One of the first phrases that stuck out to me was “American schools”. Now America is the land of the free and home of the brave, yet it is the same place we burn books to prevent others from enjoying them and are scared to explain
reality to our youth? Unfortunately, yes. Our nation as incredible percentages in access to education and literacy rates, but what is the point if a person can’t use it with a free will? That lead to me to wonder if other countries censor and ban books, too, and if they do, if it is just as intense.
Anyway, another aspect of the articles that stuck out to me was how The Students’ Right to Read exposed us to the specific reasons books were banned. I remember learning about banned and censored books in high school and we just had to guess or figure why a book was restricted, and there were very few we knew for sure. One of my favorite reasons on the list was “overly-realistic”. How can a book be too realistic? How will our children handle reality if a reality between the covers is too much for them to handle? We can’t expect radical decisions from a generation not allowed to read about life. That brings up my next problem with this topic. Now I understand (to an extent) war may be censored, and maybe sometimes the language just isn’t suitable for a certain age. But censoring poverty and sexual preferences is just wrong to me. No one chooses to live in poverty; that is just life for some and there are people in the world who want to hide that from our youth. Books involving gay themes should not be banned because a child’s sexuality will not change if they read these, but their understanding of the topic and compassion for others will expand. When we tell students gay books are wrong we are telling them gay is wrong, but it’s not. It is just different.
“Censorship leaves students with an inadequate and distorted picture of the ideals, values, and problems of their culture. Writers may often represent their culture, or they may stand to the side and describe and evaluate that culture.”
~The Students’ Right to Read
Perhaps even worse, when books are banned we are also taking away opportunities from people other than readers. Authors, publishers, librarians and others are impacted by book banning. Shopkeepers, librarians and people of similar positions fear their jobs when it comes to certain books. Authors and publishers work diligently to present their art to the world only to have it cut from selections for their depictions of life.
I don’t know about you all, but I don’t want to live in a world where art has a limit.