Book Banning is apparently Alive and Well… 

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Virginia schools ban ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘Huckleberry Finn’ for racial slurs
by: Brianna Chambers, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated: Dec 1, 2016 – 9:05 AM

A Virginia school has temporarily banned two American classics after a parent said her high school-age son was negatively impacted by the racial slurs they contain.

The decision to remove “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee came after a parent filed a complaint, WAVY reported. The parent cited excessive racial slurs as the reason for wanting the books banned, Superintendent Warren Holland told the news station.

The parent, whose son is biracial, said that her concerns are “not even just a black and white thing.”

“I keep hearing, ‘This is a classic, This is a classic,’ … I understand this is a literature classic. But at some point, I feel that children will not — or do not — truly get the classic part — the literature part, which I’m not disputing,” she said at a Nov. 15 school board meeting. “This is great literature. But there (are so many) racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that.”

The parent said her son, who was reading “Huckleberry Finn” for a high school assignment, couldn’t get past a certain page in that story on which the N-word appeared seven times.

A racial slur appears 219 times in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and 48 times in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“So what are we teaching our children? We’re validating that these words are acceptable, and they are not acceptable by (any) means,” the parent said, also noting psychological effects language has on children. “There is other literature they can use.”

The parent proposed a committee made up of parents and teachers of different cultural backgrounds come up with a list of books that are inclusive for all students. She also offered to donate books and raise funds in the case of budgetary concerns.

The complaint, which was “a request for reconsideration of learning resources,” will go before a committee made up of a principal, librarian, teacher, parent and potentially others, according to WCMH. The committee will then make a recommendation to the superintendent.

Holland said that there is no set date for when the recommendation will be made.

What do you think about that? Do you agree or disagree?



17 thoughts on “Book Banning is apparently Alive and Well… 

  1. I think that we must accept our history as a country has bad problems, and unsavory times and actions. Yes the words in these books are wrong, should be unacceptable in today’s world, the fact is it happened. Just as the unjust actions of owning slaves, and attempted genocide of the native people. To whitewash that, to pretend bad things did not happen, that things we should view as unacceptable did not happen is to create what we have today. A repeating of those very same things. Right now we have a resurgence of that same language and those very hatreds. Dening it won’t make it stop or go away. We have to find a way to counter it,and to show it is not right, won’t be tolerated in a civil society. I do not know what makes these books “classics”. I simply don’t have enough education in literature to understand why they are valued over others. However I do think that if they are important as important as scholars think, we should teach them, with the understanding we teach two things with them. The first that it was a different time with different understandings and morals, and second that we do not accept them and the language in them as acceptable today. It does no good to hide our racist past. We must confront it, get over it, asn stomp it dead forever. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, I don’t agree.

    Look at the principle involved – creating a cleansed pallet for the art that reveals the real world (literature) and replaces it with a bullshit my-little-pony version – and then apply elsewhere – say, history – to see where the reasoning leads. It leads to lies and deception.

    Banning such works doesn’t lead to insight nor demonstrate ways to find real world connections (it is literature, after all, and not infotainment). It doesn’t lead to understanding why enlightenment principles are so important, why they are constantly under attack by the ignorant and the stupid and the selfish, nor why we must defend them all the time from this sugar-coated encroachment. It doesn’t lead to principled living but replaces authenticity with a kumba ya world view that simply doesn’t respect reality, doesn’t prepare students for learning how to live in it, nor a means to learn why we need to think critically about real world problems, to think in different but effective ways, to seek out and learn to support creative solutions using good Bayesian weighing (and understand the incremental benefits that outweigh costs), of learning how to tackle and embrace the grey areas of life, real ongoing problems of race-based thinking, to produce life affirming meaning from very real suffering in such a world. Banning such books is a simpleton’s approach, a completely misguided, knee-jerk, jack-booted ‘solution’ that solves exactly nothing and teaches all the wrong lessons. It is an avoidance technique and should be understood to be what it is: no solution at all but a replacement tactic that substitutes bullshit under all kinds of warped politically correct post modern words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t agree with banning and certainly not on the strength of a single complaint. This is censorship by the offended minority.

    It’s been a good many years since I was exposed to the Hunk Finn stories and I’ve never read the other so I’d want to examine the context first. If the context is language that matches the period then it’s fine by me.

    People should not be protected from things that offend them or make them deeply uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both of these books were required reading when I was in school. Shm…

    On the strength of one complaint this is being done? Seems like a knee-jerk reaction by the school board to a complaint to me. Neither of these books is inherently racist. In fact, their contexts are such that they are pointing out the insidious nature of racism. To Kill a Mockingbird is expressly anti-racist. We cannot erase our past, but if we whitewash it we will repeat it. Just look around us. We already are.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I guess my question would be, why can’t this be a teaching moment? That is, the teacher explains this is how people talked/wrote in “those days.” And while it is considered controversial and even insulting to some in our modern era, this does not alter the fact that ideologies and societal values change over time. IOW, what was written in years past has no direct bearing on anyone or anything in today’s world.

    By the same token, since we do live in a culture that finds certain words and ideas offensive, perhaps it’s best to be cognizant of the norms of the society we live in and use discretion.

    Liked by 1 person

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