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

Taylor Worley taylorlgkw at gmail.com
Thu Nov 14 13:51:07 PST 2019

Meredith, your email is incredibly articulate; thank you for adding so much
to this discussion. I wanted to add two, hopefully helpful, things:

First is a continuation of Meredith's last point in her email, that the
impact of our words and actions are what matter over our intention. While
the tool I use to remind myself of this is *incomparable* to
the experiences of BIPOC with racism and white fragility, I think of a
specific time when someone said something which hurt me, and when I brought
it up they apologized profusely saying "Oh! I didn't mean that at all!" It
didn't matter that they were "just kidding" or "didn't mean it that way" -
it still hurt. Our impact matters over our intention, and we have to really
hear our BIPOC friends and colleagues when they say, "This is harmful."

Second is to note that I have learned so much about connecting with kids in
storytime from Heather, and her article doesn't invalidate what I've
learned from her. However, when we - White people - make mistakes as we're
working through our part in systemic racism, we need to be okay with
discussing it, helping each other, and challenging each other. That doesn't
mean we need to be comfortable as we do it, and we need to make sure to
listen to our BIPOC colleagues and friends when they are willing to share
with us. I would refer everyone back to the email Danielle Jones sent very
early on in this conversation to a) do your own work and b) not burden your
BIPOC friends and colleagues who already have to bear the brunt of this
every day. We - White people -  should try to *not *make these mistakes,
but when we do, we need to acknowledge, apologize, and do better. (Thank
you for the letter from the OLA Quarterly team.)

My inbox is always open to anyone who wants to chat.


*Taylor Worley                                                 *Youth
Services Librarian
Springfield Public Library
225 5th Street
Springfield, OR 97422
541.726.2243 (direct)
taylorlgkw at gmail.com
tworley at springfield-or.gov
*"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and
stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -A. A. Milne*

On Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 9:05 AM Meredith Farkas <meredith.farkas at pcc.edu>

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