It is likely you heard that the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is no longer a requirement to be read by freshmen students. The book covers the story of a white lawyer having to present a person of color falsely accused of rape. The story takes place around 90 years in the past and uses a lot of terminology from that time. The book has always been considered controversial for several reasons, one of them being the story of the book itself, covering a story that some believed was too hard on some people. After months of debating on the topic, the unanimous decision was made in favor of removing the book from the requirements. Many people brought up points such as that the book was portraying the main character as a white savior and doing a bad job at portraying people of color
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard that its [To Kill a Mockingbird] no longer a requirement,” Says Ms. Mantz, An English teacher of Mariner. “It’s been considered controversial long before the decision came to us if we should even keep it,”
“I find it funny how now that the book is considered controversial I see so many more people reading it.” Said Parnia Tarokh “almost like the ban was planned to draw attention to it instead”
But this, of course, isn’t the first time schools tried to ban books, there are many other stories of books being banned from school for different reasons. This includes the Lorax, the story was banned in California over 40 years ago because they believed it put a bad image on the logging industry. But that wasn’t the end of that story, because of the complaints this caused a newly remastered version of Lorax was remade and named “The Truax” Where the Lorax was an actual tree and was made to tell kids that the logging industry is a positive thing and that people claiming things about climate change were crazy, and was destroying the “dying trees” and was planting a new one every time they collected one. Which made the parents upset since they believed that this was fabricating the truth.
As said before more books have been banned in the South of the united states including books like “Maus” a non-fiction graphic novel based upon the story of nazi Germany and nazi Europe, which brought up the discussion of whether kids should even be taught these topics through books and graphic novels. Even though the book has been out since 1980, the topic was brought up again after becoming an Amazon bestseller. McMinn county school boards have agreed that the violent imagery, containment of swear words, and nudity were a reason for the ban to commence. Many have argued if this book should be allowed in school, some saying that the book is targeted towards young adults meaning that they know what they’re getting into while others disagree and believe that the format of a graphic novel could get the younger audiences’ attention, just for them to see the imagery portrayed in it. Even though the target audience was always meant to be more mature, the book has been banned and is unlikely that the decision they’ve made would change any time soon.
Another book that has been banned in a school district in Texas is named “New Kid” which is a graphic novel focused on the author’s experience as a person of color gets a culture shock when moving and starting going to a private school, the book was later banned due to a white parent reporting it and saying things such as its promotion of critical race theory and Marxism, which in response the author stated that he never knew/followed the ideas the book was banned for Jerry Craft stated in an interview with NBC News. Not only that but the sequel titled “Class Act” has also been banned for similar reasons.
The discussion of problematic books is not a new one and most likely won’t stop for long after, but that leaves many questioning if removing books that were previously accessible or even required for students to read was right, to begin with.