Tag Archives: books

Nope, You Can’t Read That

“Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory…” -FDR. In the U.S today, people aren’t burning books but they are doing something just as bad, removing them from schools. Even though the Supreme Court says that any book can be published, not all of these books are allowed in schools. Books tend to be removed from a public schools reading list when a book is complained about by the public. Recently, a Minnesota school district dropped To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn due to the belief that both books used the n-word excessively.  There are other instances of books being dropped nationwide because of complaints that the books offend or people find the books profane or immoral. In any community other than schools these complaints would not exists. Public schools are the only setting where a person’s access to books is questioned. In 1986, the book The Red Badge of Courage was banned by the Bay District School Board because of its depiction of war and its idea that the Civil War was a clash of ideas. Parents also didn’t like the fact that Stephen Crane was not a soldier. Even though this book is banned, many people consider it to be a great, informing book and the Library of Congress even have an exhibit for it because of its “profound effect on the American people”. There are many other books that have made similar impacts on American culture. Books like Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men and the Catcher and the Rye are being banned from schools because they make parents uncomfortable. Katherine Paterson, an author who is frequently censored, spoke out against this saying, “When our chief goal is not to offend someone, we are not likely to write a book that will deeply affect anyone”.

 

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Banned Books: Censoring Authors or Protecting Readers?

Schools exist to prepare students for their lives ahead. English classes in particular not only work to improve students’ reading and writing skills, but also to show them different authors’ perspectives of the world. However, students’ learning — and authors’ freedom — could be affected by new calls from parents to ban offensive books from schools. Does banning books suppress authors’ freedom of press, or can it protect children from obscene content?

Book banning is a common occurrence in libraries and schools alike. Some books can offer controversial or outright offensive ideas, and parents and library-goers have looked for years to make them unavailable to students and children. Libraries have removed books from their shelves and schools have removed books from their curriculums in order to satisfy these complaints, only for others to complain about the bans themselves. Those rallying against the bans say that children and students need to be exposed to new ideas to grow as readers and as people, and that silencing certain authors limits their freedom of expression. Others calling for the bans claim that the ideas and language in some books can negatively affect younger readers, by showing them obscene content they are not old enough to handle.

In Miller v. California, the Supreme Court described obscene content as anything overly sexual or offensive without any artistic or educational value, and set the precedent that the First Amendment did not protect obscenity. Ban advocates claim that books featuring racial slurs or controversial themes can be offensive to students and should be banned. However, many books featuring controversy or slurs still have educational value. Take To Kill a Mockingbird, a common target for book banning. It prominently features issues about racism and prejudice, and some characters use harsh racial slurs. However, the author uses these themes to show readers the evils of racism, not to promote it: even though the book has controversial themes, it is still educational for students, and is therefore not obscene. Banning any book featuring strong language or uncomfortable topics not only prevents students from learning valuable lessons about the world, it can restrict authors from reaching a wide audience and freely expressing their views. That is not to say that every book should be allowed: there are mature and graphic books not suitable for students, and a school might not choose To Kill a Mockingbird as required reading because it would be unfit for its English curriculum or too difficult for younger readers to work on.

Banning books from libraries and schools based on controversy alone can lead to suppression of authors’ speech and can take away learning opportunities from students. Students should be able to hear a diverse set of views, teachers and librarians should be able to educate students about the world, and authors should be able to share their views with few restrictions.

Nope, You Can’t Read That

Where is the line between banning books and free access to information?

“Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory…” -FDR. In the U.S today, people aren’t burning books but they are doing something just as bad, removing them from schools. Even though the Supreme Court says that everyone person in the United States can read any book that he or she wants, not all books are allowed in schools. Books tend to be removed from a public schools reading list when a book is complained about by the public. Recently, a Minnesota school district dropped To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn due to the belief that both books used the n-word excessively. Books that are banned tend to be banned for racial reasons like the ones above yet books like the Game of Thrones series which has tons of graphic sexual and extremely violent content are still allowed. There are other instances of books being dropped nationwide because of complaints that the books offend or people find the books profane or immoral. In any community other than schools these complaints would not exists. Public schools are the only setting where a person’s access to books is questioned. In 1986, the book The Red Badge of Courage was banned by the Bay District School Board because of its depiction of war and its idea that the Civil War was a clash of ideas. Parents also didn’t like the fact that Stephen Crane was not a soldier. Even though this book is banned, many people consider it to be a great, informing book and the Library of Congress even have an exhibit for it because of its “profound effect on the American people”. There are many other books that have made similar impacts on American culture. Books like Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men and the Catcher and the Rye are being banned from schools because they make parents uncomfortable. Katherine Paterson, an author who is frequently censored, spoke out against this saying, “When our chief goal is not to offend someone, we are not likely to write a book that will deeply affect anyone”.

 

First Amendment and Censorship

“First Amendment And Censorship.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. N. p., 2008. Web. 25 Sept. 2018.

 

Anon

Washington Post. N. p., 2018. Web. 25 Sept. 2018.

 

Parker-Anderson, S.

Parker-Anderson, Scott. “Banned Books That Shaped America: The Red Badge Of Courage.” Waldina. N. p., 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2018.

The 1st amendment does not protect libraries from banning books.

Why doesn’t the 1st amendment protect libraries from banning books?

There are many great examples of books banned by libraries, even those we once read, required for school, one of them is To Kill A Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee. People tried to ban this book because they believed it was offensive to African-Americans. The 1st amendment is not protecting its libraries. Books are a form of expression, when published, its shared with the world, sort of like a press. The press, even book publishers, have the right to publish stories, but they must support them with facts.

One of the 10th most banned books is, Thirteen Reasons Whyby Jay Asher. This show can be described as fictional, because it tackles through real-world issues, taking a look at sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide, and more.  For these reasons, books are being banned. The first amendment is supposed to protect published books, with fact-based stories. Its books like Beloved (written by Toni Morrison), that are banned for being real, in other words, factual. Beloved, was banned from many libraries because it showed real-life events, such as slavery, and violence.

Books, however, can get turned into a clean version, no offensive language, no sexual content, or nudity. Although, not all books have that option. Some have other objections, which are harder to censor, or verzionalize. For example. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, written by D.H. Lawrence, is pretty much all about these things, it’s a 1928 version of Fifty Shades of Grey when the whole book is based on these challenges. Others include things like, homosexuality, religious viewpoints, racism, drugs/alcohol/smoking, occult/satanism, or even portrait of Marxism.

Sometimes books are banned for good reasons, censorship being an example. We don’t want underage children reading these type of things, not only will it take away their innocence, but it is not at all appropriate for our schools to be influencing these things.

This is a serious issue, our libraries, should be protected by the first amendment. People find this topic as a very controversial issue. Some say, ban these book, appropriate for younger children. Other may oppose, and say things like “Speak Out”. Some land in the middle coming up with ideas to protect the first amendment, for example, ban books from libraries at schools (or clean versions), and keep regular uncensored books at public libraries. For cases like these, the 1st amendment should protect libraries from banning books.

Tags: Expression, Books, Press, School

 

Works Cited:

Richie, Nathan. “Libraries and the First Amendment.” Programming Librarian, 14 May 2015, www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/libraries-and-first-amendment.

Ferro, Shaunacy. “24 Of the Most Banned Books of All Time.” Mental Floss, 26 Sept. 2016, mentalfloss.com/article/86658/24-most-banned-books-all-time.

“10 Banned Books Everyone Should Read.” Real Simple, www.realsimple.com/magazine-more/inside-magazine/life-lessons/banned-books.

To Kill A Mockingbird is being challenged!

Should To Kill a Mockingbird be banned from schools?

There are schools that believe that To Kill a Mockingbird should be banned from reading. A school district in Mississippi didn’t like how the book used racial issues and how it deals with civil rights. There are numerous instances in which it uses racial slurs about the black community. There was backlash but it was decided that the book would stay in the library. Some say that they could get the same message across using a different book and it has been constantly challenged since 1960, when it was released. Arne Duncan, president Obama’s former secretary of education, said that “When school districts remove ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from the reading list, we know we have real problems.”.

When it comes down to the 1st Amendment, the right to read for example, all students should be able to read To Kill A mockingbird, even if it has racial slurs. Some parents may want this gone as it is offensive to the black community but as Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Senator, put it, “Engaged parents should call the school district with the clear message: Our kids are tough enough to read a real book.”  There some reasons to remove the book from the 8th grade reading curriculum, but as it stands, it will most likely stay as a shared story in our schools.

Works Cited:

“’To Kill a Mockingbird’ Banned at Mississippi School.” Time, Time, time.com/4983786/biloxi-mississippi-school-ban-to-kill-a-mockingbird/.
Nelson, Karen. “Why Did Biloxi Pull ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from the 8th Grade Lesson Plan?”Sunherald, The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/jackson-county/article178572326.html.

Does Banning Books Violate One’s First Amendment Right?

When it comes to banning books, many schools are continuing to ban more and more books. Though there may be fair reasoning to have some of these books banned, it can go against freedom of press, making banning books unjust, unless it is an obscenity. I believe some books that are banned are clearly meet the limit of being an obscenity, but sometimes they it really doesn’t meet the definition. Cornell law describes an obscenity laws as,prohibiting lewd, filthy, or disgusting words or pictures,” but they also mention, “Indecent materials or depictions, normally speech or artistic expressions, may be restricted in terms of time, place, and manner, but are still protected by the First Amendment.” Books like Harry Potter and Where’s Waldo really have no, just reason to be banned, especially when you tie it with definition. This violates the freedom of the press because you are prohibiting authors of their right to freedom of the press for no reason. But, I do believe there are certain cases where it is best to ban a book.

Only some books should be banned, only when they follow this definition of obscenity, and it isn’t appropriate for the age group reading it. Having read several books on the “Banned Book List” I know that some books on that list have no reason to be on there, but others are best to be deemed “okay” to have in schools base off of age, making it fair for them to be banned. When it comes to books such as The Color Purple and To Kill a Mockingbird, banning them or not should probably fluctuate based on age. Even though it isn’t discussed in the constitution or seen as a limit, there can be fair arguments for not wanting certain ages to read certain books. In the book The Color Purple, right away in the book there is a graphic rape described. As the rest of the book continues, there is a lot of important historical context and lessons that happen throughout, making it important for someone to read, but with the graphic rape in the beginning, and a few more scenes throughout, it’s best to put an age restriction on it because you don’t want someone reading it at a young age, making the definition of obscenity fluctuate based on age. Though I think To Kill a Mockingbird should not be banned, due to its high use of the “n word”, some disagree. In no way am I condoning the “n word”, but I believe it’s an important, and dark part of our history that shouldn’t be forgotten, but something we are taught, and we learn from. To Kill a Mockingbird does this in a way that describes life during that time, and someone can actually learn through a fictional story, vs. out of a textbook, what life was like. Having people in elementary and middle school read it, can be deemed worthy needing it to be banned because they don’t understand the time as well, but people in high school are almost adults, and need to learn about that part of history in a further context, and they should understand the context of that word, raising the argument that obscenities definition should fluctuate based on the age reading the book. When it comes to freedom of press, there are certain limits to it, and sometimes those limits vary, based on certain factors. Books are a learning tool for all who read them, and when it comes to banning them or not, books should not be banned unless it’s deemed an obscenity for the age group reading it, not because of personal reasons in order to follow The Constitution, the highest law of the land.

Sources

“Banned & Challenged Classics.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. N. p., 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2018

“Obscenity.” LII / Legal Information Institute. N. p., 2018. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.

 

Censorship in schools

By definition censorship is, the removal, suspension, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational materials. Most parents want censorship in schools, because they don’t want their children being taught the exact opposite of what they preach at home. Also many people believe that young kids aren’t good at making decisions for themselves and they don’t always know right from wrong. So schools need to have censorship to filter out all the bad stuff and only teach students good values. Censorship gives parents peace of mind and shape the minds of our youth.  

There are still plenty of people who don’t like the idea of censorship in schools. Lots of people believe that censorship isn’t allowing students to form their own ideas. If you don’t allow students to form their own ideas then it’s hard for society to have different views on things. The court system would have to agree with these people, they tend to vote with the schools most of the time limiting censorship in schools and allowing students to become free thinkers. As long as schools don’t cross any religious boundaries, or are trying to push political views on students then the court will allow it.

“Censorship in Schools Pros and Cons List.” NYLN.org. N.p., 14 Jan. 2017. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

“Censorship in the Schools.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. N.p., 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

“Education World: Banning Books from the Classroom: How to Handle Cries for Censorship.” Education World: Banning Books from the Classroom: How to Handle Cries for Censorship. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.