Racial Equity

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) is committed to addressing structural inequities and increasing philanthropic and government support for BIPOC artists and arts organizations. Racial equity is a lens through which GIA aims to conduct all of its work, as well as a specific area of its programming.

Since 2008, GIA has been elevating racial equity as a critical issue affecting the field. To actualize this work within the sector, GIA published its Racial Equity in Arts Funding Statement of Purpose in 2015. Through webinars, articles, convenings, and conference sessions, GIA provides training and information to support arts funders in addressing historic and structural inequity through their grantmaking practices as part of an effort for racial justice as a means toward justice for all.

GIA believes that all oppressed groups should benefit from funding. We give primacy to race because racism is the means by which oppressed groups are manipulated into opposing programs that assist them. Therefore, Grantmakers in the Arts’ equity work – including our discussions of support for trans artists, artists with disabilities and for disability arts – is NOT race-exclusive but IS race-explicit. GIA’s vision for the future of our work is to increasingly reveal how the liberation of all oppressed people is interdependent.

GIA has made a strategic decision to foreground racial equity in our work for several reasons:

  • Within other oppressed peoples’ communities (including women, members of the lgbtqi community, people with disabilities, and others), it has been well-documented that people of color still face the worst social outcomes.
  • GIA feels that others’ strategies of combining considerations of race with other considerations too often result in racialized people being pushed into the background or ignored.
  • The U.S.’ creation of race was established to keep oppressed peoples separate.

Unless we articulate our support for racialized peoples, while calling out this separation strategy, we inadvertently reinforce this separation strategy.

Specific themes of our racial equity programming include:

  • The analysis of how funding practices create structural challenges for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)/ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native-American) organizations (Eurocentric quality standards, matching requirements, among others).
  • The impact of these practices, as manifest in racialized disparities in levels of funding.
  • An exploration of the use of coded language to justify racial inequity (i.e. referring to white audiences as “general” or “mainstream,” while organizations of color are “culturally-specific.”

When it comes to self-identifying language, GIA seeks to use terms that communicate our respect. We do not seek to impose language on members of any group. We respect the manner in which anyone prefers to self-identify. When referring to issues of racial equity, “we use the term BIPOC to highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context.” We take this explanation and practice from the BIPOC Project.

GIA has also used the racial and ethnic identifiers African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American. We have used African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American – represented using the acronym ALAANA – because we know that many believe the term, “people of color,” conflates together entire groups of people and as a contrast to white. This results in a continued centering of whiteness as the norm and the standard from which other identities deviate.

GIA does not refer to organizations that are founded by, led by, and feature the work of ALAANA/BIPOC communities as “culturally-specific,” as we believe this term centers whiteness as the norm from which other organizations deviate.

GIA is committed to communicating respectfully. GIA does not ask that anyone self-identify with or use any term other than ones they prefer.

September 30, 2008 by admin

2008, 77 pages. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 6 West 48th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY, 10036, (212) 812-4335, www.rockpa.org

http://rockpa.org/pdfs/Philanthropy_in_a_Changing_Society_full.pdf

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May 31, 2008 by admin

2007, 246 pages. The New Press, 38 Greene St., NY, NY, 10013, (212) 629-8802, www.thenewpress.com

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May 31, 2008 by admin

2007, 29 pages. The Media Justice Fund of the Funding Exchange, 666 Broadway Suite 500, NY, NY 10012, (212) 529-5300, www.fex.org/mjf

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August 31, 2007 by admin

2006, 66 pages. Haigh-Scatena Foundation, P.O. Box 4399, Davis, CA 95617, 530-758-5327

This book by Ronald W. Clement, who has worked as both a grantmaker and grant seeker, details ways in which grantmakers can foster social change. Clement uses his forty years of experience in the field of social change to elucidate the obstacles that funders face

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August 31, 2007 by admin
Poet, novelist, and dramatist Denise Chávez lives in the borderland between New Mexico and Mexico. There, following in the footsteps of the women of her family, particularly her Tiá Chita (who created a lending library in a small town in Texas), Denise is a founder of the Border Book Festival—creating a sense of community through books and writers. In visiting New Mexico, we wanted GIA members to experience the difference between its northern and southern regions.
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August 31, 2007 by admin
Jeff Chang is widely known for chronicling the story of the hip-hop generation through his book Can't Stop Won't Stop and the recent anthology Total Chaos. In this Taos Journey essay, Chang looks back at the legacy of the multiculturalism movement of the 1960s and '70s; at the last several GIA conferences, grantmakers have gathered to discuss their concerns about crises in important culturally specific organizations formed during that period.
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August 31, 2007 by admin
Changing media policy has affected and will continue to shape how art is made and distributed, whose voices are heard, and who has access to those voices. To take an angle on this multifaceted subject, we invited two articulate media experts into a conversation about their work—work that has profound implications for artists and for social justice activists. Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, interviews Loris Taylor, executive director of Native Public Media.
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July 31, 2007 by admin

When I started DJing back in the early '70s, it was just something that we were doing for fun. I came from “the people's choice,” from the street. If the people like you, they will support you and your work will speak for itself. The parties I gave happened to catch on. They became a rite of passage for young people in the Bronx. Then the younger generation came in and started putting their spin on what I had started. I set down the blueprint, and all the architects started adding on this level and that level. Pretty soon, before we even knew it, it had started to evolve.

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June 30, 2006 by admin

A few years ago, Laura Penn, managing director of Intiman Theatre in Seattle, met me for coffee at the Saint Francis Hotel. I was between sessions of the Independent Sector's (IS) national conference in San Francisco. Laura had never heard of IS and was curious about it. The Independent Sector is a coalition of corporations, foundations, and private voluntary organizations that works to strengthen nonprofit organizations and is committed to advancing the common good in the U.S.

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June 30, 2006 by admin

October 2005, 200 pages, $19.95. New Village Press, Oakland, CA, 510-420-1361, www.newvillagepress.net

A Beginner's Guide to Community-based Arts is a wonderfully designed and accessible training guidebook for teachers, artists, and activists wanting to use art as a vehicle for social change. Lead writer Mat Schwarzman and cartoonist Keith Knight create graphic profiles of ten exemplary practitioners followed by activities, exercises, discussion questions, and resources on how to connect with and develop art emanating out of a particular community.

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