Or, Yes and No.
One of the YA authors I follow, Maureen Johnson, has had a book, Bermudez Triangle, banned from school library in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. One parent filled out a sheet asking the book to be pulled…even though there were two other options available, one to prevent the child from checking out the book, and another to have a committee review it.
Click here to read the parent’s comments, as well as the author’s.
As Miss Johnson says, “I happen to find homophobia shocking and appalling. I think it is morally corrupt. I would like to see it removed. Where is my form?”
Banning, boycotting, anti-ism, and writing nastygrams are all forms of saying no. No can be a good word…but it’s not all that and a bag of chips. You don’t want your kids exposed to the idea homosexuality isn’t evil, so you stand up for what you believe in and say, “No!” Fine. But when you stand up and say “No!” for more than just your own kid–you’re wrong.
Lee and Ray and I went to a parent-orientation meeting at her school last night, where a Mrs. Fluffy* read a bunch of handouts out loud. One of the themes was the importance of letting your child have independence**. How does banning books lead to the development of your child? Okay, bigger question: how does acting like a tyrant lead to the development of your child? Ray’s not a teenager yet, but my experience so far has been that a constant influx of “No!” doesn’t lead to anything good. There has to be some “Yes!” Not just “…well, okay.” Not just “Here’s something fun, which will totally replace your tendencies to do something inappropriate.” But laughing at the occaisional pee joke (her current fad), sticking our tongues out at each other, showing your real feelings rather that just what a parent “should” show…these things seem to make the transitions easier.
There does have to be some “no.” (And, in our case, a lot of “Okay, that’s enough now. I said, enough. Now. Now. Okay, you’re in trouble now…”) But “No!” should be rare. And the “No!” that covers my kid should be even more limited. Because she isn’t your kid, and you don’t get to make decisions for any of us.
If you’re crazy enough to keep your kid locked up, be it physically or mentally, have fun dealing with the consequences–one of which will be a lack of respect when they finally do step out on their own. But don’t try to force me to raise a kid as screwed up as yours will be. I’m going for “the ability to make her own decisions” over “fear of fags,” thanks.
*Not her real name. Not Ray’s future teacher.
**And the importance of being able to wipe properly after using the toilet (which seems to be approximately three times as important as independence).