Pennsylvania Race Racism

York, Pennsylvania, District Removes Ban on Books About Racism and Diversity

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The Central York school board banned a long list of books and videos about race, racism, and diversity. Days ago, responding to protests by students, parents, and teachers, the board voted unanimously to lift the ban.

This censorship is in keeping with the current effort by Republicans to label teaching about racism to be teaching “critical race theory” that makes white students feel guilty and uncomfortable.

A Pennsylvania school district that had banned a list of anti-racism books and educational resources by or about people of color — including children’s titles about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. — reversed its nearly year-long decision this week after backlash and protests from students, parents and educators in the community.


The Central York School District had implemented “a freeze” last fall on a lengthy list of books and educational resources that focused almost entirely on titles related to people of color. The school district claimed the books on race and social justice, which some in the southern Pennsylvania community hoped would help bolster the educational curriculum following George Floyd’s murder and the racial-justice protests of 2020, were frozen, not banned, after some parents raised concerns about the materials.


The school board announced Monday it had voted unanimously to reinstate access to the books, district spokeswoman Julie Randall Romig confirmed to The Washington Post.


Jane Johnson, president of the school board, said in a statement that the review of the anti-racist materials had “taken far too long.” The all-White school board had taken months to vet books and materials such as children’s titles on Parks and King, education activist Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, the Oscar-nominated PBS documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” about writer James Baldwin and CNN’s “Sesame Street” town hall on racism.


Johnson previously noted that some parents in the district “believe that rather than uniting on diversity, certain resources polarize and divide on diversity and are based on disputed theories and facts…”

Students at Central York High School had denounced and protested the ban, saying their “thoughts are being invalidated.” Students organized demonstrations over consecutive days this month in response to the district’s inaction toward reversing the ban…

In November, the school board “unanimously approved a decision to freeze the use of these resources” pending a review, Johnson said.
A Twitter account named Central York Banned Book Club compiled a lengthy list of every book and resource that had been prohibited by the district. “The copy is tiny because the list is massive,” the account tweeted Sunday. @cybannedbooks

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