Teaching about racism: Does iconic literature help or hurt?

Last Updated by Angela Davis and Manda Lillie on
Dateline:
"Huckleberry Finn" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" are cornerstones of high school literature. But those books have been removed from required reading lists in the Duluth Public Schools.

Administrators said they made the change after complaints about racist language in the books and questions about their cultural appropriateness. The books are still available in school libraries.

Some teachers in Duluth see this as an opportunity to broaden the reading lists of high schoolers beyond white authors. Others saw the books as vehicles for conversations about race and racism.

Angela Davis spoke with educators about the tricky task of teaching about race and racism in high school and what role literature can play.

Guests:
April Gibson— Clinical faculty in English at the Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas

Chong Yang Thao— High school English teacher at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast

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PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode February 11, 2018

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