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December 16: Banning Books (Jillian @ Jillian the Bookish Butterfly)
Prompts: Do you think banning books is fair? Should students be allowed to read what they want and be able to get it from their school library? In a more broad sense, how do you feel about books that have been “banned?” Do you think that it’s a crime to ban a book, no matter what it contains, or are there cases where it’s alright?
Welcome to another week of LTB here at DTRH! Today’s topic is about banning books, suggested by Jillian. I assume this is about banning books from the school library, so I’ll talk about it as such. It’s definitely an interesting topic, I wonder what other people have to say on this!
Banning books is an interesting concept. I personally am just fundamentally against the idea of banning books. Though that being said, I can understand why it is done sometimes, even if I don’t agree with it. Banning books as a concept is just strange to me, because it presupposes that books are bad or restricted for some reason. I think that readers should be the one to make the decision…after reading it. Just labeling a book as banned automatically makes it seem like someone else’s judgment is being substituted for your own, which is just a bit strange for me. I think age limits can sometimes be appropriate, but I can’t really think of a reason for a straight ban on something just permanently.
I feel like in general students should be able to read what they want and get it from the school library, though I am not too familiar with what’s been banned at schools nowadays. I assume graphic explicit content might be selectively removed, but other than that, I don’t see why books wouldn’t be available for a reader. It is only by reading does a reader gain a perspective, and through that make a judgment on whether a book is worthy or not. I would never expect someone to like a book purely because I liked it, nor expect someone to not like a book because I didn’t like it. In the same vein, it seems a bit at odds with the concept of a book to be able to judge it and just deem it inappropriate for others.
Understandably, we as a society do have some discretion on controlling what requires parental supervision/consent, or is just purely 18+. The main problem I think is when bans are booked for their views on something. I think most content has its merit, and even if it doesn’t and is fundamentally flawed for some reason (e.g., advocates for world war), I still think there is likely a reason why it was published, like an interesting perspective, or a moral behind the story. It doesn’t seem right to just pass judgment and have it banned when others have not had the chance to read it.
I’m not going to call it a crime because that seems a little bit strong, but I do believe most books have their merit, and after all, they were published by somebody. At worst, it’s the change to learn about some minority views, or maybe how an institution has failed us. I think sometimes books are banned for stirring up voices and “disturbing the peace” (particularly in some countries). Again, while I understand the general notion of wanting peace, it shouldn’t necessarily be at the expense of knowledge and stifling knowledge. Sometimes banning something can make it more tantalizing too, or drive its knowledge underground; I don’t think this necessarily helps the situation either. The problem is likely much more complicated than banning or not banning a book. I feel like banning a book is likely a bandaid solution to something bigger.
What do you all think about banning books? Let me know in the comments below!