Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.
By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.
What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.
Republicans in 30 states are now seeking to remove books from classrooms and school libraries that offend them. GOP activists, school boards, lawmakers, and governors across the nation are issuing orders and crafting legislation to protect kids from books that discuss racism, sexuality, feminism, and other “dangerous” topics.
We’re talking about books like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eyes and Beloved, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Ernest Hemingway’s The Farewell to Arms, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House-Five, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Not to mention Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust fable Maus and a whole slew of young adult and children’s books.
This ongoing “frenzy” of right-wing censorship is the largest since the 1920s campaign against teaching evolution. But today’s focus seems to be on books that have the potential to cause “discomfort” to straight, white Christians. Many critics are calling this a concerted and historic book-banning effort.
This week’s provocative question is…
How do you feel about state and local school boards and other jurisdictions banning of classic books such as those I’ve listed? Under what circumstances, if any, do you feel that banning of such books is appropriate and justifiable?
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