“Racist and discriminatory content” in the books of Verne and X-Men: taken off the shelves of English libraries

A new episode of censorship is causing controversy in the United Kingdom: after the cases of Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie, new books are being withdrawn from public libraries because they are deemed offensive to current sensibilities. The volumes include those by authors Raymond Briggs, David McKee and Jules Verne, illustrated books and comics aimed at children and young people who have paid for reports, in some cases even submitted by a single user, regarding content deemed racist and discriminatory. . The story is reconstructed by Timeswhich speaks of a new case of “cancel culture“. The newspaper spoke to more than 200 public libraries to ask for information on which books were removed from loan and why. And he discovered some famous titles among the banned ones: Five weeks on the ball (1863) by Verne, guilty of having used certain offensive terms in reference to the populations of Africa. Or Mushroom the bogeyman (1977) by Briggs, in which there is a character (“golliwogg”) who later becomes a black rag doll considered highly racist. An episode of the comic series dedicated to the X-Men is also in the crosshairs of political correctness. According to data collected by Times, at least 16 books were removed from the shelves of 11 municipalities after the complaint of a single customer, which can be considered overzealous. Professors and experts spoke on the subject following the intervention of Times. Among them is Louise Cooke, a professor at Loughborough University, because according to her, the growing trend to remove anything that could potentially offend an individual, which started in the United States and later spread to the United Kingdom, is “extremely dangerous”. And the acting CEO of Cilip – a professional body for librarians and information specialists – Jo Cornish reiterates: “Our view as professionals is that it is better for the reader to have access to non-prohibited material by law rather than prohibiting it. As we make clear in our guidelines, we are committed to opposing censorship unless there is a specific risk that providing access to a particular book would break the law or incite hatred or hatred. violence. »

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