School Board Unanimously Vote to Remove Graphic Novel Depicting the Holocaust from Curriculum (Updated)
UPDATE: In the original post, I decried the school board in question as attempting to remove an important book for the teaching of the Holocaust, and although I stick by my characterization of Maus as being a good example of such a text, the motivations behind removing the book were mischaracterized. As noted by Christopher Rufo, the book was being removed primarily because the board felt a different text would suffice to provide the necessary education about the Holocaust.
This story is fake news: the book was swapped out from the 8th grade curriculum, not "banned." The board voted to find a better book for the Holocaust and said they'd even use Maus again if they don't find a good replacement.\n\nJudd Legum is the Jussie Smollett of journalism.pic.twitter.com/To3UkjirBw— Christopher F. Rufo \u2694\ufe0f (@Christopher F. Rufo \u2694\ufe0f) 1643294665
Included in Rufo's tweet are the complete comments from another board member involved in the decision.
Censorship is a hallmark of the left. Whether it’s podcasts or books or whatever, if they don’t like the message, it must be destroyed (or at least made impossible for people to hear and view.) And opinions are one thing, but what about when they want to censor something that teaches history and some of the most important history, too? Well, that’s happening.
The Post Millennial reports that a Tennessee school board voted 10-1 to ban Maus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, that depicts the horrors of the Holocaust. The board argued that the use of “God Damn” and “naked pictures” of women were the reasons for the ban.
But this doesn’t rationale doesn’t quite hold water, as numerous schools choose to make available books in the library depicting far more graphic imagery. Additionally, there aren’t any illustrations of naked “women,” per se, in Maus, as the entire thing substitutes mice for the people, an artistic choice that proves powerful in the telling of the story.
Tony Allman, a member of the board, said, “It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff, it is not wise or healthy.”
Yes, you ignorant clod, it shows all those things because that’s what the Holocaust was. The fact that the images in the book make one uncomfortable is precisely the point.
However, his seems less about the book itself and more about the story it’s trying to tell, seeing as how “MAUS was removed from the 8th grade English Language Arts curriculum and no substitute book was recommended. Without a substitute book, the module on the Holocaust will be skipped until a new book can be found.”
This looks more like the district is attempting to push out teaching students about the Holocaust, especially after skipping the module entirely during the last school year, citing “time constraints from COVID.”
The US Holocaust Museum published a short statement on Twitter in response to the news.
1/ Maus has played a vital role in educating about the Holocaust through sharing detailed and personal experiences of victims and survivors. On the eve of International #HolocaustRemembranceDay, it is more important than ever for students to learn this history.— US Holocaust Museum (@US Holocaust Museum) 1643250416
But author Neil Gaiman took to Twitter with a response that was far more direct.
There's only one kind of people who would vote to ban Maus, whatever they are calling themselves these days.https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1486470195036270600\u00a0\u2026— Neil Gaiman (@Neil Gaiman) 1643237848
Do I think the school board is comprised of a bunch of antisemitic Holocaust deniers? Maybe not—though, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility. What I do know, for a fact, is that only the most reprehensible, ignorant group of clowns would choose to deprive young students of Maus. It’s a story that must be told.
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