A book that was created to make Americans uncomfortable is being pulled from an eighth-grade reading list reading list bythe Biloxi School District in Mississippi because “it makes people uncomfortable.”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee tells the story of a principled attorney, Atticus Finch, who defends a black man after the rape of a white woman in a small southern town. The story is full of wry wit, southern charm, and terrible examples of racism. But it made Atticus Finch one of the great American heroes in literature and the story a must-read for school children.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published in an era when everyone read books, and its impact on both north and south cannot be underestimated. Historically, it can truly be said that it helped drive the conversation on race relations in America as no other book except perhaps Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the late 1850s.
It’s no longer required reading at most schools. I doubt if any book that could be considered “classic” is required any longer. But the reason the Biloxi School District chose to remove the book from the reading list is beyond belief.
To Kill a Mockingbird has a long history atop banned books lists, but here’s a new reason: the 20th century classic about racism in small-town Alabama “makes people uncomfortable.”
The Biloxi School District in Mississippi removed the novel by Harper Lee from an eighth-grade reading list after receiving complaints about the book’s language, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.
“There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books,” school board vice president Kenny Holloway told the paper.
This is a man responsible for teaching children? You cannot “teach the same lesson with other books.” This guy misses the point of great literature. In fact, no book ever written in the history of western civilization teaches the lessons of honor, principle, love, Christian charity, and race hatred like To Kill a Mockingbird.
And they pull the book because it “makes people uncomfortable”? That’s the point, you pointy-headed ninnies! It’s supposed to make you uncomfortable.
I’ll leave you with the notoriously shy Harper Lee’s response to a school district that pulled something similar back in 1966:
“Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is ‘immoral’ has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink,” Lee wrote at the time, ending on a reference to George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel.
Not “doublethink,” Harper. The fools in Biloxi are guilty of “No Think.”