“Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire”
Activist teachers are now coming for William Shakespeare. They argue that the English language’s greatest poet-dramatist is a purveyor of racism, misogyny, and worse.
You have to marvel at the self-confidence of these teachers who think they’re qualified to judge Shakespeare.
Lee Brown writes at the New York Post:
William Shakespeare ditched by woke teachers over ‘misogyny, racism’
William Shakespeare, thou hast been getting canceled.
An increasing number of woke teachers are refusing to study the Bard — accusing his classic works of promoting “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir.”
A slew of English literature teachers told the School Library Journal (SLJ) how they were ditching the likes of “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” to instead “make room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices.”
“Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire,” insisted Shakespeare scholar Ayanna Thompson, a professor of English at Arizona State University.
Teachers also need to “challenge the whiteness” of the assumption that Shakespeare’s works are “universal,” insisted Jeffrey Austin, who is head of a Michigan high school’s English literature department.
Former Washington state public school teacher Claire Bruncke told SLJ she banished the Bard from her classroom to “stray from centering the narrative of white, cisgender, heterosexual men.”
Anyone who has attended a Shakespearean performance in the last thirty years knows that people of every race and gender have played every role. One of the fantastic things about his work is that it transcends identity. It’s all about the story and the language.
Even the liberal Washington Post is against this idea. Kathleen Parker writes:
Don’t cancel Shakespeare
Just when you thought our so-called cancel culture couldn’t get any more ridiculous, the calibrators of literary justice surpassed themselves recently by targeting the Bard himself as just another racist, genderist, homophobic fellow.
Yes, even William Shakespeare, who not only provided centuries of wisdom, tragedy and entertainment, but also gave us much of our modern vernacular, has become the latest target of those who can’t bear the burden of context. Which, as you know, really is everything. But some of the busybodies at #DisruptTexts — which describes itself as a “grassroots effort by teachers for teachers” to “challenge the traditional canon” — aren’t concerned with criticism in the academic sense, even if they think they are.
I understand the impulse to stop teaching literature and the lessons it holds the way we have done it for decades. But that doesn’t make it a good idea.
This is not about misogyny or racism. It’s just another attack on Western Civilization, its culture, and its history. The left wants to rewrite the world, and they think they can do it better than Shakespeare.
I’ll leave you with some classic clips.
Richard Burton as Hamlet:
Sir John Gielgud as Prospero in The Tempest:
Laurence Fishburne as Othello:
Orson Welles as Macbeth:
Sir Laurence Olivier as Richard III:
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