January 26, 2022

Anna Baker: Book ban attempts in Texas public libraries are racist, homophobic

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Anna Baker is a senior at the University of Houston. In this piece for The Cougar, she looks at recent Texas attempts at banning books.

Recently in Texas, there has been an initiative to ban certain books from public libraries and school libraries. This rush to ban certain books is based on the false idea that critical race theory has infiltrated education. It also discriminates against authors of marginalized groups.

Back in October, Rep. Matt Krause of the House Committee on General Investigation launched an investigation of school libraries claiming that certain books will make students uncomfortable. Gov. Greg Abbott supported this and state officials began looking through books in public schools to get rid of inappropriate content. People have also set their sights on public libraries for inspection.

This is no surprise after Texas banned critical race theory in schools. It’s important to note that critical race theory is actually never taught at the grade school level. It’s usually taught in law school. Some of its main ideas are that race is a social construct and that racism is created by racist laws and legal systems.

This is simply a way of analyzing laws and it is definitely not taught in public schools. So instead of banning critical race theory books, since they really aren’t found in schools, the attention has been toward banning books from Black authors.

Some of the books targeted by the investigation like “Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendal critique feminism’s lack of on racism and classism. This is far from critical race theory. Feminism has become very mainstream so it’s good for students to have the resources to learn more about it.

Some of the books just feature Black coming of age stories like “The Black Flamingo” which is about a mixed-race gay teen who later gets involved with drag shows. Many of the books aren’t even explicitly political but just feature Black and LGBTQ characters. White state officials are trying to censor Black people talking about their experiences, which is racist.

Just because some people don’t want to hear about racism doesn’t mean it goes away. Young people should be able to learn about it from libraries.

Read the full piece here.

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