Florida schools remove books from libraries across state

Al Curle, News Writer

Bookshelves go empty and barren libraries are all a result of the criminalization of knowledge. This is the state of Florida under Governor Ron Desantis. 

The reason that these books are getting removed is because of a new law that prohibits the showing of inappropriate materials in public schools and makes it a felony. This is soon after the law nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill which prohibited mentions of sexuality, orientation, and transgender expression in early grade levels. 

It is important to understand how the previous law works to understand why educators felt the need to remove all of their books in fear of felony charges.

The previous law technically banned talk of straight sexuality as well as queer sexuality but it worked on a complaint basis. No one is going to punish a straight teacher for putting up a picture of her husband. That’s how it’s designed to work.

According to this law, everyone is committing crimes, but only queer people have to worry. This is a culture of fear that would be familiar to anyone from the Soviet Union 50 years ago.

It is in this context of vague laws meant to stoke fear that the Florida governor has signed a law banning books with inappropriate sexual materials among other things. It should be clear that the nebulous language enacted by the governors will be just the same as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill before it.

It works by a parent disliking the content of the book for any reason and using the unclearly worded laws to sue the school and put the teacher behind bars. Books like “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and “Maus” which cover the struggles of Indigenous Americans and Holocaust survivors are being banned and the teachers prosecuted. 

It’s no wonder then that Florida banned their AP African American history class in response to the law.

This is to say nothing of queer books. Even the most milk-toasted queer book which would essentially be a straight one with the names changed will be attacked viciously. 

This has a chilling effect on teachers accepting their students how they are and giving them the role models to grow through media that everyone else gets. 

These are the actions of book burners and authoritarians, no different than the Nazis who burned queer research in their first book burning. This is profoundly un-American.

We Americans should oppose this with every ounce of our being. We tell ourselves that we are a freedom-loving people. We say that our country is one made out of many, in fact, it is even on our money. 

Then how can we look at our countrymen signing laws to erase chunks of our population from schools and not respond with disdain? They try to ban books, ban education, and force people into hiding their identities, and we’re supposed to believe they’re patriots?

We must condemn, oppose, and overturn these laws at every turn because before the founding fathers were generals and revolutionaries they were writers of banned books.