Scholastic Makes It Easy to Ban Black and LGBTQ+ Books (The Intercept)


    Scholastic Makes It Easy to Ban Black and LGBTQ+ Books – By Natasha Lennard (The Intercept) / Oct 17, 2023

    Caving to the far right, the children’s book giant lets school book fairs exclude diverse titles en masse.

    THE SWEEPING REPUBLICAN effort to ban books from schools could not succeed solely on the backs of fervid state lawmakers and extremist school board members. Reactionary demands to censor books on topics ranging from Black history to LGBTQ+ existence have been abetted by the timid acquiescence of school districts, superintendents, and others in educational leadership. Now, Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publisher, has joined the constellation of parties tacitly aiding the GOP’s suppressive agenda.

    For its thousands of book fairs in elementary schools this year, the company has segregated books focusing on a huge array of topics and stories — fiction and nonfiction — that share little in common aside from not centering white, heterosexual experience. Books on Black identity, picture books with LGBTQ+ characters, stories of Indigenous history and migration, among others, have been grouped together in a collection under the cloying title “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice.” School officials can then opt to exclude the entire section from their schools’ book fairs in one fell swoop. As Judd Legum reported, one librarian called the option a “bigot button.”

    The policy design bends toward censorship: Librarians are offered the choice to include the collection, but exclusion is the baseline. Book Riot, an independent book industry website, noted that Scholastic is “the de facto school book fair provider”: a billion-dollar multinational corporation that hosts 120,000 book fairs in the United States each year. The scales of power do not weigh heavily on the publisher to bend so readily to far-right pressure.



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