I don’t have much to add to the conversation/backlash circulating in response to professor Weseley Scroggin’s call to ban several books (Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Speak by Laurie Halse-Anderson, and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler) from his school district’s reading list. Like pretty much everyone else, I am 100% against banning books (because I’ve read Fahrenheit 451 and studied the Nazis, among other reasons), and I am in favor of parents deciding what their children should or should not read in school.
Of the three, I’ve read only Speak and I thought it was a raw, powerful look at rape and its consequences. I know how it has profoundly impacted several of my friends who have been sexually assaulted, and given them the courage to speak out about their situations and give a voice to the voiceless. Ban that? Hell no.
Here are a few posts I’ve ran across today that have really struck home with me about this whole thing:
As Told by Jen: Speak Loudly
Veronica Roth: A Christian Take on Banning Speak
KellyVision: Coming Out Again
The Last Word: SPEAKing Out
My Friend Amy: A Few Words on Rape As Porn
Sassymonkey Reads: Speak is Not Pornography
But really I wanted to touch on the fact of how overwhelmingly blessed we are to be able to have this conversation at all. If we follow down the path that starts with banning books, it doesn’t take long to get to the banning of other things — blogs, television shows, freedom of movement, human rights…
Yet as angry as his statement makes us, I fully support Scroggins’ first-amendment right to say what he said. Just as I fully support my right and everyone else’s to call him an idiot.
And how many more books are Vonnegut, Halse-Anderson, and Ockler going to sell now (Ockler’s book, which I just put on hold at the library, already has a dozen holds on it)? How many more people are going to read them and be impacted by them because of his stupid statement. Countless.
Oh, the power of freedom.