Conservative hysteria over critical race theory and the so-called indoctrination of children is becoming a mainstay of the GOP's party platform.
As a result, there's enhanced scrutiny from conservative lawmakers and parents regarding the books available in their students' libraries. In Ridgeland, Mississippi, Republican Mayor Gene McGee is withholding more than $100 thousand in funding until the city's library system purges all books with LGBTQ themes. The McInn County Board of Education in Tennessee recently removed the seminal Holocaust graphic novel Maus from a junior high module on the tragedy, citing curse words and nudity.
In Texas, formal requests for book removals have skyrocketed in the past six months, with public records obtained by NBC revealing nearly 100 requests for certain books to be taken off the shelves last year, most of which occurred in the last four months of 2021.
A new report from NBC News details a Katy, Texas parent's opposition to the book Michelle Obama: Political Icon, saying it unfairly portrays Trump as a bully and that it would make white girls ashamed.
The nonfiction book does nothing of the sort. It notes that Mrs. Obama was the first Black First Lady the United States had ever seen, while noting the challenges that posed on her personal journey. It mentions Trump exactly twice.
The first mention reads:
"Republican Donald Trump was running for president, and his values didn't match the Obamas'. The Obamas campaigned for Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton."
The second mention invoked Mrs. Obama's rousing 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention:
"She urged Democrats to stay hopeful and behave as good role models, even as they fought with Republican opponents. 'When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level,' she said. 'No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.'
In 2016 Trump won the presidential election. The Obamas were gracious as they turned over the place they'd called home for eight years to its new occupants."
The parent's efforts at censoring nonfiction failed when a review of the book by the Katy Independent School District determined it didn't merit removal.
The request for removal still generated backlash on Twitter.
And the wave of conservative book bans across the country is generating widespread concern.
In the Katy Independent School District, even a single complaint against a book generates a review. This parent's complaint failed, but there's no telling the number of complaints that won't.