Journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan thought it might be cool to build her own little lending library outside her house.
Little did she know what horrors would come of it:
About a year ago, I decided to build a library on my front lawn. By library, I mean one of those little free-standing library boxes that dot lawns in bedroom communities around the country — charming, birdhouse-like structures filled with books that invite neighbors and passers-by to take a book, or donate a book, or both.
Then one morning, glancing out my front window, I saw a young white couple stopped at the library. Instantly, I was flooded with emotions — astonishment, and then resentment, and then astonishment at my resentment. It all converged into a silent scream in my head of, Get off my lawn!
The moment jolted me into realizing some things I’m not especially proud of. I had set out this library for all who lived here, and even for those who didn’t, in theory. I would not want to restrict anyone from looking at it or taking books, based on race or anything else. But while I had seen white newcomers to the neighborhood here and there, the truth was, I hadn’t set it out to appeal to white residents.
What I resented was not this specific couple. It was their whiteness, and my feelings of helplessness at not knowing how to maintain the integrity of a Black space that I had created. I was seeing up close how fragile that space can be, how its meaning can be changed in my mind, even by people who have no conscious intention to change it. That library was on my lawn, but for that moment it became theirs. I built it and drove it into the ground because I love books and always have. But I suddenly felt that I could not own even this, something that was clearly and intimately mine.
Talk about a traumatic experience. Our hearts go out to Erin. Poor thing.
If you asked the American Booksellers Association (ABA) what it is, the answer is that it’s a non profit trade group whose task is to help independently owned bookstores, whose advocacy efforts support free expression causes.
Yet this claim is put to the test now that the organization has joined an ongoing outrage campaign to “cancel” Abigail Shrier’s book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”
In a tweet posted on July 14, ABA denounces the book as “anti-trans” and apologizes to its trans members and the trans and wider “LGBTQIA+” and bookselling communities for including “Irreversible Damage” in the July “white box” mailing that was sent to some 750 bookstores.
The language used in the tweet comes across as nothing short of over-the-top dramatic: the inclusion of the book in the list is described as a “serious, violent, inexcusable (…) terrible incident.” ABA also anticipates that the title showing up in the mailing will have caused trans people “pain” and apologizes for that as well – only to conclude that “apologies are not enough.”
ABA declare themselves as an entity that “caused harm” but that is committed to engaging in dialogue to address that and taking concrete steps that should be announced as soon as in three weeks’ time.
That the apology was indeed not enough was clear from another statement issued by ABA CEO Allison Hill. “We traumatized and endangered members of the trans community,” Hill writes to booksellers, adding, “We erased Black authors, conflated Black authors, and put the authors in danger through a forced association.”
New, widespread phenomena inevitably create new economies, and new job titles; the strong push to align content, including books, with what can be summed up as “woke values” is no different.
The Spectator writes about a new brand of copy editors – “sensitivity readers.” The term is appropriately Orwellian in itself, given what these people get hired by publishers to do: make sure that stories that don’t represent a writer’s “lived experience” are “corrected” to better reflect that.
And the “sensitivity authority” who decides what is authentic is the freelancer given the job. It sounds fairly arbitrary, like many other things happening in society these days that flirt with some form of censorship or suppression of content.
And it continues to sound arbitrary even when it is explained that in order to “qualify” for a “sensitivity reader” you have to advertise your status as a member of an ethnic or cultural group, somebody who has experienced trauma or abuse, or just be a self-declared expert in a hobby.
Celebrated American children’s author Dr. Seuss is now considered too controversial for one of Virginia’s largest school districts, a new report reveals.
For over two decades, Dr. Seuss’s birthday has been celebrated in schools as Read Across America Day — a day dedicated to the importance of reading and literacy. The day falls on Dr. Seuss’s birthday in honor of the impactful author, whose books have helped countless children learn to read across the globe.
But folllowing pressure from activists, Loudon County Public Schools is reportedly dropping the annual Dr. Seuss celebration.
“Realizing that many schools continue to celebrate ‘Read Across America Day’ in partial recognition of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, it is important for us to be cognizant of research that may challenge our practice in this regard,” Loudoun County Schools said in an announcement reported by the Daily Wire.
“As we become more culturally responsive and racially conscious, all building leaders should know that in recent years there has been research revealing radical undertones in the books written and the illustrations drawn by Dr. Seuss,” the school district continued.
Learning for Justice, a liberal education advocacy group, was reportedly behind the pressure campaign against the celebrated children’s author. The organization pegs itself as a group that seeks “to uphold the mission” of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, according to their website.