New university guide provides tools for understanding race, racism and anti-racism

Library offers free equity, diversity and inclusion resource for university and community
"Hurricane Child," "Everything Inside" and "How Long 'Til Black Future Month?" in the Black History Month display at the University Library.
Abbey Goers | February 10, 2021

UW-Stout is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and supports opportunities for the learning and growth of students, faculty, staff and community members.

With EDI in mind, UW-Stout has created the Race, Racism and Anti-racism Library Guide, a free digital resource offered through the University Library.

The guide is a starting point, offering tools to help people study and understand race, racism and the journey that is anti-racism, and to challenge themselves and the systems that need change.

It includes items from the University Library catalog and links to outside resources. Community members are welcome to apply for a library card and request materials to check out.

A free community resource

The guide is a collaborative effort of faculty and staff who recognize the realities of systemic racism in the United States.

Led by Associate Dean of Students for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Dominique Vargas, campus partners reflected on historic and current events and compiled a list of recommended resources as a place to start exploring race, racism and anti-racism.

Photo of Dominique Vargas
Associate Dean of Students for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Dominique Vargas / UW-Stout

“The university is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and we need to have a variety of resources to educate ourselves as we do this work,” Vargas said. “This guide is one tiny part of our commitment to EDI. It does not solve our problems, but it does give each of us a place to start.

“It is our responsibility to teach ourselves the truth of the world so we can do better. And once we learn the truth, decide what we are going to do to help dismantle the systems of oppression our country has built,” she said.

Guide topics range from microaggressions to systemic racism and injustice, the origins of race, intersectionality, examining slavery, the case for reparations, white privilege, allyship and more.

The guide includes nonfiction and fiction books, including print, ebooks and audio books. Titles and authors may also be found in Search@UW. A starting list of fictional authors includes Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison.

Included are dozens of documentaries, movies and TV series, such as “LA 92,” “Selma” and “Dear White People”; and YouTube videos, TED talks and podcasts, including “What Kind of Asian are You?,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’sThe Danger of a Single Story” and NPR’s “Code Switch,” discussing race and social change.

Further materials include resources to talk to children about race and racism and how to begin to build a more equitable world. The library's Educational Materials Center has a growing collection of children's books and bilingual storybooks. The EMC is located on the library's second floor.

 

Children's books in the Educational Materials Center, second floor.
Children's books in the Educational Materials Center, second floor. / UW-Stout

Vargas’ personal recommendations to start are “Seeing White (Scene on Radio),” season two, “How to be an Anti-racist” by Ibram X. Kendi and “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson.

This guide is imperfect and incomplete. It will continue to grow; resources will continue to be added as we continue to evolve as a country and as a university. It will forever be a work in progress,” Vargas said. “I encourage everyone to please share resources with us so we can make these guides better and more inclusive.”

Recommendations are encouraged and suggestions may be sent to library@uwstout.edu.

A collaborative effort

Vargas has been working in higher education since 2009. She came to UW-Stout in 2019, working with Student Support Services and the McNair Scholars Program.

“These programs gave me the opportunity to work closely with our most underserved population; students who are low income or first-generation, students who have a disability, students who are Black, Latinx, Asian and Native American,” Vargas said.

“The more I worked with students, the more I saw inequities, and I decided it was time for me to learn about the realities of history and of the present. One of the ways I started to do that was beginning self-education.”

Vargas’ main partners in developing the guide were:

Legleitner looks forward to finding new resources and recognizing new areas for learning and growth. “This guide effectively aligns with UW-Stout's vision to create lifelong learners, ethical leaders and responsible citizens,” she said. “These concepts are crucial to our self-development in a dynamic world.”

Marshall is often asked for lists of resources. “Especially recently, many people understand the importance of lifelong learning when doing anti-racism work. I really appreciate being able to recommend this site. Being able to share such a terrific and organized guide makes me Stout Proud,” she said.

University Library staff Kate Kramschuster and Ann Vogl.
University Library staff Kate Kramschuster and Ann Vogl / UW-Stout

Campus departments that contributed suggestions and helped with the review were Multicultural Student Services, Student Support Services, McNair Scholars, Disability Services, the Qube and the Involvement Center.

Library staff Kate Kramschuster, Corey Mitchell, Dawn Pamperin and Ann Vogl were also integral in making the guide happen, Vargas said.

The library provides access to so many of these resources, and as they get added to the collection we can continue to add to the guide. And we are always looking for groups to collaborate with so that the collection is useful and vibrant,” said Vogl, systems librarian.

UW-Stout plans to develop two more EDI guides this year focusing on LGBTQIA+ history and present; and disability and ableism.

UW-Stout Diversity Week starts Monday, Feb. 22, and continues through Friday, Feb. 26. It is sponsored by Stout Student Association’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council. 


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