Source: Fayetteville Observer
Cumberland County has recently removed two books from a list of 80 books targeted that are still under review by the school board.
Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison and National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie were among the authors that right-wing activists are demanding be removed from shelves. A shocking amount of the targeted titles deal with anti-racism or LGBTQ themes.
The book review committee decided to remove “Push” by Sapphire as well as “Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg. The decision was made not necessarily because of the content, but because they were rarely checked out by students, according to Cumberland County School spokesperson Lindsay Whitley. However, removing these books ensures they will never be read by students.
In a recent op-ed, Myron B. Pitts points out that the books targeted in Cumberland County are disproportionately Black and LGBTQ authors. “This attempted ban is part of a nationwide effort by culture warriors to hunt down minority and LGBTQ titles in school libraries,” he noted, “a movement that has gone so far, even some conservatives are pushing back.”
Representation matters and especially in school libraries where the available books are largely dominated by white characters.
According to U.S. News and World Report Cumberland County Schools’ student population is 45.6% Black, 14.9% Hispanic/Latino, 1.9% Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.4% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.5% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Instead of removing books by these authors the system should be adding more titles by, and centering, people of color.
This attempt to censor what children can read is just another in a long list of Republican-led attacks on education. Extremists are seeking to censor libraries and limit classroom discussions on race, gender, and sexuality.
While state Republicans are prioritizing education restrictions, targeting LGBTQ+ youth, and banning books, students continue to suffer from an ever-increasing teacher shortage, and the inequities plaguing schools due to a lack of funding.