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Two notable novels are causing controversy in a Virginia school district. According to the Washington Post, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird have been snatched from bookshelves as the district decides whether or not to permanently ban the books because they both feature derogatory racial slurs.

Marie Rothstein-Williams, a parent whose child attends Nandua High School, addressed the context of the novels at a school board meeting on November 15. She said that that the wording in the books troubled her biracial son. “I’m not disputing this is great literature,” said Rothstein-Williams. “But there is so much racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that, and right now we are a nation divided as it is. We will lose our children if we continue to say that this is okay, that we validate these words when we should not.”

Accomack County Public Schools Superintendent Chris Holland says that the school district has created a committee to decide if the books should continue to be a part of the curriculum. The committee includes teachers, parents, and principals. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird both profusely use the “n-word.”

Although many individuals agree that the language in both novels is disturbing, others think that it’s the educator’s responsibility to introduce them to students in a certain manner. “America is still deeply uncomfortable with its racial history,” says James LaRue, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. LaRue believes that banning the books is a way of concealing American history.

SOURCE: Washington Post


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