“State Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican candidate for Texas attorney general, has prepared a list of 850 books that, in his judgment, should be banned from the state’s classrooms,” writes Stavans in a column originally published in The Forward and reprinted in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “I’m honored to have one of my books in that list.”
Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Culture, explains that the book in question is Quinceañera, an ethnographic essay collection about the Latina rite of passage, and that Krause “is concerned that such books address sexual and racial themes that ‘make students feel uncomfortable.’” The professor goes on to suggest other books of his that might have been challenged instead, and to defend the idea that classroom reading and teaching should draw students out of their comfort zones.
Invoking the history of book-banning and book-burning in the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust and other historical contexts, Stavans invites Krause “to a public debate on the value about having a critical eye about topics he and I hold dear. We should talk about censorship and about our tragically polarized country. And about his list.”