America’s Book Banning Blitzkrieg
It’s not a mistake; it's an assault on freedom, another shift toward authoritarianism which we can no longer tolerate.
In a recent article “Here’s Why I’m Celebrating Banned Books Week,” President Barack Obama recently summarized how a lifetime of reading has shaped his worldview and prepared him for the various public roles he’d hold throughout adult life. He notes how most of the books that proved essential in his growth are the same ones now being challenged (or banned) in schools, bookstores and libraries, and often, they’re either written by or feature people of color and members of LGBTQ communities. On the decision to ban such books, former President Obama writes:
This is a mistake. Not only is it important for young people to see themselves represented in the pages of books, but it’s also important for all of us to engage with different ideas and points of view.
To that, I offer a loud “amen.” Yes, representation matters. (We can’t avoid that most of the books being banned right now touch on two of today’s hot buttons in the so-called culture wars: race and gender.) And yes, we should all engage with different ideas and points of view. And finally, yes, we can wholeheartedly agree that banning books is “a mistake.” In fact, I’d even say President Obama’s language here is too soft.
The banning of books, especially those that represent minority groups, is not just a mistake; it’s an assault on freedom. And it’s part of a much larger and organized strategic attack — led by conservative republican think tanks, donors, lobbyists and politicians — on American democratic norms and institutions.
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