Webinar: Deauthenticity in PoC Academic Librarianship

Last year the North Carolina Libary Associations’ Roundtable for Minority Ethnic Concerns (NCLA REMCo) invited me to join their Cultural Conversation’s slate.  Below is the webinar I led, titled “Exploring (de)Authenticity: Impact on PoC, Implications for Practice.”

The webinar reflects a joint effort between me and the racial/ethnic minority academic librarians who offered me data on their experiences. I discuss my concept of deauthenticity, how it manifests in the racial/ethnic minority academic librarian low-morale experience, and share the results of the informal survey, which remains open.

 

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Tweet-dux: Stereotype Threat and Deauthenticity in the PoC Low-Morale Experience

On Twitter, I’ve been threading some results of my latest low morale study (done with Ione Damasco), which centers the experience of racial and ethnic minority academic librarians. It is my hope that this work will bring into clearer view the additional emotional labor that librarians of color bear while dealing with abuse and neglect in American library workplaces. 

The following thread introduces the impact of stereotype threat and summates my earlier discussion about the concept of deauthenticity in the PoC low-morale experience. 

  1. Stereotype threat is “a situational predicament in which individuals are at risk, by dint of their actions or behaviors, of confirming negative stereotypes about their group. It is the resulting sense that one might be judged in terms of a negative stereotype that is ‘in the air’” (Inzlicht & Schmader, 2012, 5-6).
  2. Minority academic librarians’ historic exposure to and awareness of race, culture, or ethnic stereotypes—along with their understanding that White colleagues were also aware of such stereotypes and the implicit or explicit associations with their ability to successfully execute the skills, knowledge, and abilities required of academic librarianship—were often linked to participants’ desire to preemptively offset White colleagues’ seemingly low expectations.
  3. Stereotype threat responses included behaviors they hoped would distance them from negative stereotypes: workaholism, culture-carrying (consciously working to positively represent an entire race, culture, or ethnic identity), vocational awe, and resilience cycles.
  4. A [participant] said, “I’m always in a position where I feel like I have to prove to myself, and that people are automatically—instead of assuming that I have expertise, it’s like I have to prove why I’m even there and worthy to take on these positions and prove my expertise.”
  5. During low-morale experiences, minority academic librarians traverse deauthentication, a cognitive process to prepare for or navigate predominantly White workplace environments.
  6. Deauthentication results in decisions that hide or reduce aspects of (1) the influence of ethnic, racial, or cultural identities, and (2) the presentation of natural personality, emotional responses, language, physical and mental self-images/representations, interests, relationships, values, traditions, and more.
  7. Deauthentication decisions help avoid macro- or microaggressions, shaming, incivility, punishment or retaliation, and these decisions ultimately create barriers to sharing whole selves with colleagues and/or clients.
  8. A participant noted: “[when] I walk in the door [of my workplace] . . . when I’m with [my White female colleagues], I’m really usually super quiet with them. I don’t speak up. And when I do, I make sure that I speak with very perfect English, and I have to enunciate…I mean, it’s like—I mean, I don’t have a thick accent, but I, you know, you can hear my [language] accent, sometimes, right? But when I walk in this door, I am—80% of me is left behind. I don’t bring in a lot of my culture and stuff.”

Take the deauthentication survey.

View the deauthentication webinar (presented by the North Carolina Library Association’s Roundtable for Ethnic Minority Concerns)

Works Cited

Inzlicht, M. & Schmader, T. (2012). Stereotype Threat. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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#hurrayoftheday: 26

In 2016 I launched a local digital scholarship repository I named Lancer Scholar Square. It houses what I term ephemeral research outputs generated by University of South Carolina Lancaster’s faculty, staff, and students. I shared the impetus for this project in an earlier post.

Today the repository has reached over 40 items, due in large part to the campus’ new and highly active Research Club. The club’s faculty advisers, Dr. Elizabeth Easley and Dr. Sarah Hunt Sellhorst, have been great partners in helping research-minded students see digitizing and curating their scholarship output as a natural part of the research process.

Visit and browse the repository.

 

Tweet-dux: White Supremacy and Racism in the PoC Low-Morale Experience.

[This content has been republished at Renewals, a site focused on discussions about low morale in North American libraries] 

On Twitter, I’ve been threading some results of my latest low morale study (done with Ione Damasco), which centers the experience of racial and ethnic minority academic librarians. It is my hope that this work will bring into clearer view the additional emotional labor that librarians of color bear while dealing with abuse and neglect in American library workplaces. 

These threads expound on my earlier report of additional Enabling Systems in the PoC low-morale experience. 

  1. Participants frequently reported White colleagues’ assumptions of racial superiority as a significant cause of their low-morale experience(s).
  2. Dealing with White librarians’ unrequested guidance or advice, often given under the guise of knowing what is best for minority librarians, was frequently reported.
  3. Participants’ discussed their institutions’ active justification or downplaying of the negative outcomes of their historic and contemporary participation in or condonement of programs or events perpetuating White supremacy and racism.
  4. These justifications were evidence that their institutions remain unwilling to recognize or reconcile the long-term, still-present negative impacts of their actions on marginalized groups.
  5. Participants perceived that White colleagues discounted their preparation for, engagement in, and outcomes of their work.
  6. They perceived the discounting was motivated by White colleagues’ desires to discourage minority colleagues’ feelings of self-efficacy or trajectories of career success, even if they had no interest the same projects.
  7. Participants shared that White colleagues had limited expectations about them based on their race, culture, or ethnicity.
  8. Behaviors or comments signaling subtle or indirect racial, cultural, or ethnic discrimination were noted by study participants. (e.g. dog whistling, microaggressions).
  9. Racism increased participants’ feelings of emotional or physical limitations with regard to their immediate workplaces and/or overall career development.
  10. Multiracial participants discussed White colleagues’ reliance on phenotype to determine if it was safe to share racist opinions…
  11. Multi-racial participants also recognized that the non-White aspects of their identities were more often met with disdain than the perceived “better” qualities of Whiteness.

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#Recognize: Jina DuVernay, MLIS

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Jina DuVernay earned her degree from the University of Alabama School of Library & Information Studies. She is currently a Visiting Archivist for African-American Collections at Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, where she works to ensure accessibility of the African-American collections and learn as much as she can about archival work. 

Share a book that you’re currently reading, have recently read, or would like to read. 

I would like to read Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns. (TIOTP Note: this also is a great read for the Association of the Study of African-American Life and History’s Black History Theme, “Black Migrations”)

Share a career decision. What did you learn about yourself in terms of your career?

I decided to change jobs and commit to the 2-year Rose Library fellowship. I learned that I am willing to challenge myself and that I am dedicated to becoming a well-informed and well-rounded librarian.

Complete the following sentence: “I am a librarian because….”

…I want to help expose the wealth of knowledge and cultural activities that libraries offer which enrich people’s lives.

Describe a current project or idea that you’re working on or have recently completed.

I am working on an Emerging Leaders project for the LRT. My team has been charged with compiling a comprehensive list of resources such as speakers, videos, and syllabi that speak to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) for professional development purposes.

Finish the following sentence: “I am happy when I…”

…am with family and friends.

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#hurrayoftheday: 25

The newspaper in Lancaster, S.C., where my gig is located, published a nice write-up about my recognition for the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. I’m so glad they included my thanks to my colleague, Rebecca Freeman. She has been a wonderful co-leader for building our collections and expanding our programs. She is also a consistently encouraging ear – she is often one of the first people to whom I clarify or refine my research ideas or scholarly work. 

Read the article.

Tweet-dux: Diversity Rhetoric and Whiteness in the PoC Low-Morale Experience.

[This content has been republished at Renewals, a site focused on discussions about low morale in North American libraries] 

On Twitter, I’ve been threading some results of my latest low morale study (done with Ione Damasco), which centers the experience of racial and ethnic minority academic librarians. It is my hope that this work will bring into clearer view the additional emotional labor that librarians of color bear while dealing with abuse and neglect in American library workplaces. 

These threads expound on my earlier report of additional Enabling Systems in the PoC low-morale experience. 

  1. Participant data show that White women are soundly perceived by minority academic librarians as harbingers and enablers of workplace abuse and neglect.
  2. White women librarians alienate minority librarians through exclusionary attitudes or language.
  3. [One participant] stated, “Specifically, just librarianship as a profession, it’s predominantly White women [who have contributed to my low-morale experience]. And that’s just—I don’t know what else to say about that.”
  4. Respondents shared how White privilege also played a detrimental role in their low-morale experience, especially when it was invoked purposively while dealing with general enabling systems…
  5. White privilege also allowed uncivil behavior to go unchecked.
  6. Study participants also recognized the intersectionality of diversity rhetoric and White privilege when White colleagues invoked both enabling systems to offset events traditionally seen as only negatively affecting minorities – especially when such events were poised to also affect them negatively.

Learn more about the Diversity Rhetoric Enabling System.

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The Biggest #Hurray Ever…

I’m absolutely elated to share that today I was named the Association of College & Research Libraries’ 2019 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year!

There are absolutely no words I can write to describe the simultaneous humility, gratitude, and resolve I feel as a result of earning this honor. So many people stand with me as I reach this honorable milestone in my career. 

I AM SO THANKFUL.  

Read the full release.