(New York) Never in twenty years have so many requests to censor books been made in the United States, the American Library Association warned Thursday, amid growing cultural polarization in the country.
These attempts to remove books from the shelves mainly concern books dealing with issues related to the LGBT community and minorities, according to the NGO.
In all, 1,269 censorship requests targeting one or more books were filed in the United States last year, compared to 729 in 2021, a year which had already set a record, according to a press release from the association, which has been listing this data since 2003.
The targeted works number 2,571, compared to 1,858 in 2021. The vast majority (86%) are children’s literature books, and more than half (58%) concern books taught or available at school.
“We are seeing these requests come from organized censorship groups, which are targeting local library boards to demand the removal of a long list of books,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, intellectual freedom officer. within the association, cited in the press release.
The goal of this “self-proclaimed book police” is “to erase the voices of those who are typically excluded from our nation’s conversations, such as people from the LGBTQIA community or people of color,” she blasted. .
The release of the data comes as conservative states in the US take a more frontal stance on books dealing with topics ranging from racism to gender identity.
The novel Beloved, a classic by African-American novelist Toni Morrison, was particularly targeted. Pulitzer Prize in 1988, it tells the story of a former slave who chooses to kill her child to save him from suffering the atrocities of slavery in turn.