The good news is that educators in Duluth, Minnesota stopped just short of burning books the other day.
But the bad news is Duluth Public Schools decided to drop two American literary classics from its required reading list in English classes.
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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” have been given the heave-ho over complaints from parents and students about racially charged language.
Stephan Witherspoon, the president of the local NAACP chapter, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune the books contain “oppressive language for our kids.”
“Our kids don’t need to read the ‘N’ word in school,” he told the newspaper. ‘They deal with that every day out in the community and in their life. Racism still exists in a very big way.”
The school district said they had received feedback that reading the classic books “makes many students feel uncomfortable.”
“We’re doing this out of consideration of the impacts on our students and specifically different groups of students in our schools, and especially our communities of color,” a district spokesman told the newspaper.
The idea that “To Kill a Mockingbird” – a book that sought to expose racial injustice – is now considered racially offensive – is beyond words.
Shannon Gibney, an instructor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, said the book is “a white savior narrative.”
The National Coalition Against Censorship is opposed to the school district’s decision — citing the reality that both books provide a historical understanding of race relations in America, the newspaper reported.
“We’re potentially treating students too delicately,” spokesperson Nora Pelizzari said. “This country still has significant racial tension and needs to grapple with that in a real way.”
Quite frankly, I find all this righteous indignation to be a bit much.
I wonder how many of the parents offended by Huckleberry Finn are just as offended by the racial vulgarities spewing out of their child’s iTunes playlist?