Racism is a giant, nebulous issue that I have no business talking about, but here’s a display

Hopefully, once my system hires some new Youth Services librarians, we’ll be able to staff the YA/teen reference desk more often. Until then, the YA section is at part of our library that’s not getting as much as love as it should (not that we’re not trying! We are. We accomplish great things all the time, we could just use the help of another librarian or two). In the place of a librarian, I like to leave little conversation-starters around, like my mini-personless booktalk or all my hot-topic displays.

I decided my next display would be about racism, ethnic/racial stereotypes, and cultural appropriation. As a 30-something white lady working in a library where my teens are mostly People of Color, I don’t know if I’m the best person to be starting this conversation. I also believe that this is a huge, unwieldy topic that’s hard to boil down to a bunch of Tumbr and Pinterest images.

But here it is.

It’s always good to start with Janelle Monae:

This image is from her Q.U.E.E.N. video.

Some commentary on people who claim to be "color-blind"
Some commentary on people who claim to be “color-blind”

From the #notyourasiansidekick hashtag on Twitter:

I used a couple of images from Kiyun Kim’s Racial Microagressions series: 

“You don’t act like a normal black person, ya know?”

And also the solid “racist butt” comic.

Here’s a great quote from Mindy Kaling:

Great quote from Mindy Kaling.

A little something about racist Halloween costumes and respecting personal space:

On making assumptions about people’s ethnicities:

I’ve definitely used this image in previous displays:

This woman’s sign is in response to Stop-and-Frisk practices in NYC:

A couple of the sillier pictures:


And here’s the finished project. It sits across from the YA reference desk.

I caught a father reading the quotes aloud to his tween-aged sons, and that made me pretty happy.

How do you address issues concerning racism and cultural appropriation at your library/school?

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

P.S. Props to all the Tumblr-bloggers and artists who make images like these accessible.

4 thoughts on “Racism is a giant, nebulous issue that I have no business talking about, but here’s a display

  1. Pingback: Blogging about Professional Blogs | (Re)Membering

  2. I wish I could post stuff like this at my library but there’s no way I could. I did once have a display of lgbt ya and juvenile books, but it was just the books, no flyer or anything to explain that they were all books about lgbt kids or with lgbt parents in it.

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