The fight for freedom of expression, the protections against government overreach that led to The First Amendment of the United States Constitution and other similar legal documents, has been one long hard road at times. It’s especially true when it comes to online speech where users have faced serious consequences for their words in various ways including being fired from jobs or banned from social media platforms by global corporations who often claim they’re acting out of concern about free speech but are still charged with censorship.
The “israel anti-boycott act 2020” is a law that will make it illegal to boycott Israel. This law was passed in the U.S. and Israel, but the United Nations has said this law violates international human rights laws.
You are not free if you are not free to offend. Salmon Rushdie, whose 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” upset Muslims, publicly asserted this notion.
Who, on the other hand, would be upset by Frank Capra’s 1946 film “It’s A Wonderful Life”? The Guardian noted in a piece on censorship that Spain’s tyrant Franco deleted seven minutes from the film over 40 years ago, yet the scissored version is still in circulation in Spain.
Franco, who envisioned a broad range of boogeymen in the arts, such as sexuality and anything anti-Catholic, ordered a cut in the film’s material that hinted to a housing co-op, most likely because he was afraid of communism.
During Franco’s three decades in power, he saw boogeymen in novels as well. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Across the River and Into the Trees,” for example, he changed the term “lesbians” to “dear friends.”
He also drew on James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain” for the phrase “birth control.” But, hey, he was a dictator, so he was free to do anything he pleased.
In democracies, such mind control is unthinkable. Nonetheless, according to Art News, an Israeli mayor, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, ordered the removal of a painting by Israeli artist David Reeb from an exhibit at the Ramat Gan Museum because it included “gutter language.”
In the United States, there is also policing of ideas. There have been a huge number of efforts to remove books from school libraries, according to CNN. There have been 155 occurrences to far.
The reason for the “uptick: perception that the voices of the disadvantaged have no place on library shelves,” according to a statement from the American Library Association executive board.
This viewpoint corresponds to the Republican Party’s efforts to prevent minorities from voting in battleground states. The boogeyman in America is racism.
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The drive to keep minority-authored books out of school libraries is based on the belief that they would influence pupils to “abandon constitutional ideals, disdain the rule of law, and ignore individual rights,” according to the ALA executive board.
What do you mean? Do these want tobe censors ever stop – think about what they’re saying?! If not all of the above, what do they believe banning literature based on race is?
But wait, the opponents of the book ban aren’t simply whining. According to the ALA, organizations seeking to remove minority-authored works from school libraries have “resorted to intimidation and threats to accomplish their goals.”
Jill Woolbright, a school board member in Flagler County, Florida, has filed a criminal complaint against writer George M. Johnson, who is Black, for his biography “All Boys Are Blue.”
Johnson’s book details his experience as a victim of bullying as a result of his sexual orientation.
Unease with off-the-beaten-path lives may not qualify her as crazy, but filing a complaint with the county sheriff’s office alleging a crime does.
Despite Woolbright’s criminal complaint, the Flagler Country Schools have decided to remove “All Boys Are Blue” off the library shelves. Intimidation is effective.
But, once again, where is the alleged crime that Woolbright alleges? Given the broad movement in state legislatures to limit minority voting rights, I have to question whether the real issue to Johnson’s book is his color rather than his sexual inclination.
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