Schools Conservative Uprising

Amanda Darrow, director of youth, family and education programs at the Utah Pride Center, with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in Salt Lake City in 2021.

Those of us living in New Mexico are somewhat sheltered from the campaigns to ban books that have run rampant across America in recent months. Some might remember in 2001 when a pastor in Alamogordo led a burning of the Harry Potter series books, which he dubbed “a masterpiece in Satanic deception.” But more than 20 years later, that event pales in comparison to the 566 book bans in place in Florida, as reported by The Guardian.

In the 2021-22 school year, more than 1,600 books were banned across 32 states and 138 school districts, according to CBS News. Organizations are fighting for the restriction of certain media kept in school and public libraries, specifically books that represent the experiences of people in LGBTQ+ communities or the experiences of people of color — or even books simply written by members of these communities.

This isn’t a new trend, however. Book censorship has been a constant presence in America, dating to the 1637 banning of Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan, according to the Harvard Gutman Library. As a teen who grew up without (unreasonable) restrictions on what I could read, it haunts me how popular book banning has become. It’s terrifying to think there is a strong movement to control what we are allowed to read.

Cora Thompson is a sophomore at The MASTERS Program. Contact them at cgthompsonsf@gmail.com.

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