Saturday, January 27, 2007

Harry Potter and the Censorship Battle

I listen to Harry Potter podcasts made by the staff of The Leaky Cauldron. These podcasts are usually focused on the books, theories about the upcoming book and movie, interviews with those involved in the movies and interviews with fans of the series.

There has been news lately about the efforts of Laura Mallory, a Georgia woman who has been working for over a year to remove the Harry Potter books from the Georgia school system list of approved reading books. Her suit has been denied by various Georgia educational and judicial bodies.

The Leaky Cauldron recently posted a link to Mallory's editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. You can read her thoughts on the topic here.

I don't agree with Mallory's fear of the Harry Potter books. While my children haven't started reading the books themselves yet, they have seen bits of the movies here at home. Sarah and Grace have both spent a good amount of time imagining themselves as characters in the HP universe, with my assistance and encouragement. I don't have any fears that they are being seduced by any "evil" that is portrayed in the book series. I am also very secure in my ability to explain to them the moral dilemmas and motivations exhibited by each character. Both of my girls are young and I am able to effectively monitor what they see on television, what they read, and where they go on the internet. As they get older, my ability to oversee that will decrease, but I can only hope that my interactions with them now will help guide their decisions as they age. I choose not to let them live in fear and won't live in fear for what they may encounter in a world that promotes values that don't always agree with mine.

But that is part of the educational process and a very important part of being a parent. I need to let my kids know that there are people in the world that disagree with me (and with them), that there are people who make different choices then I (we) make. But we believe that those people have the right to make their choices, just as we have the right to make our own. I hope Mrs. Mallory doesn't condemn me for the choices I make, just as I will try to teach my children not to condemn her for the choices that she makes.

What I don't like, ultimately, is Mrs. Mallory's desire to deny choice and her belief that she is in a better position to choose for children than their parents are.

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