Is it just a coincidence that, on the very same day that the Washington Post tweeted a link to its (now retitled) piece, “Sex between students and teachers should not be a crime,” liberal blog Think Progress would tweet this?

What are those crazy conservatives up to now? The Atlantic Wire is reporting that pressure from Tea Party wacko birds has inspired Alabama State Senator Bill Holtzclaw to call for a ban of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel, “The Bluest Eye” … sort of. If you follow the story from Think Progress back through the Atlantic and the Huffington Post to its origin on, it turns out that Holtzclaw’s stated goal is to “ensure that it’s not on any reading list in the state of Alabama.” Is it? Though the book isn’t required reading, “The Bluest Eye” does appear on the Common Core Standard’s recommended reading list for 11th graders, and 40 states have signed on to those Common Core standards.

For Think Progress, the most disturbing factor in the effort to have the book taken off the recommended reading list is its characterization by some as “child pornography.” Blogger Macey France of Politichicks presents a lengthy and compelling case against assigning the book to minors, backed up with graphic excerpts from the novel.

Obviously the reason behind some parents calls for removing the book are the graphic depictions of incest, rape and pedophilia. And not just that, the book actually lets the reader see the depictions from the perpetrator’s point of view.

In fact, the author of the book, Morrison, says that she wanted the reader to feel as though they are a “co-conspirator” with the rapist. She took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems. She even goes as far as to describe the pedophilia, rape and incest [as] “friendly,” “innocent,” and “tender.” It’s no wonder that this book is in the top 10 list of most contested books in the country.

Think Progress’ Alyssa Rosenberg argues that “suggesting that scenes of rape are pornography erases the distinction between sexual assault and consensual sex in a way that’s all too common in our larger culture.” In fact, that suggestion is just gross.

Did we mention her piece was published just before Betsy Karasik in the Washington Post called for an end to the “fantasy that a high school student can’t consent to sex” with her teacher?

Mere coincidence? Well, almost certainly; however, it’s also a sign that the public needs to pay close attention to this new national conversation on statutory rape we’re apparently having.


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