Campus Reform | Cornell librarian slams libraries as ‘predominantly White,’ ‘complicit in racism’

Cornell librarian slams libraries as ‘predominantly White,’ ‘complicit in racism’

A Cornell University librarian said that libraries are 'complicit in racism' and 'predominantly white.'

Campus Reform has reported on several instances of librarians alleging that their profession is inherently racist.

A Cornell University librarian slammed her profession as “complicit in racism.”

During a university “Teach-in on Confronting Anti-Asian Racism,” Reanna Esmail — the outreach and engagement librarian at Cornell’s Olin Library — told students and faculty that her profession is not sufficiently clear of latent prejudice.

“As a librarian, I see the ways in which my profession has the capacity to confront bias and misinformation in ways we approach and teach information and digital literacy,” she said during the event, as student newspaper The Cornell Daily Sun reports.

[RELATED: Cornell partners with Cuomo administration to develop citizen COVID-19 training]

“Libraries are predominantly white fields, and Cornell is no exception in this regard,” she continued. “Libraries themselves also have a fraught history of being complicit in racism, and in some cases, upholding and disseminating racist ideas.”

Esmail’s faculty profile is not currently accessible to the public.

Campus Reform has reported on other instances of librarians claiming that their profession is fraught with prejudice.

For instance, Binghamton University’s library system released a statement last year in which it called itself part of a “predominantly White institution” and announced a plan to “audit” its content to search for racism.

[RELATED: Binghamton calls itself a 'PWI,' or 'Predominantly White Institution,' & and vows to 'audit' library]

At the University of Pennsylvania, professors hosted an event entitled “Decolonizing the Stacks,” which considered ways to erase bias from university library systems.

[RELATED: 'Anti-racism' advocates come for the books]

One professor suggested that modern indexing systems “are inherently biased and centered on the perspectives of white people, Christians, heterosexuals, and males.”

Campus Reform reached out to Cornell University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft