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

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


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?


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

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.