Texas government Greg Abbott is all-in on Republican push to ban huge numbers of books

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“The Texas Association of School Boards has attempted to wash their hands of the problem by abdicating any and all responsibility in the matter”, Abbott wrote on November 8th. “Given this neglect, the State of Texas now invites you to do what the Texas Association of School Boards refuses to do.” (He couldn’t just admit that he asked a group without censorship authority to do his censorship for him.)

Abbott called the Texas Education Agency, Texas State Library and Archives Commission and State Board of Education “Immediately develop statewide standards to prevent pornography and other obscene content in Texas public schools, including school libraries.” Providing pornographic material to children under the age of 18, he wrote, is illegal. What he did not offer was any evidence that there is pornography in Texas schools, if we follow the generally accepted definition that pornography is material created for sexual arousal, not to mention obscene content in schools …obscenity has legal significance, and this includes that it is not only obscene or offensive, but lacks literary, artistic or other merit.

Abbott offered two examples of content that he opposes and, what do you know, both are LGBTQ books. One, by Carmen Maria Machado In the house of dreams, is a memoir about an abusive lesbian relationship. The other, by Maia Kobabe Queer sex, is a memoir in the form of a graphic novel Queer sex has become a frequent target in right-wing attacks on school books, Kobabe wrote in The Washington Post that the audience he originally wrote the book for were their parents, who didn’t understand their gender identity.

But there is another important audience, wrote Kobabe: “Queer youth are often forced to look outside their homes, and beyond the education system, for information on who they are. Removing or limiting queer books in libraries and schools is like cutting a lifeline for queer youth, who may not yet know what terms to ask Google to learn more about their identity, body and health. ” .

This is, of course, part of the point. The Republican push to remove LGBTQ books and black authors’ books from schools aims to limit who children see as fully human, what children understand about US justice and history, and what identities children come to understand are theirs. arrangement.

However, Abbott wasn’t done with two letters yet. Ohn November 10, hey followed ordering the Texas Education Association to “investigate any criminal activity in our public schools involving the availability of pornography. During this investigation, I ask the agency to postpone any instance of pornography provided to minors under the age of 18 for prosecution to the fullest extent permitted by law. “

The Texas Educational Association she has not police to investigate this alleged crime. And while Abbott is right that showing child pornography is illegal in Texas, one defense against the indictment is “have a scientific, educational, governmental or other justification “for doing so. We are not talking about pornography here in any way, but if we were, teachers and librarians offering educational materials would be safe.

Both of them Queer sex Other In the house of dreams are critically acclaimed books that have won awards. This certainly doesn’t matter to Republicans purging the books. In Virginia, Glenn Youngkin’s successful government campaign was fueled in part by an announcement that never admitted was targeting Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison Beloved. In Kansas, one of the books in the Goddard School District is pulling out the library shelves is August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, fences. There is no award, no enough critical acclaim to keep Republicans from wanting to see him removed from schools, with screams of “pornography” and even threats of book fires if the book in question does not align with the far-right views of whose life it deserves to be written, understood, evaluated.

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