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  #1  
Old 02-14-2005
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Default BLESS ME ULTIMA banned and burned in Colorado

This is from a Latin Americanist librarian listserv -- I thought some of you
might find this interesting.

In addition to the main article included below in plain text, see,
http://www.montrosepress.com/article...ing_news/1.txt

Parents censor high school literature and are allowed to burn books
they find offensive
By Margo L. Roberts

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a
hallmark of an authoritarian regime." Supreme Court Justice Potter
Stewart-1966.

Recently a book that was being used as part of an English assignment was
confiscated from freshmen at Norwood High School due to references of
paganism and an alleged magnitude of profanity. Here in Norwood, a small
group of parents sent letters to Superintendent Bob Conder, expressing their
concern over, Bless Me, Ultima, a book being used in the classroom as a
literature book. Conder said the books, about 2 dozen in total costing $6.99
each, were pulled
from the classroom, and designated to be destroyed. The parents approached
the superintendent and asked that they be able to burn the books instead of
the school janitor destroying them.
Conder granted them their request, as he has the right to dispose of them.
Conder informed the School Board in a letter after the fact. He further
stated, "I can't dictate morality, but my job is to protect the kids. The
books should have never been purchased, and were not properly disclosed for
approval."

The author, Rudolfo Anaya, said in a phone interview, "Freedom of democracy
is learned in our school systems." Anaya, who started teaching in a one room
school house in New Mexico further stated, "Parents have the right to
monitor what their children read, however they do not have the right to tell
others what they can read. That is un-American, un-democratic and
un-educational."

Conder said the books were not sold to recoup some of the cost or donated to
a library elsewhere because, "I would not feel comfortable with those books
possibly falling into another child's hands, and the return would not be
more than 50 cents to a dollar a piece". When asked if the teacher who
introduced the book to the students was in danger of being terminated,
Conder said, "No, she was truly sorry for her lack of judgment"

An individual, who did not wish to be identified, felt this was reminiscent
of the Nazi regime, and feared their job as a teacher was in jeopardy if
parents could dictate the curriculum in such a manner. "Our kids already
receive a limited exposure to knowledge because of our location, why limit
them further." The individual stated they were familiar with the book, and
that the profanity was limited. They added "There are many classic novels
with a varying levels of profanity that can be found in the school's
library; it all depends on the connotation and frequency of the words used."

Rudolfo Anaya, a professor emeritus of English at the University of New
Mexico, wrote "Bless Me Ultima" in 1972. It explores the difficulty of
reconciling conflicting cultural traditions. The main character, a young boy
growing up in New Mexico during World War II, struggles with the
complexities of his religion. He becomes increasingly frustrated by the
failure of the Catholic Church to explain the most pressing questions about
morality and human experience and is frustrated by his failure to find a
forgiving god, and then finds an unlikely mentor in a local "healer" who
comes to live with his family.

Many of the characters in the book are limited by their cultural prejudices
and never learn to look beyond their own assumptions. Meanwhile the main
character grows to understand that his experiences are lessons about life,
and he knows that he must take life's lessons to heart, even when they are
difficult, painful, or disappointing.

Learning the importance of tolerance marks his growth, especially as he
begins to realize that some religions may be better suited to some people
than to others. The same book was chosen by other Colorado communities,
such as Fort Collins, Boulder, and most recently Grand Junction at Mesa
State College as the book of choice to be read as a community. Anaya
commented, "The
book should be judged in its entirety. There is some strong language in
strong situations, but there is no flippant use of profanity." The author
was also aware that this same book had met with opposition in cities in
Calif., Texas and New York. However the students in New York had the ban
overridden by approaching the school board. "Bless Me, Ultima" is currently
on the Montrose High School's approved reading list for the sophomore class,
according to Jeff Black of the MHS English Department.

OTHER INFO=
Norwood High School - Superintendent-970) 327-4712
Location Info:
1510 Grand Avenue, Norwood, CO 81423
Norwood High School
1225 West Summit Street
Norwood, CO 81423
Phone: (970) 327-4336
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  #2  
Old 02-18-2005
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This is sad. Bless Mi Ultima is one of my favorite reads from Anaya. I can partially see where some parents may have a concern for thier children but the burning of the books is just beyond me. I would be very offended if I were Anaya.

I myself, would not mind if my children were to read the book(s) of Anaya. In fact, I have already thought about ensuring I have copies of his books available in my own household.
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2005
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I never read it. My sister says it's ok. I have a lot of books that I hope my children will read.
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Old 08-07-2005
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hmm i need to buy me some more books to read, as i am down tot he last of the 4 books i bought about a month and a half ago, i dont want to stop reading, i saw a few books in the books forum that i will probably get, i think i will try to get a copy of this one as well, it sounds like it might be interesting.


Quote:
Conder said the books were not sold to recoup some of the cost or donated to
a library elsewhere because, "I would not feel comfortable with those books
possibly falling into another child's hands, and the return would not be
more than 50 cents to a dollar a piece". When asked if the teacher who
introduced the book to the students was in danger of being terminated,
Conder said, "No, she was truly sorry for her lack of judgment"
i was going to say, they could have sold them or donated them to a community college or something. Funny he fears they might fall into the hands of other children, yet he only has the right to dictate what they read in school, but can not dictate what they read outside of school and that is just what he did. I doubt he ever read the book, people throw thier morality bullshit around and others fear the waves they might bring without doing more research. SO the book used profanity, i have heard and if i remember correctly i have read it, the BIBLE uses profanity, SURE all in context, but it still uses profanity. The only reason i use that as an example is because it is supposed to be a book to live by, and it uses profanity here and there. So why the big hubbub about this book in question. There are other options besides burning the books, they could have ripped them apart and put recycled the paper it was written on.
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2005
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what? bless me ultima is one of my top 5 fav books i can understand too where these parents are coming 4rm cuz tha book is a little strong for some people but i remember reading that book in school it was a very good one i liked how it taught u a lil bit about mexican culture and how life is and use to be over there in mexico i dont think the book is that bad that they had to ban them though
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Old 08-07-2005
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wasnt there an chapter about a whore house, or was that a different book? The book am thinking about was set during WWII. Anyways these are just books, and pretty good ones too. Its not like they are making the kids watch that god
awful movie "como aqua para el chocholate".
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Old 08-07-2005
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MY ENGLISH II CLASS READ THIS BOOK AND IT IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. WE EVEN HAD THIS DISCUSSION IN CLASS, ABOUT THE DISTRCIT MAYBE REMOVING THE BOOK, AND WE ALL FELT REALLY BUMMED.
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Old 08-07-2005
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Reminds me of how the spanish burned the Nahuas codices...




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Old 08-07-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitude1977
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicano831
wasnt there an chapter about a whore house, or was that a different book? The book am thinking about was set during WWII. Anyways these are just books, and pretty good ones too. Its not like they are making the kids watch that god
awful movie "como aqua para el chocholate".
why... was reagan in it?

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Old 08-08-2005
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low blow, not. Someday you'll figure it out, probably when you move out your mom and dad's and a get a job.
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Old 08-08-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitude1977
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicano831
low blow, not. Someday you'll figure it out, probably when you move out your mom and dad's and a get a job.
figure out what about the book "Bless Me Ultima" ? Or is this just you trolling with off topic insults that have no factual foundation?

I guess this is a question I can already guess the answer to... like usual you are just trolling ppl

Ifyou are going to go completely off topic with irelevant posts taking potshots at me maybe you should just pm me instead of ruining Tec's thread. That is very rude towards him.
what the hell did reagan have to do with bless me ultima?????

so whos trolling
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Old 08-08-2005
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Quote:
what did your movie have to do with it ? You always find a way to say something negative about something raza related on everythread that a pro-raza person puts on here..

:
similar subject matter, mexican family life around the time of the begining of 20th century. Go check out the movie if you don't believe me. I didnt hate the book, just the movie. I'm asking about the whore house because in that store it plays a key role. The main character decides to go to one but but has to deal morally with it.

The movie on the other hand is about a self-centered girl, during basically the same time period, The girl is kind of a witch, bruja, with food, people that cross her pass end up in some situations, her sister ends up dead towards the end. The situations were supposed be funny,basically its a B-class movie at best. Go watch Viva Villa, which is a much better film

Como Agua Para Chocolate
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Old 08-08-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitude1977
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicano831
Quote:
what did your movie have to do with it ? You always find a way to say something negative about something raza related on everythread that a pro-raza person puts on here..

:
similar subject matter, mexican family life around the time of the begining of 20th century. Go check out the movie if you don't believe me. I didnt hate the book, just the movie. I'm asking about the whore house because in that store it plays a key role. The main character decides to go to one but but has to deal morally with it.

The movie on the other hand is about a self-centered girl, during basically the same time period, The girl is kind of a witch, bruja, with food, people that cross her pass end up in some situations, her sister ends up dead towards the end. The situations were supposed be funny,basically its a B-class movie at best. Go watch Viva Villa, which is a much better film

Como Agua Para Chocolate
Maybe they will do a movie on this book.

Sometimes doing movies on books kills it though because the book is much better in terms of a story.
true things such time contraints, director's vision of how to do the film version will effect the quality. Take lord of the rings, not everything from the books made it to the movies.

Am still not sure bless me ultima is the one i described though, its been years.


Books by same author of Bless Me Ultima
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