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Parental rights, third person effects, and the



Magnuson, M. L. (April, 2010). Parental Rights, Third-Person Effects, and the First Amendment:...

Magnuson, M. L. (April, 2010). Parental Rights, Third-Person Effects, and the First Amendment:
Understanding Challenges to And Tango Makes Three. Paper to be presented at the National Popular Culture & American Culture Associations Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.



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Parental rights, third person effects, and the Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Marta L. Magnuson School of Information Studies University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
  • 2.
    • To better understand the reasons why books are challenged and the effect these challenges have on a community.
    • Focuses specifically on the motives behind and effect of challenges to the acclaimed children’s book And Tango Makes Three
  • 3.
    • Children’s book based on a true story about two male penguins who hatch an abandoned egg and raise the baby
    • Published in 2005
    • Most challenged book
    • of 2006, 2007, and 2008
  • 4.
    • Qualitative content analysis of articles about the And Tango Makes Three controversy
    • Articles from 11 newspapers and 4 library journals
    • Concepts of third-person effects, scarcity, and First Amendment rights were used to guide initial the analysis
  • 5.
    • “ Impact will not be on “me” or “you,” but on “them” – the third person”
    • (Davison, 1983, p. 3)
  • 6.
    • Previous research
    • Who is the “third-person”?
      • Age
      • Gender
      • Income
      • Media use
      • Ideology
  • 7.
    • Demand will grow when an object is perceived to be less available
    • Censorship may produce the effects of scarcity
    • Scarcity can be tied to perceptions of self
  • 8.
    • The right to freedom of speech, or of the press
    • And the corollary freedom of the right to read
    • “ Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”
    • (Office for Intellectual Freedom, 2002, p. 57)
  • 9.
    • First Amendment rights
      • Diversity
    • Parental rights
    • Third-person effects
    • Scarcity
  • 10.
    • “ The freedom to read is continuously under attack from private groups, and sometimes from parents and school administrators.“
    • “ The consequences of banning material can have major cultural implications and it's something librarians fight constantly.”
  • 11.
    • "Libraries are one place in the community where everyone is represented on the shelves. That's one of our roles."
  • 12.
    • “ Please allow us to know when our child is ready for certain introductions. Each of us knows our child best."
    • “ All parents have the right and the responsibility to discuss reading and reading choices with their children. But we must remember that the choices we hope our children make should not and cannot direct the choices of other children. They must also be free to choose.”
  • 13.
    • “ I don't have a problem with the book being at the library, but it is not appropriate material for children in that [one- to three-year-old] age group. I'd feel the same way if the penguins were murderers or rapists. Don't sugarcoat that type of material by making it pertain to cute penguins, or dogs, or kittens, or whatever. It's not appropriate material for a three-year-old to see and hear.”
  • 14.
    • Impact will not be on me (the parent who challenges a book) or you (the librarian or school board), but on them (all children who have access to the book) – the third person.
    • Shift – all children
  • 15.
    • Book challengers are not enemies of freedom but concerned citizens trying to protect their children, religion, and values.
    • Anti-censorship activists are people defending our First Amendment rights and advocating for library collections that reflect our community.
  • 16.
    • Davison, W. P. (1983). The third-person effect in communication. Public Opinion Quarterly, 47 (1), 1-15.
    • Office for Intellectual Freedom. (2002). Intellectual freedom manual (6th ed.). Chicago: American Library Association.