(The Daily Signal) – Former President Barack Obama just came out in favor of porn in schools.
Sure, the former president didn’t say that outright. He released a letter lamenting the supposed trend of “banned books” and standing with school librarians as if they were under siege.
“In a very real sense, you’re on the front lines — fighting every day to make the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas available to everyone,” Obama wrote in a public letter Monday. “Your dedication and professional expertise allow us to freely read and consider information and ideas, and decide for ourselves which ones we agree with.”
Obama’s letter emphasized a core American value; namely, the idea that the solution to bad speech is more speech, not censorship. Yet, as with so much of Obama’s soaring rhetoric, the real message appears between the lines. Behind the effusive praise for librarians—who help “us understand each other and embrace our shared humanity”—Obama’s letter rebukes the concerned parents who dare to question why school librarians defend sexually explicit books.
“Today, some of the books that shaped my life—and the lives of so many others—are being challenged by people who disagree with certain ideas or perspectives,” Obama wrote. “It’s no coincidence that these ‘banned books’ are often written by, or feature, people of color, indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community—though there have also been unfortunate instances in which books by conservative authors or books containing ‘triggering’ words or scenes have been targets for removal. Either way, the impulse seems to be to silence, rather than engage, rebut, learn from or seek to understand views that don’t fit our own.”
Obama has mastered the appearance of political neutrality while advancing his agenda. He likely knows the “banned books” talking point is false—that the real debate involves whether sexually explicit books belong in school libraries.
In supporting his argument, Obama shared a link to an American Library Association project, “Unite Against Book Bans.” The American Library Association, echoing the organization PEN America, also released a list of the 13 “most challenged books of 2022.”
Even ALA admits that every single one of the “most challenged books” faces challenges because they are “claimed to be sexually explicit.”
Jay Greene, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, and Madison Marino, a research associate with the center, analyzed PEN America’s report claiming to identify 2,532 books banned in public schools during the 2021-2022 school year. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
PEN America’s claim is “simply false,” Greene and Marino write. They “examined online card catalogues and found that 74% of the books PEN America identified as banned from school libraries are actually listed as available in the catalogues of those school districts. In many cases, we could see that copies of those books are currently checked out and in use by students.”
PEN America’s report claims that certain school districts have banned some classic works—such as the diary of Anne Frank, “Brave New World,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”—yet Greene and Marino found each of those books listed as available in the card catalogues of the respective school districts.
Greene and Marino failed to find some books in the card catalogues of school libraries, however. They noted that those books “would strike most reasonable people as unlikely to be age-appropriate for school libraries.”
“Works like ‘Gender Queer,’ ‘Flamer,’ ‘Lawn Boy,’ ‘Fun Home,’ and ‘It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health’ either contain images of people engaged in sex acts or graphic descriptions of those acts,” the Heritage analysts wrote.
Parents don’t oppose those books due to racism or animus against those who identify as LGBT—they raised concerns about sexually explicit images and passages in the books. “Gender Queer,” for example, contains pictures of sexual acts between a boy and a man. “Lawn Boy” contains long sections in which a boy reminisces about explicit experiences he had at 10 years old. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” contains sexually explicit passages. (Warning: Explicit passages quoted in the link.)
The sainted Obama would not dare to write, “I support sexually explicit pictures and passages in school libraries,” but that is the ultimate message his letter conveys.
Obama’s letter references classic authors like Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, but also includes Toni Morrison, whose book “The Bluest Eye” (on the ALA list mentioned above) reportedly features incest, pedophilia, a graphic description of a married woman’s distaste for intercourse with her husband, and more.
Contrary to the rhetoric of “book bans,” parents are not calling for the government to purge these tomes from existence. They’re complaining about students in elementary schools and middle schools having access to sexually explicit materials in their school libraries.
I remember when school was about education, leading children out of ignorance and equipping them with basic math, language, and writing skills to face the world around them, not indoctrinating them into a hypersexualized identity.
Rather than agreeing with the moms and dads who are rightly outraged about porn in schools, Barack Obama stood with those falsely claiming that concerned parents are trying to suppress minorities.