Residents voice opinions, concerns over potential ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You’ book ban in NHCS

Residents voice opinions, concerns over potential ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 11:43 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Board members are contemplating the fate of a controversial book after parents expressed opinions on the book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.”

Some people are advocating for the removal of the book because of what they say are themes of historical inaccuracy and anti-Americanism. The other side of the argument believes this book deserves a place in classrooms.

On Tuesday, July 25, the board contemplated whether or not it would have an entirely separate meeting to hear opinions from parents on book banning, but that was voted down 4 to 3, and instead, an extended call to the audience was held at the Tuesday, Aug. 1 meeting.

People advocating for and against the removal of the book attended the meeting, and about a couple hundred of those individuals against its removal protested the meeting beforehand.

One person who spoke at the call to the audience portion of Tuesday’s meeting as an advocate for banning “Stamped” addressed the school board saying, “[they] were elected to restore conservative values to protect [their] children and parental rights.”

A speaker against the removal of “Stamped” said, “Banning books is what authoritarian governments do to preserve their control over what people think.”

One organizer of the protest, Pastor Kelley Finch, says there was no question of whether or not a protest would occur after she and other advocates against banning “Stamped” got word of the potential book ban.

“As soon as they came out with the idea that they were going to start banning a book, we read that this was happening across the country, and we didn’t want it to happen in Wilmington. This is the beginning of them being able to ban books in every library, every classroom...” said Pastor Finch.

Audrey Tuell, a student at UNCW who spoke, said she felt compelled to speak tonight as an individual who graduated from a public school system.

“Seeing this completely one-sided anti-American literature and no dissenting viewpoints was very alarming,” said Tuell.

Some of those individuals concerned over “Stamped’s” content are saying, though, that this is not a matter of banning books, but instead “removal.”

School board member Stephanie Walker says the two aren’t all that different.

“My theory is this is a response to banning books, they’re saying it’s a removal. I don’t think it’s that much different,” said Walker.

Now, the fate of the book remains in the hands of the school board, with some parents advocating against a book ban, worried.

“No parent should have the right to ban a book from my child to read or anyone’s child to read. It’s just it’s not their place. I hope that they come to their senses and allow books to be read by children so that they can learn to think critically for themselves,” said parent Tiffany Salter.