#CharitySoWhite exposes the real, and shocking, stories of racial inequality in the charity sector

A Twitter storm is raging over the hashtag #CharitySoWhite, with charity sector workers sharing sobering stories of racial discrimination they have faced in the sector.

Chloe Green | 21st Aug 19

Charity sector workers from BAME (Black and Miniority Ethnic) backgrounds are sharing their experiences of institutional racism and descrimination as part of the #CharitySoWhite hashtag that has taken Twitter by storm over the last couple of days.

> See also: It’s time for us to recognise the barriers that BAME people face in the charity sector

It all started when Citizens Advice Bureau were called out for racially offensive training material brought to light by Fatima Iftikhar, an organiser with #POCIMPACT, a community that recognises, supports and connects people of colour working in the charity sector.

Citizens Advice Bureau eventually came forward saying: “We agree these materials are not acceptable and apologise unreservedly. We’ve taken them down from our website and will be investigating how this has happened. We help anyone, anywhere, whatever their problem. We strive to ensure our service is truly inclusive.”

However the Tweet has since had over 500 retweets in outrage at the racist stereotypes that the document propogates. As shocking as the original Tweet is, when Iftikhar kicked off the #CharitySoWhite hashtag encouraging people to share their own stories of racial descrimination in the charity sector, that is when the Pandora’s box really opened.

Many charity sector workers professed to being at the recieving end of shocking racism and descrimination going unchecked.

The outpouring of responses from BAME charity workers reflect many of the issues that we heard recently from people such as Susheila Juggapah and Saimah Razak, speaking in our recent article: damaging assumptions, a lack of representation where it matters and a glass ceiling around upward promotion.

We’ve featured just a sample of the stories below:

 

While the stories are incredibly sobering, they clearly made a lot of people on Twitter uncomfortable, as the barrage of responses show. As Samir Jeraj Tweets: “On a cultural level, there is the pervasive assumption in charities that because you’re ‘nice people’ doing ‘good work’ that you’re exempt from structural discrimination or unconscious bias.”

The backlash seems to reflect this, with a large number of responses denying the problem, exclaiming ‘PC gone mad’ and even accusing the Twitter users of a ‘victimhood mentality’… and some even outright racist.

 

Whether or not these Tweets are just internet ‘trolling’ and being purposely provocative, they are evidence of a deeper problem that urgently needs addressing.

The unfortunate thing is that the stories shared are likely to be the tip of the iceberg of stories from BAME people facing descrimination in the charity sector, not counting the many people unwilling to come forward and put their careers at risk, or face bullying such as this.

As Seyi Akiwowo puts it:

 

— Seyi Akiwowo (@seyiakiwowo) August 20, 2019

 

 

In our video below, Charity Digital’s own customer service manager Raabia shares her own views from her decade of experience in the sector: