UNITED STATES – In college, you may have read the Newspaper by Anne Frank in class, this personal diary of a young Jewish girl exiled in the Netherlands under the Nazi regime. But in early September, in Texas, a teacher was fired for reading excerpts from the novel to his fourth-grade students. Depending on the school district concerned, this version of the Newspaper by Anne Frank would contain pornographic elements.
The controversial extract is taken from a graphic novel adapted from the original work, which includes passages cut from other editions. And one of these passages concerns, among other things, a description of the clitoris written by Anne Frank. The teenager also mentions her attraction to another girl.
After parents complained about reading these passages “ inappropriate », the professor was fired, reports the television channel KFDM. This is not the first time that this adaptation has been contested: last year in Texas, the work was withdrawn from certain libraries.
However, the Anne Frank Fund which manages the copyright of the different editions of the newspaper had already defended itself on the content of this graphic novel, explaining that a book written by a 12-year-old girl was perfectly appropriate for her peers. .
A worrying wave of censorship
But the controversy does not stop there: the graphic novel has also been banned in several districts of Florida. One example among many others in the United States, where school libraries have been facing a growing wave of censorship since 2021. Restrictive laws passed by Republican elected officials are increasing, and unsurprisingly, these are books concerning marginalized communities and dealing with subjects such as discrimination, gender or sexuality which are prohibited.
Examples are flourishing, particularly in conservative states: in a district in Florida, a book about two male penguins who raise a baby penguin together had been banned in kindergarten and elementary school. In South Carolina, it was Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir on systemic racism, A black anger, which had been singled out by students, who had managed to censor the work in their high school.
The controversy is mounting, to the point that this Tuesday, September 19, 175 artists and activists, including Ariana Grande, Roxane Gay and Mark Ruffalo, signed an open letter condemning this wave of censorship. “ Soon, these regressive ideologues will turn to other forms of art and entertainment, persisting in their attacks that scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly people of color and those in the LGBTQ+ community, » denounces the text, which calls for defending artistic freedom.
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