Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It's not exactly banned, but just removed from their curriculum. It will still be found in the school's library.

Yup, banned is very different from 'removed from reading list'.

There are lots of books that aren't on the reading list.

Are they all "banned"?

No; however, they aren't on the reading list for potentially different reasons. This book (I have not read it) was on the reading list, but has now been stripped from the reading list because someone didn't like it and was vocal about this.

A very contrived example of a similar vein would be: Cooking with a Microwave isn't on the reading list. 1984 isn't on the reading list because some bureaucrat didn't like how it portrayed the government.

Again, I have not read this book and know nothing of how it portrays individuals in it, except that some person didn't like this portrayal. I know nothing of the accuracy of the portrayal, the intention of the portrayal or anything like that. I am attempting to create two instances of a book "not being on the reading list" and their absence from it being due to two starkly different reasons. Any reading beyond that is a misunderstanding and a misrepresentation of what I said and attempted to say

My point is that "banned" requires some attempt to interfere with access.

Taking something off a reading list isn't interfering with access. ("They won't read it if it isn't on the list" doesn't change things as it applies to everything that's not on the list and you're arguing that the reason matters.)

There's nothing wrong with objecting to how a reading list is selected, but no matter what the reason, that process does not ban anything.

Yes labelling something as a "ban" has persuasive power, but that doesn't make the label accurate.

Such mis-labelling actually makes it harder to get people to react to actual wolves, so to speak.

You're right, it isn't banning. How would you describe it? If we are to raise a banner against this person's effect on their area, we need to have a precise word that not only describes what's going on, but also reflects to the reader the strength of the defender's stance.

> but also reflects to the reader the strength of the defender's stance.

I don't know what you're trying to say here. Is it equivalent to "the person making the decision is a bad person and the person objecting is a good person"?

If you're claiming that the reason for the decision is bad, shouldn't you argue that point with some specificity? (There are lots of reasons why a decision might be bad - surely you should mention which ones apply.)

Why do we need a banner? Is the cause so lost that we must resort to equivalent rhetoric to win the book back to the reading list? And would a banner even be useful? For something nearly equivalent to a banner, how about mailing a bunch of copies of the book to everyone responsible for getting it removed.

My guess is that the sole objection was the parts that describe the casual, multi-partner sex that's encouraged in the civilized world. The author's attitude towards the practice probably doesn't matter to the people who want this to remain unread by high school students.

> This book (I have not read it)

You really should. It's a very good one. But don't ask me for anti-depressants when you finish it.

Defacto ban.

I'm not sure why this is being voted down... maybe because there isn't anything to back it up. But, I do think in a way it is a defacto ban. There will be some kids who seek out this book, but chances are those are not the kids that need to read this book. When you take important literature out of the classroom, you are preventing the kids who would at least pick up the main ideas from getting at those main ideas.

Edit: Just realized a key difference, I'm used to the GCSE reading lists not the US-style 'Required' Reading list. I remember getting Terry Pratchett novels in my reading list.

A defacto ban is "We're removing it from our reading list, removing it from our library... but we not discouraging our students from reading the book". Removing it from a reading list isn't a defacto ban, it's modernization. If the kids at a specific school don't seem to respond well to a text, PULL IT. I don't care what text, even if it's one of my own beloveds just PULL IT and put in something the children will read and will learn from.

Brave New World is a classic, beyond perhaps, but if kids today aren't learning from it then so long. For every new book that goes on the list, an old one is going to come off of it. I'd much rather see kids get something like Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett that they'll respond to. Fuck, give them Harry Potter or a goddamn Halo novel if the kids will actually read it.

> If the kids at a specific school don't seem to respond well to a text, PULL IT.

That seems like a very weird understanding of education to me. The whole point of the exercise is getting children to read something they might otherwise miss. If students oppose a book's content - very good, you have a debate running, and you can clearly learn from that (e.g., Huxley's use of the term savages does not dehumanize them, quite the contrary).

Education is not about taking the easy path to something, it's about taking the hard path, and learning on the way.

> Huxley's use of the term savages does not dehumanize them, quite the contrary

I would go as far and explain those parents who are so afraid of it, that it's just a word that means something for the "civilized" characters of the book that's very different than it means to us or them.

And that "civilized" is also just a word.

Meaning is in the brain of the reader. A book is only dehydrated knowledge. You have to add a brain to it.

But the problem with your argument is that, at least according to the article, the kids don't have a problem with the book. It's just one parent who doesn't like it and is preventing it from being assigned.

Sorry, it's just the opposite:

> it seems a Native American student who was required to read the book took issue with the its depiction of native people. The girl's mom, Sarah Sense-Wilson, agreed...

The child misunderstood the terminology being used and the parent likely didn't read the book to comprehend the difference. However, on face value we have no way of understanding the full situation. Is this a school with a high-percentage of native students where the terminology, time and time again will be misunderstood?

Just because this is the first student to complain and the first parent to be a decent enough (if misguided) parent to actually follow through with their child's complaint, doesn't mean this isn't the first child to be turned off in this school from the terminology.

Change 'Savage' to Nigger and you'll offend black students in other areas, perhaps Chink and you'll offend Asian students. It just happens that this book has bad terminology for the students that were reading it that is preventing at least this student from getting to the meaning behind the words.

Furthermore, this could all have been avoided by competent teachers. Perhaps introducing the book before requiring students to read it would have avoided this. We're dealing with 80 year old books with 80 year old social mores and terms. You're going to get problems sooner or later somewhere or other. It's inevitable, get over it assign a different book with the same message.

Or keep the book and hire competent teachers. And then pay those competent teachers the salary they deserve for training the next generation.

Yes, but that would require people to actually want to pay taxes for the things they want. It would be like paying for competent non-tazer psycho cops.

Americans pay more for their crappy schools and incompetent teachers than every other rich country in the world pays for their good schools and competent teachers.

Yes, but that's just because the government butt-fucks unions. I've never seen any country that actively worships its unions as badly as America. If automobile unions didn't have such huge wages and crazy pensions and benefits, the auto-sector wouldn't have collapsed from being ridiculously uncompetitive. The only reason the school sector hasn't collapsed is because it's not selling anything to go broke off of.

It's notable that the US is one of the few countries where private schools have a huge lead on public schools. I remember when I was in highschool in the UK that it actually came out that (on average) private school students graduated a grade-average lower than public school students. It's good if you're in a slum area, but if you're in a slum area you don't have the money to pay for private school to begin with.

Exactly. The purpose of removing this book from the reading list is to reduce the exposure the student body has to it. The intended effects of "removing the book from the reading list" and "banning the book" are identical.

Because the intent is the same, it should be treated and vilified as a ban.

Really banning it would be a more effective tool to make sure that more students read it.

Only mentioning because a few have repeated the error: it's de facto, 2 words. But I agree that's the right interpretation of what's going on.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact