They’re sick of seeing their books bogusly labeled “critical race theory” or “anti-police.” They’re incredulous at claims their words make kids uncomfortable. They’re done seeing their books challenged or banned over what they see as insincere claims about vulgarity, violence or sex. They’re exasperated with feeling singled out.
Groups that monitor censorship, including the ACLU, PEN America, American Library Association and the National Coalition Against Censorship, say it’s more than a feeling. Since the killing of George Floyd, a Black father, by a White police officer, experts see Black and brown authors increasingly becoming the quarry of would-be censors, they say.
“The frank and difficult stories of being Black in America” are coming under fire, said NCAC spokesperson Nora Pelizzari.
“It’s pure censorship of ideas and viewpoints, which I would argue should not survive constitutional scrutiny, but we’re living in odd times these days,” added Deborah Caldwell-Stone, a former lawyer who now directs the ALA’s office of intellectual freedom.
While the ALA says half of the 10 most challenged books of 2021 were targeted for LGBTQ content — another worrying phenomenon that intellectual freedom fighters say isn’t to be downplayed — the organization also saw a record number of challenges, many of them aimed at authors of color exploring history, racism or their own experiences in America…