Censorship And Book Banning Essay

2062 words - 8 pages

"Censorship cannot eliminate evil. It can only kill freedom. We believe Americans have the right to buy, stores have the right to sell, authors have the right to write and publishers have the right to publish constitutionally protected material. Period." (“Banned Books and Authors”). Harry Hoffman, president of Walden Book Co., Inc., is accurate in this aspect. When books are censored or banned, they are not eliminated from society; however, their message emanates to create an impact. Even if the public conceals the content in these books, the victims that these censors sequester from these works are rarely unexposed to what is being censored to them. By challenging or attempting to ban a book, more attention is drawn to that distinct book, so society is more likely to read it. So in all actuality, censors have no tangible reason to ban the books, especially since it violates so many legal and ethical standards; book banning violates the First Amendment, it takes away the meaning of the books, and it withholds morals that could be taught in schools.
Background of Book Banning and Censorship
Usually, Books are bowdlerized because of some sort of violence, profanity, sex, sex education, homosexuality, witchcraft and the occult, “secular humanism”, portrayals of rebel kids, and “politically incorrect” terms regarding racist or sexist language. The Supreme Court has ruled many times against censorship, such as in the following cases: Board of the Island Trees School District v. Pico, where the Superintendent tried to ban books from his school’s library without appointing any kind of committee, and a 17-year old student named Steven Pico, who led a group of students, sued the school board under the accusation of a violation of the first amendment. The Supreme Court ruled that schools cannot absolutely control what the students read, in favor of Pico. In United States v. Random House, Inc., they ruled that the book “Ulysses” provided a new literary method, even given the vulgar language that it contains. Also, in Stanley v. Georgia, they ruled that states cannot limit what anyone wants to read or watch. (Agrawal)
Nonetheless, there is a separation between challenged and banned books. Challenging a book is an attempt to remove the book in question, based on a person’s opinion of it (ALA). To challenge a book from a library or a school, a committee must be formed, made up of a principal, librarian, teacher, complainant, parent and/or student who would discuss the book, file a recommendation, and notify the compliant with the superintendent (Simmons). An actual banning is the removal of the book from library shelves and a school’s curriculum, in the attempt to restrict a group of people from having access to it. Each year, hundreds of books are challenged. In 2007, over 420 books were either challenged or banned, the lowest it had been for a while (Pitner).
Censorship Violates the First Amendment
For starters, the First Amendment states...

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