I’ve been thinking about Nicka Smith’s blog post for the past two days. She called out the racial bias that exists in the genealogy community.

She called genealogy “lily white”, and I cringed.

I cringed because, I agree with her.

I’ve been thinking about what I have done, as a white woman, and will continue to do to help change the genealogical culture that exists.

White privilege what ever form it takes, disturbs me.

I hope it bothers you, too.

As a white genealogist, here are 5 simple things you can do today to foster diversity in the genealogy community.

  1. Support genealogists who are people of color by reading, following and commenting on their blogs and podcasts. Attend genealogy lectures to hear people of color speak. Learn about as many cultures as possible that are different than your own. It will make you a better researcher, and in my opinion a better person as well.
  2.  Share content on your social media networks, blog and Facebook pages that will be useful to people of color in their genealogical research. You never know if the article you share will be the one someone needs to break down a genealogical brick wall.
  3. Review your genealogy records for any information that will help people of color, and share it. Do you have copies of wills or bills of sale for ancestors who were slave holders? Release the names through the Slave Name Roll Project. Was your ancestor neighbors with a family belonging to a racial minority group? Do research for that family and the rest of the people in the neighborhood. Share what you find.
  4. With DNA matches, warmly embrace people of color and adoptees. Reach out and offer to help with their genealogy research. Share your common ancestor and information and records. It will create genealogical good karma. It may be disturbing to realize that one of your ancestors was super shady and not the upstanding person you thought they were. You are not your ancestor though. Why not work to model the behavior you wish they had?
  5. Make your voice heard. Let conference organizers know that you want to see more diverse speakers and topics. Tell them you want to see speakers and topics that aren’t just for 80 year old white guys. Call an organization out on it if they are falling short. Your voice, opinions, and money matter.

These are just 5 easy to implement ideas. I do not think that systemic change will occur instantly. Change will occur when we stand up and collectively acknowledge that the way things are now, needs to change.

What will you do to promote diversity in our genealogical community? Click To Tweet

What will you do to promote diversity in our genealogical community?

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