Friday, September 17, 2021

Turning from "Being to Doing" Anti-Racism As Action at Work by Iones Damasco

I highly respect Ione T Damasco for the work she's done in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion.   Her talk urges us to view anti-racism as action, rather than using the word anti-racist as an identity.   While she questions whether we can change how we define organizational culture in library workplaces be an example of anti-racist action, she frames the challenge that certain hallmarks of white supremacist culture inform our notions of professionalism and workplace norms.  

There are many hurdles.  Quite likely, I won't see great change within my lifetime both within my profession and certainly in society.   I wish to be more optimistic, but based on the experience in my brief fifteen years in this profession and my volunteer work in the community, I've just seen it all and the tokenism and performativity.   One of Ione's message is that having mentorship and a supportive network is necessary to navigate the uncertainties and injustices that racialized and (in)visible minorities face in the workplace.   I've been part of a number of mentorship programs, offering my wisdom and support to graduate students and new information professionals.   I've been heartened at how I've been able to make a difference in their lives and how they've been able to use my advice and person experiences (gathered through years of trial by error).   From We Here, to ViMLoC, to the many ethnic caucuses, change will happen, though at a glacial pace.