Book bans have been part of the American landscape since the beginning of the republic. But lately, we’re seeing an uptick in school board and state legislative action to prevent people — often schoolchildren — from reading specific books or even learning about certain topics.
The reasons given for banning a book vary, but a common argument is that the book is upsetting. A recent example is Maus, banned from the eighth grade curriculum by a school board in Tennessee. Maus is a graphic novel about the Holocaust.
Of course it is upsetting to read about the Holocaust. Learning that six million people, mostly Jewish, were deemed biologically inferior and exterminated less than 100 years ago should be more than upsetting.
What’s really horrifying is that a recent survey showed that almost two-thirds of young American adults knew little about the Holocaust. Ten percent denied that it had even happened.
Book bans may be an attempt to shield children, or they may be a cynical political ploy to win votes, or exclude groups, or deny historical events. Book bans are a way of controlling the conversation and are bad for democracy.
But what they really are is futile. Sales of Maus soared 753% in late January and it has since sold out on Amazon. Library copies have long waiting lists, including here in DeKalb.
And hey, folks, Maus is easy to find and read online.
I’m Deborah Booth and that’s my perspective.
Originally published here by Deborah Booth on Northern Public Radio.
Click Here To Submit A News Tip Or Story