I am Rita Sinorita Fierro, Ph.D., CEO of Fierro Consulting, LLC, a firm that focuses on supporting trailblazing leaders to align internal practices and organizational culture with external results towards a humane world.
Since I published Digging Up the Seeds of white Supremacy in May 2022, I get this question a lot: “Why should white people want to invest in undoing our internalized white supremacy? Why should we want to lose our privilege?
This book has brought me on a peculiar journey. It’s based on 30 years of personal healing and systemic racism studies, thanks to many African American scholars and mentors, expanding upon a dissertation chapter defended in 2006. The roots are deep–but I wrote it in a year; it’s been teaching me how to live by it ever since. This work is never done. I’m still learning to recognize how my wounds are rooted in my internalized white supremacy. It’s been tough. So why choose it?
Here’s what I discovered about me. It may be different for you, yet I’m finding many similarities with white peers and people I’ve coached.
- The ways in which my family taught me to be racist included dismissing and suppressing my own feelings about injustice which undermined my trust in them.
- My striving for perfectionism destroyed the joy in my life–I was a working machine that was everyday more sick, less joyful, and less alive.
- Competing to prove my value undermined my own humanity: I didn’t know I was sacred just for being alive.
- Hiding the aspects of me I was ashamed of left me more isolated and alone than ever.
So, undoing my internalized white supremacy has been, yes, a tough journey but it has also been a rewarding one. I feel more connected than ever. I can feel the vibration of the Land below me and have ways to honor it. I’ve made peace with my higher power I can trust to gift me, simply because life is about loving, learning, and growing. I’m experiencing more love and trust in my family, in my friends, in my communities, and romantic relationship than ever. I am laughing more and obsessing less. I am feeling more alive than ever.
Most of all, I am giggling. The giggles are magical; they happen for no other reason than being alive.
So why should white people embark on this journey? To giggle, to love, to live more fully.
What does this have to do with evaluation practice? EVERYTHING!
What do we see when we are disconnected and bitter? Heavy and burned-out by failed attempts at being superior? What do we measure when we think people or the world are broken? The world as broken? Where’s wonder? Magic? Joy?
I invite us to recover from this sick ideology that has diminished our humanity. There is so much to be gained. So much life to live. We have much harm from colonization to undo. But we can’t do right by BIPOC folks, if we don’t heal our own wounds, too.
If you’d like to learn more you can:
- Start reading a free preview of the book here, or meet me to buy a copy and/or chat at the Meet the Author and Poster sessions on Wednesday Nov 9, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- For an all-day deep dive sign-up for the pre-conference worshop Digging Up the Seeds of White Supremacy in Evaluation Practice November 8 – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Rita Sinorita Fierro
- Or you can join this conversation with my colleagues Trilby Smith, Matteah Spencer Reppart and I on Nov 10, 2022 4:45-5:45 CST White Evaluators and Relationship to Land: An Entry Point for Discussing “Something Different”. We’ll be sharing and discussing how we’re undoing internalized white supremacy in the way we connect and relate to the land moving from extraction to driving principles of Reciprocity, Regeneration, Integration, and Stewardship.
The American Evaluation Association is hosting Decolonization in Evaluation Week with some of our colleagues. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365@eval.org. AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
2 thoughts on “Decolonization in Evaluation Week: Liberation is a Giggle! by Rita Sinorita Fierro”
Since perfectionism and competitiveness have existed in other cultures (sometimes to a greater extent) for thousands of years, how can we claim that these attributes are unique to white European culture?
I’m going to answer your question with another question. Why do you have a need to deflect taking responsibility by measuring the tendency of other cultures? Perfectionism and competition are the backbone of United States society–and cause substantial harm in terms of mental and emotional health, foreign policy, and a lot, lot more. What different does it make if other cultures have it? Does it lessen the harm done to our own?