To Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, one that is taught in school districts around the country for its powerful depiction of racism in small-town Alabama.
While the Harper Lee novel has topped banned book lists since its inception 57 years ago, one Mississippi school district is making headlines this week for its reasoning behind banning the classic from the 8th grade reading list.
“There were some complaints about it,” Kenny Holloway, vice president of the Biloxi School Board, told the Biloxi Sun Herald. “There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”
While the book remains in Biloxi school district libraries, it will not make the reading list this year.
A ban of this nature is often enough to prompt headlines, but it is the use of the word “uncomfortable” that is catapulting this story into the national news. Twitter users are rightly pointing out that it is because the subject matter and language is uncomfortable that it so badly needs to be taught.
As Mashable points out, Lee wrote a letter to a school district who banned her early draft of the book back in 1966, and its message still stands today.
“Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is ‘immoral’ has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink.”