California Teachers Slam Book Banning of Supposedly ‘Racist’ Classics

censcorship
Fred Kearney via Unsplash

A group of teachers has rebelled against the decision by a Burbank California school district to ban a list of classic literary works tagged as “racist” by local thought police.

“Think cancel culture,” writes former Burbank teacher Brian Crosby in a collection of responses published in the Los Angeles Times on November 19. “The texts of these books teach anti-racism, decency and empathy” and these “literary treasures” ought to remain as teaching tools for educators.

As Breitbart News reported last week, middle and high school English teachers in the Burbank Unified School District have been forbidden from including on their curriculum Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Theodore Taylor’s The Cay, and Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

“The Burbank Unified School District has taken an anti-education stance in halting the teaching of the classic books due to their perceived racism,” writes Mr. Crosby.

“I taught To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men for most of my 31-year career as a high school English teacher,” Crosby states. “These books were often the favorites of my students.”

Banning books “is not a solution,” writes Los Angeles teacher Liz Vogel in the same L.A. Times collection. “Any of these books can be a valuable tool for critical examination of not only history, but also issues of race, class, gender, power, privilege and voice.”

Riverside CA teacher and author John Kerr similarly lodged his disagreement with the school district’s decision.

“Mark Twain is obviously still doing a bang-up job with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” he writes. “Any American who seeks to ban this book along with John Steinbeck’s and Harper Lee’s novels clearly demonstrates their complete ignorance of these works of literature.”

“As a retired educator, I am dismayed, if not horrified, by parents who impose on public schools their fears of other people, other cultures, and divergent ideas, and demand the removal of books,” writes Sidney Morrison of Los Angeles. “But what your story truly reveals is not the danger of particular books, but the dangers of inadequate instruction, ineffective teachers and poor school leaders.”

Or as Jeff Denker of Malibu, writes: “Perhaps the most sinister threat to a society built upon the free and open exchange of ideas may be the kind of cultural cleansing underway in the Burbank school system.”

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