Why Scholastic Book Fair is Changing Course on Diversity
The Scholastic Book Fair has thrown down the gauntlet in the national censorship debate. Okay, so they didn't actually drop a medieval glove on the ground or call for a duel, but they are challenging the conservative censorship crusade. In a letter, the educational company expressed its intention to refuse any requests to segregate books they offer in elementary and middle school book fairs. Scholastic's announcement came on the heels of criticism after announcing its Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice collection, consisting of diverse titles and stories written by Black authors and those belonging to other marginalized groups. While some opposed the collection at face value, others accused the educational company of creating a separate but equal policy that segregated their catalog. They feared schools could opt out of this collection, making it easier to deprive students of access to these titles. However, Scholastic's letter clears the air: "The biggest misconception is that Scholastic Book Fairs is putting all diverse titles into one optional case. This is not true, in any school, in any location we serve."
For the past few years, conservatives have taken part in a widespread censorship campaign, snatching over a thousand book titles off the shelves, almost always targeting those written by Black authors or those belonging to other racial, ethnic, or gender-marginalized groups. This cloud of censorship is the context under which Scholastic published this letter embracing diversity and intellectual liberty and condemning efforts to segregate public school curricula. This is major news for educators, considering some textbook manufacturers have already caved into conservative demands, whitewashing content and removing essential context per their request. Far too often, conservative parents and politicians treat American history like an a la carte menu, where they can reveal whatever facts and figures they like and ignore the rest. Imagine the audacity of them ordering history textbooks and asking the publishers to remove any facts that make White people feel uncomfortable.