By Cynthia Solis
Since the early 18th century, challenging and banning books has occurred, and the tortuous process should be stopped immediately.
Challenging a book and banning a book have very different results.
When an institution chooses to challenge a book, it is attempting to remove or restrict materials based on objections a person or group may have, meaning trying to remove material from the curriculum or library, and attempting to limit access to the material.
When a book is banned, it refers to the complete removal of those materials.
Books are usually challenged because the institution feels the urge to try to protect others, usually children, from complex ideas or information.
Depending on the institution, their form of censorship may be subtle, or they may be blatant and overt.
However, regardless of why they do it, challenging and banning books is arguably the worst thing that a group of people can do to society.
One of the main reasons challenging and banning books is a horrible idea is that books are a great way to allow the reader to understand different life experiences.
This encourages the reader to be empathetic.
Not only that, but many frequently challenged books help people get a better idea of the world and their place in it.
Books act as a gateway to other worlds through written words— some books challenge the perception of everything while others can inspire a whole generation.
When an institution bans books, it blocks off a whole world of thought that wouldn’t be provoked under other circumstances.
Books are typically banned because of their content.
Some topics that are often questioned include sex, language, violence and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters.
This stance is ridiculous, considering many young people are sexually active, curse in their daily lives and identify as LGBTQ+.
The stories shared in books often express contemporary themes, making them very relevant to today’s society.
By banning books, these institutions are saying that the authentic experiences youth face today aren’t important.
Seeing books get banned because they talk about race, gender, or identity does not allow young adults to read stories that have characters who share similar experiences.
This forces youth to believe that their experiences are somehow shameful and unrelatable.
This is very harmful because it denies them relief and makes them feel as if nobody else is facing the same issues.
People who challenge books don’t seem to consider the positive impact these books often have.
For example, the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” was banned because of the author’s use of racial slurs and their negative effects on students. It featured a “white savior” character and had a skewed perception of the Black experience.
Even though it features weighty topics, it remains a reflection of racial tensions and the criminal justice system in today’s political climate.
Regardless if a book is fiction or nonfiction, books inspire readers to think in new ways.
If a book is forcing its readers to have serious discussions about particular topics, that means the author did the job.
As a result, it is imperative to allow people of all ages, specifically young adults, to enjoy reading all books because if society deprives them of these conversations, it will be harmful and could lead to ignorance.