Friday, July 13, 2007

 

Lessons to lessen the bad words

This is soooo Montgomery County:

“Montgomery County educators are replacing a lesson that called for students to read about and discuss a racial epithet against African Americans as a precursor to reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" in ninth-grade English classes.” Montgomery Finds Racial Slur Offends, No Matter the Context - washingtonpost.com

Apparently this was “…an introductory lesson whose purpose was to prepare…for the racist language in the book.” Prepare? We're talking about ninth graders. The teachers probably had to tell them to turn off their iPods full of Rap to take the class.

And mind you, they’re not replacing the lesson because they suddenly realized it was a colossal waste of time and resources. No – they’re replacing it because it led to that most mortal sin of all mortal sins in this PC-addled county; it “offended” someone.

We hear a lot about how smart today’s kids are supposed to be but we continue to treat them like morons. Awhile ago there was an apparent fear that kids wouldn’t recognize that Joe Camel was not really a camel and, you know, perhaps take him seriously. Now we have them taking classes just to psychologically prepare them to read a classic.

On any serious short list of Greatest American Novels, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a given and myriads of us have read it (again and again) without any long-term trauma. The context of the word’s usage makes it readily obvious that it is NOT a term of endearment. And despite being educated in a county that is at the vanguard of Political Correctness, I’m guessing most kids will recognize that...sans the PC-tripe that this county is always so eager to dish out.

Comments:
With you on this one. Far better to strike the book than to bowdlerize it, though that would be a massive shame.

In my 9th grade Catholic education, the school had no problem having us read To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Piece, The Catcher in the Rye and other books with highly adult themes and lexicon. If it can clear the conscience of a 65-year-old priest it should not shock the conscience of the lexophobes of MoCo.

I can understand that teaching that amazing novel in an ethnically mixed class or any class could be difficult, given its decidedly serious and violent subject matter, but this is just too much.
 
thanks Bruce - this book is just too good to not let stand on its own...and people that are offended by it? well, that probably says more about them than it does the book
 
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