To Minnesota, where the local censors have banned students from studying copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Anyone reading either book will be “humiliated or marginalised” by the language therein. Yeah, they’re that good. Stick a ‘censored’ and ‘explicit lyrics’ label on them and watch the cool kids lap it up.
Duluth’s director of ‘curriculum and instruction’ Michael Cary says wants to “teach the same lessons” as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn in other ways, perhaps with finger puppets and classrooms stuffed with cotton wool. Anti-racist texts, see, should contain no hint of the racism they’re satirising and destroying, in much the same way that books on World War 2 should feature no examples of anti-Jewish rhetoric, and histories of the US Civil War contain no violence and examples of ‘hate speech’. The past is the past. If history is not to be repeated it must be forgotten.
“We felt that we could still teach the same standards and expectations through other novels that didn’t require students to feel humiliated or marginalised by the use of racial slurs,” says Carey.
Oddly, this mollycoddling is supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, whose regional president Stephan Witherspoon thinks the books are “just hurtful” and use “hurtful language that has oppressed the people for over 200 years”.
“It’s wrong,” he decrees. “There are a lot more authors out there with better literature that can do the same thing that does not degrade our people. I’m glad that they’re making the decision and it’s long overdue, like 20 years overdue. Let’s move forward and work together to make school work for all of our kids, not just some, all of them.”