When is censorship justifiable

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Censorship can include the denial of knowledge for political, legal, moral, or other purposes. The federal government, for example, does not require book censorship on a wide scale in the United States. When the material includes child pornography or other illicit content, the government steps in. Censorship of books is not widespread since campaigns are focused on public libraries and colleges. Furthermore, censorship centers on morals and material that is appropriate for minors. Furthermore, parental intervention is critical in deciding the sort of content that is appropriate or inappropriate for children to learn. The arguments on censorship issues escalate, particularly when parents disagree on materials minors should read. Some parents may see some books acceptable while others may consider the same books inappropriate for children.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution adds complexity to the censorship according to which citizens are guaranteed the freedom of speech and access to information, thus makes it illegal to censor access to the reading material (Cooke 49). The paper argues that censorship is necessary to stop children and adults from accessing immoral and unlawful content that may destabilize readers thinking and perception. Censorship in schools and libraries among children protects them from extremism, pornography, propaganda, drugs, and false information.

Restricting Books In Public Schools And Library

The books have considerable powers such as educating, value inculcation, ideology transmission and stimulating imaginations. Books play an essential role in instructing civil virtues or negative instructions such as building explosives. The reading materials such as pornography and materials are harmful. The material objectifying women encourages violence against children and females in the society. The books may propagate extremism, propaganda, illegal drugs, and false information. The mere reading of a novel may not have the moral compromise to the children according to some section of argument. There are claims that books have the power to undermine the values parents and teachers work hard to inculcate in children.

One Side Of The Argument

The parents or groups of parents may raise an issue with a literary text. The parents raise moral concerns and textbooks that take a different perspective on historical and civic values. There are many classic books banned during the twentieth century. The books include the Scarlet letter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, of Mice and Men among others. The banned books were too depressing to the children; use of racial slurs and profanes language. The American society continues to scrutinize the books to date. For instance, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn receives criticism from the African-American community because the books make use of racial slurs. The children and young adults’ literature in recent years experienced significant changes. The changes began in the early 21st century. Many books continuously write about gang violence, sexuality, sexual abuse, profanity, homosexuality and violent crimes against children.

Concerned parent and members of the community, however, react first without proper consideration and analysis of the content. The book addressing rape phenomenon may be offensive to some group of readers. However, it becomes a contributory material that can engage students in conversation concerning rape crime. The children, therefore, understand at an early age about the world they live in, the condition of human and cultural issues. The parents must take active part in their children’s life and be aware of what they are reading. The engagement should be similar to how they monitor exposure to video games, movies, and music. Book censorship should not include silencing certain topics but help young generation access the best possible literature and the topic of interest (Crutcher 1).

Another Side Of The Argument

The censorship problem in recent years has become sensitive compared to the late 20th century. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in the United States, led to strict laws on security. The Patriot Act restricts citizens from accessing certain materials leading to curtailed civil liberties. The primary opponents of these Patriotic Act provisions are the librarian. The government increasingly has the powers to access to private records including books taken from the library shelves or read through library online catalog. The US government, according to the librarians has no right whatsoever to restrict what information readers get from the libraries. Restricting material that people can read is tantamount to restricting freedom of speech (Cooke 49). The First Amendment to the US Constitution adds complexity to the issue. The First Amendment’s guarantee citizens the freedom of speech and access to information thus makes it illegal to censor access to reading material.

The passage of certain laws such as the Patriot Act creates an atmosphere which restricts intellectual freedom. While it is necessary for the parents to limit access to books for their children in school and libraries, the censorship should be a well-thought process (Crutcher 1). Mass censorship is unacceptable in today’s society. It is important to consider the individual child’s need, honor parental rights. The public should have open debate interrogating the merits and reasons for challenging certain books in the community.

Today the society is comprised of people from various religion, ethnic groupings, economic status and religious backgrounds. The acceptable norms in a particular group may not be appropriate in another. The issues arising that are against the norms of the particular group, it results in public riots or hooliganism. It is important for the government and the parents to restrict the material to be read by the public and children. Controls and check govern a harmonious coexistence and growth of a morally upright society.

Recommendations

The books found in public schools and libraries have different content. Some books are challenged for varying reasons by the would-be censors. However, caution must be exercised while addressing each case. The parents have the responsibility of reading and carefully analyzing books before challenging their content. Careful reading equips parents with full knowledge and necessary reasons for censoring the literature work (Masterson 1). Educators and librarians should creatively establish a standard or a rating system. The system will enable all the players in the education sector to identify or make judgment appropriate for the teen audience and younger children.

Conclusion

Parents play an essential role in their children’s education and have the right to restrict exposure to particular material in public libraries and schools. However, censorship should a process of determining the type of books children can read instead of a tool to curtail idea and information exchange. The local and national debate on censorship will help expose cases motivate ignorance and bigotry. The discussion leads to improved environmental health for education and diversity. Lively debates on censorship in public domain should continue in light of recent restrictions on civil liberties.

Work Cited

Masterson, Mike. “School Libraries Should Restrict Students’ Access to Controversial Books.” Censorship, edited by Julia Bauder, Greenhaven Press, 2007. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, librarynt.occc.edu/login?url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010037236/OVIC?u=okccc_main&xid=d19e7e20. Accessed 26 July 2017. Originally published as “Laurie’s Noble Crusade,” Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 4 Aug. 2005.

Crutcher, Chris. “School Libraries Should Not Restrict Access to Any Books.” Censorship, edited by Julia Bauder, Greenhaven Press, 2007. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, librarynt.occc.edu/login?url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010037240/OVIC?u=okccc_main&xid=564d20fb. Accessed 26 July 2017. Originally published as “To the Students of the Limestone School Disctrict,”, Mar. 2005.

Crutcher, Chris. “School Libraries Should Not Restrict Access to Any Books.” Censorship, edited by Julia Bauder, Greenhaven Press, 2007. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, librarynt.occc.edu/login?url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010037240/OVIC?u=okccc_main&xid=564d20fb. Accessed 26 July 2017. Originally published as “To the Students of the Limestone School Disctrict,”, Mar. 2005.

Cooke, Dominic. “The Arts Should Not Be Censored.” Censorship, edited by Byron L. Stay, Greenhaven Press, 1997. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, librarynt.occc.edu/login?url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010113407/OVIC?u=okccc_main&xid=fa9e2600. Accessed 26 July 2017. Originally published as “An Insidious Form of Censorship,” Spectator, 11 Oct. 2008, p. 4

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