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April 17, 2019

Library Journal Comes Out Against... Libraries



David Thompson quotes this fine article:

Ms Leung airs her distaste for “white men ideas” – as if they had been uniform across continents and throughout history - while reminiscing about attending a "white AF conference" two years earlier. I was unsure what the “AF” might refer to and searched for some literary or scholarly explanation. It then occurred to me that a "white AF conference" is, to borrow the woke vernacular, a white as fuck conference. Which is how not-at-all-racist academic librarians convey their thoughts, apparently.
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... 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 colour.
At which point, things get a little breathless and intermittently grammatical. However, readers may wish to ponder how synthesising insights from around the world, and from cultures long gone, and preserving those insights, in libraries, is somehow a bad thing. Readers may also wish to ponder the implications of a librarian and self-styled educator, schooled at the University of Washington and Barnard College, New York, and who is offended, something close to enraged, by the existence of "white ideas" and the "so-called 'knowledge'" of "white dudes."

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