In Defense of Culturally-Specific Organizations: Understanding the Rationale and the Evidence
Muthanna, Jennifer S.
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Racial disparities abound in human services, with communities of color facing grave impediments to positive progress. Mainstream institutions move painstakingly slowly on reforms—movement too slow to offer this generation prospects for real hope in equity. This paper builds the rationale for expanding funding for culturally-specific organizations, detailing the ways that the literature and the tacit knowledge of culturally-specific organizations improve outcomes for clients and communities of color. The article identifies the service benefits in terms of client outcomes, accountability practices, community benefits, cultural affirmation and inclusion, building community and political capital, and lessening investments in white-centric services. We also identify methods for funding bodies to invest in culturally-specific organizations, and consider the accountability practices that might stimulate mainstream organizations to make gains in racial equity.