Posted by: inforodeo | September 23, 2008

Censorship or Citizenship?

While the democrats continue to drag up lies about their opponents, dodge acknowledging the need for emergency resolutions to the economic crisis (they’ll hop in once the republicans have a plan, if only to say it ‘won’t work’ and their [always yet to be unveiled] plan will) …
While Obama continues to make the political race about skin color and his cronies make sure to inject the “McCain is practically on his deathbed” propaganda into the media every few days [side note: i should add ‘age discrimination’ to the list of bigoted offenses Obama and Biden have been committing. It’s probably even better documented than their slams on Indians and Muslims. If you look at it, the Democrat’s tactics are akin to a manager at McDonalds looking over applications for a prospective new employee, while some existing employees who don’t particularly like this person are screaming in the background ‘he’s too old, and might die in front of a customer, and we don’t want that!” or “well, hire HER if you want, but SHE doesn’t have any experience, SHE has only been hired because … not gonna say it but SHE was a BEAUTY QUEEN. lipstickonnapig, lipstickonnapig” — all in hope of swaying the public – er -manager’s opinion based on age or sex!]
Anyway, while the dems continue to ignore the united states citizen (while somehow managing to pretend they care?), the following is a news item i found today that represents a very real problem faced by a very real woman and her son. I KNOW, based on experience, that if this is addressed by a liberal, it can go two ways, both of which completely miss the point, and infringe on the rights of one person or another:

the liberals will either demand that NO book be banned, because it is in violation of free speech
OR
the liberals will demand that all books using the ‘N-word’ be taken from all shelves everywhere, and in “protest” (i.e., taking advantage of the situation to practice arson) will break into the school and burn all the books that may be offensive.

see … the thing is, liberals are generally incapable of acting conservatively, cautiously, carefully, and resort to ill-planned and short-sighted theatrics to accomplish what they like to think is ‘change’, and then they drop it and walk away, rarely seeing the consequence of their bad planning. (Welfare system, HPV vaccinations, Ethanol, Planned Parenthood, the Clintons)

anyway, enough bashing. let’s get on to the issue:

I think my personal response to this story is a sign of a shift in my values:
——
Woman: School Should Drop Steinbeck Book
Washington Wants Book Taken Off Required Reading List

POSTED: 2:39 pm CDT September 22, 2008
UPDATED: 5:47 pm CDT September 22, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A local mother wants Washington High School to remove John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice And Men” from the required reading list.

Dana Washington told KMBC’s Dion Lim that she is upset over the use of the N-word.

“Of Mice And Men” is required reading at the high school.

“The N-word is used more in this paragraph than most rap songs, and I think that’s absolutely ridiculous,” Washington told Lim.

Washington said her 14-year-old son was so uncomfortable with the language, he asked the teacher to omit the word from out-loud readings. But when the teacher allegedly dismissed his concern, that is when Washington said she took things to the next level.

“I’m not asking for the book to be banned, but for it to be removed from the list of required reading in the USD 500 school list,” Washington said.

David Smith, a spokesman for the school district, admitted that the teacher could have handled the situation differently. But he said he believes the book is essential to classroom discussion and learning.

“It’s not a pleasant part of our history. But kids these days need opportunities to learn about it, understand it, not in a sanitized 21st- century way, because that’s how we move forward in society,” Smith said.

Smith added that any student disturbed by the book’s language can read an alternative.

Washington said that’s just not enough.

“I want them to find another book that doesn’t use the word so violently and profusely,” Washington said.

Washington told Lim that she and another angry parent will continue fighting to get the book off the required reading list at the school.

[source: http://www.kmbc.com/education/17530918/detail.html#- ]
——
in the past (we’re talking high school through maybe 2 years ago), i would have been vocally opposed to “banning” books of any kind.  Recently, in a town nearby, a woman sued to have “the joy of gay sex” and another book of similar description banned from a public library in her town. (actually, i think more specifically, she was trying to have it taken off public display, though still available by request).  Having once been to that particular town’s public library as a highschooler with my then-girlfriend, i know the ‘dangers’ she was worrying about (we went there specifically to see the “Illustrated Kama Sutra” they had right there on the shelf, and discovered it and much, much more).

“Of Mice and Men” is different.  While it might be argued that it documents a ‘truth’ (historical treatment of race) or a ‘natural thing’ (not condoning it, but fear and oppression of ‘the different’ has appeared in most cultures), and generally reading it on one’s own wouldn’t be ‘offensive’ (because it portrays the use of the ‘n-word’ as ‘hateful’, and those who use it as ‘bad guys’), i personally agree with the woman that it is not appropriate reading for highschool age children. 

Why might this be? 

As a teenager myself once, long long ago, i remember taking a Seminary class, and one of the years we were studying the Old Testament.  Most kids were mature enough not to be as rowdy, but my friends and i made it a point to emphasize “Ass” everytime the word appeared (meaning the animal, of course) in scripture.  We fought to be the one to read it aloud.  It’s just something boys do.  (Usually much younger boys, i’m afraid). 

I suppose we need to take into consideration two things from the article:
– she says “I’m not asking for the book to be banned, but for it to be removed from the list of required reading in the USD 500 school list”
– she states that her 14 year old son was uncomfortable with the language, and asked that the word be omitted from out-loud readings.

What she is saying, and what i imagine the issue to be, is that the word used in the historical context of the book may be unpleasant, but it’s the kids who are putting un-needed emphasis on the word, or perhaps giggling a little too much over it that is creating a threatening atmosphere for her son. 

I’ve been there … not through a racial word, but through kids saying the nickname of my church threateningly.  (usually with a hollywood ‘southern accent’), and sometimes with “my uncle kills ______”)

Aside from all of this, would a book that uses any other form of vulgar language be permitted, even if such language were to ‘artistically express the character or condition’?  absolutely not.  That’s why ‘Catcher In The Rye’ is banned from high schools. 

Our high school, far out in the nowhere lands of Idaho, a school that was (at the time) about 99% white and 1% hispanic or native american, did not have ‘Of Mice And Men’ as required reading.  Though it was in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, we also did not read “Tom Sawyer” or “Huck Finn” in full – instead, our English textbook contained maybe one or two chapters.  Our required reading was ‘animal farm’, and ‘catch 22’, and a few others that i’ve forgotten. 
One has to wonder why a school with no blacks avoided racially-charged books as required reading, while a school with a much larger population than the national average is enforcing reading of those same books.  I’m not normally one to scream ‘racism!’, but this particular instance seems to be a little more clean-cut than most.  I hope she is successful.

  

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