Banned Books Week

I read banned books. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Huckleberry Finn, from Song of Solomon to The Things They Carried, I find something valuable in wresting with ideas and depictions that other people find dangerous.

Library systems across the country have been asked to remove more books from circulation than ever before. Are some books too dangerous for young people to read? At what point should people be free to read whatever they want?

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13 Responses to Banned Books Week

  1. Jacqueline Smith says:

    To a certain extent, I understand where some educational institutions may be going with banned books. Some call it censoring, if it’s about race, and some books are just banned. An experience that illustrates this well is when we covered Marxism in AP Euro, and it seemed like everyone was hyped about communism and the Communist Manifesto for a few months. However, I don’t either of those examples constitutes banning a book. I think that that practice is repressive and frightening for a liberal society. There should probably be more education about ‘difficult’ topics for America like racism and radical politics to where institutions don’t feel the need to ban topics. Limiting knowledge is a dangerous game.

  2. Kelvin Pool says:

    If the ideas and depictions are found dangerous I think it would make more sense to not ban them. Banning books seems to bring more attention to them. I also think that withholding any knowledge from people who actively seek it is wrong. Knowledge is power and keeping knowledge away from those you don’t want to have it is selfish and cowardly.

  3. Gracyn Young says:

    I believe that people should be able to read whatever they want, whenever they want. With that being said, I don’t think other people should have the ability to take away that right through banning books. Like Kevin Pool said, “knowledge is power,” and when taking away that power through withholding books, it puts others at an unfair advantage. Especially considering that a majority of banned books are purely fictional, though they may have some hints of a dystopian, yet possible, future.

    I don’t think that books are too dangerous, period. However, I can understand a parent or guardian restricting access to certain books because they may be inappropriate or their child may not be mature enough.

  4. Bill Arnoldus says:

    Some books should be restricted from public libraries and schools if they are dangerous or inappropriate to those reading them. But the surge of book bans in Mississippi isn’t because of this. The books that are being banned host LGBTQ+ characters and characters of color. Banning/restricting these books in schools is particularly concerning because it sets the notion of inhospitableness toward people of color and LGBTQ+ members which further ostracizes them. I can understand that some parents don’t want their child reading certain things, but in today’s time, topics of race, gender, and sexuality shouldn’t be shunned from the youth, but instead, be openly available to learn and discuss.

  5. Nora Courtney says:

    I don’t believe in putting restrictions on reading materials of any sort. In my opinion, limiting people’s resources of knowledge is one of the most dangerous things that can happen for our society. I understand some books contain graphic or triggering topics, but that doesn’t mean they should be banned. A simple warning would do. However, when the topic of banning books comes about, it is mostly books that represent the troubles or triumphs of the LGBTQ community of those of people of color. Limiting someone’s access to books is unethical.

  6. Ava Noe says:

    Free speech is the truest form of freedom. All inherent rights of man are enlisted under freedom of speech such as the freedom to practice religion and protest the government. Schools in our state and in our nation are ‘taking a stand’ against ‘inappropriate’ texts but the numbers are showing something else entirely. At least 33% of the books had LGBTQIA+ characters, 22% of the books had to do with racial issues in the States, and 41% of the books’ main protagonists was a person of color writes Education Weekly. This is not an attack on literature itself, it is an attack on the rights of people. A teacher in Virginia who will remain nameless came before the school board and ‘bravely’ spoke about her resignation because the state of Virginia has said all student’s pronouns will be respected. She believes that it overly politicized the classroom. Strong words from an English teacher. It’s ignorance like this that makes school not a safe space of kids. The administration and school boards are saying we, as the student population, are being indoctrinated by these books but it isn’t the books ‘making us gay’ and scaring us. That job currently is being left up to administration. Books shouldn’t be banned. Some old man sitting in a dusty office somewhere shouldn’t be the one to tell me what I can and can’t educate myself on. This isn’t a question of if Fifty Shades of Grey is okay for kindergarteners to read, its the question of if those kindergarteners can see literal representation of people who look like them on shelves. Appropriate content is easily regulated but topics themselves shouldn’t be. The books are not an attack on the kids, they are an inherent right that needs to be respected.

  7. John Robert Walker says:

    Obviously, there is no sense in kids in elementary school reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but like Ava Noe stated, that is not the matter here. There is no reason library systems should be banning books relating to topics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation. The argument is that they are protecting kids from harmful ideas when really they are only harming them. It is important for students of all backgrounds to feel represented, and banning books that accomplish that sends a harmful message. I am not necessarily against banning books, but when it is for the wrong reasons, there is no sense in it.

  8. Atticus Ross says:

    I don’t believe books should be banned in library systems. Unless they contain inappropriate material that should not be read by children, books shouldn’t be banned for having historic material or diverse characters. For example, a graphic novel titled “Maus,” a nonfiction graphic novel about a survivor of the Holocaust was banned by a Tennessee school board last year. This brought much attention to the book, making it a bestseller on Amazon after many people discovered that it had been banned. People wondered why it was banned, especially since it is based on true events and should be allowed for kids to learn about history. Overall, library systems shouldn’t ban books unless they have a legitimate ethical reason to do so.

  9. Jack Sisson says:

    Censorship should not apply to ideas deemed dangerous or inappropriate. It should be the choice of the reader to decide if the book is unsuitable. Libraries do not expose the ideas of the book to any patrons, as the book remains closed unless they choose to read it. The only exception that comes to mind is underage library patrons. Just for their own safety, children should not be allowed to check out books filled with terribly violent or disturbing stories. A simple solution could be requiring a parent’s permission to check out books with upsetting themes.

  10. Laykin Dixon says:

    I feel as if books shouldn’t be banned you should be able to read whatever you want to read. In an educational setting to some extent some books should be banned. A second grader shouldn’t be introduced to stuff that’s not acceptable for their age. Most books that are banned though you can find on the internet so why ban the book when people can do just the same by looking it up on the internet. Books shouldn’t be banned because of race , gender, or sexual orientation just because parents want to “protect their children” when in reality that isn’t something parents should be “protecting” from their kids.

  11. Nicolas Neal says:

    There is certainly utility in removing some books from circulation. No library contains every published work ever written, as it’s simply unpractical. Libraries must therefore make decisions about which books to carry, and such decisions require criteria for book-desirability. If a publisher chooses to publish a heap of garbage with no literary value, then a library is unlikely to allow it to take up space on its shelves. Similarly, if a book is considered to comprise harmful sentiments or promotion of unpalatable ideas, then it, too, is unlikely to be available. I think that there is nothing remarkable about this practice of exclusion, though, it is silly to eschew books on any grounds beyond their uselessness, such as on the grounds that they further a doctrine deemed dreadful according to some arbitrary metric. You would think that a library shouldn’t be empowered to decide what its users do and do not have access to.

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