A group of teachers is working to “deny children access to literature,” according to The Wall Street Journal, under the guise of eliminating racism, sexism, and hate speech from K-12 curriculums — and the project is set on winning out some of history’s most influential texts.
The project, called “#DisruptTexts,” is largely the work of “Twitter agitators” and critical race theory specialists who have found a home in America’s public schools, the WSJ reports, but it has the support of individuals with access to influential publications like School Library Journal that have an impact on choices made in school districts across the country.
“Their ethos holds that children shouldn’t have to read stories written in anything other than the present-day vernacular—especially those ‘in which racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm,'” a “young adult novelist” involved in the project wrote in the magazine.
“No author is valuable enough to spare,” she continued, putting some of history’s greatest authors directly in the crosshairs. “Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”
“Outsiders got a glimpse of the intensity of the #DisruptTexts campaign recently when self-described ‘antiracist teacher’ Lorena Germán complained that many classics were written more than 70 years ago: ‘Think of US society before then & the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books,'” the WSJ reported over the weekend.
Homer’s Odyssey is on the target list, as is F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dr. Seuss. One teacher told the WSJ that he’d “rather die” than teach Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlett Letter” because he chose to be in the “fight against misogyny and slut-shaming.”
“The Scarlett Letter,” of course, addresses those themes directly, as one critic of “#DisruptTexts” pointed out.
“If you think Hawthorne was on the side of the judgmental Puritans…then you are an absolute idiot and should not have the title of educator in your Twitter bio,” another young adult author — this time an opponent of the movement — “shot back.”
The complaining author found herself “canceled” under a dogpile of “anti-racists.” She was eventually forced to apologize, and her agent was forced to dump her from her client list over her “racist and unacceptable” views — views that are borne out by a basic consult of Wikipedia.
Although book-banning among the censorious has been a regular practice for centuries, the WSJ notes that “#DisruptTexts” does appear to be “getting results.” Homer was banned in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and, Newsweek notes, the anti-racist classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird” found itself on the wrong side of censors this year, as did another young adult book that deals with racism, Mildred Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.”
The problem with “To Kill a Mockingbird,” school administrators said, was that it depicted a “white savior” in the form of lawyer Atticus Finch.