[Ed. – ‘Othello’ next.]
English literature teachers in a large Ontario school board have been urged not to teach the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird because it is harmful, violent and oppressive to black students, and its trope of a “white saviour” makes its black characters seem “less than human.”
“The use of racist texts as entry points into discussions about racism is hardly for the benefit of black students who already experience racism,” reads a directive to teachers in Peel, a suburban region northwest of Toronto. “This should give us pause — who does the use of these texts centre? Who does it serve? Why do we continue to teach them?”
The memo notes that the racist slur known as the n-word appears 19 times in the book. “Though this is not the only way that the novel is harmful, it does add to the violence of the book,” reads the memo, written by a senior school board administrator.