Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The need to fight against those who want to tell us what we or our children can read is still a battle we must never give up on. The fear some people have to unleash ideas or thoughts they don't understand should not be allowed in our society. Fear of ideas has no place in our classrooms or libraries. Ideas and knowledge, even unpleasant knowledge, can free us. Stifling knowledge allows others to control us.
When they tell you something is inappropriate ask them why? Why are you afraid to know? Why are you afraid for your children to know? When you try to control what I read I ask you why? I demand to know what you think gives you or anyone the right to control what words I read, what images I see?
You have the authority to control what your children are exposed to. That is your right as a parent. But your right to control ends there. You do not have the right to dictate that for me or my children.
My advice to everyone? Read a book and open your mind. It really isn't that scary a place once you get to know it.
ALA Banned Book week
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Bullies are terrible. We all agree on that. These days almost every day we hear about some teenager bullied literally to death, taking his or her own life because bullies online and off tormented them to the point they felt they could no longer live. Most of the time these bullies are people their own age. In some well publicized cases the tormentors included adults, who we presume, should know better.
Our reaction is one of stunned shock. What sort of adult would stoop so low as to pretend to be a teenage boy or girl and attack another teenager so viciously as to drive that teen to kill themselves? It’s an unbelievable horror.
But is it? Look around. Turn on the TV, the radio, open a newspaper or go online and read news blogs. A Christian preacher openly incites violence by loudly proclaiming to the world that he will publicly destroy the holy book of Islam because, he aays, it’s not a true religion. In Nevada a Senatorial candidate announces that if his party doesn’t get its way, they should rise up and take it with arms. There are people publicly and loudly bombarding us with a never ending litany of hate. Hate the Muslims, hate the liberals, hate the Tea Party, hate Obama, hate gays, hate Latinos, execute abortion doctors, execute gays, execute adulterers. There is no public discourse anymore. It's all about who can shout the loudest and who the often openly biased news outlets choose to showcase.
Hate is spewed from the mouths of wildly popular news commentators. Armed people show up at political rallies, trying to bully other people into supporting their beliefs. Religious leaders picket the funerals of men who gave their lives supposedly so Americans can enjoy the freedoms these groups seem so determined to take away.
And we’re surprised children bully and torment other children? We should only be surprised that more of them aren’t doing it. After all, they have such wonderful role models.
Want to stop bullying on the schoolyard? Stop it in public discourse. Stop tuning in to the haters, practice tolerance toward those who you don’t agree with. Show your children bullying by anyone is wrong, no matter what their motive. Stop teaching our children how to hate. Then maybe we can cut down on bullying and its deadly consequences.