Grant writers and Aversive Racism


I am as guilty as any other grant writer who uses racially coded terms to seek funds from foundations. I didn’t know this until I recently read Robin Diangelo’s acclaimed book “White Fragility.”

According to Diangelo, “Aversive Racism,” is a manifestation of racism when we use certain racially coded terms to maintain a “positive self-image.”

Here are a few commonly used racially coded terms:

Underserved (Every other grant writer uses this!)

Underprivileged (Writers and reviewers will feel offended if they don’t include this in a proposal. Aren’t we all privileged?)

Disadvantaged Community (In what? In comparison to who?)

Economically Disadvantaged Community (This is sugar coating to make it less offensive and to show there are numerous advantages in other areas!)

Inner City (Euphemism : “beleaguered inner city schools”)

Poor neighborhoods (Clearly divisive)

Urban (A racial stereotype)

Diverse (The sugar coating never ends and we cannot live without this word!)

Sketchy (Deviant for troublesome?)

Good neighborhoods (So, are there bad neighborhoods?)

Neglected communities (Whose neglect was it?)

Historically poor (Since the beginning of history?)

When seeking funds from XYZ Foundation to build a community center for the residents of ABC city, we can make a simple request: “This is a request to the XYZ Foundation to seek funds to build a community center for the residents of ABC city. ”

Instead, we use inner city XYZ, underserved, historically poor, diverse, economically disadvantaged, sketchy, poor neighborhood, economically deprived…the list is endless.

Enough is enough. Let us end this implicit bias.



Categories: Uncategorized

1 reply

  1. If I may suggest another two books: How to be Anti-Racist by Ibrahim Kendi and
    Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain by Jaretta Hammond.

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