If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just a Little Censorship Can’t Really Hurt, Can It?


I’m a bit angry—no, really, really angry—so I’m going to rant for a moment. In Tucson, the school board has banned books by very important and wonderful writers. Pardon me, they say they’re not banned (even though one of their members publicly said they were). They just boxed them up and carted them out of the classroom mid-lesson while teachers were teaching from them and students were reading them and doing projects using them. And teachers have been told they face termination if they’re caught using these books or teaching anything else about “race, ethnicity or oppression.” This is a part of a war on Mexican-American studies, though it bans James Baldwin and bell hooks and Native American and white American authors, even Jane Yolen.

They’ve banned, or “boxed,” Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. They’ve banned, or “boxed,” The Tempest by Shakespeare. They’ve banned, or “boxed,” Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and The House on Mango Street by my dear friend Sandra Cisneros. They’ve banned, or “boxed,” The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie and Bless Me, Última by friend Rudolfo Anaya. They’ve banned eight of my friend Luis Alberto Urrea’s wonderful books. They’ve banned, or “boxed,” United States Government: Democracy in Action by R.C. Remy! And many, many more—the complete list fills two single-spaced pages.

Many of these books are classics and have won major national literary awards, but Tucson wants them kept away from their high school students. It reminds me of the recent news stories about Texas and Tennessee trying to have slavery erased from their history textbooks. How frightened are these small-minded people who want to censor the world of history and literature from their own children? But then, it’s not their own children’s educations they want to censor. It’s that of the children of people their ancestors oppressed, children of people that they may have discriminated against themselves. As if they can remove the reality of it, perhaps even continue with it, if they don’t allow these children to know about it.

Their silly substitution of “boxed” for “banned” is a way of saying, “See, it’s only a little censorship, not the full thing, and a little censorship can’t really hurt, can it?” Actually, when I see the complete, very long list of titles banned, I have trouble seeing it as a “little” censorship, but even if it were, I oppose censorship. Books and the range of ideas and experiences they bring us are one of the treasures of a free society.

Fortunately, there is a movement against this discriminatory censorship. It’s called Librotraficantes, and you can read about it, see a video, donate, and sign up as a volunteer here. www.librotraficantes.com A caravan of books and writers and readers will start from Houston and proceed to Tucson throughout the Southwest, stopping along the way for readings and to pick up yet more authors. They will be smuggling these forbidden books, “wetbooks,” into Tucson, where there will be readings and teach-ins and a public effort to open closed minds.

Yes, even a little censorship, even if you call it “boxing” instead of “banning,” hurts our free society and the students of those schools. My writer friends are doing something about it. I’m doing something about it. Will you?

12 comments:

Ricky Bush said...

Sounds like they have the "oppressive" attitude.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I think you could say that, Ricky.

It's a shame because the kids are the real losers.

Pauline Alldred said...

I'll sign up. I think people who ban works of merit want others to see them as especially moral and virtuous. Hypocrisy strokes again.

Gloria Alden said...

Yes, even just a little censorship hurts. It's depressing to think it's still going on. Why they'd get rid of books by Hispanic writers, especially in a state with
a large Hispanic population is beyond me. Well, maybe it's not beyond me. I think there's a fear factor the "white" population might become a minority.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Pauline, that's great! If you go to the Librotraficante site, www.librotraficante.com, you'll find different ways that you can help take a stand against censorship. Mil gracias!

Gloria, I think you've hit it on the head right there.

The odd thing is that the ancestors of a large percentage of the Latinos in Arizona were already living there when it became a part of the United States in the mid-1800s, long before the first white Americans arrived. In fact, the large majority of the white population in Arizona migrated there from elsewhere in the country after WWII. But unscrupulous political demagogues get on this "nativist," "white sovereignty" kick because it pays off for them with voters who have no knowledge of the history of their own state.

Warren Bull said...

Is there some way we can "box up" the school administrators and replace them with reasonable people?

Linda Rodriguez said...

I'm with you, Warren. I'm considering "boxing" their ears. ;-)

Kara Cerise said...

It's shocking and sad that there are still banned/boxed books in the 21st century! It's also worrying to hear about sanitized history books. If kids don't know the real truth and learn from it, future generations could repeat the mistakes of the past.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I know, Kara. I always think,"Surely we're past all that by now!" Unfortunately, that never seems to be the case.

Actually, the only thing new about the sanitized history books is that they're openly talking about it. Many of us didn't read in our history books about a lot of things like the Japanese internment camps and the forced deportation of U.S. citizens of Mexican origin or descent during the Depression and WWII. It is both shameful and dangerous.

Alan P. said...

Even found a copy in Arizona
http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/burnedbooks/documents.htm

Boxing, new name, same idea.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Fascinating, Alan! Looks as if they are victims of "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it," doesn't it?

lil Gluckstern said...

They should be required to read "Farenheit 451" before taking office. I'm pretty sure they're violating the Firsr Amendment. Disgusting.