Challenge your world view with alternatives
Posted July 17, 2014on:
by Rob Dumas
Someone wrote yet another letter to the ST forum to point out that And Tango Makes Three was also banned from some libraries and schools in the the US. I do not know if the writer or someone in the paper titled the letter Book caused stir in America too.
“America” has become synonymous with the “United States of America”, but they are not the same thing. When I was a graduate student in the US, I met a Venezuelan, Chilean, and Brazilian who pointed out that they were proud Americans too. South Americans to be precise.
The same could be said about those in Central and North America. Let us not misrepresent the scale of the ban and try to justify our actions by saying that someone else bigger than us did the same thing.
The writer also declared:
And Tango Makes Three, has been among the most banned books in public libraries and schools across the United States, which has long been known to be an open and liberal Western society.
With one sweep of the brush, she painted all of the US as open and liberal. Really? Some of the most conservative people live there. Some of the most uneducated and poorest live there too.
Where did the writer get her information about the US from? From our local press? From television programmes and movies? From a whirlwind trip to tourist spots in the US?
How about actually living there for a while, listening to a variety of US citizens, observing what happens on public transport, or even suffering verbal abuse on the street? How about alternative points of view so that there is a balanced painting of the overall picture?
That is what books like And Tango Makes Three and the civil discussions that emerge from reading it are about. It is not about promoting an alternative lifestyle that you do not believe in. It is about telling our children what the world is and teaching them to think critically and independently.
If we do not do this, the least of our problems will be assumptions that Singapore is in China and the US is America. The bigger problems we perpetuate are ignorance and apathy which can spawn hatred and bigotry.