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Missing the point

By Elizabeth Held
Monday, April 19, 2010
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"To Kill A Mockingbird" is my favorite book. "The Twilight Series" ranks among the bottom of the list.

So I was shocked to see them on the same list. Both books are on the list of the most frequently “challenged” books 0f 2009, compiled each year by the American Library Association.

I find a certain irony that "Twilight" was challenged for being sexually explicit and having a religious viewpoint. The books make a strong argument for abstinence.

There’s a bigger irony to the complaints made about "To Kill a Mockingbird," though. The novel is challenged for “racism” and use of “offensive language.”

I’ve read that book at least 12 times. The only instance of “offensive language” I can come up with is a discussion of why the “N word” is offensive. And it deals with the topic of racism, but Harper Lee wrote it to combat institutional racism. That was her goal in writing the book.

To ban it for racism is to allow racists to win.

As you all know, censorship scares me. But this type of censorship in particular scares me.

If we, as a society, decide to censor everything that upsets us, we’re doomed for the future. We can learn from our mistakes, but only if we discuss them. When we censor things like "To Kill a Mockingbird," we cut out all chance for discussion.

Also on the list are "Catcher in the Rye" and "My Sister’s Keeper," both wonderful and important books. Neither are appropriate for younger readers, but that doesn’t mean teens or adults shouldn’t read them.

I guess this is my biggest issue with censoring or challenging books. It forces the opinion of a minority on the majority.

People have the right to read what they want to read. Parents can choose what’s right for their kids.

In other news, go Yanks! I know The Gazette is a haven for Red Sox fans, so I’ll re-claim my love for the home team. They're off to a solid start and I think we’re in for another great season.

 
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