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Cross-Racial Teams

“A cross-racial team interrupts racism by providing a new model of leadership.” - Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010

The Value of Shared Leadership
The Value of Shared Leadership
  • “Shared Leadership between multiracial and monoracial individials in non-ehtnic-specific, monoracial and multiracial organizations is not only important for issues of inclusivity and equity, but also crucial for a varied and complex view of the many different routes through which reform can take place.” (Korgen, 2016, p. 218)

  • Facilitating antiracist education as a cross-racial team seeks to interrupt unilateral white leadership. (Showing What We Tell: Facilitating Antiracist Education in Cross-Racial Teams by Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010)

Important Considerations
Important Considerations
  • "A cross-racial team will invariably be stretched as traditional racial patterns of leadership are broken. Authentic cross-racial leadership requires sustaining honest and courageous dialogue across race about how racism manifests, solving problems, coordinating efforts, responding to racial mistakes, and resolving conflicts. These requirements necessarily bring us to the limits of our skills in that they compel commitment from each team member to deal with racial tensions—a commitment that the culture at large does not require and that few of us are practiced in. Through the process, however, we can build the authentic relationships that are critical for effective team leadership." (Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010, p.5) 

  • "In the context of the white supremacy in which we are embedded, changes in our racial socialization don’t come easily and our roles in the racist structure, regardless of where we are positioned in the racial hierarchy, take a lifetime of committed practice to unravel. For people of color, this means actively challenging the internalization of messages of inferiority (referred to as internalized racial oppression or IRO). For whites this means actively challenging the internalization of messages of superiority (referred to as internalized racial dominance or IRD)." (Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010, p.5-6)

  • "Teams need to be flexible and “organic,” adapting any framework used to the unique dynamics of each individual team." (Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010, p.13) 

  • "As should be clear, the racial dynamics were complex and shifted quickly. We believe that the deep relationship we have built by intentionally working together as a cross-racial team enabled us to think clearly and work collaboratively under great pressure. Each trainer knew the other well, had a good grasp of the dynamics of racism, and trusted each other to “have her back.” Although we have certainly struggled through situations in which Darlene has not felt supported by Robin as a woman of color, our commitment to continuing the work has enabled us to move through these challenges. We have found no deeper or more authentic way to practice the lifelong work of ending racism than leading antiracist work cross-racially."  (Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010, p.20-21)  

  • In Understanding and Dismantling Privilege , Di Angelo & Flynn:

    • Explore a training approach that both models and deepens antiracism work: facilitating in cross-racial teams

    • Offer a rationale for cross-racial facilitation 

    • Explore common challenges and how to work with them including racial pitfalls for white facilitators and facilitators of color.  

    • Illustrate many of the dynamics that a cross-racial team must navigate using an example from their work

    • Discuss the pre- and post-work that is necessary for successful cross-racial leading

    • Offer tools and techniques for working together as a team and with a workshop group

(Di Angelo & Flynn, 2010)​

  • Multicultural shared leadership: A conceptual model of shared leadership in culturally diverse teams. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 19(3), 303-314. (Ramthun, & Matkin, 2012)

  • Structuring Leadership: Alternative models for distributing power and decision making in non-profit organizations (McAndrews, Kunreuther & Bronznick, 2011)

“Feedback from students of color indicated...a need for a healing space that could not be facilitated by a white instructor. In response to this feedback, the course is now co-facilitated by a biracial team of a black instructor and a white instructor.” - Gordon, McCarter, Myers p. 723

“If accountability for student learning is a high priority, dialogue and strategic efforts must be directed toward addressing undercurrents of racial segregation that inhibit the rich learning that occurs in cross-racial engagement."

(Harper & Hurtado, 2007, p.21)

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