Over 1,600 Books Were Banned During the Past School Year

Shelves of books
Advocacy
groups
played
a
major
role
in
the
bans
that
took
place
during
the
2021-22
school
year,
according
to
PEN
America.

David
Madison
/
Getty
Images

It’s Banned
Books
Week
,
an
annual
campaign
that
began
in
1982
to
celebrate
the First
Amendment

and
encourage
the
protection
of
controversial
materials.
But
now,
four
decades
later,
book
bans
are
on
the
rise,
according
to
a
new
report
from
the
free
speech
nonprofit

PEN
America
.

Between
July
2021
and
June
2022,
the
report—Banned
in
the
USA:
The
Growing
Movement
to
Censor
Books
in
Schools
—found
2,532
instances
of
individual
bans,
which
covered
1,648
unique
books.
PEN
America
tracks
the
bans
in
a

public
spreadsheet
,
which
indicates
that
the
most-banned
book
is

Maia
Kobabe
’s Gender
Queer:
A
Memoir
.

The
bans
took
place
in
138
school
districts
across
32
states;
in
total,
those
school
districts
enroll
nearly
4
million
students.
(These
numbers
only
account
for
the
bans
that
PEN
America
was
able
to
track,
and
the
organization
says
that
more
likely
exist.) The
report
found
that
96
percent
of
the
bans
did
not
follow
the
best
practice
guidelines
for
book
challenges
outlined
by
the American
Library
Association
 (ALA)
and
the National
Coalition
Against
Censorship
.

About
41
percent
of
the
banned
titles
explicitly
address
LGBTQ themes,
making
these
the
biggest
target
of
the
bans.
Books
involving
sexual
content—such
as
stories
about
teen
pregnancy,
sexual
assault
and
abortion—account for
22
percent
of
the
titles.
About
21
percent
directly
address
race
and
racism,
while
40
percent
feature
major
characters
of
color.

The
team
behind

Banned
in
the
USA

wanted
to
determine
where
book
bans
originated.
They
found
that
in
many
instances,
the
bans were
the
calculated
result
of
work
by
advocacy
groups.

“[T]he
large
majority
of
book
bans
underway
today
are
not
spontaneous,
organic
expressions
of
citizen
concern,”
the
report
states.
“Rather,
they
reflect
the
work
of
a
growing
number
of
advocacy
organizations
that
have
made
demanding
censorship
of
certain
books
and
ideas
in
schools
part
of
their
mission.”

PEN
America
identified
50
groups,
some
with
hundreds
of
regional
chapters,
pushing
for
book
bans
across
the
country.
The
majority
of
those
groups—73
percent—have
formed
since
2021. 

“These
groups
probably
do
not
necessarily
represent
a
range
of
beliefs
from
our
democracy,”
PEN
America’s
Jonathan
Friedman,
one
of
the
report’s
authors,
tells


Education
Week
’s
Eesha
Pendharkar.
“So
they’re
having
an
outsized
impact
in
a
lot
of
places
on
what
it
is
that
everybody
gets
to
read.”

Such
groups
have
played
a
hand
in
many
of
the
book
bans
that
took
place
over
the
last
school
year;
20
percent
of
bans
can
be
directly
linked
to
their
work,
while
they
appear
to
have
influenced
an
additional
30
percent. 

“This
is
a
concerted,
organized,
well-resourced
push
at
censorship,”
Suzanne
Nossel,
the
chief
executive
of
PEN
America,
tells
the New
York
Times

Elizabeth
A.
Harris.
“[The
effort]
is
ideologically
motivated
and
politically
expedient,
and
it
needs
to
be
understood
as
such
in
order
to
be
confronted
and
addressed
properly.”

Last
week,
the
ALA released
its
own
report
,
which
examines
book
bans
since
the
beginning
of
2022,
and
found
a
similar
increase
in
bans.

“I’ve
never
seen
anything
like
this,”
Deborah
Caldwell-Stone,
director
of
the
ALA’s
Office
for
Intellectual
Freedom,
tells
Hillel
Italie
of
the Associated
Press

(AP).
“It’s
both
the
number
of
challenges
and
the
kinds
of
challenges.
It
used
to
be
a
parent
had
learned
about
a
given
book
and
had
an
issue
with
it.
Now
we
see
campaigns
where
organizations
are
compiling
lists
of
books,
without
necessarily
reading
or
even
looking
at
them.”

Artikel ini diambil dari https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/whos-behind-the-push-to-ban-books-in-schools-180980818/

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