Prepared by CURL Staff, Faculty, and Fellows
The purpose of this document is to outline the protocol in place to remedy and redress any instances of racism and/or other discriminatory behavior at the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL). This includes, but may not be limited to, interactions and meetings with CURL staff, fellows, faculty, community partners and funders. The protocols outlined are intended to hold individuals accountable to their own prejudicial beliefs and biased behaviors, while also creating equitable systems that address structural racism and inequality present at CURL and Loyola more broadly. Further, this protocol reflects CURL’s commitment towards creating a more pro-active anti-racist ethos in everything we do.
CURL is situated in the historical, political, cultural, and geographical context of Loyola University Chicago as it is located on campus in Cuneo Hall, which is on stolen land from the Myaamia, Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), Peoria, and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) Native American people. Further, it’s location as a Catholic Jesuit institution in the United States means that CURL as an organization and CURL’s staff, faculty, and fellows are not insulated from the racism of the larger university and of this country. We recognize that our staff, faculty, and fellows enter CURL’s physical and virtual doors with their own histories and experiences with racial, religious, and cultural diversity. It is this diversity that makes CURL a unique space, but it also makes us uniquely responsible for creating a workplace that is safe and supportive of all individuals.
The first step in redressing racism and discrimination is having a common understanding of what those terms mean and how they might manifest at CURL. Racism has a long history in America that can only be understood if fully contextualized. Racism involves racialized power dynamics and is therefore one-directional. This means that racism is against BIPOC individuals/communities and does not occur in the other direction towards white people/communities. Racism can be internalized, interpersonal, cultural, and organizational/institutional, while impacting individuals and communities differently based on intersecting characteristics (i.e. class, gender, sexuality and more). Below we offer our definitions of racism and opportunities to learn more about their impact.
Interpersonal racism occurs on the individual level between two or more people. Interactions are mediated by the personal biases and prejudices (whether conscious or unconscious) of the individuals involved, including their own internalized racism. The outcomes of interpersonal racism can be uncomfortable, negative, or even dangerous interactions.
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Organizations and institutions, including higher education, have created policies, practices, and procedures that, at best, do not consider and, at worst, harm Black people, Indigenous people and people of color. From hiring practices to promoting practices to unequal pay to underdeveloped reporting structures for discrimination, institutions are not supportive of BIPOC. Both intentional and unintentional characteristics of an institution can create unsafe and inequitable working conditions that harm BIPOC.
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Cultural racism normalizes racism and racial hierarchies through the creation of symbols, shared meanings and images that support White supremacy. These symbols enforce ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, and inform our beliefs about people and communities. Cultural racism results in the disproportionate production of negative and demeaning images of Black and Brown people/communities and positive images of
White people/communities. Additionally, cultural racism normalizes Whiteness, while othering non-Whiteness. This makes Whiteness seem invisible and often leads to the pathologizing of BIPOC communities, cultures, and collective expressions. In a research context, this can look like employing stereotype-based research models and methods; reproducing university-community hierarchical power dynamics; silencing counter-storytelling to maintain White supremacist ideology; and the exclusion of diverse communities from research entirely.
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As people experience or engage in racism and are inundated with cultural racism, they internalize it. For those victimized by racism, that internalization may produce negative ideas about themselves and their communities. While, for those who engage in racist talk or behavior, internalization may reinforce notions of superiority. Both negatively impact persons and communities as they reinforce racial hierarchies and reify personal biases as truth.
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Racism in the Workplace
In order to address racism at CURL, we must identify the forms it can take in the workplace. CURL is committed to calling out and addressing all forms of racism beyond the examples presented here:
Microaggressions expressed in the way we interact with, talk about and to each other and other people. Consider the definition from Dr. Derald Wing Sue:
"Microaggressions are everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership."
Unequal workloads for BIPOC are common in workplaces. Research shows that regardless of title and position, Black women are often relegated to service and administrative tasks beyond their job description (Catalyst, 2004).
Relegation to certain types of work due to your racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and/or religious identities. While White workers/students are assigned work according to their skillsets and/or interests, BIPOC workers/students are assigned work because of their identities.
Overtly racist comments and behaviors towards BIPOC.
Unequal pay for equal work can impact BIPOC. There is intersectional impact upon BIPOC women based on gender pay inequality.
White, Catholic/Christian-Centered workplace culture (i.e. celebration of Judeo-Christian Holidays exclusively) can lead to ostracism of non-White and non-Catholic/Christian fellows and staff members.
If any of the above occur at CURL, they will be taken seriously by CURL staff and fellows. There are other forms of racism and discrimination that may arise in the workplace and they will also be acknowledged and addressed. Next, we will outline how CURL intends to address the harms caused by racist and discriminatory misconduct.
Addressing Harm at CURL
Whether harm occurs at the hands of CURL staff, fellows, faculty, funders or community partners, CURL is committed to addressing and redressing the harm done. This protocol is not intended to replace University-wide reporting structures (EthicsLine Reporting Hotline), but to offer our own internal process for addressing harm within CURL. The approaches recommended below build on restorative justice practices for the workplace (Learn more). These practices consider the following needs: 1) the needs of the harmed individual(s), 2) the needs of the organization(s), 3) and the obligations of the harmer(s) to repair the harms and prevent future harm.
To prevent harm, CURL will communicate our partnership standards and expectations and look forward to learning the standards and expectations of our community partners at the start of each project as well as co-creating remedies to harm in line with those values. This includes proactively sharing our values and commitment to a culture of learning, addressing harm, sharing resources and cultural humility. Even through these proactive measures, harm may still occur at the hands of CURL staff, faculty, fellows, or the hands of community partners. Regardless of the direction, CURL is committed to seeking mutual remedies to any harm.
Harm caused by CURL
If harm is caused by CURL staff and/or fellows that impacts our community partners, CURL is committed to co-creating space and time to remedy that harm. The appropriate remedy can be determined in conversation between CURL and the community partner in question. CURL is open to leading trainings, issuing apologies, or removing necessary participants from the project. CURL is also open to other remedies recommended by the community partners involved.
Harm caused by Community Partners
If harm is caused by a community partner that impacts CURL staff and/or faculty, CURL is committed to communicating with the community partner to remedy the harm. If CURL team members desire removal from the project, they will be allowed to do that.
- If you experience racism or discrimination or any other harm, here’s what to do:
- Tell someone at CURL with whom you feel most comfortable sharing the experience (we will call this person your “CURL confidant”). This can be a CURL staff/faculty member, graduate, or undergraduate fellow.
- After confiding in your CURL confidant and assuming the confidant is not CURL staff/faculty (for example, the confidant is a CURL fellow), you and your confidant can decide if and how to share this experience with a CURL staff/faculty member.
- If you (and your confidant) decide to, you may report the incident to a staff/faculty member.
- Reporting can occur via email, phone call or in-person
- Feel free to request your confidant be present (or cc’d) during the reporting of the incident
- After reporting an incident of racism or discrimination, there are a few options for resolution. The resolution depends on the extent of the harm and the desire of the person who was harmed. Possible resolutions include (but are not limited to):
- CURL-wide email addressing the harm. Staff may decide to send an email addressing the harm done, why it was inappropriate and/or issuing an apology.
- Mediated conversation between the person harmed, the confidant, a CURL staff member and the person who caused the harm. The goal of the conversation is to address the harm, receive an apology and come to an understanding of why it was harmful and how to prevent future harm.
- Venting and processing the experience communally in a group setting where the person can freely vent to staff or fellows as a means of processing the experience and moving forward towards restoration as needed.
- Staff can address the harm among staff during a staff meeting or additional staff training. This is particularly appropriate if a staff member is involved in the incident.
- CURL-wide training for staff and/or fellows. Sometimes ignorance results in specific harms that can be addressed through trainings and workshops. This will allow CURL to engage in specific learning that helps prevent future harm.
- Time and space for the person who was harmed by the experience. This may look like a day away from CURL to process the experience and/or a mental health day to help remedy the harm of racism.
- Other. CURL is open to the specific and individual needs of people that arise as a result of harm caused by racism and discrimination. Please feel free to communicate your needs directly to a CURL staff and we will work together to remedy the harm caused.
CURL’s Culture and Values
CURL’s culture is centered on relationship-building and maintenance, a team-based work ethic, and a community-engaged research model that recognizes we are partners in creating knowledge. Racism and discrimination undermine these values and so CURL commits to proactively work to create a culture that uplifts and heals the rifts of racism and prevents further harm. Some of the specific ways that we intend to do this going forward are as follows:
CURL fellows, faculty, and staff will create and cultivate resources and provide trainings for internal and external purposes that center the learning of CURL team members and our community partners in order to create more equitable partnerships.
CURL fellows, faculty, and staff can take religious and cultural holidays off from work. Judeo-Christian holidays are treated as normative in the broader Loyola community, but CURL treats all religious and cultural holidays equally and respects everyone’s’ right to observe these Holidays without penalty.
CURL fellows, faculty, and staff prioritize working as a team on all research projects from the research design to implementation. This reduces hierarchical approaches to leadership and learning. It also allows all team members to be treated equally as individuals and contribute equitably according to their skillsets and interests.
CURL fellows, faculty, and staff commit to asking questions, rather than making assumptions. Knowledge production is influenced by power relations that skew and stereotype perspectives of communities, particularly communities of color. These stereotypes impact how we collect and interpret data and reduces the quality of our work.
CURL fellows, faculty, and staff will conduct an annual evaluation of the equity issues specific to our organization. This will include a focus group and survey, that allows all CURL team members to anonymously share their experiences and bring them to the group openly. This will also include a report of these findings and changes to our protocols (as needed).
Okun, Tema. “White Supremacy Culture.” dRworks, 2020.
dRworks is a group of trainers, educators and organizers working to build strong progressive anti-racist organizations and institutions. dRworks can be reached at www.dismantlingracism.org.
“Levels of Racism.” Multicultural Resource Center, 2020.
“Four Levels of Racism: Race Forward Model.” Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, 2020.