Decision clearly lacks broader understanding
People are rightly concerned about racism. It is an irrational response to an insignificant factor of human existence, namely physical differences that have nothing to do with things that actually matter. Such as one’s intellectual capacity, moral character, work ethic or ability to be a loving human being.
The vestiges of racism linger in American society. Different people have different experiences and levels of concern about how pervasive and how damaging racism is. But we can all probably agree that less is better. None would be perfect.
Art can help shed a light on human experience, and perhaps even inspire a young person to recognize the ignorance and stupidity behind something like racism. One would think there would be a push to embrace art that could help achieve this.
Which raises questions about the level of intelligence involved in the Duluth school district’s recent decision to no longer require that students read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” both of which carry excellent messages about the inane nature of racism.
The real killer here is the reason why they are being dropped: Because they contain racial slurs. The NAACP representative in Duluth says the literature has “oppressive language.” Shouldn’t it? Wasn’t slavery oppressive? Isn’t racism?
And what of this weak-kneed notion that a pejorative has all the power in the world? Isn’t it clear yet that the shunning or banning of words is what gives those words power. Why not shine some sunshine on them, so they can wither and die?
A decision such as the one in Duluth will not help alleviate racism. It could, though, undermine the effort. People are not sympathetic to causes that wallow in foolishness.