Classic novels such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Theodore Taylor’s The Cay and Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry are no longer going to be taught in schools in Burbank. The concerns over the underlying racism themes in the aforementioned classics have been the motivation behind banning them from school curriculum.
The news about the ban was revealed during a virtual meeting conducted for middle school and high school English teachers in the Burbank Unified School District. Until any further notice is provided, English teachers can’t teach any of the classics. The concern about these classics was brought forth by a group of four parents.
It all began when a student approached Carmenita Helligar’s daughter, Destiny, and taunted her using a racial slur which included the N-word. The student apparently picked it up from the Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Both the children are studying in the David Starr Jordan Middle School.
“My family used to own your family and now I want a dollar from each of you for the week,” was what another student apparently told Destiny.
“My daughter was literally traumatized. These books are problematic… you feel helpless because you can’t even protect your child from the hurt that she’s going through.”
Another parent, Nadra Ostrom, expressed that the said classics present racism as a thing of the past and show it exclusively from whites’ perspective. “There’s no counter-narrative to this Black person dealing with racism and a white person saving them.”