The above quote was stated by Tony Diaz, current hero and book smuggler. I am finding it hard to believe that I have not written about books in this infrequently updated blog, considering the fact that books and I are basically fused together. This week it is National Banned Books Week (in the USA, but whatever, I celebrate any and all cool holidays)!
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read- simple as that. I’m actually against censorship on moral grounds- I don’t believe a book should be banned or challenged because it has views or philosophies I don’t agree with. I don’t think it’s my place to play God on someone else’s library and I would never want to- I’m pretty sure I’d jump someone who tried to edit my library on the basis of their beliefs. I find it pretty telling that things like “And Tango Makes Three” are majorly challenged (a book about two male penguins who form a couple and are given an egg to raise which is based on two penguins in the NYC zoo) while “Mein Kampf” which was written by Adolf Hitler about his “struggles” in prison before he became leader for the Nazi Party are sitting in the stalls, sippin’ champagne.
That’s right- people object more to two actual gay penguins than they do to a white man who systematically murdered hundreds of thousands and whose name is synonymous with Satan. Good job humanity!
Anyway, for Banned Book Week this year I am reading “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau (My fave Transcendentalist! OMG Thoreau ILY <3), followed by “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by R. Delgado & J. Stefancic. Thoreau has been challenged in the past, and “Critical Race Theory” is currently banned in Texas and Arizona. In the case of Arizona (Tucson to be exact) the banning was due to the closing of the Mexican American program in Tucson, which is quite ridiculous. If you don’t believe me, let me have the Daily Show break it down for you. Librotraficante is an organization currently fighting to get those books back into the hands of students. What does it say of us as a nation that book smuggling still has to happen?
As is, Latinos are rarely given opportunities to bond with literature and look at it critically in a way that transforms them- and isn’t that one of the most wonderful things about literature- to understand yourself in relation to other people and things in a safe environment? To look critically at a world that (in Hispanic’s case anyway) is already rigged against you?
So, support Librotraficante. Read a banned book. Open your brain up to others- you won’t regret it.