Book Bans Becoming Librarian Hunts
Wed Dec 21
Quiet libraries with their shushing librarians have become a battleground for conservative groups. Back in February, we discussed the sweeping book bans from conservatives. Well, efforts have only escalated as conservative groups hurl death threats and wild accusations of grooming children and pedophilia at librarians. The harassment (both digital and in person) has caused some to fear leaving their homes as well as physical ailments from the stress.
Students who’ve spoken out in favor of libraries say they were met with childish hostility from adults. While these students may somewhat jokingly comment that it’s difficult enough to get students to read books mandated by teachers let alone those outside a curriculum, access to diverse and challenging books is key to helping students learn to think for themselves and find stories that speak to them, especially for those from historically marginalized backgrounds.
Of course, book bans are nothing new, but today’s efforts are distinct. Experts say the motivation may not truly be the books themselves given the level of organization, volume of contested titles, and ferocity of their attacks. In fact, book ban campaigns may be motivated more by politics and monetary gain. Politicians can rally a group of supporters cheaply and easily by simply taking content out of context and calling the whole book questionable. Supporters can then be milked for donations in the fight against the libraries and to increase turnout for elections.
And with 96% of U.S. book bans enacted without any process whatsoever, there’s great concern over how quickly this will erode freedom of speech and democracy. Book bans have been used with similar rhetoric in recent backsliding democracies (Brazil, Hungary, and Turkey).
BELOW THE FOLD BYTES
Food Innovators: Black Vegan Chefs
Vegan food has long been associated with pricey, white restaurants but Black vegan chefs are flipping the story. From jackfruit-based BBQ brisket to breakfast sandwiches, Black vegan chefs across the U.S. are making waves with their plant-based innovations. Some chefs are motivated to bring vegan food to their community which suffers disproportionately from health conditions and climate change. Eating vegan is seen as an opportunity to fight these challenges and maybe even rediscover how Black food has always been rooted in fresh produced and farm-to-table cooking.
Fighting Over Gold And Chanel No 5?
A region of Somalia has been suffering armed conflict over gold mining since 2008. Not only has there been much violence and death, but the same region is also home to ancient frankincense and myrrh trees, important exports that go to religious institutions, medicinal production, and luxury cosmetics and perfumes, including Chanel No 5. Gold mining, however, is endangering these trees by not just clearing them for mining but by blocking crucial waterways in their activity, too. But the miners themselves are hard pressed to do much else when drought has made their previous lives as nomads impossible.
🎬 Action of the Week
THIS WEEK'S SOURCES
- Coda Story: War on Librarians 19 minutes | 2 weeks ago
- The Guardian: Attacks on Libraries 8 minutes | 3 months ago
- Book Riot: Threat of Censorship VS AI 11 minutes | 3 weeks ago
- PEN America: Growth of Censorship 18 minutes | 3 months ago
- New York Times: Publishers & 2022 Book Bans 4 minutes | 3 weeks ago
ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS
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Ooh, a book! You rebel, you!
Art Credit: ascii.co.uk