White Privilege in LIS - How Do We Define It?

Lisa Hussey

Associate Professor Hussey Presents for our Public Lecture Series

Starts:  11/14/2016  2:00 PM
Ends: 11/14/2016 3:00 PM
Location: Collaboratory, One Palace Road

Diversity is a term that is both important and often misunderstood. Yet, despite this very nebulous understanding, it has been a continuous focus in the LIS professions, particularly in regards to recruitment and retention initiatives. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, librarians are predominately Caucasian, with just over 13% of professionals identifying as African American, Asian American, or Hispanic/Latino (BLS, 2015). Archives and museums report even lower levels of diversity. Hence, as a predominately Caucasian profession, the concept of White Privilege and the role of White Culture in the profession should be important discussion points. However, as a profession, LIS tends to not discuss race and racial issues, but rather focus on diversity and multiculturalism. As the majority that makes up the professional body and the decision makes, the experiences, views, and attitudes of individuals and groups from White Culture and who have experienced White Privilege are strongly influential in decision making regarding both the profession as a whole and in the establishment and delivery of programs, such as diversity initiatives. Hence, this research begins by considering the possible influence of White Culture/White Privilege and what does it mean in regards to how LIS is both presented and understood?