School Bans ‘to Kill a Mockingbird,' Claims Book Promotes 'White Savior' Narrative
Concerns of its 'dated' approach to race
The iconic book To Kill A Mockingbird has been banned from a high school in Scotland after claims it promotes a “white savior” narrative.
In Edinburgh, the James Gillespie High School will no longer teach the novel as part of a plan to “decolonize the curriculum” amid concerns of its “dated” approach to race.
The book, written in the 1960s, tells the story of a black man in Alabama who is falsely accused of rape by the town’s citizens and then defended by a white lawyer, Atticus Finch.
The book was later made into a movie that starred Gregory Peck as Finch and Mary Badham as Scout and has since become a seminal work.
The school’s head of English, Allan Crosbie, said John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men would also be dropped over its use of the N-word.
Crosbie informed an online meeting with the Educational Institue of Scotland (EIS) that the move is to address the "dated” context of the book.
“Probably like every English department in the country, we still have Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird [on] the shelves,” he said.
They are now taught less frequently because those novels are dated and problematical (sic) in terms of decolonizing the curriculum. Their lead characters are not people of color.
The representation of people of color is dated, and the use of the N-word and the use of the white savior motif in Mockingbird – these have led us as a department to decide that these really are not texts we want to be teaching the third year anymore.
The former school governor and policy advisor to the Department of Education, Calvin Robinson, was critical of the move, saying:
“We can contextualize them."
"Teachers are not just reading the books; they are teaching English literature.”
“We can talk about the use of the N-word and why it is not appropriate for anyone to use."
"I think it’s ridiculous to cancel the books because of it."
“It’s very sad we are scraping through old texts and judging them by today’s standards rather than teaching them for their literary value.”
Earlier this year, teachers at Twin Cities Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota called for Shakespeare to be banished from the curriculum entirely.
“This is about white supremacy and colonization,” declared the teachers who founded #DisruptTexts, a group that wants staples of Western literature removed or subjected to withering criticism.