“This Is About White Supremacy And Colonization”: Teacher Group Calls For Shakespeare To Be Removed From Reading Lists

While the House managers were quoting Shakespeare in their case against President Donald Trump last week, it appears that the Bard may soon be less known than “Poor Yorick” who we once knew so well. There is a growing campaign by teachers to drop Shakespeare and other Western literature from classes. One group, #DisruptTexts, insists “This is about White supremacy and colonization.” Lorena German, National Council of Teachers of English Anti-Racism Committee chair and a co-founder of the Disrupt Texts forum, insisted “everything about the fact that he was a man of his time is problematic about his plays. We cannot teach Shakespeare responsibly and not disrupt the ways people are characterized and developed.”

We previously discussed how the portrait of William Shakespeare was removed at the University of Pennsylvania’s English Department as a statement for greater racial sensitivity and diversity. Students are increasingly being deprived of such foundational classics as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” “King Lear” or Richard III. These are works that are not only masterpieces but shaped generations of later works and continue to be referenced in modern writing.  Yet, this is a movement that has been building since 1987 when Jesse Jackson led Stanford undergraduates chanting, “Hey, ho, Western Civ has got to go!”

Amanda McGregor, a Minnesota-based librarian wrote in the January issue of School library journal  that “Shakespeare’s work is full of problematic and outdated ideas, lots of misogyny, racism, homophobia, class discrimination, anti-Semitism, misogyny”

German insisted that Shakespeare “is not ‘universal’ in a way that other authors are not. He is not more ‘timeless’ than anyone else.” Some teachers advocating replacing Shakespeare with such works as “Hunger Games.”

Shakespeare could have seen his coming when he wrote in As You Like It that “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” However, the exiting of Shakespeare will come at a terrible cost for our students. While Shakespeare appears the new rallying cry for woke teachers, he is “a man more sinned against than sinning.”  If he is stripped away from our reading lists, our students will be the poorer for it.

 

193 thoughts on ““This Is About White Supremacy And Colonization”: Teacher Group Calls For Shakespeare To Be Removed From Reading Lists”

  1. If the Bard is banished one day, I can imagine a 100 years in the future, people finding old copies of his great works and secretly stealing away to read them, discovering the brilliance of his storytelling and composition for the very first time. And then asking, “why were these banished?” Sadly, this book burning frenzy is little different from that which has happened in all totalitarian regimes from Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin.

  2. There have been great authors who have warned us of the depravity of men. He begin some of his plays with a disclaimer. I am just telling a tale and not trying to offend. He was concerned about being cancelled. The thing that saved him was his popularity with the people. If only he were here today to defend himself against the woke mob.

  3. Here is the problem with the banishment agenda. If they want to banish everyone who ever lived under a repressive regime they must begin with their own fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers etc. How will they chose which from their own will be banished. Will there be testimony by the son against the father.

    1. TIT we have that already in the form of a chorus of women and girls who regularly and with no compunction about it, denounce their ancestors, fathers, brothers, and even sons as “Sexist.”

      Sal Sar

  4. This leads us to a somewhat ironic conclusion: The neglect of the language in favor of politics that has taken place in English over the past few decades has led to an impoverishment not only of the language but also of our politics. If we want our politics to improve, we need to reverse the process and start once again to cultivate the language. English needs to be about English.
    https://thefederalist.com/2021/02/17/how-reading-great-literature-helps-protect-you-from-big-brothers-thought-control/

    This reminds me Lincoln’s quote: Philosophy Of Classroom In One Generation Will Be Philosophy Of Government In The Next.

  5. Like all other Leftist, authoritarian movements before them, seek to lobotomize the body of knowledge. An ignorant people are easily manipulated. Immigrants I’ve known from Ukraine and other former USSR countries were not exposed to classic literature, had never heard of some of the most famous authors in history. Likewise, such movements oppose Christianity and its morality. Moral people resist. Karl Marx believed that socialism replaced morality. If it advanced the cause of the working class, or socialism, it was “good”, even if it entailed mass murder.

    Look how far the Left is already willing to go to advance their causes. Riots and burning are brushed off as the language of the unheard. Fighting the good fight. They sniff at the total loss of small businesses.

    People had better wise up fast or repeat history.

    1. Dear Karen S.

      You are so wrong on so many things I don’t know where to start.

      Whatever the concept of “leftist” in your mind, I cannot know. If you mean anyone who doesn’t think the way you do then I can tell you that “leftists” do not “lobotomize” knowledge. On the contrary, most of the knowledge created in the history of humans might easily be credited to people who did not share your “values”. People of your creed, whether Christian or Muslim, or of any other denomination, had and have been against the common human values such as freedom of speech and thought. It is not a coincidence that crowds in Tehran, Bagdad, Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, Berlin, London, Chicago, and so on, are shouting the same thing: fighting in the name of God the Almighty, as they waive weapons in their hands. According to you classification, let’s call them “rightists”. Over the years, I found the following common traits that more or less all rightists movements, especially the extremist versions, possess.

      First, they are extremely ignorant since reading books is not a coveted pastime for these people. This is also exacerbated by the fact that their intellectual activity do not produce much, leaving the arena to the others (leftists, to you). Since they couldn’t bear the agony of reading material that is usually and unavoidably critical of their sacred ideas, they invariably develop a dislike for the intellectuals. This happens in almost any country. Nowadays, in US, we see this as an irrational hatred towards the most of the media outlets. In other lesser democracies, it manifest itself in the form of a hatred for intellectuals resulting in prosecution, exiling, jailing, and, if all else fail, killing of them.

      The second trait is quite striking. The rightist movements all over the world have, in one way or the other, in their hearts a painful hatred towards some selected segments of the society. In Nazi Germany this hatred was channeled onto the Jewish people, in Bosnian conflict onto Muslims, in many countries onto people who choose a different sexual orientation, in many Muslim countries onto Christians or other infidels, in Europe onto immigrants, in South America onto their leftists, … The list is tiresome. In the US, the hatred towards the blacks was the norm for a long time. Now, it is turning into an all-encompassing version: hatred of everything the is other! You now hate not only the black people, but also the gays, the Muslims, Jews (not Jewish), the intellectuals, the news media, namely, all the “leftists”.

      The third trait is the illogicality of your thoughts. The people of the right extremism, including all religious movements, demonstrate a pathological case of living in an obvious paradoxical state of mind. For Christians, for example, it is their insistence that they have a higher moral standing than others in spite of the facts pointing otherwise. They claim morality even when a widespread child abuse case in their religious institutions is exposed. By the way, this is eerily similar to what happens in Muslim world in that respect. For example, in the last ten years, so many child abuse cases surfaced in religious institutions and schools in Turkey that one would think that the religious people would reexamine their faith. On the contrary, they became more devout. Both Christians and Muslims profess that they only answer to the God, the one, yet they very easily, knowingly, sheepishly, and ardently follow some strange worldly leaders, accompanied with a hard-to-understand lust. They both profess to be a religion of peace (and I am quite tired of hearing it), yet they kill in the first opportune moment. Whereas the Christians of the USA will tell you that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary evils, openly condoning the killings of hundred of thousands of civilians, many of who were children, the Muslims of the Middle East will openly or covertly support the wars, killings, stoning of women, decapitations, …, all in the name of a peace-loving religion. Did you think ISIS were the bad Muslims? They shouted at you in your face but you didn’t listen: they believed they were the good Muslims.

      There is more, obviously, but I have neither the time nor the stamina to continue. If you want to lecture people about morals, as it seems to be the only thing that occupies the minds of your people, you should start reading, starting with Aristotle. It may take you a few years before you really understand the evolution of human morality or ethics. It would be a success if you could end such a journey with Bertrand Russell. And, no, I don’t mean Wikipedia! By the way your knowledge of Karl Marx are very erroneous. Please, leave the guy alone, he was a great social scientist of his time. His ideas may not be applicable today. But, what were his intentions? You may be surprised how close they could be to some of the Christian values. It is a paradox, a dilemma, I know.

      To the reader: I am a non-native speaker of English language. So, please forgive the grammatical and style errors I might have made. Read the intent, instead. Greetings from Turkey!

      1. Anonymous:

        “First, they are extremely ignorant since reading books is not a coveted pastime for these people.”
        ****************************
        You don’t know where to start in responding to Karen? How about your therapist? Everything you’ve written is just a flight of fancy through your prejudices. The “right” not educated? Is Thomas Sowell educated? How about Walter Williams? Milton Friedman? Reagan was stupid? All of them wrote books, btw. Trump, too, is far from ignorant.

        “The rightist movements all over the world have, in one way or the other, in their hearts a painful hatred towards some selected segments of the society.”
        **********************************
        Really? Seen a lot of Rightists suppressing free speech of blacks in the US lately? How about voting rights where blacks voted in record numbers? Think they repress Jews, too? Haven’t seen any evidence of that either? You’re just making things up and most especially the notion that Hitler was a “right-wing” leader. He was decidedly a nationalistic leader but more to the point, he was a socialist as was Mussolini so get the history straight if you want to cite it.

        “The third trait is the illogicality of your thoughts.”
        *************************************************
        Well, logic isn’t your strong suit but let’s play your game. You say ” The people of the right extremism, including all religious movements, demonstrate a pathological case of living in an obvious paradoxical state of mind. For Christians, for example, it is their insistence that they have a higher moral standing than others in spite of the facts pointing otherwise.” The first sentence is a mindless word salad but the second one deserves a mention. Please cite the Christian dogma saying they enjoy “a higher moral standing than others.” In fact, you’re dead wrong. The Christian ethos and black letter canon is that we all are equally born into sin and the way of salvation goes through the deity. He is the moral superior and not the followers. If you need cites to the various religions, let me know.

        This brief precis is meant to show that your “logic” isn’t the problem; your cognitive understanding of what you speak is the problem. It’s something I’ve tried to tell you for months now: You aren’t as smart and well-read as you think you are; you don’t hold all the answers (and not even most of the real questions) and (for purposes of this discussion) comparing your intellect with Karen is the biggest mismatch since David took out his slingshot against Goliath. And just to be clear, you’re the Philistine here — maybe in more ways than one. But, hey, your English is readable.

        1. FROM: Anonymous in Turkey
          TO: mespo727272 and Anonymous (Sal Sar)

          1) “Leftist” and “Rightist” classification was based on Karen’s usage. Just as it was for the color gray, from radical left to radical right, there are fifty shades of ideologies.

          2) It was my mistake not to point out that my characterizations were meant for group behavior and tendencies, not individuals. Not all rightists are ignorant, obviously. However, the distributions based on statistics and observations yield information about the groups themselves. For example, a Pew Research Center survey in 2019 indicates that 59% of republicans (rightists?) in the US considers higher education as having a negative effect on the country. Whereas the same statistics for the democrats (leftists?) is only 18%. According to an exit poll (2018), which seems to strongly support the previous divide, support for the Republican party decreases as the level of education increases (from 51% for high school or less to 17% for advanced degrees). Opposite is true for the democrats. You can find similar results in many scientific articles. But, hey, don’t despair! The same is true for Turkey, with much higher margins. They are the “rightists” here. Do they have intellectuals among them? Yes, but not enough to change the central tendency. Actually, some speakers of the ruling party admitted, more than once, that they would not have been in power for so long had it not been the uneducated or under-educated masses. You can find a lot of research results covering all aspects of such social demographics indicators and the relations between them. For example, what is the distribution of IQ in some societal segments in the US? You would be surprised and devastated. Yes, I read and you don’t! Or, you think you are reading (curse of Internet).

          3) You wrote: “You’re just making things up and most especially the notion that Hitler was a “right-wing” leader. He was decidedly a nationalistic leader but more to the point, he was a socialist as was Mussolini so get the history straight if you want to cite it.” Let’s see who is making things up. One of us should be right. Firstly, you would fail even in Politics 101 if you think Hitler was a socialist. Here is a proof to the contrary: George Sylvester Viereck (An American intellectual and supporter of Nazi Germany) interviews Hitler in 1932, which was published on July 9th of the same year. He asks Hitler this: “Why do you call yourself a National Socialist, since your party program is the very antithesis of that commonly accredited to Socialism?” Hitler replies: “Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists.” Do you hear him, Mespo? Per your request I hereby cited. Would you now apologize or do something honorable? Well, I know you won’t. This fact is not even a point of dispute in political sciences. Hitler was a staunch enemy of the actual socialists, not unlike you. That is why you are in the same basket: group tendencies. I have noticed this strange notion when I first came to the US. A very intelligent friend of mine, a republican, labeled the then president Clinton as a socialist. I was so surprised. He didn’t know what socialism meant. He was a reader of wrong books, written by wrong people. Then, I came across many others who believed in the same concept. I realized, after a while, that this was a part of the conservative talk in the US fed to unsuspecting people, day in day out, for so long that it became a given definition. By the way, since you are so fixated on names, let me remind you that, in the history US politics, democrats were not so democratic and republicans were not so republican. Read your history, please. Take Thomas Jefferson, for example. He was for republicanism but not of what you call republicanism today. If Karen had to label him, she would probably call him an immoral leftist. In a biographical book (Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, 1970), the author (Peterson) writes that Jefferson was a theist. I salute that great man of the human history. That is why I consider myself to be in the same basket Jefferson is in.

          4) On the issue of morality, I must remind you that it was Karen who brought up the issue. Nevertheless, what I wrote is not unique to Christianity. Religious clerics haven been writing about this for thousands of years. Bu, let me give you a current perspective. In a 2007 paper, The Stereotyping of Nonreligious People by Religious Students: Contents and Subtypes, Marcel Harper writes, based on a research survey, that “The valence of stereotypic items such as ‘immoral,’ ‘anti-Christian,’ ‘prejudiced,’ … are particularly relevant to such concerns,” and “The honesty and integrity of nonreligious people may be doubted without good reason …” And, these were only a group of students. I can’t imagine the result from a wider survey. But, anyway, I thought it was a well-established fact that religious people saw others as somewhat immoral. Well, at least Muslims do not hide their sentiments in this regard.

          5) In the last paragraph you wrote: “It’s something I’ve tried to tell you for months now.” I think you are confusing me with someone else. The comment you replied to was my first. You also likened me to Philistines. Am I supposed to be offended? If so, then I must thank you for proving my point: a painful hatred hidden in the darkest realms of your heart just raised its head, at least for a moment.

          6) Anonymous (Sal Sar) thinks that the Serbians (not all) who were responsible for atrocities in Bosnia were communists. Hilariously ignorant of facts and history. He probably thinks that Putin is a communist, too. In his trials, their leader Radovan Karadzic stated that the war in Bosnia was “just and holy.” Elsewhere he said “Bolshevism is bad.” These are not the words you would expect from a “leftist”. Well, you should actually believe me, rather than what is reported: because I have a good friend from Serbia who told me what transpired in Serbia and Bosnia. It was shocking and unexpected: people went from being good natured and tolerant to the extreme right-wing views, which, not unexpectedly, resulted in what some call a genocide. Similar things happened in Turkey, too, again by the hands of people who were and still are proud of being rightist. The state of mind of the perpetrators were not dissimilar to the mob that attacked the US capitol. In all cases, in Serbia, in Turkey, and in the US, people were incited by the same rhetoric: for The God, the country, the nation, and some singular figurehead such as Trump.

          7) You are probably confusing Atatürk with the Ottoman heads. When the purported genocide happened (around 1915), Ataturk was an officer of the Ottoman army on the western front. The “Greeks” he threw out into the sea were soldiers proper in the invading army of Greece. The phrase “threw out into the sea” is used by Turkish propagandists as a means of providing the public an object of pride. Well, they are our rightists: what would you expect? They belong to your clan.

          8) The Ottoman sultans cannot be classified as feudal leaders. Again, you have no idea what the term “feudal” means. Usually, the right-winged people think they can use any term in any way they like as long as it helps their proposition. A good example, which usually makes me smile or even laugh, is the poor “theory.” When these people hear someone saying “I have a theory” they think it has the same connotation as in “the theory of relativity.” In science, however, the term “theory” has a very strict meaning and is rarely used. You may write thousands of pages about a subject-matter, yet still may not be able to call it a theory. People’s theory is not the same as what is in “scientific theory.” Knowing that many are not aware of the distinction, some rightists claim that “the theory of evolution is just a theory”, nothing more! The two “theories” in quotations are not the same, not even close by any standard.

          1. NC, assumptions regarding the meaning of certain terms is a very dangerous type of assumption. Socialism, Nazism, and Fascism are unfree. The classical liberal/libertarian (not to the extreme) is free. That is a basic difference with a gigantic distinction. I don’t think there is a need to go further at this time.

            Hitler said: “We are socialists. We are the enemies of today’s capitalist system of exploitation … and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

            A brother and a sister from the same family can hate and fight one another but that doesn’t change their family relationship which is similar to the relationship of Nazism and Socialism.

            1. Dear S. Meyer,

              I actually agree with you. I might have portrayed myself as too rigid in my views. I am actually not like that. On the contrary, as someone hailing from the field of positive sciences, I learned long time ago to question everything and everyone, including myself. The idea of socialism was deliberately turned into an autocratic regime by the very inventors of the idea, namely Marx and Lenin. The solution they found was the now infamous “Proletarian Dictatorship,” which failed spectacularly.

              I didn’t believe in that when first heard of it, long time ago, and I still do not. The problem I have is this: though their end results are similar: unfree, as you put it, socialism and fascism are different beasts. When you say that they are, in effect, the same, others think they are identical or synonymous. Then, they try to use it to further their petty agendas. Please, don’t tell me it is not that important. Look what they have done to the American democracy.

              When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the US in 1830s, he was awestruck with what was achieved by a people who he thought were inferior to the Europeans (He didn’t say openly). You must read it. The American experiment he witnessed would soon become a role model for all the peoples of the world. Unfortunately, sometime in the twentieth century, somethings happened that reversed the progress of the American democracy. I can’t put my finger on it. Now, all over the world, the progressive minds are watching in agony, trying to understand what is happening in the US. Because, what happens there will have dire repercussions everywhere.

              Now is the time irrationality reigns supreme. People believe anything and in anything. They believe in magical curing powers of herbs. They believe Trump when he says detergents could be effective against the COVID virus. They invest in Elon Musk’s enterprises when he tries to send a car to orbit the Mars. They think that engines could run on water. They think perpetual motion mechanisms are plausible. They consider Christian (Muslim) prophesizing as credible professions.

              It is too long, too much, and I am tired. It is my hope that the younger generations will overcome the problem. The statistics clearly show it to be most likely (go find the source yourself).

              1. “I agree with you.”

                Great.

                Take note that no one has produced what Marx was dreaming about. It will not be in the lifetimes of anyone alive today and probably never. Besides, some of the most important things Marx wrote were proven wrong with time.

                “socialism and fascism are different beasts.”

                Socialism and communism are both interpreted differently by different experts. Fascism can be broken into different types of fascism. We are most familiar with Italian fascism, but Nazism and the Socialism we saw tried was also related to fascism. Today’s leftism is fascistic and many of those espousing their leftist views are advocating fascism without knowing what they are saying. They don’t recognize that they are advocating the loss of their freedom.

                Fascism involves the state being king and the individual doing the states bidding while business enterprises are entwined with the state and the media is state supporting or state controlled.

                The Democrat Party of today is NOT the Democrat Party of JFK or even the Democrat party of 10- 15 years ago.

      2. Anonymous from Turkey says:

        “The rightist movements all over the world have, in one way or the other, in their hearts a painful hatred towards some selected segments of the society. … in Bosnian conflict onto Muslims,”

        Wait a second .Are you telling me that Serbian people who opposed Kosovo separatism were “rightists?” Because it seems to me nearly all of them at the time had grown up in a communist Yugoslavia and the leaders were almost all former Communist party members who mostly all remained explicitly socialists. Some rightists!

        Tell us, was Kemal Atatürk a “rightist” because he tried to exterminate the Armenians, or threw the Greeks that had been living in Anatolia for millenia, out into the sea?

        It seems to me that the feudal leader of the Ottoman empire, the Sultans was “to the right” of the republican Atatürk, and the Pasha, for all his faults, was far more humane to the Armenians and Greeks, than the progressive icon Kemal.

        In the next chapter I shall discuss how Pol Pot’s communist party was also motivated in no small part, by Khmer ethnic nationalism….

        Sal Sar

      3. Anon, you and I agree on some things, but we have a conflict of visions. We agree that social welfare for those less fortunate than others should be implemented. The question is to wether the means to the end has been effective. I have seen social policies implemented over the last fifty years that have destroyed those that they were designed to help. I’ve seen the road to hell paved with good intentions. What I see today is the continuance of and defense of these failed policies as a means to power without any consideration of the real people who have been damaged. Bush continued the failed policies along with Clinton and Obama. I come from a broken home so I know the effect. When I see broken homes caused by government policies I ask why such policies continue. I have felt the sting of three different fathers. I know the taste of mayonnaise sandwiches for diner. I ask, how many generations will pass before education is held in greater esteem than a continued handout. One vision says educate to affect a life and the other vision says dumb down the tests in order to continue the failed policies of the past. We have a conflict of visions.

      4. Anon, The Karl Marx philosophy in a nut shell. The central government will provide all your needs and because of the governments generosity you must accept that they know what’s best for you. Dress it up with a phony concern for the common man. He is the most famous man who ever revealed his exclamation of supremacy to the world. We should never cancel Marx. His writings should always remain as an example of an intellectual call to slavery. His ideas were not just for his time but are being applied today. Unfortunately his ideas are not just for his time but are in use today and are proclaimed to be “the way” by those who implement his philosophy. They call themselves a Marxist nation. Yet you somehow think he is not relevant in our modern age.

        1. Are you talking to me TIT?

          I am no lover of Karl Marx but neither do I consider him a bogeyman. If you can see some value in Ricardo then you can see some in Marx. If you have much of a sense of the change of social systems which occurs in history then you can’t help but see some value in Marx. I am not on a quest to discredit nor elevate Marx. He is one of many important thinkers of the past couple centuries. One does not have to “agree” or “like” them to appreciate them. Also I did not say he was irrelevant. So, again, I am not clear what you refer to in your comment.

          Moreover, make no mistake, the idiotic “left” of today has very little understanding of what is worthy in Marx, and even of what was unworthy. They are parrotting cliches that have almost nothing at all to do with the fates of working people, like all this lgbtq nonsense that surely does not concern more than a few percent of the entire population.

          Anyways, China is not a “Marxist nation.” The CCP is indeed a nominally “communist” party and surely they continue to study Marx in the academic circles but Marx has very little to do with how they rule. Now, to Lenin, they owe a much greater debt.

          Sal Sar

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