I’ve always thought erring on the side of political correctness was a massive blunder. Here again, if this story is true (it probably is), we’re letting the few dictate what is best for the masses, thus alienating many, which, ironically is one of key points of the book this NC school district has removed from its curriculum. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man was probably the book that touched me the most in my AP English class way back when.
It’s sad to see so many great works, that I quite honestly would have never been exposed to had I not read them in school, be pushed aside because it makes some people uncomfortable. Well, here’s a news flash: the issues in Invisible Man, Black Like Me, The Bluest Eye, The Middle Passage, etc., are all very real and relevant, even in the 21st century.
I’m in favor of being respectful and inclusive of all cultures, and think it would be beneficial to add to this this list, rotate some works with those of others. However, don’t lose sight of the fact that students enrolled in these challenging courses are seeking “hard reads.” Parents made the decision to move to that community because of the school’s rigor.
It’s an assigned reading, so read it. Be uncomfortable. To me, that means you’re thinking, which is what the assignment set out to achieve. These helicopter parents drive me nuts. They’re stifling their child’s ability to problem solve and deal with adversity. Not that reading a book that doesn’t interest them is a real hardship…It’s real life. They’ll be the same ones calling college professors, making pleas on their child’s behalf to move the exam or some other nonsense.
I believe a Board member said Ellison’s work lacked literary merit and was insensitive of other cultures and religions…It was written in a different era. That statement is culturally insensitive.
I write this, as not just a lover of books, but as a mother, the wife of an educator, and a black woman. My heart hurts to read this article and see, yet again, how we are devalued in favor of the ethnicity du jour. A lot if it is our own fault. We allowed this to happen. We’ve lost our zeal. Our leaders are out of touch and, in many cases, embarrassing. We’re only relevant in times of violence and tragedy.
The passive-aggressive racism that we’re experiencing now is so much more damaging than somebody calling me the “N” word. Why? Because we don’t even realize we’re being discriminated against. We accept the pat on the shoulder and whatever else is offered. We don’t challenge ourselves as individuals, which will change the collective. We have our “Talented Tenth” who reach high heights, but what about the other ninety percent?
Overwhelmingly, we don’t read. How many black kids were actually assigned that school’s reading list? Probably not many. I know I was the sole student of color in my AP classes, and although I live in a culturally diverse community where black kids are doing great things, my daughters are oftentimes one of just a few black students in their AP and honors courses.
Education is the great equalizer. READ.
I’m stepping down from my SOAPBOX now. Have a great Friday
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