This is going to be short, because.

I just read a short piece about how evil white men/Fox viewers are mad about some Dr. Seuss books being pulled from shelves. The attitude was, “These books have racist content, and if they’re seen by kids, those kids will find racism acceptable, so I’m just fine with destroying these books.”

It made me remember when I worked in a bookstore. Being a small, independent store in a college city, we did a big special order business. One day, I had to put in an order for The Turner Diaries. It’s about a future America and a race war in which non-whites are exterminated. It is commonly called a right-wing bible, but I’ve yet to meet a conservative who owns it, or even knows about it. I ordered the book, muttering about what a racist piece of shit it was.

The customer came to pick up the book. I didn’t know him. As I got the book, I mentioned it was really racist, a real piece of junk.

“Have you read it?” he said.

No, I admitted, but I’d heard–

“Then you shouldn’t talk about it. I can read it for myself and decide for myself.”

I rang up the book, and he went on his way.

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Should you be allowed to choose which books you get to read?

Do you want someone else deciding for you, “This shouldn’t be available to you, because you might not reach the correct conclusions about the contents”?

Who decides what everyone else–people you don’t like, or don’t agree with–gets to read?

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Does it matter to you that this man was African-American, and that I later learned he used the book to research racist material?

Would it matter if he was white and I had no idea what he was going to do with the book he had the freedom to purchase, read, and think about?