Critical Race Theory Debate Leads To Books By Black Authors Getting Banned

Looking Through Books at the Library

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As the fight over critical race theory continues in American schools, Black authors say their works are getting caught in the crossfire.

Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Craft told NBCBLK he was shocked to learn several of his titles were removed from a school library in Katy, Texas. Critics, mostly patrons and parents, claim Craft's Class Act and the critically-acclaimed New Kid were teaching kids about critical race theory.

"I was caught off guard," Craft syas. "I felt bad for the kids because I know how much they love ‘New Kid’ and ‘Class Act.’ I know what my school visits do. … I felt bad if there was going to be some kids that would not be able to take advantage of that."

His virtual visit to the town's Independent School District was postponed, as well, in the wake of school officials' pushback against critical race theory in curricula.

Even though Craft's books were eventually unbanned in the school district, it's part of a larger issue affecting Black writers across the nation. Their works are getting pulled from school libraries because people assume it's teaching critical race theory when the works are just written by and about people of color, according to reporters.

The American Library Association (ALA) found that 273 books were reportedly affected by censorship attempts in 2020. Many of these titles contained content highlighting race, gender, and sexuality, researchers say. There have been at least 230 challenges in September alone, the organization told NBCBLK.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, called these challenges a violation of First Amendment rights.

“We’re disheartened that there is this organized campaign to remove the voices of marginalized communities from the shelves of school libraries,” Caldwell-Stone says. “We’re particularly disheartened that elected officials who do have a duty to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are pressing forward with efforts to remove these books, as well.”

You can read more about the situation here.

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