Imagine you’re in graduate school and you’re doing your doctorate on a controversial issue. You’ve done most of the research however there’s one book that has specific information that you need, and you can only find it in that particular book. You’ve looked on the online database and find out that the book is in your universities library. You go to the library and ask for some help finding the book you need, however the librarian informs you that the book was recently banned.
How is it that in a country that prides itself in freedom of speech and self expression, a book on a controversial issue has been banned? Does it not contradict what the founding fathers fought so hard for in the Revolutionary war? In today’s society the biggest reason for book banning is based on protecting moral values set in place in the home. Well meaning teacher, parents, and other would be censors worry that by exposing the nation’s youth to concepts such as sex, drugs, and alcohol they will start experimenting with these things.
Ultimately they fear the breakdown of the moral values emphasized in the home. This is especially true for conservative Christians, in the past ten years books such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials have caused a great deal of controversy among conservative Christians. The idea of magic, alternate and parallel universes is not a popular one among Conservative Christians. But does this really warrant all out banning books such as these?
Most would say no, the ideals of a certain group should not determine what the rest of the population reads. The ideals of a minority should not determine what books are left on the shelves of libraries. It’s one thing if the private institutions chose not to stock certain books in their libraries, but it is a different matter entirely when they want to take books out of the public libraries where they are put for the enjoyment of the public. Banning books violates one of the fundamental rites the US was built on, freedom of speech and freedom of press.
The freedom to read and write freely is fundamentally American. It allows citizens to express themselves without fearing repercussions from the government, or fellow citizens. It allows readers to read freely and make their own decisions. Book banning would create a narrow minded population, who don’t know how to reason for themselves. Thinking again of the argument of preserving family values, it must be taken into consideration the kind of television that is currently airing. In many ways TV is more graphic, and explicit.
Yet it is tolerated, whereas even just crude language is apparently cause enough to ban a book. Parents are also worried about when their children who are reading above grade level are assigned books intended for students three to four grades above them. This can expose younger readers to seemingly inappropriate material. However there are other options, parents can talk to teachers and ask for more age appropriate books for their younger readers. Banning books violates the rites that our founding fathers fought so hard for in the Revolutionary War.
Works Cited Beatserfield, Suzanne M. “Parental Concerns About Book Content Should Not Be Dismissed. ” English Journal 97. 3 (2008). Opposing Viewpoints. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. Connelly, Deborah S. “To Read Or Not To Read: Understanding Book Censorship. ” Community & Junior College Libraries 15. 2 (2009): 83-90. ERIC. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. Gallo, Don. “Teens Need Bold Books. ” English Journal 97. 3 (2008). Opposing Viewpoints. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. Manning, Erin. “Parents Must Protect Children from Offensive Material in Books. ” MercatorNet. (2009). Opposing Viewpoints. Web. 10 Nov. 2011.