Cox Library Participates in National Banned Book Week
by Jack Delea on Friday, October 16th, 2015
Two weeks ago, from September 27 to October 3, Banned Book Week was celebrated throughout the country and in our very own Cox Library, in order to bring awareness to the attempts to ban certain pieces of literature due to their content. Banned Book Week was started in 1982 to counter the rapidly rising amount of challenges against books in that year. According to bannedbooksweek.org, since the organization’s inception, more than 11,300 books have have been challenged or removed from libraries, bookstores, and schools in order to hide the works from audiences they might negatively affect since 1982.
Many works of literature in libraries, schools, and bookstores were challenged because people believed children should not be able to read them due to so called “content issues” such as sexually explicit subject matters, offensive language, and even homosexuality. While this banning may seem acceptable to some, this violates the freedom of the press granted in the first amendment of the United States Constitution. The freedom of the press grants the freedom to publish and distribute any beliefs or information without government censorship. While this week has been celebrated for more than thirty years, hundreds of books are still challenged each year and many become unconstitutionally banned. Banned Book Week not only publicizes these attempts at censorship, but also shines a light on our freedom to read what we choose.
In 2014, more than 310 books were challenged and many went unreported. Some of the most commonly challenged books included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian due to issues like “drugs/alchohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, [and] sexual education,”. Another book challenged is Chbosky’s, The Perks of Being a Wallflower due to “homosexuality…[and] masturbation.” Many other books were challenged because of other reasons like “depictions of bullying,” “political viewpoint,” and “religious viewpoint.”
Chloe Morris (IV) states that “It’s not the bookstore’s decision to censor this content. Kids will eventually be exposed to it, so why not do it through a healthy media like literature?” According to the Parents Television Council, an organization that advocates”responsible entertainment”, in the 2000-2001 TV season, sexual content appeared in 64% of all TV programs. The American Psychiatric Association states that by age 18, a U.S. youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. Jaylen Ortiz (IV) believes “If a book was published, it was published for a reason. If you want the book to be banned because you don’t want to read it, then just don’t read it. I think that celebrating this week is important because it gives challenged books extra light that was taken away from them.”
In my opinion, while the banning of books may seem to have a beneficial impact on children, it does more harm than it does good. Not only is the act unconstitutional, but it derives youth of necessary resources and real life content that they will be exposed to, regardless of the banning.
Banned Book Week is a critical celebration that recognizes not only our right to access the literature that we choose, but also the efforts of those who make sure we have that right. In order to ensure the freedom to read what you want, if you see a book being challenged, report it online with the form provided on the American Library Association’s website.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7328