In Miami a Clear Case of Political Censorship

kathleen de la pena mccook writes "CBS4/MIAMI HERALD) MIAMI No decision was made Friday following a court hearing on an effort by the Miami-Dade County school board to ban a controversial book on Cuba from school libraries. Evan Bacon reports with an excellent overview of the hearing on CBS. See the video. The Miami Herald reports: Judge hears case on banning Cuba book The ACLU argued in a federal court that banning a controversial book on Cuba is a clear case of political censorship. As attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union argued in federal court Friday [July 21,2006) that the banning of the controversial children's book Vamos a Cuba was a classic case of political censorship, the ban's defenders said it painted life in Cuba as if it were Coral Gables rather than a communist dictatorship.''It was only when the politicians got involved that the books were removed,'' said JoNel Newman, a University of Miami attorney leading the ACLU's case, before U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold.During an evidentiary hearing, her side tried to establish that two review committees and the superintendent had carefully weighed the issues of age appropriateness and accuracy before deciding to keep the books on the shelves of Miami-Dade public school libraries, but the School Board overrode its own procedural rules to ban them.... During Friday's hearing, a small group of librarians sometimes scoffed at the board's lawyers, at one point provoking a shushing from a security officer. In library science circles, they said, the solution to omitted information is to add more books to a collection, not to remove them. ''Not every book can be everything to everyone,'' said Pat Scales, a library science expert and member of the American Library Association, which entered the case in favor of the ACLU. Her testimony: ``Adults are trying to bring their own political views to the minds of children.'' More here"


Take the book out of the schools, and I'll buy everyone who wants one a copy. There are more important battles. It is not like the book is being burned, a decision was made to remove it from the libraries by the people in authority now let it be.

It is not as if the book is being burned it is available in Spanish at:


And in English at:


I only searched for the library bindings by ISBN so there are probably more copies circulating. Remember each library has at least one copy. I checked the Miami-Dade library and there are two pages of results.

To use the cliche, lets not make a Federal case out of it.
Since the schools are removing the book take the copies and put them in the public library. There are a number of missing copies, heck one is even marked 'Damaged from Wilma'!

I think it was stupid to remove it from the schools but apparently the community thought - or at least those in the community who bothered to express an opinion- it was not a good book for optional reading in schools so they took it out.

Holy crap you can't do anything in this country without pissing some group off. Who is the victim in this case, the book? The author? The school kids? The school kids are the least concerned about it. It is a book for children if there was ice cream they would lose intrest in it in seconds.

Perspective people. This is the crap that makes people think librarians, the ALA and the ACLU are nutjobs.

mdoneil, freedom of information is a universal; you can't say you practice it if you ban a book in some places simply because it is still accessible elsewhere. The U.S. Bill of Rights is in effect throughout the entirety of U.S. jurisdiction and at all times and for everybody.

Not to mention that that specious excuse allows you to ban a work from everywhere except one specified archive and to then say that it is still not banned because you have one (1) copy that is available to anybody who asks for it. How available is a book that is kept only, say, at the Library of Congress, if you live on the island of Hawaii or up in Alaska, and you have a 300-million-plus name long waiting list?

And it is irrelevant that the book is not being burned, book burning is a greater evil than simple censorship only as a matter of degree. Whether you burn a book or just ban it, you are still unilaterally forbidding others access to the information contained within it.

It is not being banned, you can still get it at the public library, you can still get it at the store, you can still get it from amazon.

Libraries have an obligation to have a broad collection - as broad as needed to serve their patrons needs- but they don't have an obligation to have every book published.

To equate the removal of a book from the Dade county schools libraries with book banning is absurd. They probably don't have The Joy of Sex in the elementary school libraries, and if it were in there they would probably remove it, but that is not a book ban either.

You have to let the community members decide what they think is an appropriate way to spend their tax dollars, after all the ratepayers are who paid for the book to begin with.

I think it is an innocuous little book - a pablum filled feel good volume, like all of the others in the series, and I think that removing it was a waste of time, but I don't live in Miami so it really does not matter what I think.

Think of the reverse situation - if a book -Lets go to the US because they have happy, free people who don't have to eat beans and rice every meal because there is no meat- were published in Cuba they would not only remove it from the schools, but they would imprision the publisher, the author and the librarians who gave it our.

A little perspective please. It is not as you suggest one copy in one location with a mile long waiting list. There are two pages of results for it in the Miami Public Library, not to mention any number of places where you can buy it.

The book has not been banned, I know the ALA is big on 'banned books' and even has a week set aside for that, but really there are no banned books in the US. The ALA and others who think there are banned books in the States need to stop crying wolf because the public has heard it so many times from librarians (remember the Mao book nonsense from California from a few months ago) that people have stopped listening to them. The Librarian that Cried wolf.

N.B the bill of Rights is not in effect everywhere for everyone, try yelling fire in a crowded movie theater and see how far the Bill of Rights gets you in jail. And my copy of the BOR does not mention Commie sympathetic library books at all. Along with the BOR we as citizens have responsibilites and one of them is reasonableness, it is not reasonable to suggest that libraries hold books that the community does not want.

you can still get it at the public library, [...] the store, [...] from amazon.

But not from the milieu it was specifically written for: an elementary school library. And why is that? Because it is rife with "pornography", "bad language", or is inappropriate to that milieu? No; it is being illegally thrown out of that milieu to serve the poliitcal ends of knee-jerk reactionary hate-monger who is too stupid to understand that six year old Cubans don't give a fiddler's high jump about political systems.

[...] but they don't have an obligation to have every book published.

Nobody is asking them too; they are only being asked to RETAIN books they already own.

To equate the removal of a book from the Dade county schools libraries with book banning is absurd. They probably don't have The Joy of Sex in the elementary school libraries,

Oh, sweet Christ on a crutch.

You want talk about absurdities? How about equating a children's book, written specifically for the five to eight year old bracket, with Joy of Sex!

And it is a banning, because the book, which is already the property of the school, is being challenged solely on political grounds. The censormorons demand that it be throw out for all the wrong reasons. Get with the program here! They are not asking for alterantive viewpoints to refute the message of the book, they are demanding that that message be rendered inaccessible to the minds of free citizens.

Yes, even children are free citizens and have certain rights and liberties.

And those stupid bastards don't even know what the message of the books is. Golly-gee! Six year old Cuban children who have no more interest in politics than six year old American children can live just as happily even under an authoritarian regime! That's a message that certainly has nothing to do with the raving hysteria of petty and small-minded.

Let's cut to the chase, here, the rest of your arguments being bovine scatology:

Along with the BOR we as citizens have responsibilites and one of them is reasonableness [...]

There is nothing reasonable about this challenge.

Frank Bolanos is attempting to embezzle (yes, I said EMBEZZLE) up to 300,000 dollars of school funds in an action he has seized upon to drive his campaign to the state senate. This same pompous ass would be the first one to alternatively scream "We Must Protect The Children" and then deny those same children their basic humanity. Just you ask this dung-heap for brains, if, after forcing his self-righteous intolerance on them in an effort to raise political consciousness in minds that
have no interest in it, he is then going to grant them the right to vote at fourteen.

This movement is not about truth and accuracy in education. If it were people would be asking that Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee be taught in the history classes, or that comprehensive sex-ed programs replace the Abstinence Only Ignorance crap being foisted off as "science".

This is all about control. Pure and simple. And I have no doubt that the part Bolanos plays in this little drama is that of Borg Assimilator.

If Frank Bolanos believes in the rightness of what he is doing so much then let him pay for this law suit out of his own pocket and then run for the state senate on that record.

OK I now agree with more of your points than mine. Not all of them but, as I've always said cogent argument is the only thing that can make me change my mind.

I thought it was stupid to remove the book, but I wasn't too upset about it becuase it is readily available elsewhere. However you are right that it is not at all about the book but political posturing.

"Not every book can be everything to everyone."

I remove books from the library every day.
Its called weeding.

There is no similarity between weeding and censorship. When weeding, you do not take the content of the book into account. If you do take the content of the book into account, they you are not weeding.

The political posturing is on the side of the ACLU. This could very easily have a been a non-story if they hadn't felt the need to dictate how schools run their libraries.

You've got that backwards, Greg. It is Frank Bolanos who is trying to dictate what the school libraries are permitted to have on the shelves. The ACLU is merely standing up for the rights of the students. Mind you, I do understand your position since the American right-wing does not acknowledge children as human beings and therefore maintains that they cannot possibly have human rights.

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