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Monday, March 19, 2018


Book banning is unintelligible

The subject of book censorship comes to a boiling point during Banned Books Week, an annual event held from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2 that champions the freedom to read, the importance of the First Amendment and intellectual freedom.

It exposes actual or attempted bannings of books across the US, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them. This is just one of the first steps we need to take to permanently put an end to unnecessary and biased censorship.

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.

It seems that question is answered by The Texas Board of Education when they 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. In another display of prejudice, the same board voted to pass a resolution condemning textbooks they perceived as having a pro-Islam, anti-Christian slant.

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.

This isn’t to say that common sense should not be a deciding factor as to what books are kept from the eyes of children in the school system.

If we truly care about the well-being and minds of our children, we must be sure to provide, not deprive, to encourage and not deter.

We must pursue a route in which the right to freedom of thought is expanded in our schools, and eradicate ignorance and prejudice from the discussion of our books. If we don’t, it will not just be our children that suffer, but our country, and the diversity of ideas we should cherish.

Marcus Smith is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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