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Censorship of History by banning books

It is happening in school districts all across the country

By Lawrence Edward HincheePublished 2 years ago 5 min read
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After the McMinn County School Board voted in January to remove “Maus,” a graphic novel about the Holocaust, from its eighth-grade curriculum, the community quickly found itself at the center of a national frenzy over book censorship.

The book soared to the top of the Amazon best-seller list. Its author, Art Spiegelman, compared the board to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and suggested that McMinn officials would rather “teach a nicer Holocaust.” At a recent school board meeting, opponents of the book’s removal spilled into an overflow room.

But the outcry has not persuaded the school board to reconsider. And the board’s objections do not stop at “Maus” or the school district’s Holocaust education materials.

One proposed Tennessee law prohibits textbooks that “promote L.G.B.T.Q. issues or lifestyles”; one that passed in June would prohibit materials that make someone feel “discomfort” based on their race or sex. Another allows for partisan school board elections, which critics worry will inject cultural grievances into education policy debates. State legislators in Nashville are considering a ban on “obscene materials” in school libraries as well as a measure requiring school boards to establish procedures for reviewing school library collections. Gov. Bill Lee recently announced a partnership with a Christian college to open 50 charter schools designed to educate children to be “informed patriots.” Is this not a violation of the separation of church and state? (Source: New York Times)

The combined effect of all this activity has alarmed educators and others in the state who are concerned about academic freedom. “It’s just not one or two people here — there’s a mind-set coming from the governor on down to ban conversation and to segment communities and to erase life experiences from classroom discussion,” said Hedy Weinberg, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

Kailee Isham, a ninth-grade English teacher in McMinn County, said the environment had changed her teaching. She hesitates to tackle topics like racism and socioeconomic or L.G.B.T.Q. issues in her classroom for fear of being targeted by conservative parents. This is taking us back to the 1960's when we had to really fight for our rights. Are we going to have another Stonewall? (Source: New York Times)

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) said an “inadvertent” error led to a proposal that would prevent George Washington from being referred to as the “Father of our Country” and James Madison from being called the “Father of the Constitution” in history and social science curriculum.

ABC7 News first reported the changes on Monday, but the VDOE reviewed the proposed changes and said they were a mistake.

The agency is set to meet on Wednesday to review the state standards of testing, an undertaking the VDOE performs every seven years.

The alleged Washington/Madison changes were purported to be part of those considerations. Governor Younkin a Republican from Virginia has said it is shameful that the Department of Education has left these important events out of history. I concur, sir. The board of education said it was an oversight, so please oversight them back into the curriculum. (Source: WJTA ABC 7 News)

Meanwhile in Texas, Fort Worth-area school board, newly controlled by conservatives, pulls all books challenged by a parent last year, likely including the Bible, pending a review. What is there to review? Why is it that parents that happened to be triggered by something manages to have books pulled? Because they attend school board meeting and protest. Why don't conservatives do the same?

A school district in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, has ordered its librarians to remove an illustrated adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” from their shelves and digital libraries. Why delete Anne Frank? Is she not a victim of the Holocaust? Is her story not worthy of being told? Is the story of the Hiding Place about the Ten Boom family in Harlem Holland not worthy of being told?

The book purge at the Keller Independent School District in Keller, Texas, was requested Tuesday by a district executive in an email, a copy of which was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. A copy of the email also circulated on social media.

“By the end of today, I need all books pulled from the library and classrooms,” wrote Jennifer Price, Keller ISD’s executive director of curriculum and instruction. It was the latest in a string of book removals being implemented at schools at the behest of conservative activist parents and school board members who are challenging a slew of texts on grounds ranging from their LGBT-friendly content to their supposed connections to “critical race theory.” Some of these challenges have ensnared books with Jewish themes in the past.

“It’s disgusting. It’s devastating. It’s legitimate book banning, there’s no way around it,” Laney Hawes, a parent of four children in the Keller district, told JTA about the order. “I feel bad for the teachers and the librarians.” (Source: The Times of Israel)

To me this is a repeat of Nazi Germany. Book Bans, book burns, before you know it, we will have lost all of our freedoms. If we keep denying our history for political correctness or because we are afraid of offending, then we will lose America. How many people are really ready to lose the last hope of freedom for the world?

A movie producer said, instead of protesting against book bans, I go out and purchase the banned book,” Stephen Spielberg. There have been one thousand five hundred eight-six book bans in the United States since April 2022, targeting one thousand one hundred forty-five unique books according to the non-profit organization pen. Some of the banned books include Charlotte’s Web, The Color Purple, Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was banned for having no value for children and supporting negativism.

I feel banning any book is wrong. I remember watching an episode of The Waltons where John Boy printed a story about Adolph Hitler. One of the neighbors was a German but John Boy kept that a secret. One night the residents of Waltons Mountain were going to have a book burn. As it turns out one of the German books, they were about to burn was the bible. As authors we all work hard and for our work to be destroyed because no one agrees with our written words is wrong. That is why the founders of this country gave us the first amendment.

I feel like removing books because it offends then put your child in a private school.

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About the Creator

Lawrence Edward Hinchee

I am a new author. I wrote my memoir Silent Cries and it is available on Amazon.com. I am new to writing and most of my writing has been for academia. I possess an MBA from Regis University in Denver, CO. I reside in Roanoke, VA.

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