A few weeks ago, I wrote about a couple of Americans who were petitioning the court for permission to burn a book because of its anti-Christian and apparently vulgar content. There’s no doubt in my mind that some of our Canadian readers shook their heads in disgust and might have even thought, “well, that wouldn’t happen in Canada”. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t, I don’t know. But, according to an article in The Toronto Star, the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird is being pulled from the Grade 10 English curriculum at St. Edmund Campion Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario this fall because one parent complained about the use of a racial slur in the book.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I’m not dismissing the parent’s concern. As a parent of school age children, though, it bothers me that one person’s views can apparently dictate changes in the curriculum without bothering to consult other parents. You see, my American friends, Canadian governments and other institutions have taken political correctness a tad too far over the past twenty years. In fact, it sometimes reaches new levels of absurdity. If I was a parent at that school, I’d be furious with the school for banning something based on one complaint. What would they do if twenty parents complained just as loudly and vehemently about To Kill a Mockingbird not being on the curriculum? Maybe they should.
I find it sad that the complaining parent has clearly missed the point of To Kill a Mockingbird’s message. Perhaps this person hasn’t even read the book. Racial slurs, racism, ignorance, hatred, and bigotry are exactly what the book’s about. As many of you know, Harper Lee wasn’t glorifying these things—she was exposing them for the horrific entities they were and still are. She revealed suffering and the social climate as it was in the south back then. She showed people as they really behaved, what they really thought, and how they were really treated. In a way, the book’s a barometer that measures how far we’ve come since To Kill a Mockingbird was first published. Demands to ban, or even burn the book, show us just how far we still have to go.