Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the recent Orwellian attacks from the far-right in efforts to ban hundreds of books that explore issues of racism or identity or social injustice. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
I want to return to the point I made yesterday about the wave of book bannings we’re seeing in our public libraries and our school districts across the country.
We shouldn’t kid ourselves about the scary nature of these Orwellian attacks from the far-right.
Because when far-right legislators in places like Texas demand that schools turn over their readings lists, or when a school district in Tennessee bans a graphic novel that teaches about the Holocaust, or when reactionary voices hide behind claims of “indecency” and “offensiveness” any time they attack works that explore issues of racism or identity or social injustice—then we aren’t seeing free expression, we’re seeing intimidation.
That’s what these book bannings are about: they are efforts to intimidate educators and students away from exploring difficult issues, to obscure parts of our history the far-right doesn’t like, and to perpetuate and—even champion—ignorance of our own past.
We don’t need to look that far into history to see what happens when we go down a dangerous road of censorship and suppression: when free expression is weakened, the mob is empowered. These unprecedented efforts by the far-right to ban books that explore injustice and racism are deeply disturbing and nakedly Orwellian.
They should be opposed at the state level before more damage is done to our students and to our country.