Cornell U Librarian: 'Libraries Are Predominantly White Fields'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | May 12, 2021
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The leftist, Cultural Marxist, postmodernist abuse of language and intimidation-through-empty-accusation continue to ramp up, this time at world-famous Cornell University.

As Steve Byas reports for The New American:

“Now even libraries and the Dewey Decimal System (DDC) are considered yet another example of ‘white supremacy.’ At least that is the conclusion of Reanna Esmail, an outreach and engagement librarian at the Olin Library of Cornell University.”

Outreach and engagement.

Those terms used to apply to what used to be known as “public relations” or “promotions,” but, as the late George Carlin once observed, has been given a new, more “politically correct” sounding name to make the job seem more socially conscious, complex, and sophisticated.

And now, a person can be the chimera of an “outreach and engagement librarian.” How nice.

Adds Byas, Esmail last Friday told a discussion on racism:

Libraries are predominantly white fields, and Cornell is no exception in this regard. Libraries themselves also have a fraught history of being complicit in racism, and some cases, upholding and disseminating racist ideas.

Which is a sophistic statement echoing the insane “decolonize your bookshelves” mantra repeated by the race-baiting Identity Politics Cult at National Public Radio, itself something about which I wrote in July, last year.

Evidently, the “bookshelves are evidence of racism” narrative is just too big and useful to fit into 2020, and left-collectivists will continue to use it as long as possible.

Notes Byas:

…Esmail demanded that libraries should be held accountable for their role in reinforcing white supremacy. She offered as an example of the reinforcement of white supremacy the Dewey Decimal System, which has been used since the 19th century to make it easier for researchers to find books on the shelves. Melvil Dewey, an American librarian, created the system in 1876, which classifies books into 10 sections. Once so divided, the books can be divided further. Numbers, such as 850, for example are used for a broad area of books, with additional numbers added, after a decimal, to assign more specific areas of materials.

Oh, no. A way to organize subjects and make them easier to find when bound in books? Gotta be racist.


Esmail was incensed that more categories are assigned to the United States and western European nations, than those assigned to Africa and Asia. Another librarian, Jane Behre, posted on in 2020 that libraries give an uneven focus on languages. While English, German, and Greek each have eight individual numbered sections dedicated to them, and French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin have seven sections dedicated to each of those languages, nine other languages found in east and southeast Asia, and in Africa, only have one classification code each. Code 496 covers all 2000 African languages found in 54 countries.

Could it be that First-World Western populations not only produce more published material, more research, and more entertainment than Third-World African and Asian nations – work that would see a concomitant need for space in libraries -- but also that First World populations have produced more efficient means to publish, sell, and freely disseminate said material?

And Byas notes that population density, matched with geographical and economic needs, also plays a part in the size and variation of books that librarian stock.

A library in Oklahoma, for example, would most likely have more books (on that state) — and the need for more specific classification of Oklahoma — than a library found in Scotland or Thailand. On the other hand, a library in Nigeria is not likely to have as much of a pressing need for books on Oklahoma or Texas. A library in a Christian school could be expected to include more books on John Calvin or Jacob Arminius than the library at Cornell, for example.

And a free-market nation likely will have more expendable capital to make books, sell books, and even create universities like Cornell that can house new libraries.

Byas also notes that Melvin Dewey’s system (not John Dewey, the Fabian socialist who pushed government schooling and look-say reading over phonics) is expandable, allowing for continually-widening book choices, and that, in a free society, people can be free to start or visit libraries tailored to whatever they like. Visitors will reflect their own interests by entering or staying away.

Related: NPR Backs 'Decolonizing' Bookshelves of 'Whiteness' – While Using YOUR Tax Money To Colonize Radio

The same goes for universities. As long as they aren’t tied to government tax funds, what’s the problem? Let free people decide for themselves what ideologies they like to see in libraries (or bookstores), and to what degree.

This is not to say that political ideology plays no role in the library. We all know that libraries on modern college campuses are more likely to select books that promote a progressive viewpoint than not, unless the library is a private Christian school such as Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Seeing Cornell’s Esmail reiterate the “decolonize bookshelves” demand that popped up last year reminds us that censoriousness is endemic to the collectivist “promote speech by destroying speech” and “promote prosperity by attacking prosperity” Marxist ideology, and that leftists work hard to hide their censoriousness behind feel-good terminology and ill-informed attacks on freedom of choice.

This mushy-minded attitude leads to a reduction ad absurdum that sees any variation in the “representation” of a favored group as unacceptable, that sees complete uniformity and the control of communications.

How about a different approach?

It’s called liberty.

Related: Pittsburg Univ. Students Demand School End Free Speech Protections