You Can’t Read That! is a periodic post about book banning, featuring news and opinion roundups, personal observations, and reviews
YCRT! News & Opinion Roundup
Book banning news & opinion from here & there
On Saturday, China’s Education Ministry stepped in, ordering the publisher to “rectify and reform” its publications and make sure the new version would be available for the fall semester. It also ordered a “thorough inspection” of textbooks nationwide to make sure teaching materials “adhere to correct political directions and values, promote outstanding Chinese culture and conform to the aesthetic tastes of the public.”
Ray Daniels, a spokesperson for the American Booksellers Association, said the organization was “deeply concerned about the precedent this could set for bookstores everywhere.” He said he worries about the chilling effect that such challenges might have against booksellers who could preemptively self-censor in an effort of self-preservation.
- Related: Virginia Legal Action Threatens the Freedom to Read: Coalition Statement (National Coalition Against Censorship)
This legal action could profoundly limit the availability of books in the Commonwealth of Virginia. No book has been banned for obscenity in the United States in more than 50 years. Prohibiting the sale of books is a form of censorship that cannot be tolerated under the First Amendment.
Florida’s slate of math textbook rejections, along with recent laws passed in the state like the Parental Rights in Education bill, on Thursday were key topics during a congressional hearing on “curriculum sabotage and classroom censorship” led by the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
- State Officials Seek Name of Orange County Public Schools Employee Who Approved ‘Gender Queer’ Memoir for Libraries (Orlando Weekly)
Not content to merely ban books, Florida’s state officials are looking to punish employees who brought controversial books into Orange County’s school system.
- A Florida Library’s LGBTQ Pride Display Started a Yearlong Battle (Tampa Bay Times)
This isn’t the first time Citrus’ library has become the center of controversy in this deeply Republican county. In 2019, residents cried out when the library wanted to expand digital access to The New York Times. Residents were outraged at the proposition of supporting “fake news,” and the effort failed.
Book displays that focus on particular segments of the population, such as those for Pride Month and Women’s History Month, have been removed from one Louisiana library system, according to The Acadiana Advocate.
YCRT! Resistance Roundup
News from the trenches: fighting back against teabaggers & book banners
Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has developed an unburnable edition of her book, printed bound using fire-proof materials. Atwood’s work has been targeted with bans and challenges for decades, with “The Handmaid’s Tale” listed as one of the most frequently challenged books since 1990 by the American Library Association.
- Book Lovers Fight Back Against Banning Attempts (Truth or Fiction)
The latest attempt to ban Kurt Vonnegut’s works for “obscenity” has been challenged by both a Florida English teacher and a group dedicated to maintaining the late author’s legacy.
They’re sick of seeing their books bogusly labeled “critical race theory” or “anti-police.” They’re incredulous at claims their words make kids uncomfortable. They’re done seeing their books challenged or banned over what they see as insincere claims about vulgarity, violence or sex. They’re exasperated with feeling singled out.
Guru Donuts is holding a reading for banned books Thursday following the Nampa School Board (NSD) decision in early May to ban 22 books.
YCRT! Teabagger Corner
Know the enemy: factual examples of book banner & teabagger propaganda, tactics, and ploys
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 23, 2022
Social Emotional Learning in America’s public schools is influenced by global entities with a UN agenda. https://t.co/Od3c239jq9
— Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) June 10, 2022
YCRT! Loudoun County Watch
Loudoun County, Virginia, deserves its own YCRT! niche: a hot spot for book bannings and anti-CRT protests; the county where Virginia’s book-banning Governor Glenn Younkin got the votes that put him over the top; the county where parents are dragged screaming from school board meetings
The school board’s complaint alleges that since the special grand jury was convened, it has sought records and testimony from Loudoun County Public Schools employees and students — many with no connection to any aspects of the sex assaults, the school board’s complaint alleges.
The hearing punctuates a year-long effort to remove School Board members for their involvement in a private Facebook group and support of progressive social policies in schools. The removal petitions garnered national interest as education became a flashpoint political issue during the 2021 gubernatorial election.