An equal protection advocacy group has put a taxpayer-funded public library in New York on blast after it launched an opportunity for a paid internship that only Black people are allowed to take advantage of.
Bill Jacobson, who serves as president of the Equal Protection Project (EPP), called out the library for its arguably racist actions.
“Can you imagine somebody posting for a fellowship at a public library and saying it’s only open to Whites? Nobody would do that,” commented Jacobson, according to Fox News. “So why do they think it’s okay to open up such a public fellowship only to Blacks? It’s discrimination.”
“What the message they’re sending is that discrimination is okay, depending on who you’re doing it against. And that’s not the law,” he added. “That’s not what our society is supposed to stand for.”
Jacobson appeared on Fox News to speak with popular primetime host Tucker Carlson on very similar issues just a couple of months ago:
TUCKER CARLSON: EQUAL PROTECTION PROJECT – FAIR TREATMENT OF ALL PERSONS. NO EXCEPTIONS. pic.twitter.com/laktTKH1fF
— Stalin 🇺🇸 (@StalinCruz) February 24, 2023
According to the outlet, The Touhey Library Equity Fellowship (TLEF), which only allows eligibility for recent Black graduates, is a paid internship that emerged in 2020. It is held at the Albany Public Library, located in the state’s capital.
Andrea Nicolay, who serves as executive director of Albany Public Libraries, attempted to justify the initiative by explaining the fellowship is meant to attract Black librarians into the system.
“With the generous support of the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, we are able to work towards our diversity goal with much greater intention. Having professional staff who reflect the community we serve is important and has the potential to inspire our young patrons to explore a career in libraries,” she explained.
An online application for the internship reportedly stipulated that the two interns are required to be “Black recent Library and Information Science graduates” and will be granted “the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and proficiency in many aspects of public librarianship.”
In an effort to counter the racially discriminatory actions of TLEF, the EPP issued a cease-and-desist letter to the library.
“As the TLEF is racially exclusionary – only black students and black recent graduates are eligible to apply to and participate in the program – we write to express our concern and call to your attention that this program appears to violate a variety of state and federal civil rights laws, as well state and federal constitutional prohibitions on race-based discrimination,” read the EPP’s letter to the Albany Public Library and the New York State Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights.
“We sent in the letter in the hope that they would voluntarily correct their actions,” the EPP president told Fox News.
According to Jacobson, the Albany Public Library and the New York State Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights have yet to respond to the write-up, which was sent on March 20. His group has promised legal action should the program not be suspended.