To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that are banned on a semi-regular basis. In main, this is because there is some rather unpleasant language in the text. However, it should be noted that the lasting popularity of the book has contributed a great deal as well. After all, no one would bother to ban a book that no one reads, which is not something that can be said about To Kill a Mockingbird when it is a critical component of school curricula throughout the United States and beyond.
This time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been removed from the list of required reading in the Biloxi School District, which can be found in the state of Mississippi. What happened was that some parents complained about the language used in the book, with the result that the school district made the choice to teach the same lessons using other resources. Unsurprisingly, the removal of To Kill a Mockingbird from the list of required reading because of its language has resulted in a less than impressed response from a wide range of people, though it should be noted that such occurrences are so common that the course of events has become more than a little bit predictable.
Why Does To Kill a Mockingbird Get Banned So Often?
There are a number of complaints that have been made towards To Kill a Mockingbird over the decades, though it is interesting to note that there have been some significant variations over time. For example, the earliest complaints focused a great deal about the use of rape in the narrative, though some were much more vocal about a white woman’s sexual interest in a black man. Something that speaks volumes about the attitudes of those times. Regardless, later complaints have focused more on the use of rape as well as the use of rather unpleasant language, which can make for difficult reading for some. With that said, it is interesting to note that there have also been some complaints about To Kill a Mockingbird no longer being a useful tool for teaching the lessons that it is supposed to teach, whether because people feel that it does not condemn racism in strong enough language or because it failed to explore the inner lives of its black characters in spite of its interest in racial justice.
What Should Be Done?
Regardless, banning To Kill a Mockingbird is as ridiculous now as it was in the past. Yes, some of its language can make for rather unpleasant reading, but it is important to remember that literature is not necessarily meant to be comforting but rather to expand its readers’ understanding of the world. As a result, the language used in To Kill a Mockingbird is useful for telling its readers about what it was like in those times as well as providing a more emphatic demonstration of why its intended lessons are so important. However, it is important that people do not put To Kill a Mockingbird on too high a pedestal for the simple reason that critical thinking should extend even to the classics.