Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” has been banned in many classrooms because it includes frank discussion about race, but Broadway is doing the opposite as it gets ready to launch the first showing of Lee’s work in November.
“The novel, a staple of English class curriculums for generations, is sometimes banned by school boards, apparently because of Lee’s frank discussions of race and sexuality,” writes Washington Post author Peter Marks. Broadway, however, isn’t shying away from the challenge, with Marks noting that the performance will also be an exceptional one because the playwright, Aaron Sorkin, will put on a large-cast production of a previously untested Broadway drama. Scott Rudin is producing the performance along with Lincoln Center Theater.
Broadway’s announcement of the upcoming show comes after Minnesota schools dropped “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” from students’ required reading after education leaders decided that the racial slurs were problematic and oppressive to students, according to the Star Tribune.
“Our kids don’t need to read the ‘N’ word in school,” said Stephan Witherspoon, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Duluth chapter president. “They deal with that every day out in the community and in their life. Racism still exists in a very big way,” he said, applauding the move and adding that it’s long overdue. He also noted that the literature has “oppressive language for our kids.”
Minnesota public schools used to be “the gold standard” of education, but the shift began in 2013 when education leaders began adopting the “All for All” plan which made racial equity their academic mission, according to the Weekly Standard. That equality agenda turned into a “full-scale ideological reeducation campaign,” the Standard reports.
“Relentlessly obsessing about race—pretending it’s the only thing that matters—is counterproductive and harmful to everyone,” Orlando Flores, the father of a Minnesota public school student, told the Standard. “Years ago, we fled Communism to escape indoctrination, absolutist thinking and restrictions on our freedom of speech. If we see these traits in our schools in America, we must speak out and oppose it.”
The Broadway performances of “To Kill a Mockingbird” will begin in November.
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