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Education hindered by overprotective parents

Megan Mann

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Illustration by Adriana Macias Photo credit: Adriana Macias

Do you know what really gets my rocks off? A scientific book about a woman whose cervical cancer cells are taken without her knowledge and used to change the course of medical history.

Damn. It’s better than watching porn on the Internet.

Seems insane, right? How the hell can a medical biography be pornographic?

Well, according to a mother in Tennessee named Jackie Sims, very.

Apparently, Sims believes the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is too graphic for her 15-year-old son to read.

In fact, it’s so “pornographic” that she wants it banned from his school.

Did I mention that this book details the life of a woman whose cervical cancer cells drastically advanced medicine?

Oh, and did I mention that it’s non-fiction (aka, totally true) and the book is considered to be revolutionary and an amazing example of good science writing?

And Sims is still after it like a dog on a chew toy.

Now, Sims has stated she believes the book can be written differently, i.e. excluding the parts describing Lacks’ self-examination of her cervix and the collection of her cells.

So pretty much just take out all the science and most of Lacks’ life and it’s good?

I don’t know if I can handle the ignorance, folks.

But what really gets me during this whole mess is that she’s claiming to be protecting her son by keeping him from reading the big, bad medical book.

I guess he’s not jerking off in his room to some staged porn while she’s doing news interviews then, right?

All humor aside, this book deals with important subject matter and by not letting him read it, Sims is hindering her son’s education.

Look, I get it. Parents want to protect their kids from the crappy stuff in the world. But banning books like this one and others that deal with important issues in our culture is not helping them to be educated adults.

In fact, by censoring what the younger generation is reading, parents and book-banning fanatics are only making the next presidents and lawyers stupider.

This book directly addresses problems like racism, ethics and morality in the medical field, which are all pertinent subjects for both the previous generations and the future ones.

We need to be discussing books like “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” if we ever want to come up with a solution to those problems.

But if people like Sims are going to stand in the way of change and education, then I have no choice but to quote the great Professor Farnsworth from “Futurama”:

“I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.

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