Banning appropriate books is a backwards move (Opinion)

Controversy has spread over attempts to ban books in public schools across several states in the nation


DJ Gallegos

“There are always going to be struggles over the proper limits to free speech.” — Chris Finan

For a long time, some have been pushing to ban books that include mentions of race, sexuality, gender, and other “sensitive” topics. They say it’s to shield children from pornography and obscene content in public schools, but let’s be real, it’s because said books include themes and subjects that make some people uncomfortable.

And it does, because Texas lawmaker Matt Krause confirmed it back in October when he compiled a list of 850 books he believes should be challenged. He said that students reading those particular books might feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other physiological distress because of their race or sex”.

If reading about oppressed groups makes kids feel uncomfortable, then good. They have empathy. They understand that whatever happened (and is still happening in many cases) is wrong.

History isn’t supposed to be a fairy tale that kids read with their peers — it’s supposed to be a lesson about past mistakes that should never be repeated. It’s supposed to make people feel uncomfortable and reflect about the history of their people and the history of their country.

Book bans, at least in the past, only applied to books that held content too mature for younger audiences or blatant hate speech. None of the books listed on the spreadsheet drafted by Krause hold any of that. Banning books that teach children how to examine the world around them, acknowledge problems in society, and to accept those different from them only sparks more curiosity and acceptance in both kids and their parents.

The skepticism is because there are plenty who feel uncomfortable with content that is at all “negative”, “taboo”, or different from what they experience on a daily basis.

Banning isn’t advancing the education of kids, it’s stifling it. It’s a backwards and embarrassing move for America. For a country that praises free speech so much, it’s ironic to see how quick some citizens turn to suppress the voices of others who speak of something that they disagree with or makes them uncomfortable.

Taking away the opportunity for kids to explore different topics and educate themselves is what makes this situation morally wrong. Just because a book goes against the beliefs of a politician doesn’t mean that book should be banned from school libraries and out of reach for kids interested in it. If someone isn’t interested in the topics discussed in the book, they have no obligation to read it.  Even that opportunity shouldn’t grant politicians permission to ban books they haven’t read or thought about much outside of what’s deemed “inappropriate.”

What makes one person uncomfortable will make another feel heard.