Waking Up White: Chapter 20

Chapter 20: My Robin Hood Syndrome

The Reading

What I was doing is called “dysfunctional rescuing,” helping people in ways that actually disempower them.

In my efforts to help the “inner-city youth,” I spoke to funders and other arts organizations about what life in the inner city was like…Never once did I visit the actual neighborhoods[, or] sit down with a group of these kids, their families, or their teachers and ask, “that is it my organization could do for you?”…I decided that what they needed was to come to a majestic downtown theater and be a part of the world I knew and valued.

I’m discovering now that neat and tidy endings, especially happy ones, are yet another luxury of the entitled.

The Study Question

If you were to be given $100,000 and told to give it to one charity, which one would you pick? What are the races of the organization’s top three executives? What race is the chair of the board?

Medecins Sans Frontiers

Its regional associations are member-owned/run, and in the US association elects board members from among its associates. The MSF-USA Board is made up of 12 people. Although they don’t explicitly state racial demographics, a quick google/LinkedIn search shows me that the board is 1/3 white (3 men, 1 woman), 1/3 undetermined (I couldn’t locate photos of the board members), and the remainder are women of color, a Jewish woman, and a Lebanese man.

The current President is a white male physician.

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Stephen’s Chapter 20 Post

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One thought on “Waking Up White: Chapter 20

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  1. There are systems in place that make it easier (not easy!) for white people to be charitable. It’s not that charity is bad or that white charity is bad. It’s just…harder when you’re not white.

    While this book didn’t make me start my journey to seek out charities and movements that are not white-centered, it’s helped remind me of my own commitment to continue to do so.

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