A Texas lawmaker running for higher office announced an investigation of school districts' books on race and sexuality — targeting a 16-page list of 850 titles.

Four of them were written by Duchess Harris, a Macalester College professor.

"I couldn't feel more accomplished," Harris posted on Facebook. "You think I'm being sarcastic, but this was #lifegoals."

By phone, she expressed "deep concerns" about politics shaping whether and how young people learn about U.S. history, resulting in deep gaps in knowledge that persist into college and beyond.

"I can be silly about it on social media," Harris said. "But there are long-term implications in terms of how Americans are educated."

In a letter last week, first reported by the Texas Tribune, state Rep. Matt Krause demanded that his state's school districts report how many copies of the books they own, and how much they spent on them. His concern, in part, was books that contain material that "might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex."

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, said Krause's action is part of a broader trend to stigmatize books by and about marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ community, Black Americans and people of color.

"It's an effort to simply erase the experiences of groups that have traditionally been marginalized and silenced by our society," she said. "Just as we are making it possible for them to fully participate, we are taking many steps backwards."

Any soft censorship by an elected official or government entity of an idea or viewpoint must be taken seriously, Caldwell-Stone added, because the next step is the kind of censorship we associate with authoritarian or despotic governments.

"This really flies in the face of some of our most cherished democratic values and rights."

Why these 850 books, in particular? Krause's letter offered no explanation of how the list was compiled.

It includes "Caste," by Pulitzer Prize-winner Isabel Wilkerson, two titles by National Book Award winner-Ta-Nehisi Coates and "George," by Alex Gino, the story of a 10-year-old transgender girl that for three years has topped the library association's list of most-challenged books.

Minnesota author Junauda Petrus is on the list for her young adult novel "The Stars and the Blackness Between Them," which tells the story of two 16-year-old girls coming of age in Minneapolis and in each other's arms. The name of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also appears: She wrote the foreword for a book of essays titled "Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage."

When Harris heard that four of her books had landed on the list, her first thought was, "Which ones?"

That's because the American studies and political science professor has written some 125 books for young people, many with provocative titles. Two grapple with the killing of George Floyd. The titles listed — including "Protesting Police Violence in Modern America" and "Political Resistance in the Current Age" — weren't ones she or her husband would have guessed.

One of her goals in writing them was to highlight lesser-known figures and moments in Black history.

"My hope is that people start learning these stories sometime before they finish high school," she said in 2018, "so that by the time they get to my class, I will have someone say, 'Oh, I've heard of that before.'

"Because that's my challenge in the classroom, that no one's ever heard of what I'm teaching. And that gets us off to a slow start."

The first reading that Harris requires of her first-year students is a New York Times investigation into the starkly different versions of U.S. history young people receive via textbooks in Texas versus California, "in ways that are shaded by partisan politics," according to the newspaper.

"It's very difficult to understand events that happen in 2020 if you don't understand the 1960s," Harris said. "This isn't about agreeing — this is about people having accurate information."