Friday, October 08, 2010

On Banned Books and Basic Rights

If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon. ~George Aiken

DD and I went to our local library yesterday and noticed they were celebrating (if that's the right word!) Banned Books Month (though I've discovered conflicting information on whether it's September or October ... oh well). One of the things they did was have the librarians wearing "necklaces" of a banned book cover. The woman who helped us had "Gossip Girl".

She and I discussed the book (It started when I asked how she got so lucky to have to wear "Gossip Girl" ... and she said she wanted "To Kill a Mockingbird" but got told no). My DD really hadn't been aware of banned books until then. She'd seen the displays and stuff before, but I guess it hadn't really blipped on her radar. Until yesterday.

On the way out, she asked why "Gossip Girl" was banned. I told her why. Then we talked about other books that have been banned and why -- in particular, "Huckleberry Finn" (when I mentioned why, she said, "But that's how they talked back then. It's not the same as if it was in a book written now." -- which is absolutely true. I also think it's a fabulous illustration of the time and ... well, I could go on and on).

I asked her what she thought about banning books. She started, at first, by saying she could see why it might be okay sometime.

We have some extended family members who have an issue with the Warriors series by Erin Hunter, so I asked her: "What if it was decided that the Warriors should be banned, and you weren't allowed to read it?"

"Well, that's stupid. They aren't bad books."

"According to you. But that doesn't mean someone else doesn't find them immoral or objectionable."

I nearly saw smoke come out of her ears as she stopped to think. Then I said, "Remember how I've said that I support a person's right to smoke outside a building, even though I HATE walking through it on the way in somewhere?"


"Why did I say that?"

"Because you said if they take that right away, maybe they'll take away something we like to do someday."

"Now apply that to book banning."

Smoke again. "OH!"

At this time in her life, I do decide what my daughter reads and what she doesn't. I'm pretty open to most things, and base it on her age and maturity level (and what things bother her and what don't). But as she gets older, I'm sure that will lessen or stop altogether. She lives in this world and she needs to make her own decisions as she becomes mature enough to do so.

I'm reminded of the quote from Martin Niemoeller:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

When rights start getting taken away or others' beliefs begin to be forced upon us, eventually we all lose.


You Are Ringo Starr

You are fun loving and carefree. No matter how much success you've had, you never take yourself too seriously.

You have a good sense of humor, and you like to goof around. You're more than willing to make fun of yourself.

You are generous and caring. You feel like you've been given a lot in your life, and you're willing to give back.

You do the right thing because it feels good. You don't need your flattery or your ego nurtured.

Hmmm ... maybe 50/50...



Dru said...

I love that says it all. Thanks for sharing it again.

You Are Paul McCartney

You are down to earth, relatable, and extremely popular. People find you easy to love.

You have a generally sunny outlook but you also know how to delve into the sadder side of life. You move people.

You bring beauty to the world. You love to perform, and you are very expressive.

You are very gifted and talented, but you're also a hard worker. You understand that success doesn't come easily.

About 60% accurate.

Have a great Friday.

Ceri Hebert said...

I'm Ringo too. And that picture looks just like him. :)

I read Huck Finn in school. I never thought twice about the language back then. In my DS's school they have an accelerated reading program and there's a long list of books they can read for it (each book has a small test with it). Huck Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird and even books like King's The Stand are on the list. I'm sure it would make some people toes curl to see that!

Judy said...

Banned Book Week is always the last week in September :-)

That's one of my favorite quotes as well :-)

Brandy said...

I've explained banned books to my kids as well. And like you, I monitor what they read, especially with Daughter as most YA books these days have issues in them I'm not ready for her to read but that we talk about. The poem you've included-is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

My quiz results were the same as yours and again, 50/50.

I hope you're having a good day!