“Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird”: Loudon Teacher Pushes To Ban Classic Book Due To Its “White Savior”

We have previously discussed efforts to ban classic books, including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Lee’s book has been banned in states from Mississippi to California. The work, which exposed the deep-seated racism in our society, has been denounced as “violent and oppressive for black students.” I have opposed such efforts. Now, Loudoun County teacher Andrea Weiskopf has publicly called for the book to be banned in my neighboring county of Loudon. The reason? The character Attitus Finch is white and therefore the book is nothing but a “white savior” tale that traumatizes black students. The remarks reflects a harmful but growing movement to ban such books in public schools. The attack on this book in particular has left many of us dismayed. As Atticus himself said “remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Weiskopf told the board that not only is this classic work harming students but that, if any member does not accept that premise, they should not be making any decisions on book selections.

ANDREA WEISKOPF:  It’s funny how they are so afraid of having their children seeing another view of sexuality, gender or religion…If you want to talk about books that are assigned, let’s read To Kill a Mockingbird together. If you aren’t able to consider the racial trauma this assigned book causes black children with its white saviorism, then you have no business discussing any books.

Her diatribe reminds me of the observation in the book that “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”

Weiskopf has become a flashpoint on both sides in the debate. She is unabashed in her activism. Her Twitter site features the quote from Lerone Bennett, Jr. that “an educator in a system of oppression is either a revolutionary or an oppressor.” She mocks the parents who appeared at the meeting to object to books with profane language and doubled down on her own position, declaring “Call me a Commie or a Marxist if you want, but I think working to form a more perfect Union makes me a patriotic American.”

Weiskopf added a suggestion that she has been told to be quiet by school officials:

Loudoun County Public Schools: We call for all staff to engage in the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy and systemic racism.

Me: Black lives matter! also

@LCPSOfficial: If you keep shouting, we’ll put a letter in your file.

Me: BLACK LIVES MATTER!

My concern is that this movement is successful because board members and administrators are risk adverse. Rather than dealing with such dubious attacks on the book, they avoid the issue as quietly as possible.

In Fairfax county where I live, A Tale For Two Cities was removed as required reading in favor of a more diverse set of literature. Many students mocked and complained about the substituted readings as shallow and boring assignments. As a result, students lost the opportunity to read a riveting, classic work that is referenced in countless other works. It would have allowed for an engaging exploration of not just class struggles but historical events.  Yet, it was replaced quietly by administrators to satisfy critics.

Lee’s book is a powerful indictment of racism and a glimpse into how it impacted the lives of this family. It uses the language of the time, including the n-word, in a raw and gut-wrenching account of how an innocent black man is lynched despite a lack of evidence against him. It is a tale of blind hate and rage in the South. It speaks to racism from the perspective of a privileged white family: “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it…Whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”

As a teenager, “To Kill A Mockingbird” was one of the most influential books in my life and contributed greatly to my interest in becoming a lawyer. I wanted to like Atticus Finch. Indeed, I often reference his character in classes with my law students, particularly the image of a lone lawyer standing in front of a jail in front of a lynch mob. He refused to move because to step to the side would be to walk away from what means to be a lawyer. The man in that jail, Tom Robinson, was his client. Whatever his race or his actions, he remained a man entitled to the protection of the rule of law. At that moment, the legal system was represented in a single man and the mob represented everything we stand against as lawyers. He could not step aside and still be a lawyer.

We cannot step aside as parents for much of the same reason. To do so would be to abandon what is essential in being a parent; to yield to a mob of a different kind.

I welcomed public statements by people like Weiskopf precisely because it is public. These decisions are largely being made without public debate. In Missouri, Natalie Fallert, the 6-12 Literacy Speech Coordinator for the Rockwood School District, advised principals to go “old school” by being less transparent in changing the curriculum to add social justice and critical race elements.

This is a departure in that a board is faced with a public airing of the basis for banning a book and the views of the parents on such actions.  Weiskopf and other activists want to emphasize what divides us and reject the notion from the book that “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” This is obviously one perspective of racism. It is clearly from the view of this white family, but it is an account of how racism inundated every aspect of our society.

In the end, Lee herself may have seen this coming when she wrote “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”  That could make for a wonderfully intense and passionate discussion in class . . . if we let students read the book.

A version of this column also ran on Fox.com

101 thoughts on ““Remember It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird”: Loudon Teacher Pushes To Ban Classic Book Due To Its “White Savior””

  1. Hmmm. A black leotard in size 16? For some reason, we’re always sold out of those. Let me check…

  2. Critical Race Theory is a relic from the racist Democrat Party of old, whose members included the Ku Klux Klan. That the Democrats and other Leftists would want to bring CRT back isn’t surprising, given the resurgence of racism in the Democrat Party. But the fact is that CRT is obsolete, just like the CRT acronym of old that the Leftists have recently hijacked for their own nefarious political purposes, when CRT used to mean Cathode Ray Tube technology. Real CRTs have, of course, long been superseded by flat-panel display technologies such as LCD, plasma display, and OLED displays which are cheaper to manufacture and run, significantly lighter and less bulky, and can also be made in very large sizes. It’s time for the Democrat Party to give up its backward ways and to throw out their hijacked leftist version of the CRT:

  3. We really miss Thomas Sowell. I’m sure there are other Black elder statesmen with the wisdom, informed by experience to shred this whole Systemic Racism farce. But in todays climate, to work against the leftist unified cacophony of lies, is a huge risk to your physical and professional wellbeing.

    The real issue? K-12 public schools need to be forbidden to “teach” anything to do with race. How society evolves around the race issue is a moral cause.The government is no more capable of teaching morals than a 3 year old can run a chainsaw. It might start out OK but every body knows its going to end up bloody.

  4. The next thing she is going to do is ban any historical reference to the white abolitionist (saviors) who formed the Underground Railroad. She would also ban reference to any white people (saviors) who voted for the civil rights bills. That a book would be banned based on such logic perfectly illustrates the cowardliness of those bending to the cancel culture of the woke mob. Again we live in a time when “standing up” is called for.

    1. She would also ban reference to any white people (saviors) who voted for the civil rights bills.

      That would be White Republicans. Democrats fought the Civil Rights bill tooth and nail.

  5. As per “diversity” and CRT, that creature classifies individuals as if they are farm animals: “This one’s black. It goes in that pen. This one’s white. It goes in the other pen.”

    If she could actually think (in terms of ideas), she might realize that the *theme* of the novel is: An individual’s rectitude in the face of a hostile mob. And she might realize that that theme is universal — a fact that explains the novel’s wide-ranging and long-lasting appeal. Atticus does not inspire just lawyers to stand tall. He inspires *any* individual confronted by *any* type of hostile mob.

  6. Perhaps an alternate story would be for Officer Chauvin to have had a black lawyer as a Black Saviour.

    Change the accusation and the races and basically it’s the same story: innocent man faces mob justice backed by the State.

    And if this account pans out it might be that the prosecution knowingly used corrupted testimony:

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/05/floyd_defendant_accuses_state_of_prosecutorial_misconduct.html

    Atticus Finch had it easy compared to Nelson.

  7. Another white person protesting the fact that she’s white. You know this country is way over the edge now.

  8. Or she’s one more attention-seeker. There are no clear, validating markers to any of this garbage. Everything is a target, the more scandalous the better.

  9. Brain dead but personality defects even worse. Ban a novel for its white “savior” of a black person but praise her for “saving” blacks from the book. Right.

    Also scores a perfect 100 on the hypocrisy scale.

  10. The woke phenomenon is one of the most intolerant, hateful, ignorant movements in modern times. Treat it like the nutgrass in To Kill a Mockingbird” and battle it like it’s the Second Battle of the Marne.

    1. Karen: you love throwing out the cutesy phrases you heard on Fox las night. You are a disciple, pure and simple. Nothing you say reveals any depth of throught or analysis.

    1. Mes……….LOL………I don’t know, but you can bet your bagels she’s meshuga…

    2. Weiskopf or Weisskopf is simply German for White (Weis/s) Head (Kopf). The ethnic jokes I’m seeing about Andrea Weiskopf are misdirected. Regardless of Weiskopf’s religious heritage, you can be assured that her real religion and her only religion is Leftism.

      1. Mr Feldman………Ethnic jokes are the highest form of flattery. That is what I believe. I have to love and revere someone’s ethnicity to appreciate the joke. Kinky Friedman comes to mind.

        That being said, I see what you mean about Leftism being her religion.

      2. White? That’s priceless. White girl named white wants to tell whites how to treat blacks cause … well … she can’t get a date. Freud is spinning in the grave but interested.

    3. Using the Google, Weiss is “white”. Kopf is head. Pretty funny if you think about it.

  11. I applaud Prof. Turley for having the courage to discuss this important issue, especially since he’s going against many of his fellow liberals and leftists. Others who adhere to leftist policies have been pusillanimously silent. Take Oprah Winfrey. (Please!) She has in the past stated that Harper Lee was her favorite author. So, where has she said anything about this issue? Answer? ZZZZZ zzzzz ZZZZZZ zzzzz.

    Nonetheless, this article only explores one part of a much larger problem in our educational system. And the larger problem is that today’s high schools, colleges, and universities are no longer genuine educational institutions. Rather, they a simply tools of the left to help program the young, the naive, and the easily deceived. That’s why I invented the term Leftist Indoctrination Entities (“LIEs”) to describe those institutions because it explains what they are really all about today.

    For a deeper look into the problem, commentator Tucker Carlson addressed it recently, including Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. And it doesn’t matter what you think of Carlson. He at least has the integrity to show clips from both sides of the debate, and without deceptive editing like CNN and MSNBC are fond of using.

    1. Progressive (i.e. unqualified, monotonic) path and grade, a philosophy, an ideology, a religious sect. One step forward, two steps backward.

      As for immigrants, they used to be sponsored. Unskilled or skilled, they did not share/shift responsibility. not for their capital income, not for their family, not for their residence.

      Separately, sex is male and female. Gender is sex-correlated physical and mental (e.g. sexual orientation) attributes. The transgender spectrum covers individuals in a state or process of divergence from normal. Why complicate it with too many judgments and labels? Whereas normal people discern a non-selective criteria for normalization, tolerance, and rejection, some, select, many, people… persons, like this woman, exhibit a progressive condition “genderphobia.”

      And, she’s wrong about diversity [dogma], about racist designations (e.g. people of color), affirmative discrimination, etc. Most people do not exercise liberal license to indulge color judgments (e.g. racism), let alone take affirmative action to confirm their bigotry and normalize them. That’s not normal. It never was. Although, it has become a progressive, and, in fact, systemic condition in many public and private spaces.

  12. I am of the opinion that Wiesskopf is making herself a “White Savior” by suggesting she has the unique understanding of how Black Folk perceive the message of the Book.

    1. Simply put, the message of the book was to Scout about acceptance (Boo Radley), and to “see” the struggle Blacks faced in finding true justice. This is a lesson you would think the left would embrace. If the left prefers that a Black lawyer come to the aid Tom Robinson (falsely accused of rape and defended by Atticus), good luck. At that time in history, there were very few Black lawyers (https://www.nationalbar.org/history).

  13. When Michiu Kaku is teaching PHD candidates, he has hardly any Americans taking these courses. I wonder why that is?

  14. She should spend less time scarfing down every food morsel she sees and in such disgusting censorship motions, and more time in a gym.

  15. The irony of the public education system seeking to protect students from classic literature based on the race of the author or characters appear to be lost with them.

    The only way to check this racist behavior in public education is to vote with your feet. Pull your kids out of schools that ascribe to the notion that whites are born oppressors and blacks are born oppressed, as well as other harmful tropes. Heaven forbid black students read a classic book where a white person risked his life and reputation to help a wrongfully accused black man.

    The very idea that black students can’t psychologically or intellectually handle reading To Kill A Mockingbird is racist.

    I loved the book and the movie.

    Ya’ll who have bought into this Critical Race Theory, BLM propaganda have been had. The goal is socialism, which requires pitting classes of people against each other so that a Socialist movement can arise as their savior. Since class warfare won’t work in the US, where anyone can succeed, they’ve turned to pretending that the country is as racist and injurious to black people as 1855. It’s not true, but Lord how quickly people have latched on. All you have to tell naive people is to support Doctrine X or they’re a racist, and the sheep flock right over, with the border collie media and activists nipping at their heels to keep them in line.

    Stiffen your spine and stop pretending this lunacy makes any sense.

    1. Which Fox News, OAN, News Max or Breitbart commentator are you repeating with this little piece? Critical race theory is not taught in public schools, a lie that is told on Fox all of the time–it is taught at the college level only. BLM is not propaganda–it is a sentiment. Merely stating that black lives matter, n the context of the seemingly endless police killings of black people, is not socialism It is pointing out that black lives do, indeed matter.

      Karen, you like to pretend that you are an intellectual, but what you are is a gullible Trumpster disciple–follower of Fox, OAN, News Max and Breitbart. Most of the blather you repat isn’t true.

  16. What people like Mr./Ms. Weiskopf really mean to say is that black people are way too delicate to mingle, socialize, and be educated with normal white people.

    1. I just can’t believe Democrats are at it again, promoting segregation. Everything is raced based with them these days. I think the moderates are too afraid of their own party to stand up to it, for fear of being canceled, ruined, impoverished, or, worst of all, labeled a racist for not going along with this racist agenda.

      Going along to get along can lead to ruin.

      1. Karen…………..”Going along to get along can lead to ruin:”

        and that’s the road they’re on.

      2. Not just race. Not just sex. Not just age. Diversity is a dogmatic belief based on color judgments that deny individual dignity, individual conscience, and intrinsic value, not limited to racism, sexism, and ageism. It’s the very model of their Pro-Choice religion.

        1. n.n. And diversity of thought is not acceptable. Don’t even think about having an original thought if you’re one of ’em.

      3. Democrats do NOT promote segregation. The woman Turley writes about is not identified as a Democrat, but, hey, being a Fox News junkie, never let facts get in the way of hate.

        You want to know which moderates of a major political party won’t speak up–that would be the REPUBLICANS! How Trump got them to keep promoting the Big Lie is baffling, because they DO know better. One thing you wrote is correct: going along to get along can lead to ruin. Everything Trump touches dies. Read Rick Wilson’s eponymous book.

  17. Diversitist (e.g. racist), and feminist (i.e. female chauvinist), too. Nice.

    All slaves were blacks. Not all blacks were slaves. Not all blacks suffered under diversity dogma (e.g. color judgment, affirmative discrimination). All pro-Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness-minded were, are Americans.

    That said, think of the author as an unPlanned (i.e. life deemed worthy of life) colorful clump of cells that is not judged and labeled under the Rainbow of inclusive exclusion (i.e. black, brown, white).

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