California school district bans classic novels like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Of Mice and Man" because of the racial content and concerned parents
The new standards have yet got to education and it comes out lame. At least it happened in California when Burbank Unified School District decided to exclude a list of the classic novels from the school curriculum because of their racist content. The list includes such classic literature masterpieces as “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
On Tuesday, Newsweek reported that middle school and high school teachers will no longer be able to teach the students literature by means of the following books:
• Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"
• Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
• John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"
• Theodore Taylor's "The Cay"
• Mildred D. Taylor's "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"
The restriction comes from parental concerns of racism. The outlet said that four parents – three of whom are black – reportedly complained that the classic novels posed “alleged potential harm.” One of the parents said that her black daughter was insulted by a white student using the n-word, which he said he “learned” from the book “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.” Another student allegedly told her daughter,
"My family used to own your family, and now I want a dollar from each of you for the week."
It’s ridiculous. This is not about the books and their content. This is about education entirely. If a teacher can not teach a student to read a novel through understanding the historical context, this is not a problem of the particular books, this is the problem of the teacher. It’s their fault that didn’t teach the children to read, to read right, and to think of what they read about.
And the parents. It’s total ignorance to believe that the books give somebody racism. Racism and hate come from the family a child is being brought up in. If there is no racism in the family, the kid will never find it in any book he reads.
The Administrators of Burbank Unified School District have probably read “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury and the next time will offer to burn the books if more concerned parents continue reporting nonsense like this.
But not everything is so bad and there is still a gleam of hope and mind.
At least one district teen created and distributed a petition calling the administration to stop the censorship.
"In a time where racism has become more transparent than ever, we need to continue to educate students as to the roots of it; to create anti-racist students. This literature, of which have been declared 'Books that Shaped America' by the Library of Congress, won Newbury Medals, and are some of the most influential pieces, cannot disappear," the teen’s Change.org petition states.
The National Coalition Against Censorship also didn’t side with the district and sent a letter urging them to reconsider their decision. Los Angeles Times obtained the letter from a spokesman for the organization.
"[W]e believe that the books ... have a great pedagogical value and should be retained in the curriculum," he wrote in the letter.
Poets, Essayists, and Novelists America joined The National Coalition and crafted a petition demanding the district reinstate the use of the books.
"Each of the books in question deals with difficult subject matter from our country's complicated and painful history, including systemic racism. Blocking engagement with these important books is also avoiding the important role that schools can and should play in providing context for why these books inspire and challenge us still today," the petition says.