Next, Reverend Pearly Brown and Mrs. Christine Brown:
Lastly, Red Molly:
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.
Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom
1. “TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs
2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide
4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger _Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult _Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence
8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
For many years, American schools have been pressured to restrict or deny students access to books or periodicals deemed objectionable by some individual or group on moral, political, religious, ethnic, racial, or philosophical grounds. These pressures have mounted in recent years, and English teachers have no reason to believe they will diminish. The fight against censorship is a continuing series of skirmishes, not a pitched battle leading to a final victory over censorship.
We can safely make two statements about censorship: first, any work is potentially open to attack by someone, somewhere, sometime, for some reason; second, censorship is often arbitrary and irrational. For example, classics traditionally used in English classrooms have been accused of containing obscene, heretical, or subversive elements. What English teacher could anticipate judgments such as the following--judgments characteristic of those made by many would-be censors:
• Plato's Republic: "This book is un-Christian."
• George Eliot's Silas Marner; "You can't prove what that dirty old man is doing with that child between chapters."
• Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days: "Very unfavorable to Mormons."
• Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter: "A filthy book."
• Shakespeare's Macbeth: "Too violent for children today."
• Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment: "Serves as a poor model for young people."
• Herman Melville's Moby Dick: "Contains homosexuality."
Modern works, even more than the classics, are criticized as "filthy," "un-American," "overly realistic," and "anti-war." Some books have been attacked merely for being "controversial," suggesting that for some people the purpose of education is not the investigation of ideas but rather the indoctrination of certain set beliefs and standards. The following statements represent complaints typical of those made against modern works of literature:
• J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: "A dreadful, dreary recital of sickness, sordidness, and sadism." (Without much question, Salinger's book has been for some time the most widely censored book in the United States.)
• Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five: "Its repetitious obscenity and immorality merely degrade and defile, teaching nothing."
• Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: "The word rape is used several times. Children should not see this in any literature book."
Some groups and individuals have also raised objections to literature written specifically for young people. As long as novels intended for young people stayed at the intellectual and emotional level of A Date for Marcy or A Touchdown for Thunderbird High, censors could forego criticism. But many contemporary novels for adolescents focus on the real world of young people--drugs, premarital sex, alcoholism, divorce, high school gangs, school dropouts, racism, violence, and sensuality. English teachers willing to defend the classics and modern literature must be prepared to give equally spirited defense to serious and worthwhile adolescent novels.
Literature about ethnic or racial minorities remains "controversial" or "objectionable" to many adults...
Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. . . . A problem can no longer be pursued with impunity to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; she becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin.
- Justice William O. Douglas, United States Supreme Court: Adler v. Board of Education, 1951.
The right to read, like all rights guaranteed or implied within our constitutional tradition, can be used wisely or foolishly. In many ways, education is an effort to improve the quality of choices open to all students. But to deny the freedom of choice in fear that it may be unwisely used is to destroy the freedom itself. For this reason, we respect the right of individuals to be selective in their own reading. But for the same reason, we oppose efforts of individuals or groups to limit the freedom of choice of others or to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
The right of any individual not just to read but to read whatever he or she wants to read is basic to a democratic society. This right is based on an assumption that the educated possess judgment and understanding and can be trusted with the determination of their own actions. In effect, the reader is freed from the bonds of chance. The reader is not limited by birth, geographic location, or time, since reading allows meeting people, debating philosophies, and experiencing events far beyond the narrow confines of an individual's own existence.
In selecting books for reading by young people, English teachers consider the contribution which each work may make to the education of the reader, its aesthetic value, its honesty, its readability for a particular group of students, and its appeal to adolescents. English teachers, however, may use different works for different purposes. The criteria for choosing a work to be read by an entire class are somewhat different from the criteria for choosing works to be read by small groups...
Right at the get-go, John Bolton (George W. Bush's ambassador to the U.N.) poured cold water on that idea in a fiery speech that ignited world condemnation.
I don't suppose anyone reading this needs it spelled out, but the American right wing is by any rational standard utterly incapable of governance. "The Bush admininistration" is a good example of this. "Any Republican currently running for office" would be another. "We think Christine O'Donnell should be in charge" is, well, dispositive.
America's combat role in Iraq has ended, and tens of thousands of returning troops are repopulating military bases and nearby towns all over the country. But history shows that many joyous welcomes are bound to go sour with marital problems, crime and suicide likely to increase in the months to come. Are the military services and the Veterans' Administration ready to help so many people recover from wounds and shake off the mental burdens of combat? Will civilians recognize their sacrifice? Will ongoing controversy over the war itself tarnish the rewards of coming home?
It's really a personal story not a political one. That goes for the greeters themselves as well. They have different views on the war, but their main goal is to support the troops.