The Biloxi school district has pulled Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird from its 8th grade syllabi because it contains the “N-word.”

This kind of thing drives me straight up the wall.  What on earth makes the left think that hiding, banning, and otherwise destroying our nation’s history and culture will achieve anything positive or good?  Not only do we need to know where we came from to know how far we’ve come as a nation, but we also need an historical and literary reference for some of the left’s politically-correct mandates.

Black rappers, athletes, comedians, politicians, pundits, et al. are the only ones who can use the “N-word” because they are “reclaiming it” and “taking back its power.”  That’s all well and good, but we’re raising a couple of generations who will have no idea from what they are reclaiming the word or what its power once was and why it needed to be taken back in the first place.

Don’t expect them to get any context from Huck Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Sun Herald reports:

The Biloxi School District got complaints about the wording in “To Kill A Mockingbird” — an American classic being taught in 8th grade English Language Arts classes — and pulled it from the curriculum.

It was an administrative and department decision, a member of the school board said, and not something that the school board voted on. It happened Wednesday or Thursday.

Kenny Holloway, vice president of the Biloxi School Board said, “There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.

“It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book in the 8th grade course.”

This is not the first time this Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been pulled from K-12 syllabi.  It was pulled from a Virginia school last year.

The Los Angeles Times reported at the time:

A school district in Virginia has pulled copies of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Mark Twain’s classic “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” after a parent’s complaint.

The Accomack County school district is considering banning the books from the county’s schools outright, following a complaint from the mother of a biracial high school student over the use of the N-word in the novels.

The mother, Marie Rothstein-Williams, said she believes the books are “great literature,” but said at a school board meeting, “There is so much racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that, and right now we are a nation divided as it is.”

The racial slur in question appears more than 200 times in “Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain’s 1884 satire about racism in pre-Civil War America. The novel frequently appears on the American Library Assn.’s yearly lists of the country’s most challenged or banned books.

The N-word is used almost 50 times in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a 1960 novel about anti-black bigotry in the midcentury American South that has been a staple of school syllabi for 50 years. Lee’s novel has also been subjected to challenges in schools many times since the book’s publication.

Rothstein-Williams said the books’ use in schools would teach children that using the racial slur was acceptable.

“We’re validating that these words are acceptable. They are not acceptable,” she said. “We will lose our children if we continue to say that this is OK, that we validate these words when we should not.”

There is so much wrong with Rothstein-Williams’ statement that it’s hard to know where to start.  Reading a work of literature does not mean we, as teachers or as society as a whole, condone every word and action in the text or that our students should mimic the characters in a literary text.

Following this logic, we can’t teach Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case” because our students will think committing suicide is okay (ditto Romeo and Juliet), we can’t teach Toni Morrison’s Beloved (it, too, contains the “N-word”), we can’t teach much of the Ernest Hemingway canon or we’re glorifying war (ditto much Greek drama and most epic poems), we can’t teach . . . any meaningful literature because good literature tackles the human condition in all its variances.  And nothing is more disgusting and repellent to the left than that.

They’re so busy trying to sterilize history, to remake and perfect humanity, that they forget that humanity’s foibles, prejudices, cruelties, and sins are just as important as our goodness, our generosity of spirit and boundless capacity for good will, our ability to be selfless, and our need to love and be loved.

Without the former traits, the latter are all but meaningless.

[Featured image via Amazon]


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