On Narrative-Fitting Summer Reading Lists & First Amendment Rights

Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire)

  • Two books that include police brutality and racism as themes have drawn attention to a suburban Charleston, South Carolina high school.

The Hate U Give (HarperCollins, 2017) by Angie Thomas and All American Boys (Simon & Schuster, 2015) by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely are two out of four books that comprise a summer reading list for Wando High School students.

The Fraternal Order of Police has a problem with the list, and the police organization president, John Blackmon has called for The Hate U Give and All American Boys to be dropped.

In the guild’s open letter to the police group, executive director Mary Rasenberger writes, “This interference–which is clearly based on the content of the books in question–must stop.

It is a blatant violation of students’ first amendment rights and an improper attempt at censorship by law-enforcement officials.”

Find out why The Fraternal Order of Police is in fact free “to support or oppose just about anything they desire.”

Or why a “First Amendment infringement argument could be made by or on behalf of the students” in this case.

“Just one more thing” (© Columbo):

Why aren’t there any classics on the reading list?

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it — thank you.

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Leaving the Conservatory (La Sortie du conservatoire), 1876–1877. Oil on canvas, Overall: 73 13/16 x 46 1/4 in. (187.5 x 117.5 cm). BF862. Public Domain.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Erasing History, or Watch out, Laura!

Rocks, Waves and Figures

  • ‘Since 1954, the American Library Association has awarded a medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature in the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder. …

In February, the ALA announced that it was reconsidering the name of the Wilder Award. Alluding to the depiction of American Indians and African Americans in Wilder’s work, the ALA declared that her legacy put the group in the uncomfortable position of serving children while being unable to model values of “inclusiveness, integrity and respect.” Wilder’s books, it went on, “reflect racist and anti-Native sentiments and are not universally embraced.”’

A sneak attack under cover of darkness took care of “bad” old statues. It’s time to fight “bad” old books now.

I don’t have much to add to what PG said, except perhaps one thing. It’s easy–while shaming long dead authors of fiction–to overlook what’s going on here and now:

“God is on our side! On the side of the children … Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

“Inclusiveness, integrity and respect”?

Enjoyed the post? Share it, like it — thank you.

Image: Maurice Brazil Prendergast. Rocks, Waves and Figures, c. 1902–1904. Watercolor with graphite underdrawing on handmade wove paper, Overall: 11 1/8 x 15 5/8 in. (28.3 x 39.7 cm). BF2079. Public Domain.