Does a book earn a mark of distinction if it is challenged or banned? Yes, in a way. It becomes notorious and is put on a list. Just like a wanted poster, the list is passed around and posted, looked at a lot, and challenged a lot. Especially now, challenges are at a fever pitch. The books that are being challenged are not hate literature. They may contain racial slurs, sexual allusion or profanity. They may also have received awards and be considered part of the English literature canon. The authors may be Black, White, Other.
Are conservatives the only ones challenging books? No. Lately, a lot of the challenges are coming from liberals. But liberals and conservatives don’t often agree on which books to challenge. Each side has books that make them uncomfortable. Good books can do that. Good books explore what it is like to be human, our good sides and bad, our sexuality, our jealousies, our problems of racial inequality. They can literally and figuratively unclothe us, as nature intended. Do we need to feel comfortable when the world is a mess?
When will the book challenges end? When all is suppressed? When children are insulated from harsh realities? When critical thinking is no longer needed?