The Royal Holloway University of London Library announced last Friday that in an effort to fight “structural racism” in British society, it will “decolonize and diversify” its book collection in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement protests.
The statement triggered criticism due to its resemblance of the period in history when Adolf Hitler ordered booked viewed as subversive to Nazi ideology to be burned, with Brexit party leader Nigel Farage stating that “book burning has started” in response.
The book burning has started. This fanaticism is very dangerous. https://t.co/CxEL6X8bog
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 12, 2020
The library says “We’ve taken time to reflect on our role in this and recognize that we must do more to combat systemic racism and support our BME [Black and Minority Ethnic] community. With this in mind, we’ve created a reading list of resources to help you understand the struggle against racism,” stated the library on Twitter, adding that going forward it will be sharing details on the steps taken to “decolonize and diversify” its collections and to make its services “more inclusive” to tackle racism and discrimination.
“Now is the time for real and lasting change,” the Royal Holloway University added.
It is unclear what books may be removed from the university’s catalog.
Social media users responding to the library’s announcement urged the library to stick to lending books instead of injecting a political agenda into their work.
What you need to do is keep your personal views private. You are a Library, do your job, lend books.
— Sir Dancealot (@DSILVERSHOP) June 12, 2020
Others took issue not only with the fact that the library’s book collection is planned to be “decolonized” but also in the manner in which the library delivered its statement.
They brought it on themselves by using emotive “buzzwords” to seek woke points and to virtue signal. They could have used plain English to explain themselves. They attempted the jargon of the hard-left they should expect to be treated as such.
— orangeribena ???️? (@orangeribena) June 12, 2020
Efforts similar to the Royal Holloway Library one are also spreading to other areas of society and culture as Black Lives Matter supporters call for disposing of statues, movies, books, and television programs considered offensive by some leftists.
Just last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced setting up a commission that will review the British capital’s landmarks and street names and remove any that don’t comply with “diversity”.
On Thursday, BLM supporters vandalized the statue of Winston Churchill in Prague, writing “was a racist” in Czech on the pedestal, copying the same incident that occurred at Churchills statue in London.
Efforts to “purge” the society from things some deem inappropriate also take place in the United States, where the protests started. The publicly-funded media organization National Public Radio (NPR) called on American citizens to start “decolonizing their bookshelf.”
NPR stated that “white voices have dominated what has been considered canon for eons,” stressing that decolonizing bookshelves means “actively resisting and casting aside the colonialist ideas of narrative, storytelling, and literature that have pervaded the American psyche for so long.”
With erasing libraries and elements of history evoking the events from Nazi Germany, it is worth noting that book-burning actions were led by student activists. In 2011, the German Deutsche Welle newspaper pointed out that although many library and university employees at the time did not agree with the book-burning, they went along with it anyway.