Tag Archives: book banning

Bigots Want LGBT Materials Separated Out at Iowa Library

“Concerned” (ie bigoted) Orange City, Iowa residents are petitioning the city’s public library separate materials that deal primarily with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender themes, as well as to halt any new such acquisitions without public input.

Others say they support the library’s integration of such materials, even if they don’t personally endorse the content.

Both sides aired their views during a packed meeting of the Orange City Public Library Board of Trustees meeting this week. Nearly 20 people spoke, with about half supporting the inclusion of the books and nearly as many others sharing reservations.

“As a congregation, I would have to say we are shocked that tax money is being used to push this agenda even further,” said the Rev. Sacha Walicord, pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church. “As pastors, we have been silent for far too long. We have rolled over for far too long. This ends now.”

Resident Mike Goll said it means volumes to LGBTQ youth in the community to see characters like them in books they read.

“There are gay kids, there are trans kids in this town, and seeing their faces and seeing their lives mirrored in some of the books here means everything,” he said.

The board took no action Tuesday but plans to have its policy committee review the public input and compare its current collection development policy to other libraries to see if changes are warranted.

Since they learned of the issue, library officials have been working with the Iowa Library Association to work toward a solution.

The board next month will also take up an individual challenge brought against library’s inclusion of the children’s book “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress,” which features a boy whose classmates don’t understand why he enjoys wearing a dress. That challenge was not discussed during the meeting.

A petition calling for the new measures was started by was started by Terry Chi, an assistant professor of psychology at a local Christian liberal arts school,Northwestern College

Chi’s petition calls for the library to label and separate the materials dealing primarily with LGBTQ issues, provide a content rating service to help patrons make informed decisions and to halt new acquisition of such materials until a public discussion can be held.

“We’re not asking for banning because I know that would just sink our ship,” Chi said. “We’re asking for transparency in the process and some public conversation before new materials are acquired.”

Chi, who served on the library board before resigning in December, said a study of the library’s physical and digital collection found 168 dealt with LGBTQ issues. The library’s physical collection includes more than 63,000 items.

He said he was disturbed by some of the literature on the list, which he said included a graphic novel that showed female genitalia and a young adult novel titled “Two Boys Kissing.”

Chi’s petition was also backed by the Sioux County Conservatives, a local activist group, but Chi said he closed the online petition due to some of the “inflammatory rhetoric” the group used on a flyer advertising the petition.

Library director Amanda Vazquez said she first learned of the opponents’ issues a couple months ago. She said the list of materials includes some that are new and some had been a part of the collection for some time. Many are currently checked out, she said.

“We did not just start acquiring them in the past few months. There are materials we’ve had for years in our collection, as well, which may be of concern,” she said.

Dan Chibnall, STEM librarian at Drake University and the Iowa Library Association’s president-elect, said Tuesday that libraries tend to avoid special labels for books like those requested.

“We believe people should have access to as much material as possible, and it’s up to them as a community to decide what they should read and what they should and should not read with their families,” he said.

He said in his 13 years in the state, he could not recall a challenge “making this many waves.”

Chibnall also stressed the importance of having a well-worded collection development policy. The Orange City Public Library has a policy and has also adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which states materials should “not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval” or excluded because of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation

'Huckleberry Finn' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Banned from School Curriculum in Duluth, MN

‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Banned from School Curriculum in Duluth, MN

In an effort to be considerate and sensitive of all students, schools in Duluth, MN will drop two classic American novels “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and the Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird.” from it’s curriculum.

Both books which contain racial slurs, will no longer be required reading in the district’s English classes next school year.

Michael Cary, director of curriculum and instruction for the district. “Conversations about race are an important topic, and we want to make sure we address those conversations in a way that works well for all of our students. We’re doing this out of consideration of the impacts on our students and specifically different groups of students in our schools, and especially our communities of color.”

Stephan Witherspoon, president of the Duluth chapter of the NAACP, called the move “long overdue.”

The literature has “oppressive language for our kids” Witherspoon said, and school should be an environment where children of color are learning equally. There are other novels with similar messages that can be taught, he said.

“Our kids don’t need to read the ‘N’ word in school,” Witherspoon said. “They deal with that every day out in the community and in their life. Racism still exists in a very big way.”

"Great Soul" Author Joseph Lelyveld Faces Backlash After Supposedly Outing Ghandi As "Bisexual"

Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph Lelyveld’s new book “Great Soul” a biography about Mahatma Gandhi is causing quite a stir.  The book about Gandhi’s struggle for social justice and the evolution of his social values, was banned in the western state Gujarat, India  in March when reviewers talked about a specific part of the book where Lelyveld talks about Gandhi’s relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach, including a letter to Kallenbach that read, “How completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance.”  The book in itself never specifically alleges that Ghandi was gay or bisexual but that’s not stopping some from over-reacting and showing the stigma and intolerance that India’s culture has with homosexuality and bisexuality even here in the United States.

In India,  homosexuality was illegal until 2009 and still carries heavy social stigmas.

Early this month, an educational organization in Santa Clara, Calif., the Foundation for Excellence, canceled an appearance by Lelyveld,citing a desire to avoid controversy. The foundation provides scholarships for students in India. And The chairman of the Indian Americans of Lexington, Massachusettes has also cancelled a planned April 29 visit by Lelyveld.  Puran Dang said his group wanted to avoid any controversy for the historical society and decided to cancel the event in a decision relayed Thursday to Lelyveld’s publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

Dang said his group met recently amid the tumult caused by the reviews and made the decision to call off Lelyveld’s appearance.  The email from the historical society to Knopf cited the Indian Americans of Lexington’s concerns about “the content of the Gandhi biography” in its decision to withdraw sponsorship. But Dang said it was all about avoiding any problems, though he said there had been no indication of any trouble at the Lexington event.

“We just took this innocent decision to make it smooth,” he said. “Nothing more.”

In response Lelyveld, a former executive editor of The New York Times sarcastically called  the group’s position as “a very courageous stand. It’s not a universal reaction,” he said. “I just think it created a small tempest and those who want to stay away can stay away.

In other less Pulitzer Prize winning type words……. Fuck em!

WTF? Judy Shepard’s Book "The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed" Deemed "Homophobic" By North Carolina’s Appalachian State University

North Carolina Appalachian State University has decided that they will not let students read Judy Shepard’s book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed over the summer, because it is homophobic!

Kathy Staley, an archivist at App State’s Belk Library, wrote on her Facebook Monday that the committee had not chosen Shepard’s book, “The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed,” because some found it to contain “homophobic” passages. Staley wrote, “Did anyone find Judy Shepard’s ‘The Meaning of Matthew’ homophobic? I didn’t but ASU’s summer reading group nixed it because two readers found it homophobic.” At least one of those readers, whose identity hasn’t been divulged to qnotes, is a friend of Staley’s.

Dr. Emory Maiden, professor of English and director of the summer reading program, told qnotes via email that it would be a “huge oversimplification” to attribute the program’s book choices to any single issue. He said the book failed to meet the program’s several criteria.

He said the committee had a “long and…reasonable discussion” regarding the book but said “one of the dominant concerns [was] whether this writer — Matthew’s mother — was the best spokesperson to bring to campus on this issue — most people thought not — there were better voices to be heard.”

He wrote: “[C]ommittee members wondered aloud about how her book would work as a discussion of the oppression of and attacks on those who are perceived to be ‘Other’ — as a clear starting point for a discussion of different life styles and sexual identity, but would also be a gateway into the broader concerns for hate crimes and social justice. So, our discussion was not focused on a single issue, but several — and finally was about how the book might develop and engage a broad readership — and that is as it should be for consideration for a book the whole University community would read.”

Maiden also said he wasn’t aware that anyone in particular thought the book to be homophobic but that there were “concerns that a grief-stricken mother had gotten into print on a subject that she neither wholly understand nor have (sic) a broad experience with.”

“Concerns that a grief-stricken mother had gotten into print on a subject that she neither wholly understand nor have (sic) a broad experience with.” –  Her son was murdered and crucified on a fence because he was Gay and she doesn’t “wholly understand nor have a broad experience with” Are you fucking kidding me?

The book has uncomfortable moments but please tell me great minds at Appalachian State University how can what really happened be explained without pointing out the homophobic events that transpired. To say that a book written by Judy Sheppard is homophobic would be like saying accepting that the Diary of Anne Frank is anti-semetic.