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Thread by @Luna_Dee: "The Junot Díaz talk is up! Q: what advice would you give to have conversation about the whiteness of this profession and surviving […]" #alaac18 #alamw18

28 tweets, 6 min read
The Junot Díaz talk is up! #alaac18
Q: what advice would you give to have conversation about the whiteness of this profession and surviving this kind of environment or just facilitating a discussion about how we could express how we feel?
.Junot Díaz: First of all, librarians, y’all know this. At least the POC know this. I’ve heard it from every POC and everyone involved in libraries, I think libraries need to be honest and have a reckoning of how much whiteness in library is cruelty towards its employees of color
.I don't think white folks & ppl who are addicted to whiteness in libraries know how much pain you cause your fellow LOC. I don't think you are aware of the agony that you cause even by being wonderful and tolerant and being the friend that you go out to lunch with
.These institutions are agony for the folks of color, the folks of color know we sit around & talk about it all day. No, for real, but I wish the libraries would finally have a fucking reckoning and know that 88% white is 5000% agony for POC, & if we ain't gonna do nothing abt it
.Then we need to put down some of the claims about how libraries are these wonderful, Utopian, democratic instruments when our house itself resembles some f-ing nightmare? How are we trying to sell this institution to the larger culture as reparitive
.And we need to have this conversation it can't just be the folks of color getting up and being like"yo this place is breaking my heart" this place, these institutions are breaking our hearts.
.I think if a library that every wk doesn't have a meeting about how they're decolonizing and how they're trying to lower this white agony is a library that has no future. It's true, most of these libraries really deeply have no future
.The only thing that's supporting them is the money that they're getting but at an ethical level they are corrupt and that corruption will be revealed. y'all need to start talking the talk and walking the walk
.To be a POC in a place that's 88% white is agony no matter how liberal and enlightened you think and if this is not a part of your infrastructure, if this is not a part of your conversation you are abetting these agonies.
.How to we survive? the way unfortunately we've always survived, we form collectives. If it wasn't for librarians of color, librarians of color could not survive this bullshit. If it wasn't for women librarians, women librarians could not survive this bullshit
.If it wasn't for queer librarians, queer librarians could not survive this bullshit. We must form solidarities, and we've got to start conversations within ourselves. If we are librarians of color why aren't we having literally a meeting with queer librarians of all identities &
.being like, what have we got going on, what's going on with you, how can we help each other, whats our solidarity. We gotta get this thing rolling, we are under an enormous amount of pressure and all of our weaknesses and division will undo us.
.We're either facing the greatest challenge of a lifetime or we're not & if we're facing the greatest challenge of a lifetime we gotta bring this together. Enough of this BS, enough pretending that we are not harming ppl just by being in these institutions that are set up to harm
.We gotta decolonize them, we gotta talk about this. It's tough. I spent my life, so much of my time in these institutions. I am especially insulated in many ways bc the way I came up guaranteed that I knew that if it wasn't for other ppl of African descent I would be devoured.
.But many of us don't get that instruction from jump. Many of us have to discover this shit. Many of us are like, gee I wonder why i'm in so much agony, oh, gee maybe it's bc I don't know any other women in this profession. We gotta keep going and I do feel like we're doing it
.When I meet all of the insurgent communities in these institutions they're the ppl with all the fuckin life and all the ideas, its gonna to take time. Will you suffer till it happens? There is no question.
.Will being in communities and in solidarity and helping ppl who have less than you make a difference? Yes it will, nothing reduces your pain like helping someone who has less bc it centers not your disenfranchisement but the immense amount of agency you've got.
.Every time you help another person what you are reminded of is your power not your disempowerment. Keep doing it.
.This is essentially a transcript of his answer. Please forgive any errors I made as I typed. To access the recording you must login the #alamw18 scheduler and select this session. Hopefully @ALALibrary or @alamw will make it public!
.Diana Ortiz from REFORMA in the Q&A also thanked Junot Diaz for addressing the elephant in the room (whiteness) to which Junot replied, "can I ask you, do libraries on the main part every year have a recognition of their history of segregation?"
.No, I mean, I think that this isn't just a joke I think it reveals the long life of these systems if libraries are not at the forefront of recognizing that it is only recently and only because of civil rights struggles that libraries are not segregated
.and that this illusion that libraries have always been perpetually this wonderful place where people like me could find a home, is a lie and it might not be a bad idea to put that front and center.
.I would argue that all libraries should, every year, talk about how libraries were historically segregated and how they're not and by extension force people in some ways, it forces people to recognize and confront those same systems that are alive and well right now
.bc my interlocutor is asking about librarians of color are often marginalized or often not seen or often invisible and I would draw a direct line from that disavowed, erased history of segregation that in some way set the tone of libraries for so long is alive in phantom ways
.Even in our most liberal and most progressive institution and unless every year we remind ourselves from which we come we will always and quietly secretly return to that. Even if we don't want to. At the heart of decolonization is to remember.
.We ask every day, our patrons, all our communities, to remember our value & our strength but if we are unwilling to share in that burden & to remember the history that made libraries then it will all be for naught. I think that is something your org @ALALibrary should take up
.I think every single year, once a year, in every different place this should be something that is understood and recognized and memorialized. That way lies freedom not in amnesia and innocence
P.S I know this is from #alamw18 but I put the ALA Annual hashtag for a reason, we need to talk about all of this. This is a conversation that needs to keep going and there needs to be a public recording available for everyone to listen to because these are our truths
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