The Bluest Eye ranked fifth on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books in 2006. It was the second most challenged book of 2013 and the fourth most challenged book of 2014. It was number thirty-four on the 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990-1999 and number fifteen on the top one hundred banned/challenge books: 2000-2009. Toni Morrison’s other novels, Beloved and Song of Solomon, were number forty-five and eighty-four on that same list respectively.
According to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, Morrison’s novels have been challenged on the following grounds:
In the case of Beloved
- “too violent”
- “sexual material”
- “inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism, and sex”
In the case of Song of Solomon
- “language degrading to blacks”
- “sexually explicit”
- “filthy and inappropriate”
The ALA also lists general reasons given for challenges against The Bluest Eye:
- “sexually explicit”
- “unsuited for age group”
- “contains controversial issues”
The common thread between the challenges of these three novels is generally individuals taking issues with their sexual content.
More on Challenges to Toni Morrison’s Work:
Lists challenges and bans against The Bluest Eye that took place in Montgomery County, Maryland; Baker City, Oregon; Claremont, New Hampshire; Littleton, Colorado; Howell, Michigan; Adams County, Colorado; Ohio; North Carolina; and Northville, Michigan.
Details harsh criticism towards Common Core’s 11th grade suggested reading list, more specifically with The Bluest Eye‘s listing.
A timeline detailing challenges and bans against The Bluest Eye, including cases in Michigan, Oklahoma, Colorado, Indiana, and California.
A Huffington Post article detailing Debe Terhar’s denouncement of The Bluest Eye.
A podcast discussing The Bluest Eye. They also talk about armadillos.
An account of East Wake High School’s removal of “The Bluest Eye” from reading lists.
More on the ban that took place in East Wake High School.
The WLOS article that actually inspired our research on the challenge against The Bluest Eye in North Buncombe High School.
A progressive take on a challenge against The Bluest Eye in Alabama.
An article from The Atlantic detailing the book challenge taking place in Alabama.