An aerial view of the “End Racism Now” mural painted on Main Street in downtown Fort Worth, Texas
Texas A&M University Libraries has released its Anti-Racism LibGuide as a resource to help further understanding about structural inequalities and systemic racism against BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).
The guide defines terms such as “institutional racism,” “oppression” and “microaggression.” It also features audio, videos and exercises to further explain the many complex issues Americans are facing, especially in light of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer. The guide features a variety of resources from providers including The Smithsonian, The Aspen Institute and Stanford University.
“It was important to us to define these terms because with everything that we learn we have to start at the basic level, which is to understand their meaning,” said Marisol Moreno, diversity program coordinator for Texas A&M University Libraries, who created the guide along with colleagues and librarians Chance Medlin and Jillian Eslami. “We then offered examples to show how these terms impose power through policies and actions that work against BIPOC, and other minoritized groups, over generations.”
Moreno said the idea for the LibGuide stemmed from discussions the Libraries’ Diversity Advancement Committee had about the massive movement across the country advocating for racial justice in protests against incidents of police brutality against Black people.
“…now is the time to show our support in ways that we may have previously failed or feared to do.” Marisol Moreno, University Libraries
“In preparation for that conversation, I collected resources that our folks could use to educate, listen, and donate to, and it just grew from there,” she said, adding it took about a week to assemble the guide.
Libraries’ Dean David Carlson said the Libraries are in a unique position to support the university’s diversity plan.
“We believe the Libraries are the most diverse place on campus,” he said. “We are open to all faculty, all students and all staff without regard to major, class position, academic standing or background. But it is not just all facilities – it is also our resources, our amazing and expansive collection of books and articles that contains the voices of authors from all type of backgrounds, opinions, cultures and views.”
Moreno said she thinks it’s important for the Libraries to become involved with conversations about racism.
“I think it’s important to be involved because, like many other aspects of our institution, we have upheld systems of oppression,” she said. “We need to reconcile with that notion before we really enter the conversation. For folks within the Libraries and across campus who are/have been affected by systems of oppression, now is the time to show our support in ways that we may have previously failed or feared to do.”
Last fall, Texas A&M was honored with two prestigious awards for its efforts by the publication INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, a leading national publication which chronicles efforts in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and accountability in U.S. higher education.
“The mission and purpose of Texas A&M University is education and at the heart of education is discovery and exposure – exposure to new ideas, listening to different voices, learning about other culture, reading and learning about new ideas,” Carlson said. “Through exposure to new ideas and perspectives, the value of diversity emerges as we begin to understand the uniqueness and value of other cultures and how they have contributed to mankind beyond the limited perspective of our own personal culture and experiences.”
View the Anti-Racism LibGuide on the Libraries website.