It’s official, an outside organization has determined that Planned Parenthood has racist attitudes and policies towards black employees.
The assessment, conducted by the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA) over the summer, included interviews with 64 current employees and 12 former black employees about their treatment and experience with the organization. The results were presented to a closed-door meeting, which apparently was purposefully leaked to BuzzFeed.
As expected, the organization does not live up to its self-proclaimed social justice mission of representing women across the country.
In fact, there so few black employees at Planned Parenthood that the survey team couldn’t be very specific in the official report because many of the statements and stories were too identifying.
Alexis McGill-Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s president, tried to put a positive spin on the situation, stating, “The urgency of this moment, the urgency of the reckoning that we’ve all known was coming … the deep urgency of what we need to do inside of [Planned Parenthood], stepping into leadership in this moment, I have never felt more urgent, and I’ve never actually felt more free. And I want that feeling of freedom to give us all the covers to do the work that we need to do.”
But not all are pleased, and it’s questionable whether this report will result in any sort of change for an organization that is over 100 years old.
“Leaking the cultural assessment findings is a breach of trust and of the intended safe space for black colleagues to be seen, heard, and understood. Holding leadership accountable publicly is welcome; but abusing the trust of colleagues is harmful to the culture change work that is underway,” Melanie Newman, the organization’s head of communications and culture, stated to BuzzFeed.
In one of the most revealing sections of the report, Planned Parenthood’s internal tactics were revealed. The report states, “They felt that Planned Parenthood ‘uses legitimate external political threats’ to the organization — like the threat of having its federal funding stripped, abortion clinic closures, and new anti-abortion laws — to create a ‘false sense of urgency’ that allows for ‘bullying’ behavior to thrive, in the name of getting things done during a pressing situation. This behavior ‘inhibits substantial change across the organization.’”
There is also a “‘disconnect’ between Planned Parenthood’s work and its internal treatment of black employees, (which) ‘is becoming harder for folks to manage.’”
Though the investigation and report were thorough, employees “don’t trust it at large to actually make significant change unless it is held publicly accountable.”
“This assessment was great but, what’s next? This assessment took three years to do. Are we gonna have to wait another three years before they implement any policies?” one of the employees asked. “I don’t trust them to make these changes, because Planned Parenthood is filled with people who, because they do work in reproductive rights, think they can’t be racist or prejudice, but keep saying and doing racist things, and nothing is being done about it.”
That’s the problem. Planned Parenthood has a long history of using race as a dog whistle to push its progressive agenda, while at the same time ignoring or marginalizing the very women of color that it claims to champion.
This report brings that hypocrisy to the surface.
Photo is from Shutterstock.