Right-wing thought policing

A prosecutor in Lapeer County, Michigan, is threatening to sue the library for having Gender Queer, book he doesn’t approve of, on the shelves, equating it to adults preying upon kids sexually. As noted at the link, he says the book’s illustrations are dangerous but the library has heterosexual illustrated books he’s not complaining about. And I salute the head librarian whose unflinching response amounted to “Sue and be damned, sir.”

An NYT columnist argues that sure, maybe DeSantis is crossing some lines with his anti-woke policies but it’s a necessary pushback against all those woke radicals causing “racial and ethnic divisiveness.” Yeah, nothing divisive about Ron DeSantis’ policies, it’s the other side’s fault (only Democrats have agency).

Here’s a good example of how the “kids should not feel guilty about their race” works in practice: “Last school year, when the North Carolina teacher tried to give this lesson to her sophomore honors world history class, a parent wrote an email complaining that her White son had been made to feel guilty. The teacher recalled replying by asking, “Why would your child feel guilty about what Columbus did to the Arawak?” The parents of the student escalated the issue to human resources, the teacher said, spurring an administrator to warn that she needed to stop “pushing my agenda — telling me that having my children learn the truth about Columbus was biased.” Soon after, she said, New Hanover County Schools placed an admonitory letter in the teacher’s file and ordered her to halt the lesson on Columbus.” Another teacher in the same article was warned she shouldn’t teach that slavery was wrong — both examples of pre-emptive compliance.

Another example: A textbook publisher rewrote a section on Rosa Parks to avoid mentioning race.

A Jodi Picoult book about the Holocaust got banned in Florida but she’s pushing back. Oh, wait, DeStalinist claims all the stories his administration bans books are a lie. Guess that settles it! Here’s another author weighing in. In Wisconsin a school dropped the Miley Cyrus/Dolly Parton duet “Rainbowland” from a concert: “It was determined that ‘Rainbowland’ could be perceived as controversial.”

Oklahoma also wants their book bans to cover public libraries. Kentucky’s sticking with a statewide ban applying to school libraries (so far).

As in Lapeer County, the focus of these “no sex in schools” bans is gayness. One lawmaker struggles to say whether if you can’t discuss gender and sex, you could mention Martha Washington in schools.

DeSantis’ ongoing attack on higher education includes banning any school support for diversity and inclusion, which some legislators worry would ban black fraternities and sororities. Yet right-wingers in Florida are very concerned about diversity when it comes to forcing right-wing representation in campus speakers.

And, of course they don’t want any equality when it comes to protecting Confederate monuments. While they talk about importance to history, the bill would require state approval for any signs or plaques providing context to monuments. I suspect that means “Fighting to preserve slavery, Robert E. Lee became responsible for the deaths of more American soldiers than any foreign general we ever fought” is off the table.

Anti-trans campaigns are thought-policing of a sort — trans people aren’t real! Gender realignment surgery is child abuse! — and they’re being turned into laws.

To end on an up note, Nikole Hannah-Jones of the 1619 Project isn’t giving up.

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