Sunday, January 31, 2010

Censoring a Version of Anne Frank's Diary

The Washington Post has published an article about schools in a county in Virginia not teaching a version of Anne Frank's diary. Which sounds pretty awful. But! They're still teaching an older version, the one her father arranged which left out entries Culpeper County schools found 'sexually explicit'. So they're still using the older one, just not the one with the bits about her sexuality or unflattering things about her mother and other people. The recent version will remain available in the library but the old version will be used in class.

Are the kids old enough to understand that? Would it help if they could identify more with Anne - someone who writes things that aren't nice, someone who was just starting to figure out her sexuality - or is the original version still good despite the censorship? Is it even censorship? Does the new version contain everything she ever wrote in the diary, or are there still parts missing?

This is hardly the first time censorship has come up with the Diary of Anne Frank:

The ALA has documented only six challenges to "The Diary of Anne Frank" since it began monitoring formal written complaints to remove or restrict books in 1990... One record dating to 1983 from an Alabama textbook committee said the book was "a real downer" and called for its rejection from schools.

See, now that reason's just stupid.


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