By George M. Johnson “Not All Boys Are Blue”: NPR
This essay by George M. Johnson is part of a series of interviews With authors and their essays who have seen their books criticized and banned in the United States
Almost 15 months have passed since the first attempt to challenge and ban my book Not all boys are blue high school libraries.
However, I continue to wake up each day to Google alerts of new activities in new counties across the country, letting me know that the fight for true CRT, a culturally relevant education, is far from over. However, like many other authors, I will continue to fight to ensure that the young people who need our literature most are not denied access to it.
It was a bittersweet journey for me. I told this story many times, but I always knew that I would be banned. In 2018, after the contract was signed, I first mentioned this idea at a meeting. Angie Thomas The hate you give and Nick Stone’s Dear Martin in some regions of the country began to face difficulties. I thought of all the similar topics and knew that my little book didn’t stand a chance. But I did not think that it would become a national story.
Now, in a way, the bans have often had the opposite effect, because people who never knew my book existed were able to find it. Many people in this world who didn’t know there was a story for them are now sharing my story and have been empowered to live their lives with all their truth and power. However, this has made many young adults see the negative side of this country. The racist and homophobic side dehumanizes LGBTQ people, especially black LGBTQ people.
I often think about how black stories, and even more black stories, are suppressed, erased, or whitewashed. Many of us are just now discovering the lexicon of black writings that existed in this country, even during slavery. However, we find ourselves in the same struggle as many of our ancestors. We want our stories to be told about us, for us, by us. Many of us became writers because of them, even though we had limited access to them when we were in school. As black writers, we see this struggle as something deeper than mere talk.
Our stories inspire the next generation of young writers. It’s always been that way in the black community. If you look at our history, you will know how much the writers of the past era were in contact with the writers of the generation after them. They act as an inspiration, mentor, editor, etc. to keep the conversation going. was. Despite those who try to silence me, I feel compelled to tell stories.
I recently published the paperback version of my second book, We are not broken It focuses on the story of my foster grandmother and the wisdom she shared as a caregiver to me, my younger brother, and our two older cousins. This is a book about black childhood. my next book Bright Discusses those in the black queer community during the Harlem Renaissance.
I’m often asked if bans “changed the way I write” or “stopped me from writing.” They don’t have it. They allowed me to tell more stories. More stories about myself, stories about my ancestors that were never told or misrepresented. Ideally, create fictional worlds where black gay kids like me can have a happy ending.
I will never stop writing our story.
George M. Johnson is an author and activist. George wrote Not all boys are blue and We are not broken and has a new book, bright, he is coming. You can find George here.
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