Why I Know Why The Caged Bird Be Banned

1452 Words 6 Pages
The banned book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou describes the power of living one 's life despite what one is facing, and should therefore not be banned. The book was banned in various towns in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, on account of it "encouraging deviant behavior". This belief is due to the book 's references to lesbianism, premarital sex, cohabitation, pornography, profanity, and violence. The Alabama State Textbook Committee declared it to encourage "bitterness and hatred toward white people."(“Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”) Today, the book is still banned in these states. …show more content…
As a little girl, Angelou was convinced that white girls were the epitome of beauty and had everything she did not, as far as ladylike qualities and physical features. This is clear when Angelou wrote, “I was really white and a cruel fairy stepmother, who was understandably jealous of my beauty, had turned me into a too-big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil.” (Angelou, ). At such a young age, she was already convinced that white people had superior qualities to black people, something that racism in Arkansas had instilled in her already. Additionally, the "powhitetrash" children in Stamps often harassed and ridiculed Angelou 's grandmother, who simply accepted the racism as a component of their lives. When this occurred, Angelou felt helpless and angry, as any person would; she often cursed the children and their whiteness, albeit these instances are merely the true accounts of Angelou 's thoughts and feelings at the time. To a white reader, these occurrences should be viewed with shock at the children 's sanctimonious attitudes at the consummate least. The racism in her town had given young white children the authority to speak to a …show more content…
This is erroneous, however, as Maya Angelou is, to quote James Baldwin, "...confront[ing] her own life with...a motivating wonder...[and] luminous dignity," which "liberates the reader into life...." If she had left out parts of her life story, Angelou would have been doing herself a disservice; she incurred so much in so few years covered in the book, and to minimize the true aspects of her life would be stipulating that her life was inappropriate, and her story does not deserve to be told as it truly happened. If she was able to live through it, why then, can the world not read about the events that transpired? The book was banned in various places from tenth grade summer reading lists; it is not written for children and "tweens", it is written for older teenagers and adults that are mature enough to handle the topics dealt with in I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. The book is significantly too inspirational and moving to remove from teenagers’ learning experiences, perhaps moving it to a junior or senior reading list would suffice, rather than banning it from schools completely. Of course the book was also banned in libraries, to which a solution would be placing it in an adult section, where it is available to its intended audience. Clearly the argument that I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings should be banned on the grounds of its immoderate amounts of

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