There’s a war brewing in America, and the enemy is…books?

Theres a war brewing in America, and the enemy is...books?

Gabriella Mbaoua, Reporter

Is our country adopting Fahrenheit 451 into its legislation, or is that a little dramatic?

Well, the numbers reported by Pen America say otherwise, and the “firemen” are working at a greater pace than ever before. The states with the most issued bans on books are Florida, with 357 bans, Missouri, with 315 bans, and Utah and South Carolina combined have issued over 100 book bans. These numbers are absurdly large, but the correlation behind which books are getting banned is even more absurd. 

During the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, the Index of School Book Bans have reported that 30% of these books are about race or feature characters of color, and 26% have LGBTQ+ characters or themes. School boards and administrators across the country are given the power to regulate the content that is presented to their students and it seems that the books that aren’t centered around white, heterosexual content should be taken out. 

People often underestimate the power parents, political groups, and school boards have on the information that goes into their students’ heads. By vigorously controlling what kind of content students are allowed to consume, schools are able to manage and manipulate with very little intervention from the federal government.

Many students feel like key information about our society is being taken away from them without their say. 

“Stuff like that wouldn’t be talked about, but it’s really a matter of like you need to educate people. As an educator you need to do the research and put out the correct information,” Joy Abijah (12) says. 

There are plenty of people who are in support of these bans and argue that the purpose is to protect the students from consuming inappropriate content. It’s understandable to take out books from schools that have extreme violence, prejudice, or profanity in it, but if you think that a children’s picture book about a Latin American household celebrating Christmas Eve with a freshly baked batch of tamales is too extreme for young, impressionable students, then you might have the wrong idea. I would be referring to the picture book by the name of Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, and parents, you need to watch out. 

Schools don’t seem to understand how impactful it is for students to be allowed to read and evaluate books that portray the themes that are woven into the inner workings of our society. Either that, or they do understand it and are attempting to do everything in their power to stop it. 

The motive is to filter out students’ understanding of an ever changing world which will hold them decades back from what we’ve come to learn and accept about each other today.