Members of a committee affiliated with the Metro Nashville Arts Commission are scheduled to meet next week to discuss what they describe as white supremacy culture.
Members of the Committee for Anti-Racism and Equity are scheduled to meet at 5 p.m., Tuesday, November 4 virtually.
This, according to an agenda sheet that Metro Arts staff published on the city government’s website.
The agenda sheet cites an organization called SURJ or Showing Up for Racial Justice. According to the SURJ website, characteristics of white supremacy include, among other things, objectivity, individualism, progress, quantity over quality, perfectionism, and a sense of urgency.
The SURJ website called those characteristics “damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group.”
“They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people,” the SURJ website said.
“Organizations that are people of color-led or a majority people of color can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.”
According to the committee agenda sheet, participants will discuss what role those characteristics play in their own lives and what they can do to shift beliefs and behaviors to support racial justice.
Metro Arts spokeswoman Emily Waltenbaugh told The Tennessee Star Thursday that the committee originated out of what she called “an anti-racism transformation team.”
“That grew out of a white paper from four or five years ago that found practices in the Nashville arts ecosystem to have upheld some practices that were not equitable,” Waltenbaugh said.
“Last year our commission voted to formalize that and make it a committee of our board. It examines the practices by which we award funding or by which we work with artists to ensure equity across all of those practices.”
Waltenbaugh said board members volunteer to work and that no board or committee members take taxpayer money for their services.
As The Star reported last year, members of the taxpayer-funded Nashville Metro Arts Commission said they want as much gender and racial diversity among their artists as they can get.
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