T Morrison’s The Bluest Eye banned for incest

Very interesting news from my home state:

Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar wants all mentions of the Toni Morrison novel The Bluest Eye removed from state guidelines for schools teaching to the new Common Core academic standards. She thinks the book is “pornographic.”

The Bluest Eye is Morrison’s first novel. In the novel, at some point (I haven’t read it, so I can’t very well flesh out the context), the protagonist is raped and impregnated by her father. Morrison is a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and an Ohio native, from Lorain, on the far outskirts of Cleveland.

ACLU, covering this story, calls The Bluest Eye “an unflinching look at American racism and sexual violence.”

Morrison told reporters she was especially upset that the attacks have come from her home state.

“I resent it,” she said. “I mean if it’s Texas or North Carolina as it has been in all sorts of states. But to be a girl from Ohio, writing about Ohio having been born in Lorain, Ohio. And actually relating as an Ohio person … (this) is ironic at the least.”

And it’s pretty ridiculous for Ohio School Board member Mark Smith, president of Ohio Christian University, to “see an underlying socialist-communist agenda” in this book, I’m willing to bet. “That is anti what this nation is about,” he said.

The incest taboo seems to be Debe Terhar’s motivation for the move to censor. As if literature weren’t for probing moral conscience, daring to speak of the unspeakable.

Instructions for contacting Debe Terhar and a handy web form are here — thanks to the great work done by ACLU, who brought this to my attention.

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See Columbus Dispatch, NPR’s State Impactand NBC4i articles on this story for more.

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