New York Times contributor and author Erin Aubry Kaplan ranted in a racist Times op-ed about her free-standing library box that she built on her front lawn in Los Angeles and how a white couple had the nerve to stop and peruse the books she had set out.
“About a year ago, I decided to build a library on my front lawn. By library, I mean one of those little free-standing library boxes that dot lawns in bedroom communities around the country — charming, birdhouse-like structures filled with books that invite neighbors and passers-by to take a book, or donate a book, or both,” she wrote in an op-ed published Sunday by the newspaper.
“I’d spotted the phenomenon on walks through upscale, largely white neighborhoods around Los Angeles and immediately resolved to bring it home to Inglewood. Why not? A library is not so much a marker of wealth and whiteness as it is an affirmation of community and cozy, small-town camaraderie that Inglewood, a mostly Black and Latino city in southwestern Los Angeles County, has plenty of. We deserved no less,” Kaplan continued.
“Then one morning, glancing out my front window, I saw a young white couple stopped at the library. Instantly, I was flooded with emotions — astonishment, and then resentment, and then astonishment at my resentment. It all converged into a silent scream in my head of, Get off my lawn!” she added.
“The moment jolted me into realizing some things I’m not especially proud of. I had set out this library for all who lived here, and even for those who didn’t, in theory. I would not want to restrict anyone from looking at it or taking books, based on race or anything else. But while I had seen white newcomers to the neighborhood here and there, the truth was, I hadn’t set it out to appeal to white residents,” the author admitted.
This woman is very upset white people stopped by her little library.
"What I resented was not this specific couple. It was their whiteness, & my feelings of helplessness at not knowing how to maintain the integrity of a Black space that I had created." https://t.co/UAOM8uYM6f
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) December 6, 2021
She would go on at length to address the couple’s “whiteness” and how she didn’t want them in her neighborhood.
“What I resented was not this specific couple. It was their whiteness, and my feelings of helplessness at not knowing how to maintain the integrity of a Black space that I had created. I was seeing up close how fragile that space can be, how its meaning can be changed in my mind, even by people who have no conscious intention to change it. That library was on my lawn, but for that moment it became theirs. I built it and drove it into the ground because I love books and always have. But I suddenly felt that I could not own even this, something that was clearly and intimately mine,” she whined railing against imagined oppression she probably has never known.
The couple did not even take one of her books to read. But that didn’t stop her from blathering on about generational racism that she has made mountainous in her own mind.
“As the couple wandered on, no books in hand, I thought about how fragile my feeling of being settled is. It didn’t matter that I own my house, as many of my neighbors do. Generations of racism, Jim Crow, disinvestment and redlining have meant that we don’t really control our own spaces. In that moment, I had been overwhelmed by a kind of fear, one that’s connected to the historical reality of Black people being run off the land they lived on, expelled by force, high prices or some whim of white people,” Kaplan raged.
Kaplan’s feigned offense is somewhat calculated since according to the American Conservative, her late husband was white and challenged many of her biased views on race.
She goes on to elaborate about her family being persecuted in the past for being black but the primary premise of the piece is against the gentrification of her neighborhood. Racism is woven throughout her meanderings.
“Ultimately, the moment with the couple I saw through my window raised for me a serious moral question about how I should act. Screaming at them to get off my lawn would be adopting the values of the oppressor, as my racial-justice activist father used to say. Yet my resentment was not analogous to the white resentment of generations past (and of now, I’d argue). White resentment has always been legitimized, and reinforced, by legal and cultural dominance, a dynamic evident in everything from the rise of Trumpism to the current battle against the political boogeyman of critical race theory,” Kaplan asserted.
She concluded the piece with a parting shot at encroaching gentrification in her neighborhood, “That value should make the casual displacement of Black people untenable, even immoral. And that will take much more than a little library to rectify.”
Kaplan’s racist bleating was mocked on social media:
Making Segregation Good Again.
— Kerry 🇺🇸 (@K1erry) December 6, 2021
Racism is a mental disorder
— Springsteps ✝🎄 (@SpringSteps) December 6, 2021
WTH, this is clearly racism. Why do people care what color people are? It’s something I just don’t understand. She want’s a “black space” in her neighborhood? Sounds like segregation. Why can’t we just accept people based on their character? Sound familiar?
— Wahoos79 (@Wahoos79) December 6, 2021
Perhaps it’s time for signage at those little libraries so people are clear who they are for.
Sort of like water fountains used to have.
— Cory Morgan (@CoryBMorgan) December 6, 2021
RACISM comes in ALL colors!!
— Edith Rose (@NataliesNotions) December 6, 2021
— UnderTh3Radarr (@URadarr) December 6, 2021
The lady needs some HELP !!!
— 2024 will be crazy ~ Signpost365 (@signpost365) December 6, 2021
How Sad that Sharing her little library really wasn’t from the HEART.
— Virginia P. Martinez (@MTZteach) December 6, 2021
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