BY ERIC TODD SCOTT SR.
The “book-banning mommas” in our community and elsewhere are consciously ignorant in their thinking. They say they are Christians, but remind me of Hitler’s Nazi regime, which burned and banned books. Ultra-white nationalism and antisemitism are evident in the actions of this organization. This group has used the press and propaganda in a nationwide action targeting what it calls vulgarity and pornography in books. They believe they are participating in a cleansing to purify books in school libraries. We know this right-wing propaganda is a pre-staging of state censorship and control of culture.
Authors on the banned book blacklists use “real words” to describe the experiences and the struggles of the disabled and the LBGTQ community as well as the quest for civil rights and Black history. These authors share stories about efforts to improve conditions for industrial workers, to secure the right to vote for women, and help our citizens understand, become enlightened, find answers and cope with life’s struggles. A story is a story, a book is a book, and authors have freedom of speech. People in this country have the freedom to choose what they read.
The trickery of these groups is not going unnoticed. They talk about ridding our school libraries of books that contain vulgar language; yet they don’t even pay attention to how few of these books even get checked out. Many of the book banners have not even read these books in their entirety. They just highlight sections that offend them and label them as vulgar and pornographic. Then these groups turn around and post these passages for parents and tell a one-sided truth. Who is really promoting pornography here?
In one breath, the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education vice chair quotes Baruti Kafele as saying, “The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in a book.” Then he promotes banning books. Does this make sense? It does if your true intentions are to take books away from our most vulnerable populations.
These groups say parents should make choices about what their children read. That’s a great idea. It would be nice if all children had parents dedicated to reading with their child and talking with their child about what they read. But we live in a nation where this is not the norm. Banning books is not the way. This organized effort to ban books in school libraries is a threat to our nation’s freedoms.
These double-tongued serpents want to rid the world of books that they deem vulgar in a world where anyone can turn on the TV, watch Hulu, Netflix, HBO, or Cinemax, or get on a phone and seek whatever they wish to read or watch, including actual pornography. Where is their nationwide effort to rid the world of everything offensive on social media? Is that next?
There are also efforts to rid libraries of the work of Black writers who speak their truth about the struggle for Civil Rights and Black history. These groups want to paint a lily-white picture of our nation’s past. They want to ban books about the heinous and inhumane treatment of Black Americans. They claim teachers are disseminating pornographic material and promoting LBGTQ in schools. They want to review every resource and every lesson plan because they are fearful that their children might learn the “real” truth about the world.
These groups are the very reason we can’t keep teachers in our schools. They are the reason no one wants to teach. We are over it. We will continue to teach about the wrongdoings in our nation’s history, show people the trickery and sneaky ways these groups seek to keep those who are different and less fortunate down. Go ahead and continue to think that your way, your culture, your misguided interpretation of Christian beliefs, and your character are the moral and true character, and that it’s all based on what they call God’s teachings. Reasonable people know better.
Here’s some truth: These groups are not trying to ban any books written by KKK leaders, Neo-Nazi leaders, Skinheads and other hate groups. Where is the list of these books? They include heinous, vulgar, discriminatory, hurtful lies. These groups say they don’t want their children reading or having to learn about the wrongdoings of the past, that this is detrimental to their health and emotional stability. Wake up! What about the children who are being denied the opportunity to learn the true history of their ancestors’ past, and being kept from knowing how their people influenced the world and made inventions and didn’t get the recognition. What about all the hate groups who claim their “race is the superior race!” When will these groups address these books and these people?
Some of these people claim they ran for public offices to help people. Once they are in office, all they do is push their own partisan ideology. This cannot continue.
How do these people sleep at night? Do you think Jesus would approve of this hatefulness and divisiveness? God is love and reaches people, especially the lowly, unfortunate, the sinful, humbly through love and compassion. He is the only judge. He is the one with the fire and brimstone. Stop the madness!
Eric Todd Scott Sr. is president of the Statesville Branch NAACP.