Tennessee lawmaker suggests burning banned books 2022-04-27 18:38:08


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The Republican-led Tennessee legislature passed a bill Wednesday requiring public school librarians to submit a list of book titles to the state for approval, as a Republican lawmaker suggested burning books deemed inappropriate.

During a contentious debate on the bill in the House, Representative John Ray Clemons (D) asked Representative Jerry Sexton (right) what he would do with books he and the state deemed unsuitable for libraries.

“You’re going to put them on the street? Set them on fire? Where are they going?” Clemons asked.

“I have no proof, but I will burn them,” Sexton replied.

“That’s what I thought,” Clemons said.

Burning books is a symbol of totalitarian regimes, and it was carried out especially in Nazi Germany. One of the most notable examples in history occurred on May 10, 1933, when German university students set fire to more than 25,000 books deemed “un-German,” According to the American Holocaust Museum. The action came after about 40,000 people gathered to hear Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi party’s chief propagandist, give a speech declaring “no to immorality and immorality,” according to the museum.

Under the Tennessee House bill, also approved by the state Senate, librarians will be required to submit a list of the titles of books in their collections to a state-run committee for approval. The bill now heads for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (right) to be signed into law.

At the White House on Wednesday at a ceremony honoring teachers, President Biden decried politically motivated efforts targeting books he said make teaching more difficult.

He said, referring to the Florida book last moves. “Did you ever think when you were studying that you would worry about burning books and banning all books because it didn’t fit with anyone’s political agenda?”

According to Fox 17 NashvilleSexton defended the measure by saying that currently, “there is no clear trend … on how these books got there.”

The bill, according to Sexton, would also allow parents to mark books on librarians’ “disliked” lists, allowing them to “appeal” to authorities about the book’s future on the shelves.

Democrats and educational organizations fought the measure. In a statement issued Tuesday, the Association of School Librarians of Tennessee called it “Total government overrun“And it is not in the interests of the state’s students.

“History has not looked fondly upon those who have banned books or those who burn them.” Rep. Gloria Johnson (Democrat) declared She said.

After the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to pass the law, Clemons said he was “speechless.”

“This is the final vote on the GOP’s book-burning bill,” Clemons chirp. “I can refer to the bill by that name, the sponsor of the bill BC literally said he would burn the books that had been removed from the bookshelves. He said it on #TN the floor of the house.

The Tennessee bill comes amid a “historic effort” by conservative groups across the country to Banning books and educational materials which they find objectionable, often touching on racism, gender, politics, and gender identity, according to Annual Report of the American Library Association on book censorship.

“These groups sought to pull books from school and public library shelves that share the stories of LGBT people, blacks, indigenous people, people of color, immigrants and refugees,” the ALA said in its report. “But we know that banning books will not make these living facts and experiences disappear, nor will it erase our nation’s struggle for true justice, diversity, and inclusion.”

The ALA said it tracked 729 attempts to remove office, school and college materials in 2021, which resulted in 1,597 books being opposed or removed — the highest number recorded since the association began tracking the phenomenon 20 years ago.

Hannah Nathanson contributed to this report.