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When you have a group that fundamentally hates everything that America stands for, hates its history of overcoming one of the bloodiest civil wars ever in order to abolish slavery, it can be hard to call them as anything but radical.
Probably most of us have read TKAM, OMAM, and Huckleberry Finn, for they are required readings in most school districts in the United States. And for great reasons too, as they're one of America's greatest classic books, and deals with issues that every young American should know about in order to prepare them for the real world. These books are a symbol of hope, a symbol of rising up against true oppression, and a portal into some of America's darkest times.
But recently, the Burbank school district in California has voted to outright ban these books, along with 'The Cay,' and 'Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry' due to concerns over making our students racist. This decision came from an incident in which a student – a boy – called another girl the N-word after he had read 'Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry.' Another student then also told the same girl, "My family used to own your family and now I want a dollar from each of you for the week."
Apparently an incident like this is enough to outright ban American books that literally shaped America. If we are to become a nation consisting of people who are no longer truly racist, then we need to continue to correctly educate our students about the roots of racism in America. Sungjoo Yoon, a 15-year-old Sophomore at Burbank High School couldn't have explained it any better:
In a time where racism has become more transparent than ever, we need to continue to educate students as to the roots of it; to create anti-racist students. These literatures, of which have been declared “Books that Shaped America” by the Library of Congress, won Newbury Medals, and are some of the most influential pieces, cannot disappear.
This incident is not the result of teaching our students these amazing works of literature; it is the fault of the teacher. If the teacher is going to teach kids about a dark time such as racism in America, he or she should at least make it clear that students shouldn't follow in the footsteps of the racists in the book. Children are empty molds, shaped by the culture and the information that they absorb, and they need strong, powerful role models in order to guide them in the right direction.
Getting rid of racism in the present is not good enough for the Left; they want to completely erase racism from American history. They want a society in which kids – who will eventually become adults – aren't allowed to have civil discussions about sensitive topics or spark debates. The left doesn't like debates remember?
This is part of the left's agenda to indoctrinate our school children. Now, instead of teaching our children about America's complicated and painful past, they want to teach our kids about how white people are inherently racist and teach them to hate America. If we're not allowed to have civil discussions about current issues and be able to learn from our history, then why have freedom of speech at all?
PEN America (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) started a petition to stop this ban, and I suggest that you sign it if possible:
Each of the books in question deal with difficult subject matter from our country’s complicated and painful history, including systemic racism. In a year when we have seen a national movement against systemic racial injustice, it is crucial to bring these subjects into the classroom with care and sensitivity, which teachers are well-equipped to do. Blocking engagement with these important books is also avoiding the important role that schools can and should play in providing context for why these books inspire and challenge us still today.
We understand that this ban may have been proposed with good intentions. But banning books is not the answer. Informed guidance from trained educators would allow students to learn about their world and themselves from these book’s challenging stories and ideas in a supported space.
Notice how they say informed guidance. Obviously if you learn anything in life, it's always better to learn from someone that actually knows what they're talking about instead of learning from a complete idiot or learning by yourself.
We as a society mustn't run away from our faults and mistakes. We must look back at them as a sign of not what to do, and our ability to overcome these faults as a nation is a good sign for the great American experiment.