On Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News decided it was a good use of airtime to dedicate an entire segment complaining about how a school district in Katy, Texas has removed sexually inappropriate books from their library.
Anchor Lester Holt opened the segment by tossing to NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton who proceeded to interview a young student by the name of Iris Chang who, according to Hylton, “identifies as queer always loved learning about the world from her hometown of Katy, Texas, until this fall when her district started banning books.”
Chang told Hylton that “students of color and queer students are especially taking this hard”, referring to the banning of her favorite book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Hylton claims “an NBC News investigation found that the Katy Independent School District is one of at least a dozen Texas districts that have removed books about race, gender, and sexual identity after a statewide surge of parent complaints.”
But the question remains, why were books about gender and sexual identity allowed in school libraries in the first place?
Next, Hylton interviewed Carolyn Foote a retired librarian who didn’t seem too concerned about sexually inappropriate books in schools, in fact, she was enthusiastic about it claiming “it’s about a whole array of books and it’s about LGBTQ students in particular or students of color in particular.”
Foote was asked by Hylton if librarians “feel safe in their jobs right now?” As if removing books about “LGBTQ” topics from elementary schools is a reason for librarians to “feel unsafe.”
Most outrageously, Foote reportedly loves “George Johnson’s memoir about their black queer childhood, which includes a brief passage about sexual abuse George experienced as a child.”
Later on in the segment, Hylton interviewed a concerned Katy, Texas parent named Mary Ellen Cuzela who took issue with having these books in schools. Predictably, Hylton attempted to make her seem like a bigot by asking her the following:
More than half of the books that Katy has removed as a result of all of this have main characters who are LGBTQ. Are people supposed to believe that’s just a coincidence?
Katy Texas isn’t the first public school to have sexually inappropriate books on its shelves. Recently, Loudoun County Public Schools had to remove a sexually explicit book from their classrooms after a public outcry. In the next county over, Fairfax County recently made headlines over a teacher having their students play “Privilege Bingo.”
This grotesque segment by NBC Nightly News was made possible thanks to lucrative sponsorships by QuickBooks, Farmers Insurance, and Fidelity. Their information is linked so you can let them know about the vile content they fund.
To read the relevant transcript of this segment click “expand”:
NBC Nightly News
LESTER HOLT: Back now with our NBC News exclusive and the growing effort to ban books from some school libraries. Certain titles disappearing from the shelves in Texas in record numbers. Here’s Antonia Hylton.
ANTONIA HYLTON: Iris Chang remembers the first time she saw herself in a book. It was “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan.
IRIS CHANG: So it was really compelling to see this accurate portrayal of what my culture looks like and what I as a person represent.
HYLTON: Iris who identifies as queer always loved learning about the world from her hometown of Katy, Texas, until this fall when her district started banning books.
CHANG: I think students of color and queer students are especially taking this hard.
HYLTON: An NBC News investigation found that the Katy Independent School District is one of at least a dozen Texas districts that have removed books about race, gender, and sexual identity after a statewide surge of parent complaints.
UNIDENTIFIED PARENT: Why are we sexualizing our precious children?
HYLTON: Record requests to nearly 100 Texas districts found that during the first four months of this school year, parents made at least 75 formal complaints compared to only one filed during the same period last year.
CAROLYN FOOTE: It’s about a whole array of books and it’s about LGBTQ students in particular or students of color in particular.
HYLTON: Retired librarian Carolyn Foote says she’s never seen anything like this. One Katy parent even asked the district to remove a biography of Michelle Obama arguing the book promotes reverse racism. The district denied the request. Texas Governor Greg Abbot called for criminal charges against staff who provide kids with pornographic books.
HYLTON: Do librarians feel safe in their jobs right now?
FOOTE: In some cases, librarians are being asked to do things that really are against their code of ethics and that makes them fearful to speak up.
HYLTON: One of the banned books Carolyn loves is George Johnson’s memoir about their black queer childhood, which includes a brief passage about sexual abuse George experienced as a child. In January Katy schools declared it not appropriate for any level.
GEORGE JOHNSON: They can remove our books, but they can’t remove our stories.
HYLTON: What do you make of the fact that people have used the words pornographic and vulgar?
JOHNSON: They don’t want their students reading about queer people. My book is not being put out there to excite students about sex.
UNIDENTIFIED PARENT: This is what boys like to do…
HYLTON: At a November school board meeting, a Katy parent read from George’s book.
UNIDENTIFIED PARENT: I don’t want to spend my money on this filth and it’s in our libraries.
HYLTON: Mary Ellen Cuzela has three kids in Katy schools and helped organize moms on this issue.
MARY ELLEN CUZELA: What we’re talking about is vulgarity that is inappropriate for any child. I don’t care what your ideology is and your child is precious and needs to be guarded.
HYLTON: More than half of the books that Katy has removed as a result of all of this have main characters who are LGBTQ. Are people supposed to believe that’s just a coincidence?
CUZELA: Um. No, I don’t think so. I think they should read the books themselves.
HYLTON: Katy schools declined NBC News’ request for an interview. Iris a member of her school’s speech and debate team is no stranger to speaking her mind.
CHANG: I honestly think that they want to keep their children in this protected bubble in which the only opinions they really hear are the ones that they themselves represent.
HYLTON: And she feels too many adults aren’t listening. Antonia Hylton, NBC News Katy, Texas.
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