Two books taught in classrooms across the nation will no longer be taught in Duluth, Minnesota public schools.
The two books — which happen to be cultural landmarks from the country’s fight against racism — contain racial slurs. Despite the context, the school appears to have been swayed by the idiocy of “safe spaces” and “trigger warning” pseudo-psychology.
“The feedback that we’ve received is that it makes many students feel uncomfortable,” argued Michael Cary, the director of curriculum and instruction for the district. “Conversations about race are an important topic, and we want to make sure we address those conversations in a way that works well for all of our students.”
Cary said the decision, made as a group by district leaders and leaders in Duluth’s secondary schools, came after years of concerns shared by parents, students and community groups. The change was announced to district staff members late last week.
Stephan Witherspoon, president of the Duluth chapter of the NAACP, called the move “long overdue.”
Except that it’s not.
First, let’s take a look at Huck Finn. It’s a classic piece of American literature that yes, has some language that is inappropriate by today’s standards. However, it’s also perhaps America’s most brilliant satire and attack on our former racism-infested culture. We’ve come a long way. Thankfully.
To Kill a Mockingbird is an even more bizarre case of censorship. Why? Because it’s one of the most anti-racist pieces of quality literature out there, especially for its time.
The story hinges around a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Yes, there is rough, racially insensitive language. But, again, it was the product of the time, and works as a great teaching tool for learning how innocent people were railroaded into conviction of horrific crimes simply because of race.
By removing these books from the curriculum, Duluth is doing a grave disservice to their students. Rather than provide examples of what life used to be like, they are simply sweeping the truth under the rug, hoping no one will see it.
The world will never be all unicorns and rainbows. Every era has its dark, unfortunate mistakes. Progressivism seems to think we can simply “move beyond” evil.
But you can’t prevent history from repeating by ignoring it and not being prepared to identify evil when it arises. While both books are fiction, they reflect the reality of an era in a way that people are more likely to connect with than a history book.
Removing them from a curriculum removes past truths from the current conversation. That leaves kids more vulnerable to real racism, not less.