I was looking through the news trying to find something to get worked up over.
I was bummed that the Ravens and 49ers lost yesterday, preventing a Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Super Bowl and plenty of media stories about their time helping their Dad at Western. There’s the fact that Newt Gingrich might actually be president. Then there was another embarrassing incident involving our own U.S. Senator, Rand Paul. I’m no UK basher, but there’s the fact the the Wildcats will be named the new #1 in the country today, while U of L should be dropped from the Top 25.
But then I came across this story on WLKY.com, about how a parent got herself all outraged because a book assigned to her 14-year-old daughter because one of the characters masturbates, and the book contains some talk about . . . sex.
The book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” has won a National Book Award and been praised for how it deals with the topics of alcoholism, racism and poverty. And there’s some sex in it, which is what got Ms. Vincent riled up enough to complain to JCPS about the book.
From WLKY – “I was angry. I was enraged,” said Vincent. “She knows about a boy and a girl, she knows about sex. But she doesn’t know the details of masturbation.”
I’ve never been a fan of censorship, or sheltering kids from the real world, or parents who try to protect kids from the realities of life. In fact, I’m going to find out if the book is on my 14-year-old son’s curriculum, and if not, will encourage him to read it.
Author Sherman Alexie, in a defense of the book posted in the Wall Street Journal, addressed the idea of exposing adult themes this way: “Of course, all during my childhood, would-be saviors tried to rescue my fellow tribal members. They wanted to rescue me. But, even then, I could only laugh at their platitudes. In those days, the cultural conservatives thought that KISS and Black Sabbath were going to impede my moral development. They wanted to protect me from sex when I had already been raped. They wanted to protect me from evil though a future serial killer had already abused me. They wanted me to profess my love for God without considering that I was the child and grandchild of men and women who’d been sexually and physically abused by generations of clergy.”
JCPS, when asked about the book, said it was signed off on by the Site-Based Decision Making Council, and that parents were sent permission slips regarding the book. Vincent, of course, denies getting one. The good news is that JCPS isn’t changing its policy on the book.