Pizza & Politics: Banned Books

Pizza and Politics was held on Wednesday, Feb 7 in the Leavitt Center. This week’s discussion was on banning books.

Victoria Stephens, a sophomore political science major and history minor, led the discussion with Cynthia Hawk. Hawk is a junior graphic design major and illustration minor.

Stephens began the discussion by asking the audience, should banning books be a violation of the First Amendment?

Miles Anderson, a Master’s of Public Administration grad student answered the first question saying, “It depends on the type of setting and the context in the book. Banning certain books to a younger audience in a school setting is okay because maybe they are not be mature enough to read that particular book.

The parents and teachers of the younger audience need to know what’s going on and what’s appropriate for them. However, banning a certain book in a public library is totally different because you are not required to read that book.”

The next question asked by Hawk was, should controversial books be incorporated in a school curriculum?

Lizzie Lee, a junior double major in political science and strategic communications, answered this question saying, “A book being controversial shouldn’t be the focus. The focus should be on the literature or the purpose of the book to teach the students a message behind what they’re reading.”

Stephens then asked the audience how is society impacted by book regulations?

Sarian Jackson, a sophomore criminal justice major, was called upon to answer the question saying, “Society is impacted negatively because certain books create people to become open minded depending on the context in the book. I have friends whose parents are racist and because they’ve read certain books regarding race, discrimination of color and have the ‘want’ to learn and understand me and things like that, they are totally different than their parents [sic].”

Hawk finished the discussion asking the last question with “Should banning books be a violation of the First Amendment?”

Before students were called upon for their opinion, Hawk shared the five reasons of banning books in the U.S., us the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” as an example.

The five reasons for banning books in the U.S. were social, political, sexual, religious and security concerns.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” was banned because it showed themes in the book of racism, rape, disability stereotypes, incest and violence.

Sadie Sanchez, a junior double majoring in political science and information systems, said, “This list is very inconsistent. The purpose of these books are for an educational setting. I understand this book has some explicit content but the book set place in the deep south in America during the 1930’s, which was [an] extremely racist and hateful time period.”

Pizza and Politics runs in the Leavitt Center every Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. Join us next week to express your views, listen and, most importantly, learn.

Story by Markiece Gross
Photo Credit Christopher Dimond