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Reading Rainbow: Why The Children's Show Threatened White Supremacy?

LeVar Burton's Fight Against NEO FASCISM and Modern Book Burners!

A letter to those who would burn books and censor schools from teaching truth written by Levar Burton the Iconic host of Reading Rainbow “This restrictive behavior is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume.”

“We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans. It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment, to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks,” the letter continues. “We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans. As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.” The letter concludes by saying, “We are calling on everyone to join us in pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries—regardless of personal or ideological disagreements—and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts. There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us.”

Burton also wrote his own statement about the letter, saying, “It’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture, in this day and age. And it’s dangerous that a handful of individuals are deciding that any book with Black and queer people is divisive. I’m proud to be surrounded by hundreds of artists and millions of MoveOn members who are solidly against this type of censorship. We are calling on everyone to join us in raising their voices to uphold artistic freedom, embrace multicultural history, and put a stop once and for all to book bans.”

Some may think schools banning books is far from becoming a Nazi but they would be very wrong it aids an already growing problem among those who see themselves as victims because they are not allowed to victimize and exploit others! U.S. extremists on a daily basis on thousands of media sites are mimicking the social media strategy used by the Islamic State group, which turned to subtle language and images across Telegram, Facebook and YouTube a decade ago to evade the industry-wide crackdown of the terrorist group’s online presence, said Mia Bloom, a communications professor at Georgia State University.

“They’re trying to recruit,” said Bloom, who has researched social media use for both Islamic State terrorists and far-right extremists. “We’re starting to see some of the same patterns with ISIS and the far-right. The coded speech, the ways to evade AI. The groups were appealing to a younger and younger crowd.” For example, on Instagram, one of the most popular apps for teens and young adults, white supremacists amplify each other’s content daily and point their followers to new accounts.

In recent weeks, a cluster of those accounts has turned its sights on Pride Month, with some calling for gay marriage to be “re-criminalized” and others using the #Pride or rainbow flag emoji to post homophobic memes. Law enforcement agencies are already monitoring an active threat from a young Arizona man who says on his Telegram accounts that he is “leading the war” against retail giant Target for its Pride Month merchandise and children’s clothing line and has promised to “hunt LGBT supporters” at the stores. In videos posted to his Telegram and YouTube accounts, sometimes filmed at Target stores, he encourages others to go the stores as well. Target said in a statement that it is working with national law enforcement agencies who are investigating the videos.

As society becomes more accepting of human rights in their entirety, the issue may be especially triggering for young white men who have held traditionally racist and sexist beliefs around relationships and marriage, Bloom said. “That might explain the vulnerability to radical belief systems: A lot of the beliefs that they grew up with, that they held rather firmly, are being shaken,” she said. “That’s where it becomes an opportunity for these groups: They’re lashing out and they’re picking on things that are very different.” The goal is to make them afraid and capitalize on their fear and cowardice. Especially their fear of losing the myths of their innate superiority because of skin coloration that they were brought up to believe were true.

As ever, Burton is looking out for them knowing that truth frees the minds of even those who are ridden with hate and fear. The actor and literacy advocate recently served as the honorary chair of Banned Books Week, an annual October event dedicated to raising awareness about attempts to remove reading materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. He then shortly thereafter made his second appearance as the host of the National Book Awards, where “censorship” was the word on every honoree’s lips. “I've put in work in this field; I've put in time on these issues,” Burton told Esquire in a recent interview. “I'm happy to be the face of it and represent it, because these are matters that I care deeply about.”

Amid the GOP’s nationwide push against teaching about historical truths around race, science, and sexuality in schools, two members of the Spotsylvania County School Board in Virginia advocated for burning certain books, according to the Fredericksburg-based Free Lance-Star newspaper. This came as the school board directed staff to begin removing “sexually explicit” books from library shelves, after voting 6-0 in favor of the removal, the Lance-Star reported. The board has plans to review how certain books or materials are defined as “objectionable,” the paper said, which opens the door for other content to be removed. Many argue that under the guidelines of what they deem "sexually explicit" they will eventually have to ban the Bible as well. The books that have now been banned from high school libraries include "Song of Solomon" by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi, which traces a Ghanaian family through enslavement and racial prejudice in the U.S.; and "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher, a novel about a teen's suicide, Maus I and II a graphic novel about the evils of Nazi Germany, The Shawshank Redemption, and classics like Ellison's Invisible Man and Steinbeck's of Mice and Men!

Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail and Livingston representative Kirk Twigg both championed burning the books that have been removed. “I think we should throw those books in a fire,” Abuismail said. Meanwhile, Twigg said he wanted to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.” The goal seems to be that American children should be indoctrinated rather than taught critical thin king skills so they like their parents can grow up believing American slaves were lucky they had been saved from Africa, Indigenous North Africans were white, stories about Ulysses, Theseus, Orestes and Alexander the Great were about straight men, and George Washington chopped down a cherry tree to make his wooden teeth rather than having them taken out of his slaves mouths!

According to author Wilhelm Reich's work we can see that 21st-century society is not a reproduction of 1930s Europe. But we can learn from previous historical eras. Reich regarded fascism as a problem of the masses and not a problem of Hitler as a person or the politics of the National Socialist Party: This is why children reading books that enable them to think logically and identify what is true and false empirically through evidence is a threat to an oppressive society.

The champion of an idea, can be successful … ONLY if his personal point of view, his ideology, or his program bears a resemblance to the average structure of a broad category of individuals. … it is precisely a question of understanding why the masses proved to be accessible to deception, befogging, and a psychotic situation. Here is a contradiction that can be explained only by mass psychology and not by politics or economics. The masses of Nazi Germany had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of the various parties. … Why didn’t they see that, while Hitler was promising the workers that the owners of the means of production would be brought down and their wealth dispersed, Hitler promised the capitalists that their rights would be protected. Contemporary vows to the public to "drain the swamp", and to capitalists to minimize taxes and remove government regulations, are rough equivalents of the same con.

The psychologist Robert Coles, in The Political Life of Children, a book in his larger Inner Lives of Children Trilogy, examines the stories and myths that a nation uses to socialize generations of people in order to establish the consent of the governed. In a society structured, in both a psychological and material sense, fundamentally on issues of racism and classism, our experiences as children form the basis for our political attitudes. Thus teaching our children that all human life is just as valuable as yours regardless of your skin color, religion or sexuality is a threat to those who would have them believe it is alright for a system or certain individuals hired by the system to kill, exploit, deride, shun, rob and maim those who are different because they have less value as human beings. Such a society would fear the economic and social advantage of those "Other", "not like us", people and become angry or violent at the prospect of sharing the planet with them on an equal footing.


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