July 19, 2023
Ta-Nehisi Coates Pops Up To School Board Meeting Over His Book Being Banned
When Ta-Nehisi Coates famed memoir, Between the World and Me, was up for debate at a school board meeting in South Carolina, the author himself appeared to show solidarity with those opposing his book being banned.
On the evening of July 17, 2023, faculty, parents, and administrators alike shocked to see Coates at the Lexington-Richland District 5 School Board meeting to hear for himself what all the fuss is about, according to The Daily Beast.
The book has remained a topic of controversy in many states and been removed in a few, as its subject matter does not shy away from addressing institutionalized racism and its impact on Black people.
The issue stemmed from an AP language teacher within the district being reprimanded after prompting students to read the book for a class discussion in February. Some of her students expressed disapproval and discomfort with the lesson plan, stating that the book made them feel “guilty” for their whiteness.
In footage obtained by CBS 19 Columbia, Coates sat next to the teacher in focus as a sign of solidarity with her and others in the fight not to shy away from controversial topics in academic settings.
“We cannot become critical thinkers without becoming uncomfortable in some way,” expressed one student to the board.
In a rise of anti-affirmative action cases and book bans, the notion to prohibit the reading of Coates’ best-selling, anti-racist memoir among various other prohibitive acts in the classroom will likely curate a false sense of history that will be taught to the younger generations.
The superintendent of the Lexington-Richland School District, Dr. Akil Ross, said this fight will either uplift or undermine democratic principles regarding academic freedom.
“Sometimes there’s going to be topics you agree with, and there’s going to be topics you disagree with,” Ross said. “Academic freedom says even if you disagree, there’ll be another opinion presented to our children. Our democracy needs that.”
Coates let those within the community speak on their rights, providing a silent support to show that others, famous or otherwise, nationwide see their efforts and are rooting for them.