AMAC in the Media

No, Conservatives Are Not “Banning Books”

Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2022
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AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

In the national battle over Critical Race Theory, gender ideology, and greater transparency in K-12 education, the left has in recent months opened a new front by leveling accusations that conservatives are “banning books.” But despite the sensationalist coverage from the liberal media, an objective look at the issue soon reveals that the left’s charges of “censorship” against conservatives are the product of a manufactured hysteria in service of a partisan agenda. At the same time, however, in an unabashed display of projection and hypocrisy, it is the left that is engaging in overt censorship efforts, attempting to enforce rigid adherence to their new “woke” interpretation of American history and culture.

A look at one recent high-profile case from a Tennessee school district provides a clear example of how the media spins concerns about the age-appropriateness of certain books into blanket accusations that conservatives are “banning” books they disagree with.

The book in question was Maus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust from author Art Spiegelman, whose parents survived Auschwitz. Last month, the McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the book from its eighth-grade Holocaust curriculum, saying that the work contained inappropriate curse words and depiction of a nude character. Notably, the board emphasized the importance of teaching the Holocaust, but said that Maus would have to be replaced with something else.

The media were quick to label the decision a “ban” on the book, painting it as a Republican conspiracy to not teach students about the Holocaust. The author, unfortunately, joined in the outrage, comparing the school board to Vladimir Putin, who declared the book illegal in Russia in 2015.

All of these accusations, of course, obscure what the board actually said about Maus – namely, that the “unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide” were “too adult-oriented” for its use in the eighth-grade curriculum. In other words, not a “ban,” but simply an assertion that the book contained words and themes that were not appropriate for schools to push on 14-year-olds.

As is the job of any school board, the members made an assessment of what is and is not best for students to be exposed to at a certain age. The board might make a similar judgment that first-graders aren’t yet ready to read Huckleberry Finn or The Grapes of Wrath. That doesn’t mean that Mark Twain or John Steinbeck are “banned” – simply that the school itself does not need to expose every student to the images and themes presented in those books at that age. The Tennessee school district in question still kept its Holocaust curriculum, and students could still read the book on their own time – as many have since chosen to do.

A similar pattern has played out as other school districts across the country have also taken steps to review their curriculum. But what about when school boards or outside groups do actually act to remove certain works from school libraries, as has undoubtedly occurred amid rising concerns over Critical Race Theory and left-wing indoctrination in the classroom?

In most cases, the outrage has again been overblown. Liberals have been quick to assert that conservatives are trying to “erase” the experiences of LGBTQ and minority students by “banning” books by authors who identify as part of one of those groups. But this claim again ignores the reality of the material in question.

Take, for example, the novel Gender Queer: A Memoir, which has made its way onto the shelves of many high school libraries. In Florida, one parent was removed from a school board meeting for simply reading one explicit passage from the book. Similar scenes have taken place in other districts, including conservative places like Carmel, Indiana, where one parent claimed that a book available to K-12 students was so obscene that it could not be read aloud on air because it would violate FCC regulations.

What has become apparent amid the push for more transparency in K-12 education is that the same far-left ideologues pushing Critical Race Theory in schools have also embarked on a similar quest to brainwash kids with radical gender theory. Under the guise of promoting “inclusivity” and “validating” the “lived experiences” of “marginalized” groups, progressives are now peddling what sometimes amounts to little more than pornography with a political message to children, and claim that all who oppose its inclusion on library shelves are “bigots.”

To be sure, some school districts and localities have likely taken the push to protect students from age-inappropriate and explicit content too far. Conversations about where to draw the line between monitoring what type of material minors have access to, and plain old censorship can and should be an important part of public discourse – that’s why school board members are elected and why school district residents have a right to address their board members at public meetings, and why schools are supposed to be subject to local control.

But elected Democrats and the leftists who dominate the media and academia have refused to engage in that conversation. Instead, they dishonestly insist that conservatives are on a crusade to ban every idea that they disagree with. Progressives’ argument appears to be that if every public school student cannot access any material at any time, regardless of what type of content their parents and the school board thinks they should have access to, then that amounts to conservatives “banning books” and engaging in “censorship” – no matter the fact that parents, if they so choose, can purchase whatever books they like for their children at home.

It is also true that, for all their self-righteous claims about guarding against conservative “censorship,” many on the left have been prolific censors themselves in recent years – although not of objectively lewd content, but of timeless American classics.

Less than two years ago, several school districts in liberal areas removed books like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, both on charges of “racism” (despite the fact that Taylor is black). Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work, in particular, has fallen out of favor with liberals for its supposed “white savior” complex. Apparently, Atticus Finch isn’t “anti-racist” enough for left-wing sensibilities, and his belief in the equality of all people under the law is out of step with the modern left’s identity politics.

The left has also been after Mark Twain’s classic Huckleberry Finn for decades, insisting that its use of the n-word and portrayal of the antebellum South, rather than providing students an important insight into the horrors of slavery, is “traumatizing.” Are American parents really to believe that Huck Finn does irreparable harm to high school students, but books intentionally targeting teenagers with sexually explicit material during an already confusing time of their lives do not?

We are also not far removed from the summer of 2020, when the left engaged in a systematic campaign to literally tear down and destroy American history and traditional values. Throughout the United States, left-wing activists vandalized and dismantled statues of America’s greatest heroes, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The left has also attempted to “recast” the founding generation as nothing more than racist slaveholders, discarding as wholly irrelevant the great strides they made possible for the advancement of human freedom and equality around the world.

In schools, these assaults on American history and society have been carried further through the teaching of ideologies like Critical Race Theory as not just one viewpoint amongst others, but as objective truth to which every student must adhere. The demand of progressivism, whether in schools or politics, is ideological conformity, and the ruthless destruction of any threat to that orthodoxy. Censorship, then, becomes a convenient tool for the left to both stamp out opposition to their views and with which to levy assaults against conservatives for challenging a progressive takeover of the education system.

Ultimately, the goal of the left’s professed indignation is to shame conservatives into silence so that they can continue their takeover of the education system unfettered. However, parents have shown that they won’t be silenced, and that they will make their voices heard at the ballot box.

While the left may hope to weaponize claims of conservatives “banning books,” the parents who are more engaged than ever in their children’s education know better and are going to continue to hold the schools that they pay for accountable for what they teach.

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Aelfric Coleen
Aelfric Coleen
2 years ago

As a marginalized human being, (I’m gay) I can say that minority experiences are being censored when it comes to books in schools, and progressivism is not at fault for that. You want to stop book banning? Don’t ban the books in the first place. Just a thought.

DJ Khalid
DJ Khalid
9 months ago

life is Roblox

Conrad
Conrad
9 months ago

These God damn libs keep burning my books!!!!!

Jaime
Jaime
2 years ago

I came to the comments of this ridiculous article for the chuckle at comments like yours. Thanks for the laugh. Read a book.

Laura
Laura
1 year ago

This is a lovely piece of fiction.
As of 11/22, Republicans are on record wanting to ban books involving: 
– LGTB+ issues
– Trans issues
– Race issues
– Divorce
– The Holocaust
– Cursing
– Nudity

Can we call ya’ll snowflakes now? Please??

fred
fred
1 year ago

This is the biggest crock of crap that I’ve ever read in my life the right wing is continually nonstop banning books on every level of society the left is doing nothing. Nothing of the kind stop being ridiculous. The DeSantis banning math books with not even a hint of critical race theory in it critical race theory anybody with a brain cell knows then it doesn’t even exist in anything but college undergraduate level periodicals and the like stop being ridiculous it the entire right wing is so contrived in their attempts to scandalize the nation and the toothless hillbilly thought processes into believing whatever nonsense of the day their little think tanks dream up it’s nauseating I don’t even know why I’m attempting to respond to such idiocracy. Another decade or two and there will be no right wing left you know it I know it and unless there is a total authoritarian takeover of this country anybody with a brain cell knows it

andrew tate
andrew tate
1 year ago
According to all known laws
of aviation,

  
there is no way a bee
should be able to fly.

  
Its wings are too small to get
its fat little body off the ground.

  
The bee, of course, flies anyway

  
because bees don't care
what humans think is impossible.

  
Yellow, black. Yellow, black.
Yellow, black. Yellow, black.

  
Ooh, black and yellow!
Let's shake it up a little.
Cris Allingston
Cris Allingston
1 year ago

I am buying cases of banned books and giving them to any students from banned book school districts who wants them

Aelfric Coleen
Aelfric Coleen
2 years ago

Okay actually though, there is plenty of evidence of minority point of view books being banned by conservative parent groups. The first amendment of the constitution also applies to being able to receive information freely and be allowed to act on said information. In all honesty, taking away books because they are “anti-christian” or just “anti-what-I-belive-all-kids-should-be-reading” is instilling orthodoxy and taking away free thought because there is only one thought given to think about.
Also, no one is forcing your kindergarteners to read sexually explicit stories. Education around that topic comes with age, and isn’t being forced on kids who don’t need to worry about it yet. If telling children that gay people exist is sexualizing them, then so is telling them that marriage is between only one man and one women.
Furthermore, “The demand of progressivism, whether in schools or politics, is ideological conformity, and the ruthless destruction of any threat to that orthodoxy” makes absolutely no sense? Progressivism and open-minded opinions go hand in hand, and it definitely isn’t “ruthless destruction” to any opinions that aren’t the same. I think that sentence is a bit above your grammatical capacity.
Perhaps before you post an entire article that is entirely made up of hypocrisy, you should check to make sure you are not the ones doing the things you accuse others of.

GammaRae
GammaRae
2 years ago

Talk about hyper-partisan lies and spin. You’re doing it in spades.

Mario Capparuccini
Mario Capparuccini
2 years ago

We should never be surprised that the woke lie through their teeth. They are like their father the devil, who is the father of lies.

Janis Nimmer
Janis Nimmer
2 years ago

Who banned Dr. Suse (Spelling?) ???

Judy K.
Judy K.
2 years ago

Jesus said, according to the Holy Scriptures; ‘In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, and be not discouraged, for
( I ) have overcome the world.’ And; ‘They will hate you because they first hated (Me).’
Despite all the Communist control freaks in this world believing they are the one’s with all the power, God will have the last laugh.
It is by His power that all things exist. It is by the Word of His power that all things Consist.
God fearing Christian’s, (because there is a difference), are filled with the Holy Spirit. And one of these times I would love to see a Godly man or woman speak by the power of the Holy Spirit to some of these ungodly deviants and watch them fall backwards to the ground…much like when Judas the betrayer and the Pharisees and Jewish Priests along with some armed soldiers did when Jesus asked them. ‘whom do ye seek?’
Those were words delivered by the power of God, and they all fell backwards to the ground.
God is always at work. We need to continue to take a stand against what God is against. When His disciples asked Him about the signs of the end times, the very first thing He advised them, was ‘to not be deceived’, that many would come in His name saying He is Christ.
The time is close, but of course only God the Father knows the exact day and time. He said we are to watch and be ready.
In Jude the Scripture, ‘Build yourselves up upon in your most holy faith.’ And then says, ‘pray in the Spirit.’ When we do that, we don’t need to worry about what the evil fools in this world are doing. They are God’s concern. They will be judged by Him. We need God, and that is why our circumstances lead us to Him.
Pray for the children! Pray these evil demons will be stopped before they corrupt anymore of our babies!

Gary Kitzmann
Gary Kitzmann
2 years ago

I guess what we need is an “ID” system similar to buying alcohol. Show your ID before you can check the book out.

Lynn
Lynn
2 years ago

Maus isn’t too heavy a dose of realism for an intelligent early teen when discussed in a structured class setting with constructive discussion led by the teacher. Perhaps even improving writing skills with an essay? How do you expect children to gain critical thinking skills if they are shielded from critical thinking?

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
2 years ago

Books putting forth lies (CRT, LGBTQ) are not suitable as textbooks. You wouldn’t want “teachers” teaching that the moon is made of green cheese, would you? Also, some topics are not suitable for all ages. Kindergartners don’t need to know about sex acts or supposed “genders.”

jake the snake
jake the snake
2 years ago

the liberals / progressives / democrats love banning things.

Anything that does not fix their pretend facts and bizarre view of the world needs to be banned.

Of course the schools love banning things because most school teachers have very low education and can not teach an subject that requires accumulative learning. want proof? well they did a test. over 90% of current K-12 teachers can not solve this equation correctly 2 + 4 + 2 x 4 – 4 / 2 + 2= _____ . To add to the insult every 5th grader in 1951 could solve this problem.

In 1951 you could still quit school at 8th grade in most states and go to work. Our school teachers today have teaching masters degrees, make 80 to 130 thousand a year and can not do simple math problems. in fact in several democrat states the school districts have proclaimed getting the right answer in math is racist! racist because the schools do not teach math.

Patricia Varhol’
Patricia Varhol’
2 years ago

How about the cancel culture banning the Dr. Seuss books? As usual they have one rule for us and one rule for them.

Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Conservatives are not book banners. True conservatives favor a free flow of information challenging liberal speech with more persuasive conservative speech.

We need more debate from all sides and points of view. No book bans, please.

Boz
Boz
2 years ago

Ban Iiberals

Boz
Boz
2 years ago

Ban Iiberals

Chris
Chris
2 years ago

“the left has in recent months opened a new front by leveling accusations that conservatives are “banning books.” 
The left will always accuse you of what they are doing

Carol
Carol
2 years ago

Children used to mature at their reading level. Now the left just wants to shove adult material at our youngest, while treating our college age young adults like children with safe spaces! Both of these seem like abuse to me! Moms and Dads have every right to protect their child from material they deem harmful to their children. Let kids be kids and start treating our college age as the adults they need to be! Children should be exposed to reading materials as they mature and not before!

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

Book burning is done by banks and associates by blacklisting a company for no reason; to refuse to process credit cards for buying of books by customers .

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