Banning books in schools (5 Viewers)

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Optimus Prime

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Excellent article I thought deserved its own thread
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On the surface, it would appear that book censors and censored authors like myself can agree on one thing: Books are powerful.

Particularly books for children and teens.

Why else would people like me spend so much time and energy writing them?

Why else would censors spend so much time and energy trying to keep them out of kids’ hands?

In a country where the average adult is reading fewer and fewer books, it’s a surprise to find Americans arguing so much about them.

In this election year, parents and politicians — so many politicians — are jumping into the fray to say how powerful books can be.

Granted, politicians often make what I do sound like witchcraft, but I take this as a compliment.

I’ll admit, one of my first thoughts about the current wildfire of attempted censorship was: How quaint.

Conservatives seemed to be dusting off their playbook from 1958, when the only way our stories could get to kids was through schools and libraries.

While both are still crucial sanctuaries for readers, they’re hardly the only options. Plenty of booksellers supply titles that are taken off school shelves.

And words can be very widely shared free of charge on social media and the rest of the internet. If you take my book off a shelf, you keep it away from that shelf, but you hardly keep it away from readers.

As censorship wars have raged in so many communities, damaging the lives of countless teachers, librarians, parents and children, it’s begun to feel less and less quaint.

This is not your father’s book censorship…..

Here’s something I never thought I’d be nostalgic for: sincere censors. When my first novel, “Boy Meets Boy,” was published in 2003, it was immediately the subject of many challenges, some of which kept the book from ever getting on a shelf in the first place.

At the time, a challenge usually meant one parent trying to get a book pulled from a school or a library, going through a formal process.

I often reminded myself to try to find some sympathy for these parents; yes, they were wrong, and their desire to control what other people in the community got to read was wrong — but more often than not, the challenge was coming from fear of a changing world, a genuine (if incorrect) belief that being gay would lead kids straight to ruination and hell, and/or the misbegotten notion that if all the books that challenged the (homophobic, racist) status quo went away, then the status quo would remain intact.

It was, in some ways, as personal to them as it was to those of us on the other side of the challenge.

And nine times out of 10, the book would remain on the shelf.

It’s not like that now. What I’ve come to believe, as I’ve talked to authors and librarians and teachers, is that attacks are less and less about the actual books.

We’re being used as targets in a much larger proxy war.

The goal of that war isn’t just to curtail intellectual freedom but to eviscerate the public education system in this country.

Censors are scorching the earth, without care for how many kids get burned.

Racism and homophobia are still very much present, but it’s also a power grab, a money grab. The goal for many is a for-profit, more authoritarian and much less diverse culture, one in which truth is whatever you’re told it is, your identity is determined by its acceptability and the past is a lie that the future is forced to emulate.

The politicians who holler and post and draw up their lists of “harmful” books aren’t actually scared of our books.

They are using our books to scare people.

 
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Not sure why this matters. After all, I once heard someone say that someone else's personal experience is not evidence of anything larger:
It doesn't matter if one person says, "oh sure" when asked about having sex with a woman with a penis. The fact that none of them will say that shows that they do not really believe that transwomen are real women. They will mouth the talking points about transwomen, but nothing else.

There are transwomen who have made Youtube videos complaining about straight men not wanting to date them. When it comes to progessive men, they have a good point. It's pretty hypcritical.
 
It doesn't matter if one person says, "oh sure" when asked about having sex with a woman with a penis. The fact that none of them will say that shows that they do not really believe that transwomen are real women. They will mouth the talking points about transwomen, but nothing else.

There are transwomen who have made Youtube videos complaining about straight men not wanting to date them. When it comes to progessive men, they have a good point. It's pretty hypcritical.

Hypocritical. There's an 'o' in there. And if anyone on this board knows about hypocrisy, it's the guy that contradicts himself from one post to the next.
 
I never said "gender=sexuality," so that would not be my hill to die on.

Then they are not a kid. I doubt that many parents hit their twenty year old grown offspring.

No, and I never heard of anyone saying that homosexuality was a social contagion, not "literally" or whatever the other way would be.

At best, those experiences mean that those teens had a bad experience. It is not evidence that parents of LBGTQ+ kids are more likely to hit them, than parents of any other kids. Hitters gonna hit.

1. you've said that a children's book about gender identity is sexualizing kids so yes you did (and you have many times before)

2. Your child is always your 'kid'. The point is at some point and at some age, you're not confused, not rebelling, not experimenting, not going through a phase, you know in your heart and soul 'this is who I am'

3. Maybe not the exact term 'social contagion', but if you're saying you've never heard anyone say there's something wrong being gay, they're just confused, influenced by all the 'gay acceptance' in society and on TV then that's just a flat out lie

4. No where did I say or imply that parents of LGBTQ kids are more likely to hit their kids. Just saying people with zero tolerance of a thing (whatever it is) tend not to react well when the thing comes into their own home.

And I suppose the teens who were beaten or thrown into the streets by the people who were supposed to love them unconditionally would call it a 'bad experience'
 
1. you've said that a children's book about gender identity is sexualizing kids so yes you did (and you have many times before)
That doesn't mean that gender and sexuality are the same thing. They are inextricably linked, but they are two different things.
2. Your child is always your 'kid'. The point is at some point and at some age, you're not confused, not rebelling, not experimenting, not going through a phase, you know in your heart and soul 'this is who I am'
At that point, I would accept it, just as I accept my thirty-something son who is polyamorous and not female exclusive. Are there parents who would never accept it if their kid was still trans at forty? Sure, and that is sad. Says nothing about parents who just don't want their young children being sexualized.
3. Maybe not the exact term 'social contagion', but if you're saying you've never heard anyone say there's something wrong being gay, they're just confused, influenced by all the 'gay acceptance' in society and on TV then that's just a flat out lie
Of course there are people who say that being gay is not OK (rhyming not intended). I'm not one of them, and I don't answer for them.
4. No where did I say or imply that parents of LGBTQ kids are more likely to hit their kids. Just saying people with zero tolerance of a thing (whatever it is) tend not to react well when the thing comes into their own home.
Alright, then. I don't know what you mean by "zero tolerance."
And I suppose the teens who were beaten or thrown into the streets by the people who were supposed to love them unconditionally would call it a 'bad experience'
That is a bad experience. Any stats on how often that happens and how often that happens specifically because a child is LGBT-Q+?
 
"NB people?" Notice you talk about sexual attraction in terms of what gender or genders different people can be attracted to. You must because sex is inextricably linked to gender.

What is the difference between a gay man and a straight man?

If a man is primarily attracted to transwomen who still have their male parts, is he gay or straight, or something else?
Why don't you tell us? Since you're the expert on these things.


ETA: I thought this was the LGBTQIA+ thread based on the subject matter of the post.
 
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Why don't you tell us? Since you're the expert on these things.
A man who is attracted to pre-op transexual women, I would categorize as "something else" not gay or straight. Based on the popularity of trans porn and trans prostitutes, it seems to be a growing category, so people who like labels might want to come up with one.

As far as men who say they are straight but admit that they would date a transwoman, they are practically non-existent for obvious reasons.
ETA: I thought this was the LGBTQIA+ thread based on the subject matter of the post.
And then someone brought up a book about gender, and it went from there.
 
Here a congressman reads quotes from a book about race that is required reading for West Point cadets.



He starts quoting them right away, so no need to give a time stamp. Just play.

Selected quotes:

All whites are racist, because all whites benefit from systemic white privilege.

Racism is so pervasive and so systemic and so ingrained in society, that no white member of society is innocent. None.

A positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist. White people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.

This author strives to be "less white" so that they author can be "less racially oppressive."


Now, West Point cadets of any color should be able to stand up to reading this, and it probably will make them chuckle more than anything.

But . . . when I hear about evil and backwards parents objecting to a book "about Martin Luther King," or a book "about desegregation," I have to wonder whether that book takes the same approach as this one that the left deems appropriate for our military academy.

These articles decrying "book burning," really should be telling us what is in the books that the parents are objecting to.
 

I wonder what standing the teachers unions would have on book selection rules.

Obviously, teachers might try to get around the requirement that parents be able to review library books by keeping books they don't want parents to know about in their classrooms. As a teacher, I'm always surprised at our unions fight for things like this instead of better pay commensurate with our levels of education.
 
Here a congressman reads quotes from a book about race that is required reading for West Point cadets.



He starts quoting them right away, so no need to give a time stamp. Just play.

Selected quotes:

All whites are racist, because all whites benefit from systemic white privilege.

Racism is so pervasive and so systemic and so ingrained in society, that no white member of society is innocent. None.

A positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist. White people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.

This author strives to be "less white" so that they author can be "less racially oppressive."


Now, West Point cadets of any color should be able to stand up to reading this, and it probably will make them chuckle more than anything.

But . . . when I hear about evil and backwards parents objecting to a book "about Martin Luther King," or a book "about desegregation," I have to wonder whether that book takes the same approach as this one that the left deems appropriate for our military academy.

These articles decrying "book burning," really should be telling us what is in the books that the parents are objecting to.

I would have to know the context the quotes are taken. does he only read the quotes, are the whole passage that contains the quote? Larger passage can completely change the context of quotes.
(sorry unable to watch at the moment)
 
I have followed this topic closely and to be honest I think many conservatives in the US would get a shock if they knew how social studies are taught in grades 7-9 here (Denmark)
Social studies are a mandatory course all three years and involves both reading relevant books/articles and actual visits from relevant people.
When my daughter was reading Anne Franks diary they had an afternoon where an old lady who was a holocaust survivor came to the school and spoke about her experience and answered questions from the pupils grade 7-9 And yes they were very frank answers - even shocking for some of the children, but as the old woman said - They needed to know what happened to prevent it from ever happening again.

Another time when the topic was substance abuse, they had a former Alchoholic who came to the school and spoke to the children about substance abuse and how to stand up to peer preasure and the price he had paid due to his abuse.

They have had a policeman out talking about how to stay safe when going to parties, and how to stay out of gangs. Over those 3 years they had on average one visitor every second month covering topics like safe sex, unwanted pregnancies, gender issues, how to vote and how the elections worked, harrasment and bullying, why some people had to flee their countries and racism.

Bottom line - if you want informed young people who are ready to participate in the society as responsible young adults, you need to prepare them for the job - just as you would do by teaching them to read and count.
 
I would have to know the context the quotes are taken. does he only read the quotes, are the whole passage that contains the quote? Larger passage can completely change the context of quotes.
(sorry unable to watch at the moment)
He does read only the quotes, so you make a fair point. Obviously, in a congression hearing you would not read the entire book. Maybe it would be good fodder for a Senate Filibuster.

It is from the book "White Fragility," so my guess is that the quotes would mean in context exactly what they sound like as bald quotes.
 
West Point? As in the university for Army Officers?

Regardless of how obviously out of context the statements are or what class that book is used in, I would hope they would be able to not get their feelings hurt by a book. Being college age adults in the military and all.
 
West Point? As in the university for Army Officers?

Regardless of how obviously out of context the statements are or what class that book is used in, I would hope they would be able to not get their feelings hurt by a book. Being college age adults in the military and all.
Which is why I said:

Now, West Point cadets of any color should be able to stand up to reading this, and it probably will make them chuckle more than anything.
 
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West Point? As in the university for Army Officers?

Regardless of how obviously out of context the statements are or what class that book is used in, I would hope they would be able to not get their feelings hurt by a book. Being college age adults in the military and all.
Wait, all this pearl clutching is about a college level course? Good lord these people define the word “snowflake”.
 
“Dangerous.” “Grooming.” “Reckless.” “Racist.” “Lying.”


All are adjectives that adults applied to children’s picture books as they sought to ban the titles from schools last year. These illustrated texts, intended for the youngest readers, are a surprising focus of the historic spike in efforts to restrict literature in classrooms and K-12 libraries, according to a first-of-its-kind Washington Post analysis of schoolbook challenges.


The discontent with children’s picture books overwhelmingly centers on titles with LGBTQ characters and storylines, which were targeted in 75 percent of such challenges, The Post found.

The top motive, cited in 64 percent of the picture-book complaints, was a wish to prevent children from reading about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary and queer lives.

The next most-common reason was books’ “inappropriate” nature, cited in 44 percent of challenges, and the third most-common reason was that books were “anti-police,” a charge included in 25 percent of challenges.

“This book … opens up conversations that lead to grooming and does not separate education from moral beliefs,” an Idaho woman wrote in a filing against “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.”


A Pennsylvania woman alleged that the book “Julián Is a Mermaid,” featuring a boy who dresses as a mermaid, will “confuse a child … to use drag clothing and makeup.”


And a man in Virginia wrote that the book “A Place Inside Of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart,” which explores a Black child’s reaction to the police killing of a girl in his hometown, has “very dark and sinister parts,” including the fact “law enforcement is depicted as villains throughout this work.”……

It is unsurprising that political topics du jour are shaping a debate about kids’ books, said Carol Tilley, an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who researches children’s print culture.

She pointed out that, in the 1950s, adults in Alabama crusaded against “The Rabbit’s Wedding,” which told the story of a black and white rabbit getting married.
“

That didn’t play well in segregationist states at the time,” she said. “I think that you see a long pattern: Concerns tend to mirror whatever the big social changes are at any particular time.”

As conflicts rage over what and how children should learn about race, gender and sex at school, public opinion seems split.

A late-2022 Post-KFF poll found that more than 70 percent of adults feel it is inappropriate for teachers to discuss trans identity in kindergarten through fifth grade, while slightly more than half of adults also believe the topic is inappropriate for grades six through eight.

At the same time, 77 percent of Americans say they are “extremely” or “very” concerned by book restrictions in schools, according to a March poll from Fox News……

Sanders said he has two messages for adults who dislike his books: First, parents should never make reading decisions for other people’s children. Second, he said, reading books about LGBTQ people will not turn young students gay, bisexual or transgender.


“Look at me. I’m almost 65, I grew up reading only books that featured parents who were heterosexual and characters who experienced the world in gender-normative ways,” Sanders said. “Those books did not make me straight.”

After books depicting LGBTQ lives, titles drawing the most objections were those that dealt with race or policing — or both.
Twenty-five percent of challenges against picture books targeted titles that have characters of color or grapple with racism.

In addition to the 25 percent of challenges calling picture books “anti-police,” 12 percent of challenges alleged picture books were “racist,” making that the seventh most-common reason cited.

Another 8 percent of challenges asserted picture books promoted “critical race theory” — a conservative catchall term for teaching about race deemed politically motivated — making that the ninth-most-common reason…….




 
In an open letter to American librarians, Barack Obama has criticised “profoundly misguided” rightwing efforts to ban books from libraries in public schools.

“Some of the books that shaped my life – and the lives of so many others – are being challenged by people who disagree with certain ideas or perspectives,” the former president wrote.

“It’s no coincidence that these ‘banned books’ are often written by or feature people of colour, Indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Obama’s letter on Monday supported Unite Against Book Bans, a campaign led by the American Library Association (ALA).

Obama also appeared in a TikTok video posted by the Kankakee Public Library, from Illinois, which has found success with viral videos.

The 44th president appeared at the end of the short video, which otherwise featured staff reading books subject to bans or attempted bans. Obama was shown reading and sipping from a library-branded mug. More videos are set to be released.

The ALA has found that in US public schools last year, “a record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship”, often by parent-led groups, “a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021”.

It adds: “Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of colour.”

In his letter, Obama also cited “unfortunate instances in which books by conservative authors or books containing ‘triggering’ words or scenes have been targets for removal”.……


 
In an open letter to American librarians, Barack Obama has criticised “profoundly misguided” rightwing efforts to ban books from libraries in public schools.

“Some of the books that shaped my life – and the lives of so many others – are being challenged by people who disagree with certain ideas or perspectives,” the former president wrote.

“It’s no coincidence that these ‘banned books’ are often written by or feature people of colour, Indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Obama’s letter on Monday supported Unite Against Book Bans, a campaign led by the American Library Association (ALA).

Obama also appeared in a TikTok video posted by the Kankakee Public Library, from Illinois, which has found success with viral videos.

The 44th president appeared at the end of the short video, which otherwise featured staff reading books subject to bans or attempted bans. Obama was shown reading and sipping from a library-branded mug. More videos are set to be released.

The ALA has found that in US public schools last year, “a record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship”, often by parent-led groups, “a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021”.

It adds: “Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of colour.”

In his letter, Obama also cited “unfortunate instances in which books by conservative authors or books containing ‘triggering’ words or scenes have been targets for removal”.……



 

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