“Fear and control” these are two of the main reasons for censorship according to the article “Facing the Issues: Challenges, Censorship, and Reflection through Dialogue” (Lent 62).
I think that fear and control perfectly describe what happens where censorship occurs. Because we read something that makes us uncomfortable (fear) we try to then ‘control’ the situation. This is especially true when it comes to our teens. A lot of times we try to shelter our teens from things that are out there in the world. But I think that this can have a negative effect. A lot of the books that are “censored” are books that maybe a teen would be able to safely navigate through to help find answers to questions they otherwise couldn’t.
I found it interesting in “A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship” when they talked about how easy it is for people to censor books for anything. Any little thing nowadays, can be used as a catalyst for censorship. I can’t imagine how hard it is for authors and publishers. I especially found it interesting when the publisher for Carolyn Mackler asked her to change the title of her book The Bitches to Rhymes with Witches (qtd. in Whelan) and it still received opposition because now it might be about witchcraft! That’s crazy!
The article though, did get me thinking about myself, and that yes, I am also guilty of self-censorship. As I’ve Tweeted, I am pretty comfortable reading mostly anything, but am I comfortable enough to put any YA literature on my class bookshelf? The truthful answer to that unfortunately is no. There are very few titles that I can think of that I, myself, would object to having on my shelf; but there are titles that I would be worried would be called into question by parents and administration alike. Therefore, I am guilty of the “fear” part of censorship; fear of backlash.
I think there are many types of books that not only my students, but other students would benefit from reading. Many of these books could give them insights into what others are going through, and maybe at the same time, create more empathy in the world. I would like to think that if a student read Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl for instance, they would be less biased against people with HIV and much less likely to bully.
It would be great if you could have all types of books for students to choose from on your shelves. You could give each student their own choice as to what they wish to read and what avenues they wish to travel. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case.