Political discourse and book bans 

D’Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter

Art is something that is special to many people. From books, to films, to paintings and more, art is an avenue of thought and expression. Not only is art a creative outlet — it can be revolutionary. 

The arts are an outlet for creatives to express themselves freely with the world. Sometimes, it’s more than that. Representation through art is something that many people aspire to see. Seeing yourself through art is an indescribable feeling. 

In more recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the relationship between art and politics. More art seems to be criticized and banned than in years past. Politicians seem to be getting in on the reactive craze, trying to ban multiple forms of media — especially books. 

Art can reflect the views of the artist behind the creation, and this extends to politics as well. Art can give the audience a feel for the artist’s political views and what they believe in. Even more than that, it can be used to address things people don’t want to discuss. 

Art has been used to address several topics, as well as to engage with massive audiences. While many forms of media nowadays are being criticized as being “too political,” I think there’s a reason for this. Art is something that a lot of people have a connection to — it can influence and educate an audience in a way that other mediums can’t. 

The opportunity to teach through art is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. The political climate in this day and age is complicated, to say the least. People can use art to tell stories and bring awareness to things that some may not even be aware of, at least not to their full extent.

Things such as freedom of expression and diversity in art have been turned into a political circus now. You can’t go five minutes without hearing about certain books banned by concerned parents and politicians. So much of art is being politicized now, it’s hard to escape. 

This problem is more evident now as country wide book bans have been sweeping the nation. Politicians are actively trying to ban books pertaining to certain topics in schools, expressing concerns over what their children are learning about.

Many of these banned works discuss topics of race, gender and sexuality. There is a growing movement to keep these books out of children’s hands. This loss of access to works of literature is the result of politicians fearing “inappropriate” content being passed down to the youth of our nation. 

I find it very interesting that there is a movement to “protect” children from inappropriate forms of art rather than one to physically protect them from actual danger that is present. This form of censorship shows how powerful art can be.

When used to teach, art can impact and benefit communities. Censoring art implies these stories shouldn’t be told, which is the opposite of what we should be teaching.