Beaufort, SC students need the books perspective on everyone

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OPINION AND COMMENT

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The use of “The Blueest Eye” in schools has been challenged by some parents across the country.

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It’s time to remove the Bible from Beaufort County school libraries.

This book is rated XXX.

What if children read about Sodom and Gomorrah and what happens there? What if they read about prostitutes Rahab, Mary Magdeline and, perhaps worst of all, Gomer the prostitute? The Lord knows what will happen if they read that Onan “spilled his seed on the ground”.

And to think that a bunch of parents missed it on their list of 97 books they want removed from schools because they’re “rated for adults.”

Mary Dimitrov of The Island Packet reported at the request of the parents to remove the books.

Of course, to suggest that the Bible be removed is sarcastic, which the parents’ request to remove the 97 books deserves. Such a request can hardly be considered a serious attempt to protect children. The demand is actually a thinly veiled attempt to impose conservative ideas on gender and morality – an attempt that may actually harm trans and gay youth.

The Beaufort County School District voluntarily removed the 97 books for review after hearing a parent’s concerns, the district said. It’s unclear if it was one parent or a few, but it seems a vocal minority, perhaps even a tiny one, is calling for these books to be taken down. District officials cannot set a precedent by letting an angry small group coerce them into making decisions that affect thousands of students.

Some of the books parents want to ban focus on gay and trans youth, such as “All Boys Are Not Blue” and “Almost Perfect.” Others deal with race, such as “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and “I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter”.

Like “The Bluest Eye”, some of the books have been out for decades. Science fiction and fantasy novels are included, such as “The Handmaid’s Tale”, which contains themes on gender roles.

Why should Beaufort County schools remove these books from the shelves? Because they have sex in them? Sex is a part of life, and it certainly is a part of life for many teenagers. Is it because they deal with trans and gay youth? Why shouldn’t they be represented on the shelves? Is it because these books are too “mature”. Some high school students are 18 and 19 years old. They can join the army but can’t read certain books?

These parents aren’t just asking for these books to go away, they’re asking for outspoken, gay, trans brown kids to go away.

It is well documented that trans and gay youth experience more mental health issues and suicide than others. The ostracism of trans and gay youth by removing some of their representation from libraries only compounds the problems they face.

As quickly as the school district removed the books, it should put them back on the shelves. The ability to get to know other people and other points of view should never be taken away from young people.

This supposed “group” of parents does not just oppress gays, trans and young people of color while taking away learning opportunities. These parents are also denying children the opportunity to escape into the amazing worlds of certain science fiction and fantasy books and to develop their imaginations.

If these parents really wanted to protect their children, they would read these books with their children and discuss their content. Maybe they could read that part of the Bible that says, “Love your neighbour.”

Don’t these parents know that nothing makes a child want more than to say it’s bad for you, it’s bad and it should be banned?

David Travis Bland is the editorial writer for The State. In his previous position as a journalist, he was named the 2020 South Carolina Journalist of the Year by the SC Press Association. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010.
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