Taking a Stand Against Book Banning

On January 1, 2012, while everyone else in the world was celebrating the new year with toasts and food and friends and family, the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona was ringing it in by banning a bunch of books.

Happy New Year.

But this was beyond what book banning and censorship usually involves.  This wasn’t just saying that a book or books had too much sex in them or too much violence or foul language or witchcraft or any of the other reasons that books usually get challenged and banned.  The books banned by the Tucson Unified School District were “works ranging from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.”  And along with that, the schools involved were forced to cut their ethnic studies programs.

In other words…the book censorship was focused on ethnicity.

This week, though, at the University of Oregon, a number of students and professors came together to host a public reading of the works banned by the Arizona law in January and to stand in solidarity with the students in Arizona affected by the censorship.

We’re all part of a shared community that needs to listen to these different voices. These are good stories; we just need to hear them.
–Amalia Gladhart, Spanish associate professor

The participants of the public reading each chose a book the list of books banned by the Arizona school district, and then read an excerpt from their chosen book.  An independent book store was also on hand with copies of some of the books from the list.

Standing up for books, and the people whose stories they tell, is something that more people should do.  If no one speaks out against censorship, it will only get more out of control.  So follow the University of Oregon’s example and speak your voice against censorship!

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2 Comments

  1. Megan McAmis

    May 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm
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    Reading what we want is one of the freedoms we as Americans get the priveledge of having. Taking that away is almost as bad as telling us we can practice what religion we want then say that we’re wrong in out beliefs. It’s hypocracy. If I was told I couldn’t read a certain book–and I’m not the only person that thinks like this, I’m sure–my first reaction would be to read it, either to see what’s so bad or just to show that I have my own opinion and you can’t take that away from me. Some people may see a book as harmless–which anything Shakespearean is as a general rule–and it’s up to the reader’s discretion.

  2. May 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm
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    These book bans are just becoming more and more ridiculous.

    Kids need to learn about what is in these books, they need to be allowed to use their own imaginations, and people need to stop worrying about whether or not someone is going to be offended by these books and stories.

    Keep on banning books, and more and more kids are going to lose interest in reading.

    I read the saddest line I’ve ever come across the other day after reading a very well written fanfic. One of the responses to the story was this: ” I don’t read books, I think it’s a waste of my time.”.

    I’m grateful for all of the books I read growing up! I was introduceds to so many FANTASTIC stories, so many classics, and sadly, so many of them are now on banned books lists. I learned so many things about history even through fiction ( because many pieces of fiction are based in parts of history that DID happen ).

    Truthfully, though, if I ever had children of mine, and found out they weren’t allowed to read certain books in school because of what someone else whined about, then I’d find ways to encourage them to read said books at home and on whatever free time they had. That’s one thing both my brother and I have sworn since we were both little kids reading under the sheets with flashlights until 2 or 3 in the morning… îf we ever had kids of our own, reading would be highly encouraged with them.

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