Monday, October 11, 2010

Banned Books

I completely missed Banned Books Week (September 25 to October 2, in case you missed it too), but I think it's never too late to speak out about unnecessary censorship. As readers and book bloggers, a large majority of us a vehemently against book banning. Those who promote the banning and burning of books generally have a much smaller viewpoint on life and wish to keep certain topics from being out there and available for kids, and even grown adults, to learn about. My question is - Since the dawn of time, when has sheltering people from unseemly (according to some) topics ever actually helped?

Reasons for book banning stem from prejudices. Or the fear of promoting prejudice. People want books banned because they acknowledge racism and slavery. But those things actually happened. Does not talking about them make it as though they didn't? Should we just sweep every unfortunate thing in the past under the rug or should we embrace both good and bad history in an effort to learn from it?

Some people feel that they know what's best for the rest of us. We shouldn't be allowed to read these books and form our own opinions on the subject matter. Shouldn't I be offended that they believe I'm not intelligent enough to keep my own mind, morals and ideas when confronted with other ideas?

Most know that Harry Potter has been banned many times over because the idea of magic undermines religious ideals. I personally think this is ridiculous. Children aren't reading Harry Potter and thinking, "Harry Potter can fly on a broomstick, so therefore my religion is irrelevant." That's the wonderful thing about banning books. The reasons behind the ban are usually so stupid that it actually makes people want to go out, read the book, and see what all the fuss is about.

More insane banning reasons: Homosexuality (because heaven forbid the children think it's okay to fall in love with someone of the same sex), Blasphemy (how, when we are not all one religion, can we unilaterally ban books that disparage certain religious figures?), and Sexuality (luckily, if you don't teach a kid about sex, they'll never, ever learn about it elsewhere).

Have you ever read a book just because it was banned somewhere?

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