Essence on Attempts to Ban “The Bluest Eye”

What Attempts To Ban Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ Say About White America

The book has been banned in multiple states in the 50-plus years since its debut.

By Brooklyn White

“The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison’s 1970 look at the aftermath of slavery (and by proxy, colorism) and gendered disregard on an impoverished, 1940s Midwest, is hard for White Americans to digest. It was never meant for that particular audience, but the offense exists nonetheless.

The novel centers Pecola Breedlove, an 11-year-old who is slowly driven insane by societal abuse and sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Inspired by one of Morrison’s childhood peers, Breedlove is certain that these things would not happen to her if she were a young white girl and so her plea for blue eyes is born. Fed images of white superiority and beauty all of her life and de-prioritized by her kin, she falls into self hatred early; a common fate for Black youth who go unwanted and unwatered.

The controversial book has been banned in multiple states in the 50-plus years since its debut. The primary reason cited for the shutouts is the descriptive instances of childhood sexual abuse. This rejection frames the molestation as if does not, and has not plagued communities, including Black ones. In reality, the COVID-19 pandemic (which has overlapped with the lambasting of Critical Race Theory), has uncovered how rampant in-home abuse is, as many children spent copious amounts of time at home over the past two years. Read the full piece at Essence.

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