Book bans are getting everyone’s attention — including Biden’s. Here’s why

From National Public Radio:

President Joe Biden named checked “MAGA extremists” and attempts to ban books in his video on Tuesday announcing he was officially running for office again. Here’s why it’s the topic that just won’t stop.

What is it? Put frankly, it’s a rising trend of parents and politicians pushing for censorship on material available to students in public schools and public libraries.

According to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges to unique titles last year was up nearly 40% over 2021.

As reported by NPR’s Meghan Collins Sullivan, the ALA says that 2,571 unique titles were banned or challenged in 2022.

From July 2021 to June 2022, 40% of the banned titles had protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color, and 21% had titles with issues of race or racism, according to PEN America, a non-profit tracking book ban data.

What’s the big deal? It appears that public libraries are another battleground for the United State’s ever-present culture wars.

Another 41% of titles challenged or banned have content relating to LGBTQIA+ identity and themes, according to PEN.

This dynamic has existed for decades. Famed novelist Judy Blume faced heavy scrutiny and calls for censorship in the 1980s for her books that discussed sexuality and self-image.

The number one banned book is once again Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, a graphic memoir that follows Kobabe’s journey into exploring their own gender and queer identity.

. . . .

Here’s what he said at a White House event honoring educators earlier this week:

I never thought I’d be a president who is fighting against elected officials trying to ban, and banning, books.

Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada, president of the American Library Association, on how the campaign for books being banned has ramped up in past years:

Now we’re seeing organized attempts by groups to censor multiple titles throughout the country without actually having read many of these books.

Elle Mehltretter, a 16-year-old who spoke with NPR’s Tovia Smith about circumventing book bans online in her home state of Florida:

You can say you ban books all you want, but you can never really ban them because they’re everywhere.

Link to the rest at National Public Radio

For those visitors from outside the United States, the politics of the 2024 presidential election are already simmering and the aroma is, for PG, very off-putting.

Assuming Trump manages to snatch the Republican party nomination, both candidates would be the oldest ever elected. Trump will be 78 in 2024 and Biden will be 81.

A recent survey by Reuters-Ipsos shows more than 60% of American voters feel Biden is too old to work in government… and two thirds don’t want Biden or Trump to run.