Mississippi Schools Are Uncomfortable Discussing Racism, But Comfortable Perpetuating It

10/16/2017 06:41 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2017

Mississippi bans ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, but glorifies the confederacy.

So let me get this straight, a Mississippi school board is uncomfortable with having to discuss racism, but quite comfortable perpetuating it with the Confederate flag flying high above the district high school? Now I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the book, if not let me put it this way, if you are uncomfortable reading ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, then you probably should be reading ‘To to Kill a Mockingbird’.

Members of the district public school board in Biloxi, Mississippi are the latest to voice their concern about Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning 1960 novel, removing it from its 8th grade curriculum last week. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which describes rape and racial inequality in a small Southern town, has been a source of controversy in regards to being read in schools since the 70’s. A school district in Virginia removed the novel from its curriculum in 2016 after complaints about “racist language”. Which in my opinion, translates into, “This challenges our youth to question racial inequality at an early age,” which is too controversial, but don’t worry kids, saluting a flag that represented a bloody war to preserve the right to own slaves is perfectly fine in 2017 America.

In explaining their reason for banning the book, Kenny Holloway, vice president of the Biloxi School Board, said “There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable”. Again, that’s the f*****g point of the book. So that kids will have these uncomfortable conversations and better understand the topic of racism as opposed to the alternative, which means growing up in a bubble of privilege, to the point that when an ‘uncomfortable’ conversation comes up, you don’t act like this.

Surely I’m not the only one who sees the absurdity that Mississippi banned a book because the material makes people uncomfortable, yet any suggestions about the removal of a the Confederate flag because it glorifies racist ideals, is seen as an attack on history and suppression of free speech. Yeah, remember when the majority of Mississippi voters voted to keep the current flag, adopted in 1894, with the Confederate emblem of 13 white stars on a blue X, rather than adopting a new flag with 20 white stars on a blue square, to symbolize Mississippi’s role as the 20th state. Why? Well a leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said when he looks at the flag, quote “I see honor, duty, courage, sacrifice, loyalty and devotion.”, and what about a murderous legacy upholding white supremacy? Something that To Kill A Mockingbird challenges. You missed that part out.

Why is it so hard for some people to admit that the Civil War was fought because white people wanted to own black people, full stop? Does the racism that drove the confederacy make you uncomfortable, and that’s why you don’t want Biloxi’s children reading a book that challenges this idea taught in schools.

Meanwhile where are the right wing free speech advocates who cry about the 1st amendment? I thought more speech was the solution? Or once again, does the suppression of free speech and censorship of a book questioning racism in America not merit the voice of the constitutionalists fighting for the rights of all Americans. Meaning, it’s ok to ban books, and punish athletes speaking out if its against a white narrative, because those things make people uncomfortable, but protesting the continued celebration of the confederacy is considered an attack on American values. Got it.

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter.

@francismmaxwell
CONVERSATIONS