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Thread: Schools remove 'Huckleberry Finn' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' from curriculum

  1. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macduff View Post
    This is not exclusive to black men. It's pretty obvious that anyone should read a book before they form an opinion of it.

    Funny you should mention Lolita. I used to think it was filth. Child pornography. I formed that opinion before I read it. Someone challenged me to read it and I did. And it took a while but I got it. It's not that Humbert isn't a complete piece of shit. It's that a story doesn't have to feature a virtuous character for it to be compelling. Lolita is not a defense of child molestation. Far from it. Humbert Humbert is an awful human being. Possibly his one saving grace is that he's at least remotely aware of that. And the only way he comes off as anything less than a horrible horrible person is because Claire Quilty is much worse.
    Something else I learned from actually reading the book is that it's not graphic. It doesn't include a lurid description of the sex scenes. The reader knows what happens but not in lurid detail. Which is pretty much the opposite of pornography. Plus there's the word play that Nabokov was known for, which is really what makes it great literature.
    I teach a course in teaching literature to middle and high school kids, so the question of book challenges is a featured element of the course. One way I try to help people see the irony in book challenges is to have them read a passage from a book by an Iranian professor of English-language literature. That author was driven out of Iranian universities because she refused to cover (she's now an academic in the US). Eventually she took on some female students for seminars at her home, where they could talk about literature without covering. One chapter is about the Great Gatsby and her experiences teaching it at the University of Tehran. It features a moment when she decided to let her students put the book on trial.

    One members of the class was president of the Muslims Students Association, and he feels strongly that the book should never be taught in a classroom of the Islamic Republic, since it is an unIslamic book. It's filled with selfish, self-willed characters who behave in disgraceful ways. They sleep around. The drink and profit by bootlegging. They cheat and degrade themselves and each other. Some are obviously racist. And status is determined entirely by ostentatious shows of wealth. Not a morally sound character in the bunch. He even says that the only good character is the jealous who shoots Gatsby at the end, in the mistaken notion that Gatsby drove the car that killed his wife. There's no way, he argues, that such a book could be helpful to forming the characters of good Muslims. Plus, it's a quintessentially American book, and America is the devil.

    But Gatsby's defenders say he's got it all wrong. Readers don't credulously accept whatever an author puts on paper and use that behavior as a model for their own. Readers are inherently discerning. They look at the totality of what's going on. Gatsby isn't a guide for how to live--it's a warning about foolish but attractive behavior. Gatsby's obsession with a lost love earns him nothing but heartache and a bullet in the head. The other flawed characters aren't punished by the wrath of God (as the Muslim student leader wanted), but they do have to live their miserable, unfulfilled lives being unhappy--even as they enjoy unprecedented wealth. Readers see that instinctively. That's how literature works.

    I mention this to you because she talks about other books as well. The title? Reading Lolita in Tehran.

  2. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmiller1610 View Post
    "To Kill a Mockingbird" is an exploration of the shallowness and malice of those who fear the "other."

    I can see why conforming sheep object to it. The modern crusade relishes an "us versus them" nation.

    Atticus Finch never preached PC to his kids. He just quietly modeled kindness and justice.

    And when the strange boy in the scary house turned to be no longer strange and no longer scary, Scout discovered it through her own experience, not through somebody shoving PC down her throat.

    So picking on a word and using it to ban a classic is what I would expect from a devolving culture.

    But we live in a world where somebody is trying to divide voters into good voters voters and "deplorables."

    Kind of predictable.

    Can't maintain your power without large numbers of enemies.
    Right, because dividing people into good and bad is a phenomenon of the early 21st century, not an endemic pattern that's been true throughout our history. Slavey. The Alien and Sedition Act. The Know Nothings. "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion." Americanization Committees. The Palmer Raids. The Red Scare. The "Silent Majority." The "Welfare Queen." "Makers and Takers."

    No--totally new.
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  3. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    ... Parents typically do NOT want to talk about sex with their kids. And the vast majority of those parents who actually have such talks make it a one-off sort of thing; not an ongoing discussion with lessons and varied subjects. And furthermore, as uncomfortable as kids may be in a sex-ed class, it's WAY more uncomfortable to learn the material from one's parents.
    BTW... this actually happened with my 13 year-old son just a week or two ago. He was in the dining room. I was reading the newspaper* in the kitchen. My wife and daughter were in the den. Our kitchen has an Amazon Echo device on the counter.

    My son (yelling from the dining room): "Dad! What does 'queef' mean?"

    Me: "I'm not getting into this now. Go look it up yourself."

    My son (yelling louder): "HEY ALEXA! WHAT D..."

    My wife and daughter at the same time: "NO!!!"






    * News media printed with ink on pressed pulp made from dead trees. Shaddup.
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  4. #194
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    blacks who have experience first hand and personally what it's like to be discriminated against, called the n-word, lived that life, etc, should defer a book written by a white author, describing her impressions of what that must be like, before commenting on whether or not others should be expose to the usage of the n-word. This coming from individual who admit that they, themselves, have no idea what it's like personally, as a black person, to experience this. So , let's me clear. You're all allowed to comment on when people , including persons of color, should be exposed to usage of the n-word, even though you don't have any idea what that's like, as a black person. But, no one, including people who know what that's like, including persons of color, are allowed to comment on that topic, unless they read a book written by someone else who has no idea what it's like. Have you all lost your fucking minds?
    Last edited by the watchman; 13th February 2018 at 10:37 AM.
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  5. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by the watchman View Post
    blacks who have experience first hand and personally what it's like to be discriminated against, called the n-word, lived that life, etc, should defer a book written by a white author, describing her impressions of what that must be like, before commenting on whether or not others should be expose to the usage of the n-word. This coming from individual who admit that they, themselves, have no idea what it's like personally, as a black person, to experience this. So , let's me clear. You're all allowed to comment on when people , including persons of color, should be exposed to usage of the n-word, even though you don't any idea what that's like, as a black person. But, no one, including people who know what that's like, including persons of color, are allowed to comment on that topic, unless they read a book written by someone else who has no idea what it's like. Have you all lost your fucking minds?
    Growing up in Monroe County, Alabama, in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, author Harper Lee was a first-hand witness to institutionalized racism on a scale that you've never seen. Many elements of the book were autobiographical, such as being the daughter of a lawyer who represented black defendants, despite the fact that no amount of evidence would impact the verdict.
    Last edited by Djinn; 13th February 2018 at 10:45 AM.
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  6. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by the watchman View Post
    blacks who have experience first hand and personally what it's like to be discriminated against, called the n-word, lived that life, etc, should defer a book written by a white author, describing her impressions of what that must be like, before commenting on whether or not others should be expose to the usage of the n-word. This coming from individual who admit that they, themselves, have no idea what it's like personally, as a black person, to experience this. So , let's me clear. You're all allowed to comment on when people , including persons of color, should be exposed to usage of the n-word, even though you don't have any idea what that's like, as a black person. But, no one, including people who know what that's like, including persons of color, are allowed to comment on that topic, unless they read a book written by someone else who has no idea what it's like. Have you all lost your fucking minds?
    Dude, you have not read the book. You clearly are ignorant to the point of the book. Your claim of "modern experience" replacing what can be learned by the book is utter bullshit. You personally, could learn a whole lot from Huck Finn.

  7. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by the watchman View Post
    blacks who have experience first hand and personally what it's like to be discriminated against, called the n-word, lived that life, etc, should defer a book written by a white author, describing her impressions of what that must be like, before commenting on whether or not others should be expose to the usage of the n-word. This coming from individual who admit that they, themselves, have no idea what it's like personally, as black person, to experience this. So , let's me clear. You're all allowed to comment on when people , including persons of color, should be exposed to usage of the n-word, even though you don't any idea what that's like, as a black person. But, no one, including people who know what that's like, including persons of color, is allowed to comment on that topic, unless they read a book written by someone else who has no idea what it's like. Have you all lost your fucking minds?
    Kids drop the n-word all day, it seems to me that they do it with more frequency than when I was a kid. It used to be employed by black kids toward other black kids, and of course by anyone else wanting to disparage black kids. Now it seems as though a LOT of white kids use it in a way that they believe is perfectly innocent or at least accepted within their clique.

    Personally, I feel like there should be some group discussion on social issues and MAYBE literature is an acceptable conduit.

    Then again you've got legitimate concerns & singling people out to be made uncomfortable may not be a good idea, because if we're being honest Huck Finn doesn't make white people uncomfortable with conduct of the era because Finn & Sawyer are literary idols.

    Maybe the school got this one right in offering options.

  8. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    Growing up in Monroe County, Alabama, in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, author Harper Lee was a first-hand witness to institutionalized racism on a scale that you've never seen. Many elements of the books were autobiographical, such as being the daughter of a lawyer who tirelessly represented black defendants, despite the fact that no amount of evidence would impact the verdict.
    I will tell you a funny story. I am summoned to go to Entergy Nuclear in Jackson, Mississippi back in the 1990's. I have been talking on the phone with a few of the staff to help them with an issue. After a few days, they decide they want me at their corporate nuclear office in Jackson. I am good with it. One guy, a boss, apologizes to me as I have to work with a certain guy closely during my visit. I don't understand what the issue is with this guy. He seemed pretty damn smart on the phone. So, I ask, what is the problem with the guy?

    "Well, he's black. I hope that is not an issue for you. It's not for me, but it is for some people."

    I am like, "No shit... still?" I laugh and tell him it is no problem. When I showed up, you should have seen the looks on their faces. I tried my best, but could quit smiling. Me and "the black guy" knocked out the problem in less than two days. We had a week. We spent the rest of the nights, drinking good alcohol and talking. I told him if he didn't like it there I could get him a job at San Onofre or Diablo Canyon. He was cool with Mississippi due to family and friends and he said that while there were still racists, it "wasn't as bad as you may think".

    The company did call me back on numerous occasions. So, they apparently didn't care that I too had a pigment "issue" in some peoples' screwed up eyes.
    Last edited by Crusher; 13th February 2018 at 10:54 AM.
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  9. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    Growing up in Monroe County, Alabama, in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, author Harper Lee was a first-hand witness to institutionalized racism on a scale that you've never seen. Many elements of the books were autobiographical, such as being the daughter of a lawyer who tirelessly represented black defendants, despite the fact that no amount of evidence would impact the verdict.
    first of all, don't ever fucking tell me what racism I've ever experienced. I'll tell you if I so choose. Second of all, this is a clear example of your ignorance. Stories of racism, slavery, etc, are passed down generation to generation. Furthermore, there are African American's old enough to remember those conditions themselves. If they haven't they have likely had those stories told to them. Stories of people being lynched, murdered raped, and yes, falsely accused of crimes. Harper Lee is widely admired in the black community and her book is highly recommended. Some of it has even been read to kids growing up, quoted in church. Or they have been exposed to it's content in other ways. Including , the movie, which you haven't even seen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the watchman View Post
    first of all, don't ever fucking tell me what racism I've ever experienced. I'll tell you if I so choose. Second of all, this is a clear example of your ignorance. Stories of racism, slavery, etc, are passed down generation to generation. Furthermore, there are African American's old enough to remember those conditions themselves. If they haven't they have likely had those stories told to them. Stories of people being lynched, murdered raped, and yes, falsely accused of crimes. Harper Lee is widely admired in the black community and her book is highly recommended. Some of it has even been read to kids growing up, quoted in church. Or they have been exposed to it's content in other ways. Including , the movie, which you haven't even seen.
    (1) He didn't tell you what racism you have experienced
    (2) I am quite sure he knows stories are passed down from generations. This is not a secret.
    (3) You grew up in California from all indications as I did. There is no way you have experienced institutional racism as that of the South in that period.

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