I have a few small points to make this fine Sunday afternoon. I woke up to a strangely high amount of blog updates on Google Reader and found myself worked up by what I was reading. Typically, I’d leave these issues alone and rant about it to my mom, but this time I wanted to add one more voice to this conversation.
1. I will never attend Missouri State University if Mr. Wesley Scroggins is representative of the university as a whole, and the university’s ideals.
In this same way, I would never attend Marquette University for offering Seattle University professor Jodi O’Brien a dean’s position, only to revoke it because her academic work contains “strongly negative statements about marriage and family.” These comments of hers support same-sex marriage. If Rev. Robert A. Wild wants to allow O’Brien’s sexuality to impact the decision to take back the job offer, then I believe that can represent the university’s vision for the future.
I want a future where there is truth and justice for all. This includes allowing books like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak into libraries, schools, curriculum, and the hands of children and young adults around the world.
2. Go Ask Alice is a book I will never forget.
Not because of the because of the content, but because of the reality. It was true and it was tangible. It was cautionary and it was powerful. It dealt with content I believe many parents don’t want their children to be exposed to–but we are exposed to it.
Don’t understimate your children, or any child. We know about drugs. We know about sex. We know about rape. Sometimes we know way before we are graced with the knowledge from our parents. This information is completely free and it comes from friends, it comes from movies, it comes from television, it comes from experience, and, well, it comes from the Internet.
Books like Go Ask Alice and Anderson’s Speak are books that aren’t exposing the content, they are dealing with it in a way parents would never, ever will. These books are raw and real and they teach children the how rather than the what. How to deal with drugs and rape, rather than what drugs and rape are.
There is so much horrible in this world. The only way to get rid of it is to acknowledge it. Listen to people when they say something is wrong and maybe people won’t be so afraid to speak up. We need to learn how to deal with these things–not throw them into the trash because we don’t know how to yet.
3. When people are speaking, you have to listen.
We are not listening if we’re not even allowing people to speak.
You can read other posts about this issue from Laurie Halse Anderson herself, and from amazing other writers like Myra McEntire, Veronica Roth, C.J. Redwine, and T.H. Mafi. A YA book reviewer, Tahleen, speaks about it here, and Casey McCormick addresses it here. Literary Agents Cheryl Klein, Janet Reid, and Suzie Townsend urge others to speak out, as well as agent assistant The Rejectionist. Editor Eric talks about “Sticking it to the Ban.” Now, it’s your turn to speak.