ACLU, ALA, PEN Fight ‘Censorship’ in Schools, That Is, Parents Resisting Leftist Indoctrination

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Freedom of expression is under more concerted attack than it has faced in years, and as the censorship efforts of Big Tech demonstrate, that attack is coming from the Left. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Library Association (ALA), and the anti-censorship group PEN America, however, would have you believe that the real threat is coming from the big, grey conservative machine that looms so large in far-Left propaganda. AP ran a story on Tuesday about these admirable warriors, entitled “Activism grows nationwide in response to school book bans.” It is, as you might expect, a near-total inversion of reality: what the Leftists in the story characterize as censorship is actually the effort of parents to roll back at least some of what the Left has done to transform American public schools into centers of Leftist indoctrination.


We are first introduced to a woman named Stephana Ferrell, who was moved to become politically active when her Florida county decided to remove a graphic novel entitled Gender Queer: A Memoir from the local high school’s library. “By winter break,” she says, “we realized this was happening all over the state and needed to start a project to rally parents to protect access to information and ideas in school.” Along with another parent, Ferrell then founded the Florida Freedom to Read Project, which labors to “keep or get back books that have gone under challenge or have been banned.”

This is a deft spin, but it’s a spin nonetheless. Ferrell and her ilk aren’t fighting against some entrenched conservative establishment that is banning books left and right that don’t conform to the MAGA worldview. There is, of course, no such establishment. There is, rather, an educational establishment that is wholly under the control of the Left, and that has been pushing to get books such as Gender Queer: A Memoir into schools in order to break down traditional morality even more than it is already. Some parents have taken it upon themselves to try to resist this effort. And now, for AP, as well as the ACLU, the ALA, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), PEN America, and others, they’re the censors.

The ACLU, PEN America, and the NCAC have been astroturfing this effort to strike back at the supposed censors. According to AP, the three groups “have been working with local activists, educators and families around the country, helping them ‘to prepare for meetings, to draft letters and to mobilize opposition,’ according to PEN America’s executive director, Suzanne Nossel.” These people are awash in cash: “The CEO of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, has said he will personally donate $500,000 for a book defense fund to be run in partnership with PEN. Hachette Book Group has announced ‘emergency donations’ to PEN, the NCAC and the Authors Guild.”


These well-heeled activists also have the ACLU mounting legal battles for them, fighting the removal of books including Gender Queer. “The civil liberties union has also filed open records requests in Tennessee and Montana over book bans, and a warning letter in Mississippi against what it described as the ‘unconstitutionality of public library book bans.'” Vera Eidelman of the ACLU cited a 1982 Supreme Court case stating that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.”

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

The irony couldn’t be thicker. Local school boards, contrary to the impression that AP gives, are not hotbeds of reactionaries and anti-intellectual yahoos. Up until the recent book controversies, they were generally as dominated by Leftists as everything else in America today. Conservative parents are only fighting back now because they have begun to be aware of the effects of decades of Leftist domination of the educational establishment. The Leftist activists AP celebrates in its article aren’t fighting to get books defending the traditional family, arguing against the wisdom of encouraging and celebrating transgenderism, or praising Washington, Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers out of schools, because for the most part those books aren’t there in the first place. The Leftist activists are just fighting to preserve the gains that the Left has made in recent years in the culture wars.


The AP article concludes by telling a story about how the Round Rock Black Parents Association in Texas fought to prevent Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, a piece of race-hate agitprop, from being taken off middle school reading lists. A Leftist activist recounts proudly, “We had children speaking up in favor of this book, even though it was traumatic for some of them to read. We had everyone from middle school students to grandmothers and grandfathers stating their reasons why this should remain on the shelves. The board ended up voting in our favor and the book is still there.” Heartwarming.

Imagine, however, the outcry if a book calling for racial equality and arguing against Critical Race Theory had somehow gotten onto the curriculum in Round Rock. In the first place, that never would have happened at all. But if it did, there would be an outcry in the establishment media, the book would be removed, and that would be that. Censorship is usually the act of the powerful, silencing the powerless. The powerful in America’s schools today are all on the Left. AP’s propaganda won’t change that.


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