Race & Equity
Systems of oppression are intertwined
We acknowledge that racism intersects with multiple systems of oppression, including but not limited to sexism and heterosexism, ableism, ageism, Christian hegemony, human supremacy, and classism. The experience of being placed in the position of marginalization by any of these systems creates needless and violent barriers to health and well-being, and those experiences are compounded when a person holds multiple marginalized identities.
When we only focus on disrupting one system, we are likely to benefit the most privileged people within the group that system marginalizes. For example, if our focus is only on disrupting sexism, otherwise privileged women are likely to benefit from those efforts - i.e. wealthy, able-bodied, white women.
We forefront race because of how especially atrocious and pernicious it is in creating violent barriers to the health and well-being of all BIPOC.
In centering race, we acknowledge that not all BIPOC are positioned equally within the system of racism. The system imagines whiteness as the superior form of being and Blackness as the most inferior form of being. In acknowledging that that’s how the system of racism works in the United States (and generally around the world), we acknowledge the insidious effects of anti-Blackness in dividing and limiting the influence of anti-racist organizing efforts.
At Beam Pedagogy, our planning, facilitation and organizational culture are grounded in these ideas. Racism and other systems of oppression are not static, and the ways they manifest in education are constantly evolving. We actively pursue opportunities to learn, grow and keep up with the changing social landscape.
We are part of the ecosystem of anti-racist work.
Anti-oppression work is a vast and vibrant ecosystem with different entry points and interconnected histories. The role of Beam Pedagogy is to focus on the healing, community-building, and strategizing work necessary for educators committed to equitable practice in their workplace.
We bring our own histories, experiences and areas of expertise to this work, which may look different than the expertise others bring. We seek to partner with, participate in, and support the work of those whose expertise both overlaps with our own and branches out to areas where we are not experts.
Our work is informed by authors, thinkers, and organizations such as:
adrienne maree brown
We will make mistakes. We will grow.
We acknowledge that we have gaps in our learning and limits to our understanding of the multiple, intersecting, evolving and often personal ways race and racism function for individuals, communities and societies.
Our own racial identities (Asian, mixed-race Asian and White, and White) contribute to our perspectives, and include unearned institutional privileges that play a role in larger systems of oppression. Part of acknowledging the privileges afforded by our racial identities is being aware of these power dynamics, learning about and actively dismantling racial hierarchies, and uplifting identities that are marginalized by our society.
As facilitators, we recognize that we have access to forms of unearned racial privilege that not all people have access to. This both opens opportunities for us to bring the work into spaces where it is most needed; but, it also blinds us to the experiences of racialized groups who are not represented on our team. In naming this, we acknowledge the importance of being accountable to the communities and movements with which we seek to work in solidarity.
Every member of Beam cares deeply about issues related to race and racial justice. We come to this work with our own stories and histories connected to our evolving understanding of racial justice. We are committed to actively pursuing opportunities to learn and grow when it comes to our understanding of racial justice. And as an organization, conversations about how our work connects to racial justice are an ongoing part of our culture.
This work is hard. There are lots of ways to mess up. We will make mistakes. We see mistakes as an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to humility and to grow.