Race and Ethnicity and Scrapbooking

Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.

Last week, I wrapped up my discussion of doing family in terms of scrapbooking. This week, I am going to begin discussion issues of race and scrapbooking.

A majority of my sample was White scrapbookers (N=32). Only six of my scrapbooker respondents were not White (one identified as Middle Easter, one identified as other, and the remaining four identified as Black). Despite small numbers, my sample is still more racially diverse than most other studies of scrapbookers.

I struggled finding scrapbookers of color willing to be interviewed. One interview was scheduled but fell through do to car trouble on my end. I found this frustrating because I knew there were a number of non-White scrapbookers in the Atlanta-area (where my interviews took place). I know that I was challenged in my quest by being a White researcher attempting to gain access to non-White groups. This is not unique to me and is not a criticism, but is something that happens in the research process.

I was especially interested in learning about scrapbookers of color because, there were few scrapbookers of color highlighted in the magazines. (Keep in mind, I conducted my interviews in 2008.) I knew from my experience working in a store, that this just wasn’t an accurate portrayal of who actually scrapbooked. I also knew that there were few products that were geared towards scrapbookers of color. And I don’t just mean there were no papers highlighting Kwanzaa. Stickers of people were almost always of White people, for example.

There is a lack of good data that exists as to who actually scrapbooks, so it is difficult to know if the perceived lack of scrapbookers of color is due to racism within the scrapbooking industry or if the products produced by manufacturers and the scrapbookers that are published in the magazines are simply a reflection of who actually scrapbooks. I believe that there is much more diversity among scrapbookers than is reflected by the industry from my work within the industry and from these interviews. Furthermore, there are online scrapbooking communities for scrapbookers of color. I actually think the growth in scrapbookers online, is contributing to the growth in the diversity of scrapbooking-celebrities/thought leaders. The scrapbooking world is no longer controlled by a few publishers and manufacturers, but now it is easier for people to gain entry into the industry and potentially become a scrapbooking-celebrity/thought leader. The gatekeepers have less control on who gets through.

Because my sample, was not particular diverse, the role race plays in my research might be a bit unexpected to the non-sociologist. I’ll dig in some more next week…

Do you think that scrapbooking as a hobby and industry is growing more racially diverse? In what way? Join the conversation below or on facebook.

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