Many children experience the literary classics “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” as school reading assignments. This has come to a stop in some Virginia districts where both books were suspended after a parent objected to racist language used within the stories.
The mother who complained has a biracial teenage son and said the books were difficult for him to read due to their frequent use of the n-word. She also said the stories were defensive of racism in general and just added to the current climate of divisive politics and attitudes. The suspension of the books drew ire from the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), which said both books are a product of a certain time and context and are an excellent educational tool regarding race relations. The NCAC also stated that avoiding constructive conversation regarding racism does students a great disservice.
The Virginia incident was the second attempt at book banning in a month. In November, a mother in Tennessee tried to get history texts banned because they mentioned Islam. She claimed the material was being used for radicalism and indoctrination. Earlier in 2016, a group of Washington state parents tried to get several classic children’s stories banned because they are “too scary.”
The NCAC said it was disturbing that the Virginia school districts suspended two books even though a final decision to ban them had not yet been reached.