Racial Equity Principles

Tema Okun has designed a White Supremacy Culture website to offer a revised and updated take on her original article outlining the characteristics of White Supremacy. Written in 1999 when she was working in collaboration with her late colleague and mentor Kenneth Jones, the article has been widely circulated, introducing thousands of people and hundreds of organizations to the characteristics (and their antidotes) of White Supremacy culture:

Racial Equity Principles from whitesupremacyculture.info Artwork by Katherine Valde

Racial Equity Principles from whitesupremacyculture.info
Artwork by Katherine Valde

  • perfectionism
  • a sense of urgency
  • defensiveness and/or denial
  • quantity over quality
  • worship of the written word
  • the belief in one “right” way
  • paternalism
  • either/or binary thinking
  • power hoarding
  • fear of open conflict
  • individualism
  • progress defined as more
  • the right to profit
  • objectivity, and
  • the right to comfort.

While Okun makes it clear that the “website is offering one way of understanding white supremacy culture, notthe way,” it is an amazing resource for exploring what White Supremacy Culture is and how to dismantle it. In addition to an updated version of Okun’s original characteristics, the website contains “artwork, poetry, quotes, and videos from racial justice activists, ancestors, warriors, and healers.”

The website includes additional resources, like links to a guide to White Supremacy Culture in Organizations and a White Supremacy Characteristics Self-Reflection Guide. There’s also a section on the Racial Equity Principles from Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks), based on their evolving understanding of what we need in order to support racial justice work. Finally, the website has a Joy page, with “links to a range of different things that remind us of our ability to cultivate our creativity in the service of our joyful resistance to oppressive dynamics.”