If you are a white woman working in the nonprofit sector, then do yourself a favor and listen to The Ethical Rainmaker: White Women as Gatekeepers, an interview of Fleur Larsen by podcaster Michelle Shireen Muri.
One of the key quotes is “Helping is the sunny side of control.” In other words, lots of white women build their nonprofit careers on the idea of being a helper. The problem is that in insisting on helping all the time, you are actually asserting control over situations in ways that can harm others, especially your younger BIPOC staff, for instance.
You may have a sunny smile on your face and justify your gatekeeping as “just trying to be helpful” when you are actually controlling the access, timing, and flow of both information and people in ways that make it harder for your staff to do their jobs successfully.
There’s also an interesting conversation towards the end about how this is especially true for older white women, for example, Boomers who had to fight sexism every step of the way in their own early careers. In some cases, those women learned to manage “like white men” in order to advance in their careers. In that process, while they may have brought more gender equality to the workforce, they may also be reinforcing white supremacy through those learned gatekeeping skills.
Take a listen.
P.S. I also recommend that you subscribe to the Center for Community-Fundraising‘s e-newsletter, which is how I learned of the podcast. Just click any of the “Join the Movement” buttons on the homepage.