White middle class culture dominates youth engagement. As the predominant culture in the U.S. today, white people operate many of the nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and education institutions where youth engagement activities occur throughout our society.
In most communities, white people like me create the policy, write the grants, operate the programs, identify the participants, develop the activities, hire the workers, manage the budgets, discipline the participants, evaluate and assess the activities, and promote youth engagement as a concept.
Elements of white middle class dominant culture are the driving force in our notions, activities, knowledge, ideals, and outcomes from youth engagement. Our ways of operating, our systems of belief, and our culture drives the nature of the work we do. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
In their article “Elements of White Middle Class Dominant Culture“, authors Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun identify the following traits as elements: Perfectionism, sense of urgency, defensiveness, quantity over quality, worship of the written word, only one right way, paternalism, either/or thinking, power hoarding, fear of open conflict, individualism, I’m the only one, progress is bigger/more, objectivity, right to comfort,
- 10 Tips for Affirming Diversity and Supporting Equity in New After School Programs – Written by California Tomorrow.
- Addressing Equity and Diversity: Tools for Change in After School and Youth Programs – Written by California Tomorrow.
- Structural Racism and Youth Development: Issues, Challenges and Implications – Written by the Aspen Institute.
- Youth Undoing Institutional Racism – YUIR is a multi-racial, intergenerational community organizing group that is a project of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and The People’s Institute Northwest (PINW).
- White Privilege Conference Youth Action Project – A team of experienced facilitators provide a safe and challenging space, geared toward youth of ALL ethnic backgrounds, who are committed to understanding and dismantling white supremacy white privilege, and other forms of oppression.