To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned from a school district’s curriculum because it ‘makes people uncomfortable’.
The novel addresses racism and the American south in the early-to-mid 20th century. It has been pulled from the junior-high reading list in the Biloxi district of Mississippi. The reason for the ban is its use of the N-word.
Local paper The Sun Herald reported that some pupils were already in the middle of reading the book. Because of the ban, those same people will now be unable to finish it.
The vice president of the Biloxi School Board said: ‘There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books. ‘It’s still in our library, but they’re going to use another book in the 8th grade course.’
To Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee that was published in 1960. It shines a light on racial inequality in a small Alabama town, and follows the trial held after a white woman claims she was raped by a black man.
The decision to ban the book has reignited questions over when a book should be banned from a classroom.
Local author Barbara Shoup said “I am appalled”.
Shoup wrote in an email, saying Lee’s tale offers a realistic depiction of life in the South before civil rights.
“If we are going to solve the racial problems we have in our country now, we must confront the truth of how we got to where we are”, she explained.
Good fiction, like Mockingbird, “brings history alive,” she said. “If it is uncomfortable to read and discuss, so be it. Most things that matter deeply are”.