Berkeley Professor, Robert Reich, in an effort to be relevant, is weighing in the horrific, NAZI-style book banning/burning effort undertaken by those nasty busybody privileged moms who dare to be concerned about their kids’ education.
In a recent substack, Robert Reich argues that the attention given to creating lists of controversial books and school boards potentially listening to parental concern, results in more demand for said books. “There’s no better way to get a teenager to read a book than to ban it.”
I agree with Mr. Reich to a point. There is definitely going to be curiosity driven by the media reporting which will motivate teens to request these books. But Mr. Reich ignores plenty.
“Banning” is an inaccurate term. If No Left Turn placed a list of books on the website and said they should be “banned”, I would insist that be taken down. Reasonable parents are pointing to books rife with unneccessarily graphic and repetetive sexual and violent content. Reasonable parents would like their public k-12 schools to have a standard that elevates and inspires debate and scholarship. Having an age-appropriate “standard” for public schools is not equivalent to “banning”. The books can still. be sold, downloaded and available in non-school libraries.
LISTS! While I don’t love the idea of lists, there has been an overwhelming influx of anti-intellectual and activist books published under the name of “diversity” or “the marginalized”. Schools and librarians have been deliberately deceptive with this material. Parents should be alerted to books they may consider inappropriate for their child. It empowers the parent, educates them, and elevates transparency. Organizations should assist parents in helping to identify books they may want to know that their child is reading. The schools certainly aren’t doing it. And if the books are so incredibly important, no one should have a problem with that–not even Mr. Reich.
Speaking of banning, I recently wrote an op-ed about the Orange County NC decision to keep some of the mentioned books in circulation. In researching this issue, I found that Orange County lacked multiple minority/LGBTQ authors: Robert Woodson, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Dave Rubin among others. If Mr. Reich and others are going to comment on “banning books” should he at least look into the lack of viewpoint diversity available in these school libraries? Let’s see what books have really been suppressed by the “experts”.
Mr. Reich mentions Out of Darkness. It does not appear he read it. If he had he would understand why parents have concerns–at least I would hope he would. Of course he does admit to never having read The Great Gatsby either–it was never banned so his interest was apparently nil. He should read those books, and perhaps then he could understand the difference.
In the meantime I wonder why Mr. Reich doesn’t have a problem with the fantastically poorly researched and mis-construed “hate-maps/lists” published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And did he speak out when people wanted Dr. Seuss banned?