Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Censorship to the extreme

In the news: School bans dictionary in classrooms because a parent complained of a graphic entry (link to article )
Allow me to get upon my soapbox for a moment: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is wrong on so many levels:
1. Aside from the particular phrase in question I have no doubt that there are many other "graphic" words in dictionaries, thesauruses (I don't know if that is the correct plural, I'm afraid my dictionary has seemed to have banned itself and disappeared) and encyclopedias -- so we should ban all reference material?
We could just eliminate everything in these books that people might find offensive -- let's get rid of anatomical terms, descriptions of famous battles, explanation of religions, that will be very helpful.

2. Isn't it somewhat encouraging to see a child look up an unfamiliar term in the dictionary? Yes, I realize that this particular term is not age appropriate, and so they learn what it means -- does that cause the child to immediately go and try it out? (I'd think that a majority of kids would be grossed out by this particular act). I'm not a parent so I can't begin to understand how to talk to kids about these topics, but isn't this an opening to a conversation?

When I was a kid, we all looked through different dictionaries in our class and in the library to see if we could find "bad" words. Most of the time we came up empty. But we were curious, a natural childhood instinct, and I think that by banning the most basic of information sources is a great way to stunt this curiosity.

Rant over. Thank you for paying attention.


  1. I saw that too. Could not believe it. Wow. Where do we want kids to find the definition to such words? Google it? Not a good idea.

  2. I also heard this on the radio the same morning you posted it and I also thought: Really? Are you kidding?


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