Cultural Competence as a librarian + immigration as part of globalization

9781616206888-679x1024This is my INFO281 Blog Post #3

In our globalization class, we’ve been reading about cultural flows and global flows of people (migration in particular).  As I read about the plight of undocumented immigrants, I was reminded by a recent read: The Leavers by Lisa Ko.  I did a post for my book summary blog for The Leavers, which is the story of a mother and her child who are separated by immigration authorities, and the emotional aftermath that ensues as a result–the child, Deming, is adopted into a white family, but he essentially becomes a rudderless vessel as a result of the trauma.  The book won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.  In an interview with Hyphen magazine’s Melissa Hung, Ko notes that a white reader was skeptical of the events in the story, saying, “But  this would never happen. This doesn’t feel believable to me — that an Asian child would experience this amount of racism nowadays.”   Ko wrote her book based on a true story!  (Hung, 2017).

In reading the novel myself, and in connecting the story to reading from our Ritzer and Dean text, I appreciate the cultural and global competence that these experiences afford.  I teach in a high-immigrant community, and see firsthand the effect anti-immigrant legislation under our current government administration has on immigrant American citizens and their families.  I grew up in a middle-class white home in California, sheltered and oblivious to the struggles of people who have come to this country to escape, to survive.  As a teacher, and then a librarian, I have 10 plus years of experience, but it wasn’t until Silicon Valley Reads (regional literacy program) focused their 2015 theme on immigration and I read NoViolet Bulawayo’s (2013) We Need New Names and The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez (2014), then INFO237, when we covered the importance of cultural competence, and now in this globalization class, that I’ve really moved toward increasing my understanding through reading first-hand experiences and novels that illustrate true stories.   I am convinced that this deepening understanding/awareness makes me a better teacher librarian and a better global citizen.

References:

Hung, M. (2017, May 28). Interview with The Leavers author Lisa Ko. Hyphen Magazine. Retrieved from https://hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2017/05/interview-leavers-author-lisa-ko

Ritzer, G. & Dean, P. (2015). Globalization: A basic text. Chichester, West Sussex: Blackwell and Wiley. [Referenced Chapters 8 & 10]

 

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