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Dharma Talks , Inspirations , Tias Articles & Interviews

STAYING TRUE: The Book Backlash

This past week-end at the Academy Awards, we were pulling for the The ABCs of Book Banning to win first prize in the Short Documentary category. As a one time graduate of English Literature (long live the Humanities!) I know reading to be instrumental to opening people’s eyes, hearts and minds to a spectrum of different voices and belief systems. Last year, America witnessed the highest number of attempted book bans on record. This is a result of the narrowing of minds who seek to shut out LGBTQ+ voices and people of color. Prejudice and fear prompt such a backlash. If we are permitted to only read into the history and lives of one type of citizen (male, white and straight) then what type of society will we become?

 The ABCs of Book Banning documentary starts by recalling the extensive book burnings that took place in 1940’s Nazi Germany. Woven into the film are testimonies from inquisitive 12 and 14 year-olds, who share their love of reading and make a plea for the right to have access to all-inclusive literature. Titles such as The Life of Rosa Parks, The Hate U Give, All Boys Aren’t Blue and Ambitious Girl top the list of banned memoirs and stories. Vocal parents, school committees and politicians aim to mute the voices of writers they perceive to be other. More than ever, we need to listen to a diversity of memoirs and narratives, so that we can better understand and come to appreciate each other. Let the truth be told. The first thing I did after watching the film was fill my shopping cart with memoirs and stories I have not yet read in order to celebrate the formidable inflection, the color, and flare of the suppressed.
Alchemy + Aim