Education

Highland Park's Book Fight Is About Ideology, Not Sex

From its beginning last fall, the narrative of the Great Highland Park Book Ban -- and I think all spectators can agree that it's been great -- has been about sex. This is understandable. Almost all great book-ban fights are about sex -- about when kids should be exposed to it and by whom and in what form, and whether the objections of a few puritanical moms should be allowed to dictate educational policy for an entire classroom/school district/state. Plus, if there's anything the media enjoys more than controversy, it's controversy about sex.

As it turns out, though, the Highland Park fight isn't just about sex. It's about using sex as a pretext for purging the high school curriculum of works that would be ideologically objectionable to a devotee of Ayn Rand. Case in point: the ongoing challenge to David K. Shipler's The Working Poor: Invisible in America, one of the seven books whose brief suspension from the Highland Park High School curriculum last fall ignited the current fight.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson