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Banned Books Week: Should Books Ever Be Banned?

Should Books Ever Be Banned?

It takes a lot for a book to be banned, but only a few complaints to get a bad rap. Sexual content, racism, homosexuality, profanity, sexism, and religious viewpoints are all reasons books find their way onto the most-complained-about list.

Novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, which have sexist and racist themes, can convincingly plead historical significance, but sexual content, homosexuality, and profanity have a harder time. It can quickly become a political debate, usually with conservative parents fighting for library-shelf editing.

But liberal parents, accustomed to arguing to endless freedom of the press, have found themselves on another page the last few years. Twilight became the fifth most complained about book of 2009 because of its religious, abstinence-until-marriage message. The series got such a bad reputation that Cambridge University studied its effects on teens and found it discourages independent thinking and personal development, and the passive heroine Bella is a bad role model for teen girls.

Is there ever a good reason to ban a book, like its negative effects have been scientifically proven, or is the slope way too slippery for you?

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Join The Conversation
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
"To reject the word is to reject the human search."
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 6 years
I don't think books should ever been banned. Parents should decided if their children are mature enough to handle certain topics, not the schools or libraries or governments. There was a book fair when I was in middle school and a few parents complained about a book, my mom (who was working there) bought the book because other parents were complaining. It was about teen-age pregnancy, not a very well written book but sales went up at our school.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Maybe in extreme cases (like books on how to murder someone and get away with it), but in almost all cases, no. I didn't vote because I don't think "Yes" really works for me.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
I clicked never, even though I can only support things like the fact that Mein Kampf is banned in Germany (as in it's not allowed to print or publish it. As far as I know, it's not illegal to own a copy if it wasn't acquired after the ban was put into effect). I do think that with the most extreme cases of nazi ideology or similar things that ought to be banned, people will have heard about the contents of the book anyway before they read it, and will know to question it. Maybe another idea would be to print questionable books with annotations.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
As much as I dislike certain books or the ideas that they promote, I don't think that we should start banning them. The slope is WAY too slippery and I just can't believe that censorship is ever really a good thing.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I think it depends on the school. Should certain books with more mature themes be banned from elementary or middle schools? Yes, I do think so. They can read them when they are old enough to unerstand the historical context.
French-Kiss French-Kiss 6 years
I agree that some books have strong message, tend to spread racisme or what, however, still it can be a good thing to think about it while reading. I think books should just have a big warning.
MissSushi MissSushi 6 years
I find it incredibly laughable that they are still making such a huge deal about Twilight.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 6 years
books are art
stephley stephley 6 years
I can think of books that I think are unhealthy, or hate filled screeds, that I wish had never seen the light of day, but I don’t see any point in banning them – it doesn’t kill the ideas.
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