Encounters With Censorship

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” 
  • “language” 

In the case of Song of Solomon

  • “language degrading to blacks” 
  • “sexually explicit” 
  • “filthy and inappropriate” 
  • “trash” 
  • “repulsive” 

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:

The Bluest Eye Wiki

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.

Bluest Eye Banned: Why Parents Want Toni Morrison’s Book Out Of Schools

Details harsh criticism towards Common Core’s 11th grade suggested reading list, more specifically with The Bluest Eye‘s listing.

Marshall University Libraries Timeline

A timeline detailing challenges and bans against The Bluest Eye, including cases in Michigan, Oklahoma, Colorado, Indiana, and California.

Ohio Schools Leader Calls For Ban Of ‘The Bluest Eye,’ Labels Toni Morrison Book ‘Pornographic’

Huffington Post article detailing Debe Terhar’s denouncement of The Bluest Eye.

Banned Library Podcast

A podcast discussing The Bluest Eye. They also talk about armadillos.

East Wake High School Removes ‘The Bluest Eye’ From Curriculum

An account of East Wake High School’s removal of “The Bluest Eye” from reading lists.

Bluest Eye Banned from Classrooms in North Carolina High School

More on the ban that took place in East Wake High School.

Some Buncombe County Parents Upset About School Reading Assignment

The WLOS article that actually inspired our research on the challenge against The Bluest Eye  in North Buncombe High School.

The Most Disturbing Argument In The Attempt to Ban ‘The Bluest Eye’ From Alabama High Schools

A progressive take on a challenge against The Bluest Eye in Alabama.

Alabama Republican Wants to Ban Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ from Schools

An article from The Atlantic detailing the book challenge taking place in Alabama.


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