2022-03-20 – Attributes of White Supremacy Culture: Sense of Urgency

As we work to dismantle racism in our institution, we are continuing our exploration of the attributes of White Supremacy Culture. Today we will look at the Sense of Urgency.

A perpetual sense of urgency, the need to “do something” and “do it now” stands in the way of actually getting things done. It prevents us from taking the time to be intentionally inclusive, using a democratic and collaborative approach to decision-making, thinking about the long-term, and considering the consequences of our actions. This also results in making sacrifices  in exchange for quick, highly visible results. These sacrifices often include the interests of communities of color, because already marginalized interests are simply not taken into account in the rush to finish. The Sense of Urgency can be self-reinforcing when funding, planning, and prioritization decisions unrealistically expect too much from too little time, effort and funding.

Antidotes for this are really about having realistic expectations:

  • Set realistic work plans
  • Leadership must understand that things take longer than expected
  • Discuss and set specific goals for inclusivity and diversity, especially in terms of time
  • Learn from past experience about how long things take
  • Provide realistic funding
  • Structure decision-making processes to produce good decisions in an atmosphere of urgency