In a recent report from Newsweek, several schools in Burbank, California will be pulling classic novels off the shelves, following concerns raised by parents over racism. Teachers will no longer be able to teach 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.
It started with a few parents who had challenged the novels for “alleged potential harm.” A parent complained that her daughter, Destiny, was approached by a white student who was using the N-word as a racial taunt, which he’d learned from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Another boy told Destiny that his family used to own her family and then demanded a dollar from her. School reports claimed the boy’s excuse was that he had read it in class.
The radical left believes if we keep banning racist literature and music, then surely that will help end racism. The books once treasured in literary curriculums are no longer allowed to be taught in a classroom setting. While kids are still allowed to read and check them out of the library, there is something lost when a child reads on their own compared to being taught in a classroom and sharing ideas with peers.
While liberals argue that there’s no counter-narrative to black people dealing with racism besides a “white person” saving them, conservatives argue that the reading material is essential for supporting conversations and discussions about race. But once again, the few affect the majority and the majority has no say in it. It should be up to the community to decide its curriculum, not a handful of parents with complaints.
“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,” read a letter from The National Coalition Against Censorship. The NCAC is a non-profit organization that defends every American’s right to think, create, and explore new ideas.
Freedom of thought is critical to freedom itself. If we don’t study our past, how can we learn from it? The radical left does not fear to repeat the same mistakes. If anything, they are openly welcoming it.
There is not a book today that shows disdain for racism as much as To Kill a Mockingbird – and now kids can’t even learn about it in a classroom.