The political battle over the North Carolina book ban is heating up as election time approaches.
On Monday, educators, activists and critics of the book ban gathered for a rally outside Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s mansion with a message: School libraries shouldn’t be political targets.
Robinson was the most prominent head of state who called for certain books to be removed from school libraries.
Education advocates and activists delivered a box of frequently disputed books to Robinson and other Republican leaders.
According to Durrell Johnson of Progress NC, many “frequently challenged” books deal with race.
“We hope they read them, learn something,” he said. “Maybe a quiz after.”
Robinson said several books about the LGBTQIA+ community are obscene and should not be available in schools.
He also accused teachers of indoctrinating students about racial equity, including last week at CPAC.
“Pornography is in our libraries. We are in classrooms where we teach kids about adult issues like transgender. And we put black kids on one side of the room and white kids on the other. and teach them to despise each other,” Robinson said.
Education advocates, however, say that is not true. Instead, they believe the book ban issue is part of a coordinated effort to excite Republican voters.
“This is an orchestrated culture war launched by DC think tanks who use it as a tactic to scare suburban mothers and especially white suburban mothers into showing up at the polls and voting for right-wing candidates from top to bottom,” said Janice Robinson, with anti-book ban group Red Wine and Blue.
She says conservative activists are showing up at school boards across the country, protesting the same books and sometimes using the same script. She said most of the contested books were about black, brown, or LGBTQIA+ people.
“Any parent who doesn’t want their child to read a certain book can refuse their child. They don’t need to deprive everyone’s child of that opportunity,” she said.
WRAL News asked the lieutenant governor for his reaction, but he did not respond.
On Monday, Wake County commissioners met to hear about a new complaints process for books in the county’s library system. When someone complained about the Gender Queer book last year, library administrators decided to pull it from the shelves without public debate. It was shelved after a protest.