Opinion

Beamish: Recent Book Bans Shrouds Necessary Harsh Truths

By Bridie Beamish

Media Production Editor

When people restrict literature, society regresses into a censored and controlled environment with restricted liberty. By denying the harrowing experiences of the oppressed to portray a false idyllic truth where the privileged remain in power, banning books ensures that a facade masks over American history and culture, which in turn creates a glorified narrative for children. 

As recently seen with “Maus,” a graphic novel detailing the life of a Holocaust survivor, “The Bluest Eye,” a story about a Black woman’s experience with racism and oppression, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a memoir on growing up Black and queer, school boards choose to silence victims as a way of suppressing minority stories and protecting White, privileged students from being exposed to novels that other privileged individuals deem too inappropriate and graphic. 

Matt Krause, a member of the House of Representatives of Texas, sent a list of 850 books to a school district that he believed could make students feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.” Eight hundred and fifty. That is 850 stories exposing the deleterious realities of society, the emotional and riveting stories of individuals, and the facade created by those who choose to ignore peoples’ suffering. Eight hundred and fifty stories that a student could potentially never hear because one person in a position of power decided that education should not expose students to the imperfect aspects of life. 

However, these banned stories aren’t just fictional novels. They are genuine experiences that depict the truths that we as a society choose to ignore. People should treat it as a privilege to learn from these truths’ tellings rather than experiencing them firsthand. We cannot turn a blind eye when others are undergoing the stories deemed too traumatic to be told, nor can we protect the privileged from distressing details rather than protecting and representing the individuals who live through the distress.

Additionally, banning books attempts to portray an idyllic world by silencing the truth and perpetuates a generation of ignorance, resulting in a backward society. For instance, a cuss word in a novel has no significance to a person who does not already know the word. Additionally, books rely on one’s imagination for portrayal; if one cannot already imagine it, an author cannot tell it. Therefore, books hold no more damage than one’s imagination and experience. Thus, we should not be banning renditions of reality; we should be bettering our contemporary humanity. If a child experiences life without ever being taught the harmful aspects of society, they are free to make the same mistakes which restricted novels would have warned them against. You cannot simply ban a situation that makes you uncomfortable, but that is what book banning teaches children.    

Ultimately, one good thing has come from banning books. People fear truthful novels because they are aware of the power books have and will continue to hold on society. If people in power fear the truth of novels, then there is an awareness that books impact the way individuals choose to think and create progressive change and education. Books still promote communication and share other points of view, and individuals continuously supply novels on heavy topics. Thus society still demands “uncomfortable” books, and people continue to educate and enlighten themselves while spreading awareness. 

(Source: The Washington Post)

Categories: Opinion

1 reply »

  1. Exactly what is meant by “source”? this appears to be an original piece; I couldn’t find it on the website of the Washington Post…

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