Home Editorials Banning books has consequences

Banning books has consequences

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

There seems to be a spiraling movement to ban books that some Americans are not comfortable with. This should be a violation of the rights of others to read and form their own opinions. No individual or group of people should have the right to negate the rights of others concerning what to read based on their own subjective views. Reading and writing is a constitutional right that should be open to all citizens, regardless of attempts from those who seek to impede that right.

It should not be mandatory for anyone to be forced to read something they may find upsetting. You should have the right to refuse or be excused, especially a school child, with parental consent. But no one should have the right to decide for others what not to read based on their biases or subjective views. By banning books, we are depriving the public, especially our young children, from being highly knowledgeable, conscientious thinkers.

Some reading material (because of graphic substance matter) may not be age appropriate for some young children in elementary school. But overall, our educational system should be educating older children to be able to think and make decisions or form opinions based on their ability to discern what is right. Keeping readers from tarnished history or uncomfortable topics may hinder their ability to live in the real world—or from realizing the need to make amends for past wrong doings.

The reasoning for banning books may vary, but one of the most prevalent reasons is to avoid exposing young people from the truth of unsavory behaviors or from exposing a past horrific history that could raise embarrassing questions or make descendants of those who committed heinous crimes against others feel uncomfortable. But in all honestly, no tool is more prevalent in introducing children and adults to uncomfortable subjects than TV, cell phones, or movies. Banning uncomfortable or contentious subjects from TV and movies doesn’t seem to be an option. But viewers have the option to refuse to watch, and parents the option to monitor what their children watch. Such should be the same with books.

Some in today’s society are so eager to ban books they find insulting or derogatory; however, they quietly accept vile, immoral, racist and blatant lies from politicians and high profile people in the national spotlight. No one is fighting to ban these unscrupulous villains from public view. The truth is that many people find their actions entertaining and are willing to fight to have them continue to express their feelings under the right of freedom of speech. You cannot make everyone happy, so let’s not make the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It can’t always be about you when you must consider the feelings and rights of others.

Banning books is akin to being politically correct wherein you mustn’t say or write anything that could be identified with making anyone feel targeted, uncomfortable, or upset. Thus the  message to those who may need to be targeted and made to feel uncomfortable is diluted or lost altogether. Banning books as well as being  politically correct are tools used by unscrupulous individuals or groups to hide or continue their deplorable practices. Some would liken this practice to a form of subjugating the public, preserving the status quo, and continuing questionable practices.

There should be a nationwide outcry against the escalating practice of banning books, because it is subtly opening up the door to when freedom of speech or writing will no longer exist. The government will then control every aspect of what we read and write. Some may equate the practice of banning books to helping ingratiate propaganda, which is gaining momentum in this country.

Fictional books and movies have been made concerning a future when books will be banned that are not sanctioned by the government. Unless we take to the streets advocating for freedom of speech and writing, we are setting up the government to have absolute control of our lives. Some call it life imitating art. Like it or not, banning books is only setting us up for a total domination of our minds in the future, where we will have no say so on things affecting our lives.

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