Same Coin: Just Different Sides!

If you are a parent and live in a state with a book ban and support it, you are a horrible parent. You should be reported to child services for child endangerment and mental abuse.

If you are not a parent and live in a state with a book band and support it, you should be arrested on the spot and placed in solitary confinement, and made to read every book that has been banned in your town. The condition of your release will be predicated on the following conditions:

A. Writing a twenty-page book report on each book on the ban list, explaining in detail why it should be banned and who will be harmed, how they will be harmed, and how you know said books would bring about the so-called harm you used as your reason for wanting the book banned. Once you have done that, you will be released after completing step two.

B. You will write an ethnology using the materials you read along with the book reports you wrote and appear before your local school board to explain what you learned from the book you wanted to be banned.

If you are a child and decide to use the book ban to get out of reading and writing a book report on, say, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, or The Grapes of Wrath. Consider working for the CIA, NSA, or Spies Our Us, because you have potential and can effectively lie with a straight face.

Yes, I know this is ridiculous and unconstitutional. But so are these stupid book bans. I am not saying parents don’t have the right to monitor what their children are reading. Theoperative phrase is their children. Since Ron DeSantis, the biggest periwinkle of all things stupid, decided to institute a book band in Florida, thirty-seven states have enacted their own version of this idiocy. Here is an interesting tidbit about Florida and Texas, the two leaders in this book banning nonsense:

“According to the World Population Review, Florida has the third-highest percentage of adults lacking basic prose literacy skills of 19.7%, equaling a literacy rate of 80.3%. Texas has the fourth-lowest literacy rate of 81.0%, with 19.0% of adults lacking basic prose literacy skills.”

So, Florida and Texas, the two states that are the most active in their efforts to ban books have poor literacy skills and literacy rates. Makes you wonder, with those numbers, why they would be advocating book bans.

Even worse is the fact these bans are the work of a few people, according to  The Washington Post, which did an extensive review of book banning and found the following:

“The majority of the 1,000-plus book challenges analyzed by The Post were filed by just 11 people. Each of these people brought 10 or more challenges against books in their school district; one man filed 92 challenges. Together, these serial filers constituted 6 percent of all book challengers — but were responsible for 60 percent of all filings.”

So this book banning is the handy work of eleven people. Simple logic will tell you there is no way these people could have read all the books they issue challenges on, an assumption borne out by Daily Salinas. She is the woman who had The Hill We Climb, the wonderful inauguration pome banned. Ms. Dalinas incorrectly identified Oprah Winfrey as the author, not Amanda Gorman, and said she never read the poem because she wasn’t a reader. So how does someone who admits they’re not a reader determine The Hill We Climb should be banned? Perhaps it’s the same person who came up with the fantasy of a jolly old man living in the North Pole watching to see who’s naughty or nice and will get great toys or lumps of coal.

This whack-a-doodle craziness around the written word isn’t lost on the kids. Parents supporting SBBs (Stupid Book Bans) don’t realize the gift they’ve given their kids. Call me cynical, but I put nothing past what kids will do to get out of doing homework. Especially book reports.

Think of it this way. The teacher assigns The Count of Monte Cristo to class along with writing a book report. Now the teacher knows her students have several options for this assignment that precludes their reading the book. They can get Cliff Notes, look it up on Wikipedia, or borrow the DVD from their local library. Everything but actually read the book, which is pretty lengthy. But, the teacher nixes all that, with their often used phrase, ‘anyone who doesn’t read the book, and I will know, automatically gets a failing grade.”

With the book bans craze, any kid who doesn’t want to read the book and do the assignment can put on their sad face and tell their parents their teacher is making them read a book about the inhuman treatment of a white man, revenge, and sexual connotation. It’s written by some Black guy named Dumas. That would be all some parents would need to storm the next school board meeting to demand The Count of Monte Cristo be banned, and the English teacher fired for pushing this filth on their children. Claiming reading this book will harm their kids irreparably by exposing them to such things written in this book by a Black author who has been dead for centuries. And the climate the way it is, the school board would cower and ban the book.

In the 21st century, you would think the arcane practice would fade into the past. Regrettably, it hasn’t. Ron DeSantis, Gregg Abbot, and Sara Huckabee know damn well these books they are banning are not harming those who read them. According to the Adult Learning Alliance, Sara Huckabee is the governor of a state with one of the lowest literacy rates in the U.S. and has the temerity to sign a bill banning books. We’re talking about a population who can barely read the old ‘see spot run’ Dick and Jane books.

“In Arkansas, 13.7% of adults aged 16 and older lack basic literacy skills (Health Rankings, 2015). Nearly 19% of Arkansans 25 and over (347,032 people) do not have a high school diploma or GED, and over 130,000 have less than a ninth-grade education (U.S. Census Community Survey, 2009). Adults with low literacy skills often cannot effectively negotiate the health care system, read food or prescription drug labels, fill out a simple job application, support the educational development of their children, or manage their finances. They experience greater difficulty both in finding and retaining employment and face significant obstacles that can prevent them from being engaged members of their community.”

What these governors are doing to their citizens is criminal. Instead of banning books, they should put forth an all-out effort to increase the literacy skills of their citizens. But it seems these Republican governors are deliberately keeping their populous ignorant and dependent even though they say the opposite. Book bans and incessant reading of the Bible will not provide individuals that can handle complex work assignments; it gives you human lemmings who will believe all the lies DeSantis, Abbot, and Huckabee will tell them and literally follow them over a cliff. Book bans are the tool of the dictator, tyrants, religious zealots, and enslavers. And, in a way, this is an apt description of the Troika of DeSantis, Abbot, and Huckabee.

This ridiculous torrent of questionable motives for book banning has a deleterious effect on what teachers can and cannot teach in their classrooms. In a way, it can provide a humorous moment. Our granddaughter is here on her annual visit with us. She lives in a state that has implemented its version of the Florida book-banning law. I asked her about it, and she told me they were supposed to read a classic in her English class, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. She told me the teacher wasn’t sure if they could teach it, so she switched it out for Romeo and Juliet. I just started laughing. She asked why I was laughing? “I said, same coin, just different sides.”