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Librarians Fighting the “Law”

By now you may have read that the librarian arrested in Kansas City last year for “being in the path of overzealous off-duty cops” has been found not guilty. Good for him. The prosecutors and cops were just trying to cover up their stupid mistakes anyway.

In the same story we read about the Mid-Continent Public Library, which is somewhere in the middle of the continent probably. It also had trouble with some off-duty cops providing security, because apparently those people just can’t help themselves.

Fortunately, instead of roughing up a librarian, the cops merely objected to a book display called “Black Lives Matter—Books About African American Experiences.”

Without just coming out and saying black lives don’t matter, the cops protested because they believe black lives don’t matter. Otherwise, there’s nothing to protest.

Supposedly, they didn’t object to the content of the display, because that would have made them look even more racist than they already look, so they claimed that “they felt that the title was endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement, which they argued inappropriate.”

Because that’s how people who don’t read books think about books. If you read a book about black lives, you must be “endorsing” something.

And if you think that nobody should protest that black lives matter after cops repeatedly get no punishment for shooting unarmed black people, then “endorsing” that movement is “inappropriate.”

Maybe a more “appropriate” display could have been called “Black Lives Don’t Matter as Much as Blue Lives.” Or just “Blue Lives Matter.” I bet they wouldn’t have protested that by saying, “but ALL lives matter!”

Nevertheless, the library changed the title of the display to “Books About Black Lives.” That’s the kind of title that could be considered objectionable only by people who hate the very idea of black lives.

Sure enough, just to show that their initial unbelievable excuse for protest was nonsense, two cops stopped working security for the library in protest.

So the objection by at least two of the cops really was to a display of books about black lives. Could their contempt for black lives be any more evident? Never mind. Yes it could. Let’s not go there.

The article argues that these two incidents “highlight the role of libraries as defenders of free speech and safe spaces for dissent.”

Well, let’s say they can also highlight that role of libraries. However, they also highlight something else.

They highlight that cops think they’re invincible until they go up against a group of organized middle class white people with the moral high ground.

The incident in Kansas City was disgraceful and should never have gone to trial.

The incident in Mid-Continent was ridiculous. The cops who quit were under the mistaken impression that once they step outside their role of upholding the law, if they can accomplish that, they’re just citizens like everybody else.

By protesting a book display, they put themselves right in there with the rubes who protest books on evolution and the busybodies who get their knickers in a twist about gay penguin books.

They look just as ridiculous as an organized group of librarians giving their professional opinion on public policies that have nothing to do with libraries.

You don’t like the display? Don’t check out the books. Better yet, just don’t look at the display!

Nobody cares about your ignorant opinions and in this situation you can’t force them on anyone else.

What did the cops think would happen? They’d bark orders and the nice librarians would throw out all the books? It’s not like they’re going to shoot some librarians in the library and get away with it. Probably not, anyway.

The librarians used their white privilege, their middle class privilege, and their librarian privilege to have a discussion amongst themselves “about the display’s intent and whether its title was sending the intended message to library customers,” and then didn’t do much about it because they didn’t want to and didn’t have to.

What these incidents show is that middle class white people can do pretty much whatever they want as long as it’s legal and the law will back them up or the “law” will back down.

Some people might say that’s a bad thing and call it “privilege,” but it’s not. It’s a great thing. It’s the kind of thing that’s so great everyone should have it.

And if it makes you uncomfortable that people might be curious about a movement that says black lives matter, you’re welcome to feel that way. It’s a free country. Sort of. No thanks to you.

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Comments

  1. “The librarians used their white privilege, their middle class privilege, and their librarian privilege to have a discussion amongst themselves “about the display’s intent and whether its title was sending the intended message to library customers,” and then didn’t do much about it because they didn’t want to and didn’t have to.”

    OMG. Story of my career.

  2. Anonymous Cowherd says:

    Well, honestly, from what I’ve seen of the black lives matter movement, those folks are hateful. So yeah, it was inappropriate in my opinion. Many associated with that movement have openly called for killing cops and suppressing white people. Maybe it started out well and good, but now it’s a heap of trash. At one protest they went to they threw human waste at the other side. I’m sure those cops aren’t racists and care about all the lives in their communities, including those with darker skin tones.

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