Why is it a good idea to censor what we and our children read?
For some time, I have written about how important it is for schools to include parents in decisions regarding curriculum and other educational matters. But collaboration is not the same as a few parents dictating to the majority about what should be read in the classroom. The same is true for libraries having books removed because of someone’s objections.
This is becoming more prevalent because of the mistaken belief that children and even adults should not be exposed to anything that may make them feel “uncomfortable.” Are you kidding me? Talk about “woke.” Being uncomfortable is the natural order for man.
Then there is the nonsensical thought that elite public schools shouldn’t use tests to admit students because a disproportionate share of those being admitted are usually Asian. Hispanic and Black students are underrepresented in these schools by their numbers in the school age population. Talk about silly…the reason the schools are elite is because they have higher standards for entry regardless of race and ethnicity. Otherwise, the schools would be like all the rest in the system.
Does anyone believe that you can teach American history without thoroughly delving into the institution of slavery? In all the original 13 colonies, slavery existed. It died out in the North because of economics. Northern farms were predicated on different crops than those of the South. The North moved away from farming and toward manufacturing and had immigration to fill those factory jobs. The South remained rural.
But you cannot run away from the fact that for 250 years, mostly white folk owned black folk (there were some slaves owned by free blacks and members of American Indian tribes) in what became the United States. Today, that legacy is part of the fabric of our society. We need to accept those facts and learn from them. We cannot run away from our history no matter how uncomfortable it makes anyone feel.
As we descend into stupidity, politicians are passing laws that limit our freedom from knowledge in the name of protecting a segment of the population, Orwell’s dystopian vision comes closer to truth. When ideas and thoughts become anathema, then our loss of freedom cannot be far behind.
I believe that the more books you read, the harder it becomes to inculcate you to bad ideas. Readers need to see as many sides to a story as possible. Students and adults should read original sources (e.g., the actual Constitution and Bill of Rights). Someone’s opinion of what the original source meant to convey is merely someone else’s opinion.
Knowledge and original ideas are not elitism. They are the signs of a rational thinking human being. We do not need protection but rather illumination. Schools with entrance requirements are not prejudicial. They are another form of educational institution.
There needs to be many different methods of education. Each student should be able to choose the type that most meets his/her needs. It is when the government begins to narrow choice for our own protection that we should beware.
And at some point, every person is responsible for his/her own life. The government needs to protect the individual right to succeed as well as fail. We don’t need demagogic pols to tell us what we want to hear. We need to hear what we need to make rational choices.