You Can’t Read That!

You Can’t Read That! is a periodic post featuring banned book reviews and news roundups.

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YCRT! News & Commentary:

In Asheboro, North Carolina, all within the space of a fortnight, Ralph Ellison’s award-winning novel Invisible Man was 1) challenged, 2) banned, 3) reinstated. Would the school board have reversed itself if its actions hadn’t made it a national laughingstock?

Teabagger politics are becoming an increasingly large factor in book challenges and bannings. More and more, parental challenges to books taught in schools or carried on library shelves have more to do with culture wars than with obscene content. It’s about suppressing books the right associates with the left.

This is becoming explicit with conservative opposition to Common Core educational standards. Conservatives’ main concern is that Common Core will erode states’ rights and act as a backdoor for the Obama administration to sneak its leftist agenda into the classroom.

In my own backyard, an Arizona school district has pulled from its reading list what conservative challengers call a “sexually explicit novel,” Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia, and they’re using the challenge to attack Common Core standards. Here’s what one of the book’s challengers had to say:

With Common Core demanding that teachers teach informational text from 50% to 70% of the time, the time-honored, character-building classics will be dropped because they take large blocks of time to teach.  In their place, offensive, sexualized books such as Dreaming in Cuban will take over students’ classrooms (and their minds).

Not only are such books highly offensive to those who hold traditional values (e.g., belief in personal responsibility, self- discipline, respect for authority, self-control, a solid work ethic, respect for other people, traditional marriage), but they also serve a purpose for those who are trying to indoctrinate this and future generations to hate America and to trash American exceptionalism.  A steady diet of portraying ethnic/racial characters always as victims and saturating these books with gutter language is bound to warp students’ minds.


I don’t want to give this guy any more air time than absolutely necessary, but here’s his latest (click on the graphic to link to his article):

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I addressed the conservative talking point that Banned Books Week is a “hoax” in my last YCRT! post. What I want to highlight here is the conservative assumption that their own parenting decisions should dictate the parenting decisions of others. Controlling what your own child reads is parenting. Controlling what other children read is censorship and book banning. There, is that so hard?

From another right-wing site (warning: embedded sound track): “In 2006 the American Library Association gave its prestigious ‘academy award’ for Young People’s Literature (ages 12 – 18) to Looking for Alaska by John Green. The ALA award propelled this porn novel to popularity all around the country.”

As with assertions that Dreaming in Cuban, referenced above, is sexually explicit, claims that young adult novels like Looking for Alaska are “porn” should be taken with a massive grain of salt. I haven’t read Dreaming in Cuban, but I have read Looking for Alaska, and you can read my review here. Better yet, read it yourself, and explain to me where all this “porn” is, because I sure didn’t find it.


Suck it, 50 Shades of Grey, Captain Underpants is more banned than you!

What an 11th-grade English teacher said when the book banners came after The Handmaid’s Tale.

The school library versus the school board: Board of Education v. Pico.

In two separate cases, popular young adult writers were invited, then disinvited, to address high school students. Ironically, both talks were originally scheduled during Banned Books Week.

And speaking of which, here’s my new favorite comic book, Myths of Banned Books Week!

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