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Racist books read within the Curriculum

Discussion in 'Education news' started by lorraine7, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. lorraine7

    lorraine7 New commenter

    In a local school they are reading a book called 'Of Mice and Men.' This has the word ni***r in throughout the book. Black children have had to previously endure the racist word and other derogatory terms within the book. The school(although not mentioned) has explained they they will no longer use the word whilst reading the book, but will still read the book as they believe it has a wealth of literature to offer students.
    I believe that there are many other books which can be used; especially in the year 2019. If you agree, could you please sign the link below . 7 votes = 1 vote . Thanks Lorr

  2. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    hhhh and catmother like this.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I don't agree with censoring literature. Have you read Steinbeck' s book? If not, do so before responding...
    towncryer, Kandahar, Jamvic and 3 others like this.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Too much censorship. I won't be signing. Quoting one word out of context and regardless of why the author used it does not make a book racist.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
  5. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Lead commenter

    You are in fact being racist. Your argument rests on the racist assumption that “black children” do not have the moral capacity to understand the contextual use of the word.
    But comparison you do, right?

    How will children learn about history, if you whitewash it?
    towncryer, Kandahar, lanokia and 3 others like this.
  6. lorraine7

    lorraine7 New commenter

    I have indeed read the book by John Steinbeck; many years ago.
    I would also like to highlight that to many, and especially many black children, the 'N' word is derogatory, wrong and a complete embarrassment.
    How do you know that I am not black? How do you know that I have not spoken to other black people , or people of different colours who have read the book?
    Speak to students, colleagues and parents of all different colours, then will you really engage in a dialogue about how people really feel .
    In 2019, to be reading literature that promotes the use of the 'N' word as 'ok' I believe needs addressing.
    Instead of being quick to defend the book, I would ask you to look at how it affects minority groups who have to endure hours and weeks of the racist story line and 'all in the name of education.' Why is it okay to read these types of books which uses unacceptable language, but not for other minority protected groups? Why? Because it's wrong!
    I believe a change needs to happen within the education system, and as educators...the change begins with us.:)
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
    josepea likes this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Glad to hear that you've read it, albeit 'many years ago'. Perhaps a reread is needed? After all it is a short book;)

    If you do you may find that the book doesn't 'promote' the use of the word... but, like many works of literature, comes from a time and a place. And examining that is part of the job of the teacher when studying the book.

    Seems to me you just want to censor anything that seems a little difficult or challenging.
    corgie11, towncryer, Kandahar and 4 others like this.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I think you will find they are reading this book in schools the length and breadth of the country. Have you nor heard of 'context'. You are taking the word from the book totally out of context. Surely studying the book is all about identifying the attitudes of those characters using such words?
    towncryer, Kandahar, Jamvic and 2 others like this.
  9. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    It is a book which identifies and challenges stereotypes, do you want to ban any such literature?
  10. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I doubt there is a school in the country where it isn't read, and it has been universally read for decades. Precisely because it opens up debate. the characters are hugely racist and sexist. Have you read it? Curly's wife doesn't even get a name
    towncryer, Kandahar, lanokia and 3 others like this.
  11. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    are you in favour of banning "Merchant of Venice" as well?
  12. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Firstly, it does not 'promote' the use of the word. It shows how things were at that time in the 1930's (with characters based on real people that Steinbeck knew). However, the book needs to be read appropriately and approached as a way to look at how sexism, mental issues as well as racism was at the time and for the students to be able to discuss and challenge this. It offers a chance to understand how certain groups were treated at the time, that were generally ignored in the literature of the time and how we approach these issues now (for example the use of the word in many modern songs and who should be allowed to use it)

    If you were to ban that book on the word alone though, you'd also have to ban books like My Story by Rosa Parks or To kill a mockingbird. Which would be a shame as they offer chances to avoid repeating the errors of our past.
    towncryer, Kandahar, lanokia and 6 others like this.
  13. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Lead commenter

    I don't think it was John Steinbecks' idea to "promote" the use of the word. He was portraying the world as he experienced it, as that is how people spoke in that era. We know that rappers use the word, Obama used it so we know that there's a moral context to using the word n1gger.
    What needs addressing is your authoritarians and racism, as you simply repeated the claim in your OP when you claim to speak on behalf of the morality of "minority groups".

    "Instead of being quick to defend the book, I would ask you to look at how it affects minority groups who have to endure hours and weeks of the racist story line and 'all in the name of education.' Why is it okay to read these types of books which uses unacceptable language, but not for other minority protected groups? Why? Because it's wrong!"
    you again make a racist assumption that "minority groups" based on a generalisation about their moral judgements tied up with the colour of their skin, and your superior moral opinion.
    You denigrate education, despite (presumably) being a teacher, yet how can children undwrstand the meaning of words without the historical context, which JS provides?
  14. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I recently spent some time in USA and was amazed at the whole concept of banning the word "Slave" as offensive. That seems crazy to me Why would pretending that the Atlantic slave trade never happened be in any way a good thing?

    This OP seems along similar lines. Nobody "enjoys" "Mice and Men". It is bleak, miserable story. It is told for a reason though.
    towncryer, Jamvic, phlogiston and 2 others like this.
  15. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Lead commenter

    He's a great author. I enjoyed Cannery Row and East of Eden especially.
    towncryer and HelenREMfan like this.
  16. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Hilarious.Is it your first time on earth and you think nobody has ever heard of this book?
  17. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    It was on the GCSE syllabus till 2017, so I imagine most people have actually studied it.
    We'd better ban a whole load of Shakespeare on the grounds of misogyny, general sexism, racism and violence of all kinds.
    The study of literature isn't meant to be an echo chamber.
    towncryer, Jonntyboy, Jamvic and 2 others like this.
  18. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    An outraged mum has claimed a teacher repeatedly read out a racist word in front of her black daughter despite the girl’s protests.

    The parent told Bristol Live that the episode happened during an English lesson at Orchard School in Horfield last week while her 12-year-old’s class were studying 'Of Mice and Men'.

    The parent said: “The teacher is reading out the text but still saying the word ‘n*****’ and my daughter is black and feels uncomfortable.”

    josepea and lanokia like this.
  19. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    Might as well ban Lord of the Flies (the n-word crops up once), To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer and many, many more.
  20. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I followed your link.

    You have some important points. When we regard words as too offensive to use, it is important to know why these words are offensive. I would hope that part of that education is to explore sensitively how these words have been used, and how this usage makes them offensive. Steinbeck's novel offers one way to look at this, and to explore ideas about underclasses, frustration, dreams and mental health.

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