Our Take On Book Bans
Book banning is censorship and suppression of free speech. It is a limitation of critical thinking skills. Calls for banning certain books leads to discrimination and bias where one person's personal beliefs trump all others. It has impacts on literacy and reading habits.
The current atmosphere, fueled by the social media echo chamber and well funded groups like Moms for Liberty, is toxic and we don't step into it without some trepidation. It isn't our idea of a lovely work day to have to respond to comments telling us to "stick to selling shirts" and "stay out of politics." Luckily for us, our customers do most of that responding for us.
So why take a position on this issue at all? For one, what we sell as a product, the t-shirt, the tote bag, sticker or magnet, can be a billboard for what one believes and wishes to express to the world around them. Most of the time for us it's the love (and many times tough love) for New Orleans. However, sometimes like today, it's more political in nature. Using commerce as community commentary.
As parents ourselves we understand the need to protect and help curate the experiences and influences on our kids. If we found a book to not be appropriate for our son or daughter we would address it with our kid. We would explain why, but also ask why they wanted to read and learn about that subject.
We believe as parents we have the right to help direct OUR child's education, but not EVERY child's education.
The current calls for book bans are directed at works that address lifestyles that critics view as not age appropriate or simply not acceptable in society. It is as if the removal of any reference to slavery or the existence of queer culture will magically make those issues go away.
In the crossfire of this current toxic environment are the teachers and librarians who are simply trying to make the stories and experiences found in these books available to those who wish to learn more about them. We are listening to them and what they have to say about access to these books.
Librarians and Teachers on Censorship:
- School and library book bans will have a negative impact on children’s intellectual, social, and emotional development, and can limit their ability to engage with the world around them in a meaningful and critical way.
- Book bans limit students' exposure to diverse ideas and perspectives, which is necessary for their intellectual and emotional growth.
- Banned books may contain important information and perspectives on issues that students need to be aware of in order to fully engage with the world around them.
- Students need to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints and perspectives in order to develop critical thinking skills.
- Book bans can limit their ability to analyze and evaluate different arguments and ideas, which can hinder their development as independent thinkers.
- Banning books can be seen as an act of censorship and a violation of free speech. It sends the message that certain ideas or perspectives are not welcome or acceptable in the school environment, which can have a chilling effect on open and honest discourse.
- Book bans can often be motivated by biases or prejudices against certain groups or ideas. This can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and limit students' exposure to diverse cultures, histories, and perspectives. There is already a lack of empathy in the world, that has had horrible impacts on individual and societal quality of life.
- Book bans can discourage students from reading and developing a love for literature.
- By limiting their access to books, students may become disengaged from the learning process and miss out on the many benefits of reading, including improved literacy, communication, and empathy skills.
Louisiana is ranked 48 in educational academic performance.
These bans are a distraction from the real changes we need to see in our schools. Changes that would prepare the next generations to enter into a loving and sustainable society, including but not limited to employment opportunities, financial stability, and economic independence.
One of the books that Moms for Liberty is calling to have banned from school libraries is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. If you believe that limiting access to Vonnegut is an important cause to champion then we are wondering what you had for breakfast?