As I sit here listening to “Beneath, Between, and Behind,” I just finished reading “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” a librarian’s extraordinarily thoughtful response to a woman who objected to a book that presented an uncle’s changing relationship to a child, presumably (and logically) on the basis that the relationship was a homosexual one.
The librarian’s response is unbelievably well-done. I’ve not read the book in question, mind, but I’m a big believer in the freedom of ideas, even ideas I don’t agree with. (Ideas I find harmful are, well, obviously ideas I consider to be harmful, but others may have different views of that…)
The thought of censoring a book is a precipice I’d rather avoid. After all, Huckleberry Finn – a book that’s really, really, super-duper, really, extremely scathing towards racism, uses a lot of concepts that people find offensive, and would ban… but banning the book would allow ideas like racism to be unchecked!
I’m willing to tolerate ideas like “The negroes are equal to us whites” and “Women can vote” – and even ideas like “Them blacks oughter get back ta Africar whar they done come from” and “Womens belong in de kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.”
I think that regardless of how stupid people really are, in the combat of ideas the most fair ones win out. It may take centuries. It may take culture conflicts, maybe even death for some/many (American Civil War, anyone?) but I think the equality before the eyes of many is enough to grant victory to the ideas more deserving, as long as their defenders are reasoned.