Well I have had it! The joy, excitement, and knowledge I have had in my professional career is being strangled by separatism (Rebecca Miller & Aida Bardales, “Better Together: The Joint Conference,” LJ 11/15/06, p. 34–35). Joint Conference of Librarians of Color! What crap!
Response of Progressive Librarians Guild.
12 February 2007
360 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
As co-sponsors of a program that took place at the Joint Conference of
Librarians of Color (JCLC), we want to say this conference stands as a
monument to all that is affirmative, inspiring, challenging, and hopeful
about librarianship. Within recent memory, our profession excluded
librarians of color from professional gatherings, and associations – a
shameful part of our past that we hope no librarian of today would regard
as the “good old days” of American librarianship.
Ms. Pappas' candor, in her letter of February 1, 2007, however, reveals
the extent to which those in the profession and within library education
must continue to address social history, the politics of exclusion, and
multiculturalism. Ms. Pappas' misconceptions about the colonial history
of language in America, a unified, homogenous America, the founding
fathers religious beliefs, and concept of melting pot all serve to
illustrate the need for the continued, rigorous education and
enlightenment of members of our profession.
Society today much bemoans the evils of the past – the genocides of North
American indigenous peoples, the enslaving of African peoples, the bigoted
treatment of the Irish, Italians, Chinese, Jews, Japanese, Mexicans, Arabs
and other groups, and the second-class status of women. Much has been
done to not only recognize the equality of all these peoples, but to make
tolerance, justice and full opportunity a living reality. We still have a
long way to go. A reflective librarianship can and must play a role in
building that reality.
Coordinating Committee of the Progressive Librarians Guild
Response of José Ruiz-Alvarez:
These five ethnic caucuses of ALA exist precisely because there are issues that concern us that only we can address with the passion required to make a difference for millions of our country’s library patrons. If you feel your "joy, excitement, and knowledge" are being "strangled by separatism" it is because people like you are creating that separatism by rejecting ethnic diversity in this country and in our libraries.
Response of Mark C. Rosenzweig :
It is deplorable that someone with such an antipathy to minority rights, with such contempt for expressions of cultural difference, with such hostility towards those who struggle against racism and bigotry, should think that librarianship, of all professions, is a field in which such narrow-minded prejudice has any place.
Response of Kathleen de la Peña McCook:
Ms. Tess Pappas should not be allowed to serve as a librarian without further education. I suggest she read ''Legends of Glory'' by Harry Mark Petrakis as a way to gain understanding of immigrants in the United States. Ms. Pappas should not be allowed to serve as a librarian NOT because of her hateful assertion- Joint Conference of Librarians of Color! What crap!" -- but because her letter indicates he is ill-educated. Ms. Pappas does not recognize that there were many indigenous people in this continent prior to the arrival of the "founding fathers;" that the border
between Mexico and the United States was the result of a jingoistic war that left some people of Hispanic heritage on the side of the border that they didn't choose and that the Americas are two continents. An "American" could be Canadian, Mexican, Bolivian. It is simply ignorance to claim "American" as the proper designation for someone who lives in the United States. Ms. Pappas certainly does not seem to have attended as accredited LIS program or if she did she must have been asleep the days that the Library Bill of Rights was discussed. I hope that Ms. Pappas will read "Legends of Glory " as it may open her heart.