Sixty-eight books in the Mat-Su School District have been removed from libraries using a process allowing anyone to censor anything, denying students their right to read. This move is inspired by Outside anti-freedom organizations whose supporters use McCarthyist tactics such as attacking teachers and librarians, defaming their reputations, threatening their homes and families by following and harassing them, and even making violent threats or bomb scares. Some of these zealots even accost children and use mob rule to take over public meetings, violating public meeting laws.
In Alaska, right-wing extremists have been slightly more moderate in their attempts to impose their narrow worldview on the rest of us. They haven’t yet resorted to personal or violent attacks. It’s a small state, people-wise, so perhaps they’re wiser to focus their ire on books they’ve never read than attack neighbors they may need to rely on.
The excuse of protecting children is an old trick, designed to provoke fear and an emotional, thought-free reaction. How many times throughout history has “protect the children” been used by fascists to target a scapegoat group? Hence the focus on books by or about the LGBTQ community or about Black history.
Fortunately, students who want to read these books can still do so. The Brooklyn and Seattle public libraries and the Internet Archive are three sources your anti-American school board can’t censor. A Google search for “books banned by Mat-Su” turns up plenty of places to borrow excellent novels by Joseph Heller, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and F. Scott Fitzgerald — all banned from the curriculum by your district. Students, enjoy some excellent reading!
— Karen Jensen
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