Saturday, January 21, 2012

Banning Books Helps No One

When I was finishing my Master's Degree at Elmhurst College, I had to read Toni Morrison's Beloved as part of a literature course.

Many classmates waxed poetic about how great Beloved was, what a masterpiece of fiction, how deep and insightful it was. I remained silent as I didn't care much for the book. Perhaps it was the issue of slavery that made me uncomfortable or the stream-of-consciousness writing that made me feel ill at ease. Regardless, Beloved is not meant to make you feel comfortable. This is not a book meant for you to recline in your easy chair with your hot cocoa and slippers.

Beloved is meant to be controversial.

As much as I didn't like the book, I wouldn't have it struck from a course curriculum like a group of parents are trying to do at Salem High School in Plymouth, MI.

The parents' objection to Beloved is not slavery but sex, references to bestiality and taking "God's name in vain." Seriously? This is the reason they want their teens in AP Literature to not read Beloved? Do the parents really believe their teenagers will go out and have sex with cows because they read about it in Beloved? Or perhaps they think their teens will turn into crazed sex maniacs?

Such closed-mindedness makes me feel for the teachers trying to teach their students in such an ignorant environment. Parents who insist on banning books from a curriculum based on such "content" have no faith in their own children and do not give teachers the means to educate.

No wonder America is falling behind the rest of the world when parents spend all their energy banning books and not promoting them.


  1. I haven't read the book so I can't speak on that. However, I do know a little something about banned books. Two of them (one more controversial than the other) are among my absolute favorites. Strangely enough, I've read a couple books in school that were banned in others. Banning the Harry Potter series is understandable to a degree, but some parents are just ridiculously strict that way, thinking its about witchcraft and devil worship.
    I've heard that "The Giver" is highly controversial and its probably my favorite stand-alone book, and "The Catcher in the Rye," read that in 10th grade and loved it.
    Each to one's own, I guess. In my book, the only thing worse than banning books is burning them. After seeing the film adaptation of "Farenheit 451," the mere idea just doesn't sit well with me. Reading books is a freedom that should never be challenged or questioned

    1. Did you read "Fahrenheit 451"? It's a pretty good book by one of my favorite authors Ray Bradbury. IMO Anyone who thinks Harry Potter is about devil worship and Satanism clearly hasn't read the books. That's what bothers me most about book banning. It's the ignorant trying to make the rest of society ignorant too.