As you probably have seen books bans are skyrocketing! Wherever you look in the news another book has been banned, some reports have said the list of banned books is over a thousand!
Banned book authors say new wave of censorship is most dangerous yet
“The difference this time is it's never been this organized. It was usually one or two parents in one school district,” author Sherman Alexie said. “But this organizational effort has far more power and influence.”
By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
October 6, 2022
Story at a glance
- Over 1,600 individual book titles have been banned from school classrooms or libraries over the past year, according to PEN America, a nonprofit that advocates for freedom of expression.
- While book bans are nothing new in the United States some authors worry about the most recent wave of censorship.
- Authors of banned books say the efforts to contest their books have never been more organized before.
Book bans are nothing new in the United States but authors of some of the country’s most contested books worry about the newest push to censor what literature children have access to in schools.
“I’m an old pro at this,” said Sherman Alexie, author of the young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” The novel tells the story of Arnold Spirit Jr., a 14-year-old aspiring cartoonist who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation while attending an all-white high school.
One example of how pushback against Alexie’s National Book Award-winning work has changed shape is how the novel was contested in Nebraska earlier this year.
Several members of a group called the Protect Nebraska Children Coalition showed up to a Wauneta-Pallisade Public Schools board meeting in January demanding that a number of books be removed from elementary and high school libraries in part due to sexual content. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” happened to be one of those books on the list.
“The difference this time is it’s never been this organized. It was usually one or two parents in one school district,” Alexie said. “But this organizational effort has far more power and influence.”
So that begs the question who is behind the hostility over books?
The Washington Post said,
The situation is “unprecedented in its scale, and in the proliferation of organized groups who are trying to remove whole lists of books at once in multiple school districts, across a growing number of states,” says Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education at PEN America, an advocacy group.
“From my place in the world, I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, who started working for the organization in 2000. She noted that social media is amplifying the situation. “A parent will stand up, do this impassioned speech about obscenity in school libraries in Virginia, and it goes viral on Facebook.”
What is different is that they is communications between groups and they are becoming organized in their opposition to us.
Who’s Behind the Escalating Push to Ban Books? A New Report Has Answers
By Eesha Pendharkar
September 19, 2022
As book bans in schools across the country escalate, a handful of right-wing activist organizations and Republican lawmakers are behind them, putting pressure on districts to ban books about and by LGBTQ people and people of color.
That’s according to a new report by PEN America, a free speech advocacy organization. The groups pushing for books to be taken off library shelves and removed from the curriculum in school districts range from national advocacy groups with several branches across the country, including Moms for Liberty, No Left Turn in Education, and MassResistance, to local-level Facebook groups. Together they are responsible for at least half of all bans, PEN America found.
The report identifies at least 50 different groups involved in local and state-level efforts to ban books, some with hundreds of chapters. Most of these groups have sprung up since 2021, when the current wave of objecting to books about LGBTQ people and people of color first started.
Well I have heard of MassResistance before they were against the Massachusetts gender non-discrimination bill and also were against the Northampton Trans Pride march, in other words they are against anything LGBTQ+. And they has been classified as an anti-LGBTQ+ “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Twenty percent of all book bans over the past year were directly linked to the actions of these groups, with many more likely influenced by them, according to PEN America. That percentage is based on an analysis of news and publicly available information, such as statements at school board meetings or lists of books parents want banned.
Their definition of pornography is anything LGBTQ+.
The pornography descriptor has been used across the country to describe books with LGBTQ themes and characters, and many librarians have refuted that claim.
“The LGBT issues, this is not necessarily a healthy behavior for libraries to be promoting on kids. And, and all of them, every one that I see involves sexuality,” he said. “The question isn’t really, who would want to ban these books, but the question is, who would want them?”
The Hill article points out that many of those opposed to the books don’t even know anything about the books except that they are on list.
Hopkins [Ellen Hopkins, who is the most frequently banned author in the United States] said that she has even reached out to several groups contesting her books and asked to have a conversation and explain her motivation for writing on the topics that she does but none have taken her up on the offer.
“The hysterics don’t want that understanding or difficult conversations,” Hopkins said. “They want attention and get it through rehearsed talking points.”
They are like parrots just repeating what they were told “Awk, Polly wants to ban this book, Awk!”
Perez said that she has logged on to Facebook pages of groups that have contested her young adult novel “Out of Darkness,” and has been shocked to see members tell others to “not talk about race” or bring up homosexuality when trying to push for a ban and instead “just talk about sex and curse words.”
Education Week wrote…
An ALA report from last week also documents an increase in book bans and the larger role of right-wing advocacy groups in organizing parents to challenge books that contain characters or references to LGBTQ people and people of color.
That organization identified 681 challenges to books through the first eight months of this year, involving 1,651 titles.
Books like "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Catcher in the Rye" by JD Salinger, "1984" by George Orwell, and of course an endless list of LGBTQ+ books including Jazz Jennings' book "I am Jazz".
It is simply politics, it is an election years and the Republicans want to rally their base so they get angry enough to go out and vote.
This is McCarthyism on steroids.