LCC's miscegenation section

Yesterday my dear friend Shameless Agitator posted this:
"I'm Degenerate/Defective"

[The LCC] classification system has been devised by the LC to partition the world's knowledge into tidy little categories. According to their tidy little system, there's a patch of call numbers starting with Gs that describe persons such as myself, 'Interracial offspring.' This topic is conveniently sandwiched between 'Inbreeding' and 'Degeneration.' Furthermore, 'Interracial marriage' appears in the Gs between 'Inbreeding' and Marriage of Degenerates and Defectives.' (Noted by Karen Downing in her new book, Multiracial America.)

My first reaction was to stomp around my office like an angry little grendlin.Rumplestiltskin2
Once that was accomplished, I hit the internets and looked for more information. The Library of Congress Classification's five volumes of subject headings are either unavailable online or are well hidden. Annoying. Next, I sifted through my friendly neighborhood LCC-classified library and was glad to find that zero books on mixed-race relationships and people of complicated descent have been placed in the degeneracy section of the G's.

*Deep breath*

Okay. That finding allows me to feel hopeful that the classification Shameless found is quietly going away and just needs to be struck from the subject headings. Further evidence: I pulled two books from the stack on my sofa, Joel Crohn's Mixed Matches and Claudine Chiawei O'Hearn's Half and Half and found that both are placed in the LCC's HQ classification: Social Sciences: Marriage & Family. That's where they belong.

Kudos to Shameless Agitator and Karen Downing for shining a klieg light on the LCC's lingering miscegenation section. May it be eradicated.

Why are Mixed Matches and Half and Half in the stack of books next to my reading lamp? Because I'm a white girl and I've been seeing a guy from India for a few weeks. *Grin* We like each other and it's all going swimmingly. And because I'm a research junkie - no matter what subject, I always go to the library and learn the "conventional wisdom" and the current ideas forwards and backwards before I even think about the possibility of making a decision.

Before things get serious between us - and it seems like they will - I want to know what the "special challenges" are supposed to be and whether I'm up for them. And since I mostly sometimes mostly want to raise a kid or two someday, I'm doing some thinking about making hypothetical babies that would be racially and culturally both-and-neither and whether that's okay. When I say "whether that's okay," I mean: will I be able to help those hypothetical kids deal with the extra helping of abusive bullshit they'll get from their classmates in second grade? Twenty years from now, will I be prepared for extra-strong resentment from my hypothetical teenagers for putting them in an extra-awkward situation? When I'm unable to protect them as little kids or soothe them as teenagers, how will I feel? It's a weighty thing to consider. And as I work my way through this decision, I'm conscious that as adults, these hypothetical children won't have a choice about interracial marriage.

Is all of that okay with me? I'm still considering. Probably. Maybe.

In summary: Shameless Agitator rocks. And "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" does not run through my head when I think about maybe making an interracial family.

oh my, LCC and DCC are chock full of bizarre shit like this (I'm learning this through research for my cataloging class research paper.) I believe gay/lesbian stuff is still classed in Hs (or Ms) next to 'deviants.' To be far, much has changed in the last 30 years thanks to the tireless efforts of folks like Sandy Berman and Joan Marshall. It's all an interesting snapshot of the world view at the time in my opinion. Sandy Berman is currently trying to get 'anal fisting' inserted as a LC subject heading.
oh yeah, you can also access LC subject authorities here:

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?