Wednesday, June 09, 2010

reality bites, indeed

I am not a radical.

As a bourgie brown woman, I acknowledge what little privilege I have and wish everyone had the advantages I've had. However, just because I'm a bourgie black woman does NOT mean that I don't give a shit about making a difference in women's lives. 

I'm in one of our chief executive's office this morning and throwing an idea out there that our legislative agenda next session needs be more cohesive. So we're talking about the benefits to it and somehow ending up on a potential issue area for us: domestic trafficking and prostituted women. And then began a depressing conversation about whether or not we're a feminist organization and what matters more: dollars or actually advocating to empower women? Clearly, dollars.

Know what I hate about working for an org that's over 100 years old in this funding environment?

I hate knowing that every future decision we make about policy is probably going to come from a place of fear: fear that we'll alienate a donor; fear that we'll make a politician angry; fear that our general constituency will back off from us; fear that the shiny white ladies from the burbs won't want to be sullied by the hard scrabble lives of women living on the south or west side.

I hate coming to the realization that, because of our age and our size, rather than use this time of uncertainty to be brave, we only TALK about being brave but then cavil and end up being mealy-mouthed and cowardly. Because that's what it means to back off from policies that mean life or death to women. It means you're chicken shit and you're not really serious about what you mean.

I'm sure I'm not the only policy/advocacy person in a human services non profit to come to that realization.

If I'm going to be this disillusioned, I should have stayed in corporate.
At least I'd be compensated for my cynicism.

1 comment:

Joy said...

I know you probably can't get into too much detail about X organization on this blog, but I'm curious. What are the dollars spent on, if not programs that empower women? If you're getting donations, but they're not actually spent on anything that addresses root causes, what's the point?

Do the shiny white ladies really just want to fund food pantries?