Books are most often challenged for language, sexual content, and violence, but what about for political reasons? A perfect storm ensues when political ideologies, race-based fears, and those seeking political gain exert influence over a school’s curriculum.
Like a good proportion of the country, I have been doing my best to catch bits and pieces of the Senate hearings regarding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court. When I sat down to write this blog I wondered, what impact might Kavanaugh’s confirmation have on intellectual freedom issues?
Perhaps the most important thing librarians can do is to continue to be a part of the dialogue on how we manage these issues and balance competing interests to ensure intellectual freedom and inclusion, and to be mindful of these issues in program scheduling, meeting space usage, and collection development choices.
By: guest blogger Tara Lane Bowman; Protest placards have come a long way since the days when signs beseeched readers to elect a candidate in an upcoming election. In the past, these signs and slogans were direct. The act of carrying a sign is a First Amendment right that engages any literate bystander. It would be enough to carry a message that states exactly what it is that a protester stands for or against. However, the Women’s Marches show that modern protests require more than physical presence and traditional signs of dissent.
Question: How is the United States’ preeminent body tasked with preventing disease and poor public health to accomplish its mandate if it is barred from doing so?
As information communities, as librarians, and educators, information literacy principles and first amendment freedoms are at the core to motivating students in college. Confronting self-censorship, academic development, and the ability to practice intellectual freedom is what Xicana/Latina students encounter in higher education.
According to Twitter’s Rules, “You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.” The policy has already been enforced against several high-profile accounts, including the leaders of the far-right Britain First party.
The events in Charlottesville have heightened public awareness of white supremacist organizations and their music, merchandise and online presence. There has also been a renewed interest in leading technology company platforms and the ways in which they host and profit from the activities of groups that identify with white supremacy.
Politics in the classroom isn’t new, but it does feel different this year. The violence in Charlottesville coincided with the back to school rush, and our nation’s violent partisan reality looms as a silent force in many teachers’ and students’ minds.
Long after we won the Cold War, communism is still a fighting word for many in the United States. And materials for children and young adults are the source of most challenges to books and intellectual freedom, so this combination was a combustible one.