Banning Books Won’t Allow Us to Become our Better Selves

by on March 2, 2022 · 6 comments

in From the Soul


by Ernie McCray

When I see various “banned books” lists
I can only sigh
a “My, my, my”

I see,
for one,
Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”
and I remember
the journey of Pecola, the mysterious protagonist
in this brilliantly crafted spin,
who suffers the deep stabbing pains of “less-than-ness”
due to the color of her skin.
Everyone should know that such as this
can exist

I see
Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
and I’m taken back
to moments one day when I was a boy
sitting and reading of Huckleberry’s exploits
and the next thing I knew
me and him
and a free slave named Jim
were on a river raft
riding the
currents of the Mighty Mississippi.
To fantasize
is a human delight.

I see
Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl”
and I reflect on what I learned
about Nazism
through the prism
of her vision.
Some stories
are written with enlightening precision.

I see
Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
which let me in on how
one White woman envisioned
race relations
in her imagination.
Her book went against the inclinations
of a Jim Crow nation.

I see
James Baldwin’s “Go Tell it on the Mountain”
which enriched my comprehension
of how relations
between a father and his son
can be twisted and damaged
in a mix of sexism and racism.
That read compelled me to
question myself and my “isms.”

I see
Ralph Ellison’s “The Invisible Man”
and Alice Walker’s “The Color of Purple”
and Maya Angelou’s “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
and I’m reminded
of how their tales so vividly
both the beauty and the tragedy
in struggles to survive
abuse and bigotry
and I think of how their works
and the exquisitely written narratives
by the others are about a people
seeking only to be seen
as human beings
in a racially divided society.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.

Oh, I would say,
these books
could help us
come to grips
with who we are
and where we’ve been
so that we can transcend who we’ve been
into somebody else.
But banning them?
That just won’t
allow us
to become our better selves.
And we do want to be better as a species,
don’t we?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie March 3, 2022 at 8:18 am

Book bans have reached levels not seen in decades — but nationwide activism to oppose them is growing, too.


Bearded OBcean March 3, 2022 at 1:52 pm

It’s fascinating that the link makes it seem like it’s only a right-wing phenom when it’s been done by activists on both ends of the spectrum for years.


sealintheselkirks March 4, 2022 at 3:47 pm

Bearded OBcean, It would be appreciated if you can give some help here as to what books have been banned and/or burned on bonfires by the left as we are seeing right now in this country? Add a few titles in your reply for examples perhaps? If you don’t mind.

Remember that all governments are conservative by nature, and political labeling often does NOT define what they actually operate under. Nazi Germany was NOT ‘socialist’ nor was Communist China truly ‘communist.’ The Soviet Union under Stalin was Fascist. Nor is the USA a ‘democracy’ as it certainly wasn’t founded that way or women would have been able to vote from the start at the very least…

Without solid evidence, along with comparisons of worldwide numbers over the centuries, your claim is just that, a claim. Words with no meaning.

Hell, I can go online and buy writing by Mao, Castro, Lenin, Allende, even order a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf (you know the former guy’s fav bedside reading?) where Nazi propaganda is banned in its home country of Germany!

There seems to be not only a much longer history of conservative book banning and burnings in this country as this article below points out as the very first one on this continent was at least partially due to extreme racism and fundamentalism… don’t mix with the “wild men” from the “howling wilderness” that needed suppressed. That is real history from the very start. LINK:

America’s First Banned Book Really Ticked Off the Plymouth Puritans
The author, known as the “Lord of Misrule,” had the audacity to erect a maypole in Massachusetts.

from: Atlas Obscura

Paragraph 4 & 5 really places the blame quite explicitly on the extremely conservative racists in 1600s Mass. This is what SHOULD be taught in schools and most isn’t.

Knowing actual history instead of myths and propaganda means growing up gaining the ability to combat repeating the same mistakes made by our ancestors, and gives a base from which children can grow to be better people in ways that far outstrip their parents.

Obviously something to be very fearful by certain segments of society. But if these book burners are so worried and such good parents, wouldn’t you expect that their children have been taught NOT to read those books and of course they always obey their parents, right?

Conservative book burners…Imagine the enormous amount of human history that was lost when the conservatives burned of the Library of Alexandria? What the Romans burned in the Ancient Greece libraries?

Awaiting your list of leftie censored books. My curiosity is aroused!



sealintheselkirks March 3, 2022 at 2:02 pm

I saw a poster in a library about what books are being banned by the RWNJs and then went downstairs and looked through my bookshelves. I felt like I was looking at a shelf of Fahrenheit 451 flammables…

Now for some humor by musician Katie Goodman because we need this.
Warning: she uses profanity to sing her point across but dang does this song hit the mark or what?



Saidy March 4, 2022 at 2:10 pm

Ernie, excellent job!!! Thank you, Banning books narrows our freedom. Many of these books were assigned to high schooler’s in the 60’s thru 80’s. They were a right of passage. We could see each others struggles and take that knowledge forward with a better understanding, Whoever makes the decision to ban books must have a personal unresolved issue, that needs attention. We are supposed to be able to pick and choose what books we want to read.


Thomas Gayton March 5, 2022 at 7:56 pm



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