“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librarian wrote in the January issue of School library journal  that “Shakespeare’s work is full of problematic and outdated ideas, lots of misogyny, racism, homophobia, class discrimination, anti-Semitism, misogyny”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. My kids have enjoyed many of the Shakespeare Can Be Fun books by Lous Burdett. She rewrote in rhyming couplets some of the most beloved plays for a young audience (7-year-olds). Her students drew pictures and wrote things like: Advice to Laertes.

    Kenneth Branaugh wrote the Forward, no less, of the Hamlet for Kids I’m looking at. He noted: “…this book is a treat. Aside from Ms. Burdett’s lucid, funny, and evocative rendition of the story, there is the priceless contribution of the children”.

  2. Great scene in the movie “The Red Violin” when the violin is found in Mao’s reign, a must see movie. Maybe classical instruments and music are next?

      1. Young-Beautiful music, that’s sad, I better hide my violin. 13% directing 76% around like a ring in a Bulls nose, will the Bull remove the ring to save it’s freedoms?

      2. Did you know that Louis Farrakhan, aside from having been a successful calypso singer prior to his assumption of duties in the NOI, has also remained across his lifetime, a skilled violinist?

        They really hate that guy. I admit it, I have always kind of liked him


  3. I can’t stand “woke” society. It’s just rubbish. I love Shakespeare and it is best presented by white English actors.

    1. There is no authenticated portrait of Shakespeare. Nobody knows what he looked like or if he really existed. It is a huge, convoluted mystery, like the existence of many famous peple of his time. He may have been a woman. That has been proposed by researchers. Famous people of the time had their portraits taken and there may very well be one of Shakespeare but not identifiable as such. We still have no authenticated portraist of early explorers such as Columbus and Cabot. Such a fascinating topic.

        1. Gosh I hate that kind of krap. These are the same people who say that Jesus never existed, that Moses did not exist, or Abraham before him.

          They said that Troy was a myth until Schliemann found it. They say that Hector and Achilles were myths too.

          They say that Ragnar Lothbrok was a myth. etc etc etc. This is all preposterous. These figures may not have done or said precisely what is attributed to them, but they were real

          Sal Sar

  4. Defunding the police, taking Shakespeare out of schools, removing protections for freedom of speech – does anybody else see a pattern? They want Americans stupid, helpless, and compliant. Does anybody else remember the “Mozart effect?” It was supposed to improve kids’ school performance. It’s the opposite of the “woke effect” which is to make everyone stupid. I’m sure Mozart will be the next to get the axe. He was, after all, a white man, as were Newton, Galileo, and Neil Armstrong.

  5. Since none of the teachers I had in school were capable of teaching Shakespeare in any interesting fashion (I was raised on Shakespeare, literally from before birth), and since Shakespeare’s plays used to be extremely popular in performance (as they should be experienced first), making Shakespeare verboten rather than mandatory (and potentially therefore attractive) might be the most wholesome way of restoring him to the people – he was, after all, a writer for audiences.

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