Banned Books 2021 – The Bluest Eye

Marshall University does not ban books! The information is provided to let people know what has been banned/challenged elsewhere.

2021

Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.

Following the complaints of several parents about sexual violence and child sexual abuse, this novel was removed from the Colton (CA) Joint Unified School District’s core and extended reading list for English Language Arts classes during Black History Month, while remaining available in school libraries. Following pushback by other parents and some national press attention, the school board reversed its decision, restoring Morrison’s book to the curriculum list and adding five other books. The book selection committee reported that it had refined its selection process, increased parent representation, improved the opt-out process, and added more diverse authors.

2020

It’s Your Tea Party and Florida Citizen’s Alliance challenged 14 books, alleging that the books were “obscene and/or pornographic material” under Florida law. The school libraries only carried 10 of the 14 books including Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, The Women of Brewster’s Place by Gloria Naylor, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, Dreaming in Cuban by Christina Garcia, Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, and Beloved by Toni Morrison. The Superintendent of the Marion County (FL) Public Schools removed all the available books from middle schools. As required by their policies, she convened a committee to review the remaining nine books to determine the educational value of the content for high school students. The committee recommended their retention, and the superintendent approved the recommendation. The groups then appealed the retention of three of those titles to the school board, which voted to keep them.

2018

Challenged, but retained by the Uplift Charter Schools North Hills (TX) Preparatory School for sexual situations (rape, incest, and teen pregnancy). Banned at North Buncombe NC) High School after teachers sent home a syllabus at the start of the school year informing parents and students of the controversial content, and said students could opt out of the reading and replace it with another book for their English 3 honors class. Once the unit began, a parent filed the challenge because The Bluest Eye didn’t align with their values and felt it was not appropriate to be read in school. The school-level committee that met about the book agreed with the parent that it was not appropriate for an 11th grade class, but offered a recommendation that it could be appropriate for a 12th grad AP literature class. Regardless, the district withdrew the book from the curriculum for “all grades and levels of instruction.”

2017

Challenged, but retained as part pf Northville (MI) High School’s Advanced Placement (AP) English course despite a parent’s objection to the novel’s content, including depiction of a sexual assault. The 1970 novel is the first by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and the book has been part of the Northville AP English and Composition course since the early 1990s. The school board voted that AP students and parents now have the option of choosing between three works that cover themes such as oppression and poverty.

2015

Challenged, but retained in the Durant (OK) high school library despite a parent’s concerns over sexual and violent content.

2014

Challenged in Legacy High School’s Advanced Placement English classes in Adams County (CO) because it was a “bad book.” A notice was sent home to let parents know what they would be reading and why and an alternate assignment was offered to those who wanted it. Half a dozen students of about 150 opted to read one of the alternative texts and received instruction on those works outside of class time. Challenged on a suggested reading list for Columbus (OH) high school students by the school board president because it is inappropriate for the school board to “even be associated with it.” A fellow board member described the book as having “an underlying socialist-communist agenda.”

2012

Challenged in the Brookfield (CN) High School curriculum because of sex scenes, profanity, and age-appropriateness of the book. Students in the high school have been reading Morrison’s book since 1995.

2009

Retained in the Delphi (IN) Community High School’s curriculum despite claims of inappropriate sexual content and graphic language.

2008

Challenged in the Howell (MI) High School because of the book’s strong sexual content. In response from the president of the Livingston Organization for Values in Education (LOVE), the county’s top law enforcement official reviewed the book to see whether laws against distribution of sexually explicit materials to minors had been broken. The county prosecutor wrote, “Whether these materials are appropriate for minors is a decision to be made by the school board, but I find that they are not in violation of the criminal laws.”

2007

Challenged in the Howell (MI) High School because of the book’s strong sexual content. In response from the president of the Livingston Organization for Values in Education (LOVE), the county’s top law enforcement official reviewed the book to see whether laws against distribution of sexually explicit materials to minors had been broken. The county prosecutor wrote, “Whether these materials are appropriate for minors is a decision to be made by the school board, but I find that they are not in violation of the criminal laws.”

2006

Banned from the Littleon (CO) curriculum and library shelves after complaints about its explicit sex, including the rape of an eleven-year-old girl by her father.

2005

Challenged, but retained at the Kern High School District in Bakersfield (CA) despite complaints of the book’s sexually explicit material.

2004

Challenged, but retained at the Kern High School District in Bakersfield (CA) despite complaints of the book’s sexually explicit material.

On These Pages

A Banned book has been removed from a library, classroom, etc.
A Challenged book has been requested to be removed from a library, classroom, etc.

For additional information contact

Ron Titus, titus@marshall.edu
304-696-6575

Last updated

September 7, 2021