Book Bans in the United States


Book bans in the US are on the rise, and the way in which these bans are occurring are also rapidly changing. 1648 unique books are banned in school districts across the US, with this being only the books PEN America, a non-profit organization set on protecting our rights and the original finder of these bans, has uncovered. But, as PEN America and the NYT also highlight, these bans are not in fact stemming from concerned parents, but instead incredibly political groups and politicians intending to ban dozens or even hundreds of books at a time. These include groups like Moms for Liberty, an increasingly large organization, and even the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group.

Another key issue in these book bans is not just the groups who are banning these books, but the way they are accomplishing it. A further study by PEN America uncovered that around 96% of these bans did not follow the best practice guidelines created by the American Library Association and National Coalition Against Censorship. These guidelines are very clear, and include steps such as having all members read the book in question, or give an explanation as to why they were unable to, and to give justification as to why these books should be banned (guidelines in full can be found on ALA Guidelines).

An example of the ridiculous fashion in which these books are banned is Matt Krause, a representative in Texas’ House of Representatives, who compiled a list of about 850 books which he intends to remove from school libraries around the entire state. This list includes books like An African American and Latinx History of the United States, a well-reviewed title by historian Paul Ortiz, and non-fiction book, How Prevalent Is Racism in Society?, by Peggy J. Parks as well as many more well respected and established books detailing issues like racism, sexuality, puberty and other issues. Through rash actions like these Rep. Matt Krause and other similar politicians seek to increase their political power at the expense of the entire school system and those within it.

The book bans are meant to target and erase books containing information about topics like gender, sexuality, racism, and other important topics. So, when in the next years we become eligible to vote, remember what that these politicians and be conscious of their actions to censor what students can read in school.