Banned Books Essay Example: Why Not
Imagine living in a world where ideas are censored. This may seem like a dystopian concept, but it is actually the reality across America. America has been censoring ideas for years through the banning of popular literature. These books are supposed to provide new concepts to the readers, but instead people are being closed off from controversial topics. Banning books is a form of censorship, which limits free speech and free thought. Some may claim that banning books protects the “virtue” of American society, by keeping readers from viewing inappropriate material. They think that by banning books they will keep people from reading about things that could be upsetting, or influence them negatively. However, keeping certain concepts from the public, especially children and teens, won’t protect them, it will only cut them off from other opinions. Personal restrictions can be put in place without enacting community restrictions, if that is really what is needed for a child. Books should not be banned, because book banning creates echo chambers, and censors important ideas.
Some people believe books should be banned because of their content. For one thing, they think that books should be banned for religious reasons such as going against Christian values, promoting unpopular religions, and supporting homosexuality, paganism, atheism etc. 1. This is untrue because banning books for religious reasons often rules in favor of more popular religions, causing discrimination. (ALA) If books are banned that are considered blasphemous by one religion, this banning is ignoring the others. If this is done for all religions, everything will be censored. Either way, religion is kept separate from the public sphere in America, and should not be involved in censorship.
This religious censorship protects popular religions, and 2. "serves to protect the predominant ideology from which those benefit most who have attained power, wealth, status, and control within society."(White) This is not a fair or just reason to ban books, and by favoring one religion, mainly forms of Christianity, it opposes the fact that America does not have a constitutional religion. Next, some claim that books should be banned because certain books are inappropriate for children, and could upset them, or influence them negatively. However, if a parent deems it inappropriate for their child to read certain books, they can make personal family rules, they do not have to impose these rules on an entire community. Also, banning books will only make children want to seek out inappropriate content on their own. As a banned writer once said, 3. “We don’t serve only our children. We serve children in the real world.”(Kate Messner) This quote shows how one family's kids aren’t the only priority, and laws should not revolve around them. All in all, although there are reasons why people may want to ban books, they are reasons that are easily disproved, and not real arguments against the freedom to read.
Why Books Shouldn’t Be Banned
Despite those reasons, books should never be banned because it creates censorship, echo chambers, and contradicts freedom of thought. First of all, books about people in oppressed groups may be censored, but this isn't helping anyone. These groups may already be more at risk, and need characters that resemble them, and situations in books that they can relate to. Banning books will only serve to make people that are gay, of a different race, gender identity etc. feel more alienated. 1. “When we say ‘This book is inappropriate,’ we’re telling those children ‘your situation … your family … your life is inappropriate. (Kate Messner) Next, learning new things and broadening their horizons is important for people, and books help them do that. By banning books we shut people off from new or controversial ideas. They should instead be given all the options so they can choose for themselves. 2. “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” (Article 3, Library Bill of Rights) 3. Also, the history of book banning has been one of oppression, and silencing opposing voices. ( History of Censorship, Volume II) It is often employed by those in power to quiet the voices of those who would challenge them. 4. Many totalitarian regimes, such as Soviet Russia and North Korea, use/used heavy censorship and book banning. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Our constitution is supposed to oppose this kind of media censorship. Book banning goes against the 1st Amendment. 5. As stated, "Censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history." (Mette Newth) Finally, there is no real measure of whether a book should be banned or not. It is really a matter of opinion, and opinions should not be the only thing that we base rules on. 6. Book banning is completely subjective, and whether something is obscene or not is immeasurable. (OK State) This makes book banning inconsistent, and therefore not a good system. 7. "Censorship arises when and precisely because someone cannot convincingly demonstrate to others that the opinions which offend him or her are indeed truly false or dangerous. If they could, there would after all be little or no need for censorship."(White) For these reasons, books should not be censored or banned.
In conclusion, books should not be banned or censored. Banning books does not solve society's problems, it only creates new ones. Moreover, it makes minority members feel misunderstood, favors religious viewpoints, and doesn't let people see new and different views/information. Also, it doesn't allow people to make choices for themselves, and it goes against the First Amendment. It keeps important books out of the hands of people who need to read them. While the other side of the issue is understandable, they are worried about personal issues, not issues that should be decided with public policies. Books are important to society because they give us new ideas, and provide education and entertainment. Book banning is a major form of media censorship today, and censorship has always been an important issue. This is because in our supposedly free nation, something limiting that freedom is decidedly unconstitutional. For these reasons, banning books is never a good idea, and we should work towards a world where book banning is nonexistent.