It should surprise absolutely no one that the state of Texas has basically established itself as the book-banning capital of America.
According to the Texas Tribune, a new report shows the Lone Star State banned more books from school libraries this past year than any other state in the nation. The review was conducted by PEN America, which the Tribune described as “a nonprofit organization advocating for free speech.”
You know what else purports itself to be an advocate for free speech? Conservative America.
Right-wingers walk around calling everyone who finds their ideology offensive overly sensitive “snowflakes” and then wet their star-spangled underoos when someone kneels during the national anthem. And they go full fire and brimstone whenever they come across a book in a school library that challenges their understanding of gender, American history or race relations in American society. And since Texas has, over the last few years especially, proven itself to be the whiny white mecca of white fragility-induced anti-critical race theory warpath energy, it’s not a surprise that it’s leading the nation in controversial (to white people almost exclusively) book bans.
From the Tribune:
The report released on Monday found that school administrators in Texas have banned 801 books across 22 school districts, and 174 titles were banned at least twice between July 2021 through June 2022. PEN America defines a ban as any action taken against a book based on its content after challenges from parents or lawmakers.
The most frequent books removed included “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which depicts Kobabe’s journey of gender identity and sexual orientation; “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison; “Roe v. Wade: A Woman’s Choice?” by Susan Dudley Gold; “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez, which follows a love story between a Mexican American teenage girl and a Black teen boy in 1930s East Texas; and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, a personal account of growing up black and queer in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Yeah, if a school is banning books under the guise of parental empowerment (despite most Americans disagreeing with the practice) but most of the books are about queerness, Blackness and women’s reproductive rights, it’s pretty clear that it isn’t about protecting students—it’s about racists, queer-phobes and so-called pro-lifers getting their way. And it’s about overly sensitive conservatives being placated. And it’s impacting educators’ abilities to do their jobs unencumbered, according to PEN.
“This censorious movement is turning our public schools into political battlegrounds, driving wedges within communities, forcing teachers and librarians from their jobs, and casting a chill over the spirit of open inquiry and intellectual freedom that underpin a flourishing democracy,” Suzanne Nossel, PEN America’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Obviously, it’s not just Texas. All of red state America appears to be hellbent on banning non-traditional social studies into conservative crybaby oblivion. And no one would be surprised that Florida, the nation’s other utopia of racism and anti-CRT propaganda, comes in second for most books banned by white people who probably long for a children’s book series called “Shining City on a Hill.”
More from the Tribune:
Across the country, PEN America found that 1,648 unique titles had been banned by schools. Of these titles, 41% address LGBTQ themes or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ. Another 40% of these books contains protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color.
Florida and Pennsylvania followed Texas as the states with the most bans, respectively. Florida banned 566 books, and 457 titles were banned in Pennsylvania, where a majority of books were removed from one school district in York County, which is known as being more conservative.
The crazy thing is Summer Lopez, the chief program officer of free expression at PEN America, noted that most of the banned books weren’t required reading and were merely books that families and students could elect to read. That alone shows it isn’t about conservatives’ fear of “woke” indoctrination—it’s about taking control of a culture they know is slipping away from them with every new generation. They’re just a massive mob of demonstrable propagandists calling everything they don’t like propaganda.
“This rapidly accelerating movement has resulted in more and more students losing access to literature that equips them to meet the challenges and complexities of democratic citizenship,” Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s free expression and education programs and the lead author of the report, said in a statement. “The work of groups organizing and advocating to ban books in schools is especially harmful to students from historically marginalized backgrounds, who are forced to experience stories that validate their lives vanishing from classrooms and library shelves.”
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