WILL Research Director, Will Flanders, PhD, wrote in the Washington Examiner about the “absurd drama” that played out in Shorewood, WI over the school’s decision to put on, then cancel, a production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
But a younger generation, often unprepared to encounter “harmful” viewpoints, appears to have found fault with this classic story. Instead of having the opportunity to view the play, students and their parents participated in a community discussion in which those opposed to the play voiced their grievances. Controversy appears to center on the use of a racial slur in the text, in which Atticus is referred to as a “’N-word’ lover.” But in the context of the story, the racists hurtling slurs aren’t the heroes. The word isn’t celebrated. In fact, the use of the word and the behavior of some of the citizens of Maycomb is intended to be harsh, painful, and shocking precisely because it accurately represents the Jim Crow period in Southern states.