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Books Education United States

53% More Book Banning Incidents In US Schools This Year 360

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-bans-the-banners dept.
vikingpower writes "Isabel Allende's The House of The Spirits. Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man. What do these titles have in common? They are banned at a school in the U.S. Yes, in 2013. A project named The Kids' Right to Read Project (by the National Coalition Against Censorship ) investigated three times the average number of incidents, adding to an overall rise in cases for the entire year, according to KRRP coordinator Acacia O'Connor. To date, KRRP has confronted 49 incidents in 29 states this year, a 53% increase in activity from 2012. During the second half of 2013, the project battled 31 new incidents, compared to only 14 in the same period last year. 'It has been a sprint since the beginning of the school year,' O'Connor said. 'We would settle one issue and wake up the next morning to find out another book was on the chopping block. The NCAC also offers a Book Censorship Toolkit on its website."
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53% More Book Banning Incidents In US Schools This Year

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:10PM (#45832439)
    the new 15th Century.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:16PM (#45832471)

    Best way to make people want something is to ban it.

  • Ban or Censor? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:19PM (#45832489)
    There is a difference. Its a shame the words are interchanged just to outrage the reader.

    Lots of books should be censored from our public schools for a variety of inappropriate content. More books are being published every year, so that list should grow. Kids can get any of those books via their parents if they want. As for the particular books on the list, well, each case must be discussed separately.
  • Re:Ban or Censor? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:24PM (#45832549)

    The difference is whether or not you agree with the people doing the banning.

  • Re:Ban or Censor? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:40PM (#45832705)

    Kids can get any of those books via their parents if they want.

    Yeah, that's privilege speaking.

    The people who most rely on public institutions are the ones who are least able to replace them with their own money. Average middle-class kid and just get his mom to order the book on amazon. Average lower-class kid's mom is working 60 hours a week just to pay the rent and keep food on the table. She doesn't even have a computer to order from amazon and couldn't afford to if she did.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:48PM (#45832785)

    Politics, probably. There's a lot of backlash against political correctness - some people would see reading such a book in schools as 'liberal indoctrination' intended to make white people feel guilty about being white.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:51PM (#45832813)

    That's because they are. Try keeping a class focused on their lesson when half of them have a phone hidden under the desk to check their facebook page.

  • by turkeydance (1266624) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:58PM (#45832875)
    and we take their word for it.
  • The fact that only 49 of them (well, probably some of these are full districts, so the number of schools will be greater) are banning books should be celebrated.

    The concern I would have here is that we have no way of knowing what fraction of all book bannings come to the attention of NCAC. Particularly if a ban is implemented by a single school, banning a book from the curriculum may only directly affect one or two classrooms' worth of children. Not all of those students (or even their parents) may necessarily be aware that a ban has been applied. In subsequent years, no one may have any inkling that the ban exists; the book will have silently disappeared from the curriculum. The syllabus doesn't usually include a list of the books that aren't being taught. So for those reasons, I suspect that the number given - 49 instances - represents a very significant under-reporting.

    On the other hand, that same under-reporting gives me a (small) measure of comfort with respect to the other number in the summary: the purported 53% year-over-year increase in bannings. Without ready access to more data, it's entirely possible that the increase in cases is not due to an increase in bannings (undoubtedly a bad thing) but due to an increase in awareness regarding the NCAC and their Kids' Right to Read Project which would make these incidents more likely to be reported and challenged when they do occur (which would be a good thing).

  • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @06:19PM (#45833001)
    So, in your opinion, everything bad a person does is based on religion, and everything good is human nature? I think there is plenty of "evil" in human nature as well as "good". I am athiest, so I could care less if we are talking Christians or Buddhists, or assigning blame to one religion or another, but to choose to only assign the negative to religious influence seems to be more a matter of convenience to your own arguments.

    Religions have cropped up in almost all societies. There is a reason for that, and its not "evil". It is because there was a need. Its an interesting exercise to think about that societal need. Much more interesting than just blindly casting fault on religions for many of our problems.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @06:47PM (#45833179) Journal

    Gotta agree with sibling... most school districts are far more enamored with stomping out all hallmarks of what most of us refer to as the real world.

    Can't have harsh terminology, can't have depicted violence... hell, they can't even stand to have some wayward little boy kissing a girl, or pointing a finger at a classmate while saying "bang".

    With all the zero tolerance BS going around? I can almost assure you that the censorship isn't coming from some drooling caricature of the "Right Wing" (cue ominous music), but more a result of overly-anxious officials scouring the libraries to expunge anything that could remotely intrude on what they assert is the "best" way to teach a child.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @06:49PM (#45833201)

    Why wouldn't it make us uncomfortable?

    That teacher made no effort to make the distinction between the actions of people in the past, and the young white men in the room. That's a huge effin problem. Let's discuss racism, and stereotypes, and prejudice, but do it in a way that is not racist in of itself.

    Do you think it was only white men that had slaves and were racist? Puhleeeze.

    Black people can be the most racist people on the planet now. Look at genocide happening in Africa. Christians and Muslims in Syria. Racism, slavery, and those associated evils are not the exclusive domain of white men. Black people sold each other into slavery in Africa. People tend to forget that. Slaves were picked up at the coast, but it was not white men hunting them to bring them to port.

    That's what is so damn offensive about those "libs", "teachers", whatever dealing with children. I just call them arrogant racist assholes.

    I was passionate about history, but I would have been deeply hurt and offended if there was too much emphasis on white men being the problem, and not enough attention paid towards creating a distinction that the young white men in the room are not inherently evil.

    It's fucking hurtful. It creates a divide. It perpetuates the problem.

    I totally understand the thinking behind the book ban. The "white man" is unfairly demonized well after we are supposed to getting rid of this shit. Does anyone think it's a really good idea to create judgement and negative emotions in a young person solely based on the color of their skin?

    Children should not suffer the sins of the parents. I am not my parents.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @08:03PM (#45833633)

    That teacher made no effort to make the distinction between the actions of people in the past, and the young white men in the room.

    It is weird how you got all that ranting out of some uncited event. How do you even know you are talking about the same event the previous poster was talking about?

    Seems kind of convenient to me that you would paint it as so obviously one-sided but neglect to give anyone else reading along the opportunity to see for themselves.

  • by Pseudonym Authority (1591027) <> on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @09:05PM (#45833971)

    With all the zero tolerance BS going around?

    Zero tolerance = zero thinking. It's a way to remove the responsibility out of school administrators and pin it on some other government body, probably one with lawyers. It's a "Just following orders" for education.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @11:27PM (#45834617)


    When you are trying to teach something in a room with young people, and you bring up history in such a way that you label and isolate some young people in the room based on skin color, THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE

    More racism does not cure racism.

    For all of those that do feel oppressed, taking it out on young white men by telling them that they are evil and do evil things, is not a very smart way to move forward in society.

    From those labels comes sadness & resentment. From that you get depression and anger. From that you get young people abused, taken advantage of, and then tattooed, shaved, and handed a neo-nazi jacket.

    Talk about uncomfortable things all you want. For those children that is part of growing up and I would not want to shelter them. Just don't isolate a group of them and make them feel bad about something they have no power to change.

    We can't change the past. We are not responsible for the entirety of the present. We can't change our skin color. Michael Jackson was a one-off.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:46AM (#45835111) Journal

    I'm sorry. I don't actually believe there is a thing called "cultural Marxism". That's just another meaningless descriptor brought to you by the sick twisted minds that insist climatologists are communists and a functional useful government is impossible and no one of wealth owes the civilization in a damned thing.

Brain off-line, please wait.