The issue of censorship has been debated many times in the past on federal, state, and local levels. There has also been the celebration of “banned books” at schools every year without students really understanding the reasons behind the bans.
Classic literature such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee faced accusations such as promoting institutionalized racism in 1981 by Warren, Indiana Township schools. According to the ALA website, Warren claimed that the book caused, “psychological damage to the positive integration process,” while representing, “institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature.”
There are many racial issues that are brought up in the book that reflect the time period. The book is a great example of the harsh reality that African Americans had to face in the criminal justice system.
Banning an iconic book like this would take away a part of history that students need to understand because they don’t touch on the justice system and its mistreatment of people of color in history classes.
Many of us that have read the book have enjoyed it and see no reason for it to be banned other than the use of racial slurs. I believe that even though they are offensive to many, it is an accurate depiction of the mindset of those living during that time.
Racism was rampant and Lee does a great job of illustrating that throughout the book so to take that away from the school curriculum would leave out part of history that we need to continue teaching.
Books that depict LGBTQ+ characters, relationships, and issues have also been at the forefront of bans because parents feel that it promotes an unideal idea of what a relationship should be.
Middle and high school is when youth are trying to find themselves and understand the world. Therefore, sheltering them from a broader view of it is only going to make them more confused in the future.
Yes, there is a time and a place for everything, especially the knowledge of certain things, but forcing certain ideas on a child and making sure they follow a specific curriculum allows for a narrow-minded view of the changing world around them.
Even things like sexual imagery have a place in specific books because they are tied into the plot.
In 1933, James Joyce’s book titled “Ulysses” was taken to court and tried because of its sexual content. Judge John M. Woosley ruled that it was not pornographic because of the, “stream of consciousness.” The sexual content was needed in order to show the characters thought process and was very necessary to the structure of the book.
There is a lot of content that can be argued by parents but if taken out of these books, the stories would be dumbed down and not as intriguing as they are already.
These complex themes that are shown inside each book allow for students to learn about the world in the past, present, and future. It allows them to grow their depth and be more understanding of differences as well as understanding their own feelings.
Censorship is just a way of dictating what a student should and should not learn. It is an issue that is damaging to curriculums around the country because it imposes on the development of the student and forces them to hold a specific view of their environment.
Topics of race, sexuality, religion, etc. are all necessary to the nurturing of student minds and allows for important aspects of history to be emphasized in schools.