Monday, September 13, 2010

Banned Books and Freedom of Speech: Chattanooga State Celebrating Constitution Week

What does freedom of speech mean to you?

That’s the question for this year’s celebration of the Constitution at Chattanooga State. The Chattanooga State Library is participating in this celebration with a display of banned books.  Did you know that over 50 books were challenged or banned in the United States during 2009-2010?  The American Library Association releases information about banned/challenged books each year to educate each of us on the importance of protecting the freedoms written in our Constitution. 
Here are some banned book titles from the last few years and the general reasons why the books were banned or challenged:
Great Gatsby: language and sexual references
Catcher in the Rye: profanity, sexual references, inappropriate for age group
To Kill a Mockingbird: sexual references, profanity, use of racial slur
Color Purple: homosexuality, incest, rape, depiction of drug use, sexually explicit
Brave New World: contempt of women, religion, marriage, and family.

Listed below are two examples of books banned or restricted in the United States in 2009-2010.  This information is from the American Library Association’s 2010 Banned Books report.

I Know why the Caged Bird Sings: “Challenged in the Newman-Crows Landing, Calif. School District (2009) on a required reading list presented by the Orestimba High English Department. A trustee questioned the qualifications of Orestimba staff to teach a novel depicting African American culture.”

Hills Like White Elephants: A Short Story: The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: “Pulled from a Litchfield, N.H. Campbell High School elective course classroom (2009) after parents voiced their concerns about a short-stories unit called “Love/Gender/Family Unit” that dealt with subject matters including abortion, cannibalism, homosexuality, and drug use. The parents said the stories promoted bad behavior and a “political agenda” and they shouldn’t be incorporated into classroom teachings. The Campbell High School English curriculum adviser eventually resigned.”

What does freedom of speech mean to you?  Participate in the Constitution Day discussion:
When: Friday, September 17
Time: 11:00 AM or at Noon
Where: Chattanooga State Amphitheater

1 comment:

Chris said...

Kudos to the Library at CSCC for celebrating the First Amendment and bringing this dialog to our campus!