A Word About Banned Books

Banned Books

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” – Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.

Are you familiar with the practice of banning books? I’m sure that everyone has heard the term before.

For a book to be banned from a particular place, its contents must first be challenged. If the challenge is successful, then the offending book in question is removed.

This type of behavior happens most often in public libraries, school and university libraries, and businesses. The complaints against a book come most often from parents that do not want their children exposed to certain themes in literature.

Some of the reasons that a book may be banned: racial themes, alternative lifestyles, the use of profanity, sexual themes, violence, negativity, witchcraft, unpopular religious views, unpopular political views, and any theme judged unsuitable for a particular age group.

Some of my favorite books are on the list of challenged and banned books.

Do you like anything Orwell? ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ are on the list, of course.

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’? Love that book. Definitely on the list.

‘The Great Gatsby’. Not my favorite, and I honestly don’t see what all the fuss is about, but I wouldn’t go around restricting anyone’s access to it.

‘Harry Potter’. You’ve heard of those books, right?

HP books

This series is at the top of the list in terms of number of times it has been challenged. Since 2000, this set of books has been challenged 3,000 times. This is the most banned series in America.

Why? It contains elements of witchcraft.

Think of the children.

And it doesn’t stop at nonfiction. In 2010, the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary was banned from classrooms in California for containing the definition of “oral sex”.

You guys. The dictionary got banned for doing its job.

I can’t even wrap my head around the whole idea of banning books, and I find it unsettling. How you as an individual perceive something artistic (say, a work of fiction) is an opinion, and your opinion should not dictate what type of literature is available to others. If someone doesn’t want their kids reading something, it is the child’s parent or guardian’s job to monitor that. (One would suppose.)

In the case of nonfiction such as biographies and even the dictionary itself being banned, that’s baffling. I don’t believe that someone should be able to ban facts. That’s kind of scary.

Whatever you choose to read, I hope that you enjoy it.

Know that I will never personally attempt to take it away from you, or your children.

-Jessica, your Media Specialist

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