Tennessee school board votes unanimously to ban book about the Holocaust

gohawks50

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A couple of instances from my teaching career that would have offended this Tennessee school board.

One year when I was teaching kindergarten the art teacher had the kids make snowmen by cutting and gluing construction paper shapes on a blue piece of paper. She displayed their creations near the entrance of the elementary school. After close examination of these pieces of art many of them (especially the boys) had drawn penises on the snowmen.

Another time I helped a fellow teacher on a field trip to Rose Theater in Omaha. As we were driving through downtown Omaha the kids were getting obnoxious so I suggested they quiet down and listen to the radio station the bus driver was playing. Imagine my surprise when the song currently playing had the chorus of:

"When you see my face, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell
When you walk my way, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell"

Every second grader on the bus loudly sang along so obviously this was not the first time they had heard the tune.
 
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JWolf74

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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.
Based on your posting here, I'd postulate those nuns could have taught you a whole lot more.

But regarding Maus, it's a graphic novel. A cartoon mouse nipple. that's what these people are reportedly up in arms about. Those kids hear and read far worse language on a daily basis. Watering down genocide to placate the bible thumpers is ridiculous.
 
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THE_DEVIL

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As someone who has fed lord knows how many mice to snakes, you’d be surprised how big mouse balls are.

tenor.gif
Sorry @seminole97. Your post is out as my sig. The above is taking its place.
 
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goldmom

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Based on your posting here, I'd postulate those nuns could have taught you a whole lot more.

But regarding Maus, it's a graphic novel. A cartoon mouse nipple. that's what these people are reportedly up in arms about. Those kids here and read far worse language on a daily basis. Watering down genocide to placate the bible thumpers is ridiculous.
Get over yourself and the personal attacks. Postulate my ass. If my kids were in 8th grade and this was part of their curriculum, I wouldn't get my panties in a wad. My subsequent posts indicated I was not defending the decision, but that I suspected the board was responding to the wishes of parents and community.
If you can't understand that then there's a s..t ton more you could have learned.
 

Keehawk

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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.
So, a 17 year old gets it and learns from it. Maybe it should be junior or senior class material. This vote is for eighth graders.
 
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globalhawk

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So, a 17 year old gets it and learns from it. Maybe it should be junior or senior class material. This vote is for eighth graders.
I can understand that. However, the school board banned the book so I assume it can't be taught in ANY school.
 
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gohawks50

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So, a 17 year old gets it and learns from it. Maybe it should be junior or senior class material. This vote is for eighth graders.
He discovered the book at 17. Where does he say he wouldn't have been impacted by it at a younger age?

Why do you feel this book is inappropriate for a 14/15 year old eighth grader, but okay for a 17 year old?
 

Jimmy McGill

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The only benefit of being a history major in undergrad is I can call BS on people that want to erase history. I may have to run for school board again to prevent this type of shite.

How anyone can try to deny knowledge of the holocaust is beyond comprehension for me.
 

Keehawk

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He discovered the book at 17. Where does he say he wouldn't have been impacted by it at a younger age?

Why do you feel this book is inappropriate for a 14/15 year old eighth grader, but okay for a 17 year old?
He doesn't say that. Where do I say I feel the book is inappropriate for an 8th grader?
 

gohawks50

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He doesn't say that. Where do I say I feel the book is inappropriate for an 8th grader?
I assumed that by supporting the board's vote you agree it's inappropriate for 8th graders, is that not the case?
 

JWolf74

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Get over yourself and the personal attacks. Postulate my ass. If my kids were in 8th grade and this was part of their curriculum, I wouldn't get my panties in a wad. My subsequent posts indicated I was not defending the decision, but that I suspected the board was responding to the wishes of parents and community.
If you can't understand that then there's a s..t ton more you could have learned.
Then we agree, those parents are morons. A common theme amongst the trump cult.
 

Keehawk

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I assumed that by supporting the board's vote you agree it's inappropriate for 8th graders, is that not the case?
I've never read it. I do not have an opinion. I was pointing out that a 17 year old reading it is not proof that it's appropriate for all 14 year olds.
 

globalhawk

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I imagine you know home-schooled kids outperform public-schooled kids. Sounds like those parents are making some pretty good choices
Can I see I link to this? I managed a program that had home-schooled, private and public students. The home-schooled were a little slower.
 

joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
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? 🤬
Pig farmers are Republicans mom....why do you think Ioway votes red? And the "pig farmer" is being rapidly replaced by the "company owned pig farmer"......corporatism has no bounds here in Pig-Shit Ioway.
Again......Tennesseeans are not known for their scholars and deep thinkers as they afe by their provincialism and shallow-mindedness......think "Beverly Hillbillies"......think "Scopes Monkey trial"......think federal liquor stamps.
 
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goldmom

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Pig farmers are Republicans mom....why do you think Ioway votes red? And the "pig farmer" is being rapidly replaced by the "company owned pig farmer"......corporatism has no bounds here in Pig-Shit Ioway.
Again......Tennesseeans are not known for their scholars and deep thinkers as they afe by their provincialism and shallow-mindedness......think "Beverly Hillbillies"......think "Scopes Monkey trial"......think federal liquor stamps.
Some days you’re more of a dummy than others, Joel.
FYI the Beverly Hillbillies were not from Tennessee. The Scopes trial was roughly 100 years ago, when many rural Americans shared a similar idea rejecting evolution.
If you believe Tennessee is caught in some isolated time-freeze warp and things have not changed, you’re at a place in your own life that you must be happy with. Speaking of provincial shallowness...
You don’t have to spend any energy pondering that, so I suppose that’s good for an old fart like you.
 
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BioHawk

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I imagine you know home-schooled kids outperform public-schooled kids. Sounds like those parents are making some pretty good choices
I can tell you the home school kids that I have seen do well aren't the ones that have parents that were preventing exposure to things that might make them feel uncomfortable or avoiding the realities of some of the terrible things humans have done to each other.
 

joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
Some days you’re more of a dummy than others, Joel.
FYI the Beverly Hillbillies were not from Tennessee. The Scopes trial was roughly 100 years ago, when many rural Americans shared a similar idea rejecting evolution.
If you believe Tennessee is caught in some isolated time-freeze warp and things have not changed, you’re at a place in your own life that you must be happy with. Speaking of provincial shallowness...
You don’t have to spend any energy pondering that, so I suppose that’s good for an old fart like you.
The best thing Tennessee ever had was Peyton Manning,.,..and they only rented him. Phuquin' Tennessee......,are you kidding me?
Where were the Beverly Hillbillies from? Maybe the Mizzery Ozarks?
Tennessee is in a time warp.......and Ioway wants to get there ASAP! Altho Tennessee does make good whiskey....the kind they even put federal labels on!
 

seminole97

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I believe you just got censored
That would only be true if one of you guys whined to The Devil about the content of the communication, and he acceded.

If he finds something else funnier and wants to use that instead he isn't censoring.
 

goldmom

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The best thing Tennessee ever had was Peyton Manning,.,..and they only rented him. Phuquin' Tennessee......,are you kidding me?
Where were the Beverly Hillbillies from? Maybe the Mizzery Ozarks?
Tennessee is in a time warp.......and Ioway wants to get there ASAP! Altho Tennessee does make good whiskey....the kind they even put federal labels on!
Will someone take this fool's shovel away, please?