In a move to protect students from “racial slurs,” a Virginia school district has banned the reading of two classics of American literature: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Accomack County Public Schools has banned the classic novels after a mother said her high school-age son was troubled by the racial slurs they contain and asked for the books to be removed from school reading lists.
The mother, whose son is biracial, said her son was required to read Huckleberry Finn for a high school assignment, but could not get past a certain page in the story on which the N-word appeared seven times.
Despite the fact that the thesis of Huckleberry Finn is profoundly anti-racist, the inclusion of offensive language has been enough to anathematize the work.
For its part, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned repeatedly from school classrooms and libraries since its appearance in 1960, due to its “racial content, profanity, and references to rape.”
The mother proposed assembling a committee of parents and teachers of different ethnic backgrounds to compile a list of books that would be “inclusive” for all students.