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

Marci Jenkins Marci.Jenkins at mcminnvilleoregon.gov
Thu Nov 14 15:53:34 PST 2019

Thank you Meredith,

Your input is always so proper and appreciated.

I just want to say that in the name of “freedom of speech” I’ve been told to“ watch my back, because immigration will get me”, after approaching a patron that have his feet placed at the table. In the name of “freedom of speech” one of my best friends and mentor, a beautiful black woman, was called “monkey” while riding her bike near a public park, in the name of freedom of speech I was told, that what I do for the Latino community in my town is mere indulgence to illegal immigrants.

free·dom of speech
noun: freedom of speech; plural noun: freedoms of speech
1.    the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint

Like Meredith said: “She (Heather McNeil) could very easily have put this piece on her blog and made it available to any interested party” I feel that is freedom of speech enough.

Hiding behind freedom of speech to express disdain and hatred (in the scenarios I mentioned above, can be very damaging and dangerous).

Seems to me many people have come together to support Heather McNeil’s freedom of speech, great! But that comes with the price of minimizing our feelings and our continuous fight as people of color. Feels almost like colonialism disregard, once again the world we present to white people is not good enough so they have to alter, the have to change, they have to ignore our traditions, our voice, the way we do things, the way we express ourselves, in order to fit us in to a more “adequate world” where we a calmer, less overly sensitive and less in control.

I don’t think Heather McNeill had the intention to hurt people of color. I truly believe she did not anticipated this whole ordeal. But I also never heard from her… No rectification, no apologies, just silence…. Our discussion/debate (that is going one for weeks) would have a whole new perspective, if her apology was in place.

Just a thought...


Marci Ramiro-Jenkins
Reference Librarian/Latinx Outreach Coordinator
McMinnville Public Library

From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Meredith Farkas
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2019 9:05 AM
To: Tony Greiner <tony_greiner at hotmail.com>
Cc: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] OLA Quarterly Debacle: Defending Macias, McNeil and Anderson

This message originated outside of the City of McMinnville.

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.


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