Racial Concerns Lead to Banning of Classic American Novels in Minnesota School District

In what may be a desire to achieve racial harmony or, perhaps, an attempt to take political correctness to an absurd level, a Minnesota school district has banned from its curriculum two classic American novels. The decision has drawn praise from a civil rights group and criticism from an organization dedicated to free speech.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” written in the 19th century by famed American novelist Mark Twain, and Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published nearly a century later, will no longer be part of the curriculum in the Duluth Public School District. Both will be available in school libraries, but their reading will be voluntary. Known for their handling of racial issues, both books are also known for their heavy use of racial epithets. Learn more about the controversy at www.reddit.com/r/education.
According to Michael Cary, the district’s curriculum director, the racist remarks found in both novels were harmful because they either “humiliated or marginalized” students. He said that other “literary options” are available to help students understand the issues examined in the books. The banning received praise from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a spokesman for which said that the books have been “hurtful” to victims of racial repression. However, the National Coalition Against Censorship asked the district to reconsider its decision.
The same books have in the past been targeted for censorship for the same reasons. Both were removed from schools in Virginia in 2016, although they would later be reinstated, and Lee’s novel was taken out of Mississippi schools the following year.

March 1, 2018

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