#hurrayoftheday: 30

Today I met author Viet Thanh Nguyen! I also accepted the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. I am so thankful and honored. I have more to do.

 

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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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#CurrentlyWatching

Rambalac is a YouTuber who walks the streets of Tokyo and nearby environs. His *extremely* HD camera and audio offer stunning immersive experiences and opportunities to consider the commonalities and unique qualities of life in Japan. 

As an information professional, I particularly appreciate the geo-spatial metadata he includes about his walkabouts.

NOTE: The high-definition features of Rambalac’s videos may spark Autonomous Sensory Meridian Responses (ASMR)

Enjoy.

#hurrayoftheday: 19

La Loria Konata and I have launched a podcast series called #FixMyLibrary. We’ll explore various topics centering American libraries, discuss broader implications in the LIS field, and debate possible solutions. 

Our first episode discussing recent events at Catholic University’s Law Library is now up.

You can follow us on Soundcloud and Twitter and join our conversations using #fixmylibrary. If you have an LIS problem you want us to consider fixing, send your questions and requests to fixmylibrarypodcast@gmail.com.

 

 

Considering: Oppressed Group Behavior

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While analyzing data for my PoC academic librarians low morale study, I came across behaviors that seemed to fall under the realm of oppressed group behavior (OGB) – known more colloquially as “eating one’s young” the “one” being the profession and the “young” meaning not necessarily the age of the target, but the lesser years of professional experience the target has (e.g., a new member of a profession).

The behavior and term was studied, coined, and eventually applied  to the nursing field by researchers Friere (1970) and Roberts (1983). The Centers for Disease Control sums up the definition of oppressed group behavior in the nursing profession:

Nurses as a group display some characteristics of being oppressed including low self-esteem and feelings of powerlessness. When an individual or group not only feels but is relatively powerless compared to another, they can take it out on one another within the oppressed group, especially on someone even less powerful. (2013)

It goes on to share the outcomes of such behavior, showing the emphasis on the links of power and professional hierarchies:

In addition to the systemic factors described by the Joint Commission … incidents of verbal abuse or violence between physicians (or other authority figures) and nurses can leave nurses feeling powerless, especially when they believe their options for recourse are limited by an administrative process that will side with the more powerful abuser. The nurse’s frustration and suppressed anger can end up being redirected laterally against her coworkers or downward against CNAs and other less powerful staff. (2013)

In oppressed professional groups that manifest OGB, the main ways more experienced group members abuse newer members include silent observations of newer group members’ struggling to fulfill job-related duties and/or acclimate to the workplace and berating or ostracizing newer group members who try to avoid abuse that is generally seen by established group members as a rite of passage. You can see an example of the former behavior (although highly dramatized) here: 

While my current PoC study includes OGB-centric data, my work with folks in the low-morale course suggests that OGB may be a phenomenon in LIS as a whole. Considering some of the similarities LIS shares with nursing profession (feminization, LIS/Librarian perceptions, credentialing in the field), I believe OGB deserves exploration and attention as it relates to  and impacts our practice, and in our professional literature.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control. (2013). Workplace violence prevention for nurses. Retrieved from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/wpvhc/Course.aspx/Slide/Unit4_7

Friere, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York : Herder and Herder.

Roberts, S.J. (1983). Oppressed group behavior: implications for nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 5(4): 21 -30.

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That’s What I Thought You Meant, ALA…

A few weeks ago, ALA released a reinterpretation of their Meeting Room Statement within the Library Bill of Rights. The updated language was purportedly included to clarify equitable access to community groups – the problem is that the language posited hate groups as equitable to community groups.

If a library allows charities, non-profits, and sports organizations to discuss their activities in library meeting rooms, then the library cannot exclude religious, social, civic, partisan political, or hate groups from discussing their activities in the same facilities. (ALA 2018)

Read more here to understand why this is problematic.

The outcry from the general library world (and some places outside of it) was swift and damning. Soon after the release of the update, the We Here community drafted and sent a petition to ALA, which included asked ALA Council to hold a vote for rescinding the interpretation.

Today, ALA announced that ALA Council voted to rescind the problematic updates. A recap:

Out of 179 Councilors, 146 voted:

  • 140 Yea
  • 4 Nay

As a result, the policy reflecting the 2018 updates will be removed from the ALA website and the Council will continue to work to revise the document. Their new revisions will be presented on October 1, 2018 in preparation of another vote before ALA Midwinter in 2019.

ALA, you are one step further on the Path of Knowing Better. So, let’s Do Better.

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