Monday, October 18, 2010

the unintelligible mess that is book banning...

Marcus Smith, in an article on The Daily Cougar, wrote an article at the closing of Banned Books Week 2010, talking about some of the unintelligible reasons for banning or challenging books.  Some books are challenged based on sincere concerns which, unfortunately, tend to breach American First Amendment rights, but many are challenged for seriously stupid reasons.  Smith writes:
Book banning is rarely done on the basis of logic or thoughtful consideration, but more so on ignorance and prejudice. When books are banned for absurd reasons such as pro-communism in George Orwell’s “1984” or pro-racism in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” — the exact opposite of what these books advocate — you’re left wondering if some people have even read the books they challenge.
I don't often wonder, because in so many cases it's proven the challengers haven't read the texts, based solely on the argument brought forward in the challenge.  In the examples listed above, it is obvious that the challenger either didn't bother reading the text, or they are just unable to bring a critical eye to the reading experience.

In his article, Smith brings forward a very absurd challenge that is enough to make me wonder if the majority of book challengers even use common sense.
The Texas Board of Education [...] banned the children’s picture book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin, a book that helps toddlers learn about colors and associate meaning to them. The reasoning behind this was that they confused the author with another Bill Martin, author of “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation” despite the fact that a simple glance at the book would have prevented this.
Silly, you say?  I concur.  This seems to be a lesson about the emphasis we place on political correctness rather than critical thought.  Books are meant to encourage thoughts and ideas, which they cannot do if they are challenged and kept away from children's curious hands.
Book banning does not protect children; it harms them, chiefly by attempting to instill political correctness or agendas and ignoring a novel’s core meaning and values. When books are banned and kept out of the grasp of children, you effectively limit their potential understanding of the world through other viewpoints.
Thanks Mr. Smith for your intelligent analysis of the effects of keeping books away from Children for truly ridiculous reasons.

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