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Censorship in Classrooms

January 06, 1991

In response to The Times' editorial "We Need a Policy, Not a Fire" (Dec. 26), I would wholeheartedly agree. However, I think that it is the power of being negative and self-righteous that motivates most censorship. The reason censors give is that they are protecting young minds, but it is the fear of ideas among some older minds, ideas which often produce social change, that is the real reason. The secondary student has to be in school or he breaks the law. Consequently, the censor-minded person can blackmail the publisher.

But when the student or students go to college, as more are doing all the time, and receive literature and history without blinders on, they feel cheated, and often say so. I taught literature for more than 30 years to college freshmen and sophomores and not once did I have someone (students or relatives) object to a book I assigned. But the censor could not blackmail me or the college because the student did not have to be there.

The reason the right hated Franklin Roosevelt was not economics (the New Deal saved capitalism); it was social. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and World War II began the process of social change and led to the Civil Rights Bill, Voting Rights Act and the women's liberation movement.

BOYD COLLINS, Arcadia

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