By: guest contributor Emily M. Schneider, Ph.D. – I am not writing to defend Gantos and McKean’s novel. I empathize with those critics who have expressed fears that it will only stoke the fires of xenophobia and normalize suspicion of Muslims, and that children may find in the book an excuse to bully their peers who seem to conform to the exaggerated images in the book. But, like Fitzgerald, I can also hold opposing ideas, specifically, fears of censorship, and the idea that allowing a book to be published does not imply endorsement of its message.
The common misconception that any library espouses the content of its collection and programming can lead to feelings of patron alienation. An imagining of the library as an equitable world stage can help to mitigate resulting acrimony directed at this institution.
Stand, is an original, hour-long play about political and intellectual freedom written by Matthew Ivan Bennett. It’s a story of compelled speech, thought, action, and surveillance “by the minute”–a perfect work of art for intellectual freedom proponents to engage with and explore.
Pro tip number one: Pick a word any word – except maybe the hash tag #MeToo. The Me Too Movement, founded by a Black American woman named Tarana Burke to encourage empathy and empowerment for sexual assault survivors, became ubiquitous online and off-line in 2017. In China, women have been using the coded phrase “rice bunny” (米兔), pronounced as “mi tu” to get around would-be censors who would shut down conversations online about sexual harassment.
Author Lance Rubin published Denton Little’s Deathdate in 2015. It follows a teenage boy named Denton Little who – like everyone else in the world he inhabits – knows the exact date on which they are going to die. Based on a single complaint in August of 2017, the book was pulled from all the Beaufort County School District’s physical and digital library shelves without following the district’s own procedure.
Conservatives who decry the evils of political correctness often attack it for demanding self-censorship. Progressives argue that they’re just asking for civil discourse, not enforcing self-censorship. So, who’s right?
Advocating for and ensuring access to diverse books and resources was one of the main reasons I decided to become a librarian. But, as a new librarian in a huge new city, I’ve become more unsure of myself and have found myself self-censoring.
As information communities, as librarians, and educators, information literacy principles and first amendment freedoms are at the core to motivating students in college. Confronting self-censorship, academic development, and the ability to practice intellectual freedom is what Xicana/Latina students encounter in higher education.
It is not only the religion that becomes the cause of censorship; politics and interests of the government are secondary causes. Censorship has always been strongly imposed upon journalism, and due to this tradition, authors have gotten into the habit of self-censoring their work.
Trigger warnings, initially designed to give advance notice of content potentially detrimental to those who have suffered trauma, have made their way into everyday situations and become code for ‘stuff that may be offensive or upsetting.’