There have been incredulous and angry reactions today on social media to news that the Department of Education is considering banning classic novels ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ from schools because of submissions which claimed that the books were not “acceptable reading material” in “light of the Black Lives Matter protests”.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, has been acclaimed for decades as a modern classic which drew attention to racial injustice in the Southern States of the U.S. in the 1930, and has been lauded as an important anti-racism text. The theme of racism in Depression-era California also comes under the spotlight in John Steinbeck’s iconic book ‘Of Mice and Men’. Both books contain use of the n-word in context of revealing the discrimination endured by minorities.
“Absolutely not. Who are these people urging the government to drop two of the most important literary works on racism in American history? ” asked one woman.
Responding to the news today, many questioned whether those being offended had actually read the book, with one comment reading: “If the person urging the government describes to kill a mockingbird as racist all it reveals is the our educational system has failed this person and they should probably either read the book or look up a short synopsis explaining the themes of the book on the internet and jog on.”
In fact, as Gript reported previously, a Co. Meath Councillor who had called for both novels to be removed from the school curriculum, admitted he didn’t actually read either book.
Many pointed to the anti-racism messages in the novels.
“This political correctness gone mad. These books don’t advocate racism, they highlight the wrongs of racism. How are children to learn from the mistakes and injustices of the past if we erase the history,? ” asked one man.
This political correctness gone mad. These books don't advocate racism they highlight the wrongs of racism. How are children to learn from the mistakes and injustices of the past if we erase the history!
— shay doyle (@shaydoyle2) September 14, 2020
Journalist Barbara McCarthy asked: “Who complained? How many people ? Let me guess they were privileged white people with too much time on their hands -as most offended people are.”
“Banning books should be banned,” she tweeted.
Who complained/? How many people ? Let me guess they were privileged white people with too much time on their hands -as most offended people are.. Banning books should be banned.. (via @thejournal_ie) https://t.co/ldXLzgV2Jm
— Barbara McCarthy (@BarbsMcCarthy) September 14, 2020
And Gript Editor, John McGuirk had this observation
If they do ban "to kill a mockingbird" from schools, they'll have to take that celebrated "handmaid's tale" book out of libraries and schools too, because of its depiction of rampant misogyny, I suppose.
— John McGuirk (@john_mcguirk) September 14, 2020