Being a Black Archivist - Six Years in the Profession

(what I wish white colleagues knew even well-meaning ones)


Advocating for me doesn't mean speaking for me.


I am not your token to be put on display before black and/or minority audiences

Must you question everything I say? (especially when I don't see you do it to others)

I feel the collective white gaze on me all the time. 

Sometimes, I need a break from spaces dominated by white people.

You can  "get it" but still be part of the problem.


I'm not antisocial or angry. I have a fucking job to do. That's my focus.

Can you not project your feelings on to me?

I don't care if you voted for Obama or like Michelle.

I am not your mule.

Sometimes, I DO need help.


When talking with other POC coworkers, I (we) see you staring. And guess what? Sometimes we laugh because we know it makes you uncomfortable.

Stay in your lane especially when it has nothing to do with you.

Sometimes I'm quiet because it keeps me from yelling at you and your racism/sexism (any other ism)

Yeah, I did hear that racist comment our coworker made. (And I took note that you laughed at it, even if its a nervous laugh. A laugh is still a laugh.)

I see you roll your eyes when diversity and inclusiveness is mentioned


I get tired of being "the only" at work.

I'm tired of smiling when really, if I could, I'd punch you in the face.

Sometimes I want to just be Ashley.

I'd like to not have to think about my tone and/or body language when talking to you. (because if I don't I'm "being mean" or "intimidating")

There are times I would be willing to give up the job if it meant I could call out all the bullshit. All of it.


Some days I want to be carefree and unencumbered.

Some days I wanna cry.

Some days I want to fight the world.

Most days, I get up and try to live in a world trying to hold me down.