A Mississippi school district has recently pulled To Kill A Mockingbird from its required reading list. The book that every student has been required to read in recent decades was written by Harper Lee and published in 1960. It addressed racial relations in a small town through the eyes of the daughter of a prominent lawyer. It teaches empathy and shows an honorable effort to rise above racism.
Like most movies and literature, lingo from the time is used – art imitates life. During the setting of the novel, the word “nig*er” was common – it was still derogatory, but it was used much more regularly. Now, schools use the word to excuse banning classic literature from the classroom. The excuse that the Biloxi School District is using is that the word makes people “uncomfortable.”
That word SHOULD make people uncomfortable. Social justice doesn’t happen when people are comfortable. That word has always been used to marginalize a specific group of people. It is a result of the culture we live in, not a cause.
According to the school district, other books can be used to teach empathy. Isn’t that simplifying it a bit? This book addresses racial relations we still experience today in this country. In fact, it seems that many closeted bigots have been emboldened by our newest president. The book may be as relevant to our society as it was at the time of its publication.
Twitter was quick to jump on the subject. Users destroyed the flimsy notion that it was a word that made people “uncomfortable.”
Teach only “comfortable” books about racism in America, and you get students raised to be comfortable with racism. https://t.co/pRBq2C9NSW
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) October 14, 2017
In Trump’s America, To Kill A Mockingbird is considered Liberal Propaganda. Harper Lee saw a lot of Donald Trump supporters in her day. pic.twitter.com/1NYaJ9ld4G
— Steve Redmond (@sjredmond) October 14, 2017
When “To Kill a Mockingbird” makes conservatives uncomfortable enough to ban, but confederate statues don’t, we clearly have a problem.
— Eric Shuman (@eshuman34) October 14, 2017
If reading To Kill a Mockingbird makes you uncomfortable, you’re exactly the kind of person who needs to read it.
— Resistance Mom 🖖❄️ (@ResistBLOTUS) October 14, 2017
And this last tweet perfectly sums it up:
We live in country where “To Kill A Mockingbird” makes some people uncomfortable but a man in the White House who is unable to condemn Nazis & their propaganda is just fine. https://t.co/PNKp1HC3JX
— Simar (@sahluwal) October 14, 2017