In recent years, tensions have risen regarding the idea of what type of books schools should be allowed to expose students to, especially when it comes to books with themes of race and gender identity.
Since 2021, over 1,600 book titles have been banned in public schools across 32 different states.
Close to half of the books that were banned in these schools included characters that were a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and nearly 40 percent of the books have included characters that are people of color.
Among these banned books many of them relayed themes of racism and issues with race, along with themes of LGBTQ+ issues.
Lawmakers have run campaigns to ban many types of books due to the belief that students should not be exposed to issues regarding race and sexuality.
However students should know about the issues that relate to racism and LGBTQ+ issues since they are very prominent issues in the world that millions of people face everyday.
Limiting the access to these types of literature also alienates a whole group of students who identify with the LGBTQ+ characters that are displayed in these books or the students that have faced racism in their own life. Allowing students to read these books who have had experiences that relate to the themes the books relay can allow them to connect with what they are reading on a personal level.
It is also important that students who may not have experiences that do relate to the themes, but still want to read the books have access to them because it exposes them to the prejudice that people of color and the LGBTQ+ community experience.
Especially at the high school level, students are very aware of the issues in the world and the disadvantages minority groups face. There is nothing crazy about students being able to read books that talk about racism and LGBTQ+ issues, because many students are already aware of the bias that the world has against these groups.
It is dangerous to not allow students to access these types of stories and ideas because as books that are related to these real world issues become more and more limited to students it created a generation that is less aware of the prejudice that many people of color and LGBTQ+ people face. It works toward hiding genuine issues in the world and prevents kids from knowing that these issues exist.
You can argue that schools should not be the environment for students to be exposed to these serious issues.
However, school is where students spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Most of their time is spent at school, and the role that school plays is to shape a students mind, by the content it teaches. Students are already exposed to prejudice in the world from the regular curriculum, so limiting students to choose to read about these issues when they are things that they know exists doesn’t make much sense, and if anything leads to a confusing understanding of the bias against people of color and LGBTQ+ people throughout the world.