Welcome to “Don’t Believe the Hype” with Shirley Irizarry, where we will be bringing truth to light about issues affecting parents and students.
In this issue I’d like to bring attention to the hypocrisy of the book bans that are taking place throughout the country. While book bans have always been a part of this country’s history, within the past few years there have been several laws passed that restrict access to books based on any content deemed inappropriate by certain political and parent groups. Most of these come from right-wing conservatives attempting to push their ideologies while marginalizing Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ communities.
The hypocrisy lies in these groups banning books that represent marginalized communities by instilling fear their children will be groomed or be faced with the true history of this country’s violence, greed, and systemic racism. These same conservative groups who worry about their children being exposed to different cultures and communities, but do not have a problem with telling people what they can and cannot do with their bodies, while pushing heteronormative ideologies. The so-called parent groups who state they want to keep children safe, and claim to speak on behalf of all parents, but absolutely do not!
If it were truly about making sure schools are safe for all students, why not be as inclusive as possible and include readings and curriculums that represent ALL communities in this country? Let’s let school leaders, educators, and librarians use their expertise to provide a well-rounded education for all and let parents decide what they deem appropriate or inappropriate for their own children.
Pay close attention to whatever legislation is being passed in your states and speak out against any policies that will keep your students from learning about true American history. Our students deserve to be seen, heard, and represented in literature. Now is not the time to sit back and allow these bans to take place! In the words of one of my idols, Chuck D of Public Enemy: FIGHT THE POWER!! And of course, DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!