Part of what makes this book unique is the author's belief that "feeling bad" or "guilty" about the realities of bias and inequity can be counterproductive for some people and actually lead to resistance, avoidance, and anger. Thus the author focuses in Part I on providing a number of fun and non-threatening ways to get the reader started in recognizing, unpacking, and addressing biases. Our questions for this Unit will practice some of those methods. Are they useful, and what can we learn from them? Let's get started!
1. In Chapter 1, the author uses a "Dinner Table" example to help readers identify and understand their own privileges, using porcelain and thali as categories for us to consider.
Porcelain and Thali
Be sure to complete the Porcelain-Thali checklist chart on pages 9-14 before our session.
--> IN YOUR SMALL GROUP, discuss ONE of the following (A, B, or C) and be prepared to share a group summary with the larger group:
A. Choose a privilege that you and your group members have in common.
B. Choose a privilege that you (singular or plural) and your group members do NOT have in common.
C. Before this exercise, were you already aware of your privilege areas?
2. Chapter 2 presents a practical chart method for identifying and checking our own biases and learning to substitute positive thoughts for negative or judgmental biases. Learning theory shows we also tend to learn more when we write out by hand what we are trying to learn, so her approach makes sense.
We will use the book's method in our session, considering the concepts of "professionalism," "collegiality," and "excellent communication skills." What comes to mind when you think of someone who is unprofessional, or not collegial, or who lacks excellent communication skills?
Be thinking of these questions in advance of our session and come prepared to share.
3. In Chapter 3, the author discusses the need to "build a bridge" between an organization's DEI resistance and DEI promotion, and posits both a Financial Case and a Moral Case as valid paths forward. In the Moral Case scenarios, the author asks us (on p. 59) to reflect on the following questions:
a. What has our organization promised?
b. How does DEI relate to that promise?
c. How can DEI help us fulfill that promise?
--> Consider your Unit / Department and/or the library / university as a whole. As the library begins its strategic planning, how can we best connect what we have promised with DEI? Discuss in your small group and be prepared to share your ideas/questions with the whole group.
Image sources: Collectible Haviland porcelain plate: https://www.etsy.com/listing/537697545/antique-haviland-limoges-plate-old ; Thali: https://www.amazon.com/EastWest-Stainless-Steel-Thali-Plate/dp/B011SXUMH8