Opinion: Book Banning is Back

Opinion: Book Banning is Back

Meghan Merlino, Online Editor

Two weeks before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Art Spiegelman’s Holocaust graphic novel, “Maus,” was banned from Tennesse schools due to “nudity and curse words.” But many say this was not the real reason.

“Maus” tells the story of Spiegelman’s father and his experiences as a Polish Holocaust survivor. The comic shows the truth; it does not hide the gore and horror of what really happened during this time. Ever since the Holocaust, people have been trying to make it seem not as bloody as it actually was. Because of this, not many people know the full scale of the violence directed at innocent people. Tennessee schools are now doing the same thing: they do not want their students to learn the truth. And for this reason, and this reason only, “Maus” was banned.

Throughout the past decade, book banning has become more and more of a trend. Schools and libraries are faced with pressure to regulate and alter the materials that children have access to. While these bans may be seemingly innocent and harmless, there is a darker side to them. This growing movement seeks to control teachers and push an altered reality of American society and history.

The censorship does not stop there. In some parts of the country, communities are pushing for larger content and theories to be removed from curricula. But the dangers of censorship in schools can be catastrophic. Children may never learn the truth. Their knowledge will become filled with spun, idealistic falsities created for them for “protection” from the harsh truth of our world. When they grow up they will still know these falsities, and spread them to their children, who will then do the same. The cycle will become never-ending.

At Middletown High School South, we take a smarter approach: Books that may have historically been banned are allowed in our curriculum. Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald have all been banned in other times and places; here in Middletown, they have been approved by our Board of Education and appear in our curriculum.

In simple words, book banning is idiotic. Nowadays, it seems that every book published is banned for some obscure reason. The classic children’s novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was banned due to “witchcraft, the occult, and anti-family themes.” The whole point of this fantasy series is that it is fantasy. Nothing happens in it is real, so why is it banned? Oh no! The students keep owls as pets; how dangerous! Our children can’t learn about this! Seriously, book banning happens because of the curmudgeons who sit on Facebook all day, waiting to yell at people.

When does it stop? Not only does this violate both a person’s natural rights and the First Amendment, but it sets this country up for an even worse future. Children need to learn the truth about all sides of American society. If they do not, they will become ignorant adults who will continue to push this censorship agenda against their own children.