“Your degree, your reading list, your completion of a single course at a university can’t automatically make you my ally. Allyhood requires action and understanding. Tell me you’re my ally, and I’ll ask you how you work to end racism and sexism in your everyday life. You can’t dismantle systems of oppression by reciting Angela Davis quotes.”
Recently, someone asked me what sort of scholarship I wanted to do. I didn’t know how to say it, but now I do.
Originally posted on Conditionally Accepted:
In March, I participated on a panel on open scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University. I was invited because of my use of blogging to make academic knowledge more accessible, and being fairly visible as a scholar on social media in general. In my presentation, I introduced the concept of intellectual activism and spoke about the risks associated with such work, particularly for marginalized scholars. You can see the text from my talk below.
Open Scholarship as Intellectual Activism
Progress has been made toward making academic research, knowledge, and resources accessible to the broader public. This is a great cause. It is certainly a matter of justice and equality. Ironically, a number of scholars – particularly those from marginalized communities themselves (women, people of color, LGBT people) – cannot or are hesitant to participate in the move toward open access. However, many scholars, particularly marginalized scholars, participate in a…
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This past Monday, June 30, 2014, The ALA Special Presidential Task Force on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion had its first, albeit informal, gathering. The Task Force (TF) was convened as one means of responding to BCALA’s statement denouncing the American Library Association’s decision to hold the 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
The meeting consisted mainly of each member of the TF getting to know the others in a casual, self-directed atmosphere, creating a safe space for talking about differences and the issues we are meant to address, and figuring out what our immediate first steps are supposed to be. This approach goes a long way toward building consensus, which we will definitely need later on.
I personally find the issue before us very daunting. I shrink before it. The decision of the TF co-chairs to establish our first meeting as a conversation, intent on honoring and acknowledging each member’s humanness and good intentions, made my anxiety subside some. The charge, “we will change the world,” became exciting and not so scary. I feel I can trust the process, my co-members, or, at least, the co-chairs of the TF.
When we parted, one of the co-chairs mentioned that the hotel where we had our meeting–the Las Vegas Hotel, formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton–was home to Star Trek: The Experience for the entire 10 years it existed. How appropriate. IDIC should be our TF motto.
Fast forward to this past Friday, July 4, 2014. The birthday of the United States of America. I have complicated feelings about this holiday, the American patriotism and nationalism on display, and my living in this nation. When I became a naturalized citizen over 10 years ago, I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States, its laws, and defend its existence as a nation, “without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”
What wasn’t part of that oath is what people like me are getting in return for our allegiance. There are still moments when I feel like I am not so loved or wanted by my adopted nation. Even though I am obliged to defend it with everything I hold dear, including my life, I feel I can not, should not, expect anything more in return. It’s enough that I got this nifty plastic-and-polyester flag, an ornate certificate, and a passport that will pretty much grant me entry into a lot of ports. Right?
I’m with Uncle George. The things I got during the Naturalization Ceremony are mere tokens. The true prize is the responsibility of being an American citizen.
American democracy is vitally dependent on good people who cherish the ideals of our system and actively engage in the process of making our democracy work.
I say the same goes for the work we need to do within ALA. As I became, and remain, a librarian because of the ideals of the profession, I am vitally concerned about its living up to its founding ideals. Let’s work together to make this so. Live long and prosper.
The revolution WILL BE LIVE. ~ Gil Scott-Heron
Recent events have caused me quite a bit of dismay. But as Gil Scott-Heron says, the revolution will put us in the driver’s seat. So, where do we want to go?
Do not allow white critics to assert their privilege and demand that you shift the conversation to smoother terrain, one which allows them to ignore their own complicity in the systems that continue to oppress people of color. Allow no one tell you that your work is not important. Write, research, and teach with revolutionary rage, as if the very future of this country depends on it. Because it does.
I’ve also encountered people of color who are complicit in this white-supremacist narrative. Are they included in this? I think so.
Originally posted on Psychology Benefits Society:
Several years ago, I was at a national psychological conference presenting several papers. I was walking through the lobby wearing an Afrocentric mud cloth jacket when a woman came up to me, handed me her tote and asked me to take her luggage to her room. I remember thinking, “She can’t possibly think I am a staff person at the hotel because of my jacket” but I decided that I would take her luggage to her room. When she tried to tip me, I pointed to my conference badge with the presenter ribbon on it and replied: “Oh, that’s not necessary; you and I are both attending the same conference.” The woman turned red, profusely apologized and tried to buy me dinner for the remainder of the conference. – Sherry Molock, PhD
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Originally posted on Conditionally Accepted:
Dr. Manya Whitaker, an education professor, regularly offers personal reflections, advice, and critiques on her blog, the other class. Below, Dr. Whitaker provides advice for seeking allies in academia, particularly for women of color. Be sure to check out the other great guest blog posts by Dr. Whitaker.
Cultivating Allies as a Woman of Color in Academia
I tried my best to not comment on the pseudo Harlem Shake crap that is all the rage right now, but since students at my college filmed a video of themselves engaging in that nonsense, and said video went viral, this issue has become personal. It has become all the more personal because while I can excuse the students for participating in cultural mockery and theft (hey — they are 20, they do not know), I cannot excuse my colleagues. Since so many others have taken the time to…
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