The members of the Racial Justice Working Group of the Data Curation Network (DCN) as well as other DCN volunteers collectively submitted feedback on the on the draft of “Cultural Proficiencies For Racial Equity: A Framework,” created by the Joint ALA/ARL Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force.

The following is an excerpt from the response:

We appreciate the opportunity to comment and reflect on the framework. Overall, we think this is a good first draft. Some very positive elements stood out: the organization of the framework is simple and digestible, and the sample tasks for engagement are direct and simple.

We, the authors of this letter, are a group of data stewardship professionals. We are white academics, many of whom identify as cisgender. We are not experts in racial justice, and preface our feedback with a request to consult expertise within library and information science,  and pay for their labor. 

Before we move to specific feedback, we have some general concerns about the shape and purpose of this document. After reading it closely, we were unsure what the framework is attempting to achieve. Is it a framework for cultural competencies for racial equity? If so, it does not accomplish that. Is it an argument for cultural competencies? If so, it partially accomplishes this while also muddying the waters. Is it a framework to guide the development of cultural competencies? If so, we are concerned about how the framing would hinder development. 

It would be worth clarifying the intended audience, and, related to concerns expressed below, the position from which the document is written. Would racially marginalized library workers feel that this document has a coherent understanding of what it’s like to work in an overwhelmingly white workforce whose standards of professionalism are derived from white cultural norms? Or is a document like this another exemplar of those unmarked (i.e. white) professional norms?  

To read the full response, please access the letter from the Data Curation Network collection in the University of Minnesota’s institutional repository, available at:

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