Outraged by Book Bans In General – But the Kite Runner & Maya Angelou ?!

(Trigger warning: out of respect, I want all reader’s to know this article mentions ra**- Not graphic, but… I know triggers can be as easy as seeing the full word so…there we are.)
I don’t agree with banning books from society, however, I can understand why a child’s parents would not want them to read a detailed rape scene, or even a sex scene for that matter. But if that scene is removed so a child can read it without being scarred, I see no reason why they should not have an abridged version available for certain books… Especially the two books below!!!
Even with these scenes of rape taken out, libraries across the wonderful U. S. of A. have seen protest against two books which are on my favorites list…and I am confused as hell as to why because the option to have books without these scenes is an option. But instead, some have gone after complete removal… Why?!

Up first, beautiful Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” … a brilliant start to the rest of her autobiography, is a story of her hardships growing up, in sum. As a young child she was went through the traumatic experience of being raped… I admit, it did send me into flashbacks and it was hard to read- but it helped me heal and grow. Her bravery in sharing her story gave me strength; and I am sure it has others, too.

In my opinion, the point of including this in her book -despite the fact that it is part of her life story, and life is not beautiful for all of us- the point is to show all she has overcome, all she rose above, and to let other victims know they can change the status of “victim” to “survivor” just as she did. Not to mention, being a victim of abuse, including rape, is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. It is a horrific thing, but the victim should not have to pay for it with silence!

Maya Angelou is an inspiring, beautiful soul whom could be of help to many teenagers, especially females, whom are abused, feel or are outcast for whatever reason…it could serve as a resource of hope that on the other side of tragedy and trauma there is hope and success…but you must not give up, you must fight, even when you’ve fallen to your very lowest point. Though I love all of her auto-biographical books, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is my favorite. I read it on my own accord (and thanks to Tupac, my role model) when I was about 15 or 16 for the first time, and though as I said, it was hard to get through that section…in the end, I was *truly* better for it.

The sad reality is rape happens too frequently in society, but victims are made to feel as if we should be shamed and remain silent over this traumatic event we do NOT ask for.

Maya Angelou’s book, with a warning label, or as noted, a censored version at most;  could help many students who struggle with being bullied, targeted, or who also suffer or have suffered abuse. It isn’t for a 6 year old to read; but is something I believe every school library should have on the shelf. It is not a book that should be banned, I am at a loss for words over it.

So… Second banned book that blows my mind is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Since this amazing novel first came out it has caused controversy, according to the reason list, religious viewpoint is the main reason and “homosexuality”.

First, even if it were a book about two homosexuals, there should be no issue; however, it isn’t about homosexuality at all. The scene they are referring to is a violent scene of rape and sodomy. Keep in mind, instead of banning the books parents DO have the right to request a version without this scene. Again, not a book for 6 year old’s but the book is a brilliant novel of loyalty, cowardice, true friendship, betrayal, hurt and finally, setting out to right one’s wrongs.

Without the scene above, however, the book loses a lot of the impact. That’s fine, again, I’m not suggesting children have the opportunity to read it in full detail, but older students should have the option to at least read the book, even if the take the scene out.

Another reason listed for the ban is because of its “religious viewpoint” which makes no sense to me. What I think they really mean to say is, the book is based in modern day Afghanistan; a world the American government apparently wants to portray as nothing but “evil terrorists”- this book shows it for what it is…

A home to civilians, people just like you and me, who do not go out killing people for religion or any other reason.

Though agreed the books contents when speaking of rape probably aren’t the best for a 7 year old, what about reading it as a high school student? With, or without, the scene?

Around the time of the books release it was made part of the curriculum for an advanced class of high school students in Florida. But someone’s parents saw the book and caused an uproar about it. Again, I understand the rape scene is iffy, but we aren’t talking about children reading it… we are talking about high school students… Here is what two of these students had to say about The Kite Runner:

( from article on http://www.wjhg.com)

“…students say the book is relevant especially in today’s times.

Sophomore Zack Urenda says, “This is like the real word. This is what goes on in other countries and it really opens your eyes with the war.”

Sophomore Miles Sims says, “So we know what’s going on in the world. That’s what parents always complain about; you don’t know what’s going on in the world and everything. These books teach us that.”

A good book will take some to places they’ve been and help them see they aren’t alone; or it may take some to places never seen or imagined and teach them what it’s like, make them think and wonder. Books help us understand realities we otherwise may never know. The complete removal of these two books in any school is heartbreaking and outrageous to me.

As with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the novel The Kite Runner, is brilliantly written and absolutely engulfing book. A sad, yet inspiring, thought-provoking novel written by a truly talented author.

Point of this rant: I cannot believe these two books are on the list of banned books… I am sure there are more that I would found equally outrageous, but those two are enough for me to rant on now. An auto-biography by a strong, resilient woman and a novel by a brilliant author touching on the issue of loyalty and what it means… Neither belong on the banned list. Take the horrific scenes out if it is right for said students, but to rip the ENTIRE books from their hands? That is way too extreme, and absolutely depressing to me.

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