The concept of “everyday racism” emerged in the 1980s and was meant to identify as theoretically relevant the lived experience of racial oppression. Everyday racism is not about racists, but about racist practice, meaning racism as common societal behavior. Racial inequality perseveres even when the dominant ideology mutes reference to color, as witnessed in the United States following the successes of the civil rights movement. Some use the term “color-blind racism” to account for racist systems without legally sanctioned race-supremacy ideology.
Racism is easily recognized in its extreme forms (e.g., white youth beating up and killing dark-skinned people), or in its overt forms (e.g., throwing bananas at black players on European soccer fields). Everyday racism can be more coded (a white teacher saying to an African-American student: “How come you write so well?” ); ingrained in institutional practice (appointing friends of friends for a position, as a result of which the workplace remains white); and not consciously intended (when lunch tables in a canteen or cafeteria are informally racially segregated and the white manager “naturally” joins the table with the white workers where only they will benefit from casually shared, relevant information and networking).
Everyday racism is a process of smaller and bigger day-to-day violations of the civil rights of ethnic minorities— and of their humanity and their dignity. Sometimes the meaning of the event remains contestable: Is it or is it not racial discrimination? It may take circumstantial evidence or inference from other experiences to understand the possible racial connotations. The outcome of an event is often more telling than the reported motive.
The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution reads as follows:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
As an ally and a leader at IUPUI I want to affirm my personal, and our organizational dedication to equity and valuing diversity. I know I am not alone in despondence over the tragic death of George Floyd and the too numerous to count black and brown lives that have been taken by similar means for decades. I take heart that we are a part of an organization that does not ignore these issues because they are hard.
As a University Library community we have made diversity one of our core Values:
We acknowledge that systemic, detrimental bias against individuals from underrepresented groups exists. We are intentional in embracing diversity and eradicating human value disparity through our teaching endeavors, content provision, daily interactions with colleagues and communities served, as well as our hiring and retention efforts, training and professional development.
As a University Library community we have made equity a Strategic Priority:
We are dedicated to: recognizing and addressing bias and structural inequalities, working towards equity of access to information for all individuals, and valuing the diversity of human experience. This dedication is purposefully embedded in our organizational culture, daily operations, structures, teaching methods, hiring and retention practices, collection development, and daily operations.
I also recognize that making statements is not enough. Eradicating systemic inequality requires daily effort on all our parts and I am proud to be a part of a supportive organization made of individuals that have committed to this daily pursuit.
Kristi L. Palmer, Herbert Simon Family Dean of IUPUI University Library
Originally posted at https://www.ulib.iupui.edu/about/dean on June 3rd, 2020