I have heard that some schools have decided to ban “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. Why these books? Because they have “racial slurs” in them. Not only are these books classics, but they reflect the times in which they were written.
Because they are reflecting those times, readers will find in these books now politically incorrect words such as the “N” word. At the time these books were written, that was just how things were. I’m not saying that this was right, but I am saying that these were far different times than those in which we now live.
We may read these two books today and exclaim: “how awful! How could people treat other people like this? How could they use such insulting language?” But again—these books were written in another time, not our present time.
Here is my issue with banning certain books: where does this end? Are we to become so obsessed with not hurting anyone’s feelings or offending anyone that we start banning any book with the slightest hint of political incorrectness? These books and many others are part of our history—like it or not.
History stands as it happened, with no clever cover-ups or sanitizing what happened. History is how things happened, and this is why we need to know our own history, warts and all.
If we do not learn our own history, we are certain to repeat the same sorry and damaging things we have done in the past. The whole reason that books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn” exist is to show us how things used to be; in other words, the history of those times.
We need to better explain why books like this are important. Those who spend precious time looking to be insulted surely will be—but that is not the intent of these books.
I fear that, if we keep the current course, the next thing may be burning books. That would truly be a tragedy and a sign of mass ignorance. Please let’s not let this happen.
Remember the saying: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”