Precious Knowledge: Using Banned Books

Decent Essays
Since 1982, there have been 11,300 books challenged in the United States. As the number of challenged books continues to rise, society’s exposure to diversity in literature decreases. According to the American Library Association, 51% of the top ten challenged books between 2005 and 2014 featured “diverse content.” Diverse content is defined as works featuring either non-white, LGBT+, or disabled primary characters, or discussions of issues in relation to race, religion, LGBT+ matters, mental illness and/or disabilities, among many other defining characteristics. Censoring such books has the potential to fundamentally stunt the personal growth of society, though many may feel certain information and topics must be censored for the safety of…show more content…
Alyssa D. Niccolini spoke on this matter in her article “Precious Knowledge: Using Banned Books to Engage in a Youth Lens,” stating through her experience as an educator, (Evidence 1) that exposure to controversial topics can provide adolescents an opportunity to think critically about the information they are presented with, therefore benefiting their development and acclimation to society. There has also been statistical evidence found in support of the previously discussed concept, as noted in an article by Christopher J. Ferguson. (Evidence 2) He discusses a relation between the consumption of banned books and heighten civic behavior, accompanied by a series of analyses that consider gender, age, previously present personality traits, external influence from others, alongside reading for pleasure tendencies. The conclusion in its most direct form was that engaging in banned book reading shared a relation with increased civic behavior, and had no correlation with the prediction of the child engaging in criminal or inappropriate activity. Moreover, certain material noted as controversial can be essential to the development and personal growth of marginalized youth. Among the list of reasons for a book being banned or challenged, homosexuality is one of the most common (Banned & Challenged Books). For LGBT+ identifying youth, a lack of support or feeling acceptance is a large issue. In a multi-authored article featured in the 12th volume of “Journal of LGBT Youth,” it was found that schools lacking LGBT+ inclusive curricula statistically present higher levels of victimization, isolationist mentalities, and absenteeism in relation to the LGBT+ identifying demographic. Additionally, in (Evidence 3)“Effects of “Safe School” Programs and Policies on the Social Climate for Sexual-Minority Youth: A Review of the Literature,” another piece from “Journal
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