One high school English teacher in Washington thinks it's time to kick Huck and Jim, Atticus and Scout, and Lennie and George out of school for good. They just don't cut it anymore because the books in which they appear (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men) also include black characters portrayed as "ignorant, inarticulate, and uneducated."
John Foley has reached this remarkable conclusion almost entirely because of America's inauguration of its first black president tomorrow, an event of which everyone in this country should be proud whether they voted for the man or not. However, President Obama will already be faced with completely unrealistic expectations as to the ways that he will impact the future of not only this country but that of the entire world. Are we now to believe that such an articulate black man can also rewrite the history of his race in this country? I hate revisionist history when it tries to rewrite reality, and I'm afraid that is exactly what Mr. Foley is suggesting.
The two books Foley is suggesting should replace the three classics he wants to toss out are both great books. One of the two (Lonesome Dove), in fact, is my favorite novel and I've reread it several times already and plan read it many more times. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to replace three classic novels with two other worthy books simply because the black characters of those two books are more positively presented. Why is there not room for all five of these books in a four-year high school curriculem?
For both sides of the argument, take a look at this LA Times article.