Brown v. Board of Education. Still far to go in Librarianship..
Kathleen McCook writes "On May 17, 2004 the nation celebrates the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education. In Derrick Bell's new book, SILENT COVENANTS: BROWN V.BOARD OF EDUCATION AND THE UNFULFILLED HOPES FOR RACIAL REFORM the results to today are explored. The deliberate speed was at a snail's pace in many places and defacto segregation in Boston continued for decades after Brown.
In librarianship the profession's efforts to reflect the people we serve among our own numbers have been recently analyzed in the LJ study,"The Diversity Mandate" by Denice Adkins & Isabel Espinal(4/15/2004) where it is noted:"In the 1995â€“96 academic year only nine percent of MLS graduates were students of color. That number peaked at nearly 13 percent in 1999â€“2000. Since the Spectrum program was initiated, ten percent of all MLS graduates are librarians of color."
The American Library Association SPECTRUM scholar program has had a small and positive effect on greater diversity in librarianship. Yet we must not think on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Brown that ours is a profession that fully embraces this goal. The conservative library website blogger, Greg McClay, discussed SPECTRUM on May 13, 2004--
Since 1998 ALA has provided over 250 scholarships for $5000 in what can only be called a racist effort to increase the number of non-white librarians. Not just increase the number, but the fact that these people applied and received these scholarships means they believe their skin color has relevance to the profession that they have chosen. ALA has spent $1,250,000 perpetuating a very crude and ignorant concept.
In the United States we should be tolerant of all points of view but it is important to recognize that intolerant people offer smell tests."