Right-Wingers are taking over library boards to remove books on racismFrom there it all went down hill.
Most of these opposition groups purport to be homegrown & grassroots, all have access to numerous national right-wing organizations.
By Special to the LA Blade
July 19, 2021
By Eleanor J. Bader | NILES, IL – When Joe Makula decided to run for the board of the Niles-Maine Public Library in Niles, Illinois, this spring, a community member asked him how he thought the library could better serve the area’s increasingly diverse community.
Many were stunned by his response: “Instead of stocking up on books in seven different languages, if we got people to assimilate and learn English better, I think we would do more good in that area than increasing our inventory of foreign language books.”
But despite, or perhaps because of, his political outlook, Makula — who did not respond to Truthout’s request for an interview — won the April election and now holds a seat on the library board; two other fiscal conservatives were also elected.
Not only did they cut the funding for the library which resulted in less staff and fewer hours the library was open but also promoting “traditional values.”
Nationwide there is a push to take over libraries board and they are getting support national organization that are labeled as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Niles-Maine Public Library is not the only program facing draconian cutbacks or a right-wing takeover. In fact, in places ranging from Kootenai County, Idaho, to Ann Arundel County, Maryland, to Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, to the town of Frisco, Texas, local efforts are underway to limit what libraries offer — especially when it comes to promoting racial equity and gender inclusivity.What got the hackles of the conservatives up?
Some locales are making opposition to critical race theory — either through books or community lectures and discussions — their core focus, but other locations are adding virulent opposition to comprehensive sex education and LGBTQIA+ acceptance in a trio of concerns. What’s more, while most of these opposition groups purport to be homegrown and grassroots, all have access to the support and resources (including model legislation) of numerous national right-wing organizations. These include the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Family Research Council, Family Watch International, the Heritage Foundation and Project Blitz, as well as right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, Newsmax and the Washington Free Beacon. All told, NPR reports that as of late June, at least 165 local and national groups are working to “disrupt or block lessons on race and gender,” in both traditional classrooms and public spaces.
In today’s world, of course, the Red Menace is no longer dominant; instead, critical race theory, feminism and anything affirming a continuum of gender identities have jelled into a new bogeyman.Books like In Our Mother’s House, Heather Has Two Mommies, Daddy’s Roommate, Call Me Max, George and I Am Jazz are being yanked from shelves because they don’t promote the conservative lifestyle of the “Father Knows Best” era.
And nothing sticks in the conservative craw like Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH).
Lambda award-winning author Julia Watts found herself the target of right-wing animosity in 2019. Shortly after her 2018 novel, Quiver, was published, Watts was invited to read at LitUp Festival, an event sponsored by the Knox County, Tennessee, Public Library System. “It was going to be a big event to encourage teen readers with a lot of programming put together by the kids,” Watts told Truthout. She says she was pleased to be invited — and then shocked to have the offer rescinded.
The article ends with,
And that [young people being introduced to ideas about diversity and inclusion], she says, represents a threat to white supremacists — and an incredible opportunity for organizing, whether through electing people who support diversity to library boards, or mobilizing community support for inclusive programming through mass meetings, street protests, petition drives or public demonstrations.
We are facing the same thing in the town where I live with the school board. We have a “non-partisan” school board but in reality it allows far right-wing supporter to fill the seats. The only newspaper to cover the board elections is a right-wing newspaper and the questions they ask the candidates are non-controversial, so you end up with a pig in a poke.