• Laura M. Jiménez

    Laura M. Jiménez Laura M. Jiménez is BU Wheelock School of Education & Human Development associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion and a senior lecturer in language and literacy education; she can be reached at jimenez1@bu.edu. Profile

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There are 8 comments on POV: Books Are Being Banned across the Country: Here’s What’s Really at Stake

  1. Amazing article, and so engaging! I hope the same philosophy can be applied to other information that does not align with the mainstream, such as scientific research and articles that suggest the current covid vaccines are not safe, for example, or ones that examine the efficacy of alternate medicines in combating the pandemic (ie. Ivermectin). Sadly, I think BU will continue to post enlightened articles like this, while simultaneously running smear campaigns against other things that constitute “misinformation” without giving it a second though. That is nothing against the author of this article though, who genuinely posed a great argument.

  2. I agree with dean Jiménez that all books should be accessible for adults. That includes really terrible books like Mein Kampf, because you need to know what the ideas are in order to fight them. However, all of the books should be accessible to adults, not children.

    It is really important to point out that the bans mentioned in the article are happening in school libraries. No one claims that those books should not exist, as Jiménez seems to imply. Rather, some parents think that those books should not be easily accessible to their children. I think that parents should have a say over what their children read, and some books (Mein Kampf, Protocols of the elders of Zion and so on) should not be in school libraries, I hope we can all agree on that.

    I looked through the list of books that parents in Texas are calling for the schools to ban (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-library-books-banned-schools-rcna12986). I do not agree with banning every book on this list but I definitely would not want my children reading a good half of it. Most of these books are banned because of pornographic descriptions. For example, Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)” by L.C. Rosen that is about “a 17-year-old gay student who has a lot of sex and isn’t ashamed of it” (from that NBC article). I don’t think that reading a book about a teenager having sex is enriching to anyone, let alone a child. A lot of these books are calling on children to explore their sexuality in practical ways and are normalizing the idea that having numerous sexual experiences while you are still at school is a good thing. There might be some parents that are on board with that, but a lot of them are not, and I think they should have a right to shield their children from this context.

    1. Every time I read about a book being banned, it stirs my ire. So I look into why such an endeavor has been undertaken. To my consternation, I am learning these “bans” are almost always egregiously inappropriate sexual material: wanton in most cases. The headlines stirring the narrative are all too often deceptive or disingenuous. We are led to believe that guardians of information are censoring views and opinions opposed to their own. Ironically, it classics like To Kill a mockingbird, Huck Finn or Shakespeare where an actual effort at censorship takes place. Novels with dangerous ideas or views into a different era in time are unwelcome because they portray ideas contrary to the establishment’s liking. Hardcore pornography however is just fine because it corrupts and confuses young minds, leaving our youth docile & unmotivated to change the status quo. Unfortunately, those who are supposed to be watching out for the public interest portray a fabricated, inverted reality fully understanding most readers will do no further investigating.

  3. I hate banning books and censorship. I also hate the logic of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” The battle is not against “the white, male, cis, straight, able, Christian, middle-class,” but arrogance and self-centeredness.

  4. I think some people are missing part of your point.

    When parents try to ban books, they are slapping reading material away from everyone’s children. It’s especially appalling to see people banning books they haven’t read and supporting bans on the basis of summaries by other people who’ve read them.

    People: stop trying to police books that are written for young readers. If a child doesn’t like what they’re reading, they’ll put it down. I suppose if you’re incredibly fearful that reading a book that has sex in it will turn children into sex-crazed animals, you can bar your child from reading the book (be sure, also, to ban books that have astronauts in it, lest your child also become an astronaut).

    But get your nose out of the business of other human beings and knock off the book bans unless doing things that fascists do is your goal. In which case, also knock it off because that’s a terrible idea.

  5. Thanks, Dr. Jiménez for continuing to highlight the desparities of not only the characters and topics that happened to be in so many banned books, but also the absence of certain groups and stories in books that are widely available in bookstores and libraries.

    Your work and the work of Dr. Christina Dobbs have helped the professional and curriculum development of BU Upward Bound and other programs at College Access and Student Success.

    Enjoy your slice!

  6. I picked one of the books you listed as “banned” just to see what actually happened. Chose The Proudest Blue. Found zero evidence of it being “banned” anywhere. Nothing written about any kind of decision made by anyone. The closest I could find was some reading website that was trying to sell it under the “banned books” category, but nowhere does it seem to be banned. What about the rest of the “literally hundreds of books?” If one of the few examples you gave isn’t actually banned, how can we believe the unnamed hundreds are?

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