But why does it always have to be political?

Elizabeth Donald
4 min readMay 5, 2022

It’s something to be halfway through a semester studying the works of Toni Morrison when you read of the boneheaded decision of the Wentzville (Mo.) School District to ban The Bluest Eye from classrooms.

It never ceases to amaze me that people think young readers need to be sheltered from language. You know that they’ve already heard it, right? Hell, I recall as a girl in elementary school, another girl I barely knew asked me if I was a virgin.

“What’s a virgin?” I asked.

She replied, “Have you ever fucked a boy?”

Well, I didn’t know what that meant either, but I hadn’t done anything with any boy except get beat up at the bus stop each morning, so I said no, and she informed me I was a virgin. Thanks?

Thus the first time I recall hearing the alleged F-bomb. That was in 1980-something, and kids haven’t gotten any more pure-minded in the ensuing mumblety years, folks. If Toni Morrison uses words that make the grownups of Wentzville uncomfortable, they might want to consider why that is… and realize that there are probably no words in The Bluest Eye that their children have not heard.

To be honest, I’m not surprised it got their attention, given that there is explicit description of sex, consensual and not, and at least one scene involving…



Elizabeth Donald

Journalist for more than 25 years, freelance writer, editor, photographer, and fiction author. Subscribe at patreon.com/edonald or visit donaldmedia.com.