Report Update: How Deauthentication Impacts BIPOC Academic Librarians’ Library Practice (February 2022)

This report offers an update of the qualitative data in my open survey focusing on the impact factor of deauthentication,“a cognitive process that People of Color (PoC) traverse to prepare for or navigate predominantly White workplace environments, resulting in decisions that hide or reduce aspects of

  1. the influence of their ethnic, racial, or cultural identity,  and 
  2. the presentation of their natural personality, language, physical and mental self-images/representations, interests, relationships, values, traditions, and more,

to avoid macro- or microaggressions, shaming, incivility, punishment or retaliation, and which results in barriers to sharing their whole selves with their colleagues and/or clients.” (Kendrick 2018). 

Please consider participating in the survey;  and review the original report of this qualitative data.

The following selected qualitative data are responses to the one of the survey’s last questions, “How has deauthentication affected your library practice?” 

  • “I’d honestly have to process this further. I checked nearly every box and I’m wondering who I am at work. I do know it’s stifling. Like a straight jacket. It’s a self imposed reduction of my own voice.”
  • “Deauthentication has increased my personal stress working in libraries. Having to consider how my presentation is read by colleagues and patrons adds extra work to my already busy portfolio.”
  • “Not as confident in self/workplace decison making. Not as easy to create bonds with coworkers, feel left out. I refuse to change clothing habits–cultural norm at workplace is pants and flats. I prefer dresses and heels and have heard rumblings of others thoughts which make me self conscious. Its even worse when managers send someone else home to change clothes for an occasion instead of asking someone already prepared.”
  • “I am more deliberate with how I communicate with everyone. Being a black woman I don’t want to be perceived like I am angry so I feel like my range of emotion has to be limited. More aware of just being especially around faculty members.”
  • “I’ve reduced my conversations on racial diversity. Too many eye rolling and sighs.”
  • “Feelings of being stifled and unable to have critical conversations around race and racism without social recuperation. Also constantly questioning my place here, the work that I do, and if I fit in and is actually contributing to the mission and vision.”
  • “I don’t feel like I’m truly myself which in turn doesn’t make me authentic for my students.”
  • Less engagement, purely work related discussion. I would not share anything outside of my work life. I’m constantly worrying about worse discrimination – Yes. That happened. The world is filled with educated people that do not behave like human. I had to do that just to protect myself.”
  • “It has allowed me consider moving the peg up a notch in my career goals since it gets my foot in the door academically. Then my hope is to work the system enough to make a change in the treatment of POC in library and information practices.”

In these commentary, we see nods to the additional enabling systems that BIPOC employees deal with as they face low morale in their library workplaces, including Diversity Rhetoric, Whiteness, and White Supremacy. Read more about these additional Enabling Systems.

Works Cited

Kendrick, K.D. (2018, Feb. 5). Considering: Deauthenticity in the workplace. Retrieved from


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