Tennessee school board votes unanimously to ban book about the Holocaust

goldmom

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I don't understand this sh!t! Some Republican please explain this crap to me
If you’re asking why they voted to ban the book, I think it was because they and /or their constituents thought it was not “age appropriate”?
Had language and nudity and graphic descriptions that some people thought 8th graders should wait to read about when they’re 16-17.
I don’t live there, I’m not on the school board and I don’t know the full backstory so don’t attack me please.
 
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butt force

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Also, how can you tell that this liberal extremism is getting worse? Do you work on a campus or something related?

No. But everything is in online and in the media anymore, so you can watch it all unfold there.

Yeah, on campus it's been getting crazier for a while.
 

goldmom

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I'm sorry, did the author not clean up the genocide enough for you?

Are you saying that gassing or shooting 6 million innocent people cannot be discussed unless you curse and show nude images? How did I learn so much about the Holocaust in Catholic school, then? I PROMISE you the nuns managed to teach us about it without one “bad word” or naked pictures.
 
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globalhawk

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Are you saying that gassing or shooting 6 million innocent people cannot be discussed unless you curse and show nude images? How did I learn so much about the Holocaust in Catholic school, then? I PROMISE you the nuns managed to teach us about it without one “bad word” or naked pictures.
Can you describe these naked pictures?
 

gohawks50

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The real reason some people are so afraid of 'Maus'

Opinion by David M. Perry

David M. Perry is a journalist and historian and co-author of "The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe." He is a senior academic adviser in the history department of the University of Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter. The views expressed here are those of the author.

I thought it was a comic book. I first saw this book called "Maus" on the shelf in the guest room of our Nashville house. I don't remember why I was looking at the books. Maybe I was just a bored 17-year-old looking for something to do. I just remember being confused, because as far as I knew my parents didn't own any comic books. And why did it have a swastika on the cover? But I picked it up, sat down on the couch and started to read.

As I flipped the pages, I felt myself becoming a little disoriented, unclear why this book was telling the story of the Holocaust in this way, with drawings of Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. But I was quickly drawn in, flipping pages faster and faster, then pausing, going back and trying to process the visual narrative of Art Spiegelman's graphic novel instead of just skimming words. In the end, I felt unsettled, unsure of what I just encountered, but sensing it mattered deeply.

Back then, as a bookish Jewish teenager, I was pretty sure I knew a lot about the history of the Holocaust. My parents were historians. I was, it turned out, pretty good in history class. I had read "Man's Search for Meaning" by the survivor Victor Frankl in eighth grade.

But "Maus" was different -- I was pulled in by the choices made possible by the medium itself. It was hand-drawn, the mice at once distinct as characters (the author, his mother, his father and their community) but at the same time rendered into a mob of animals fit only for slaughter by the Nazi cats. The triangular shape of the mice's heads evoked long-held stereotypes about the shapes of our faces as seen by our oppressors, while also conveying warmth and even humanity.

I can't tell you why it worked, but it did -- and reading it changed me. Clearly, I'm not alone in finding the book a perspective-altering experience. It's the only graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize, and it's become part of school curricula all around the country.

But not everywhere. Earlier this week, back in my home state of Tennessee, the McMinn County Board of Education voted 10-0 to remove the book from the curriculum. They cited a few instances of profanity and a "naked picture" -- this is a small image of the artist's mother in the bathtub after taking pills and slashing her wrists, with her breasts visible -- as in violation of standards and thus unteachable. On CNN, Spiegelman said, "You have to really, like, want to get your sexual kicks by projecting on it. I think they're so myopic in their focus and they're so afraid of what's implied and having to defend the decision to teach 'Maus' as part of the curriculum that it lead to this kind of daffily myopic response."

But even though one board member, according to meeting minutes originally reported by TN Holler, was quick to assert he wasn't "against teaching the Holocaust," they apparently couldn't allow it to be taught in a way that included profanity and nudity -- in other words, in a way that conveys its dehumanizing reality. The same board member said, "[Maus] shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff, it is not wise or healthy."

But this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what education is. To ban "Maus" for being an uncomfortable read is, in fact, to be against teaching the Holocaust, regardless of the school board member's protests to the contrary. To actually engage with the horror of the Holocaust, one has to be horrified, thrown from one's comfortable position, engaging with the terrible, messy reality.

But I think back to my encounter with the book on my couch, and I think that's the kind of moment that kids actually do need. We need to be unsettled by history, especially if presented by a well-trained teacher with a thoughtful supporting curriculum. Because the Holocaust is not just a collection of unthinkable numbers -- six million Jews, hundreds of thousands of Roma and tens of thousands more of political rivals, disabled people, LGBTQ people and others. It's millions of stories of individual lives lived in full complexity, and to understand what happened, the whys and hows, the generational traumas that live with us today, we may need to be unsettled in our encounter with this grim past.

And of course that's true if we want to understand other grim moments in history as well. And while the timing of canceling "Maus" a few days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day is telling, it's also happening in the midst of a growing number of right-wing attacks on teaching history. Before this latest incident, for example, a White Tennessee mom tried to take advantage of a new law against "critical race theory," which is being used as a catchall phrase for any history that tells accurate stories of racial oppression, to try to get an autobiography of Ruby Bridges banned as "divisive." And then, earlier in January, Florida Republicans advanced a bill designed to shield students from feeling "discomfort" over race, sex and gender when learning about history (of racism, sexism and gender discrimination). The effect will be, as likely intended, to make it impossible to teach history effectively.

And that's likely the point. When we are unsettled by history, when our perceptions start to shift, that's when we're ready to learn. To outlaw discomfort in the classroom is to outlaw good teaching.
 

butt force

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Media. That’s what I was looking for. Which media do you watch that discusses the liberalization of colleges?

I don't think liberalization is the right word necessarily. I think it's moreso insularity in opinion, intolerance of outside opinion... combined with, oh, poor to mediocre analysis. (but even that's still a bit vague)

Media sources? Academics like Steven Pinker and Johnathon Haidt have been informative. Jordan Peterson a few years back. John McWhorter. People that operate in the academic realm.

Media wise, like everything. WaPo, The Atlantic to youtube to city-journal to quillette. All over the place.
 

globalhawk

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I don't think liberalization is the right word necessarily. I think it's moreso insularity in opinion, intolerance of outside opinion... combined with, oh, poor to mediocre analysis. (but even that's still a bit vague)

Media sources? Academics like Steven Pinker and Johnathon Haidt have been informative. Jordan Peterson a few years back. John McWhorter. People that operate in the academic realm.

Media wise, like everything. WaPo, The Atlantic to youtube to city-journal to quillette. All over the place.
Ok. I guess I have some reading to do!
 

goldmom

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I can give some leeway with the total number killed, depending on how the question went. Someone answering 5 million instead of 6 isn’t that troubling to me. Same with the number of camps/ghettos. There is no shame in not knowing how many camps/sub camps/ghettos there were in total. As long as you understand it was extensive.

However, if you can’t name a single concentration camp, I have no problem considering you ignorant about the Holocaust. Places like Auschwitz, Dachau, and Treblinka have to be some of the most infamous locations/names in history.

And Bergen-Belsen. I’ll think of others...but I’m a stupid Republican so apparently I’m pushing the top end of my literacy...
By the way, my father went into one of the camps. After having narrowly escaped death a couple of months earlier in the Battle of the Bulge he always said it was the most horrid thing he saw the entire time he was overseas.
But you know, we Republicans are just stupid and know nothing.
You pig farming ignoramuses love to jump the gun and assume a set of facts not yet presented. See how I returned the favor just now by assuming all of you are pig farmers? 🤬
 

butt force

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Ok. I guess I have some reading to do!
I probably shouldn't have thrown the humanities under the bus, since that encompasses so many different areas of study, some of which probably aren't part of what I'm thinking about.

It's really moreso a certain type of thinking that annoys me. And it seems to be much more prevalent than I think it should be.

I found out I really don't get along too well with post-modern thinkers, at least the way post-modern thinking seems to be applied to so many topics today. Not that you can distill it all down to postmodern = bad

This article points out some of the weak points
 

globalhawk

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I probably shouldn't have thrown the humanities under the bus, since that encompasses so many different areas of study, some of which probably aren't part of what I'm thinking about.

It's really moreso a certain type of thinking that annoys me. And it seems to be much more prevalent than I think it should be.

I found out I really don't get along too well with post-modern thinkers, at least the way post-modern thinking seems to be applied to so many topics today. Not that you can distill it all down to postmodern = bad

This article points out some of the weak points
You have me intrigued. I am honestly going to read up on it.
 

gohawks50

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Nope, haven’t read the book. The “mice” are unclothed, however.
Here are some of the naked pictures:
Is it this one?



or this one?



or this one?

6a00d8341c3b2653ef015392e45b2b970b-500wi.jpg
 

ferentzin04

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And Bergen-Belsen. I’ll think of others...but I’m a stupid Republican so apparently I’m pushing the top end of my literacy...
By the way, my father went into one of the camps. After having narrowly escaped death a couple of months earlier in the Battle of the Bulge he always said it was the most horrid thing he saw the entire time he was overseas.
But you know, we Republicans are just stupid and know nothing.
You pig farming ignoramuses love to jump the gun and assume a set of facts not yet presented. See how I returned the favor just now by assuming all of you are pig farmers? 🤬

Take it easy killer. I never said a word about Republicans or Democrats. The article clearly references the poll of “Millennial and Gen-Z Americans” from all 50 states.

I don’t care what state you’re from or what your political affiliation is, if you as an adult can’t name a single concentration camp or ghetto, that tells me all I need to know about your level of education. The fact that nearly 50% of those polled couldn’t name one is kind of depressing.
 

markfromj

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They won't be able to in a logically way.

As a Republican, I explained it earlier in this thread. The objection is not to teaching the Holocaust. It is in some of the items in this book.

Note to any posters we might have that might understand nuance: My explanation here does not mean that I agree this book should be banned.
 

markfromj

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Are you saying that gassing or shooting 6 million innocent people cannot be discussed unless you curse and show nude images? How did I learn so much about the Holocaust in Catholic school, then? I PROMISE you the nuns managed to teach us about it without one “bad word” or naked pictures.

This kind of reasoned, balanced, nuanced thinking has no place in this thread.
 

tumorboy

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Are you saying that gassing or shooting 6 million innocent people cannot be discussed unless you curse and show nude images? How did I learn so much about the Holocaust in Catholic school, then? I PROMISE you the nuns managed to teach us about it without one “bad word” or naked pictures.
Without the cursing sure. But the piles of bodies and rotted away corpses doesn't really hit home unless visually see it.
 
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bojihawk44

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This kind of reasoned, balanced, nuanced thinking has no place in this thread.
Plenty of balanced, reasoned posts in this thread. There's absolutely nothing wrong with teaching the Holocaust using graphic images and bad words.

You should hear the TikTok videos kids play in school loud enough for everybody to hear. Apparently you'd be appalled.
 

gohawks50

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Plenty of balanced, reasoned posts in this thread. There's absolutely nothing wrong with teaching the Holocaust using graphic images and bad words.

You should hear the TikTok videos kids play in school loud enough for everybody to hear. Apparently you'd be appalled.
I think it's amazing that many people think that a book like this is inappropriate for their children to see. Kids are aware of and exposed to many other images, words, and ideas just surfing the web, using social media, watching YouTube videos, etc. I don't think students are as naive as their parents are naive about their children's experiences and knowledge.
 

goldmom

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I think it's amazing that many people think that a book like this is inappropriate for their children to see. Kids are aware of and exposed to many other images, words, and ideas just surfing the web, using social media, watching YouTube videos, etc. I don't think students are as naive as their parents are naive about their children's experiences and knowledge.
I agree. I'm not defending this decision, I'm just saying there could be strong sentiment in many small communities everywhere to delay including this book in an 8th grade curriculum for a few grades. The school board may just reflect the wishes of the community.