[Report Abuse]
[Login to Blog] DifrntDrmr's Blog
#?@$ Chi Minh Provides an Example of Censorship in
The Different Drummer

Take Me To Post Comment Form

As a child the first thing I did when presented with a new dictionary was check for the swear words. I already knew what they meant, but their presence validated the authenticity of the reference; if I could be trusted to know that these words existed, then surely the rest of the contents were worth exploring. Unfortunately, my daughter accidentally found this weekend that her school does not have that same trust in her.

While answering questions for her history assignment my daughter found that her text book did not provide her with the information that she needed for Ho Chi Minh and turned to the web for additional assistance. Using her school issued Chromebook she typed in the name of the former President of North Vietnam into Google. Unfortunately, instead of relevant information she was informed that the search results had been blocked.

Following the directions on her screen, my daughter e-mailed her teacher to ask why the results had been blocked. Unfortunately, he could not solve the problem. Perhaps this was not something he wanted to deal with on a Sunday or maybe he did not actually hold the power suggested by the message. In any case, he told her that he had no idea why the system had blocked the search results and suggested that she answer the questions using what was available in the text book.

This answer only served to stoke my daughter’s curiosity. Her first inclination was that the censorship was based on ideology. However, typing “Karl Marx” into the search engine provided the expected results without being blocked. We brainstormed together and thought that maybe it had something to do with him being on the opposite side of us during the Vietnam war. This was proven wrong when typing in “Ho Chi Minh City” triggered the same blockage. We were now both stumped.

It was not until several hours later (the power of latent thinking) that I had a new idea. She keyed in “Chi Minh” and finally was able to access the needed search results. Apparently, the filter the school uses determined that students need to be protected from the word “ho”. Sailors should find a new way to announce the sight of land and Santa should be red-faced over his chosen expression of glee.

The Internet provides a wealth of information at our fingertips and some of this was not meant to be accessed by minors. For example, a filter for pornographic images should be mandatory on computers issued by a school. However, these filters need to be smart enough to allow images like the 1972 Pulitzer Prize winning picture of children running from a napalm attack even though one of the girls had had her clothes burned off and was naked.

Censorship presents a particular danger to intellectualism whenever it tries to block the use of words. I have always taught my children that there are no such thing as “bad” words. Instead, they may be inappropriate in certain contexts. The “ho” in this story illustrates the point.
I am a candidate for the District 2 seat on the LAUSD School Board, founder of Change The LAUSD and member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council. Opinions are my own.

Latest Activity: May 07, 2016 at 9:03 PM

Blog has been viewed (955) times.

Log In to post comments.

Previous blog entries by DifrntDrmr
Three Headlines That Got Buried Last Week
March 15, 2018
“Her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and we will make it honestly, look, it's gonna be virtually impossible for her to govern. Now, the Republicans have talked very tough and the Democrats. It's gonna be just another mess for another four years, folks. A mess. We've ...
Read More »
How Have Charter Schools Affected Students with Sp
February 24, 2018
On February 20, 2018, the LAUSD School Board put the proposed Holding GHCHS Accountable to Their Charter on the agenda of their Committee of the Whole meeting. The following is the written statement that I provided to the Board: Honorable LAUSD Board Members: Chanda Smith was an LAUSD student with ...
Read More »
Finding Hope in Florida
February 21, 2018
“A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented.” - Kyra If the shooter in Parkland, Florida had been named Mohamad, we can be sure that Donald Trump would have immediately taken ...
Read More »
Make it a Headline When Trump Tells the Truth
January 19, 2018
“Why are we having all these people from sh*tho**** countries come here?” - Donald Trump Before the public ever thought that Donald Trump would run for President, he “bought space in multiple New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the five black and Hispanic teens accused of raping ...
Read More »
If Money Continues to Talk, We're Screwed
January 04, 2018
“In the congressional races in 2008, the candidate who had more money won more than 93% of the time. Our representatives don’t serve us; they serve the people who pay them — their corporate funders.” - Cenk Uygur The Republicans passed a tax bill despite the opposition of 55% of ...
Read More »
[View More Blogs...]

Powered by
Morris Technology