Saturday, February 25, 2017

How Do the Seven Major Themes about the Algorithm Era Impact LIS?

 How do these themes impact LIS?

How can librarians and other information professionals work to mitigate themes four and five?

How can librarians and others work to increase algorithmic literacy?

Seven major themes about the algorithm era Link to Pew's article Code Dependent:Pros and Cons of Algorithm Age:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

To ALA or Not?

Someone on a list I'm on recently posted that they were hesitant to renew their ALA membership because of the recent ALA press release scandal.  You can read about it on Librarian in Black here: The person who posted asked the group what they thought about renewing their memberships.  Below is my response.

I'm not a member of the ALA, but I work with them on issues concerning Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  I'm on the ALA EDI implementation Work Group and I try to represent marginalized people who can't afford membership or conference participation (among other things).  

I would say that ALA has been made progress due in large part to work by people like Melissa Cardenas-Dow, Trevor Dawes, Martin Garner and many others who are strongly committed to EDI in ALA and in libraries in general. 

I would also say that the constituency should scrutinize candidate's actual work on EDI.

In my blog post on the 2015 ALA election I explicitly state that there was only one real candidate who seemed to address EDI.   

That candidate was JP Porcaro...

It seems that, up until recently, the ALA has not really taken this issue seriously. They have focused on programs that teach marginalized people how to operate in oppressive systems without creating any real change. Instead, there should be a focus on changing the structural barriers and structural racism that exist within the organization. This kind of structural racism has caused the ALA to make little to no progress in the area of ethnic representation in the library field.  Look here for some information on this: .

ALA is too expensive, is too financially restrictive and is too exclusive for many librarians to participate in a genuine and engaged manner. ALA is making slow progress in this area, but it is making progress. I would say that ALA is listening and things are changing slowly.  

Some things that would help ALA create change:
  • Strong leadership who emphasize the importance of, and the dedication to ED,I as an organization
  • Putting more money toward EDI and making it a real priority in the organization
  • A more diverse (in all areas) membership to increase new ideas and development of the organization
  • Structural change that makes the organization more accessible to people who can't go to conferences and who can't pay full membership dues 
  • More discussion before making press statements that seem to support fascism
  • A more meaningful relationship with membership. 
    • It should be something more than just getting a copy of American Libraries in the mail every so often
  • Less of a European hierarchical infrastructure and more of a participatory flat infrastructure 
ALA  and libraries in general seem to be a very classist organizations with the majority of librarians who are 2nd generation of deeper middle class. This impacts work in areas such as community engagement, programming and staff relations. This also impacts areas like LIS research--where there is nary a study on White-supremacy and Information in the US; where the area of Culture and Information Literacy has been hardly touched.  

I am hopeful ALA is changing in the areas mentioned above. 

I'm tired, but there is still a long way to go!


Max Macias 

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day, 2017 #InnovationNOTRepetition

One of the greatest tragedies of the civil rights era was the inability, or unwillingness, of people who achieved positions via affirmative action to create real change for other POC.
  #BougieFucks #TapedMouths #RunAwayFromUS #Vendidos #JoinedTheOtherSide Then those same assholes have the audacity to tell me to act White. They use code-words like Professional and Educated--but what they really mean is try to be White. The best they could do was try to give us tips on how to act White and get money for ourselves. #MLKDay2017 #IDontWantTOBeLIkeYou

 We need change, we don't need to be told how to watch ourselves, how to 'behave' and how to survive in a world dominated by White people.  We need to learn how to change the world into a world that is friendly toward Black and Brown faces...

This is a criticism of the recipients of Affirmative Action. People who are given power,  but are too scared to use it. They have their hands tied because they don't want to lose what they have been allowed to gain. I understand self-preservation, but I don't understand turning one's back on their own people. The New Jim Crow was allowed to happen as a result of their inaction, capitulation and buying into the American Myth that if only you" work so hard--you can do anything--even if you are Black or Brown." Even our Black president turned his back on us. He believed in trickle down benefits to POC...That is a joke! Once people get so entrenched in the Colonial system, they begin to believe in it--in the lies, and are  complicit in the deceit of their own people. We need to create new systems, not teach people how to be successful in a system that won't really ever accept them--apart from tokenization and fetishizing the 'exotic.'

Let us honor the memory of Dr. King and create a new world--a world where "acting White"  and telling lies to our kids and family are unnecessary.  Where working together instead of against one another are the standards by which we live.   


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fake News Stories are Related to Culture and Information Literacy

[This blog post is a sketch of ideas. I plan on fleshing these ideas out.  I want to share them now though.]

Fake News as Related to Culture and Information Literacy:

The recent information that has come out about fake news sites and stories that were shared on social media and influenced the recent elections are directly related to the concept of Information and Culture.  The idea of controlling public perception via the control of media was perfected by the Nazis' Josef Goebbels.  Now the ideas of Edward Bernays have been combined with Goebbels  techniques to manipulate and reinforce the idea of Whiteness in US culture. In many ways, this election was about Whiteness versus the alternative developing multicultural worldview that exist within the USA.  These ideas, because a lack of access to education and publishing by people of color, are still developing.  The pace this development has picked up steam recently. The backlash by the Racists in our country is a reaction to this progress.

As a person of color, I am struck by how similar these fake news sites and stories are to how the dominant culture publishes and diffuses the idea of Whiteness.  This is done by packaging and repackaging the idea that europeans and european culture are the most important things in the world.  Whiteness also sees itself as the epitome of culture.  It sees itself as superior in every manner.  
This message is embedded in our history particularly.  People of color and other marginalized groups have been almost completely left out of history, except for using them as examples of primitive culture or other savageries.

Not only does this apply to people of color, it applies to class, gender, sexual identity, and physical ability and more.

The #Breitbart Nazis and their ilk are good at FAKE news stories. In fact, they proved that people didn't care if the news was fake after the fact. #ACORN story. How do you think their techniques of social control will be incorporated into our educational system?

Our stories, information relevant to our understanding of our history, liberatory information, information that could topple the concept of #Whiteness which is so embedded in every aspect of our culture. We need to tell our own stories and to develop our own ideas about the world without being boxed in by Whiteness.

Purposes of fake news:

The purposes of the fake news sites and stories seem to be to form and shape (CONTROL) public opinion about particular political and societal viewpoints.

Social control

Promotion of Whiteness as the norm.

Purposes of fake information in libraries and education:

The purposes of the fake news sites and stories seem to be to form and shape (CONTROL) public opinion about particular political and societal viewpoints.

Social control

Promotion of Whiteness as the norm.

We have been living with Fake News and Fake Books, and Information for a long time in the USA.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Book Review: Hip-Hop Family Tree Vols. 1 & 2

I love comics, hip-hop, history and beautiful books.  All these things helped form who I am today. As a librarian I still love comics, hip-hop, history, and beautiful books. I feel it is important to cover these aspects in a library collection. Rarely do all these categories come in one work, but this series has it all.  I was stoked to receive this collection as a gift, but didn't get around to reading it until now.
Amazingly beautiful slipcase!
The Hip-Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor Vols. 1 & 2 exceeds the bar of comics, art, hip-hop, history and beautiful books standards. It will make an invaluable addition to your library collection.  This comic is published by the amazing Fantagraphics press. Buy it now--your community will appreciate it. 

Vol. 1 traces the history of Hip-Hop from the 1970's to 1981.  It is filled with little vignettes about seminal figures and events in Hip-Hop history.  The stories it tells begin in the bronx with kids rocking out to Cool Herc's new kind of music.  Community halls Hip-Hop parties was where it all started.   The break was the instrumental part of the song.  When a break occurred Cool Herc saw that was when people really got into the groove dancing.  Cool Herc Figured out how to extend the break of the record by looping it using two copies. This spurred on Break Dancing.
Vol. 1
The story goes on to show how the dj's, dancers and artists all collaborated and formed the culture of Hip-Hop.  Fab 5 Freddy, LEE, GrandMaster Flash, Samo and all the important key players are in this amazing work.  The history covers business dealings and key PR moves that created a buzz and sold records. Artists are given their due in this amazing comic. The graffiti scene is shown and described in anecdotes and short story lines.

Panel about the film Wild Style
The artwork in this comic is so dope. Piskor's ability to caricature people and bring out their personalities in comic panels is amazing.  His caricatures of Russell Simmons and other key figures of the Hip-Hop movement had me rolling in laughter and recognition.  The use of newsprint style coloring is sometimes enhanced with special coloring to make it really zing!

Vol. 2
Vol. 2 covers from 1981-1983.  It just keeps getting better.  The stories and characters are done so well this comic reminds me of an amazing documentary.  I really love how Piskor makes these larger than life figures into real people.   These stories are historically accurate and insightful.   These volumes cover both East Coast and West Coast movements.  The Ice-T origin story and the Dr. Dre Origins are great and really fun.

What I like about these books:
  • Historically accurate
  • Beautifully drawn and colored
  • Caricatures are amazingly good and accurate
  • Coverage of different aspects of Hip-Hop
Classic Hip-Hop NYC scene.  
Why you should buy this book for your library:
  •  This book is an important work on the history of Hip-Hop
  • The art is great
  • The stories are wonderful
  • The book fits YA and Adult classifications
In addition to being an excellent addition to your library collection.  This slipcase makes an amazing Christmas gift.  I know--I received mine as a Christmas gift and was thrilled!

Any student, or fan of Hip-Hop will love these books.  Go get them!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book Review: An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (The Lamar Series in Western History)

Buy this book for your Library
An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (The Lamar Series in Western History)by Benjamin Madley is a book that should be in every library in the US.  This book covers an essential history that has heretofore been neglected save for a few works such as Murder State.

  • Series: The Lamar Series in Western History
  • Hardcover: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (May 24, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300181361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300181364
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches

The book covers the history of the genocide of Indigenous peoples in the state of California from 1846-1873.  During this time, the book traces the beginnings of the genocide from scattered massacres to full scale state and federally sponsored militia and military massacre campaigns.  The sheer brutality and callousness against the indigenous people of California is stunning and hard to read.
CA Indian Population 1845-1880 Genocide in Numbers
This book shows how the pattern of forcing Indians from their home hunting grounds and by the removal of game due to large numbers of immigrants--beginning during the Gold Rush.  The indians then could not feed themselves, so they stole cattle from White ranchers.  The White ranchers would then raise a posse, or a militia force to go "teach the indians a lesson."  The lesson would entail murdering every man, woman and child of the first indigenous village happened upon.  No matter if they were 'guilty' or not.

Vigilantes were supported by the local government and the state. 
 The combination of vigilante massacres with state sponsored militia killing campaigns and the military murder expeditions was lethal and decimated the Californian Indian population.  The Indians had nowhere to hide except high in the mountains, where there was little food.  This forced them to steal from White people, which led to more murder expeditions against them.  It was a cycle that was lethal and effective in 'eradicating' the indigenous people of California.

If you were lucky enough to survive a massacre, you would not have any food, clothing or shelter to help you live.  Many survivors died from exposure or starvation.  As I was reading this, I thought of Ishi--his story is heartbreaking.  You can read about it here:

The brutality of the immigrants is mind-boggling. 
The killing was relentless.  The Indians sometimes fought back and killed whites, which raised even more ire and retribution.  The murder unmerciful and was encouraged by California Newspapers.  These papers called for total annihilation of all Californian Indians.  

Slow death at the  reservation.
You may be thinking, "Why didn't the Indians just go to a reservation.  When Indians fled to reservations starved the Indians.  They didn't provide the promised supplies.  Many starved to death. 

This brought about the horrible choice of leaving the reservation and facing:

Enforced slavery.  There were vagrancy laws that stated an Indian had to prove they were not in debt to someone.  This entailed the possession of a certificate that stated they were not in debt.  If the Indian could not prove this, then they were arrested and put up for auction.  They were sold to someone for a period of time, usually years.  During this time they were charged for food and clothes and were never paid enough money to pay off this debt.  Therefore, they could never get their certificate of no debt.  They would be stuck in perpetual slavery.


Being tracked down and murdered by a posse of citizens or a state sponsored militia.  After a theft, they would hunt down and kill any Indian they encountered.  They used this as a chance for "pedagogical violence."  Violence that would teach anyone who heard about it that they should not steal from White people or they would face utter annihilation or slavery.  They often collected scalps and brought them back as souvenirs.  Some local country stores had Indian scalps nailed to their walls well into the 20th century.

The state paid well for militiamen to track down and murder Indians in CA.  They they sought reimbursement from the the federal government.  The federal government paid for the genocide of California Indians and it paid well.  This pay, in itself, was a reason to form a militia and make some money.
State sponsored Genocide in CA.

Sometimes the children and women were kept alive, but sold into the california slave system.  Women were sold into sexual slavery and other forms of bondage.  Children were often sold to estates where they remained the rest of their lives as chattel.

Some Indians turned to gold mining when their territories were impinged upon. Once there was an influx of White immigrants into CA though, there wasn't enough for everyone and the White miners simply murdered the Indian miners and claim jumped their claims.

There is a timeline at the end of the book that tracks the murder of indigenous people in CA according to state historical record that includes body counts.  This is the most well-researched and comprehensive information on this subject to date.

US genocide has yet to be covered in any manner similar to the Holocaust in Europe.  The time is coming though.  The cat is out of the bag.

Other important books on this subject:

Churchill, W., & Mazal Holocaust Collection. (1997). A little matter of genocide: Holocaust and denial in the Americas, 1492 to the present. San Francisco: City Lights Books.

Lindsay, B. C. (2015). Murder state: California's native american genocide 1846-1873. Place of publication not identified: Univ Of Nebraska Press.

Stannard, D. E. (1992). American holocaust: Columbus and the conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press.


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