In May 1933, several thousand people gathered in Berlin’s Opera Square. They brought with them books – 25,000 of them – by authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller, Jack London and Albert Einstein. At the end of the evening, they piled the books into a large mound, then – with an orchestra playing the background and universal applause – they burned them. As the flames roared, the crowd heard a speech by German Minister of Lights Joseph Goebbels. The era of critical race theory is now over, Goebbels told them. Then he shouted that the flames would end the awakening.
In fact, Goebbels did not mention the CRT. He said “Jewish intellectualism”. And he didn’t say “wake up”. He spoke of the “un-German spirit”.
But it’s the same thing. It is Exactly the same thing.
The same thoughts and the same hatred are at the origin of “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, and another 200 books being banned from Florida schools under new laws passed by Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis defends the deletion of these books by calling them “pornography”. The Nazis used the term “decadent.” Potayto, potato. The words may have been changed slightly, but the meaning hasn’t changed a millimeter. It’s not an echo of the past: it’s a rereading.
Under Florida’s new rules, the single form below is enough to obtain poet Tony Medina’s book “Love To Langston,” which consists of poems paying homage to one of the greatest literary figures of the 20th century, banned from Florida schools. It didn’t take a single instance of objectionable material in the book. It was not necessary to fill out the form correctly. It only took a few scribbles and a check mark to make this book unavailable for students of all skill levels.
The person who scribbled on this form (but did not leave a legible name) called the book of Medina “indoctrination”. The Nazis called Ernest Hemingway’s work a “corrupting influence”. Obviously, Florida hasn’t banned Roget’s thesaurus yet.
Whether it’s Alabama lawmakers claiming that textbooks have “too much black history“, Florida parents chasing any book with a hint of gay charactersor the Nazis forbidding theory or relativity Because Einstein was Jewish, the zeal of the book-killers to use the power of the majority to crush the experiences, ideas, and very existence of minorities is unchanged.
Whether it’s Republicans forcing the College Council to rewrite the demands on the teaching of American history, or the Nazis throw “In the west, nothing is newin flames for failing to provide a suitably heroic account of German actions in World War I, the motivations have not budged an inch.
Florida is not alone, of course. Equally blatant rules in Texas actually had this state survey the nation on repression before DeSantis kicks off his election cycle to further escalate “the Sun State.” There are plenty of other dark red state legislatures and other equally ambitious Republican governors who are ready to jump on board. We see you, Tennessee.
Never mind that the vast majority of book murders in Florida were the tragic victims of a few zealous serial killers. It was the same in Germany in the 1930s. It’s true almost everywhere that history, science, biography, philosophy and anything that can be squeezed between the covers – which is everything that is– will die.
It’s always a small group that carries out the murder. Everyone stands ready and lets them do it. John Mill explained this in 1859 when he wrote, “Bad men need nothing more to achieve their ends than good men must watch and do nothing.” That’s probably why he shows up on the banned book lists nowadays.
Book killing is about closing minds and ending opportunities. It’s all about ensuring compliance. That’s why DeSantis wants to keep Florida kids from reading about these degenerate Jews and their anti-German depravity. Oh sorry. I mean trans youth and awakening.
And wait. Can you feel it? This rising smoke. And at the corners of your vision, the flickering light of torches.
Editor-in-chief of the daily Kos Erika Chavez notes that the handwriting and signature of the person who requested the removal of the tribute to Langston Hughes is identical to that of the form requesting the removal. deletion of the inaugural poem by Amanda Gorman. This means that the person behind the two bans is likely this womanDaily Salinas, which Miami Herald identified as having ties to the white supremacist group Proud Boys. All of the books Salinas cited were banned by a school in Miami-Dade County.