Equity Conversations | Black Achievement and Anti-Blackness: An Intersectional Understanding of Oregon Black History

February 16, 2022 – In honor of Black History Month, Carmen Thompson, Ph.D., provided an intersectional lens to anti-Blackness and Black achievement in Oregon. Dr. Thompson is an independent scholar and historian of race and the Black experience in America. During the presentation, she led participants through a history of Black people in Oregon, the ongoing imprint of this legacy on the state, and how experiences of racism varied based on intersectional identities. Participants then separated into small breakout groups to allow for a more intimate conversation on the different forms of discrimination — such as racism, sexism, and sexuality — and how it informs our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as it pertains to Black women and men. 

Many organizations have adopted DEI in the workplace; however, conversations and policy oftentimes begin and end with race. In many of the breakout groups, participants commented on the need for DEI work to include more than just race to foster true belonging in the workplace for professionals who align with multiple identities. Towards the end, as a response to a participant’s question, Dr. Thompson emphasized that “intersectionality is a way for us to be open to the differences of the experiences that other people bring to the table and be open to going there with them on that journey.” 

Special thanks to Agate Executive Communications for sponsoring this session.

Equity Conversations is a regular program hosted by Partners in Diversity where diversity influencers from member organizations can engage in healthy discourses on issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and race. These are typically more informal and features open dialogue and opportunities for participants to interact with each other. If you would like to become a member, please contact us or visit our membership page for more information. 

Partners in Diversity honors Black History Month with a special Equity Conversations on Black achievement with Dr. Carmen Thompson (bottom center).