When I saw the article OUP authors told not to write about sausages or pigs in children's books to 'avoid offence', I felt quite sad. This ban was set to avoid insulting Muslim groups. This ban also signifies the loss of our freedom of choice.
If the folks at Oxford University Press (OUP) are concerned about offending Muslims, maybe they need to also consider Hindus, and ban all books that reference cows and beef. And what about Jews? Maybe they need to ban all books that contain split-hoofed animals and bottom-dwelling sea creatures. The list can go on, but I’m sure you get my point. I have found that the things that scare me or make me feel uncomfortable are the things that I don’t understand.
Instead of avoiding the issue and pretending that pigs and sausage don’t exist, perhaps the better choice is to inform children, that the world if full of different people with different beliefs – and that’s OK. We don’t need to change our culture just because we are unique from other cultures and vise versa.
It’s sad when we start to lose our freedom of choice. It’s a far more interesting world if we can choose the books we want to read, use the animals we want to illustrate with, and eat the culinary delights we crave. While I still have the freedom of choice, I’ll indulge in a little Grey Poupon with my ham - hold the green eggs.