Why books get banned

English professor Farah Jasmine Griffin notes that many books confront readers “with powerful narratives that not only tell the stories of oppressed people, but also hold the mirror up to humanity, often showing us parts of ourselves we’d rather not see.”

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Editorials

May 5, 2022 - 3:38 PM

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Campaigns to remove books from schools and libraries in the United States have increased dramatically in recent years. This book-banning frenzy has risen to such absurd heights that a recent headline read: “Florida rejects 41% of new math textbooks, citing critical race theory among its reasons.”

What’s behind this trend? Some progressive groups have lobbied to ban books that contain racial slurs, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Mildred Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” But most book-banning efforts are instigated by conservatives.

Fueled by the rhetoric of elected officials, parents turn to national groups that  encourage them to run for school and library boards with the intent to ban books they consider dangerous — from Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” and Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” to picture books that celebrate racial diversity or acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ people.

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