Just when I think inter-sectionalists can’t get any more insane, they say, “Hold my beer!” and do something like this.
Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence and the fact that they are physically taking up space in our libraries. Via @sofiayleung https://t.co/iKEk0462Mh pic.twitter.com/ov8hZ5Zt2J
— Library Journal (@LibraryJournal) April 16, 2019
Here are some excerpts from the article, written by a self-proclaimed supporter of “critical race theory.”
If you look at any United States library’s collection, especially those in higher education institutions, most of the collections (books, journals, archival papers, other media, etc.) are written by white dudes writing about white ideas, white things, or ideas, people, and things they stole from POC and then claimed as white property with all of the “rights to use and enjoyment of” that Harris describes in her article. When most of our collections filled with this so-called “knowledge,” it continues to validate only white voices and perspectives and erases the voices of people of color. Collections are representations of what librarians (or faculty) deem to be authoritative knowledge and as we know, this field and educational institutions, historically, and currently, have been sites of whiteness.
I like how she says “so-called knowledge,” as if there’s not an objective standard by which we can validate truth. Is the knowledge she’s decrying in these books written by “white dudes” wrong or not? I’m not aware of any modern societal movement to bar “people of color” from having their works in libraries, nor do I know what a “white idea” is. She should probably provide some basis for her claims instead of simply dismissing people and their writings based on race. That’s called racism, just in case she wasn’t aware.
Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence and the fact that they are physically taking up space in our libraries. They are paid for using money that was usually ill-gotten and at the cost of black and brown lives via the prison industrial complex, the spoils of war, etc. Libraries filled with mostly white collections indicates that we don’t care about what POC think, we don’t care to hear from POC themselves, we don’t consider POC to be scholars, we don’t think POC are as valuable, knowledgeable, or as important as white people.
This seems like a sane viewpoint.
What libraries were paid for with the “spoils of war?” I honestly have no idea what she’s talking about. You can see she’s just throwing buzzwords out there. Prison industrial complex, black and brown lives, etc. It’s inter-sectional Mad Libs. Nowhere in her article is there any actual challenge of these so-called “white collections.” No critique of what’s in them, nor any salient argument made against their contents. Her views are simple racism, nothing more. The same would apply if a white person dismissed the works of black people based only on their race. We should be judging people as individuals, not maligning them by placing them in a general identity group to heap scorn on.
As to her actual concern, there’s a valid reason why so many library collections are written by white individuals. The Enlightenment and the effects of it happened in the west among European societies. That means white people are going to have a large presence in collections about such things as philosophy, science, governance, and reason. It’s not because a bunch of naughty librarians decided to bar other races from opining on those issues. In fact, there are plenty of books on those topics by people of different races. The demographics, though, are simply a result of the realities of history.
Honestly, when I read that article, it felt like I was reading satire. The inter-sectional movement has become a parody of itself. None of what they say makes sense and most of their concerns are simply made up in their own heads, i.e. they don’t actually exist for the reasons they say they exist. You’d think such a nonsensical movement would die out sooner rather than later. Let’s hope.
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