Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Race by the Numbers

Race is an illusion. Ok, ok, I know what everyone will say. Race impacts employment, housing, social situations, education and on and on and on. It is true. But the only reason it has an affect is because race is an illusion we all believe in. I'm proud to say that we at the Kankakee Public Library don't believe in race. What does that mean? It means that when a candidate for a job enters our library, they are guaranteed to be judged on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin, to paraphrase Dr. King. We believe that if we simply hire people based on their talents, the staff will reflect the community. So, how has this "color blind" attitude in hiring panned out? Let's have a look:

According to the United States Census of 2000, the City of Kankakee is made up of 50% White, 41% Black, and 9% Latino.

As of today, the Kankakee Public Library is made up of 38% White, 52% Black, and 10% Latino.

Within the various Library ranks, 57% of the Library supervisors are White and 43% of the supervisors are Black. 45% of the clerks are White, 41% are Black, and 14% are Latino. And among the pages, 86% are black, 14% are Latino, and none are White.

That's how believing in ability turned out, by the numbers.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director
Kankakee Public Library


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