Thursday, March 11, 2021

Book Attacks

In Will you be remembered for what you did right or what you did wrong? from Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares,

“The depictions of Native Americans, Blacks, and Asians by beloved authors Laura Ingalls Wilder and Dr. Seuss are being criticized, and by implication, the characters of Wilder and Seuss as well.”

I have heard that some libraries are removing books by some of these authors and it pains me. By taking these books out of circulation, we are doing a major disservice to future generations. We are trying to change history by saying these books don’t exist anymore.

Instead, we need to be teaching our students values and acceptance. We need to teach them what happened in the past. If we think something isn’t acceptable, we need to teach them and explain. I remember when I was growing up, my parents didn’t want me to drink alcohol but they didn’t hide it and ban it from our lives. Instead, they explained the dangers of alcohol abuse and the consequences. By sharing their feelings and explaining things to me, I didn’t feel the need to rebel and sneak a drink.

I read many books where I don’t agree with some of the ideas or don’t like the characters in it. I have read murder mysteries that involve violence such as murder, kidnapping, and rape. Do we take all of those things off the shelves because someone is offended by violence? We need to stop having this knee-jerk reaction that someone might be offended by what the author is writing. What happened to free speech? If you find it offensive, stop reading it!

One of my favorite books is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It has some offensive words in it but it was realistic for the time the story was set in. It shows the racism of the times but they weren’t the major themes of the story. I’m waiting for someone to say they will take it off the shelves because of this. This story helped influence where I wanted to go to college, move to after college, marry and raise my children. I wanted to move to a place where people knew each other and the community cared for each other.

When we are teaching students, we need to make sure they take notice of when the book was written. They need to know what society was like at that time. They need to learn how to put things in context at the time it was written. They also need to put in context the time and place of the story. We wouldn’t enjoy a story about the old west and the characters driving a car or using a microwave! Good stories get you immersed in the story and make you feel like you are there at that time and place.

I’m sure that a hundred years from now, society will have changed and many things we find acceptable now won’t be acceptable then. But do we want our time hidden or even ignored? Don’t we think we are doing many good things to make the future better?

What do you think about this new attack on books? Please share.

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

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