School Book Bans Are on the Rise

February 16, 2022

If one thought we had progressed beyond censorship in this country, one should think again.

History is cyclical, after all. Axios reports, “Book Bans Are Back in Style.” Writer Russell Contreras informs us:

“School districts from Pennsylvania to Wyoming are bowing to pressure from some conservative groups to review — then purge from public school libraries — books about LGBTQ issues and people of color. … ‘I’ve worked for this office for 20 years, and we’ve never had this volume of challenges come in such a short time,’ Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, told Axios. ‘In my former district, we might have one big challenge like every two years,’ Carolyn Foote, a retired Texas librarian of 29 years, told Axios. ‘I have to say that what we’re seeing is really unprecedented.’”

So it has gotten even worse than it was three decades ago. Would that be more of an ellipse than a circle? A cone? Perhaps a slippery slope. See the article for some of the banned titles, most having to do with racism and sexuality, as well as the thought police’s excuses, er, reasoning. It should be noted that conservatives, while firmly in the lead, are not the only ones trying to suppress the written word. Less often, progressives have called for older books with content like racial epithets and the “white savior” trope to be pulled from syllabuses and shelves. We learn:

“Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men regularly appeared on the American Library Association’s annual list of banned books. The ALA’s Caldwell-Stone says such challenges are sporadic and nothing compared to the current conservative-backed efforts.”

Gee, if only there were someone to provide students context around the literature they are assigned. An educated, more experienced human available in every classroom to provide guidance. Hmmm.

Cynthia Murrell, February 16, 2022


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