- Doofenshmirtz: I was heading to a golden land of opportunity, a land with a pioneering spirit which welcomed misfits like me!
- Doofenshmirtz: But I ended up in America instead.
[I]t’s impossible to see a world where we keep libraries open simply to pretend they still serve a purpose for which they no longer serve."
Well, white dude with I’m guessing considerable stock in Google, is the library just there for your needs or purposes?
Maybe you enjoyed your exercise in wordplay and making points already made. But what was your point again? Books make libraries so without books libraries aren’t libraries? Books look different so libraries can’t be libraries? Libraries look different so libraries can’t be libraries? You don’t need libraries for books so we don’t need libraries? I’m sorry, what?
Oh but wait, we’re pretending? Pretending what? Pretending there’s an access divide? Pretending there’s a digital divide? Pretending information illiteracy? Pretending folks lack job skills? Pretending college students need help with citation (BAHA HAHAHAHAHHA)? Did I get a Masters in Pretending? I MEAN I DO HAVE A GREAT IMAGINATION SO I PROBS GOT STRAIGHT A’S. OR P’S FOR PRETENDING. I’m sorry, what?
Also read this from BeerBrarian - The End of “The End of Libraries”
On Sunday, October 14th, yet another “End of Libraries” piece appeared. Per usual, it was written by a white male with no use for libraries, because every single time this trope appears, that’s part of the author’s demographic background. Beyond that, it’s a crucial part of the author’s background. It is overwhelmingly affluent white men who argue that because they do not use something, it has no value for anyone. Libraries. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Affordable health care. It’s the same argument.
"The internet has replaced the importance of libraries as a repository for knowledge." Ah, yes, because you can trust everything you read on the internet.
Republicans play this game all the time. “I don’t need it, therefore it’s not important and we should get rid of it.” I can vividly remember the last time I was in a library. It was three weeks ago. I needed to do research and the material I needed was not online. Not every book is completely indexed in Google Books. And yes, an ebook is cheaper and faster than buying a physical copy of a book - but it’s harder to skim through an ebook quickly, and the physical copy at the library costs you nothing (up front; tax dollars etc etc).
Like I said, I was at the library three weeks ago. It was around 4 pm on a Tuesday. And you know what? It was CROWDED. There was a packed sign-up sheet for the computers. Kids and parents abounded in the children’s section. Older people and teenagers read at the tables in the main area. I had to wait in line to check out my book.
Before that, I had spent a lot of quality time on my library’s website. I like to read both physical books and ebooks. My library does Kindle loans. OK, their website is a crappy government website, and it can be a little difficult to navigate, but it’s doable. I read books I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t pay full price for, AKA a big part of the purpose of a library.
Libraries are not useless in the digital age, and even more importantly, they aren’t all empty. Just because YOU, PERSONALLY do not need or use something doesn’t make it a charming but impractical relic of a long-forgotten age.
Amen. But I think this argument is just as important to point out to supporters of libraries and library workers/planners… Because we spend so much time arguing for the value of libraries to our visible customers that we forget about the customers we can’t see—and often they are the most educated, technologically proficient, and self-reliant, which is why they don’t need to show up in a bricks and mortar library to ask a librarian for help. (And of course, we also can’t forget about the customers who still require library services even if they are not physically able to visit a library in person.) They’re still library customers who require our resources and services, which of course originate with the librarian, but it’s so easy to fall into this mindset that all our services need to be directed toward bringing visible customers in the door rather than acknowledging and catering to our invisible customers in new, innovative ways while still making sure their needs are met. I don’t understand this dichotomy between supporters of the digital age and supporters of traditional libraries, because the two to me aren’t remotely mutually exclusive. Rather than wasting time arguing the value of libraries vs. the value of digital collections and resources (or vice versa), we should be looking for where those two streams intersect and finding ways that they could mutually benefit each other, as much as the library user—unseen or otherwise.
As someone who works at a library, this is relevant to my interests. My library is kind of wonky right now because we’re in the middle of rebuilding our old site, so we’re at a tiny temporary site that doesn’t have very much in the way of space or materials. But we still have people lining up every morning waiting for us to open the doors.
SO MANY people don’t have internet access. So many people have not the slightest idea how to use a computer. We’re there for those people. People use our computers to write their resumes and find jobs and apply for government benefits. These people need the library. Parents and their children need the library, especially poor parents and children. (There are multiple studies showing that children who acquire literacy skills before starting school have an advantage that lasts throughout their school years.) Libraries provide access to information in many ways, & the advent of ebooks isn’t going to make them obsolete. Neither is the internet.
Tips for respecting children’s spaces, competence, and general existence from a preschool teacher:
- Listen to them
- Ask them, “Do you want to say hi to your auntie/grandma/cousin/dad/whatevs” (Hint: they will be honest and this can result in a simple hello or a hug or a silly “No!” depending how comfortable they feel)
- If they don’t want to hug you realize it’s not that they don’t love you it’s that they don’t know you/don’t feel like hugging.
- Just like every other person who doesn’t want a hug
- In the event that you need to move a child EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY and WHAT YOU ARE DOING don’t just move them like PROPS they are CHILDREN and NOT props
- For instance, “I’m going to move your chair over so we have room at the table for everyone!”
- Or “Sorry there was a person running by I didn’t want you to get smushed so I had to pick you up!”
- Remind them that they are people not objects using your actions
- Asking children to do something they don’t want to do but NEED to do often doesn’t work, instead give them a choice, “Do you want to eat bok choy or yams?”
- NOT “Do you want to eat your vegetables?”
- “Do you want to brush your teeth in the bathroom or the kitchen”
- This exercises their ever-growing free will and is especially useful during TERRIFIC TWOS okay TERRIFIC not TERRIBLE they’re TERRIFIC
- Children will copy you, MODEL FOR THEM
- Being over enthusiastic IS beneficial for them understanding emotional and social competence
- “I hung this picture uneven, that makes me sad, hmmm! Oh goodie, I found my mistake! Now I can fix it, I’ll feel much happier when I’ve fixed it!”
- You think it sounds ridic yeah well hearing you do that children around you just learned to not get so discouraged by their mistakes and that it’s okay to try to fix them
- ADULTS CAN APOLOGIZE TO CHILDREN
- You make a mistake that hurt a child, APOLOGIZE and show them how to do it properly and genuinely
- Realize children are fully competent and are capable of making meanings from YOUR implications about race, culture, gender, ability, sexuality, EVERYTHING
- Many three year olds know what the N-word is, what gay means, can identify which children are visably disabled, and YOUR REACTIONS of their answers of questions about their culture
- Children like to talk about themselves so do not ever dismiss what they say about themselves as illegitimate just because it sounds silly or unlikely sometimes it’s true
- Stop talking about how you hate children, just leave them alone if you don’t understand them you don’t have to be complete jerks to PEOPLE you’ve never met
- I will post more and if people have question PLS ASK ME I WOULD LOVE TO ANSWER WHAT I KNOW
Depression is humiliating.
If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.
It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too.
Depression is humiliating.
No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged."
— Pearl (via psych-facts)
I need white people to stop pretending consent was possible during slavery.
Stop lying to yourselves that those black cousins are the result of illicit love affairs & grasp that slaves could not say no.
When consent is not an option, when you’re only seen as 3/5ths of a human being & you have no legal standing? You can’t say yes.
I need white America to sit down for a sec. Look into the faces of black Americans with the same last names & figure it the fuck out.
Our ancestors were raped by your ancestors. Regularly. Some of the kids were treated kindly. Most were not. They were sold.
White mistresses punished the slaves for “tempting” master & congratulated themselves on that bloody work. Read the narratives.
Not the cleaned up ones either. Read Incidents in The Life of A Slave Girl & understand that Mammy was a victim, not the one who loved you.
She couldn’t care for her kids, couldn’t choose her husband or their father most of the time. She was a slave.
Millions of people died on the Middle Passage. Millions more died here at the hands of your ancestors. Own that.
Now you want to sing Kumbaya & keep oppressing our communities & erasing our contributions. Spare me the tired bullshit.
Male slaves fared no better. There’s a long history of them being raped, tortured & killed too. That was slavery. Stop romanticizing it.
Our children were fed to alligators as bait (feel free to look that up) died of starvation or exposure & that was slavery too. Yep, we were livestock & you use sickly livestock as bait.
Stop watching Gone With The Wind & fantasizing about beautiful plantations if you can’t accept what happened on those plantations.
House slaves had it better in the sense of access to food & possibly better treatment, but they were still slaves.
14 year old slave girls weren’t falling in love with the men who could beat them & everyone they loved to death.
Read the tales of enslaved women who killed their children to spare them. Read about people beaten to death as an example.
Sally Hemings could have left Jefferson in Paris. Of course her entire family was still in his power. And his “love”? Didn’t free her. Ever.
Go look at the pictures of former slaves backs. Whipped until they bled & left to scar so they were maimed for life & couldn’t run.
Also before you talk about the cleaned up narratives, remember that the people relating their stories knew lynching was always possible.
Records of slavery were deliberately destroyed so that former owners wouldn’t have to pay anyone.
That “peculiar institution” was generations of blood, pain, & terror. That’s what built America. Never forget that.
Now stop talking about anyone’s white ancestors like they deserve the fucking credit for the success of people descended from slaves.
American slavery began in 1619. June 19, 1865 was the last official day of slavery. Do the math on how long it takes to heal that wound.
After slavery was officially over? Black codes & Jim Crow laws followed. America’s history of oppression is longer than that of freedom.
Also before any d*mb motherfuckers land in my mentions. I have a degree in history. I will read you to filth & bury you in sources.
Trust & believe there is no country here for people who want to romanticize a system that is still grinding away at my community.
All this fluffy fucking talk about American history to coddle white kids feelings & engender patriotism? You won’t get it here.
My ancestors built this country, I served this country & I will tell the damned truth about this country. Don’t like it? Fuck you.
Now let me get in my feelings about slavery before Africans were brought here. Because we weren’t the first people enslaved.
We were deliberately sought out for our skill sets & resistance to disease. Know why we were resistant? We’d had contact for years.
All of that “My ancestors never owned slaves so it has nothing to do with me?” Go look at those NDN ancestors again. See how many were free.
While you’re in there checking that out? Look up those old country ancestors & see how many benefited from slavery indirectly.
Also while we’re talking about NDN relatives? Yo, learn a name besides Cherokee. Better yet, learn about the genocidal tactics they faced.
Look up immigrant groups becoming white in America. Find out who had to bleed so they could gain access to white privilege.
Let’s really talk about the Red Summer of 1919 & how it wasn’t an unusual occurrence. Tulsa, Rosewood? They were just famous.
Let’s talk about welfare & who could access it. Hell let’s talk about who is collecting more of it right now.
Let’s talk about the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action (spoiler! White women!) & what it means to attack black people instead.
Shit, let’s get into the Great Depression & the Great Recession & who is hurting the most financially through both.
Let’s talk about conditions on reservations, in the inner city, & the violence faced by POC who try to leave those areas.
Hell, let’s talk about why we don’t see shows that reflect the American population set in the past, present, or future.
Go read Columbus’ diaries & see what “civilization” really meant to the people he encountered.
For that matter go read up on King Leopold & the Congo. I’ll wait while you cry.
That’s the thing about whiteness as a social construct in America. It’s not about white people, it’s about white power over others.
When we’re talking about white privilege? We’re talking about what it takes to shape this society based on oppression.
America is a young country with a lot of power because of genocide, slavery, & continuing oppression. Individuals build institutions.
All of these conversations aren’t about bringing out white guilt, they’re about ending this institution developed over the generations.
Also let’s be clear that America is sick with this ish across the political spectrum. It may manifest differently but it exists everywhere.
Before I go, let me also suggest that people who are curious about anything I tweeted about take a tour through Google with terms.
It’s not that I won’t answer questions, but there are books out there that I think everyone should read on slavery, whiteness, & America."
somnesia - n. The act of forgetting or refusing to sleep. The feeling of dread upon realising how late it is and knowing that you’ll be tired all day tomorrow, even if you go to bed right this instant. The weary eyes and cloudy thoughts that come with sleep deprivation.
The examples below are only illustrations of some of the ways people still benefit from racism:
- Your name. If it sounds Irish, Polish, French, Spanish, Belgian, Norwegian — no problem. Our names, if they sound “black”, are often reasons to toss our resumes without even calling us. If we resort to our initials, or names that do not “sound black”, then you can see the surprise on the interviewer’s face when they encounter a non-white face. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t pick your name, your parents picked it. It doesn’t matter that you don’t think it’s fair (and it’s NOT) that a Rebecca will get looked at before a Tamika; a Bobby before a Kwesi. You’re still benefitting from racism just by not being a person who can be identified as not-white by the name on your resume.
- Your pay. PoC, on average, get paid less to do the same job as anyone white (or white passing)
- The jobs themselves: Carnival’s failboat is a prime example. White-looking people get the good, customer interacting jobs, the ones that pay the most. PoC get the jobs that involve bussing tables, cleaning toilets, garbage, etc, and have to hope their meager pay is supported by generous tips. But any hotel or office building can shows the same breakdown.
- Your fashions: Your hair, whether it is curly, fine, thin, short, or long, is still considered appropriate for work. It’s getting to the point where even anime colours are not looked askance at anymore. Our hair, when not abused with chemicals and heat, is usually considered “political” if we wear it in a natural style. Or “unprofessional”. There are no less than 3 men on the supervisory and management teams at my job who cut off their locks because they knew that they would never progress with their ambitions unless they conformed to Corporate’s euro-style. That’s having to give up something with a cultural meaning to them in order to have a job they want and can do. I can’t count the number of women who, rather than go natural, have chosen to wear wigs to work, because either option is cheaper and less painful than bi-weekly trips to a hairdresser to chemically treat or heat treat their hair to make it look more like European hair. Little girls have been prevented from dancing in ballet class for having dreadlocks. They have been sent home from school for wearing “political” and “faddish” hairstyles.
- Shopping: If your skin is light enough, you can walk into a store and be treated like a customer. When the clerk, salesgirl, or whomever greets you with a smile and a “can I help you?” they mean it. They hope to find something you’ll spend your money on. And they will let you get on with your browsing. Not us PoC. When we walk in, we are often told, “can I help you?” with that same smile, but with practice we have learned to see the apologetic wince in the body language that means "sorry, but my bosses tell everyone to shadow you in the store in case you’re a thief". And since a lot of white people, or white-passing people know this, the store gets robbed by the ones they’re not looking at. Doesn’t matter if you’re not really stealing. You benefit by being treated better just because of how you look.
- Shopping: Walk into a drugstore, a Wal-Mart, a Target, or a supermarket one day and check how many products there are for “everyone” vs how many products there are in the “ethnic hair care and/or cosmetics” section. Doesn’t matter that you like shea butter too. You benefit in that all the products are assumed to be okay for you, and the products marketed to us are a niche. Diversity is an afterthought. In skin and hair and face, you benefit by being treated as the default and the first type any company considers when they choose to whom to market their product. Witness Dove’s indicating they have a product for “normal to dark skin”. Normal skin is normal — ie white. Dark skin is not normal.
- Driving: The term “driving while black” is shorthand for the fact that police, if seeing a black person — particularly a man — driving a car they think he should not be able to afford — he’ll get pulled over on suspicion of having stolen it, or only being able to afford it through being a drug dealer. You benefit bybeing able to drive your BMW or Mercedes home without anyone assuming anything about you. Real drug dealers benefit by being able to drive their cars full of cocaine home without being bothered by the police.
- Arrest: If you’re white, you can be as “fight the power” as you like. You benefit by the police being unwilling to knock around anyone white because you never know who has powerful relatives or friends. If you’re a person of color, you gotta go “yes officer” and loudly enough so onlookers can hear you cooperating; and you better do so politely and cooperate as noisily and clearly as you can, and you better pray somebody is videoing you, because if you sneeze, if you twitch, the police may decide you’re going for a gun and unload their entire clip on you.
- Just existing: Trayvon Martin is a prime example. He was visiting his father in the complex, but George Zimmerman didnt know that. And didn’t care. He also didn’t care that the police told him to not follow the unidentified Person of Color walking home with his hands in his pockets and his hood up (like anyone might in the rain). Mr. Zimmerman was convinced he was protecting his neighborhood from hoods and thieves and just bad black kids. And a jury acquitted him even though he has a history of being violent, racist and abusive. He has people who still vociferously insist that he’s a hero who was fighting for his life against a thuggish teen (despite the fact that GZ outweighed Trayvon and had the gun). There are people who dispute what was said on the actual phone call that was played during the trial.
- That Japanese college student who turned up at the wrong address for a Halloween party and was shot dead without the homeowner even asking him anything is another good example.
- And the person who recently shot a Latin@ for daring to use his driveway as a turnaround.
- Then there’s the esteemed Ivy League professor who got harassed by the police trying to get into his own house. As a person who is or looks white, you benefit by never, ever having to worry that this will happen to you or anyone who looks like you .
- Your education: You can complain all you like about a Black History Month when there are History Months for multiple other White ethnicities and cultures. A quick google search will reveal them. That being said, the shortest month is given to Black People for their history. And our history is ignored entirely except during our month, even though there are Black and African people who have made significant contributions to American Industry, medicine, and countless other fields of study. You benefit by continuing to look good while the accomplishments of PoC (NDN and Latin@ and Asians) all get downplayed, glossed over, or flat out not mentioned at all.
Reproduction: The issue of “choice” aside, white or white-passing people benefit from racism in that you do not have to worry that some doctor will decide to do a tubal ligation on youwithout your permission. White or white-passing people are not generally put on anti-choice billboards implying that white people are genociding themselves as PoC are.
Health: White and white-passing people will never have to worry about being told their conditions are a result of “ghetto booty”. Whites and white-passing people need not be concerned that their health issues will be scoffed at or ignored.
Entertainment: Whites and white-passing people can get any role in any film, play, or other medium they like. Jewish Henry Winkler played Italian Arthur Fonzarelli. The new TMNT movie has chosen a white actor to play the Japanese Shredder. PoC are relegated to the roles of villains, servants, and buffoons. And this is not a case of “they just chose the right person for the role”. Hollywood will advertise for casting calls, specifying they want “caucasian only” in so many words. They don’t offer the opportunity to anyone who isn’t white. And when PoC are cast in heroic roles, or roles that have previously been “white” roles, there is a huge hue and cry because those who are used to the privilege of being the first, the go to, are unhappy that they no longer benefit from that privileged position.
PoC usually show up in certain sports, and when they dare step out of their lane, they are mocked for it. Google “Jamaican bobsled team”. See how the Wiliams sisters are treated. Their response in victory is likened to making gang signs. White people can go into any sport they want and no one will question or challenge them for such audacity.
And oh, the reaction when a character is actually described in a book as dark skinned and then portrayed by a person of color. Look up the Hunger Games on Twitter, and the reaction to seeing one character as black, and all the white kids saying they no longer cared about her even though they cried for her death in the books.
And then there’s whitewashing. Stories that are about PoC, histories that have happed to PoC, are repackaged for the consumption of audiences by casting white performers in the main role unless you have a power player like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Samuel L Jackson or Morgan Freeman to play the part.
No less a well known filmmaker than George Lucas actually went on record saying that if he hadn’t been George Lucas, Red Tails probably would not have been made, because it has no white heroes. Look white, be white, you are always benefiting by being considered worthy of being the hero and saving the day. You don’t have to be the sidekick.
In Devious Maids, some of the storylines were tossed as “unrealistic” because Latina women were having conversations that white writers felt sounded like “us talking with our friends”, and suggested instead that the Latina women “debate whether or not to date men in prison? I know that’s what Latinas talk about, just like it’s what black women talk about.” Look white, benefit by not being considered uneducated, and worthy only of a man in prison because all the men of your race are considered criminals.
Religion: Christianity in its many forms, as practised by white and white-passing people is another way in which white and white-passing people benefit from racism. Your sacred ceremonies and meaningful prayers are treated with respect. NDN people were forbidden from practising their religion until the 1940s. PoC churches, even now, in 2013, are treated as tourist attractions for white people with money. And voudoun and other PoC religions are treated as savage and incomprehensible.
City Life: Gentrification. By definition, it means “making fit for the Gentry”. The Gentry are those with high societal position, next-best-thing to royalty. So Gentrifying anyplace means pushing out anyone who isn’t as high, in order to make room for the gentry. That means building up corporate influence, and pushing out PoC from their existing and established communities. So in a gentrified community, whites and those who look white benefit at the expense of PoC.
Travel: Racial profiling is a fact of life for people of color. If someone “looks Muslim” or “looks Arab”, thanks to the security theater we embraced as a nation after 9/11, they get pulled aside. Women can be forced to drink their own breast milk to make sure it’s not some sort of dangeorus agent. Men can be removed from flights because speaking in Arabic frightens and upsets the white passengers. You benefit becausein the main, no one will suspect someone who looks white of being a criminal or terrorist out to kill God-loving Americans and destroy our Freedom. And that’s despite Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, and the Boston Marathon bombers, all of whom were white.
REAL LIFE Media Representation: So many examples. Indigenous women murdered and raped, but it never makes the news. Women of Color murdered and raped, but it never makes the news. Children of color, either sex, go missing or get kidnapped. It’s all but impossible to get an Amber Alert for them, never mind getting them news coverage. That’s why you often see missing child notices on Tumblr. The blogosphere is the only recourse people of color have to get the word out when we have harm happening to us. Local news stations don’t care. The press doesn’t care. The mainstream media doesn’t care. People who look white benefit by being considered important enough to look out for, to get upset about, to search for.
As if that weren’t enough?
When Chris Dorner, the former cop in Los Angeles went on a rampage because of how the corrupt LAPD had treated him, there was an immediate manhunt. The news referred to him as ‘an animal’ and the LAPD came after him with extreme prejudice, burning him to death so he would not have a chance to have his day in court and say what it was he’d already posted on Facebook. Yes, he was a black man. If he’d been white, he’d have had his day in court.
Those teenagers who shot the Australian for fun because they wanted to see someone die? There were three of them, but you wouldn’t know by many news outlets, because the third kid was white. Oh, and although they’re all teenagers? The two black teens are being tried as adults. The white kid is getting tried on a lesser charge, and being tried as a juvenile. Looking or being white benefits you in that the authorities will always go softer on you than they will on any PoC because the societal narrative is that PoC are violent and dangerous.
The Boston Marathon bombers? Their photos were recoloredin several cases to make them look darker than white. And their friends ended up on trial too because they “wanted to be good bros” and not rat out their friend.
White and white passing people benefit like crazy in situations like this. Looking white means you get an easier punishment, people will make extreme stretching out of reason to protect you and help you, and anyone black involved will get penalized far more severely.
This may be a long post, but this is also only the tip of an iceberg.