Book bans are being considered in more and more red states in the wake of Florida’s passing of their educational censorship “Parental Rights in Education” bill.
Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas all have statewide rules to make it easy for ‘concerned’ parents to have books and content they don’t like removed from schools and curriculums state-wide, or even from public libraries.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott is pushing school boards to remove books he calls ‘pornography.’ His definition of the word appears to include anything with queer content. Texas lawmakers Matt Krause and Jeff Cason, both Republicans, are also on the warpath for books. Krause wants schools to remove any book which might ‘make students feel discomfort’ on the subjects of race or sex, and wants to investigate those who chose to put those books in schools. His proposed book bans are almost exclusively queer authors or books about Black, Latino, or Native American history, which tells you whose comfort he’s caring about. Texas also passed a law last September banning teachers from discussing racism and controversial current events in their lessons.
Florida passed a bill in March which requires school libraries to seek community approval on all new material, and requires the state Department of Education to monitor the content of school libraries.
Georgia passed a bill requiring school libraries to remove books challenged by students’ parents from their inventory, and Kansas, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Oklahoma all appear to be following suit.
Those all apply to school libraries. But in a frightening escalation, Idaho is moving on a bill to allow librarians at public libraries to be criminally charged if a prosecutor decides something on their shelves is obscene. The bill has cleared the state House, and is moving into the Senate.
It should terrify us that things have come this far. Laws not only allowing but requiring censorship are being passed all over the country, in the name of defending “traditional” morality.
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