AUSTIN, Texas — A recent exhibit at South by Southwest (SXSW) highlighted the growing number of book bans across the U.S.
From March 10 through March 13, Lush Cosmetics partnered with the Zinn Education Project and the African American Policy Forum to help SXSW attendees understand the "full scope of the education crisis facing educators and students across the United States" through the "Banned Books Library" exhibition.
The exhibit featured more than 60 banned books by LGBTQ authors and authors of color. The library also featured a map that highlighted the states that had implemented the most book bans. Texas ranked No. 1.
The data included in the exhibit came from PEN America, an organization that strives to "ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas and literatures of others," according to its mission statement.
The Texas Tribune reported last fall that Texas had banned 801 books across 22 school districts, with 174 titles banned at least twice between July 2021 through June 2022.
The Tribune also reported that Florida and Pennsylvania followed Texas as the states with the most book bans. At the time, Florida had banned 566 books and Pennsylvania has banned 457.
PEN America found that between July 2021 and June 2022, schools across the country banned 1,648 books. Of those:
- 41% had LGBTQ+ themes or prominent LGBTQ characters
- 40% had protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color
- 22% contained sexual content of varying kinds
- 21% directly address issues of race and racism
- 10% had themes related to rights and activism
- 9% were either a biography, autobiography or memoir
- 4% included characters and stories that reflected religious minorities
If you're interested in learning more about book bans, visit Lush's "Teaching the Truth in History" page.