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Books banned in US schools

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Theocratic politicians take power. The first remedy is to suppress the freedom of the press and the rights of women. From then on, Offred, the protagonist, only serves to reproduce in the Republic of Gilead. The Handmaid’s Tale, by author Margaret Atwood, is a dystopian work with strong social criticism. It was a bestseller and an inspiration for an HBO series. Its graphic novel version, with vignettes by Renée Nault, is now one of 11 books a Texas school district has banned from public libraries. The organization Penn America, under the freedom of expression, considered it an unfair practice of censorship “based on the demands of certain parents”.

“The whole process has been unusual, opaque and disturbing, more to appease vulnerable families than to serve students. There’s no denying that any censored books are related to LGBTQ+ issues, gender or racism,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of free speech and education at Penn America.

Also on the list is Carmen Maria Machado’s book In the House of Dreams, a novel in which the author describes how she was abused by her girlfriend. Or the famous graphic novel V for Vendetta written by Alan Moore with illustrations by David Lloyd.

Books banned in US schools

But it’s not something unique to Texas. A school board in Tennessee also retired none other than Mauss, the first graphic work to win a Pulitzer. Its author, Wladeck Spiegelmann, is the son of Polish Jewish survivors of the Auschwitz extermination camp. But the eight swearwords and the nudity of the rats in this comic were stronger than the actual testimony of Nazism.

Quickly, the Nirvana Comics store in Knoxville opened a Go Found Me to send a copy of the novel to all students who wanted it. In just 10 days, he raised around 100,000 euros. The ban also meant that, 45 years after its first edition, Mauss was on the bestseller list. There’s nothing like a good joke to get a teenager’s attention.

One of the places where the reactionary fuse began to ignite was Central York, Pennsylvania. Following the racial unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, the district banned various educational materials from its schools. It was November 9, 2020. “Many parents have expressed concern that some of the resources on this list encourage inequality by promoting different behavior in people. He believes that instead of uniting in diversity, some resources become polarized and divided,” school board chairwoman Jane Johnson said at the time about the anti-racism materials he said would enable coexistence. Breaks. The York Central Band Books Club has compiled a list of such banned materials, and there were over 250 of them.

Books banned in US schools

“These racist actions are not welcome here or in any other community,” he told the club. On the program, books on race like Malala: My Story or Hair Love, a bestseller which highlights the relationship between a black father and his daughter through the hair of a little girl. But also books with LGTBI characters and functional variety.

Librarian Samantha Hull in Pennsylvania told the Washington Post that eight titles had disappeared from the shelves of the elementary school she visited. One of them was when Aidan became a brother, whose main character is a trans boy. He said parents at a Lancaster County high school also called for the removal of Gender Queer, a memoir about being non-binary, and Lawn Boy, which included a depiction of a sexual encounter between two boys. East.

Race and sexuality, controversial issues

And so on in many other school boards across the country. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is receiving increasing reports of efforts to ban the books. One of the last material lists published by Roald Dahl is The Witches. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is repeated almost every year.

Books banned in US schools

The ALA reports that half of all book complaints filed in the United States come from families. Some form the group No Left Turn, calling themselves “common sense parents”. According to him, these books “degrade our nation and its heroes revise our history and divide us as a people to educate children in a dangerous ideology”.

Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Penn America, told the Guardian that these cases happen to her almost every day. The use of censorship, according to Nossel, comes from both the left and the right. The former point the finger at books they consider offensive, particularly because they were written in another era. “But it is the authority that has put in place the machinery of government, including legislative proposals in dozens of states, to enforce these restrictions, the most serious assaults on free speech.”

The legislative proposals also provide for fines and jail time for those who lend explicit material to students under 18. If approved, becoming a librarian would become a risky profession. There was already an Oklahoma legislator who compared the librarian to a cockroach.