Conservative Book Banners Have Ties to Rich MegadonorsBreaking News
tags: teaching history, critical race theory, Banned Books
Conservative groups across the US, often linked to deep-pocketed rightwing donors, are carrying out a campaign to ban books from school libraries, often focused on works that address race, LGBTQ issues or marginalized communities.
Literature has already been removed from schools in Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. Librarians and teachers warn the trend is on the increase, as groups backed by wealthy Republican donors use centrally drawn up tactics and messaging to harangue school districts into removing certain texts.
In October, the Texas state representative Matt Krause sent a list of 850 books to school districts, asking that they report how many copies they have of each title and how much had been spent on those books.
The Texas Tribune reported that the books included two by Ta-Nehisi Coates; LGBT Families by Leanne K Currie-McGhee; and ‘Pink is a Girl Color’ … and Other Silly Things People Say, a children’s book by Stacy and Erik Drageset. Krause’s list sparked panic in schools, and by December a district in San Antonio said it was reviewing 414 titles in its libraries.
In most incidents there is a common format. According to the conservative groups, one parent of a child at school has spotted an allegedly unsuitable book, and has raised the alarm. But the movement is far from organic.
The name Moms for Liberty might suggest a homely, kitchen-table effort. In reality, Moms for Liberty is associated with other supposed grassroots groups backed by conservative donors, who appear to be driving the book-banning effort.
Moms for Liberty groups are promoted on the website of Parents Defending Education (PDE), another conservative group, and in May Moms for Liberty joined with PDE to write a letter to Miguel Cardona, the US education secretary, expressing concerns over federal efforts to include teaching about the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans in US society.
Moms for Liberty did not respond to a request for comment.