Prior to the start of the Fall 2015 semester it became popular news that there were incoming college freshmen at Duke University that were openly refusing to read Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Fun Home is a graphic novel that depicts Bechdel’s childhood, her relationship with her family and some of the personal struggles her father lived, as a closeted gay man.
Faculty member, Amber Humphrey wrote a response to this refusal to read Fun Home. She brings up extremely important points and argues the point we must be willing to open our minds to the experiences of others. “Education—especially higher education—obliges us to read, hear, and see things that we might not otherwise encounter. Anyone committed to learning must therefore engage with people, perspectives, ideas, and experiences that may at first seem strange, confusing, or problematic. Learning means we attempt to understand—it doesn’t mean we have to like everything we’re exposed to. We can disagree with the authors of the books we read, but we have to read them first. Worthwhile ideas and values can withstand exposure to other ideas and values. But those seeking a university education should be prepared to have the worldview and perspectives they developed at 18 challenged and expanded. If not, why go to college? Or read? Or think?”
The full text of Amber’s response can be found here.