18 September 2018
Parents and adults have always tried to keep their children safe. All adults want the best for their children, even if that means having to heavily censor what they see and read. Books for adolescents seem to be heavily censored or the ones that are more often challenged and banned. Why is that? Well it could be that adults do not like their children to be exposed to material that challenges the status quo. That being anything that isn’t a straight white culture. Book challenging isn’t something that is new, it has been around for as long as books marketed for young readers have been around.
A popular subject that always seems to be challenged is anything that has to do with race, especially with the African American community. Books that are seen as Un-American are frequently challenged because they teach young readers about a darker side to American history. Books such as “To Kill a Mocking Bird”, “Beloved”, and “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” have all been challenged because they shed a light on racism and the way that the Black community has always been mistreated. In “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” the Black children are forced to walk to school regardless of the weather conditions while the White children get to ride to school in a bus. “Knowing that the bus driver liked to entertain his passengers by sending us slipping along the road to the almost inaccessible forest banks washed to a smooth baldness by the constant rains…” (Taylor 43). This quote shows the cruel reality that Mildred Taylor writes from stories she heard. Many adults do not want to admit that there was ever a time that America was violent towards Blacks. Parents believe that it is easier for them to just ban these books than to have to explain to children. In more recent years books about race haven’t been as much as a challenge than they were in previous years, but certain books are still trying to fight their way into public school curriculums. Books that discuss race and issues such as racism are very important because they teach a great lesson on morality and how to treat others ethically. It seems that adults and those that challenge books feel as if the readers are not able to handle sensitive subject matter such as race.
Along with race the topic of homosexuality and LBGT+ issues are also challenged regularly by authorities who feel that these books promote a lifestyle that they don’t agree with. Books that explore the subject of homosexuality or trans identities are always seen as a red flag by parents, this could be because parents fear that by reading the material it will somehow turn them gay. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is one of the most challenged books in the LGBT category. This book features a character who is openly gay. Bans on these types of books have increased in recent years due to the rise of teens who identify as art of the LGBT community. It is important to allow adolescents to read these types of books, because they can use them as a great resource tool. By challenging these books adults and those who support the banning are allowing these adolescents to feel unrepresented in the media and in literature.