As someone who has read The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, multiple times now, I can understand why a parent would be concerned about their child reading this book. It has foul language, lesbian sex scenes, and quite a bit of violence. If I was a parent, I would definitely be concerned for my child if they were reading this book. However, there is one prevailing argument that I have against book-banning in general that holds true for this book.
I would simply tell this parent that they cannot shield their child from the real world forever. In the real world, there are bad words which will be said profusely, and there will be lesbians, and there will be violence. As long as the parent keeps open lines of communication with their child so that they can talk about what they are reading, it would be much better for the child to read about things before they go out and experience it. It’s almost like a warning sign on the road, letting them know what lies ahead of them.
Let’s take, for instance, the argument against all the foul language in the book; the constant use of derogatory terms against black people and women. First of all, if your child is a teenager, it is very likely they have heard most of these words, and if they haven’t, then they will. You cannot cover their ears for them for the rest of their lives. If the child hasn’t heard the word before, then when they ask you can explain it to them in a way you want them to understand it, and if they have, this book gives you a reason to talk about these words and make sure they understand why it’s a foul word. In essence, this book can be a tool to help your child as he or she matures and prepares themselves for the real world.