The banning of books is often associated with countries or considered a relic of the past but according to PEN America, an organization that advocates for free expression through literature and writing, the practice has risen dramatically in recent months.
According to the report from July 2021 to July 2022, there were 2,532 instances of individual books being banned.
Additionally, these bans are largely not the result of individuals but coordinated campaigns by various groups according to PEN America.
“Many Americans may conceive of challenges to books in schools in terms of reactive parents, or those simply concerned after thumbing through a paperback in their child’s knapsack or hearing a surprising question about a novel raised by their child at the dinner table. However, the large majority of book bans underway today are not spontaneous, organic expressions of citizen concern. Rather, they reflect the work of a growing number of advocacy organizations…”
The content of the books banned seems to fall largely in the category of LGBTQ+ or racial themes. Conservative groups and individuals have recently pushed back on what they have called an agenda in what they perceive to be liberal-leaning classrooms. Critical race theory and LGBTQ+ themes are typically considered part of that agenda.
This week is actually Banned Books Week. A week were many advocates attempt to highlight book banning in an effort to combat it.