[Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Debacle: Defending Macias, McNeil and Anderson

Meredith Farkas meredith.farkas at pcc.edu
Thu Nov 14 09:05:04 PST 2019

Tony, no one is suggesting that Heather McNeil not be allowed to write
whatever she wants. She could very easily have put this piece on her blog
and made it available to any interested party. People took issue with *OLA
Quarterly* choosing to publish this as it reflects poorly on OLA and Oregon
librarians. A publication has the right to refuse to publish things that do
not reflect the ethos of the publication. Editorial decisions send messages
about what a publication is about. Making McNeil's the last in the issue
could lead people to believe that the editors are saying "Yes, but..." to
all of the amazing things recounted in the other articles in this issue. I
don't think that was their intent at all, but that's only because I know

Also, I'd suggest you go back and read people's comments and letters
because people did criticize McNeil's ideas.

Also, the notion that McNeil's reservations in sharing her ideas were
something that should alarm us is based on the premise that we want
*everyone* to feel safe sharing their views. When those opinions are
harmful to or repudiate the dignity/existence of people from historically
marginalized groups, it's a sign of progress that people DON'T feel safe
sharing those ideas in public. We have seen over the past three years what
happens when people with racist ideas feel empowered to speak and act; is
that what we want to encourage? I'm not suggesting that Heather McNeil is
like the marchers in Charlottesville chanting "Jews will not replace us,"
but that people feeling less empowered to share things that insult and
cause harm to people from historically marginalized groups is actually a
step in the right direction. And while *you* might not see the article as
harmful, when people of color and indigenous people are telling us it is
causing harm, I believe them.


On Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at 5:36 PM Tony Greiner <tony_greiner at hotmail.com>

> The point is freedom to read, which means freedom of expression.  I was
> disappointed in the shaming of Heather McNeil, and wish that those who
> disliked her piece could have expressed an opposition to her ideas, rather
> than her right to express them.
> But all of these writers have the right to contribute their ideas to this
> discussion. Silencing diverse opinions helps no one. It smacks of
> book-burning, fascism, and Orwell.
> As librarians, we should rally behind the freedom of expression and the
> freedom to read. To fail to do so is to abandon any claim of integrity for
> our profession.
> **tony_greiner at hotmail.com**
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