Oxfam has circulated a survey to its staff that describes “whiteness” as “the overarching preservation of power and domination for the benefit of white people… which white supremacy serves to protect,” causing shock and upset amongst its employees.
The survey, which was sent out to Oxfam’s 1,800 staff in Britain (88 per cent of whom are white) describes racism as a “power construct created by white nations for the benefit of white people” and says that “all echelons of power, to some degree, exist to serve whiteness.”
In the survey – which was organised by a working group of four people and was voluntary – employees were asked whether they would describe themselves as “non-racist”, “anti-racist” or “none/neither”, and to identify their racial profile under one of two headings – “white” or “black, indigenous or as a person of colour (Bipoc) and/or black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME).”
The charity’s staff called the language in the survey was baffling and divisive. One said: “I felt like I was being signposted into a category that I don’t wish to be labelled in. I don’t want to be subcategorised as either a white supremacist or a full-on racist. And I don’t want to have to apologise for being a white woman.”
Oxfam has faced substantial scrutiny since the Haiti sexual misconduct scandal of 2018, which trundles on to this day. Just this month three staff were sacked in the Democratic Republic of Congo following an investigation into sexual exploitation.
This latest questionnaire will have done the charity no favours, with one staff member employed in Oxfam’s charity shops division telling The Times that they felt “under attack for being white, English and voting leave.”
Another hit the nail on the head: “Why are they presuming their workers, who are working for a humanitarian charity, are racists and bigots?”
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Adding: “Surely the time and money should be better spent on the real findings that some of the men they employ are sexual predators?” Why indeed.