If you’ve been following the latest Republican effort to incite hate and get their voter base riled up over nothing, you’ve likely noticed conservatives are coming down hard against books. Yes, books. Specifically books available in public school classrooms and public libraries. Even more specifically? Books that can be misconstrued as being remotely “inappropriate” or “obscene.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, these allegations tend to be flung out against writers who are people of color (and especially women of color) and folks who are openly LGBTQ+.
And it’s not just in our heads. According to a new report from PEN America, a nonprofit that fights for freedom of expression, between July 2021 and June 2022 alone, public schools banned more than 2,000 books, as highlighted by CBS News. This included more than 1,600 unique titles. The organization suggests that at least 40% of these banned book efforts were linked to either pressure from politicians or anti-book legislative efforts, like critical race theory hysteria or Don’t Say Gay bills.