By Owen Sullivan
For the past few weeks, members of the NOISE Project have been coding responses from interviews that were conducted over the summer. During the coding process, we scan interview answers for their main ideas, and then assign them words or phrases that capture these themes. These words and phrases are called codes. For more information on coding, check out Luna Castelli’s video here! Each week, we’ll outline our “Moment of the Week,” in which we share an interesting coding discussion. Here’s this week’s!
What They Said
Question: Have non-people of color in the collaboration become more comfortable speaking publicly about race and racism?
Interviewee Answer: “…what I heard through stories was that for some people that was, like, the most challenged they’ve ever been to think about these issues, because it was being presented to them in such a straightforward, honest way.”INTERVIEWEE
How We Coded It
- Here, the interviewee remarks that non-people of color were challenged to think about issues of race and racism as a result of this project. We applied the simple codes challenges and communication, because the interviewee discusses this scenario in which individuals communicate with one another about race and racism in a way that challenged them.
- The interviewee states that this instance was “the most challenged they’ve ever been” to think about issues of racism. “They” refers to Lab employees and other project participants who are not people of color. This statement implies that these individuals had never before engaged in such a challenging and honest conversation about race. From this, we applied the code history, as the interviewee alludes to this history that exists in which issues of race and racism had not been discussed.
- Additionally, we applied the code culture, because the culture of the lab is such that conversations about race and racism are rare, according to the interviewee. That is why, after all, this instance was “the most challenged” Lab employees had ever been to discuss race and racism. If the culture at the Lab emphasized and encouraged conversations about race, there would have been previous instances in which employees were challenged to think about these issues.
- This answer is an important example of privilege in the workplace. The interviewee states that some team members who are not people of color had never before been “challenged” to think about issues of race and racism. These team members have the privilege of choosing whether or not to challenge themselves and have discussions about racism. They could have these conversations, or they could choose not to–either way, issues of race and racism will not negatively affect these team members who are not people of color. This ability to determine whether or not they talk about race is a privilege for these team members. By contrast, and to illustrate this point about privilege–team members who are people of color lack this privilege. Racism directly affects these team members in a negative way, and so they simply must address issues of race and racism simply by facing it each day. In this way, the interviewee’s response denoted an example of privilege in the workplace, and so we applied the code privilege.
Question for thought:
How does the fact that different team members have different levels of privilege in their personal identities affect the ability of a workplace to produce content that is equitably co-created?
Do you agree with the codes we applied? Do you disagree? Are you comfortable with the thought process that took place?
Let us know!