[This content was originally published on February 11, 2019 at The Ink On The Page.]
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.
- Participants frequently reported White colleagues’ assumptions of racial superiority as a significant cause of their low-morale experience(s).
- Dealing with White librarians’ unrequested guidance or advice, often given under the guise of knowing what is best for minority librarians, was frequently reported.
- 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.
- 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.
- Participants perceived that White colleagues discounted their preparation for, engagement in, and outcomes of their work.
- 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.
- Participants shared that White colleagues had limited expectations about them based on their race, culture, or ethnicity.
- Behaviors or comments signaling subtle or indirect racial, cultural, or ethnic discrimination were noted by study participants. (e.g. dog whistling, microaggressions).
- Racism increased participants’ feelings of emotional or physical limitations with regard to their immediate workplaces and/or overall career development.
- Multiracial participants discussed White colleagues’ reliance on phenotype to determine if it was safe to share racist opinions…
- 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.