Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banning gets you nowhere

[I tried writing a post for Banned Books Week, but found I had nothing to say that hadn't already been said by dozens of people. 
Hence, this drabble that says it all, without saying anything.]

"Anita has a ponytail so she is a girl."
"No Teacher, you are wrong. Anita is a girl because she doesn't have a [soosoo]*. And because she is a girl, she has a ponytail." Not yet four, my son held his guns.

"You really shouldn't teach your son all this stuff", the teacher told me. "He's too young for it."
"I can't lie if he asks me a direct question."
"But it is wrong."
"It is factually accurate. And he is too young to give it any of the connotations we give it."

Evasion gets you nowhere, neither does banning.

* insert own word for the organ here
drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

And just in case there is still any ambiguity in where I stand on the issue, I firmly believe that nobody has the right to dictate what anyone else reads. A book can come with a warning/ rating, but ultimately it is upto the person to decide whether they want to read a book or not.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Soosoo! I've learned a new word today!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Debra- the organ gets to be called by the name of the function it performs :-)

Karen Walker said...

You are so good at this, Rayna.

Mason Canyon said...

A wonderful drabble for banning (and evasion). Your answer to the teacher is great and so true.

Thoughts in Progress

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - What a wonderful Drabble to discuss banning! And I truly respect your answer to the teacher. My husband and I took exactly the same route when our daughter was your son's age. We told her the truth and I firmly believe she is better for it. In fact, in support of what you say, I will tell you something my daughter said to me not so long ago. She thanked me for having been what she called "blunt" with her. Not hurtful, but truthful. She said she was glad of it, and we agreed that it probably kept her out of a lot of trouble as she grew.

Cruella Collett said...

Excellent "banned" post, Natasha! I couldn't agree more - it does say everything :)

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Karen - thank you. One more of the things that makes my blood boil.

@ Mason- thank you.

@ Margot- that is really good to know. I did what I thought was right, but to know that a child agrees with it is encouraging. Thank you.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mari - thank you. Censorship, I cannot stand.

Anonymous said...

Its totally up to the parents to raise their kids. I know people who have so sheltered their kids, when they reach 18 the end up doing all the things their parents tried to hide from them.

Stephen Tremp

Quinn said...

I love this drabble ... and such a great way to tackle the topic of banning books.

RA said...

Love it! Hold on to your and your son's guns. Something tells me you are going to need those.... :D

Kittie Howard said...

Thank you, Rayna, for writing so beautifully about an extremely important topic. Censorship is one of my hot buttons. If a person's beliefs conflict with a particular book, then don't read the book...but why can't I read the book?

Censorship is extremely dangerous. History is replete with horrors that censorship begat.

(Left a comment on the previous post...thank you for the award and you're hitting some topics that touch at the core of who we are as people...thank you!!)

LTM said...

love it--and the photo w/the apple. Excellent use of symbolism, Ms. Iyer. ;p <3

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Stephen- I have to agree. It is the kids who are most sheltered who often go the most wild when they are let free.
Hey, that is starting to give me an idea for a jailbreak.

@ Quinn- thank you. I did not want to get on the soapbox, but I do seem to have made my point.

@ RA- I too am sure this is not his last run-in with authority figures

@ Kittie- precisely. If you don't like something, don't read it. But let me make up my own mind.

@ Leigh- I knew you would get it!!!

Dorte H said...

I agree that you should not ban books for grown-ups. There are loads of books I would never read, but as you say, that is up to me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is an excellent attitude, Rayna!

Michele Emrath said...

Fantastic. I love how you see things through children's eyes so often--I can relate to that!

One thing, I think you mean "stuck to his guns." Unless I'm mistaken, "held his guns" is just what it sounds like: holding some weapons.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

If kids hear these things when they're young, it won't seem so taboo, dirty, or secretive later.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

So perfectly said!

Julie Musil said...

Love the drabble! Yep, let the reader decide, and if they're young, let their parents help. At least that's my point of view. Banning the books just makes everyone more curious!

Carol Kilgore said...

Exactly so, Rayna. Adult connotations and childhood connotations are miles apart on most things. Some people forget that all too easily in order to further their own agendas.

Krispy said...

That drabble was a wonderful tie-in to the whole issue of book banning. Let the each reader decide, or let parents decide what's okay for their own kids, but no one should be able to say what's okay for EVERYONE. Besides, wanting to protect kids is one thing, but they are going to find out about stuff one way or another.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've always been honest with my kids, answering their questions. Good for you for doing the same. I like in Cambridge, MA, so the various families in my children's school lead to many explanations.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Dorte- precisely. Publishing a rating on a book, I can live with. Banning, no.

@ Alex- thank you.

@ Michele- thanks for catching it. Yes, I did indeed mean that.
And my kids have given me a whole new world view - as have yours, I am sure.

@ Diane- precisely. And they need not be taboo, dirty or secretive.

@ Holly- thank you

@ Julie- precisely. When a book is banned, I am often tempted to buy it only to defy.

@ Carol- quite. You put it much better than I did.

@ Krispy- thanks for dropping by. And yes, protecting people from information deemed harmful does not really serve any purpose, does it?

@ Theresa- better to be honest than convoluted, I always thing.


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