Since 34 years now we’ve got the possibility to speak out for and celebrate our freedom to read. Banned Books Week, launching 1982, highlights issues around censorship trying to make people aware of the fact that thousands of books are still getting banned today.
According to the American Library Association more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. They range from contemporary bestsellers like “50 Shades of Grey” to classic novels like “Brave new world”. The National Coalition Against Censorship even states that they encounter attempts at banning or censorship nearly every week.
The reasons for these attempts often are racial thematics, other lifestyles, unpopular religious- and political believes as well as diverse sexualities.
Do those so called “reasons” really justify banning specific novels? Is it right to diminish our freedom to read just because some people don’t like to read about LGBTQS, other cultures or ways of looking at the world? Well, I don’t think so and here are 5 reasons why.
- Just because you don’t like something you can’t take it away from others.
Let’s suppose you don’t like olives. Would you go around snatching away olives from people who love those salty little bastards just because it’s not your taste? No. You wouldn’t. So don’t do it with books. It’s as simple as that.
- The purpose of books is entering different worlds.
At least that’s why I read. Reading gives us the opportunity to be part of other people’s lives without leaving our homes. We are able to choose to live a thousand lives instead of only one. And thankfully, lives are diverse.
- Seeing the world through different eyes make us empathetic and open-minded.
Several studies have shown that reading enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions. This skill is crucial in a society as connected and complex as ours. Books send you into a new environment where you have to find your own way. You have to make up your mind about certain questions. Basically, you are learning to think for your own, setting and revising your believes and opinions. Please don’t ever try to take that from someone or let it be taken away from yourself.
- Instead of banning books or censoring them you can choose to engage with them.
You don’t need to agree with everything which is written down in books. I don’t. Most of the people I know don’t either. But instead of going around censoring books or taking away certain novels from fellow readers we engage with the things we don’t like. Why do we find them wrong? What exactly is it we don’t agree with? You can always argue against a book. It’s important to do so. Not only will you become better in arguments but you will also learn to assume responsibility for your believes.
- You can always choose to NOT read a book.
You are not interested in reading about a gay couple? Don’t!
Books about disabled people make you feel sad? Don’t pick it up then.
Nobody is forcing you to read certain books.
That would be wrong. As wrong, as banning certain books.