veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Book censorship is a threat to our world

U.S. states are challenging our civil rights for absurd reasons
Book censorship is a threat to our world
Anika Ravila

Finding the perfect book and curling up on the couch is a favorite pastime amongst many; and arguably one of the best feelings to experience. Now, imagine being denied the chance to enjoy that sensation all because someone disagreed with your book selection. This is book banning.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Lord of the Flies,” “The Catcher in the Rye” and so much more, are all examples of books that Oak Park lets us read that many other schools do not. States like Texas and Florida tend to lead in their number of book bans. Martin County Florida has 92 book bans alone.

To go more into depth, book banning takes away the chance to enjoy and learn from the lessons that come from them. Reading a book evokes a certain emotion that can only be understood by actually doing the act. It allows people to escape into a world unlike their own.

“Certainly for me, they [books] help make the world a more liveable and enjoyable place,” English teacher Caitlin McCranie said.

Using our own personal experiences, we can find a way to connect with others and reflect upon humanity. Essentially, books make us more empathetic.

“I love being able to try someone else’s shoes on,” English teacher Jessica Wall-Smith said. “I think it’s such a cool superpower. We can’t read people’s minds, we can’t know what it’s like to be them. But, we really can help don someone else’s experience for an hour or two if we read something from their perspective.”

All of these amazing abilities and opportunities that books give us are taken away when people wrongly ban or censor them. For example, books like “The Hate You Give” or “The Color Purple” offer us a glimpse into their world to help us see racism through a new lens. When these types of books are banned, it’s usually because people are worried about what might occur when the sensitive issues they discuss are brought up, even though we need to be discussing these issues. 

This violates our constitutional rights, as the First Amendment protects our right to give and receive information. By banning books, we are blatantly disregarding this right, because we are controlling people’s ability to think freely. This practice has become popular in places like China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Egypt, Russia, Hungary and now, the U.S.

“Book banning is the most widespread form of censorship in the United States, with children’s literature being the primary target,” Susan L. Webb states with the Middle Tennessee State University

This is why organizations like PEN America or the American Library Association were formed. They help advocate for our human rights to support the movement. They are not the only ones. American Progress, an organization working to enhance the lives of American citizens, expressed their concern with book banning and how people are dealing with the issue.

“Ongoing state and local actions to ban books simply because they address racism, white supremacy or LGBTQI+ issues have inspired students to stand up for their civil rights,” Akilah Alleyne, from American Progress, said. 

This movement is gaining momentum, but people have been fighting this issue for far longer. According to the Harvard Library Guides, book censorship was said to have first begun in the U.S. at Quincy, Massachusetts during colonial time, where they banned books for religious reasons. From then, the practice continued to grow in size and become the phenomenon it is today. 

And the effects haven’t stopped there. Banning books infringes on our education and spreads fear within our society. Nonetheless, the Oak Park school district is handling this issue very attentively.

Anything I’ve actually asked to teach in the classroom they [school board] have been really supportive of,” Wall-Smith said. “I think Oak Park in particular is pretty supportive in letting students access certain information and use critical thinking to address it with complexity.”

Everyone deserves to have access to read whatever material they choose. We should have the chance to judge material for ourselves and form our own opinions. Although I understand that minors can not make their own decisions, parents can use things like rating systems to help judge whether something is appropriate for their child. 

Book censorship only divides us when we really need to be coming together as one. It limits our freedom and denies us access to valuable information and lessons, which only contributes to a more unjust society.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Baghdanian, News Editor

Class of 2026

Natalie has been part of the Talon staff for 2 years. She has previously served as a Staff Writer and enjoys writing news pieces.

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