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More classics removed from the classroom … because SOME book ‘bans’ are A-OK

The Left told us book bans are BAD

A school district in British Columbia, Canada has removed four classic books from its “recommended reading curriculum” over concerns of “racist content.”

The Surrey school district ditched “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Of Mice and Men” for students in grades 10-12, the Vancouver Sun reports.

The decision was made by a dozen teachers back in November, but nothing was publicly disclosed at the time.

District spokesperson Ritinder Matthew said Surrey “did a comprehensive review” and “determined that the merits of these novels do not outweigh the potential trauma and harm they may cause to some students.”

Any teacher who wants to continue using any of the books will have to get formal district approval and ensure “the safety and wellbeing of students” — such as not “speaking aloud” any slurs and providing “context about historical and social issues.”

Matthew noted the books aren’t “banned” from classes or libraries, just required curricula.

According to the article, despite three of the noted books being on the Okanagan Regional Library’s “Best 100 Books for [British Columbia] Students,” critics say “books by non-Black authors that contain racist slurs [like “Mockingbird”] are no longer appropriate.”

University of British Columbia professor Florian Gassner chided Surrey’s move, saying “Limiting access to something is simply undemocratic, with the exception of books that are inherently undemocratic or calling on us to kill a certain ethnic group or something that’s just beyond the pale.”

I wonder — would Gassner and the Surrey district apply “something that’s just beyond the pale” to books like “Gender Queer” and “Flamer” due to their graphic depictions of sexual acts?

MORE: The Left is certifiably insane when it comes to ‘book bans’

I couldn’t find a definitive answer whether Surrey allows the use of those books (it claims none of its SOGI — Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity — resources are sexually explicit); however, a University of British Columbia official who’s “helped librarians handle attempted book bans for 20 years,” chided conservative parents and groups such as Moms for Liberty for objecting to the books.

This official claims a similar Canadian group, Action4Canada, wanted libraries in the province to get rid of such books due to pornographic content, but he claims they’re merely about “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

He notes that even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police conducted an investigation into the books and found “no basis” for complaints about pornography. Wha-a-a-a-a??

Which just goes to show how ridiculous the Left is when it comes to restricting controversial materials. Any reasonable person cannot claim “Gender Queer” is not pornographic. It is. Period. As such, it does not belong in schools. Period.

(Groups like Moms for Liberty note — correctly — they’re not “banning” books like “Gender Queer” because anyone who wants to read them can easily go on Amazon.com to get it. Sounds like Surrey’s reasoning regarding the mentioned classics, right?)

The Left goes nuts about keeping sexually explicit material available for those under 18 years of age, yet will remove classic literature because archaic racial epithets weren’t authored by someone of color? This inane logic comes, of course, straight from modern critical theory and the hierarchy of “oppression.” Which means there’s little logic to it at all.

Personally, I’ve no quibble about not actually saying a racial epithet found in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and any good teacher will provide historical and social contexts behind the novel.

Do NOT, on the other hand, try to tell me that illustrations in a “young adult’s” book on par with stuff found in Playboy, Penthouse and even Hustler are in any way OK for minors to view in a school setting.

MORE: You are NOT a ‘book banner’ or ‘anti-drag’ for wanting your kid far away from explicit material

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.