And I think this is true during Banned Books Week as well. Plenty of numbers are being bandied about. There are claims that challenges are decreasing over time. That may or may not be true (see post about GATEKEEPING). The bottom line isthat fundamental philosophy that book banners bring to the situation: they know better than teachers, librarians, and even students about what is appropriate for reading. And is that not the same bottom line in all the teacher bashing? We are seeing more and more folks who never spent one day in the classroom leading the education reform movement. How about I hire on as a coach for the NFL and give them advice about how to improve the sport? After all, I watch football.
But let me not digress too far, here. Back to Banned Books Week. Censors begin their barrage on books and leave us to scramble and try to catch the fog they are creating that casts a pall over the right to read. The latest objection in my home state was about books that talk to young kids about bodies and health and such. Parents want the books removed from the open shelves and place i a restricted environment. Why? Well, here is where the fog comes into play and spreads its dark tentacles. They are, of course, looking out for the best interests of kids by asking that those same kids not be able to access information (or heaven forbid, ask THEM questions about body parts and sex and stuff). As we defend the right to access information, there are other issues that are cast out there. Before long, the fog has covered everything in darkness. In darkness, it is possible to cover up these acts of censorship.
Censors obscure the debate. Bottom line: is the book (or other material) appropriate for the "audience"? Who decides? How about letting the professionals do it?