My Thoughts on Banning Books

Image by Anirvan

It seems like, as a society, we are always trying to shield our teens from the reality of the world. From the horrors of the world. We do this because we think we are protecting them. We do this to shield their young minds from some truly horrible things that happen in the world. Keeping our teens in the dark is not helping them. Keeping our kids ignorant of the reality of the world is not helping them. In fact, it’s a real slap in the face when they enter adulthood and realize that, damn, this world is pretty screwed up. Why are we pretending that things like rape, homosexuality, drug use, and explicit language do not exist? Why are we keeping our young adults in a bubble? It’s not preparing them for the real world.

So, why not let them experience the reality of the world for the first time in the safety of a story? A teenage girl can read about her favorite character getting date raped, and, maybe, she can prevent herself from being in that situation. Rape happens, and many girls and boys experience it at a young age. How is a story about rape not appropriate for young girls and boys when it happens TO young girls and boys ? How is letting young girls and boys be unaware of a potential danger to them fair?

A young boy reads about the effects of drug abuse, and turns down the meth pipe at a party. Teens are around drugs all the time. As much as the school and the parents try to keep their kids away, there are still drugs in the community; they still know drug users. So, why not give them the reality of drug use? It’s simple to me, YA books open teens minds to the feelings of others, the experiences of others, and their own life.

Maybe if a young adult reads a book about a homosexual character, then they will not feel bias towards them based on stereotypes. It’s important for young adults to understand the struggles of finding one’s self in this world where discrimination and horrors exist. Young adult books help teens to find their place in this world; the real world, not the bubble that we want to place our kids in.

Why not let our teens understand as much as they possibly can about the world, it’s good and it’s bad, by letting them read books?

I will also add that “promoting the homosexual agenda” is simply a stupid reason for banning a book. When is the last time a gay person knocked on your door and tried to sell you an Elton John CD?

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4 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Banning Books

  1. I agree that sheltering children from the cruel realities of the world, even just in books, is not a good thing. Not at all. Unfortunately, as a mother, I personally know that this knowledge does not always help much.

    I so badly want to protect my children’s innocence and the unpolluted joy they have right now. I know it is not realistic. I know it is not helping them in the long run. I DO know. And I agree that they need books to explore these topics and experiences to learn from. But stepping back is not easy, and parents sometimes need patience. Parents make decisions that are heart-wrenching every day, allowing our children to make tough choices and then live with the consequences. We do this because it is what they need even though we want to shelter them.

    However, I do love my children so much, and because of this love, I will let these children learn hard things and grow to be successful people through tough life experiences. Ugh. We dedicated parents mean well even when we are totally screwing up. I think maybe this is one of the hardest things for teachers; to respect and truly try/want to understand and honor the diverse parent body doing crazy and sometimes seemingly-senseless things, all with the best intentions and purest love for their children. We are just doing the best we know how. Even if it isn’t always probably the right way.

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  2. I enjoyed your blog post and we seem to be on the same page concerning banning and challenging what some people believe are inappropriate. Who and when did anyone get the power to play dictator and try to push their ethics on a county/city library or public/private schools? Children, preteens and young adults aren’t ever going to read a book that is banned if they do not find the topic of any value in the first place. It’s important that the children who do want or need the comfort of reading about sensitive subject matters be made available, and a few parents that do play God aren’t ruining it for a whole community

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  3. This is such a well written statement on the importance of having our students read books about the tough issues. It is very, very excellent.
    I had not thought of it quite this way before. I could see now how having students read books about these situations may help them to make better choices for themselves or understand themselves and others a bit better.
    As a middle school educator, I wonder, how young is too young? How mature is mature enough? Do you think we should have all students read these stories? What if student A is not ready for a book about drug addiction, but student B is? How would you handle these situations?
    I really love your thoughts. So good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think kids are not as helpless as we think they are. They will know what they are comfortable with and what they are not comfortable with. Shouldn’t that be something they decide, not us? They will not read books they are uncomfortable with. It should be the students choice (maybe the parents, thought I do not agree with denying your child a book in any instance) not the teacher’s choice whether they are comfortable with a book of their choice.

      Liked by 1 person

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