v32#2 Little Red Herrings – The Wuhan Wilding

by | May 11, 2020 | 13 comments


by Mark Y. Herring  (Dean of Library Services, Dacus Library, Winthrop University) 

This article has been retracted by the editors.


  1. Amy Sue

    You are being racist in your choice of words

  2. Jane Schmidt

    I believe the term you are looking for is COVID-19. By using the phrase “Wuhan virus” and jokingly invoking the deeply racist “Kung flu” you are tipping your hat and showing your true colours. Venerating joyful acts of white dominant cultures and shaming the people of Wuhan for something they were victim to is reprehensible. Why this passed through the editorial phase is beyond me. This is nothing but xenophobic anti-Asian racist rambling.

  3. Matt

    Casual racism… Not a good look my dude.

  4. Melanie

    Trying to figure out which is most appalling about this ‘column’: the incoherent rambling or the flagrant racism (it’s definitely the last one).

  5. AB Chair, U of SC

    I’m not sure it’s worth addressing the author of these shameful xenophobic ramblings, rather I will challenge the ATG editors to do better. This editorial is really disgraceful, your readers and the profession deserve better.

  6. Beth Daniel Lindsay

    I am appalled by the repeated use of “Wuhan virus” and the use of “Kung Flu.” These are racist terms. Please revise the column and apologize.

  7. Abigail Wickes

    ATG, how did this get published with such hurtful, racist phrases?

  8. Max Bowman

    The biggest takeaway from this article – the author uses racist, xenophobic language to express their views (what even are their views), and ATG thought this was worthy of publishing. Aside from that, what’s the message? What are we supposed to glean from this? It’s galling that the last line of this piece references hope when the previous paragraphs do nothing to inspire it.

  9. Another Librarian

    ATG editors, you don’t have to publish something just because a library administrator and columnist wrote it. I really don’t know what’s worse: the thought that the author was able to publish this directly with no review, or the idea that the editors read this and signed off.

    The author is making it very clear what he thinks of China and Chinese people, with his insistence on using Wuhan as a proxy for COVID-19, his odd and repeated inclusion of the old dog-eating trope, and reliance on the second-hand reporting of his daughter as some definitive assessment of Chinese social and economic culture. In highlighting perceived contradictions, the author is oblivious to his own cultural blind spots. Imagine writing this without considering the cultural contradictions of the United States and our own states in this moment, our willingness to prioritize capital over human lives, our relentless centering of white supremacist values, our blithe acceptance of grinding poverty amidst plenty.

    What a wasted opportunity for the author. What a waste of editorial space in this journal. We have to expect more of our publications and authors in the field.

  10. Leah Hinds

    ATG apologizes and has retracted this article.

    • Another Librarian

      Why do you apologize? What process allowed the article to be published? ATG really needs to spend more than 5 minutes on this one if it hopes to retain its position in the field.

  11. D R G

    This reminded us again that the library community is not immune to disinformation, bigotry and racism.

  12. Martin Dell

    By retracting this racist article, ATG editors need to step up to denounce it for the public but not step back to sweep it under the rug.


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