Kitchen Table Kibitzing Friday – Band aids for banned books

Many protesters. One carries a sign: "This episode of Handmaid's Tale sucks". Letters of the sign are black on white, except for the words from the book title, "Handmaid's Tale," which are red.

Many protesters. One carries a sign: "This episode of Handmaid's Tale sucks". Letters of the sign are black on white, except for the words from the book title, "Handmaid's Tale," which are red.

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Is it better to read or sit in a corner and think about what you have done.

It does seem strangely logical that the state of Kansas would ban The Handmaid’s Tale as an “obscene material” that needed to be sequestered in a prison library. Or maybe they think it’s a “self-help” book.

Darn those media effects. It still remains for a real discourse about prison reform to occur under a PIC where incarcerating immigrants is a profit-center. Banned books in prison are a symptom that replicates itself in schools.

The state of Texas has an official banned list of over 10,000 banned books, and public reporting has indicated that the list may now include over 15,000 titles.

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Internet use in prisons allows inmates to communicate with the outside. Much like the use of telephones in prisons, the use of the internet under supervision, for various purposes, is approved in 49 U.S. correctional systems and five Canadian provinces. Each of the reporting U.S. systems, except Hawaii, Iowa, Nebraska and Nevada, use computers to employ inmate educational programs, as do all five reporting provinces in Canada. There are 36 reporting U.S. systems to handle inmate health issues via telemedicine.[1] However much like the use of mobile phones in prisoninternet access without supervision, via a smartphone, is banned for all inmates.[2]en.wikipedia.org/…

The statewide list reportedly includes such books as Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and books on the Civil Rights Movement.

Florida has a list of over 20,000 banned books. The nonprofit organization Books to Prisoners has noted that this list includes “Klingon dictionaries [and] a coloring book about chickens.” 

Kansas has had a list of over 7,000 banned books, including “self-help books,” as well as “bestselling literary works, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.”  After the Human Rights Defense Center obtained and published the list in May 2019, the acting secretary at the Kansas Department of Corrections announced that he would abolish the list and replace it with a new policy for reviewing obscene materials. 

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While the specific rules vary from state to state, prison officials generally have broad latitude to ban books based on their content, including the prerogative to develop their own rationales for why a book should be blocked.They usually do so on one of several grounds:

• Sexual content. nudity, or obscenity

• Depictions of violence or language perceived to encourage it

• Depictions of criminal activity or language perceived to encourage it

• Depictions of escape or language perceived to encourage it

• Encouragement of “group disruption” or anti-authority attitudes or actions

• Racial animus or language perceived to encourage hatred

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The ideas of Michel Foucault are an obvious point of reference for social researchers studying schools. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault explicitly analyses schooling as an apparatus of modern disciplinary power. And it is easy to draw parallels between his well-known account of the Panopticon and the ways in which surveillance works in educational institutions. socialtheoryapplied.com/…

For purposes of this brief, we refer to these types of bans as content-based. While all these categories may encompass areas of legitimate concern, they can be—and in practice often are—construed so broadly that they essentially serve as convenient justifications for arbitrary bans. Further, prison officials are allowed to block books even outside these categories so long as the text is “detrimental to the security, good order, rehabilitation, or discipline of the institution.”  This type of provision grants officials substantial leeway.

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There remain book challenges as frequent as book challengers and made more problematic by that darned Internet. 

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A challenged book is one that is sought to be removed or otherwise restricted from public access, typically from a library or a school curriculum. This is a list of the most commonly challenged books in the United States. It is primarily based on data gathered by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). The OIF gathers their data from media reports from reports from librarians and teachers.[1]

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“George,” by Alex Gino
This children's novel made the list because it features a transgender character, according to the ALA.
“A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” by Jill Twiss, illustrated by E. G. Keller
The American Library Association reports LGBTQIA+ content, political and religious viewpoints are among the reasons why this book was challenged.
“Captain Underpants” series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
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This book made the list because it includes a same-sex couple, which those calling for the ban perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, the ALA said.
“The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas
Thomas' debut novel, written as a reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant, includes drug use, profanity and sexual references, which are reasons it was challenged. It was also deemed “anti-cop,” according to the ALA.
“Drama,” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
This graphic novel is on the list because it features LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.
“Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher
A novel turned Netflix series centers around teen suicide, which is the reason the ALA said it made the list.
“This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
A coming-of-age story is illustrated in this graphic novel and was banned or challenged because of certain illustrations and because it includes profanity and sexual references.
“Skippyjon Jones” series, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
A Siamese cat takes center stage in this children's picture book. It made the list due to its depiction of cultural stereotypes, the ALA said.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
This novel was challenged or banned due to its inclusion of profanity, sexual references and its religious viewpoint.
“This Day in June,” by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

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This picture book illustrates a Pride parade, and its inclusion of LGBTQIA+ content is the reason it was challenged or banned.
“Two Boys Kissing,” by David Levithan
If the title isn't obvious, the young adult novel explores gay teens journey to love and acceptance. It was challenged due to its LGBTQIA+ content.
www.cnn.com/…

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In other forms of sequestration, we saw the moving of POTUS* call transcripts to a code-word classified server.

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— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) September 27, 2019

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On a lighter note: cute liddle(sic) guys with the bite strength of a black bear.

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— US Fish and Wildlife, Pacific Southwest Region (@USFWS_PSW) September 23, 2019

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— Georgia Aquarium (@GeorgiaAquarium) September 27, 2019

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