Mississippi school district pulls "To Kill A Mockingbird" for making people "uncomfortable"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by shyam09, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. shyam09 macrumors 68020

    shyam09

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    #1
    http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/harrison-county/article178572326.html

    Not too surprising, since this is a popular book to ban / challenge; but still disappointing.

    The reason? Some people found it offensive that the book used "the n-word".

    These books help teach us things about how society was in the past and how to learn and move forward from that.

    http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

    This list makes me sigh heavily.
     
  2. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #3
    That’s not a good enough reason. Who is behind the ban liberals, conservatives, blacks, whites or all of the above? For myself, the book is a view into the historical attitudes of the mid 20th century South which must include the use of the N word.
     
  3. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #4
    Let's see, we have a story about a black man who is falsely accused of raping a white woman and a white lawyer who is appointed to defend him. The white lawyer manages to prove his innocence, yet the jury convicts the man.

    Yes, it's an uncomfortable story for that reason, yet in the 1930s South this was likely a very common situation. The only thing perhaps uncommon is the sympathetic lawyer who actually believes him and shows how he couldn't have committed the crime.

    The N word is used a bunch, but I wouldn't call its use gratuitous. The writing and use of the word is a product of both the 1930s deep south setting and it having been written in the 1960s.

    To Kill a Mockingbird has been a "touchy" book for a while, but a lot of the criticism has come from the fact that it deals with difficult subjects like rape and judicial inequality. I'm not in favor of banning any book, but I can sort of understand this criticism(even though I think there's a lot of value-at least in high schools-of reading the book and discussing these topics). The use of one particular word-to me-is not really even worthy of consideration.
     
  4. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #5
    You described the exact reason why such a book should never be banned. :)
     
  5. BeeGood macrumors 68000

    BeeGood

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    #6
    Kind of silly, but meh.

    They didn’t ban the book. It’s still available in the library for kids who want to read it. It’s simply no longer required reading for 8th grade language arts in Biloxi.

    If they can meet the educational requirement with other material then this is really no big deal.
     
  6. Huntn, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #7
    My believe is that any group of children, especially children from former slave States would benifit from required reading and participating in a group discussion about historical prejudice which, while it may not exist today to the same degree still exists. The use of the N would could be justifiable discussed, as a verbal projection of prejudice, and how that pervaded society, and the resulting actions including denial of rights, freedoms upon which the country was founded, and miscarriages of justice.

    My question: who is feeling uncomfortable?

    Not a challenge to your post, but speaking of prejudice, I wonder how like minded school districts feel about watching Holocaust movies, seeing piles of bodies, would it be too uncomfortable for eight graders to watch?
     
  7. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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  8. HEK macrumors 68040

    HEK

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    #9
    Yeah, right mobs of kids going to library these days to read challenging books on controversial subject matter that makes them uncomfortable and think.

    Further dumbing down political easy subject matter. Why talk about uncomfortable things in school. The students might start thinking, wubecome informed voters. Can’t have masses doing that. Could undermine the agenda of 1%.

    Make em smart enough to work go nowhere Jobs and be loyal consumers. No independent thinking desired or wanted. Makes me sick. Ever downward spiral. Poor little Dick and Jane, don’t wanna make them uncomfortable. Might come home and challenge parents. Can’t have that.
     
  9. BeeGood, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017

    BeeGood macrumors 68000

    BeeGood

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    #10
    There are many areas in former slave states that are majority black. I don’t believe that’s true for Biloxi (probably 1/3 black), that’s true for, say, Mobile AL just about an hour away. I’m positive that those kids know all about historical prejudice and don’t need a book to explain that to them. So I’m in favor of letting school districts (in partnership with involved parents) determine what’s best for the populations they serve.

    Also, I think you may be overestimating the depth and quality of the discussions that 8th graders are having about the books they’re made to read.

    That’s a good question. I could see that going either way. A black parent might feel that the language is too offensive, a white parent might feel that those parts demonize white people.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 15, 2017 ---
    Holy wall of hyperbole.

    Dude...if the average kid isn’t interested enough to pick up the book themselves, how much of it do you honestly believe he/she is retaining from literature that is force fed to them?

    Let alone actually deriving core values from it??
     
  10. yaxomoxay, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017

    yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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    #11
    That book should be mandatory reading, every year, from junior high to Juris Doctor.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 15, 2017 ---
    If a kid isn’t interested in picking up a book on the Constitution, why should we teach it?
    Because - at times - adults know better, that’s why. The average kid doesn’t really know how the world out there works, and the average kid doesn’t know of all the social problematics. The Best way is then to have them exposed theoretically to them, and to “live” stories about those problems.
    One of my problems in science teaching is that they teach too much technical stuff and not enough stories. Teach the kids about Fibonacci, Von Braun, Einstein, and Hawking. Teach the stories of those lives changed forever thanks to technology, and teach them good science fiction (Asimov?) as science material and not literature. 90% won’t care anyways, but you will fascinste snd capture that 10% that will change the world.
     
  11. MachCrit, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017

    MachCrit Suspended

    MachCrit

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    #12
    The book is precisely supposed to make people uncomfortable so they never forget. If this keeps up, you'll eventually have plausible deniability that these atrocities never happened. Never forget.
     
  12. BeeGood macrumors 68000

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    #13
    And adults have made the decision that To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t in the same category as the US Constitution for a group of kids that they understand better than you and I both do.

    See, I think that this is the problem with the way that K-12 education is structured today. We’re basically taking a shotgun approach by blasting every single kid with information in the hopes that a small franction of them will absorb and be impacted by it. It’s a poor use of time and resources IMO.

    I’m not anti-education by any means, but I believe that far too much of it is “required” because someone, you, me, whoever sees a lot of value in “X” when it has no value to the majority of kids. Lots of kids fail trig, calculus and lit classes and literally never see or need that material again for the rest of their lives.
     
  13. MachCrit Suspended

    MachCrit

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    #14
    What? You need trigonometry every day of your life! Have you never assembled anything from IKEA?
     
  14. BeeGood macrumors 68000

    BeeGood

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    #15
    I just figured we all look like “that guy” at first, but eventually figure it out. :D

    4DD8E949-CF7B-4AA6-96CF-47A907E3C234.png
     
  15. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #16
    As far as quality of discussion, I believe 8th grade as I remember is is old enough, but that such a discussion would be led by a teacher well versed in the talking points able to keep the discussion focused on the applicable points, philosophical such as treating others as you wish to be treated.
     
  16. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #17
    I don’t think it really matters, and in some ways I think it’s better not to know as it keeps us from breaking into our partisan camps. These days both sides trade off being uncomfortable about one subject or the other.

    I would hope that by the eighth grade, kids are ready for difficult subjects, especially ones that have historic/social significance.
     
  17. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #18
    I’ll suggest we should be uncomfortable about more things in our past. Ironically, this is not even that far in the past, and it’s not yet resolved.

    It was cited, this is the stated reason, I’d like to know if it’s white ashamed about the past or blacks who don’t like the world used. I mean besides the name there is the entire issue of (although fictional in this specific case) convicting an innocent black man of a sexual allegation to cover up the true nature of the white victim. It’s as heinous and disturbing as it should be, something that should be examined, not hidden away.
     
  18. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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    #19
    Unless you’re able to design a system that tailors for the needs of each and every student that’s the only way to do it. In K-12 you (try to) form good students in general studies, encouraging to push their own strengths while not leaving too behind other subject. Then they have Associates degrees, bachelors, masters, and PhD if needed. That is from 4 to 12 years of specialistic studies focused more or less on a single subject. You can’t have students to choose without first forming them in general areas.
    And yes, school is also a numbers’ game. Some students will become nobel prize laureates, other will end up in a gang. As long as all of them had the opportunity to learn history and trigonometry the school system has done its job.
     
  19. VulchR, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #20
    8th grade seems a little young to understand the book, but it should be read in high school. I think there is the same issue with Mark Twain's work, for it's probably not a good idea to expose kids to the N-word until they can understand the full horror of its history. I'm waaaaay old, and even now I confess my understanding of the suffering that racism has caused is still evolving. I though we'd gotten past most of it, but Charlottesville disabused me of that notion.
     
  20. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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    #21
    I read that book in class in the Italian equivalent of 7th grade. It was retitled “Il buio oltre la siepe” (The darkness beyond the hedge”). It was my first encounter with such themes in US history, and I still remember the conversations in class about it. It’s one of those books that changed my life and sparked my interests in the US system and its history. By 11th grade I could teach American History to my history teacher (granted, knowledge of US history wasn’t too deep). As long as we teach kids to converse about controversial stuff, all is good.
     
  21. HEK, Oct 15, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017

    HEK macrumors 68040

    HEK

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    #22
    If left to their own devices few 8th graders would attend school. Based on how they have been taught so far. They have learned the spoon feeding with limitations to keep them safe is BS. It’s up to the teacher to ask pointed questions, challenge each student to parciipate, to think. Rather than dumbing down and removing controversial subject matter. More adult thinking, analysis, discussion should be encouraged and stimulated by the teaching staff.

    Parents, faculty, and administrators that remove “offensive” subject, books, etc. do a dis-service to the students, society, and the democracy. opinions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are not the best way for anyone to be informed.

    As a for instance, putting creationism and evolution on same footing is utter nonsense. One is based on fairy tales and beliefs. Other is based on scientific facts that can be challenged, examined and logically discussed. Opinion is no way to teach kids critical thinking. We all know how critical thinking is in short supply lately.

    Core values are developed by examining, testing, presumption based on facts. Critical thinking is the process by which core values can be tested to see if they truely stand up. Raising a kid with values of nazism, race hate, are core values to some people. claiming core values means absolutely nothing except passing on the prejudices, beliefs rather than facts, the previous generation was indocturnated, brain washed to believe.

    Only teaching critical thinking will remedy indocturnation. Making any topic off limits, or claiming the kids are too sensitive to make judgements perpetuates bad ideas, ideologies, and belief in pure nonsense. Kids are way smarter in making good decisions when given real facts, varied ideas, and open access with encouragement to think for themselves.
     
  22. bradl macrumors 68040

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    #23
    This, I can agree with. We didn't get into this book until 11th grade, and right around that time, the Rodney King incident occurred, which provided even more tinder to the fire that was already blowing up. Not only were we required to read the book, but we also had to watch the movie. Impeccable performance by Gregory Peck, and definitely an eye opener.

    If we could only go back in time and be that indiscrete fly on the wall at trials like this (Emmett Tills comes to mind) and see the emotion and outrage from injustices like this, then perhaps others will understand why there is a BLM movement nowadays.

    I will say that again, the midwest and the south are the last places to get anything new, and the last places to get rid of it, especially if for the wrong reasons.

    BL.
     
  23. fitshaced macrumors 68000

    fitshaced

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    #24
    Jeez, spoiler alert!
     
  24. dogslobber macrumors 68040

    dogslobber

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    #25
    Your meant to feel discomfort. It’s there to force you to experience episodes from America’s shameful past. This type of thing shines a spotlight on the legacy of those confederate states. It also helps to lead into the fact that racism still bubbles under the surface of many of those states still.
     

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