When looking for more *deets on the author of a poem written for BBW I happened to stumble across her blog. I was appalled at a recent school’s handling of a recent challenge of a book she had written and the cancellation of a public appearance that could’ve had a really powerful (and positive) impact on students. This made me wonder what in the world could motivate someone to ban a book for all vs. just asking if your child could not participate/have a different assignment.
Top 3 Reasons for banning (commentary courtesy of J2)
Drugs: Kids are introduced to drugs! They are around drugs! Drugs and addiction can affect anyone regardless of your religion or political beliefs. Many of the books that are being challenged don’t glorify or promote drug use, but try to serve as a cautionary tale. By not talking about drugs beyond “just say no” you aren’t preparing kids and young adults for how to react when around peers who have access to drugs. P.S. Drugs now include prescription drugs which almost everyone has in their home at some point and time. Even Oprah is talking about it. So don’t think that heroin is something that exists only downtown and your kid will never be affected cause they aren’t and they will.
Objectionable Language: If reading a bad word leads your child/young adult/teen to then use that bad word repeatedly you haven’t done a very good job parenting or instilling values. If reading led to people picking up a particular character/actors vernacular every single person who has ever read Twilight (which as of right now is just about everyone in the world) would be saying HOLY CROW! much to my little sister’s chagrin.
Sex: Sex happens people! And if history, or the teen pregnancy rate, can teach us anything it’s that not communicating about it isn’t really helping anyone. Hell, according to Freud most of our “actions” are driven by sex anyway.
To those brazen enough to challenge a book to be removed from a public institution I dedicate todays post, and Ellen Hopkin’s “Manifesto” to you:
To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name of greater good.
You say you’re afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones do break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.
You say you’re afraid for America,
the red, white, and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
You say you’re afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammad
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
Author of “Crank” and “Tricks”