Texas lawmaker says 850 pounds ranging from race to sexuality could cause ‘discomfort’

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A Texas Republican lawmaker has compiled a list of 850 books on topics ranging from racism to sexuality that could “make students uncomfortable,” and demands that school districts across the state report if there are any. a in their classrooms or libraries.

State Representative Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, also wants to know how many copies of each book the districts have and how much money they have spent there, according to a letter he sent to Lily Laux on Monday, Assistant Commissioner of School Programs at the Texas Education Agency, and several school district superintendents.

Krause, who chairs the House committee on state general inquiries, also asked districts to identify “any other books” that could cause students “to feel guilty, anguish or some other form of pain. psychological distress because of their race or gender or to convey that a student, because of their race or gender, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

“Your early attention to this request is appreciated,” he wrote, giving them a deadline of Nov. 12 to respond.

In addition to the letter, which was first obtained by The Texas Tribune, Krause added the list of books which includes well-known titles like the Pulitzer Prize-winning William Styron novel, “Confessions of Nat Turner” and bestsellers that have turned into movies or TV series, such as “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving, the dystopian “V For Vendetta” by Alan Moore and the graphic novel version of “The Handmaid’s Tale “by Margaret Atwood.

Krause did not explain in the letter exactly why he was seeking this information, but his investigation came just months after Texas lawmakers attempted to ban critical race theory from school campuses.

Lawmakers noted that a number of school districts in Texas recently “removed books from libraries and / or classrooms after receiving objections from students, parents and taxpayers.”

One of them, according to the letter, is the Carroll Independent School District in the affluent Dallas / Fort Worth suburb of Southlake.

Southlake was the subject of a recent NBC News investigation into racism in this school system and the fight against the CRT, which argues that racism is ingrained in institutions across the country. CRT has also become a shortcut for conservatives opposed to teaching about the racist roots of US history.

Krause did not respond when NBC News asked specific questions about his letter, his choice of books, and whether he had read any of the books on the list.

“Any information held by the committee related to its investigative work, including the fact of any sensitive information, is confidential by law and therefore excluded from disclosure,” said committee general counsel Darren Keyes later. , in an email.

Rep. Victoria Neave, a Democrat from Dallas who is vice chair of the inquiry committee, said she first heard of Krause’s letter from a school official and called it “politically motivated” blow. Krause is one of many candidates to be the state’s next attorney general.

The state teachers union said Krause’s decision “smacked of a witch hunt.”

“Representative. Krause’s letter demanding that principals provide him with lists of books on certain subjects on their school shelves is disturbing and overly political in the classroom,” said the president of the school. Texas State Teachers Association, Ovidia Molina, in a statement, “What will Rep. Krause come up with next? Burning books that he and a handful of parents find objectionable?”

The list of books also includes titles from black writers, such as “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot” by Mikki Kendall.

Also on Krause’s list was Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” which, among other things, showed that Nazi Germany had modeled its anti-Semitic policies on black segregation in the United States.

The list also includes books on abortion and homosexuality, such as “LGBT Families” by Leanne K. Currie-McGhee and “The Underground Guide to Teenage Sexuality: An Essential Handbook for Today’s Teens and Parents” by Michael J. Basso.

Krause’s list also includes a book that has been a hit with conservative readers, namely “Eyes on Target: Inside Stories from the Brotherhood of the US Navy SEALs” by Scott McEwen and Richard Miniter.

After hearing that his book had landed on Krause’s list, McEwen said, “I find this very distressing.”

“This book is not against anything,” he said. “It’s basically an anthem to the Navy SEALs. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you are on. Banning books is wrong. I’m completely against banning books.”

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