Who Needs Books? Plus They Burn As Well As the Scrolls in the Library at Alexandria

September 20, 2022

Book banning is not new. Ever since humans could think and publish controversial ideas, literature has been banned. In ancient times, Abrahamic religious documents were deemed taboo. The last hundred years showed book banning examples in Nazi Germany, the socialist Soviet Union, and communist China continues to ban many works. The United States should be free of this quandary given the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, but “over-concerned” people are advocating for the removal of titles. The Grid runs down the current state of book bans in, “Book Banning In US Schools Has Reached An All-Time High: What This Means, And How We Got Here.”

In the past, most books that were banned dealt with magic and depictions of sex. Nowadays the books challenged the most are about gender and sexual orientation, ethnic diversity, and alternative takes on US history:

“Among the 10 most-challenged titles of 2021 were those from prominent Black writers Ibram X. Kendi, Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas, according to the ALA. And five of the top 10 were challenged specifically because of their LGBTQ content.

From a broader perspective, of the 1,000-plus books banned from July 2021 to March 2022, 41 percent had main characters of color, 22 percent directly addressed race and racism, and 33 percent directly included LGBTQ themes and characters.”

Many groups working to ban titles are trying to protect childhood innocence. Some are not against these titles being published, but believe they do not belong in schools. It is hard to apply First Amendment rights to school curricula, because schools are under the control of school administrations. These administrations institute curricula and can remove books deemed “offensive.” Groups that do sue to take books out of libraries and bookstores are facing a losing battle because they are protected by the First Amendment.

While the Internet allows kids to access books and other information, Internet access is not 100% universal for people in rural and low-income areas. When a book is banned from libraries or schools, kids will never have access to it.

Banning books makes them more popular. Sometimes the banning helps books perform better than if they had been left alone. Book banning does not serve any purpose other than perpetrating willful ignorance.

Whitney Grace, September 20, 2022

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