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     Limits to Freedom: Oklahoma's Private Values and Public Policies on
    the Right to Read 
  ; No. 2; Minors and Minorities
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<v Narrator>This is limits to freedom. <v Narrator>Oklahoma's Private Values and Public Policies on the Right to Read. <v Narrator>This program is sponsored by the Public Library Systems of Oklahoma and supported in part <v Narrator>by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Committee and the National Endowment for the <v Narrator>Humanities. Views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily represent <v Narrator>those of either this radio station or the sponsoring agencies. <v Speaker>[Patriotic music plays]. <v Abraham Lincoln>Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth <v Abraham Lincoln>on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated <v Abraham Lincoln>to the proposition that all men are created equal. <v Abraham Lincoln>Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation
<v Abraham Lincoln>or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. <v Citizen>Conceived in liberty? All men created equal? What kind of gibe is that? <v Citizen 2>You can count me out, man. I don't know whose fathers you're talking about. <v Citizen 3>Forefathers? All men equal? What about the women while all <v Citizen 3>this was happening? <v Child>Daddy, weren't there any kids back then? <v Abraham Lincoln>But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, <v Abraham Lincoln>we cannot hallow this ground. <v Abraham Lincoln>The brave men living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far <v Abraham Lincoln>above our power to add or detract. <v Speaker>[Slow, patriotic song plays] <v Narrator>What you have just heard is a dramatization of a controversy which is challenging <v Narrator>traditional American education and history all over the country today.
<v Narrator>The people involved in this challenge are complaining that for nearly 200 years, American <v Narrator>history, as we learned it in school, has been the story of the few white men who have led <v Narrator>political movements. They're concerned that their children are growing up with virtually <v Narrator>no knowledge of all the different kinds of people who have made America what it is today. <v Narrator>And these people, not all of them members of minority groups, are charging that Americans <v Narrator>are, in effect, cut off from information about minorities. <v Narrator>They're demanding that this information be made available in our schools, our libraries, <v Narrator>on the television, the radio and in the newspapers. <v Narrator>There are more than two points of view on this subject, but it is clear that lined up on <v Narrator>the other side is a large group of people who, if they are not hostile to the idea of <v Narrator>minority education, at least are unconcerned. <v Narrator>They believe that public time, public money and public attention should focus on the <v Narrator>concerns of everyday life, how to get a job or make a marriage last or <v Narrator>raise healthy children. It is these subjects which this group of people wants to see <v Narrator>emphasized in our education and communication systems.
<v Narrator>The demands of each of these groups and the controversy between them is what this program <v Narrator>is all about. <v Speaker>[Banjo plays] <v Russell Bates>Many things that were available with the rather boiled out <v Russell Bates>and dry histories that they only taught, I had no concept of myself <v Russell Bates>as an Indian from history that I learned in school. <v Russell Bates>I was taught the same history as everyone else. Therefore, I must be the same as everyone <v Russell Bates>else. But the social difference that was very heavily demonstrated to <v Russell Bates>me in school meant that I was different. <v Russell Bates>I was being taught the same as everyone else to believe, the same as everyone else. <v Russell Bates>But the social system told me I was different, and I had no concept of why this should <v Russell Bates>be. I had no contact with anything that would tell me something <v Russell Bates>about myself. <v Narrator>Most of us can remember the experience of being left out at something at one time or
<v Narrator>another while we were growing up. <v Narrator>It's not a very pleasant experience, one which probably made us feel somehow inferior or <v Narrator>unwanted. But what Oklahoma Indian author Russell Bates has just recounted is <v Narrator>the experience of being left out of his own nation's history, not just as a single, <v Narrator>unimportant individual, but as a member of an entire group. <v Narrator>This feeling of exclusion explained by Bates is probably the major complaint of those <v Narrator>concerned about the education available to and about minorities. <v Narrator>But Russell Bates is an adult, you say, and his education was a long time ago. <v Narrator>A lot more information about minorities is being presented in the schools now. <v Narrator>Not so, says University of Oklahoma education consultant Mae Nolan. <v Mae Nolan>I found out in that textbook they portrayed girls in their stereotypical <v Mae Nolan>roles. Girls rather bicycle's. <v Mae Nolan>And I think 26 times I counted girls with with dolls. <v Mae Nolan>But even over and beyond that, they only had black males playing with <v Mae Nolan>white males. Indians were not allowed in that little textbook.
<v Mae Nolan>And this is a very current textbook and adopted textbooks used in <v Mae Nolan>the elementary schools in Oklahoma. <v Mae Nolan>And I think children get first information from the first books <v Mae Nolan>they read in the classrooms along with their own individual experiences. <v Mae Nolan>And if you never see yourself, then what kind of self-concept is that going to have? <v Narrator>What Mae Nolan has said is very interesting. <v Narrator>But after all, minorities in the United States taken separately, at least form a very <v Narrator>small part of our total society. <v Narrator>Why should the rest of us care whether information about them is available? <v Narrator>Oklahoma City educator Kay Teel answers that this lack of information has damaged us all. <v Kay Teel>The harm that this kind of thing does is not confined to just excluded group <v Kay Teel>either. For them, of course, I think the harm is possibly <v Kay Teel>greater, uh, has a more disastrous effect. <v Kay Teel>The not belonging, the exclusion, the feelings of rejection, <v Kay Teel>the feeling too, I think when you identify with your own grouping.
<v Kay Teel>My case with women, with females, your feeling <v Kay Teel>becomes - because children tend to trust books for some reason - as an adult, <v Kay Teel>I don't quite understand, but the feeling that you come out with is <v Kay Teel>that apparently your group, your background, your ancestors <v Kay Teel>never did anything worthwhile and therefore that's why they're not mentioned. <v Kay Teel>So if they were not contributors to this society, then <v Kay Teel>you're really not too much either. <v Kay Teel>But even for the others, for the elite group, for the group <v Kay Teel>that is mentioned, harm is done. <v Kay Teel>And I take this harm comes from a distorted picture of the society <v Kay Teel>that they receive from books like this. <v Kay Teel>In a sense, we could call it an erroneous map of reality because that is one <v Kay Teel>of the functions of education. One of the primary functions is to give the child <v Kay Teel>a map of reality, a picture of the society that he can trust and that he can base <v Kay Teel>his actions on. And when we give him a distorted map,
<v Kay Teel>then that means that his behavior is going to be distorted. <v Narrator>Even assuming that what Kay Teel says is true, that still leaves <v Narrator>us with no answer to the question of why minority groups have been excluded from American <v Narrator>history or what, if anything, we might want to do about it. <v Speaker>[Banjo music plays] <v Mae Nolan>I make the assumption that one reason information, accurate information, <v Mae Nolan>is not provided in textbooks about minorities is to <v Mae Nolan>force people to maintain their stereotypic viewpoints <v Mae Nolan>about groups of people. Therefore, certain people in a particular <v Mae Nolan>position and category, because we are prejudiced about <v Mae Nolan>most people and things because of our lack of knowledge. <v Mae Nolan>But if you know something about that person and you know that they tend <v Mae Nolan>to have more similarities than differences, then your
<v Mae Nolan>prejudices might be to some degree eliminated. <v Narrator>Even if American education is not specifically aimed at preserving the status <v Narrator>quo, as Mae Nolan claims, Kay Teel, who spoke a moment ago, says it has that effect. <v Kay Teel>It occurs to me that this may be one reason that there has been such fierce opposition <v Kay Teel>on the part of some to the idea of equality when the blacks sought it, <v Kay Teel>when the Indians sought it, when women sought it, those in a position of power - those <v Kay Teel>who have seen themselves as the active group, as the contributors, as the one who built <v Kay Teel>this country, who have been given <v Kay Teel>through omission, this idea that the other groups never contributed anything. <v Kay Teel>Then when the group says we want equality, we want all of these <v Kay Teel>goodies that you are getting, say to themselves, why should they? <v Kay Teel>They have never done anything. It's only we who have done these things. <v Kay Teel>So why should these others share in the rewards? <v Narrator>Most of us would probably agree that there are some things which need to be changed in
<v Narrator>the United States right now. <v Narrator>But just as probably we would disagree violently on what those things are. <v Narrator>Oklahoma City parent activist Mrs. Earl Naylor is one Oklahoman who does not believe the <v Narrator>schools have any place in the business of teaching children to change society. <v Mrs. Naylor>The most important right they have it is right under their nose and they are being <v Mrs. Naylor>denied it and they don't realize it. <v Mrs. Naylor>And that is the right to a good academic education. <v Mrs. Naylor>Children graduating from school today, they cannot read. <v Mrs. Naylor>They cannot spell. They cannot construct a sentence. <v Mrs. Naylor>And we have a public school system that everybody is hurting from <v Mrs. Naylor>because of all these social efforts being made in school. <v Mrs. Naylor>Now, something's going to suffer when you start bringing in all these new <v Mrs. Naylor>programs that don't concern themselves with reading, writing and arithmetic. <v Mrs. Naylor>Something's going to have to make room for that. <v Mrs. Naylor>And unfortunately, they are getting less grammar to make room for <v Mrs. Naylor>something else. You just cannot use the public schools for
<v Mrs. Naylor>all kinds of social reform without hurting the child's academic education. <v Mrs. Naylor>And that's not my opinion; it's happening. <v Mrs. Naylor>That's the way it's turning out. They're suffering academically because the schools are <v Mrs. Naylor>so bogged down in social reform. <v Mrs. Naylor>And I can only speak for myself, but I would bet anybody that if you could poll <v Mrs. Naylor>every parent of schoolchildren in this country, they would tell you that <v Mrs. Naylor>they would rather have their children come out of school with a good, solid education, <v Mrs. Naylor>either be prepared for college or be prepared for some kind of work and <v Mrs. Naylor>worry less about the social reforms. <v Narrator>Mrs. Naylor has just said that the function of the schools is in effect to prepare our <v Narrator>children for their future jobs, whatever those jobs might be. <v Narrator>She and a large group of parents, which she represents in philosophy, <v Narrator>believe that social or minority education is a waste of valuable learning time and <v Narrator>perhaps undesirable in itself when presented in school. <v Narrator>Mrs. Naylor and those who share her philosophy are putting a great deal of pressure on
<v Narrator>the schools to stop teaching many of the new curricula which emphasize social issues. <v Narrator>In 1972, a group with similar concerns prompted a grand jury investigation in Tulsa <v Narrator>into the propriety of supplemental materials on these issues purchased by the school <v Narrator>system there. These parents are concerned and justly so, in their position as parents, <v Narrator>because they fear their children are losing out on essential basic skills <v Narrator>while learning other ideas their parents find objectionable. <v Narrator>But there are others who believe that our distrust of thorough social investigation stems <v Narrator>from what they see as the paternalistic nature of American culture. <v Narrator>University of Oklahoma literature professor Gwenn Davis charges that we are actually <v Narrator>afraid of what might happen if we allow people to find out too much about each other. <v Gwenn Davis>I think one of the main reasons that we've not done the research <v Gwenn Davis>on minorities and not had free <v Gwenn Davis>access to information about those minorities is a traditional <v Gwenn Davis>idea that society needs a center,
<v Gwenn Davis>a central authority, and that central authority is traditionally white <v Gwenn Davis>and male. <v Gwenn Davis>Ah - one of the implications of this idea is that unless society has that <v Gwenn Davis>center to it, things are not going to work. <v Gwenn Davis>We won't be able to go on. We won't be able to maintain order. <v Gwenn Davis>This means that others are defined in their relationship <v Gwenn Davis>to that center. If you take women, for instance, the role of a woman traditionally <v Gwenn Davis>is to support and facilitate what that central authority <v Gwenn Davis>figure is doing rather than to strike out on their own. <v Gwenn Davis>The idea of, you know, if the husband doesn't run the family, the family <v Gwenn Davis>will somehow fall apart. <v Gwenn Davis>There is also a sort of benevolence that goes along with this. <v Gwenn Davis>If the central authority is white, male or is the father of the family, then he has <v Gwenn Davis>certain responsibilities to support the family, to maintain the family and so on. <v Gwenn Davis>So believing that he is doing things for their own good, the central
<v Gwenn Davis>authority figure will impose certain roles and attitudes on the <v Gwenn Davis>other members of the family. So a lot of this teaching only the white male <v Gwenn Davis>point of view, the white male history, if you will, is <v Gwenn Davis>part of this complex of well, but that's what it is. <v Gwenn Davis>And that's what's good for you. And you should know about that because I'm maintaining <v Gwenn Davis>our society. <v Gwenn Davis>One of the sad things that that's a result of this is that those who are in <v Gwenn Davis>the authority position really believe that they are doing <v Gwenn Davis>what they're doing for the good of others. <v Gwenn Davis>But it has certain unfortunate results in that minority groups, women, <v Gwenn Davis>children, do not have a full understanding of themselves, nor do those authority <v Gwenn Davis>figures have a full understanding of themselves. <v Gwenn Davis>And I think that impoverishes rather than enriches our culture. <v Gwenn Davis>I think it's a shame that we don't know as much as possible about the way other people <v Gwenn Davis>think. <v Narrator>That's a pretty complicated answer, even from a college professor like Dr. Davis. <v Narrator>A colleague of hers, university of Oklahoma history professor Wayne Morgan
<v Narrator>says the answer to why minorities have been left out of so much of American history is <v Narrator>actually quite simple. Until very recently, says Dr. Morgan, historians <v Narrator>have just not been interested in areas which involve minorities. <v Wayne Morgan>I think that historians and other academics have <v Wayne Morgan>had a perfectly rational and understandable view of American history and American <v Wayne Morgan>life that they simply made them unconscious of these groups as historical <v Wayne Morgan>movers and shakers. Let's put it that way. <v Wayne Morgan>They've put their emphasis in writing and studying history and American society <v Wayne Morgan>on what they conceived honestly to be larger, more important dominance. <v Wayne Morgan>We might say, such as National Party politics, international diplomacy, national economic <v Wayne Morgan>policy, things like- things of that nature from a national point of view. <v Speaker>[Banjo music plays] <v Narrator>Once again, we have reached a crossroads in our discussion of minority education in
<v Narrator>Oklahoma and the rest of the country. <v Narrator>If we accept the theory that minority groups have been left out of most of the <v Narrator>information we receive, and there has been little dispute of that point, then we have two <v Narrator>choices. We can either decide that minority education or information is not <v Narrator>very important and has been ignored for good reasons. <v Narrator>Or we can decide that information about minorities is essential to a society which claims <v Narrator>to have been conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are <v Narrator>created equal. <v Narrator>But if this isn't our choice, we face a major overhaul of virtually all our educational <v Narrator>and communications systems. <v Narrator>Some who believe in the importance of minority education will balk at this point as they <v Narrator>realize that including minorities in our national self-image would mean new or additional <v Narrator>textbooks. A different approach to news reporting and television programing, expansion <v Narrator>of library materials and a great deal of new research. <v Narrator>Oklahoma City School Superintendent Dr. Tom Smith has a $40 million plus school system <v Narrator>and is well aware of these problems. <v Narrator>Nonetheless, Dr. Smith says there is no excuse for not making sure that each student is
<v Narrator>exposed to information about the country's minorities. <v Tom Smith>There is a shortage of materials in the textbooks and other materials used by teachers <v Tom Smith>in the instructional program, and it will take time to bring this about. <v Tom Smith>There are some school systems, our school system, for example, did utilize <v Tom Smith>a major portion of a year in developing materials related to a minority group. <v Tom Smith>Then, of course, this does cost money and it will take time in order to bring this <v Tom Smith>about, particularly in times of financial shortages or financial <v Tom Smith>difficulties. But I think that we just must recognize that history <v Tom Smith>is history and that it should include all groups, all races, <v Tom Smith>all sexes, I guess there's only two. <v Tom Smith>But both sexes and all religions, not just <v Tom Smith>the white Caucasian male image <v Tom Smith>that tends to be left in some cases. <v Tom Smith>I think that we have an obligation to prepare the young people <v Tom Smith>to live in a society, live in this world that- as
<v Tom Smith>I interpret- that it includes more than just what has been referred to <v Tom Smith>the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. <v Tom Smith>I think the reading, writing and arithmetic certainly are important, but I think that <v Tom Smith>an education is far more comprehensive and inclusive than just those. <v Tom Smith>I think you could have those traits or those skills and still <v Tom Smith>not be able to fit successfully into into the modern day's world. <v Narrator>University of Oklahoma Professor Wayne Morgan, who we spoke earlier, agrees that minority <v Narrator>information is a value. But he says its omission has been understandable, largely <v Narrator>because, he says, it is so hard to find. <v Wayne Morgan>Persons who write textbooks and persons who to teach out of them and persons <v Wayne Morgan>to take these courses - formal courses - do have 18 weeks or 16 <v Wayne Morgan>weeks or whatever. And therefore, you simply have to say, if you're the instructor, well, <v Wayne Morgan>I've got 40 lectures and I'm going to choose what <v Wayne Morgan>I think are the 40 most important things in this arbitrary entity called the United <v Wayne Morgan>States since 1870 - sixty five or seventy seven or whatever your courses title is called.
<v Wayne Morgan>And you know, you just do the things that the subjects that you think apply <v Wayne Morgan>to most people. I don't think there's been any conspiracy. <v Wayne Morgan>I don't think there's been any conscious effort on the part of historians <v Wayne Morgan>to ignore. I think that's simply the way they saw the nation and the way it developed. <v Wayne Morgan>There is a very, you know, technical thing we should not forget. <v Wayne Morgan>You cannot, in fact, find out much about the daily life of most blacks <v Wayne Morgan>or women or whites in the 19th century. <v Wayne Morgan>You can find out a great deal out about the presidents <v Wayne Morgan>of the United States, the presidents who built the economic system, the person who <v Wayne Morgan>conducted the wars and so forth and so on, simply because that's where the written <v Wayne Morgan>records are. <v Narrator>But Dr. Morgan's contention that minority information is virtually inaccessible is <v Narrator>disputed by those who are involved in study in what are considered to be minorities. <v Narrator>Oklahoma City educator Kay Teel says the information is available and well worth the <v Narrator>effort involved in collecting it. <v Kay Teel>I say that there is an obligation on the part of education, on the part of the <v Kay Teel>educational establishment to provide each and every
<v Kay Teel>child with the most accurate information about his or her society, <v Kay Teel>about the background of this country, about the history and the real history of this <v Kay Teel>country. As accurate as humanly possible. <v Kay Teel>The problem, of course, and the one that you hear about frequently is that <v Kay Teel>devoting time and money and resources to this. <v Kay Teel>But then we always have to set priorities. <v Kay Teel>And I think our highest priority in education should be set upon the truth. <v Kay Teel>And certainly the material is available. <v Kay Teel>It does not take that much time and effort and digging to get; it's <v Kay Teel>there, if we simply believe in its importance enough <v Kay Teel>to gather it together and make it available to the schools. <v Narrator>Kay Teel and Dr. Tom Smith have both claimed that society has a responsibility to provide <v Narrator>information about minority groups to all its members. <v Narrator>But Mrs. Earl Naylor, who also spoke previously, says there should not be the <v Narrator>responsibility of the entire society.
<v Mrs. Naylor>I think that the minorities can offer these programs <v Mrs. Naylor>in their own communities through other agencies, to the young people. <v Mrs. Naylor>I'm not saying it shouldn't be in school, but it doesn't have to be and it can be taught <v Mrs. Naylor>somewhere else, some other way. <v Narrator>Mrs. Naylor gets some support for this view from Oklahoma State University professor Dr. <v Narrator>Peter Rollins. <v Peter Rollins>Minorities who are justifiably left out by public agencies must <v Peter Rollins>have- are duty bound to make their needs known to the administrator <v Peter Rollins>or to the agency in question. <v Peter Rollins>Now, there certainly are - if we're talking about libraries, there certainly <v Peter Rollins>are well known historic cases where people who were not <v Peter Rollins>serviced by public agencies created their own collections <v Peter Rollins>of materials. So we may if, let's say, the establishment with a capital <v Peter Rollins>E of any library system, is adamant and not recognizing <v Peter Rollins>the stated needs of a minority it then may be incumbent upon the minority <v Peter Rollins>to go out and create its own library and to create its own system of distribution
<v Peter Rollins>of ideas and materials. <v Speaker>[Banjo music plays] <v Narrator>We have now examined some aspects of the question, how much information about minorities <v Narrator>in this country do we want and need to have available? <v Narrator>But before we end this program, let's take a brief look at what might be considered the <v Narrator>newest and certainly in one sense, the smallest minority around- our children. <v Narrator>Children are a minority, not only because there are fewer children than adults, but more <v Narrator>importantly, they're what might be called a power minority. <v Narrator>With some important legal exceptions, children, for all practical purposes, <v Narrator>belong to their parents. Legally, parents have the right to do almost anything with their <v Narrator>children which will not physically harm them. <v Narrator>Teachers in their positions as substitute parents six hours a day to some extent share <v Narrator>these rights, just like other groups which have been denied rights and access to <v Narrator>information. Some children and some adults are beginning to believe that children should <v Narrator>have more control over what they do and, more importantly in this discussion, what they
<v Narrator>learn. Oklahoma State University Professor Richard Eggemon and Oklahoma City Attorney <v Narrator>Phil Horning offer a point counterpoint on the issue. <v Richard Eggemon>It seems clear to me that parents have a right and an obligation <v Richard Eggemon>to oversee the basic moral development of their children. <v Richard Eggemon>Children are not sufficiently mature to really tell <v Richard Eggemon>in many cases what is in their best interests or what would harm them. <v Richard Eggemon>I would think that as far as children are concerned, <v Richard Eggemon>parents should have the right to insist that children not <v Richard Eggemon>see certain things or not read certain things. <v Phil Horning>I don't see why you should restrict a child's access to ideas any more than you should <v Phil Horning>adults. The argument is that I suppose it is a lot more impressionable <v Phil Horning>and so forth that, but uh if he is if he's subjected to both <v Phil Horning>sides, that's that's gonna be a growing process for him.
<v Phil Horning>It's gonna be freeing. I think he'll grow up less neurotic. <v Narrator>Before Mr. Horning gets any angry letters, let us hasten to add that he, too, believes <v Narrator>that parents have the responsibility to protect their children from harm. <v Narrator>But he does not count ideas on any list of potential dangers to children. <v Narrator>The Limits to Freedom Project interviewed a number of Oklahoma parents on the issue of <v Narrator>children's rights. Perhaps surprisingly, virtually all of them agreed that parents have <v Narrator>the right and the responsibility to guide or determine their children's intellectual <v Narrator>growth. There was also complete agreement on the point that this was unrealistic. <v Narrator>The children are probably going to read and see a lot of things that their parents won't <v Narrator>like, and the best thing for parents to do is to make sure their children feel free to <v Narrator>talk with them about any subject they meet. <v Narrator>But after amassing all these interviews, we decided we probably hear too much from <v Narrator>parents on the subject of children and too much from adults on virtually everything. <v Narrator>So instead, our final interview is with 14 year old Kerry Divers of Norman. <v Narrator>On the subject of parents telling their children what to read or see, Ms. <v Narrator>Divers had this to say. <v Kerry Divers>People feel like they should be able to decide what they want to do and not
<v Kerry Divers>always have their mother with them in deciding what they should do. <v Kerry Divers>Like Dixie, and what record journalism, too. <v Kerry Divers>Anything like that. Movies, or. <v Kerry Divers>My mom told- raised us up so that we can decide mainly for ourselves what we <v Kerry Divers>thought we could do. And so she just tells us to do <v Kerry Divers>things that we should watch out for. But she doesn't tell us that we have to, because <v Kerry Divers>then they can decide for themselves. You have more responsibility when they grow up. <v Narrator>On the subject of teachers telling students want to read, Kerry takes an even stronger <v Narrator>line. <v Kerry Divers>They don't have the right because they're just there to teach you. <v Kerry Divers>And if you have free time, you should be able to do whatever you want because they gave <v Kerry Divers>you that free time. They didn't. if they told you to read a precise book, they have the <v Kerry Divers>right to tell you to put that other one up. <v Kerry Divers>But when you grow up you're going to leave their ideas anyway and decide your own. <v Kerry Divers>So you should just be able to learn what you feel is right. <v Narrator>Kerry assures us that if her parents or teachers try to interfere with what she reads, <v Narrator>she will definitely want to know why.
<v Narrator>And if she doesn't agree, they can expect an argument. <v Narrator>But sounding surprisingly like the parents who said they wouldn't know how to stop their <v Narrator>children from reading undesirable material, Kerry was also at a loss when we asked what <v Narrator>she would do if arguing failed. <v Speaker>[Banjo music plays] <v Narrator>This program has attempted to present a number of different opinions from various <v Narrator>Oklahomans on the important issue of access to information about minorities and whether <v Narrator>society as a whole has a responsibility to provide that information. <v Narrator>We have not tried to present any one answer on that subject because it is the essence of <v Narrator>democracy that if people are allowed to hear both sides of almost any issue, they will be <v Narrator>able to reach their own intelligent conclusions. <v Narrator>These conclusions may be different, as different as the opinions expressed in this <v Narrator>program, but living in a democracy means tolerating and even welcoming differences. <v Narrator>As American president and philosopher Thomas Jefferson put it, establish the law for <v Narrator>educating the common people. <v Narrator>This is the business of the state. <v Narrator>What kind of education we want and need is the question that faces Oklahoma in 1975.
Limits to Freedom: Oklahoma's Private Values and Public Policies on the Right to Read
Episode Number
No. 2
Minors and Minorities
Producing Organization
Oklahoma. Department of Libraries
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This episode addresses whether minority history and issues should be taught in schools or continue to be omitted in favor of mainstream, mostly white and male history. The host interviews various scholars and community members in a discussion of whether public schools have a responsibility to teach the history of minority communities, including women, with arguments presented both in favor and against this idea. The program also addresses whether young people should have a say in what they learn and read.
Series Description
"The LIMITS TO FREEDOM' radio series explores Oklahoma's 'community standards' on the right to read. The four tapes explore the questions of what limits, if any, Oklahomans believe should be placed on access to materials about sex, politics, religion and minors/minorities. "Each tape uses music, dramatized episodes and extensive interviews with a number of different citizens to demonstrate the many different attitudes Oklahomans have on each of these issues and to explore the value systems underlying these attitudes. Each interview is balanced by another with a person whose basic perspective is different. Both interviews and narration define issues, present historical and constitutional contexts, and focus on Oklahoma community standards. "Each full track tape is 29.25 long and has been played at least 24 times on 20 different Oklahoma radio stations."--1975 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producer: Rosenthal, Deborah
Producing Organization: Oklahoma. Department of Libraries
Writer: Rosenthal, Deborah
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “ Limits to Freedom: Oklahoma's Private Values and Public Policies on the Right to Read ; No. 2; Minors and Minorities,” 1975, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “ Limits to Freedom: Oklahoma's Private Values and Public Policies on the Right to Read ; No. 2; Minors and Minorities.” 1975. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Limits to Freedom: Oklahoma's Private Values and Public Policies on the Right to Read ; No. 2; Minors and Minorities. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from