American Library Association Director Says Book Bans Aim to ‘Suppress Social Change’ | Chicago News


The Florida Department of Education announced Friday that it will ban 54 math textbooks on the grounds that they teach critical race theory.

The ban is a record as 41% of the 132 books submitted for review were censored. Book bans may not be new, but in the past year alone, more than 1,500 books have been banned in school districts across the country according to Pen America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protection of free speech in the United States.

Tracie Hall, executive director of the American Library Association, says books banned over the past year target topics such as racism, sexuality and sexual orientation.

One of the most banned books in schools nationwide, for example, is “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

At least 42 states have introduced legislation or taken action to restrict the teaching of critical theory of race, gender identity and sexual orientation, according to Education Week.

Hall says the bans threaten “freedom to read” and disproportionately affect LGBTQIA communities and other minority groups.

“Just like in McCarthy’s time there was a desire to suppress social change, we’re seeing that happening again,” Hall said. “Especially as people of color and LGBTQIA people seek more social inclusion and political power.”

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said parents have a fundamental role in the upbringing, health and well-being of their children. But Hall says that when a government creates a law to ban books, it takes away parents’ right to decide what materials their children have access to.


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