Archives Teaching Today's Thought

The law really isn’t blind

We all know that justice really isn’t blind when it gets down to it. The US legal system disproportionally higher rates of incarceration for people of color give that away. This goes without mentioning other problems with our legal system. This is even true for those of us outside legal professions but forced to be arbiters of what is or isn’t legal. For archivists, we think about what might violate laws such as FERPA, HIPAA, Copyright, privacy rights, and occasionally others. As I was preparing for class tonight, I had this thought which seems obvious, but my students demonstrated this perfectly in their reactions to a case study. I’d thought I designed it to point out that certain types of records were the riskiest to place online, but their insight let me know that my reading was entirely situational. That my bias was coming through, but also their perspectives and professional understandings were as well. That’s a great thing.

I think we it comes to legal issues, we need to be empowered to have our own understandings, and readings, but more important discussions around what is or isn’t the best course of action in terms of responsible archival access.