Don VanDeVeer: Transparent book ban

September 24, 2013 

Transparent ban

I read in a Sept. 20 editorial “Banning ‘Invisible Man’ ” that the Randolph County school board has voted to remove Ralph Ellison’s book from its schools’ reading list. This is a giant step backward.

I was once a young white man in my final year of high school with about 2,000 whites and one black person. I had no clue what it was like to be black in our country at that time. Not so long after that, my eyes began to open. It was due to reading Ellison’s book. I consider it one of a dozen books that substantially illuminated my outlook in a fundamental way.

After high school, I spent the next 43 years as a student or professional educator. I know that books that provoke readers to question their own, often invisible, presuppositions are like jewels, not to be hidden or tossed aside.

Most of us grow up in cultural bubbles that tend to make us myopic if not blind. Some are elected to office.

Don VanDeVeer


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