The work of Toni Morrison has been studied, revered and celebrated for decades, and if we have it our way it’ll be a tradition we hope never ends when it comes to future scholars.
However, it appears that a Karen by way of Virginia Beach is hoping to ban one of Morrison’s most important pieces of literature from her school district, along with works by other Black authors that deal in themes of race.
According to The Daily Beast, “at-large” school board member Victoria Manning and another named Laura Hughes have come together to demand that four books be removed from curriculums based on “pornographic nature” found in the reading. In a letter sent to Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence last week, Manning wrote, “It has been brought to my attention by some parents that there are some disturbing books in our district that are available to students,” also adding, “I would like to ask that you pull these books from shelves and also block any electronic access by students to getting these books IMMEDIATELY.”
The book on the list by Morrison is her classic The Bluest Eye, which is also joined by Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines and the memoir comic Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe.
More on Manning’s maddening ban request below, via The Virginian-Pilot:
“Spence wrote in an email to board members that Manning also asked for a review of two additional books — ‘Beyond Magenta’ by Susan Kuklin and ‘Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook’ by Christopher Noxon — but it is unclear why they are being questioned.
In emails obtained through a public records request, Manning wrote that the first four bookscontain ‘sexually explicit’ content and ‘pedophilia.’ She urged that the books be removed from the libraries’ circulations and blocked electronically and asked for the district to review every book in the system’s libraries. She also asked for staff who approved the books to be disciplined.
Manning wrote she had not read all of the books personally but said of ‘The Bluest Eye’ that ‘just reading a few of the pages gives me utter disgust.’”
Based off what he told The Daily Beast, Spence says Manning’s backlash is “unwarranted,” mainly because no other parents have made complaints since he became superintendent back in 2014 and due to the very limited number of copies available for the books in question.
Oh, and case you’re wondering, Manning never even read Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, instead opting to sum it up by saying, “just reading a few of the pages gives me utter disgust.”