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     ‘Afraid of knowledge’: Teachers union president takes on book bans

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Velshi: Banning books stifles curiosity, and ultimately imperils society


In recent weeks, hundreds of books have either been challenged, barred, or face proposals to get pulled from schools, curricula, and libraries across the country. They’ve been deemed "controversial" for a variety of reasons. Some say they contain "objectionable language", they're "too sexually explicit", or they fall falsely accused of being about Critical Race Theory. In some cases, the problem with these books is that their contents just might make a young reader or, more likely their parents, uncomfortable. There are a host of arguments made against the books – some are simply prudish, but several are clearly racist or homophobic or transphobic, and most of it is anti-intellectual: the same sort that gets us climate deniers and anti-vaxxers. Simply put, banning books is bad. It deprives people young and old of exposure to ideas, concepts, and world views that are not their own. It stifles curiosity. It perpetuates stereotypes. And when you dampen curiosity, you weaken our ability to think critically – to know when you are being fooled. Banning books is going to make us into a stupid society, vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation. We are less informed when our choices about the range of information we consume is arbitrarily limited. Sometimes it feels like there’s too much to fight for and it’s hard to win. But don’t let this one get by you. YOU can actually make a difference in this one, we all can.