Increasing the number of black male librarians has become a hot topic.
According to a 2007 report from the American Library Association, of the nation's almost 110,000 credentialed librarians -- that is, librarians with master's degrees -- 19 percent are men, 4.5 percent are black, and 0.5 percent are black men. The number of Latino men is just slightly higher -- 25 more nationwide.
By comparison, black women make up 4.2 percent of credentialed librarians, with Latina women at 1.4 percent.
Increasing the number of black male librarians has become a hot topic. At a recent conference in California, library association leaders dedicated a diversity program to finding ways to attract more black men to the profession.
I don't know about these days, but a couple of decades ago when I was in the marketing research business, we always had our eye out for hiring research librarians interested in switching to a higher paying career. A librarian who was okay with numbers was a good fit for many marketing research jobs, and we paid a lot better than libraries did. Why is it blacks' interest to get recruited into a notoriously low-paying career?
This just reminds me of something I wrote for National Review in 1995:
On campus, however, the automatic reaction whenever an embarrassing shortfall of blacks in any field is pointed out is another affirmative action campaign. For example, architecture schools have been attempting for years to recruit more blacks and Hispanics. Now, I commend a career in architecture to any young person with a trust fund, but the less privileged should remember that architecture pays wretchedly for the first decade or two (or three or four). Conservative critics of quotas often argue that lowering entrance standards for minorities is Bad, but that more intensely recruiting minorities is Good. Yet, seldom does any race-based recruitment campaign stem from a hardheaded analysis of what's in the best interest of the minorities. Instead, affirmative action is an automatic response by white leaders to their discomfort over their Black Lack. African-Americans have enough problems of their own without taking on this new Black Man's Burden of helping whites feel better about themselves.