Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 27-October 4: Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week again and in the spirit of intellectual freedom, I thought my loyal readers would be interested to know what the top ten challenged books (and why they were challenged) and authors in 2007 were; I encourage you to read one of them and enjoy knowing you're fighting against censorship and small-mindedness. Oh, and if these don't interest you, I'll put the link to the American Library Association on my links section so you can research a bit more and find one that does.
In ending this, I was wondering: what do you think of people who challenge books, why they challenge them, would you ever do so - I mean this as a community-wide thing, not prohibiting your kid for reading something you feel in inappropriate, and what you think of censorship in general? Also, notice why these books were challenged - who do you think did most of the challenging, why you think that, are they justified in their actions (their opinions are of course, their own, as I'm firmly pro-First Amendment).
Oh, and have you ever read any of these? What did you think?

The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Off the list this year, are two books by author Toni Morrison. "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved," both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007

1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar

Monday, September 22, 2008

White Privilege

I got this the other day and I thought it was hilarious and thought-provoking. McCain/Palin basically keeps scaring me more and more.

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege,or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

1. White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible,pathological and arbiters of social decay.

2. White privilege is when you can call yourself a "fuckin' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their fuckin' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot shit" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

3. White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

4. White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."

5. White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

6. White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

7. White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.

8. White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.

9. White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

10. White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

11. White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.

12. White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

13. White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it, a "light" burden.

14. And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Youth Librarianship

We've been talking in my youth library services class about what children's or young adult librarians are there for - what do they provide to kids. And one of our topics was a right to privacy - kids need to know that no one will know what they are using or checking out from the library. And how hard it can be, with parents who want to protect their kids, or don't think certain ages can read certain things, etc. I was wondering how any of you, loyal readers, might discuss this. I come at it from the librarian's perspective, so what about a parent's perspective, or someone who isn't either? If it helps, you'll be helping me in my graduate studies and toward being one of those people who will help your kids someday, maybe. Or kids like yours.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I love this.

Monty Python is hilarious. I'd forgotten. And the last one is a new comedian I've just found on YouTube that I find so, so, so funny!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Completely Boring Title

With school being all of a sudden very crazy, even for the second week, I haven't really had the chance to post anything. I DID get an interview for an assistantship, which will make my life so much better - it's a prestigious one also, and I'm very excited about it. Won't know for awhile, I guess, if I get it, or I might know tomorrow after my interview, providing it goes well.
Is anyone else really interested in this whole Palin thing? I read the New York Times article about how she was supposed to be the progressive part of McCain's campaign - you know, a woman vice president - and then about the interesting twist that conservatives are now having to do, precisely because she IS a woman. I'll provide the link.


It's, as they say, the Mommy Wars: Campaign Edition

And I know we've talked about motherhood: stay-at-home moms and should moms work, etc. And I was wondering what your thoughts were. I think it's very interesting how conservatives: usually the ones arguing about how mothers shouldn't work, and women should be in their "traditional" roles, etc. are now defending the more liberal view. Any views on this? Personally, I think, more power to her. I don't like her politics, but I like her feminism.