Banning Books Or Curriculums Is Your Government Proliferating Lies
The recent controversies taking place throughout America around banning books from school curriculums, banning books from a public library’s portfolio of reading materials, and banning certain curriculums from being taught in public schools and colleges, have so far been viewed through the lens of Republicans abusing their policy-making positions to advance a political agenda. But banning books or education curriculums has a far more lethal effect on American democracy than a political party abusing its power. Because banning books or banning education curriculums is a legal way for a government to proliferate LIES to its citizens.
According to PEN America, a non-profit organization that works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature that conveys information and ideas that express their views, and also works to guarantee access for everyone to the views, ideas, and works of literature of others, in 2021 26 legislatures across the United States introduced 66 separate bills intended to restrict the teaching, training, and discussions of race, racism, and gender to the positive factual attributes in American history while ignoring and not teaching about the factual negative attributes.
12 of the 66 bills have become the law of the land. All 12 bills that became law target K-12 schools, 4 include provisions that would impact colleges and universities, and 4 include a focus on state agencies, state-funded institutions, and all places of learning. 6 of the new laws specifically ban the teaching of “critical race theory,” making a total of 20 state-level bills introduced in 2021 with the same teaching prohibitions. And 6 of the new laws ban teaching or using curricular materials from “The 1619 Project,” bringing to the total of 17 state-level bills book banning the 1619 Project introduced in 2021. South Carolina and North Dakota are 2 states that stand out in the extent both states are willing to go to lie to their citizens.
South Carolina’s Republican bill H. 4605 aka the “ Freedom from Ideological Coercion and Indoctrination Act”, would regulate and prohibit, big government style, any entity that receives state funding, grants, tax exemptions, both public and private schools, colleges, and universities, nonprofit organizations, state contractors, and private businesses from teaching or advocating so-called “ discriminatory concepts “ such as:
♦ “ That a group or an individual, by virtue of his or her race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, heritage, culture, religion, or political belief is inherently racist, sexist, bigoted, ignorant, biased, fragile, oppressive, or contributive to any oppression, whether consciously or unconsciously “
♦ “ An individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex, ethnicity, or heritage, bears responsibility, or must confess or atone for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, sex, or ethnic group” or “ should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of his or her race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, heritage, culture, religion, or political belief “
Regardless of how the language of the “ discriminatory concepts” of H. 4605 sound, in reality, its legislative speak for 3 South Carolina legislators who are proposing a law that allows the state of South Carolina to lie and legally proclaim racism, fascism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism as cultural or political beliefs. The law would make it illegal for any public or private school, private contractor, corporation, or non-profit organization that receives a tax break, tax incentive, or one red cent from the state of South Carolina, to criticize anyone who holds these beliefs as bigoted or oppressive.
Under South Carolina’s H. 4605 telling the truth by condemning the Nazis of Germany’s past would be illegal, banning books that condemned the Nazis from public libraries or the curriculums of public and private schools would be very legal, the law mandates the silence of truth which then creates the sound of lies, in this case, South Carolina’s H. 4605 would make them the sound of government-sanctioned lies!!!
The potential regulatory or economic impact an American state government can have on any person, any place of business, any religious institution, any non-profit institution, and any academic or educational institution within its borders is so great, especially for schools colleges, and universities, even the private ones, that the possibility of attracting state government scrutiny or reprisal can cause a hear-the-drop-of-a-pin silence of truth coming from those institutions which then presents the opportunity for creation and proliferation of the deafening sound of lies.
Last November North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed HB 1508 into law. HB 1508 makes it illegal for K-12 public schools to include what Gov. Burgum and the North Dakota state legislature refer to as “ critical race theory” in all school curriculums throughout the state. Based on the new law North Dakota legally defines “ critical race theory” as “ the theory that racism is not merely the product of learned individual bias or prejudice, but that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American legal system to facilitate racial inequality “
Speaking to the silence of truth North Dakota’s new law creates the North Dakota ACLU said: “ It is natural that many will interpret a ban on critical race theory to mean a ban on discussing or raising issues of race in the classroom at all. How is a history teacher supposed to discuss slavery, the civil rights era, or teach high school students about the history of redlining, an explicitly systemic policy initiative that purposefully segregated housing?” North Dakota created the lie proliferating law even though state legislators conceded that critical race theory is not being taught in North Dakota schools. One state senator described the law as “ preemptive “.
Another one stated “ If we can do something to reassure parents that in public schools we are not having a political agenda, then I think that we should do that. The fear and the outrage are very real, even if I may believe that fear and outrage was manufactured “. Suggesting that creating the silence of truth by banning books and curriculums, and replacing the silenced truth with the sound of government proliferated lies, is justifiable as long as it alleviates the false fears of the public.
Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, the union which represents North Dakota teachers, has denounced North Dakota’s truth silencing law saying: “ Like most Americans, I believe in American exceptionalism. This country has much to be proud of as a world leader. And I also believe that part of what makes this nation exceptional is our ability to not shy away from our past. We have not been perfect, but we have a history of examining our past, learning from our past, and taking seriously our ongoing desire to form a more perfect Union. That is not CRT (Critical Race Theory); that is education.”
Banning books, banning educational curriculums, silencing the truth by suppressing factual history, and allowing lies to proliferate hurts the functionality of the American government. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis opined “ In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action”. Banning books and curriculums deny American citizens their constitutional right to liberty because as founding father John Adams warned “ Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know “.
Ultimately banning books and banning educational curriculums creates a lethal silence within American democracy, and as American Constitution completion founding father Martin Luther King Jr. said “ There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” The absence of democratic truth is the presence of autocratic lies. The proliferation of sometimes painful, uncomfortable, shameful, and redemptive truth strengthens American democracy, the proliferation of joyful, heroic, patriotic, and feel-good LIES weakens and eventually kills American democracy!!!
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on February 23, 2022.