The city of Madison has a very large number of nonprofits per capita, many of which have been dedicated, for years and decades, to lessening racial disparities. Madison also still has some of the nation’s worst racial disparities.
That irony is not lost on Brandi Grayson.
“It doesn’t make sense to me. In progressive Madison, people say that they want to do the work, but they don’t want to be uncomfortable. And I know that I make them uncomfortable,” Grayson says. “But in order for us to get the work done, we have to get used to being uncomfortable. We have to move past funding things that maintain and uphold the status quo.
“We need to empower people to understand our own behaviors. White people can’t tell us why we behave the way we behave. You have no f*cking idea,” Grayson continues, laughing. “That you think that you can is the problem. In a lot of the organizations that is being done right now, through different efforts and movements, they don’t even talk about it – they don’t talk about racial socialization or structural racism. In the work of non-profits, you’re really not allowed to.
“The system,” she adds, “is created to sustain itself.”