Literature is my first love. Particularly southern literature. During my college years, I was engulfed in the words of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Harper Lee because they were able to scratch the surface of how complicated, nuanced, grotesque and beautiful the American South can be.
In those days, the “n-word,” which all of those authors have used, was usually the kickoff to a conversation. Not about the word itself, but usually about deeper issues. Faulkner’s treatment of Dilsey Gibson in “The Sound and the Fury” led to deeper contrasts about the fictional character versus southern perspectives of the south in a post-slavery world.
The most non-offensive southern classic is “To Kill A Mockingbird,” a book that I like to read once every few years. I read it in high school and read it again in college. The characters exhibit the courage taken by a few people who were standing up to racist collectivism.
But according to a Virginia parent, I was probably just a racist kid who didn’t understand what I was reading:
“I keep hearing, ‘This is a classic, This is a classic’,” the mother said at a school board meeting on 15 November, according to WPXI. “I understand this is a literature classic. But at some point, I feel that children will not – or do not – truly get the classic part – the literature part, which I’m not disputing.
She’s also disputing “The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn” for the same reason. Shockingly, the local school board caved and banned the freaking books.
“So what are we teaching our children? We’re validating that these words are acceptable, and they are not acceptable by (any) means,” the parent said, perhaps overlooking the role of the teacher in instructing pupils what words are right and wrong to employ. “There is other literature they can use.”
‘Member when it was conservatives who who were the extremists who were anti-culture? In 2016 America, apparently the roles are reversed. It shouldn’t have to be said that these books are extremely important for not only framing young minds with the historic racial problems that have plagued America, but contributing to that discussion in the future.
It also shouldn’t have to be said that suppressing culture usually just leads young people to seek it out, so this parent’s kid will probably end up reading it.
Unfortunately, this is probably good prep work for when these kids go to college and get put in an even more repressive environment.