Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Book Week: Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK is pornography?

If yesterday's blog post about the Stockton school district banning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian didn't convince you that book censorship & banning wasn't still alive, today's post hopefully will.

In Missouri there's a man who thinks that the horrifying rape scenes in SPEAK are soft core pornography. The sad thing is that this guy (Wesley Scroggins) is a college professor. He believes that schools shouldn't have anything dealing with sexual themes in their textbooks or in their library. The author of SPEAK herself had to speak out against Scroggins' accusations. Sadly it isn't the first time her book has come under fire from people unwilling to have their children get challenged by work that dares to tell them that *gasp* not only does sex happen, but rape happens as well.

I just have to wonder at Scroggins' opinion that students shouldn't have books with sexual themes in their schools. Seriously? I grew up in a pretty normal "whitebread" area where the biggest problems at my schools were the big test & whether or not Johnny FootballHero would ask us to the prom or not. Yet we still had sex & rape happen, even in middle school. Heck, I remember having a pregnant 13 year old in one of my middle school classes. We didn't often see such obvious signs of sexual goings on, but we knew they happened. I lived in a "nice" area, but I knew people who didn't & the sex & rape problems in their school were much more visible.

I do respect that he has an opinion but I think he's being incredibly moronic about this. Kids have sex & unfortunately, some of those kids will be raped in their lifetime. I wish that there was such a world where hiding our children away from sex & sexual themes would protect them & not stunt their learning, but this isn't that type of world. I'm not saying that kids should be reading the Marqui DeSade, but reading SPEAK would be something I'd recommend. Not only will it show them that they can & should speak up about such things but also that these things DO happen & what the victims of such crimes are going through mentally & physically.

Anderson points out on her website that Scroggins attends a school that's under two hours away, which makes her fear that his words might catch on with some of the citizens & unfortunately end up with the book getting banned in some schools.

That, dear readers, will be a sad day for students & kids everywhere. Not only will Scroggins be sending out the message that they shouldn't talk about rape, but also sending out the message that it's OK to tell people what they can & cannot do.

If you want to complain directly to Scroggins' opinion piece, you can find that here.

1 comment:

  1. Some of you may worry this book will trigger bad behavior or eating disorder but I think if it does there was already prexisting issue for that particular person. For me it made me ask myself how I felt about me and reflect a little, and I looked at food a little differently after just reading it but nothing changed. It was a positive experience in my opinion. Lia's character is very relatable and we can all connect with her on some level. She is funny and sarcastic, she comes alive. Laurie Halse Anderson did an amazing job on this.