October 2011 Archives

We're a culture, not a costume!


Students from Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society have stirred up controversy on the web by creating a campaign called "We're a culture, not a costume!"

AI Costume not culture.jpg

Personally, I am impressed with the small group of students thoughtful campaign. The reactions to the posters is, sadly, a reminder that there is still work to be done to overcome racism.

Here are a few suggested readings to help start the conversation. If you know of a good resource please let me know.

  • Seto, Thelma. 1995. "Multiculturalism is not halloween." Horn Book Magazine 71, no. 2: 169-175. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed October 27, 2011).

  • Mueller, Jennifer, Danielle Dirks, and Leslie Picca. 2007. "Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Other." Qualitative Sociology 30, no. 3: 315-335. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed October 27, 2011).

  • McIntosh, Peggy. 1990. "White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack." Independent School 49, no. 2: 31. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed October 27, 2011).

International Education Week


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  • A joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education, International Education Week (IEW) was first held in 2000 and today, is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide.
  • IEW is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This annual initiative aims to promote international understanding and build support for international educational exchange by encouraging the development of programs that prepare Americans to live and work in a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study in the United States.
  • Exchanges are critical to developing mutual understanding and respect, building leadership abroad, fostering an appreciation for the U.S., and investing in the future relationship between Americans and people around the world.
  • According to Open Doors, 260,327 U.S. students studied abroad in 2008/09.
  • International education prepares U.S. citizens to live, work, and compete in the global economy.
  • International education is also a vital service industry, bringing more than $20 billion into the U.S. economy in 2009/10.
  • According to Open Doors, 690,923 international students studied in the U.S. in 2009/10.
  • The more than 40,000 students, scholars and other exchange participants that the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs supports are in the vanguard of the hundreds of thousands of students and scholars who come to the United States and study abroad each year.
  • International cooperation on education contributes to education reform and education solutions for the U.S. and for our partner nations.



The other day, as I was perusing my many blog feeds, I noticed a familiar name, Sasha Houston Brown. I've worked on different project in the Twin Cities with Sasha so I was surprised to see her name on Racioulicous. Of course, I had to stop and read the post.

Sasha wrote a letter to the CEO of Urban Outfitters, calling them out for their inappropriate line of "Navajo" merchandise. You can see the letter here.

Over the next couple of days I was amazed at how viral this letter had become. it was crossing Facebook pages from friends who live in other parts of the world. I was on Yahoo! checking email and noticed that "Urban Outfitters" was trending. I clicked on it, and sure enough, it was more discussion about Sasha's letter. Tonight, I saw a small video on ABC news.

This was a great reminder to me about the impact that one person can have by speaking out and standing up for their beliefs. For those of us who have careers that revolve around social justice issues, it can easily be discouraging and tiring some days. Sometimes, I find myself feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. That was one of the reasons I began working on this blog. I started in the summer, but haven't launched it until now because I wasn't sure how I wanted to proceed. I have to say that seeing Sasha's letter reminded me that it is important to speak out. To share experiences and resources. So, I finally took the tape off the package and put this blog out there.

Being that we are talking about libraries here, I thought I would provide a few resources that may shed more light on the Urban Outfitters/Navajo issue.


  1. Website: Who Owns Native Culture?
  2. Brown, Michael F. 2003. Who owns native culture? Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  3. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/51722860

  4. Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990



Welcome to the Diversity Resources for Academic Libraries Blog. I created this to share tools, resources, and insights that I have learned as the Diversity Outreach Librarian at the University of Minnesota since 2005. I also hope that you might want to share your insights, as well. If so, please email me at grayjl@umn.edu.

I hope you find the information useful and that you continue to check back for relevant posts. Thank you for your time.

Jody Gray