Banned Books Week is over, and we can all relax for another year. Our books are safe, or are they? If you live in Arizona, look over your shoulder.
In 2010, Arizona passed a law that says ethnic studies may be barred from Arizona’s public schools for fostering “resentment” of another race. “The law was created to prohibit courses that promote the overthrow of a government,” says author Tony Diaz. In other words, the Arizona law equates ethnic studies with promoting revolution.
In 2012, Diaz and friends started the Librotraficante (Book Traffickers) movement. They gathered together as many donated books as they could get their hands on; stuffed their cars, trucks, and vans with books in Texas; and smuggled them via caravan into Arizona, where they established four underground libraries. Diaz and his band of literature-loving freedom fighters hope to compile one full set of the 85 books confiscated from Tucson classrooms—books that included celebrated Latino writers such as Junot Diaz (Drown) and Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate).
So if we allow a state to censor Mexican-American studies. What’s next? Asian studies, African-American studies? What group will we next decide is dangerous? Vegetarians? Cat lovers?
One More Way to Handle Censorship
Here’s another look at censorship. This offers one solution to those aggravating books that you disagree with: