With the support of the Open Society Foundations, Matahari and the AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA) convened a meeting with twenty Black and Brown global health experts (including communities living with diseases) to identify and discuss key priorities on racism in global health. The two hour discussion manifested in the below report, which identified a number of salient themes – notably that:
- Repeatedly, participants pointed to the absence of white voices in dismantling racism in global health. “White people cannot expect those who are oppressed to change a system of oppression, which was made by and sustained by them. These are important issues for white people to address.”
- Participants recounted experiences with several common phrases and behaviours that uphold white supremacy. One phrase is “We don’t see colour.” In particular, participants see this trait appear more strongly among European and UK colleagues, regions which participants considered further behind in their discourse on white supremacy and racism than the USA.
- Diverse hiring was recognized as important. But at least as important is attention to governance and the composition of boards of directors at international organizations and donors. In a participants’ own words: “This is significant because those are the bodies that are in power and make decisions about hiring at the top. [About] who is then responsible for the human and financial resources that are at the disposal.”
- Participants remained wary of the current ability of Black and Brown people to utilize human resources for gaining equity. “You may not get a fair hearing or fair process when you speak up, as some human resource people are blind to some of these issues. [This] really makes it difficult for people to speak up.”
The project continues to seek funding to work on identified research areas.