Censorship Within America

The first time America saw censorship was in 1907, when Chicago enacted the first censorship ordinance, authorizing the police to screen all films and decide whether they should be permitted to play on the screens. After this seemingly small act of protection, censorship took on a platform of its own. The government now controls every aspect of what one sees daily, whether one is looking at the media, films, or even books. The following articles demonstrate the idea that censorship lies within all aspects of American culture, past and present, whether one acknowledges the actual extent of the censorship or not.

The first forms of censorship start at a young age, before child ages and watch the news, follows politics, etc. they go to school. School is where children get their first taste of censorship. This journal talks specifically about how books in schools are being censored. (Sloan, 2014). For example, an Illinois teacher was approached by angry parents with demands that the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger no longer be assigned as reading. The importance of this specific event was that the parents demanded the encounter not be seen as censorship. Many books, such as The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck; To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; as well as many others, are banned all across schools in America.

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, a black man was accused of raping a white woman. There was no proof of the action, yet the man never received a fair trial. A man decides to represent him and receives scrutiny from the entire town. If you look at the reasons why the book was banned, the reasons vary from “vulgar words” to “anti-white” to “filthy trashy novels”, but there’s no mention of the context in which the book was written. The reasons seemingly never involve the actual topic of the books, yet the books always seem to have a controversial back story.

Censorship in America is a part of the culture, past, and present. It has an underlying issue of hiding and banning things for ulterior reasons. The idea that there is no problem is spread through things like the first amendment. In reality, censorship is present in almost every aspect of American culture, from things like the media, films, and books.

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