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Growing up there were certain things that were not allowed in our household. Secular music, violent shows on television and card playing. Yes, compared to today, those are pretty mediocre. Because we were being raised in a somewhat religious household, there were things that just weren’t going to fly. But that didn’t mean I didn’t listen to secular music, saw some violence on television, but I didn’t have any interest in card playing which proved to count against me in college. I was probably the only black person that didn’t know how to play spades.

I try not to be the overbearing censorship police with my son. We watch movies together that may not be rated PG-13 and we have video games in the house that have been rated “M” for mature. The fact that I supervise most of these activities with him makes a huge impact on how he views them. He has no problems in asking the ‘why’ questions as we’re watching movies, and I don’t have a problem answering them. He knows video games aren’t real life, and that violence in them is what can possibly get you 20 to life, or even 6 feet under.

Censorship is everywhere. From the FCC regulating what’s broadcasted on the airwaves, to books that are banned from schools. Censorship has been considered a double-edged sword for some time. If used in the right way, it can be beneficial to society, but it can also have repercussions. But has censorship worked? More kids are on drugs more now than ever, more kids are being bullied and more kids are doing the killing.

This summer the United States Supreme Court released a ruling that scales back the FCC’s censorship authority and axes the FCC’s television obscenity rules. What does that mean for television? More violence, more obscene language and nudity, without fines being levied on networks. Does that mean Little Jamal will see more nudity soon on tv? Yes. More violence. Probably so. Lewd language? Yup.

Although I’m a true believer in the freedom of speech and think that certain things shouldn’t be censored (books in one), I feel that it’s the parent’s role to self-censor their household, if need be. They should be the ones speaking to their children about violence, sex and nudity way before turning on the television or getting their hands on some sex filled music. But does this happen? Unfortunately not.

In the age of violence and censorship, do you think the responsibility falls on the government or parents?

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