food for thought: mix and match

This week we have a grab-bag of links, so take what you like and leave what you don’t … or dare to check out the unfamiliar and/or the uncomfortable!

Link-hopping early in the week I stumbled back across this blog post by my friend Fannie @ Fannie’s Room about the risk of using humor in mixed-company conversations (“mixed company conversations” is, in fact, a term I got from her!). She’s discussing a specific incident that happened on the now-defunct Family Scholar’s Blog, but the overall pattern will be familiar to many:

Within conversations where the goal is for civil dialogue to occur, I think we especially need to be mindful of attempts to use humor and facetiousness. Although it can be tempting to use humor to diffuse tensions, if it is not done with an awareness of the experiences of “the other side” it can come off as hostile. It can, and often does, actually escalate tensions with the very people one purports to want to engage in a civil manner.

If you aren’t following Dr. Adrienne Keene @ Native Appropriations you should be. This past week she wrote about the good and the bad of national exposure via an NPR interview about navigating college as a Native person:

Native identity isn’t just a racialized identity. Native identity is political. We are citizens of tribal nations. So we can’t just talk about our identities purely in racial terminology. Thinking about our identity as purely race-based is another tool to wipe us out. Cause you can “breed out” this notion of “blood” but you can’t “breed out” citizenship. There’s also a deep power issue here–who has the “right,” especially as an outsider, to determine someone’s identity for them?

While fatphobia and anti-fat bias are hardly the last acceptable form of discrimination, ours is a culture that has institutionalized fat-hatred (and thus discrimination against people whose bodies are read as fat). Ragen @ Dances With Fat recently responded to a reader who asked how to handle anti-fat bias in the workplace:

Being fat at work can be really difficult to navigate.  There is already evidence that fat people get hired less often and paid less money than our thin counterparts.  Once you do have a job it can be really scary to make waves – even when you are faced with things like getting worse benefits than your thin counterparts, being charged more for insurance, forced to attend company Weight Watchers meetings and more.

Jessica Grose @ Slate pointed us toward a new study on the reasons why mothers of young children leave the workplace (spoiler: it’s not because their hormones make them squishy):

American women are knocked out of the workforce when they have biological children: not because of some magical mind-meld between mother and child, but because having a baby is exhausting and requires a measure of physical recovery. A woman has to take a break when she has a baby, whether it’s paid or not, while a male partner can get by without time off unless he’s paid to take it. And when mothers are the primary caretakers from day one, that sets a precedent: If a family can’t afford child care, it’s generally the mother who will leave her job to pick up the slack.

… while Jane C. Hu @ Slate points out that maybe women fair worse in negotiations (workplace or otherwise) because people are more likely to lie to them:

“We found that in the role-play, people were significantly more likely to blatantly lie to women,” says Laura Kray, the lead author of the study. “To women, for instance, the buyer’s agents would say, ‘They will be luxury condos,’ but to men, they would say, ‘I can’t tell you.’ ” After the negotiation, students were asked to disclose whether they lied. Both men and women reported lying to women more often. Twenty-four percent of men said they lied to a female partner, while only 3 percent of men said they lied to a male partner. Women also lied to other women (17 percent), but they lied to men as well (11 percent). Perhaps even more telling: People were more likely to let men in on secrets. “Men were more likely to be given preferential treatment,” says Kray. In several instances, buyer’s agents revealed their client’s true intentions to men saying, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but … ” This sort of privileged information was never offered to women.

A new online group Reading Archivists will be reading and discussing the 2007 Society of American Archivists’ presidential address in August, titled “Our Journey Toward Diversity”:

Here’s your warning: compared to most of the pieces we’ve read, the Adkins piece is quite long. It’s an “expanded version” of her address (a director’s cut!!). I actually thought about using just that one piece for the August discussion, but decided not to break the rules quite so early in the group’s development. I think the Fleckner piece does a good job of summarizing where the archival profession was in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and the letters – particularly the third one – help demonstrate the path towards the diversity conversation Adkins is highlighting in her address.

(h/t to @badger5 and @Crowgirl42 for the link!)

Over at the National Journal, NPR’s Michel Martin reflects on how the “having it all” debate about middle- and upper-class women in the workplace has really been discussion about white women:

She told me she wouldn’t be interested in working for someone who wasn’t white, and when I told her I found her attitude bizarre in this day and age, she explained that she thought mine was. She had only ever worked for white people, she only wanted to work with white people, and what was wrong with that?

And in another entry on the list of “if you aren’t following this person already drop everything and do so now,” Jay Smooth @ Ill Doctrine asked 11 people for one-sentence responses to the question of why we still need to talk about race:

This has been your weekly installment of “food for thought.” As always, if you have links you would like us to include in our Wednesday round-up, please email the link to amiablearchivists [at] gmail [dot] com.


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