A public library in Western New York recently disinvited conservative author and columnist Jack Cashill from a scheduled book-signing event, citing the unsuitability of his “views and opinions for our diverse audience” and the library’s “inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.”
Cashill, the author of 15 nonfiction books, regularly writes for American Thinker, American Spectator, WorldNetDaily and lately for American Greatness. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and the Washington Post.
Cashill recently gave a talk about his latest book, Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities, at American Legion Post 351 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The event was covered live by C-SPAN.
A female librarian at the Darwin R. Barker Public Library in Fredonia, New York, invited the prolific writer to hold an author/talk/book signing in September for Untenable, but the director of the library later vetoed the invitation after a “consultation with the library’s stakeholders.”
The decision to cancel Cashill came after the library had put out a notice in its August newsletter advertising the event.
“Join us September 9th at 12:00 p.m. as we welcome Jack Cashill to speak about his newest book Untenable: The True Story of White Flight from America’s Cities,” the library wrote in its newsletter.
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Jack Cashill graduated from Regis High School and Siena College and received his Ph.D. in American studies from Purdue University. Relevant to this project, Cashill worked for the Newark Housing Authority and the Housing Authority of Kansas City. He also taught urban studies through the Fulbright program at the University of Nancy in France. Untenable is Cashill’s fifteenth published work of non- fiction.
Having watched his neighborhood collapse around him, Jack is in a unique position to write authoritatively about so-called “white flight.” Unlike other authors on this subject, Cashill writes from the perspective of those forced to flee. Cashill and the scores of people he interviewed speak candidly about race, schools, and crime, subjects that are essential to any honest understanding of this issue. His first-person narrative is often poignant, always provocative, and occasionally amusing. Like J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, Untenable looks at large national issues through a very personal lens. ’Tell the story of your village,” said Dostoevsky. “If you tell it well, you will have told the story of the world.”
The notice apparently “triggered” some female members of the community who objected to the library hosting an unwoke author with whom they disagreed.
Cashill received an email from Graham Tedesco-Blair, the Director of the library on August 8, telling him he was no longer welcome to hold the book-signing.
“We appreciate your willingness to engage with our community and share your expertise during the upcoming event at the Barker Library. However, after careful consideration and consultation with our stakeholders, we regret to inform you that we must disinvite you from the scheduled library appearance on September 9th,” wrote Tedesco-Blair.
Our decision is not one we have taken lightly. We believe that the diversity of perspectives is crucial in creating a rich and informative dialogue at our library events. Recent developments have led us to re-evaluate the suitability of your views and opinions for our diverse audience, as well as the potential impact they might have on the inclusive and welcoming atmosphere we strive to foster within our library community.
We want to emphasize that this decision is not a reflection of your qualifications or your commitment to your field. We respect your expertise and dedication, but given the nature of our audience and the current discourse surrounding certain aspects of your work, we believe it is in the best interest of the library and its patrons to make this difficult decision.
We understand that you might have prepared for this event, and we apologize for any inconvenience this decision may cause.
Once again, we appreciate your understanding and wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Cashill responded to the snub in an Aug. 11 column at the American Thinker: “By ‘recent developments’—I’m guessing here—he means an ideological Karen or two called in to complain that the library was hosting someone with whom they were likely to disagree.”
Through a back channel, I heard from a library board member who explained the rationale of the “stakeholders” in dropping me from the program. “So, very soon after our website posting which announced Jack’s appearance at the Barker,” he wrote, “we began to receive numerous correspondence ranging from general disbelief to adverse protestations from with in the local community.”
The board member went on to confirm Cashill’s hunch: “Oddly, all of this response came from women,” he said.
“Tedesco-Blair has less faith in women than I do,” Cashill wrote. “He fretted openly about ‘the potential impact [my opinions] might have on the inclusive and welcoming atmosphere we strive to foster within our library community.’ These are grown women he is writing about, not children. They live in a county that gave Trump a 20-point margin of victory. They should be toughened up by now.”
According to Cashill, the Fredonia library board said they were unprepared for “violent situations” and compared him to the controversial Indian author Salman Rushdie, who was subjected to several assassination attempts and death threats after his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses.”
One library board member allegedly said: “We haven’t silenced him. We uninvited him.”
The Barker Public Library says in its “vision statement” that it aims to “provide free and equal access to varied resources while celebration(sic) creativity and promoting a vibrant community.”
Cashill told American Greatness that being cancelled in the fairly conservative town had “troubling” implications.
“What is troubling about my situation is that it shows far cancel culture has trickled down. Even in a county that Trump carried by 20 points, woke is the default response,” he said.
“In October libraries across the nation will be celebrating Banned Book week. Something tells me the Fredonia Library will not invite me to share my experience.”
American Greatness reached out to Tedesco-Blair for comment but did not receive an immediate response.