Book Banning has Gotten Out of Control in the United States

Book banning has been around for a long time but over the past year or so, it has increased tenfold. Many parents don’t want their kids to be reading certain books in school or libraries. That has led to states banning hundreds of books as a result and politicians getting involved as a result.

From July 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, 1145 books have been banned in school districts all over the United States according to PEN America. Florida took it a step further and also banned textbooks that they deemed in violation of their guidelines. That included math textbooks. 

adult blur books close up
Books are being banned at an unprecedented rate

This may sound like an episode out of The Twilight Zone but it is the reality that we are living in. So, how did we end up here

School Board Meetings

School board meetings are places where parents voice their opinions on certain issues and the board votes on said issues. While books have always a hot topic at board meetings, things took a turn for the most and two things can be blamed for that: politics and social media.

Most of you have noticed the political climate in this country has gotten worse and worse over the past 6 years. From the vaccine mandate to the climate change bill, everything is contested. And books have gotten caught in that political battle. Certain books have been categorized as inappropriate and themes that students should not be reading such as secularism, LGBTQ, and race. 

How Social Media Plays a Role in Book Banning

The second thing that has propelled this issue to the main stage is social media. It takes only viral one social media post and millions of people will see the post. This said post is not going to be fact-checked by the millions of people who have read it and have already formed an opinion before an expert can weigh in on the topic. By then, it is already too late. 

teacher standing in front of a whiteboard
Schools should not be influenced by politics.

We have seen how easily disinformation can be spread and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been slow to fix the issue at hand. Books are suffering because of the chaos that is social media. A rumor spreads faster than a truth.

Fighting Back Book Banning

What can we do to fight back? The good news is that there are many organizations that are challenging the legality of these bans. Other organizations are raising awareness and the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library teamed up to fight back against censorship this summer. 

Earlier this year, Senator Ted Cruz tried to attack a children’s book titled Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky while questioning Ketanji Brown Jackson during the Senate confirmation hearing on her nomination to the Supreme Court. His political attack on the book was aimed to please his followers but it backfired quickly.

Print sales of the children’s book in question went on to sell 869% more as a result. People came out and supported Kendi’s book as well as the other books Cruz attacking during the hearing. The political stunt by Cruz ended up backfiring and shining a light on a book that many people would never have heard about before. 

Defending Books For Future Generations

Book banning is not going to go away but the good news is that book lovers will fight back in many ways. Whether it is teachers risking their jobs by teaching censored books, public libraries celebrating controversial books, or people fighting back against politicians by buying books, we will fight back. Books are powerful tools to educate the future generations and it is up to us to make sure that they are able to read these amazing books. 

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