Based on one complaint, Amanda Gorman’s poem was banned. Why protect our youth from truth?

Amanda Gorman composed her poem The Hill We Climb for Joe Biden’s inauguration. Now, based on one feckless parent’s complaint, an elementary school in Miami has removed it so children can no longer access it without a parent’s permission.

Here’s the whole poem; judge for yourself. Is this text going to corrupt young people? I’ve put the part the parent objected to in bold.

When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.

We braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.

And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.

Somehow we do it.

Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.

That even as we grieved, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.

Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.

If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.

It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.

We feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.

But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.

Our blunders become their burdens.

But one thing is certain.

If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the golden hills of the West.

We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.

We will rise from the sun-baked South.

We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.

And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.

The new dawn balloons as we free it.

For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Where’s the problem?

Rebuild, reconcile, and recover.

Yes. This poem says that our nation has been divided, and opportunity unequal. These are not radical statements. They are undeniable truths.

If this is the truth you object to, and feel you must protect your children from, what a fragile and imaginary world you must live in.

Here is the parent’s complaint, which not only misattributes Amanda Gorman’s poem to Oprah Winfrey (really?) but suggests that the poem “Is not educational and have indirectly hate messages” and is intended to “Cause confusion and Indoctrinate student”

Let ’em read

As a parent, I was not afraid of ideas. I exposed my children to as many as possible. And we spoke about them often.

My children, now grown, often disagree with me about ideas. But that’s because they have learned to think. I admire their ability to reason and judge for themselves.

Are you really so afraid of ideas that you must protect children from them? How will your children learn to think?

Opportunities have not been equal for Black people. This is not “critical race theory.” It is fact. Is it a fact you feel you must protect your children from?

If this is you, feel free to teach your children in whatever way works best for you. I won’t tell you what to do in your own home. But don’t imagine that your narrow view is sufficient to restrict what every other child in the school is allowed to read.

What a sad state of affairs.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. This complaint seems to be having a Barbra Streissand effect, and I, for one, am happy it is being so.
    Wny impose your ignorance on your child or on somebody else’s child? I wonder why other parents are not complaining about the education of their children being hindered by people with no background in education (it seems not even as a user).
    I would get really angry if my daughter’s education depended on somebody like the person who signed the complaint.
    The problem is not only the complaint, which is defensible, but the fact that schools and official organizations actually listen to it.

  2. If we’re all created equal and have equal free speech rights, how does one individual dictate what the rest of us hear. I just don’t understand the math.

  3. The headlines are misleading—it was not just one parent, but a school-sanctioned committee that made this decision. Also, it was not banned; it was determined to be unacceptable for a particular grade/age group unless the parent/student requested it.

    OK, now we have the facts; let’s destroy the terrible decisions…

    The good news is book bans are usually very good for book sales and readership.

    1. One parent complained. The committee acted. Kids can’t see the book without parents’ permission. That’s what I said. And already 9 clicks from my post to the site to buy the book.