The Resurrection of Racism, now Renamed Homophobia
violadamore2, James Nimo writes "Dear Commissioners of the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County:
I can appreciate the seemingly intractable situation the Metropolitan Library System has been sucked into in regard to Representative Sally Kern's efforts to extort the library with budget cuts should Metro fail to appease her misguided ideas of majority representation. Don't be fooled by crocodile tears. Kern and Company are engaged in a disgusting power play into which they are dragging the library: the resurrection of racism, now renamed homophobia--the fear of gay people. Ms. Kern and her followers are infected with a mental dis-ease, if you will: an unsettling nervousness with sexuality of any kind, including their own. This discomfiture is only requited when a sacrifice is made to their deficient egos. Is this sacrifice going to be equality in the library?
The long-term best interest of the public library is using this 100% tax-paid service in a way that 100% of the citizens can use the books and materials knowing that the selections were made on a sound, professional basis and not segregated to appease those on the Commission, and those blinkered by ignorance, who think they've made the County safe for theocracy and prejudice. It's been stated that 3% of the annual Metro budget comes from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Is 3% the price of selling minority rights and equality? Is that more or less than thirty pieces of silver for your soul?
Your position as Commissioners is to spend tax money in ways that protect all citizens's rights. The library is not your private pulpit to berate one minority while celebrating your majority. It is not your place to judge people. Your position is to keep this library system an inviting, well-ordered service for all citizens, nothing more, nothing less.
Please recall that the original target of the Kern Campaign was to shelve what she calls gay-themed books. In support of Mrs. Kern, Mrs. Gillogly's plan submitted at the May Commission meeting is an attempt to dilute and hide naked antagonism directed at gay people. A so-called "parenting shelf" or "sensitive subject shelf" consisting of topics thought too bold for children was never considered necessary until Mrs. Kern made public her ugly homophobia, and like a magician, it has hypnotized many of you in to thinking just like she does. In February, Mrs. Kern never mentioned other topics, only so-called gay-themed books, but now Mrs.Gillogly's transparent attempt at "compromise" can be seen for what it is: camouflage to hide bigotry.
History has shown that when presented with unpopular ideas, people, or situations, leaders have frequently taken the wrong fork in the road. Just limiting our review to two or three generations past we can see that humans have not done the right thing at the right time. Only much later, sometimes as late as a lifetime, have the negative actions been rectified and at what terrible cost.
The Nazi book burning exhibit now in the Downtown Library Atrium is a notorious example of the negative choice some people made to try and remove Jews, a minority, from the exercise of their civil and human rights.
America had its own negative choice in the racial discrimination demonstrated towards another minority, African-Americans, that was such a bloody and "biblically" supported segment of our social and economic history. Separate but equal didn't work.
Why does the thought of gay people erect in your minds the brick walls of defense and exclusion? If Mrs. Kern were pushing for the segregating of African-American books would you have allowed the lies and bigotry said of gay citizens at recent Commission meetings to be directed at African-Americans to the extent you have allowed such gross lies and insults to taint the Library Commission's official record? Haven't you moved past such ignorance in racial matters? How many times have we read with amazement of the crimes committed against citizens of color during our American history, justified, the religiously inspired claimed, by some bible quote demanding segregation? Separate but equal didn't work for African-American citizens and it won't work for gay citizens either.
And now at the urging of Rep. Sally Kern, our public library is faced with whether you will continue the Constitutional policy now in place or will this Commission take the wrong fork in the road and place this library system on a journey down the dark trail that the human mind finds so fascinating: the suppression of another minority--gay citizens--a minority that has never done harm to any of you physically or mentally.
It is not illegal to be a minority. Why is the Commission so desperate to accommodate the prejudice of the ignorant unless this prejudice is currently the prevailing view of the Commission majority? Failing to lance this social carbuncle, you give the observing public the idea that infection with homophobia is acceptable. You reinforce prejudice to the extent you spin and hair-split over books that treat a legal minority of Oklahoma County with equality.
Why have a policy at all if not to use it now when it's needed?
The current library selection policy, last reviewed in 1997, is a good framework that encompasses all books, all points-of-view, all topics. Enforce the policy and your problems are solved! Don't get nervous and wavering when you have a perfectly sound basis to challenge those who think they have a right to NOT be offended. Don't use tax money to build a house of cards that falls when challenged.
Oklahoma City, OK"