The Associated Press published an article this week claiming that a “Conservative book ban” is fueling an exodus from a national association that “stands up for books.” They inform us that parents in “a rural and staunchly conservative” county in Wyoming have joined a nationwide effort to put pressure on the American Library Association “in what’s become a movement against the professional origination that has fought against book bans.”
I guess the desired reaction from this news is that most of those who appreciate reading and libraries are supposed to be disgusted. There they go again. Those “staunchly conservative” hicks from America’s fly-over country who don’t have the education or sophistication of the smarter elites are trying to make sure that their children will grow up to be just as backward as they are. After all, we know from the history of what took place in pre-World War II Germany, book bans are a precursor to the rise of nazism.
What is it that has these “staunchly conservative” people in Wyoming upset? Among the books in question is one said to be a “graphic” memoir “Gender Queer.” Another title: “This Book is Gay.” And the American Library says Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye,” is one that parents find objectionable, as well.
The staunchly conservative parents have also objected to a “drag queen story hour” being part of the library offerings. And, perhaps they are equally disturbed by a tweet from the president of the American Library Association, Emily Drabrinski, identifying herself as a “Marxist lesbian.”
The American Library Association claims they have always been “nonpartisan” and denies having a political agenda. They argue book bans are part of an effort to “diminish the public good,” and take away information resources from individuals. Nonetheless, they are suffering a 14% decline in membership since 2018 and other groups are now emerging to compete with them.
A few things. I find it hard to believe there is “no agenda” present with bringing “drag queens” into libraries to read to children. You may agree or disagree with the concept, but the very nature of it, suggests there is a “point of view ” present. Namely, that it is culturally acceptable for “drag queens” to perform in front of young children, who are not mature enough to even understand all of the implications.
Graphic sexual literature should also be circumspect and scrutinized. I spent countless hours in New York’s public libraries during my school days, and books with explicit sexual instruction or stories were not part of the library experience. However, those sorts of books were available in the “adult” book sections of private stores, much to the delight of a group of us teenagers who used to hover around them before the store management chased us away. And by the way, we also used to treasure certain issues of National Geographic.
I have not read any of the books in question, (although I am distantly related to Toni Morrison), and under normal circumstances would not support banning books. But, these are not normal times. In earlier periods of our country, adults had “common sense,” and would not put hyper-sexualized materials in front of minor children. Today, apparently that is not the case. In far too many cities in this nation, children are graduating from school without the necessary foundation they need to succeed in life. Having a sound education in reading, math or science seems to have taken a backseat to school children receiving instruction on non-scientific philosophies of gender and other cultural matters.
Parents and taxpayers who support public libraries have an inherent and inarguable responsibility to determine what is placed in front of their children. If parents wish to expose their children to hyper-sexualized or racially themed materials that are not in the library system, they are free to find that material and educate their children using them.
But community standards are just that. They are established by “the community,” not by associations that appear to have an agenda. Despite what they claim. The book-ban war in America is just another skirmish in a broader war over the very identity of this nation. Thank goodness, concerned “staunchly conservative” parents are not sitting this one out on the sidelines.