Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books: My Thoughts

For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit the official website. They are inviting everyone to make a video of themselves reading aloud from their favorite banned book and uploading it to a special Banned Book Weeks channel. Vloggers: do it! This is so made for you! Others: Do it! How fun would it be to get a huge group people to compile a bunch of passages from banned books? Let's make this event news-worthy, people!

Growing up, I was the weird person in the family. I read a lot. My parents never read much, and while my sisters read the occasional book, they didn't read nearly as much as I did. So when I went to the library or the bookstore, I didn't have many restrictions.

This freedom greatly influences what I feel about banned books. Even when I was little, I was able to choose for myself what I wanted to read. Nobody forbade me for reading a book because it didn't fall in line with what they thought was appropriate or it went against their beliefs.

That's the whole argument against banned books. Everyone has different opinions. Everyone has different beliefs. Taking a book off of public shelves because one person or a group of people don't agree with it is ridiculous. More than that, it should be illegal. We live in a free country that enjoys freedom of expression. This includes choosing which books we want to read.

Maybe people feel like it's too mature for their kids. Fine. They should let the supervisors know that their kids shouldn't be reading that book. They shouldn't however, remove that book from the shelves because some other kid might be ready to read that book. They might enjoy it and they might learn something from it.

The main problem I have against book banners is the arguments they use. Unless it's about religious issues, more often than not, their problems with the book are exactly the problems that the book is trying to counter. The Hunger Games has violence, but it promotes anti-violence. To Kill a Mockingbird has racial slurs, but it's anti-racism.

And if the arguments book banners are using is that it has questionable religious content, I don't think that's a good enough reason at all. One religion should not dictate what should be available to the entire society, which is comprised of multiple religions.

So celebrate Banned Book Week, people! Celebrate the issues they bring up, delve into their "filthiness" and "trashiness." And spread the word. We Read Banned Books!