Black employees experienced racism at Planned Parenthood: Internal audit

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Oct 11th, 2020 2:42 pm
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Last Updated Oct 16th, 2020 at 2:46 am

Seventy-six current and former black Planned Parenthood employees said they have experienced racism while working at the abortion provider, and that there was "no meaningful consequence or accountability for racial harm."

The information comes from an internal assessment conducted by the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA), commissioned by Planned Parenthood, over the summer. AORTA found a "real sense that Planned Parenthood's externally stated racial equity values don't align with its internal commitment to supporting black employees."

The results were presented in a video meeting to the Network of Black Associates, a Planned Parenthood Federation of America's (PPFA) employee resources group.

"One of the first things that emerged in our conversations with you all was this sense of being over-scrutinized," AORTA staff member Brown said on Wednesday. "There is a real felt sense that it's okay for your white colleagues, especially white women in your organization, to behave some kind of way, and no one's gonna say anything to them about it ... to behave in ways that, were black women to behave in those ways, they would be fired."

Brown also described the issue of the "childification" of "black and brown" employees, which means "persistent treatment of black people as children or adolescents who are unable to accomplish work independently, and viewed uniformly, such that they cannot be differentiated from one another."

"Planned Parenthood Federation of America's leadership is committed to confronting the organization's legacy of white supremacy head on, and the cultural assessment conducted by AORTA is an important component of the comprehensive and meaningful work we are undertaking to create belonging and equity," said Planned Parenthood's head of communications and culture, Melanie Newman, on Friday.

Newman also said the assessment findings were leaked:

"Leaking the cultural assessment findings is a breach of trust and of the intended safe space for black colleagues to be seen, heard, and understood," Newman said. "Holding leadership accountable publicly is welcome; but abusing the trust of colleagues is harmful to the culture change work that is underway."


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