Why Book Ban Efforts Are Spreading in the United States

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In Washington’s Mukilteo School District, the school board voted to remove “To Kill a Mockingbird” – voted the best book of the past 125 years in a reader survey conducted by The New York Times Book Review – from the ninth year curriculum at the request of staff members. Their objections included arguments that the novel marginalized characters of color, celebrated the “white saviour,” and used racial slurs dozens of times without addressing their derogatory nature.

Although the book is no longer a requirement, it remains on the district’s list of approved novels, and teachers can still choose to assign it if they wish.

In other cases, efforts to ban the books are more extensive, as parents and organizations aim to have them removed from libraries, cutting off everyone’s access. Perhaps no book has been targeted more vigorously than “The 1619 Project,” a best-selling book on slavery in America that garnered widespread support among many black historians and leaders and which sprang from the issue New York Times Magazine 2019 special. He was named explicitly in the bill.

Right-wing politicians have seized on the book controversies. Newly elected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, rallied his supporters by framing book bans as a parental control issue and highlighted the issue in a campaign ad featuring a mother who wanted ‘Beloved’ of Toni Morrison be removed from her son’s home. high school course.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has demanded that the state’s education agency “investigate all criminal activity in our public schools involving the availability of pornography,” a move state librarians fear could be made. them the target of criminal complaints. South Carolina’s governor has asked the state’s superintendent of education and his law enforcement division to investigate the presence of “obscene and pornographic” material in his public schools, proposing ” Gender Queer”. for example.

The mayor of Ridgeland, Mississippi, recently withheld funding from the Madison County Library System, saying he would not release the money until books with LGBTQ themes were removed, according to the executive director of the library system.

George M. Johnson, the author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a memoir about growing up black and queer, was stunned in November to learn that a member of the Flagler County school board, in Florida, had filed a complaint with the sheriff’s department against the book. Written for readers ages 14 and up, it includes scenes depicting oral and anal sex and sexual assault.

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