The Burbank Unified School District in California has now officially banned several classic novels from the school system, telling middle and high school English teachers that they are no longer allowed to teach certain books – including landmark anti-racism novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” – because of the racially insensitive language included within.
“Until further notice, teachers in the area will not be able to include on their curriculum 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 and Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” reports Newsweek. “Four parents, three of whom are Black, challenged the classic novels for alleged potential harm to the district’s roughly 400 Black students.”
Oh, a whole four parents complained? Three of them were black? We’re surprised the school district didn’t just ban reading altogether!
“Carmenita Helligar said her daughter, Destiny, was approached by a white student in math class using a racial taunt including the N-word, which he’d learned from reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry while both attended the David Starr Jordan Middle School,” reports Newsweek.
First of all, the chances that this kid “learned” the N-word from that book are roughly zero. Second, this sounds like an excellent opportunity to punish that kid and provide an additional learning opportunity for everyone else at the school. In what world does it makes sense to ban a book because one kid used it as an excuse to be hateful? Did the school district ever stop to consider what our English canon would look like if we eliminated every single book that someone has used for such a purpose?
PEN America, a group for poets, essayists, and novelists, sent out a petition asking the Burbank Unified School District to reconsider their hasty decision.
“Each of the books in question deal with difficult subject matter from our country’s complicated and painful history, including systemic racism,” the petition reads. “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.”
This new leftist impulse to ban, tear down, and censor anything slightly at odds with their current worldview is disturbing and destructive. It is an effort, quite simply, to make it easier for them to argue that today’s America is every bit as racist as it ever was (if not more so). This claim is laughable on its face…but only if you have some knowledge about how things used to be. They seem determined to make that knowledge go away.