“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. Why are SJW’s usually female, obese and unattractive? I should know this, but since I am a deplorable, will ask my leftist moral bettors to explain.

    antonio

      1. @anonymous

        Not really. I am actually fit, trim and work out regularly. Dress well and professionally for my position. As far as whether I am attractive, kind of in the eye of the beholder.

        antonio

      2. @anonymous

        Are you going to tell me with a straight face that the SJW who is the subject of this post is attractive? Still didn’t answer my question.

        antonio

      3. I was thinking of Michael Moore. Maybe you were thinking of Trump. Are you Anonymous the smart or Anonymous the stupid?

        1. @khs71

          THANKS, I had forgotten about St. Michael. I find neither Michael Moore or Donald Trump attractive. Wouldn’t date either.

          antonio

      4. “anyone leap to mind?”

        Donald Trump is the correct answer.

        And yes, the woman who is featured in JT’s posting needs a diet and some exercise, just as she needs to reevaluate her position about the book.

    1. This deplorable believes it is because these obese and (maybe purposefully) messy looking women have convinced themselves they are “victims” — just like the lefty progressives want all people of African-American heritage to believe they are, today, victims. But .. the former are victims of themselves and their poor eating, health and grooming habits!

    2. Why are SJW’s usually female, obese and unattractive?

      (Raises hand) I remember Rush covered this in is list of “Rules of Life” “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.”
      I know its not ‘feminism’ per se, but I think it still covers your question.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird is going to out last “system racism”. The book is a classic. The annual leftists attacks on the classics is busy body, virtue signaling.
    If Andrea Weiskopf want to help the oppressed blacks, she could take on educating black males they must be a fulltime, every single day, father to all the children they sire.

    But having diarrhea of the mouth is much less effort….and of course, if she is 100% successful will not lift up a single black. President Trump did more for blacks than all the leftists for the last 50 years.

    1. According to Trumpsters on this blog, I am a “leftist”, and I don’t believe in banning “To Kill a Mockingbird”. See my post infra.

      Trump did not do anything for blacks. More Fox News drivel and propaganda.

      1. @natacha

        I read your posts from time to time and honestly, I have no interest in debating or changing your mind about anything. I want a divorce! And if people like me are as bad as leftists like you say we are, you should welcome this. But you won’t…you need people like me to pay taxes, keep things running and be cannon fodder for the endless wars. And besides, you want to “rub our noses” in it.

        antonio

          1. @anonymous

            I am afraid that calling me an “idiot” is not a reply. But won’t hold my breath. Leftists usually do not want to debate, they prefer name calling, doxxing and destroying their opponents.

            antonio

            1. “But you won’t…you need people like me to pay taxes, keep things running and be cannon fodder for the endless wars.”

              Sheer brilliance, antonio. /heavy sarc

              Anyone who says sh*t like your quoted remark (above) deserves to be called an idiot.”

              1. @anonymous

                What?? Sounds like you are an anti-hispanic racist. Oh wait, one only obtains “woke” protection from criticism if one is a leftist hispanic.

                And if I were a leftist hispanic, you’d be k@@ing my a@@ by about now. Tell you what, I will post as leftist as one tomorrow so you can do so.

                antonio

                  1. @anonymous

                    No, not really. You were the one who insulted me first and I don’t like taking s@@t from a lot of people.

                    antonio

            2. I want you to name, with spcificity, something, anything Trump did to help black people. I want a list. Provide it or shut up. He inherited a booming economy that Obama turned around, and he managed to kill it, along with thousands of Americans who got COVID because he lied about it. So, what, specifically, did you chubby hero do?

          2. “Anonymous” has just recognized him/her self! And properly described her/him self. Congrats on seeing what so many of us who skip thro your posts see.

      2. The slaves said that they wanted freedom.

        What they really wanted was “free stuff.”

        The American Founders gave Americans the one and only thing they could: Freedom.

        You need to write a letter of request for special, superior treatment and favor to Karl Marx – he’ll take other people’s money and take good care of y’all.

      3. Trump did not do anything for blacks. More Fox News drivel and propaganda.

        Lowest unemployment since they kept track, and the largest increase of real wages in decades.

        1. And…without repeating lies you heard on Fox, name something Trump himself, actually did, not that he’s trying to take credit for. What did HE do?

      4. I am a “leftist”, and I don’t believe in banning “To Kill a Mockingbird”

        Maybe the NYT and NBC silence the reporting of conservatives banning books. The only time I see it in the news its predominately leftists. I am willing to be proven wrong.

      5. Trump is pro-Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, without judgment and labels under diversity [dogma]. He normalized revitalization, rehabilitation, and reconciliation to mitigate social progress and social justice that engender adversity, inequity, and exclusion.

      6. Levels of employment for blacks and latinos soared to record highs under Trump. In contrast, Obama and Biden bailed out the banks and deliberately refused to disburse funds set aside to help underwater homeowners. Black wealth was decreased significantly under Obama.

        1. But…. besides cheating his way into office and inheriting a booming economy created by Obama from the ashes left by Bush, what did Trump, himself, do? Name something…some law….some policy. Do not just keep repeating the lies put out by Fox, OAN, News Max and Breitbart. You Trumpsters want to prove you are intellectuals, well, prove it. What did Trump, himself do?

      7. Natcha, another victim of the “brain”washing by the likes of ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and NPR/PBS – along with the WashPost and NYT. Sad, sad!!

  3. So replacing classics with soft porn better prepares students for college literature??? I don’t think that is good preparation but maybe it’s just me.

  4. “account of how an innocent white man is lynched despite a lack of evidence against him. It is a tale of blind hate and rage in the Minneapolis. It speaks to racism from the perspective of a privileged BLM family” There, fixed it for you. Still relevant today. Bottom rail on top now.

    1. In the real world of the streets, few of the whites who demonstrated on behalf of St. George of Minneapolis last summer would actually want to meet him in his element. And I say this as someone professionally acquainted with the criminal justice system as an attorney. Having a “good white” card would not save you from his depredations and he wouldn’t care that you support BLM.

      White leftists are naive at best and absolutely stupid and condescending at worst. And I feel no sympathy for them when their beloved “pets” bite them.

      antonio

  5. The irony is that Harper Lee’s actual book is nothing like the version so heavily edited by a New York editor. As for making any books mandatory reading, what’s really the point? The only people who actually remember those books are the self-righteous pricks who become lawyers and journalists. This teacher is nuts so let her rant on.

    1. “what’s the point of mandatory reading”–if you have to ask, you have ironically answered your own question. It’s to instill an appreciation of literature and cultures, to encourage reading and comprehension, and to stimulate thinking, among other reasons. I guess that makes me a “self-righteous prick”, because I did become a lawyer.

    2. “The only people who actually remember those books are the self-righteous pricks who become lawyers and journalists.”

      Any other false statements that you’d like to make?

      Maybe this comment refers to you?

      https://jonathanturley.org/2021/05/14/remember-its-a-sin-to-kill-a-mockingbird-loudon-teacher-pushes-to-ban-classic-book-due-to-its-white-savior/comment-page-1/#comment-2089923

      “As for making any books mandatory reading, what’s really the point?”

      Did you ever attend school?

  6. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is about a lot of things, including the south during the Depression, a crazy, cranky old lady neighbor who keeps a loaded pistol under her lap blanket and who yells at children, a recluse neighbor rumored to be crazy and dangerous, but who leaves little trinkets for neighbor children, including soap sculptures of them and whose lives he eventually saves, 2 children growing up without a mother, an attorney who gets paid with produce in lieu of cash, a poor child too proud to accept money for lunch from a teacher, a rabid dog running loose, Mayella Ewell, who was not racist because she was attracted to Tom Robinson, the racist assumption that if a black man and a white woman had differing versions of a sexual encounter, it must have been rape, no matter how much logic and facts pointed to the contrary and, of course, Atticus Finch, whom the local judge appointed to be pauper counsel for Tom Robinson because he wanted Robinson to at least have a chance. The judge knew Atticus was an ethical attorney, and would defend Robinson no matter what the pressure. The judge could have done more to save Robinson, but caved to community pressure. The scene after the verdict, in which the black observers stayed in the loft (because of segregation), in order to stand in respect of Atticus when he left the courtroom, is one of the most-memorable in filmography. Note that the Finch children joined the black pastor in the loft and obeyed when he told them to stand up. The Finch children also were disciplined by their black nanny, Calpurnia, who spanks Scout and tries to teach her manners when she embarrasses a child she invited to eat with them by asking him “what the Sam hill” he was doing when he smothered his food with syrup. Calpurnia also saves the Finch kids from the rabid dog, at which point the kids learn that their mild-mannered father is an excellent marksman when the Sheriff defers to him disposing of the rabid dog. The kids discover that there’s a lot about their father they didn’t know.

    Each of these topics could lead to lengthy discussions and teach many lessons, but if the complaint is about white saviorism, consider the fact that Boo Radley saved the Finch children, and all of them were white. The Sheriff saved Boo from unwanted attention and praise for saving the Finch kids by putting out the false story that Bob Ewell fell on his knife because if the townspeople knew the truth, they would smother Boo with attention and angel food cakes, which would be like killing a mockingbird, given his shy personality. Since the title of the book was “To Kill a Mockingbird”, we must assume that this was intended to be the main theme of the book, not Atticus as a white savior of a black man. There had to be the predicate accusation of rape and trial and Atticus’s defense of Robinson by pointing out that Mayella planned for a “slap year” to get Tom alone as the reason for Ewell’s attack on the Finch kids Atticus pointed out that Mayella wanted an adult man, not an “old uncle” to kiss her, and that this was forbidden by their society because Tom was black. Given the racist environment at the time, only a white attorney could have any chance of successfully convincing an all-white jury to acquit Robinson, but that’s not the main theme of the book, IMHO. You cannot ignore the time and place of the story.

    I am against censorship, but this is a book that should be read as a group, with cautious discussions of the above points as well as the racist language and descriptions of things like “rutting on my Mayella”, which Bob Ewell claimed he saw through the window, instead of Robinson trying to get away from her advances. When I first read the book, I never heard the word “rutting” before, which is a term describing deer mating season. IMHO, this book should be used only for high school students. You could devote an entire semester on the book and require many writing assignments based on its various themes. There’s a lot more to “To Kill a Mockingbird” than Atticus as a “white savior”.

  7. How does removing a book from a list of required reading deprive students of the chance to read it? Does you concept of freedom of expression include the idea that people should not only be free to read what they want, but should also be required to read the things you think they ought to be readinbg?

    1. We are not against Critical Race Theory because we are racist, we are against Critical Race Theory because it is racist.

      1. @cunaeus

        I appreciate what you are saying but try to stay away from the “who is the real racist” charade with leftists. You cannot win because they are always changing the definitions.

        antonio

    2. How does removing a book from a list of required reading deprive students of the chance to read it?

      If you actual thought your comment through and still thought it is a valid observation, you need some help.

      How would you go about teaching “Literature” Its a school right? An institution of education. If you don’t have assigned reading, exactly what are you teaching?

      The entire concept of education is the process of curating information and transferring that curated, valuable, information to ‘students’

      You seem to think Schools should go the way of wheelwrights. Old skill no longer relevant in todays world of the internet.

      100 years ago, one marker of personal wealth was a healthy well outfitted library. Today 95% of Americans have that in their pocket everyday. With free open source outlets like the Gutenberg Project, free digital copies of 100’s of thousands of classic literature are available on your pocket computer.
      Teachers? we don’t need no stinkin teachers

  8. There’s a certain irony in a white teacher attempting to save black children from the message of “white saviorism.”

      1. Thank you. Self-awareness would be discouraged by progressivism, as too unconcerned with righting phantom wrongs done to others.

  9. The Israelite slaves were out of Egypt before the ink was dry on their release papers.

    But then, they had the capacity, intellect and acumen sufficient to the task.

    Eschewal is the first act of diplomacy.

  10. The American Founders would like to say a few words in the “public statements” segment:

    Go ahead, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Adams, John Jay et al.

    Thank you.

    Ahem!
    ______

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof

  11. “White Saviorism”? Seriously? Atticus Finch didn’t save Tom Robinson. Every black person in that book is presented as heroic and as having agency. Every white person is presented as complicit in the conviction and murder of Tom Robinson. Literally, only an idiot would think otherwise.

  12. ALL LITERATURE SHOULD BE AVAILABLE AT LEAST IN LIBRARYS THE STUDENTS ARE IN SCHOOL TO LEARN.
    THEIR ACCESS TO SOME BOOKS DOES NOT CREATE PROBLEMS FOR THEM AS SOME WOULD WANT YOU TO BELIEVE.
    ANYONE WHO SEEKS TO LESSEN THEIR ACCESS TO ANY LITERATURE LIMITS THEIR EXPOSURE TO CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES, AND THEIR EDUCATION.
    IT IS THE GOAL OF SOCIALIST TO INDOCTRINATE PEOPLE BY EXPOSING THEM TO ONLY WHAT THEY ARE TOLD TO BELIEVE, ie(BRAINWASHING).
    EVERYTHING IS NOT RACIST AS THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO PROMOTE DISCONTENT TRY TO KEEP INSISTING. THERE GOAL IS TO LIMIT ONES BELIEFS TO THEIR IDEAS ONLY.
    THE CONSTANT DECLARATIONS OF RACISM EVEN WHERE IT DOESN’T EXIST IS CAUSING MOST OF THE RACIAL PROBLEMS IN SOCIETY.
    SOME VERY PROFITABLE ORGANIZATIONS AND PEOPLE EXIST BY KEEPING THINGS STIRRED UP. THEY ARE MAKING A LOT IF MONEY FROM THIS.

  13. I think I need to have a copy on my house for the grandchildren to read when they’re older

  14. Another stupid, crazy American. We see them on the right, the left, and everywhere in-between.

  15. To Kill A Mockingbird also led me to law school. I only wish that it could have given me the courage of Atticus Finch. Ms. Weiskopf ought to re-read the book until she is able to grasp it.

    1. Mike, she will never be able to grasp it. This woman most likely studied such intense subjects as Gender Studies, Black Studies, Hispanic Studies, LGBTQ Studies and teaching. What is sadly obvious is that she is unprepared to actually instruct young people on subjects that will improve their analytical abilities, increase their knowledge of matters that will affect their lives and the betterment of our nation, study classical works and thought that have been taught since the early Greeks.

      Why study Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, the Greek Playwrights, Cicero and Roman writers and thinkers, Shakespeare, Hobbs, Locke and Rousseau along with Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Descartes and all the other great Western intellects when you can instead teach the rantings of Nicole Hannah-Jones and Ibram Kendi. Why study Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt and Vincent when you can watch TV instead.

      Mouth breathers like Weiskopf are doing untold harm to our young people and it is about time that the parents “woke” up and put a stop to it. Maybe if a guy like Glenn Youngkin beats Terry McAuliffe we will see Democrats awaken to what is happening and realize that it is THEIR future that is being harmed and then we will get the course correction that we need. When a goon like McAuliffe becomes endangered due to someone as simple as Weiskopf we will see the party stomp on people like her and this nightmare may end.

  16. Self appointed censors are just that, self appointed censors. Why do they feel the need to tell the rest what is right and how to think?

    There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with matched. – Ray Bradbury

    I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases – Kurt Vonnegut

    If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed. – Benjamin Franklin

    1. Quiet Man,

      Nice Ben Franklin quote but for these people he is only a white man who must be ignored.

      Can you quote someone from the Congo who said something similar so we can digest the wisdom in that thought?

      1. Interesting that the words of Martin Luthor King seem to ring truer for many whites, than for the far left blacks and their leftist comrades. The next thing I expect to see, is the demand that we ban MLK’s statements and writings, because he said that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

        This no longer seems to be the goal.

  17. I am constantly amazed at the pride that Lefties take in their stupidity.

    Ms. Weiskopf has told the world that she is stupid and then doubled down on her statement.

    1. Ms. Weiskopf has told the world that she is stupid

      Abraham Lincoln – Quote – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt –

  18. I will fly over that school on commencement day and drop a thousand copies of the book.

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