Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Being Cultured

Posted by chinesecanuck on July 28, 2008

This is pretty much part two of my earlier post on stereotypes.  Many people feel that it’s necessary to avoid certain works because they contain characters, storylines, etc which are no longer considered politically correct.  My question to them is this: What the heck are we supposed to read/watch/listen to?  Are we going to have to avoid everything created before the 1970s?  How the heck are we even supposed to be “cultured” if we do that?  Do we not give a child piano lessons because most of the composers were Christian and wrote music for the church?  Do we homeschool the kid because they’re going to be reading works by writers from the past, whose works will, in the eyes of someone in the twenty-first century, not be PC?  Why keep kids away from them when you can discuss why it’s wrong?

Honestly, people who believe these things bother me.  It’s a form of censorship, IMHO.  Keeping a kid in the dark is no better than sanctioning such behaviour.  In high school, I read a novel for English class called The Wars.  This Timothy Findley book is about a young Canadian man who fights in WWI.  The novel is very graphic, especially towards the end.  Yet, it was part of the English curriculum at my high school, an all girls’ independent school.  You’d think that the English department would prefer us reading books which are “cleaner.”  However, the English department wanted us to broaden our horizons.  Many of the books we read were not exactly appropriate for teenage girls.  In fact, some were even banned in schools at one point (Cather in the Rye, for example).  So you don’t want your kid exposed to stereotypes.  However, as I said in the earlier post, everything CAN BE A STEREOTYPE.  Or are some stereotypes just “better” than others? 

IMHO, people who ban certain material from others because they feel that it would negatively affect their outlook on a culture (or cultures) or because they feel that it’s racist/stereotypical are just not exposed enough.  They aren’t cultured enough and/or fail to understand that there’s more than one interpretation.  And to me, it is really sad.  To deny another person exposure to something because one only sees something ONE WAY is denying someone the ability to express how they feel.  It’s denying the person a learning opportunity to discuss why something is wrong/inappropriate.  It’s denying someone AN EDUCATION.

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2 Responses to “Being Cultured”

  1. ATL said

    It’s interesting that you believe people who choose not to view works with stereotypes in them are being too “politically correct” or even sanctioning censorship.

    You should check your own comments policy:

    “Please note that not all comments are going to be approved for my posts. If your posts are deemed to be personal attacks, contain racist, sexist, ageist, etc terminology meant to attack the OP or other people who have commented, YOUR COMMENT WILL NOT BE POSTED! If I see too many of these posts from you, YOU WILL BE BANNED!”

    How about permitting all comments–no matter how racist, sexist, or offensive etc.–be posted on this blog.

    As you yourself said, “To deny another person exposure to something because one only sees something ONE WAY is denying someone the ability to express how they feel. It’s denying the person a learning opportunity to discuss why something is wrong/inappropriate. It’s denying someone AN EDUCATION.”

  2. ATL,

    I have recently received several comments. I’ll definitely take them into consideration. However, I have had replies that were SO racist/sexist/ageist that they really shouldn’t be in print. As for personal attacks, well, they belong in the world of instant messaging and e-mail.

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