Skip to comments.Heroines or Busybodies? Seattle women make an end run around an Idaho school board.
Posted on 04/23/2014 8:30:47 PM PDT by crazycatlady
Hundreds of Meridian, Idaho high school students signed a protest petition when their local school board banned Sherman Alexie' young adult novel "The Absolutely True Diary of a part-Time Indian" from their 10th grade curriculum. But a private fundraising drive, organized by two Washington women, has now raised enough money to buy a copy for each of the 350 students who protested...
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.seattlepi.com ...
Which way does it lean?
I’m not sure what you mean, but most of what I’ve read strongly supports the two Seattle women, and is sharply critical of the Meridian school board and complaining parents.
The only place that I saw a lot of support for the Meridian school board was in PI comments on another April 3 piece by Connolly(before the Seattle women got involved). But there were also some extremely ugly things said about people in Meridian.
One thing they are right about—this will boost Alexie’s book sales.
I’ve used this book in my classes with struggling readers and writers, most of whom are Native Alaskans. It’s just vulgar enough to grab their attention. The themes are developed enough for the students to respond in writing. We’ve also read some of his short stories. There’s also a film, “Smoke Signals,” which is very well done, in my opinion. Alexie is a good vehicle to teach English to teenagers.
We’ve also watched him in various YouTube videos, and read some of his nonfiction writing. He’s a solid leftist who sees the world in racial and post-colonial terms. In that way, my classes also use his own words to demonstrate his racism, bitterness, and whining. To be fair, a lot of his Native characters are drunk, violent, and stupid. Most of my student think his attitude is pathetic.
Best comment so far, from a Yup’ik kid (and I paraphrase): “So here’s an Indian guy writing stories about how bad white people have been to Indians, while selling millions of books to those same white people and making tons of cash while doing it. Pretty slick.”
Are they going to ask the parents of those 350 kids before giving them smut?
Nor is it burning books. If the school board doesn't buy a copy of Hustler for every student, would that be "banning?"
A perfect little lie to set up the compliant "Drive By Media" and knock it out of the park. They will move on before anyone has an opportunity to correct the news readers.
Hopefully, parents and students, some of them at least, won't bite the boob bait.
If they gave an inappropriate book to my kid I would sue them even if I had to make something up. Do these women override the wishes of the parents in your world?
“Jowls” Connolly? If he’s fer it I’m agin it LOL
I say ban the stupid liberal aholes from Washington. No liberal Aholes from Washington allowed in Idaho!
I don't think these 350 students should get these books unless those that paid for these books also pay for books for ALL the students.
(Of course, if the parents want to burn those books, that's their prerogative)
This book has just been assigned to my son for his summer reading list. He has been accepted into Honors English in his Freshman year at a Catholic H.S. I was quite surprised to see this book on his list. With the wealth of American literature available, why would a Catholic school assign it to incoming honors students? I was told that the book deals with themes of drug use, homosexuality and bullying. I wanted to hurl. I love my son and think the world of him, but having attended Catholic schools all his life, as he enters high school he is pretty naive...especially compared to the public schools around here. So I am interested in your thoughts on the impact the book might make on a straight arrow, naive, incoming freshman....
I liked the movie Smoke Signals.
Didnt like Indian Killer too much. A whodunit should say whodunit.
Reservation Blues was so-so.
Thanks for your input on Alexie.
A part-time Indian? Elizabeth Warren?
They have started using the term “challenged books” because people like me complain every time they say banned. And yes, I consider it exactly like the Mapplethorpe affair.
I understand that some Muslim countries have banned the movie Noah. When they do it, it’s probably real banning.
The Holy Bible likewise deals with such themes.
A few years ago I was at a Barnes and Noble in Seattle and noticed a table of books being used in various Seattle schools. I had a feeling I would see stuff I disapproved of. I was quite surprised to see “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. “Water for Elephants has some very dirty passages, dirtier than anything Alexie has written, probably. It’s not a bad book for grownups, but if I were trying to find a contemporary novel for high schoolers, I could find something better, I think.
One of my old high school English teachers got the whole town of Glendive MT in an uproar when he was teaching there in the sixties( before he taught at my school). Catcher in the Rye had been used a lot by then, but not in Glendive evidently. He said he finally consulted a nun at a Catholic school in Billings to see what they were assigning. She told him they used to use Catcher in the Rye but had started using In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
I think Obamas first book is used in schools, which is not necessarily bad, except I doubt if any other presidential memoirs are. I also understand that some more recent printings have edited out a few more objectionable things.
the same reason they pushed Catcher in the Rye on us....the same reason we had to read a lot of other nonsense crap...because they could....
Ah, you answered my “leaning” question. Thx. :-)
>>>This book has just been assigned to my son for his summer reading list. He has been accepted into Honors English in his Freshman year at a Catholic H.S. I was quite surprised to see this book on his list. With the wealth of American literature available, why would a Catholic school assign it to incoming honors students? I was told that the book deals with themes of drug use, homosexuality and bullying. I wanted to hurl. I love my son and think the world of him, but having attended Catholic schools all his life, as he enters high school he is pretty naive...especially compared to the public schools around here. So I am interested in your thoughts on the impact the book might make on a straight arrow, naive, incoming freshman....<<<
Like I said, I use this book with struggling Native students. It’s written at a junior high level, which is challenging for my students, who come to our boarding school often reading at third or fourth grade level. The rather crude themes have high interest for a typical 14-year-old male. Alexie paints drugs and alcohol always as negative, and his descriptions are accurate; his writing about homosexuality are typically liberal and supportive, but there are no gay characters, just references to being gay. Bullying is presented in a manner that reminds me a lot of my own schooling in 1970, and it’s actually quite traditional in its insistence that people fight back and that we’re responsible for our own lives and responsible for what we get.
But an honors class? That makes no sense. The honors students that I know would rip through this book in a few hours, maybe less. “Absolutely True Diary...” is a little above the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, but far below the classics. I’d think the honors kids would be better served with Thoreau, Whitman, Twain, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and the Federalist Papers. Alexie? No way is he in that league.
My guess? The school has some PC racialist teachers who want “diverse” reading, and Alexie is the token Native guy. Proof might be in the reading list - if it’s evenly distributed by gender and race, that might be what’s going on. Just speaking for myself, I find such an approach disgusting.