Sunday, November 19, 2006

Gay Penguins Attacked Again!

Yup, And Tango Makes Three, that picture book about a family of gay penguins, has been targeted yet again. Here's the gist of this argument:
"Please allow us to know when our child is ready for certain introductions," said parent Lilly Del Pinto in an interview Wednesday. "Each of us knows our child best."

Del Pinto said she started reading the book to her kindergartner, who brought it home from the school library earlier in the semester. Mom was surprised by the tale that unfolded.

"When it came to the point where the zookeeper saw that the penguins were in love, I redirected (my daughter)," she said. "That was the end of the story for her."

Del Pinto said she's not against gay people nor does she want the book completely banned from the library. But when a child learns about homosexuality should be up to parents, she said.

She and a group of like-minded parents approached the Shiloh School Board on Tuesday with their concerns.

A committee of school employees and a parent suggested the book be moved to a separate shelf, requiring parent permission before checkout.

Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw rejected the proposal. She said the School Board will look at general library policies, but "Tango" will likely remain on the shelf.
There is a patina of logic to this idea that "parents should be the ones to decide when and how a child learns about homosexuality." But upon closer inspection, the idea of patently absurd. Yes, parents have every right to teach their kids their own views on homosexuality. But to require that the rest of the world never say anything about the topic--that no resources whatsoever be available for gay families and their supporters? How would that work exactly? And why stop at homosexuality? Why couldn't parents argue that they should be the ones to first expose their kids to all "controversial" ideas--which really means all ideas that anyone anywhere might find controversial? That means no evolution, no Harry Potter, no sex ed of any kind, and, yes, no talk of religion or any religious holiday. And if that's the case, why have schools at all? Why not just have all parents teach their own kids?

Another point. When a book is placed on "restricted access" in a library, that means that circulation will inevitably decline, regardless of what the subject matter of the book is. Which means there is less incentive to buy related materials. Which is what this debate is really all about: suppress and censor any positive or even neutral portrayal of homosexuality.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jordyn (aka crazytown) said...

I've agreed with everything I've read on AS IF! so far. Except this. I believe the parent had every right to bring this book to the library's attention. We have to remember that she was reading it to her YOUNG CHILD and while she could have used the opportunity to teach her child, she didn't have to. There really is such a thing as "age appropriate" material, especially at such young ages. I'm not saying the book should be moved to a different shelf, I'm just saying that parents have every right to not want their children to read it - and to think that other parents might agree with them.

12:28 PM  
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