Friday, December 16, 2016

Banning Books and Why I'm Angry

So, recently I came across a story involving the censorship of books, and the typical stupidity of some people.

Parents in Illinois are pushing to have eight books banned from the school, including:
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • After the First Death by Robert Cormier
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 
I'm sure you, too, have read -or at least recognize- some of these books, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous that parents are pushing to have these banned from that school. 

I'm no stranger to the Anti-Banned Books movement, but this particular story has really sparked my flame of hatred for this type of censorship. 

In the second article, we get plenty of interviews from parents and teachers involved, and honestly, I don't know what bubble they're all living in. I highly recommend you go read at least the second article, but I'll pull a couple quotes out to show you what I mean. 

“I’ve read some excerpts of [‘I know Why the Caged Bird Sings’] that include an 8-year-old getting raped; it’s very explicit,” said Mary Kay Fessler. “The sexual content is too much for their young minds to process. As an adult, yes, we can process that, but as a 14-, 15-,16-year-old, I don’t’ think they have the neurological [power] to process that.”
First of all. Is that not offensive?  Fun fact- teenagers have the "neurological power" to process the seriousness of rape, thank you very much Mrs. Fessler. And secondly, if you're particular child doesn't have the "neurological power" to "process that", then I think you have some parenting to do.

'“We can’t have 18-year-olds reading about masturbation or sexual issues, regardless of the literature. I don’t care if it’s from Dickens or who else,” Rick Ligthart said, in summary."
Okay, I mean, that makes sense. We can send 18-year-olds off to fight and defend our country, but God forbid they read about "sexual issues". I'm sorry, but you can't shelter students forever, and maybe it's better that they read about things inside of literature, as opposed to online.

"Reigle called “The God of Small Things” “smut” and “porn”."
Right, right. Let's take a work that's been crafted with a plot of complexity and a deeper message hidden within the layers of the story, and plop a label on it. Has this "Reigle" even read more than the controversial bits before stating this offensive overgeneralization?

Okay my point here is that CENSORSHIP ISN'T OKAY. And it's hypocritical to try to censor literature, and then turn around and allow even worse content to be taken in through the internet and TV. Instead of censoring books, parents, why don't we allow students to enjoy reading, and learn about all aspects of life- including the ones you'd rather them not know about. Because the truth of the matter here is that teenagers need to be exposed to things that they will have to deal with later on in life without someone coaching them through it. The opinions you get from other people won't always line up with your own, and if you never have to seen possibly offensive, contradicting opinions, how will you know how to deal with those?

As always, you can protest book banning and censorship by reading a banned or challenged book, and letting people know.

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