There is a movement afoot in the state of Virginia to rid school libraries of anything deemed sexually explicit because god forbid the children learn that human beings have sex. Today I saw an article that illuminated more of their fears and really drove home the origin of this fear. This is nothing new in America and like most things it is rooted in racism.
Think about two things for a second. What is it that they are really afraid of and second who are they afraid of? Why so much talk about parental rights and none about the education of the child? The age range they claim to really be worried about is 11 to 16. Think about that age range for a second. What happens around that age in humans?
If you answered puberty then you get a gold star. At the age when children’s bodies are beginning the transformation into adulthood and sexual maturity is the time these parents want to wrap them in plastic and protect them from the big bad world. Instead of teaching their children about sex they want to pretend it doesn’t exist.
As for the origin of this in America think about the play The Crucible. It was an allegory about another time in America not too dissimilar from this one, but the plot of the play centers on the Salem witch trials. What happened there was a women used fear of sexual behavior of the young women in the town to accuse those she had a grudge against of witchcraft.
Now what this has to do with attacks on books by people of color and the LGBTQ+ community should be quite clear when we remember who it was that was accused of bringing witchcraft to Salem in the first place. It was the African slave Tituba. Substitute Tituba with Toni Morrison and substitute dancing in the moonlight naked with whatever the modern equivalent of that is.
I am still not 100% certain what it is these parents are afraid of. Maybe they’re afraid their sons or daughters will learn they are homosexual, bi, or trans or they might bring home a boy or girl of a different race. There is a lot of white man’s burden and fear of foreign temptress stuff going on in their fears of literature.
Look at the books they fear and ask why not Saul Bellow or Philip Roth or Don DeLillo or Brett Easton Ellis or John Updike or Norman Mailer? Why is it Toni Morrison and other authors of color or from the LGBTQ+ community?
I think by now the answer should be clear and it should be clear to anyone that has read The Crucible. Abigail Williams wasn’t afraid of witchcraft. That was an excuse to hunt down and persecute the people she held a grudge against. The advocates of parental control hide behind the thin veil of protecting their children in order to persecute those of a different race and different sexual orientation.