Book Burning Integration Day


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Book Burning "There, where one burns books, one will come to burn people." -- Heinrich Heine Integration Day Isabelle Berman and Elisha Penn

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The Importance of Books Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day. – The Shadow of the Wind p. 484 Books tell stories, teach information, and entertain readers. Most importantly, books inspire thought and emotion. Reading is food for the soul: it nourishes the human intellect. Readers gain insight into various topics and are provided with alternative perspectives on many issues. Books enable the public to probe controversial topics and analyze all aspects of public life. People develop their thoughts and opinions from books. Authors then have a unique voice. They communicate their own personal view of the world through writing. A large audience may read an author’s work in which case his or her word can have a profound effect on society.

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Why are books burned? Danger and Threat The book’s message is considered “dangerous” to public welfare. However, it is more likely that the message is simply threatening to that society’s regime. To Create Unity The government only publishes books with specific opinions, banning and burning others. Individual exploration is suppressed, so the society will have a universal mindset. It is a nation united by opinions and beliefs. For Example: Jewish History The Church constantly targeted the Gemara as heretical material, stating that it irrationalizes the Bible so that Christianity is illegitimate. King Louis IX burned hundreds of Ashkenaz Talmuds in France. Ashkenaz Jews had the Church burn Rambam’s books, for they reconciled Aristotle with Judaism. Most Jews were not in favor of Aristotle because of his stark contradictions to Judaism. Rambam’s books were highly controversial. For Example: American History Black slaves were completely forbidden to read. American society did not want the slave community to acquire knowledge, begin to think, and then develop ideas on freedom and human rights. These thoughts were suppressed as better to control the slave population. For Example: Jewish History King Antiochus tries to strengthen the Jewish nation by uniting all the small tribes under one mind. Antiochus burns Torah scrolls because they are contrary to his opinions. They are not what he wants the nation to follow. The Torah’s presence and knowledge was threatening to his “united” nation because it enabled people to formulate their own beliefs.

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Modern Book Burning: Censorship Burning books was no longer an efficient way of banning books once the printing press was invented. The books would simply be printed again easily, quickly, and in large quantities. Instead, books began being censored: cen·sor   [sen-ser] noun an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds. Verb (used with object) to examine and act upon as a censor. to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as a censor. More simply, it is the “protection” of the family, the religion, or the state by controlling information flow. BANNED

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Censorship in America: Yes or No? First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” The First Amendment enables the American people to express themselves as individuals: Freedom of Religion Freedom of Speech Freedom of Press Right to Assemble Right to Petition the Government Freedom of Information Act Passed in 1966 First Law giving Americans the right to access the record of Federal Agencies FOIA applies only to federal agencies. It does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies. FOIA is intended to promote transparency in government so the public has the ability to hold it accountable for its actions Banned or Censored Books: Little Red Riding Hood Tarzan Snow White Harry Potter Catcher in the Rye The Adventured of Huckleberry Finn The Lord of the Flies Certain books are banned because they have features that challenge established values. Conservative groups consider these books inappropriate for children, who should grow up with the conventional, Christian values. (1 – 4) School boards censor, and even ban, certain highly educational books in the curriculum because parents do no want their children exposed to the negative behavior. (5-7) Political Correctness: Crippled  Handicapped  Disabled  Physically Challenged. Negro  Colored  Black  African American Black gang-members, wearing gold chains, and listening to rap music. Common image of female-dominated occupations (nurse, secretary, teacher) Common image of male-dominated occupations (IT workers, military, mechanics, professionals) Political Correctness is considered the liberalist version of the degradation of Freedom of Speech. It is the alteration of one’s choice of words in order to avoid either offending a group of people or reinforcing a stereotype considered to be disadvantageous to that group. Political correctness is imposed to prevent recognition of differences among gender, religion, belief system, sexual orientation, and nationality. However, even with freedom of expression and laws favoring transparency and open-mindedness in society, books and language continue to be censored and banned.

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Altogether, the United States has done a remarkable job in preserving its citizens rights to information and publishing, unheard of in many countries around the world. While the First Amendment is sometimes seen as a controversial Amendment, allowing corporations to make unlimited campaign donations or evangelists to protest at the funerals of soldiers declaring them hell-bound, it still protects many rights that most US citizens take for granted. Censorship in America: Yes or No?

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Conclusion: By burning and banning books, the government controls the flow of information. As a result, the government commands the mind of the people. By banning books the government takes away an individuals right to express himself, destroying the person’s democratic rights. Specifically, an author whose book is banned loses his or her freedom of speech and expression. To live in a free democratic society, freedom of expression must be granted to everyone. Once one established right begins to be cut, the denial of other liberties will follow. To maintain one’s own freedom and civil rights, should stand up for others, guaranteeing that everybody has the entitlement to conventional liberties.