If you have been following the news lately, you’ve most likely seen or heard about a big drive to ban books in schools across the country.
A growing number of parents are concerned about what their kids are reading about in school. Many are saying that the books are too obscene or harmful to children. This clash is creating a huge political battle that has already spread into national politics, like Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation.
This is ridiculous. These restrictions pose a threat to freedom of speech and choice; these are freedoms which Americans hold so close to their hearts and that are worth standing up for. So why go against that now?
By opening kids’ eyes to people, places, and cultures worldwide it creates an understanding and a sense of empathy. Books can most definitely provide representation for children who are the minority. They can show the reader perspectives different from their own.
Literature is supposed to make people question things they aren’t used to. So, it’s important for people of all ages to have conversations about these concepts, especially young adults. Stripping those conversations is hurtful and will ultimately lead to ignorance. Having a society full of ignorant people, refusing to understand these notions and lacking education, is doing the exact opposite of what humanity wants a democracy to be.
Here are some of the books that have been banned and the reasons why:
Beloved by Toni Morrison - Banned in Florida and Idaho, too much violence, racism, and sexually explicit content.
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell - Banned in Jackson County, Florida for being pro-communist.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien - Burned outside a community church in New Mexico along with other Tolkien novels for being satanic.
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dresier - Banned in Mass. (1972) and burned by Nazi’s in Germany (1933) because it “deals with low love affairs” – Which is a romantic relationship between two people who love each other but are not married. So… my parents?
I get it. The truth hurts and telling the truth is difficult. You can’t shelter your kids forever. They will learn eventually. Banning books can impede on children’s curiosity. Exposing your kids encourages them to learn more about themselves, history, and other cultures – even if those cultures bring up uncomfortable and heavy subjects.
Ask yourself, what is gained from isolating children from inevitable and uncomfortable truths?