Conservative book burners are getting what they want, and we’re letting them

Basically what it says on the tin. I read this article (warning for possible paywall) from the Washington Post about self-censorship happening all over the country, as school administrators pull books that have not yet been challenged quietly and without any sort of due process. The censorship is happening in secret. And that is exactly what these right-wing book-burning nutjobs wanted us to do. They want us to fear the furor, fear the confrontation, and do the censorship ourselves.

This is an issue I think about a lot, just for myself. Am I really not going to touch that issue because I have nothing to say? Or do I just fear the backlash? And I’m not saying it’s wrong to fear the backlash. Sometimes the backlash can be scary, and can affect our work, our families, even our very lives as some folks pursue IRL violence to enforce their views. But letting fear of a vocal and violent minority steer the ship is not the answer. We must gird our loins for the battle and remind them that there are more of us than there are of them. Because there are. There are more people who oppose censorship and book banning than there are people pushing for these books to be pulled. We’re just quiet about it. And it’s time for us to get loud. To say, loud and proud “No, I think GenderQueer/Maus/Melissa/Insert other book belongs in all libraries and all schools because they have important lessons and messages that kids and adults and everyone needs to be able to access if they so choose.”

Anyway. Self-censorship is the coward’s way out, and I am almost as angry at the people engaging in it as I am at the people who pursue book bans. Because you (generic) should know better, and know that people need these books, need access to all kinds of information, and preemptively removing them to avoid a fight is betraying the very people who need us to stand up and say enough is enough the most.

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