Culture

Ibram X. Kendi Is Marginalized? Hey, It’s Banned Leftist Books Week!

Ibram X. Kendi, director of Boston University's Center for Antiracist Research, stands for a portrait Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Here’s something to celebrate: This week is the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week. All over the country, libraries and bookstores feature books that are supposedly being menaced by censors — except that this year, as in every other year, the Leftist organizers of Banned Books Week pretend that it’s 1956 and that the Left doesn’t have total cultural hegemony. All their supposedly banned books are the usual far-Left propaganda that inundates us everywhere today, and they omit all mention of the real censorship threat today, which is coming not from conservatives, but from the Left itself.

The Banned Books Week website says: “Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Yet its list of “the Top Ten Challenged Books of 2020” consists of the nothing genuinely unorthodox or unpopular at all, at least among the Leftist elites. George by Alex Gino was supposedly “challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting ‘the values of our community.’” No details were given. Nor was any notice made of the fact that “LGBTQIA+ content” is not censored, but widely celebrated in America today, while the ones who are stigmatized are those who dare to dissent.

The second entry on the Banned Books list was even more risible: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. This one, we’re told, was “banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains ‘selective storytelling incidents’ and does not encompass racism against all people.” Yet as John Stossel has noted, Kendi is not exactly a marginalized voice: His books “are now recommended reading at schools, corporations and in the military,” and he commands “high speaking fees.”

Third is All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, which has allegedly been “banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be ‘too much of a sensitive matter right now.’” Yeah, sure, ALA. Nothing could be less trendy these days than “antipolice views.”

The Left has a near-total stranglehold on the educational system, the entertainment industry, the means of communication, and the culture in general, yet Leftists still like to pose as fearless outsiders confronting the establishment. They are the establishment.

If Banned Books Week really wanted to feature books that are considered “unorthodox or unpopular,” it should highlight books by people who are hated by the Leftist intelligentsia that dominates everything. The ALA could start with Donald Trump. Add in Ryan T. Anderson, Dennis Prager, and a host of others.

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Free people should seek out the work of those who genuinely differ from the Leftist agenda. To do so would be in keeping with the true spirit of Banned Books Week, which is to encourage free thought — albeit it would not be in keeping with the intent of those who run that enterprise now.

The establishmentarians who run Banned Books Week won’t tell you this, but it is the Leftist establishment of which the ALA is a respected part that is working energetically now to ban all dissenting voices. That’s not how things are supposed to be done in a free society, which is not quite what we have anymore. The list of conservatives who have been denied services because of their political opinions is growing, and that ultimately means that everyone, of all political persuasions, is threatened.

And so this is the perfect week for free people to strike a blow for freedom, and to read a real “unorthodox or unpopular” book by an author who has been “challenged and censored.” Those books are not on the Banned Books Week list. The dreary Leftist conformists of Banned Books Week probably won’t like you to read any genuinely banned authors, and that is all the more reason why you should.