Who Will the Children Turn To – Thoughts on Censorship and The House on Mango Street

Who Will the Children Turn To - Thoughts on Censorship and The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street is a novel by Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros. Based on her own life, it narrates the story of Esperanza Cordero, a Chicana girl growing up in a poor community in Chicago. There are many life lessons within this novel, showing themes such as social class, race, sexuality, identity, and gender. It shows the realities of many other people who have experienced similar things. Many schools have banned this book because of topics such as domestic violence, racism, and sexual harassment. Censoring and withholding stories that speak directly about scenarios like this can be very harmful, as it promotes the silencing of rape and abuse victims. In 2010, the Tucson Unified School District targeted the award winning Mexican-American Studies Program, which led to Arizona legislators approving S.B. 2281, which outlawed classes or courses that:

“(1) promote the overthrow of the United States government; (2) promote resentment toward a race or class of people; (3) are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group or (4) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” 

This led to TUSD dismantling the Mexican-American Studies Program. After seven years, the case “Arce v. Douglas” had a final ruling. It was found that the ban of Mexican-American Studies was done with racial animus towards Mexicans, thus unconstitutional under the first and 14th amendment. Books and novels like these shouldn’t be silenced; they tell real life stories of our world. This tells the young people in our society that they are not alone, no matter what situation they are in. If these books are banned and adults have failed the children, who will the children turn to?