or prove something. Entitlement BINGO is a way to keep us in check.

Please remember it is a bit of a joke, so don’t really play it and leave it lying around with people’s names on it. Equity work is about building relationships, not making enemies.

Some suggestions on how to use it:

  • Ice breaker BINGO, have people ask others if they have heard or experienced what is written
  • Use it in meetings and have table monitors watch for things that might fall into the categories, names don’t have to be written perhaps just tallies
  • Use it to start a conversation about how privilege shows up in your work

Share your suggestions for comments to put in the squares or how you think it might be used. If we gather enough new material we’ll make a second or third BINGO board.

If you would like a PDF copy please email: fakequity@gmail.com. Click on the picture to see a larger version, double click to read it.

posted by Erin

Voting and Equity

I just got back from the PolicyLink Equity Summit in Los Angeles. Being surrounded by palm trees and so much talk about equity was like being drunk on jalapeno margaritas for three days.

Before I left I voted; I’ve been ruminating about this voting and equity for several days. Attending the Summit refined my thinking about why elections matter to People of Color and why we need to ensure our votes count.

Every Vote, Every Ballot Matters
PandaButtVotePeople of Color need to take voting seriously. It is an important way for our communities to have our priorities heard, and a say in how we want to live our lives. As a society we have a long way to go to getting equity right in elections. As one speaker at the Summit said “If voting didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying to take away your vote.”

Elections and voting are not my everyday thinking, I spend more time thinking about the best banh mi sandwiches and equity in education. What I learned was problems are still prevalent in the election system. A panelist from Common Cause spoke about how an Assemblyperson called her during redistricting and said “I won’t have another f**ing Asian in my district,” she represented an area close to Chinatown in San Francisco, so it’s kinda hard not to have an f**ing Asian in her district. Another speaker told a story about an African American was denied a vote because she was expunged from the voter rolls because her name was the same as someone else, and because there was no same day registration she couldn’t vote. Or in another place during redistricting apartment buildings were split into two separate districts—I’m still scratching my head on that one. These aren’t the stories from the Civil Rights Era, these happened within recent history.

Every vote matters and we need to ensure we are counted. Here are my four take-aways from the Equity Summit around voting:

  • We need to vote—We need to band together and remind people to vote. We need to show up and cast our ballots, we need our ballots counted. Find someone who isn’t registered and hold their hand as they register, then remind them to vote.
  • Remove barriers to voting—We need to understand why People of Color aren’t voting. Is it because of crap-filled policies keeping voters away? We need to call government on their stupid policies that are keeping people from voting. We need to create greater access to voting (more on this later).
  • People of Color on Ballots—To my tribe, my ohana, we need to step up, we need to start getting ourselves elected to public offices. Every elected office from School Board Directors to President is important. Even if we don’t win running for office changes the conversation and puts a different narrative forward. I am so proud of my friends and colleagues who made the leap and ran for office—you are brave, you are speaking truth to power, and we are better because of you.
  • Census—2020 will be the next U.S. Census, and we need to be counted. I learned at the Summit how important the census is to People of Color. It is the one time where everyone in America counts. As the speaker said “It doesn’t matter if you are 1 day old or 100 years old, it doesn’t matter how or why you are here, you count as one.” We need to be counted so we can be seen. Start planning how you’ll reach out and get people into the census count.

Access to Voting
DSCN3414As I mentioned earlier I voted and I am annoyed, I had to stick a stamp on my ballot. I realized my problem is a privilege problem. No one took away my right to vote, I got my ballot, and I can afford the stamp. But I am calling fakequity on the lack of access to cast my ballot without the “stamp-tax.”

If we’re going get communities of color to vote en masse we need to create better access to voting. In King County there are no permanent ballot drop boxes in S Seattle, thus limiting early voting for an area with a high population of People of Color and higher poverty rates. Early voting is important in capturing more ballots. Here are two ideas to capture more votes:

  1. Give people the stamp, Universal Access to Voting: We need to remove barriers to voting and create systems where people purposefully opt-out. If we give people prepaid return envelopes it removes the cost and mobility (getting to a drop box) barriers. We already know from other sectors that prepaid envelopes yield higher returns, why do you think you get so many credit card offers with prepaid envelopes? If we value voting as much as we say we do than it should be fully funded out of general fund taxes or a small fee on something like the cost of getting a driver’s license. It is a small price to pay for a right that impacts all of our lives. I’ll tax myself the cost of a banh mi sandwich for greater equity in voting.
  2. Go Where the People Are, Ballot Boxes Everywhere: One of the simplest ideas in equitable design is you go where people are. On a weekly basis I’m at the library, grocery store, train station, and sandwich deli; we need ballot boxes where we live, work, and play. Now someone is going to say multiple ballot boxes will expose the system to fraud, this is a fakequity argument. Voter fraud, while it still exist, is rare so the argument that this might incite voting fraud shouldn’t trump fair access to voting.

Voting Movement
The final idea is we need a movement around voting. Voting is so important we can’t get complacent and believe that it is another person’s job to encourage communities of color to vote. Maybe we need a hashtag to start the movement: #POCVote or #FakequityVoting.

Go vote.

Posted by Erin

Luck Doesn’t Create Equity—Good Design Yields Better Results

The other day, mymoney-on-the-ground-thumb6979289 kid found $20 on the ground, we used that to buy pho for lunch– we got lucky. I can’t count on him finding money every day; that doesn’t sound like a sustainable system for eating. Same goes for children. I’ve heard stories of the really lucky children of color who grew up in poverty, found a great mentor, and graduated from an Ivy League university, goes on to a really great life. Guess what, that isn’t an equitable system, that is luck.

Luck doesn’t help all children, luck doesn’t ensure children or color have a fair chance at life, luck isn’t a system, luck isn’t sustainable, luck is just that luck. Relying on luck is synonymous with fakequity. The principles of racial equity ensure children farthest behind have the same chance as other ‘lucky’ or privileged children.

Luck Isn’t a System

Heidi, of Equity Matters and part of the fakequity team, said her goal for the lunar Year of the Ram is to think about how work is designed. How we design projects, physically arrange rooms or items, or how we design our lives says a lot about what we value. Designs also predict outcomes and solutions and serves as an anchor point for future work. This is why it is so important to embed the principles of racial equity into everything we do, the more anchor points in place the more equitable the long term results. Anchor points are components of a program, they can be anything from the leadership team to customer interaction, recruitment, to forms and data collected, location, etc. The fewer equitable anchor points, the more entrenched inequity becomes in the system and the harder it is to create positive change. Systems are there to preserve the status quo, which is why it is important to create policies that embed equity.

As an example of this, I facilitate a monthly coalition meeting around education. I love our coalition work together. At the meetings we have a wide mix of people; the attendees in the room are reflective of the community we aim to serve. We also have a wide variety of disciplines involved—government, educators, community and human service organizations, law enforcement, etc. It makes for a dynamic meeting. This diversity didn’t happen by luck or accident, it took cultivation and work to bring people together and to keep them coming back. Diversity isn’t equity, it is a component, like the shoe laces to the shoe it helps to tie the shoe to the foot (bad analogy, but it is what you get at 12.15 a.m.).

We design our meetlucky-charms-lucky-charms-mash-up-600-96371ings to capture the essence of our community, we can’t count on lucky charms to get us through. Everything from location, time, outreach efforts, agenda items, meeting format, etc.—in other words, we do our best to embed racial equity anchor points into our meetings. We don’t get everything right, but we try and we tinker with our format to get more and better anchor points in there. Our successes didn’t happen by luck, it happened by being intentional and creating systems that hold us accountable to our community.

Designing Better Systems

  1. Be clear about what you are designing and the outcomes—What is the ultimate outcome of your project/program? Are you clear about the goals as they relates to race? Aristotle said “A good style must, first of all, be clear.” Be clear in your racial equity goals, let that drive your system design.
  2. Think about your design as it relates to anchor points— Anchor points can be anything from where an engagement takes place such as recruitment to infrastructure such as are HR policies and recruitment. The more of these that are aligned the better the racial equity results.
  3. Design your systems to allow unheard voices to rise up—Are you intentionally allowing unheard voices time to share. How are you designing your meetings—are people sitting in a circle, small groups, or are they sitting by themselves isolated? Do you break people into small teams to work? Small group work allows for people to interact more. Are you breaking up cliques? When people walk into my meeting I strongly encourage (some would say I’m bossy about it) people who know each other to sit at different tables this forces new relationships to be built.
  4. Force accountability—Build in accountability both formal and informal. I am accountable to our coalition members and I remind them of this. At our meetings I force people to turn in exit cards, answering three questions: 1) what did they learn or like, 2) what didn’t work or they want changed, and 3) anything else they want me to know. I stand at the door and make people turn in exit cards before they leave. This builds in accountability for me, but it also builds accountability for coalition members to think about why they came and participated. Trust me when I say they didn’t come for the free food, our snacks are mediocre. In the future I may tweak the questions to be more explicit about equity.
  5. Fix your design as you go along—Some anchor points will be right, others will need to be tweaked. Is your design getting you the racial equity goals? If not make adjustments. Communities change and we have to adapt and change with them too.

Good design will bring, good results and after a while luck will be on your side. Just the other day, I got really lucky and a coalition member offered to bring a really great speaker to a future meeting. To some it may look like we got lucky, but it took a lot of hard work into designing and carrying out strong meetings that focus on equity. I’ll take the luck and keep working on equity.

Posted by Erin