I’ve been missing a lot of these book discussions recently, but I hoping to get back into. There are some really great topics that I’ve missed that I’ll be trying to post of later in the upcoming weeks.
Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @eternitybooks, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.
This week’s question: Banning books, a bookish sin or a reasonable act?
This was an easy answer for me I think it’s a terrible thing to do. I must admit I haven’t put a ton of research into this subject so there many be aspects of this debate that I’m missing, but banning books it’s just not something that happens at schools, but is something that happens at prisons and other places as well. It is form of censorship that I think is truly controlling in a way I don’t support.
What is the purpose of a book?
Obviously there are many answers to that question and it would depend on who you ask as to what answer you would get. However, I would say that in general a couple answers are agreed upon especially in the larger community.
- Entertainment: Fiction books especially are a large source of entertainment for people. Banning that form of entertainment would be like banning shows like Game of Thrones, Scandal, Stranger Things, etc. Shows that might be a little bit more “adult” , but that students of certain ages have definitely watched. Parents are able to allow or deny access to that material to their children. I believe it should be the same for books if we are talking about banning books from schools. Parents should have the ability to allow or deny certain access to books. Not all parents agree on what is appropriate or not and having an outside source decide for you is something most people don’t appreciate.
- Broadening your horizons: Whether reading fiction or nonfiction one reason authors write and why readers read is to get new information and experiences. By banning books people are censuring not only the books themselves, but thoughts, ideas, and possibilities. That to me is a very dangerous thing to do.
Most schools ban books when requested by parents. I believed those requests are mainly based on complaints about language or sexual explicit content. While I believe parents should have a large say in their child’s education I don’t believe it is appropriate to try and get a book completely banned from school because I can guarantee that not all parents will agree. If the parent is truly that concerned then they should be looking over the books their children are reading. If they are not willing to put in that level of commitment than I don’t think they have much of a leg to stand on when trying to force a school to get rid of a book. I know parents are busy and that is a lot to expect, but truly every parent has different standards on what is appropriate and expecting a school to agree with everyone parent is silly.
So, I actually spent some time looking into this subject a bit and its utterly ridiculously. There truly seems to be no rhyme or reason to these bans and it seems to vary from state to state. Alabama has banned art books about African art as well as anatomy drawing. There’s also world travel guides that have been banned. California seems to mainly sticking to banning pornography though if you look they also are banning books on the black panther party and alternative religious practice outside of Christianity. You look at Florida’s list and it doesn’t make sense with some issues of magazines like Popular Science being approved while others were rejected. If you’re curious about which books are banned where you can look here. There’s no good way to look up certain books, but most lists are alphabetized.
The Final Stance
From what I’ve seen through just a very brief exploration of this topic my feelings remain the same. While there might be some books that people might not generally argue with being banned (anything with sexual content probably). I think banning those books makes it easier to slip in books that might challenge the status quo like Harry Potter. Harry Potter is be usually requested to be banned because people think it encourages children to practice witchcraft which generally not something conservative christian groups appreciate. You also have books banned in prisons that are about the problems with our current prison system. That is a very intentional removal of knowledge and information.
So, I don’t approve of any censuring of books. You as an adult or parents have the responsibility to choose what you read. You don’t have to agree with it or like it or encourage people to read it, but neither would I say you have the right to take that ability away from anyone else.