[ARTS OPINION] A book is banned? All the more reason to read it.


Education Isn’t Dangerous

It is a good thing to attend a school where students have the privilege of access to uncensored knowledge. But over the years, many books have been banned in American schools and libraries across the nation. Some examples of this are And Tango Makes Three and To Kill a Mockingbird. Both of these books address topics that have been historically avoided or banned in schools: queer relationships/parents, racism/racial slurs, and sexual assault.

That may be all the more reason to read them.

And Tango Makes Three celebrates family diversity

And Tango Makes Three is a picture book for elementary-age readers about two gay penguins who hatch an extra egg given to them by their zookeeper. They raise the chick to be a part of their family. This book was banned in the Florida school district because it didn’t comply with the Parental Rights in Education Act — also known as the “don’t say gay” law.

Homophobia is also not a foreign concept to Florida, their current “don’t say gay” law bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida schools from preschool through third grade. Before this bill was passed, people were complaining that teachers that spoke openly about the LGBTQ community were grooming children and enabling pedophilia.

To Kill a Mockingbird captures a story of historic racism

To Kill a Mockingbird tells the stories of the residents of a small town during the great depression, focusing specifically on the trial of a black man who was accused of raping a white woman. The book is definitely meant for high school or adult readers and it’s one of the most frequently challenged books in the country due to its themes of rape, and the use of profanity and racial slurs.

In a survey from NBC News, more than 96% of the teachers they surveyed said that their schools did not require them to teach critical race theory. Even though teachers may be skimming over the history of race and prejudice in their classrooms, they’re not going in-depth about the experiences of POC, or teaching about their perspectives, and are censoring the realities of the prejudice they face.

When censoring books like this, schools are erasing the stories of people beyond white, straight, middle-class America.

When censoring books like this, schools are erasing the stories of characters beyond white, straight, middle-class America. Banning books is a form of censorship and can be incredibly harmful, especially in schools, and should no longer be used.

To ban books is to take away one of the primary functions of education: to teach children how to think for themselves. Education does not take away a child’s innocence, experiences do.