Former President Barack Obama disappointedly addressed his concerns regarding the rise of book bans in the U.S.
As reported by Vibe, Obama penned a newsletter and began with “In any democracy, the free exchange of ideas is an important part of making sure that citizens are informed, engaged and feel like their perspectives matter,”. “More often than not, someone decides to write those ideas down in a book,” the 61-year-old stated. This soon led to Obama delving into how much books have impacted his life and even praising some of his favorite authors, such as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Mark Twain. Furthermore, he mentioned how “people who disagree with certain ideas or perspectives” are challenging the banned books.
Obama noted that a majority of the books under ban are either by people of color, indigenous people, or the LGBTQ+ community.
“Either way, the impulse seems to be to silence, rather than engage, rebut, learn from or seek to understand views that don’t fit our own,” he disclosed. Obama later thanked all the country’s librarians for all the work they’re doing to provide educational opportunities, especially right now. “All of us owe you a debt of gratitude for making sure readers across the country have access to a wide range of books, and all the ideas they can contain,” he stated.
The former president finished his announcement by beseeching listeners that “free, robust exchange of ideas has always been the head of American democracy.”