A conservative way to control the narrative of diversity and representation
Literature has been the way we’ve preserved much of our history and traditions over millions of years. While the presentation of the literature may have changed from culture to culture and evolved as time has progressed, it has never ceased to transport one to another world or see something in a new light.
In recent years, literature has been used to bring awareness to the darkness in our history and present-day issues. As a result of this, many who don’t share the same views and are in a position to do so have been banning books from schools and many libraries.
The list includes “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a heart-wrenching story about the true horrors of “sun-down” towns in the South, and “Lord of the Flies,” a dark story which exposes the true nature of humanity when society is no longer watching. Even “Harry Potter” has been up for debate in schools due to religious conflicts involving witchcraft. But should these books be banned?
There’s no question that the U.S. has a very dark history of racism, homophobia and genocide. These books are sharing the stories and experiences of many and bringing awareness to the crimes committed by white supremacists in the U.S. “To Kill a Mockingbird” highlights the injustice of the U.S. justice system. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (B.O.P.), 38.4% of inmates currently incarcerated in the U.S. right now are African-American. It’s also been shown time and time again that P.O.C. receive harsher punishments for their crimes if convicted. This dark truth of the U.S. justice system is dissected in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” showing the injustice many P.O.C. have faced.
Another novel that does a great job discussing the growing issue of police brutality in the U.S., “The Hate U Give” written by Angie Thomas, was banned shortly after it had been released in 2017. It was banned in a Texas school district due to the strong language Thomas uses and the message about racism and police brutality. Thomas took to Twitter saying that she was “saddened that a school district in Texas banned #TheHateUGive.” “The Hate U Give” followed the story of a young African-American girl who witnessed her friend be killed by the police after they mistook his hairbrush as a weapon and her experience grieving and trying to find peace with the trauma she’s been through.
The ban on books has been heavily influenced and driven by conservative ideology. Many of the books being banned promote LGBTQ+ representation, discussions about racism and homophobia in the U.S., and so much more. It’s important to be having the discussions and representation to be able to build a world of diversity and acceptance.
Banning something based on one’s personal ideologies is an issue that is very present in the U.S. Policies that govern our education and access to certain things should not be influenced by the beliefs of a few. When it’s been normalized for this to occur in our education system and in our government, we no longer have democracy. We no longer have freedom.
Federal Bureau of Prisons. BOP Statistics: Inmate Race. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_race.jsp
Krug, N. (2021, April 6). 2020’s most challenged books include ‘The hate u give’ and others about race. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/2021-most-challenged-books/2021/04/06/34f89260-96ed-11eb-b28d-bfa7bb5cb2a5_story.html