What are your thoughts on challenging and banning books?
To clarify: challenging a book is to attempt to restrict a material based on the disapproval of a group. Banning is removing the materials entirely. Top reasons for challenging books include offensive language and sexually explicit content.
When I was a kid, my mother and I would walk to the local library once a week, where I would pick out whatever books I wanted, and she would check them out.
When I was eight, I got my own library card, which was a big deal in my family. I went to pick out my books, took them up to the counter, and proudly handed the librarian my new card. She told me I wasn't allowed to check out the books I'd chosen, because they came from the grown-up part of the library. I was only allowed to check out books from the kid's section, which I had long ago outgrown.
I went to find my mother, empty-handed. She asked me where my books were, and I told her what the librarian said. She took me by the hand, and marched me over to the librarian, to inform her that any book I wanted to check out, I should be allowed to. My mother told her there wasn't any book in the library she wouldn't allow me to read, and if there was any content in any book that was questionable, she and my father would explain it to me, but not prevent me from reading it. They took it on themselves to read any books I checked out that they hadn't already read, and if there was anything in the book that they felt needed explaining, they talked to me about it.
The librarian gave me a grown-up library card, and put a note on my file, saying I was allowed to check out any book. So much for the attempt at censoring my choices based on my age.
Books are powerful things. If anyone wants to read a book, they should not be prevented. If children want to read books that are on questionable topics, their parents should help them understand what they're reading, rather than prevent them from reading it. Offensive language and sexually explicit content in books can be used as teachable moments. Ideas that conflict with the family's sense of morality, or their beliefs, should be discussed, not banned.
All books for all people, all the time.
I have no qualms with any group challenging a book, although I may disagree with them. I have mixed feelings about banning books in the context of done by a government. In other words, not available to the marketplace, thus to anybody. Reminds me of Fahrenheit 451, which was about all books were outlawed.The mixed feelings begin with books that are extreme in pornography and violence with no literary value. That is a quandary for me and is problematic.
I also have no problem with restricting books and other forms of publication. For instance, HubPages restricts our articles based on the Terms of Service. Also, with private business. For instance, the determination of what books are available in privately owned store even ordering. We can see that with enterprises like Barnes & Noble contrast an adult book store. I have no problem with books being restricted to a middle school library or as approved teaching text, but perhaps is available and/or used at the high school level. In that case it is professional educators and psychologists making the determinations. Of course, I have to hope they know more than me while I still can challenge the book seeking resolve.
Curious I looked about on the net discovering an article at Wiki; List of books banned by governments. Interesting! Another article discovered was Banned Books that Shaped America. Interesting!
It's fascinating! I looked at that list myself and found most of the classics that I had studied while in school, and a few of them I actually teach now. I'm wondering if the more recently banned books will come back around in the same way.
Books banned by the government? That's not how a Constitutional Republic works!
I personally do not believe in banning books, even when I do not agree with their content. Restricting knowledge is a dangerous thing and it doesn't work. If a book gets banned by a library, school, or even town, people will get more interested in it and find a copy to read, especially in the age of the internet.
If something in a book is questionable or controversial, then it should be discussed, not banned.
I am an old style artist - ban NOTHING. you see a nude dude in the gallery, leave it, you see genitals, leave it, you see cuss words, leave it, you see cursing or whatever of other races cultures or whatever, leave it.
Bottom line: leave everything alone. Book burning is the second signal of free speech going away (first being censorship).
A lot of dictators or communist countries have attempted this book banning ( including China), and people either secretly read it - and if they got caught,..uh oh.....or most just don't have access to it. It's a way to control people.
Reminds me of the catholic church - long ago. They didn't want their followers to be able to read. They didn't want them to understand the bible, so they could make their own rules and enforce them on the people. You want to go to heaven, don't you? Well..do this!
It's easier to control people when they are banned from reading and thinking a certain way. And I will never support this. Ever. Even if someone hates my guts and says the worst things about me..I don't care.
"Bad" or "wrong" can be subjective...so banning books because of that reason is ridiculous and pathetic. Besides, if it's bad or wrong, we can read and decide on our own. Maybe even from bad books, we can have interesting discussions and learn something from it.
Offensive language is protected under free speech. In fact, free speech protects especially the kind of language that is offensive. If we all agreed, free speech would not be necessary. It would be pointless.
You don't like offensive language? Don't read it. You don't like sexual content? Don't look at it. It's as simple as that. The world is a harsh place, and nobody thinks of the same things the same way you do. Anyone can take offense at anything - maybe my laughter is offensive to others (in some cultures and religions, you can't laugh)...does that mean I have to cater to your feelings? You're an adult, act like one.
Or else, if we keep going like this...we won't have anything left to say or do...and everyone will be walking on eggshells. That is not freedom. That's mental slavery.
Embrace everyone's right to say what they want, but you don't have to agree with it. Understand that whatever you say can be offensive, but at least now, you can say/write it without legal repercussions. And that's the beauty of it all.
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."
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