Debunking the vicious Democrat falsehood that Republicans banned To Kill a Mockingbird
Among the many lies that Joe Biden told in his 5 A.M video announcing his 2024 re-election bid last week was that Republicans are banning books. As Biden mentions the book ban, there is a depiction of a stack of books at the top of which sits a paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
It is not only Biden; this is also a claim that many Democrats have made when they are confronted with the cancel culture pioneered by the left. They slyly paint a false equivalence by claiming that Republicans are banning books, too; often, they make it a point to cite To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the books banned.
So where did this claim originate?
The purported fact-checking website Snopes discovered that an imaginary list of banned books was originally posted by the owner of a Twitter account using the profile name "Freesus Patriot." The parody list included To Kill a Mockingbird and other well known titles, including A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, Of Mice and Men, The Color Purple, and The Catcher in the Rye.
The user in question claimed that the purpose of his fake list was to mock various schools in Florida that were removing books from shelves in response to political pressure.
Unsurprisingly many Democrats, perhaps purposefully and maliciously, began sharing the list with an aim to amplify the lie. The lies managed to travel around America while the truth was tying its shoelaces.
This lie is now being amplified by the highest political office in the nation.
This list of supposedly "banned books in Florida schools" was apparently created as satire; however, it was quickly lifted from its original context and shared by social media users who assumed it was real. https://t.co/VMEDLlKLz9 pic.twitter.com/eqjEim3iBi— snopes.com (@snopes) May 1, 2023
What is the truth?
The AP fact-checked the claim and discovered the following:
A school district in Florida's Palm Beach County removed To Kill A Mocking Bird [sic] from school libraries earlier this year as part of a review, but the book was added back to the library later.
The Florida Freedom to Read Project, which tracks book removals across Florida school districts, said it did not find any other recent bans of the title in Florida schools based on its investigation documentation from the state's school districts.
Tasslyn Magnusson, an independent researcher who also tracks book-banning attempts all across the U.S., also said she was not aware of any recent bans on To Kill a Mockingbird in Florida school districts.
Bryan Griffin, who is spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted that the state has not banned To Kill a Mockingbird; quite the contrary. Florida's Department of Education has recommended the book for 8th-grade students.
False. The State of Florida has not banned To Kill a Mockingbird. In fact, Florida RECOMMENDS the book in 8th grade. (FL Standards linked, page 160). However, the book was banned by a progressive district in California, along with other classics, in 2020).https://t.co/5JQelH8XZK https://t.co/E5qPBQPhsn pic.twitter.com/OAVderItxD— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) August 21, 2022
The reason the Democrats repeatedly mention Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize–winning novel is because it deals with racial discrimination.
The story, set in Alabama during the 1930s, is about a principled lawyer named Atticus Finch who defends a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of rape. Despite evidence of Tom's innocence, the prejudiced jury convicts him. Atticus is hopeful that he can get the verdict overturned in a higher court. But a despondent Tom attempts to escape from prison and is shot 17 times while trying, which leads to his death.
Some on the left have objected to the book because Finch is Caucasian, hence they claim that the book depicts a "white savior." So let's dig deeper.
What was the political situation in Alabama during the 1930s?
The Republican Party had such diminished influence in Alabama during the '30s that the Democrat primary was the de facto contest for state offices. The candidate who won the Democrat primary was all but assured of winning the general election. From 1874 to 1987, Alabama elected only Democrat governors. This includes the notorious George Wallace, who stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
This should come as no surprise.
The Democrat party, since it was founded in 1829, has had a long history of supporting systemic racism. The Democrats defended slavery, which caused the Civil War; they founded the Ku Klux Klan, imposed segregation, perpetrated lynching, and fought the civil rights acts of the 1960s. The Democrats were the party of slavery, Jim Crow, and the Ku Klux Klan.
The Republicans, on the other hand, are the party of Lincoln, Reconstruction, anti-lynching laws, and the civil rights acts.
The racists in To Kill a Mockingbird are most likely Democrats while Atticus Finch was probably a Republican.
But over the decades, the Democrats have successfully managed to rewrite history and blame the GOP for all racism in the U.S. — what they were and are guilty of.
The Republicans have been inept at countering this spurious narrative. They usually get very uncomfortable with the allegation of racism being made. They either go on the defensive or issue apologies or attack other "far-right" Republicans, or merely stay quiet in the hope that the storm will eventually blow away.
Consequently, a majority of the population, especially the young, presume that all racism in the U.S. is a result of the Republicans.
When they read To Kill A Mockingbird, they assume the opposite of what is factual — i.e., the racists in Alabama are Republican, while Atticus Finch is a liberal Democrat.
The Democrats are attempting to imply that the Republicans are banning the book because they were responsible for racism in the U.S. and hence the depiction of racism makes them uncomfortable. They are attempting to suggest that Republicans are suppressing inconvenient history.
We thus have two layers of lies: the big lie about Republicans being responsible for racism in the U.S. and the relatively smaller lie about the book ban. The smaller lie is mounted over the big lie; the lies are hysterically amplified and exaggerated across the media, and this is how the narrative is built.
Most of the mainstream media, which are the equivalent of P.R. agencies for the Democrats, gleefully amplify this gross misperception.
This casual consumers of news, which include some African-Americans, probably believe the claim.
When a black person considers voting for a Republican because he is suffering due to the misgovernance of Democrats, a Democrat activist turns up at his door.
The activist tells the voter that problems such as high inflation, open borders, and crime can be overcome, but he cannot possibly vote for Republicans, who want to deny his history. The activist may add that those who deny their history by banning books such as To Kill A Mockingbird will eventually deny their existence. Since there is no counter-narrative from the Republicans, the non-white person votes for Democrats
This group of reluctant Democrat voters could be the difference between defeat and victory for Republicans.
The Republicans desperately need to counter these spurious narratives driven by Democrats if they want to win elections.
Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab and screen grab.