Growing up in a place where free speech is strongly pressed, why is censorship no stranger? We live in a world where television, video games, music and even literary documents have all been censored. Literature can be defined as the body of written works of a language, period, or culture. This is everything from newspapers and magazines to textbooks and novels. Literary censorship has been around for a long time. These books are challenged and banned.
When a book is challenged there has been an attempt to remove the book or document based on the opinions of a group of people. If that is successful then the book or document is banned. A challenge is not only made based on a point of view from a person, or a group of people, but it is made to remove the material from classrooms curriculums and libraries. Thankfully most challenges are unsuccessful.
So why are books challenged? Usually they are challenged to protect children from difficult ideas. According to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom the top three reasons for challenging are; the content is sexually explicit, contains offensive language, and not appropriate for certain age groups.
But this isn’t something that’s new. This has been going on for a long time, and classical books have been banned. Book like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was banned because it had violent, racial and strong adult language. In 1949 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare were also targeted because “they tend to engender hatred of the Jew as a person and as a race.” (Rosenberg v. Board of Education of City of New York.) The court ruled against the ban.
Parents may agree with some of the bans, not wanting to hurt their children with painful truths. But the truth has to be heard, and what if it cannot because textbooks are censored? Yes there have been textbooks that have been challenged, banned and revised. A publishers’ goal is to sell, and if that means cutting out material so that a particular group does not object it, then so be it? Textbooks depicting female and male genitalia and theories of evolution are often the most challenged because parents and religious groups thinks it inappropriate and unethical. Do you see anything wrong with teaching student’s anatomy and the functions of their own body? Or teaching a supposed theory of how humans came to be? After all aren’t they all theories, because not one can be proven to the full extent? That’s why it is called a theory and a law.
History textbooks are also on the top of the list. In 1983, any mention of President Roosevelt’s New Deal was deleted from textbooks in Texas because it was deemed socialist and the board disagreed with his economic decisions. One time over three hundred lines of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet were removed from the text. Any words like “bosom” or “maidenhood” were deleted. (DelFattore) Now what does that leave? This isn’t the love...