Friday, May 10, 2013

The Anne Frank Controversy. Or Why I'd Like to Smack People.

If you haven't already heard of the scuffle going down in Michigan, you can read about it here.

As some of you already know due to my previous posts, I'm a huge advocate for literacy and the idea of book banning is absolutely ludicrous to me. This idea that Anne Frank is being labeled as inappropriate to a group of seventh graders evokes something that really lights up some rage.

This is a censorship battle, of course, and then some.

This argument stems from a certain passage in Anne Frank's diary where she's explaining the discovery of her own anatomy. Honestly, it's normal to be curious, especially if you have no friends, books or mentors who are around to really explain the changes that are occurring during puberty. You could argue that for a group of seventh graders, that this material could be inappropriate; but is it really? Especially when that group entering their early teens is going through the same thing? By censoring this or by even arguing this, we're teaching that girls should be ashamed of their own anatomy as well as insulting the immortalization of a girl who died in a concentration camp.

This book has been read by so many people… so many young people. The material described does not make anyone a bad person, that's like the whole video games-makes-you-violent argument. Why would you insult your child by not letting them read a book like this if the idea behind it is that it would badly influence them? If you're concerned that a girl discovering her body, and explaining it, is too graphic, I'm sorry but you can't hide your children from themselves, and their own personal discoveries.

As an adult, I look back and I found solace in relating to the characters in my books. Although reading a passage like that in the Diary of Anne Frank may have made me blush, I would be grateful to know that these changes were normal. Reading this thing, while that was happening would have definitely made me feel less alone, too.

Of course this whole coming-into-womanhood isn't the main premise of what she wrote about.  It's about the struggle of growing up under such difficulties. It's the truth of how real the Holocaust was and how so many children were murdered. It's a unique and intimate portrayal of the realities of war based on racial, social and religious bigotry which is extremely relevant to this day where we don't even hear about half the wars that go on in the world. We learn about the good guys, and the bad guys, but rarely about those in-between, those innocents who suffer the most out of these ordeals.

Life isn't rainbows and sunshine and the removal of this book from any school is not going to shelter your children from a harsh reality. Learning about a bleak past in present day will only influence us to strive for a better and brighter future.

So to the mom who wants this book removed; shut up. You're not being the good mother or person that you think you're being.

No comments:

Post a Comment