Tennessee School Board Bans Maus Graphic Novel

Southeast Tennessee’s McMinn County School Board has voted unanimously to ban Art Spiegelmans Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus from every school district library.


From the Daily Beast:

The McMinn County school board’s 10 members voted to axe Maus from curricula and school libraries, citing its use of the phrase “God Damn” and its drawings of “naked pictures,” though those are cartoon mice.

School members said the ban was not related to the book’s depiction of the Holocaust as it tells the story of author Spiegelman’s father in German concentration camps, with Jews depicted as mice and Nazis as cats. Serialized over nearly a decade, it was collected in a book that in 1992 became the first, and so far the only, graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize.

above: some offending pages © Art Spiegelman

From The Tennessee Holler:

Much of the discussion revolved around how books are selected for the curriculum, with finger-pointing at state standards which have become a popular punching bag among conservatives lately. They also discussed the possibility of redacting the words they found objectionable, but decided it would be better to ban the graphic novel altogether.

Let’s also remember that in East Tennessee we recently saw Coach Hawn fired after 17 years for leading a discussion about White Privilege, which is as real as oxygen. And the Tennessee state legislature recently passed their history-whitewashing “anti-CRT ban” which actually threatens to impose massive fines on teachers/districts that teach the truth about our history, and race.

The Tennessee Holler has quotes from school board members.

Back to the Daily Beast:

Asked for comment on Wednesday evening, Spiegelman sent The Daily Beast a bookmark he designed for Banned Books Week a few years ago: