Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Parents Against Bad Books In Schools" Group as Scary as They Sound

Reblogged from Jezebel Feb 10/11

"Parents Against Bad Books In Schools" are among a recent surge in groups looking to remove "bad" books from libraries in North America. The definition of what makes a book "bad" in the eyes of these groups can range widely but often focus on homosexual characters, themes, and sex. 
(Challenged books have included Running with Scissors; The Things They Carried; One Hundred Years of Solitude.) Groups like PABBIS are becoming more numerous and better organized. Says Joan Bertin of the National Coalition Against Censorship,
Groups of parents are getting together and organizing in their communities to ban books...I think what's happening is once a book is challenged in one town, people on the same wavelength, it will flag that book for them. For example, we've seen three challenges to Sherman Alexie's teen novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, all within the past three months, two in Missouri, one in Montana.
While not all challenges are successful at getting books removed from curriculum or libraries, 25% (the estimated success rate) is a lot of books. And the problem, in some sense, is the larger issue: this isn't about individual parents throwing out books, although that's sad enough. Rather, as Bertin says, it's not in a vacuum.
We never have a problem with people who don't want their own kid to read a book...We have a problem with people who feel these books are corrosive to the culture, and they don't want them taught in schools. They think it's immoral and offends their religious values, whether they're Jewish, Christian or Muslim. (emphasis mine)
 This kind of moralizing and presuming that one's values should be extended to everyone in society is disturbing but can be difficult for elementary school educators to oppose. It is much harder to make an argument for trusting young readers, having nuanced discussions about real world issues and a diversity of opinions voiced in schools but I think it is a critical issue that librarians have to face.
Kudos to the librarians who have to deal with these social pressures and make intelligent, sane, eloquent arguments for freedom of speech (and reading).


Anonymous said...

yeah, thats right, lets have more anarchy, more rioting, arson, violence, all of the things you love

Anonymous said...

the thing is that if we shelter children from things like homosexuality, sex, and things that parents find offensive, how will the children react to things like that when the parents arent around? if we shelter the children too much for the generations to come, we are just preparing for the collapse of logical society.

melody at said...

Maybe I want to be the one to introduce my child to the open discussion of homosexuality, sex, lady gaga, violence, abuse etc. What if my child is introduced to it in school in a view that I dont favor before I get to leave my mark. I would like to to speak to my daughter about these things before she's exposed. And these days media books etc try to expose these things way too early. So is it wrong for a me to want to show my daughter the right path first to prepare her for the forks in the roads ahead of her or should I just leave it up to the schools and not even ask how her day was? i think not

Awesome lady123 said...

I think that no books should be banned. The first ammendment is what allows us to read and write whatever we want. We live in America. Doesn't that make us able to be free with what we say?

Anonymous said...