We’re confused as to why you are asking POC Zine Project to help you with your research for your master’s thesis - specifically, why you are contacting an advocacy platform for people of color and asking people who aren’t presently being paid to do this advocacy … to take on additional free labor for you.
Yes, asking POCZP to suggest zine collections that represent Midwest issues and activism for you IS labor. It involves research, curation and emailing you a detailed response. But the bigger problem with your question is that it’s entirely self-serving … at our expense.
Your request doesn’t include any offer of mutual support. It is a perfect example of the problematic requests we receive from grad students (usually white folks) all the time: ”Please research something for me for free or give me access to your institutional knowledge so that I can use it in my master’s thesis. I’m not going to offer you anything in return, but would be really grateful if you took on additional labor to help me with this thing I’m working on that doesn’t center POC. okbai!”
Since we’re taking the time to respond to this publicly, and others will see this response, we will also take the time to mention how easy it would have been to Google “midwest zines by people of color.” One of the top results is Joyce Hatton. You didn’t specify you were looking for zines by POC anyway, but since that is who we serve, we’ll recommend two POC zinesters from the midwest who collaborate with POCZP:
1) Joyce Hatton, POCZP Midwest Coordinator (yup, same person you would have found through a simple web search)
2) Chaun Webster, POCZP Midwest Coordinator & founder of Free Poet’s Press
If you want to contact them directly, they can decide for themselves if they want to help you. We can’t and won’t speak for them. If you are serious about finding zines that represent Midwest issues and if you care about including POC voices (you didn’t indicate if you did), these are two people you should feature.
It’s important for us to state this publicly: It’s incredibly problematic that you didn’t mention Joyce or Chaun in your message (clearly a generic copy/paste inquiry you sent to multiple sources), which implies you didn’t do any real research on POCZP before contacting us. It would have been as simple as checking our TEAM page.
At this point we’re unfortunately used to grad students like you assuming we have the time to do the work you should be doing on your own.
We understand that in responding to you, we are helping you. But hopefully we are also sharing more evidence of how people in the academy are often completely oblivious to how their “innocent” requests for help are actually a form of colonial behavior.
Instead of just looking for collections - a pile of data to sift through - you should also be looking for PEOPLE in the midwest: zine librarians, zine fest organizers, and people like Joyce and Chaun. PEOPLE can help you find the zines you are looking for.
You could have found Joyce and Chaun (midwest folks who make zines) on your own if you had taken two seconds to do your own research on POCZP before contacting us.
This question was submitted over a month ago, so perhaps you already found what you are looking for. But hopefully this response helps you think first before you contact a POC-led org to do free labor for you without any offer of support in return.
SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT
If everyone in our community gave $10, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2014. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to ongoing advocacy costs, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.
We are rebooted our org structure in 2014 and will be transparent about that process. Stay tuned.
DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh