The Shorewood School District has reversed its decision and will put on a production of To Kill a Mockingbird – for one night only. In a letter to students’ families, as reported by WDJT, the district will allow the play to go on one night after “a community conversation on race.”
The play was cancelled after some students and community members objected to the usage of the n-word in the play even though its use is consistent with the time, place and racial prejudice the play describes.
The letter read in part:
We will launch these conversations this week with two events:
- A Community conversation on Race on Tuesday, October 16th from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm in the Shorewood High School Auditorium.
- A performance of “To Kill A Mockingbird” on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 pm in the Shorewood High School Auditorium. A community talkback will occur after the performance. Information about tickets will be provided in another email.
We encourage all community members to come to both events. We will be working closely with the Shorewood Police Department to make sure the previous concerns around safety and security are addressed.
The District is committed to continuing these honest conversations about race as a way to identify areas for improvement, recognize the voices of students of color, and bring the community together.
The necessity of such a “community conversation on race” in advance of the play assumes that students and community members in Shorewood are incapable of understanding the text of the play and the context in which the n-word appears. Unfortunately, the assumption may be valid given the need for additional security from the Shorewood police for a high school play based upon a classic work of fiction.
Given the supposed threatening atmosphere, how honest will Tuesday night’s “conversation” on race be in Shorewood? Will the “conversation” consist of school board members groveling to a politically correct mob, or will the school district take the opportunity to stand against censorship by explaining the necessity of presenting the work as it was intended?
(If we wanted to encourage public drunkenness, we might suggest everyone take a swig from a flask every time President Donald Trump is mentioned at the Tuesday night event.)
As for those who claim that just removing the offending words would make the problem go away, the play weakens with the watering down of difficult-to-hear words. The trial itself loses the context if you only see it as someone who is unjustly accused without understanding the underlying racism of the community.
The Shorewood School District has behaved terribly in this drama. After first apologizing and withdrawing the play, now they bring it back – for only one night! – only with apologies for not discussing the play with the community first. They should begin the meeting Tuesday, and the production on Wednesday, with an apology for failing to educate the students who plan to protest the play on how to actually read and comprehend the material.
Ironically, the censoring of a story about a trial has put the community of oh-so-politically-correct Shorewood on trial, and the evidence points to community-wide stupidity.