The mockingbird sings

A reading of To Kill a Mockingbird was performed for an Indiana audience, after the Columbus East High School performance was canceled to protect students from bigoted language used by bigots in the play.

At an Indianapolis high school, the principal refused to back down when a minister objected to Separate But Equal, a TV movie about Brown vs. the Board of Education, writes Lincoln Plawg. The movie stars Sidney Poitier as Thurgood Marshall.

Now, you’d have thought that a movie like that would be unlikely to favour the side of Jim Crow! More like a civil rights pageant, one suspects.

One might have thought that black parents would view such a flick as just the sort of wholesome, empowering fare they would want their kids to see in Black History Month.

The pastor objected to bigoted language used by bigots. Children can’t handle that, he says.

There’s a great quote from principal Shari Switzer.

“It was an ugly time in our history — we did ugly things, we used ugly words. My belief is we need to educate kids on the good and the bad because kids can make a difference,” Switzer said.

“Kids recognize the wrong in what they saw.”

Kids are smarter than some of the adults trying to protect them.

About Joanne


  1. Alex Bensky says:

    As far as I understand it, “n” uttered by any non-black, irrespective of the context, is a mark of bigotry, hostile environment, and irredeemable racism. When uttered by a black, it’s OK.

    I conclude this because it’s all over black-oriented popular music, it’s every other word out of most black comedians’ mouths, and in my mostly black neighborhood I hear it all the time. This doesn’t seem to bother the virtucrats.

  2. Independent George says:

    But all I did was say to my wife, “This bread is good enough for Jehovah!”

  3. More Princess and the Pea stuff. This little melodrama goes all the way back to Huck Finn.

    The whole point of blacks being able to say it, while whites cannot, is more of the: “I can forbid you to do something that I can do. Take that, you morally inferior person!”

    The point of exercises like this is to set up one race as morally superior to another. It’s important to continue to picture whites, and particularly white men, are particularly evil and prone to racism. Otherwise, the gravy train of the quota system would be overturned.

    Forty years later, I’d like to say this about what life was like before the civil rights movement. If blacks had been 90% of the populace and whites had been 10%, everything would have been completely reversed. Blacks would have methodically discriminated against and abused whites. This is part of human nature. The notion that there was and is a peculiar predeliction toward racism among whites is pure nonsense. It exists in every human, and it’s not all bad.

    At some point in the future, we’ll have to face the reality that racism is rooted in reality… the first thing that we do when we meet another person is to try to determine whether that person is friend or foe, and race is one of the factors in making this determination.

    Blacks know this very well. When they mock us by using a word that we cannot, they are mocking us for not being able to confront a reality that they can confront.

  4. George, I just saw “Life of Brian” (which has the Jehovah scene) on DVD in lieu of paying to see the torture of the Christ.

  5. Mark Odell says:
  6. Independent George says:

    Bread, halibut – it’s all the same… I’ll offer a high school diploma to anyone who can work in a Mel Brooks reference to this post.

  7. Okay George,
    “Congratulations, In 25 years you’ll be able to shake their hands in public”

  8. I think that one way to be honest about the past is to actually spell out “nigger” rather than edit it. It’s an ugly word, but I don’t see how making it kinda sorta hidden is helping things. I really don’t see any good reason to hide the ugliness of the past. Like “queer”, the word has been taken on by its old targets. Someday “nigger” will be less hateful and just an anachronistic stupidity.

    Also, rather than refer to the “F-word”, maybe we can avoid the thing altogether and take “fuck” out of our daily language?

  9. greeneyeshade says:

    the business about blacks using the ‘n’ word but not whites reinforces the old point that some humor isn’t meant to go outside the in-group. to take 1 example that doesn’t involve race: 30 or so years ago a columnist wrote in the pittsburgh area’s public tv program that (roughly paraphrasing) the Feast of the Assumption was coming up that month, followed by the Feast of the Broad Generalization and then by the Feast of the Inaccurate Conclusion. when a lot of catholics wrote in to take offense, the columnist explained that he was catholic himself. but he was writing in a non-cathllic medium, and that made the difference. this jewish reader could see the point, and still can.

  10. Independent George says:

    Brad – I hereby grant you this online confirmation certifying that you are a graduate of the Mr. George Academy & Office Supply Shop.

    Greeneyeshade – I wonder if they saw the irony about taking offense at his joke on the Assumption, Broad Generalization, and Inaccurate Conclusion without realizing he was Catholic…

  11. JimInNoVA says:

    jon – watch your fucking language. =)

    (Note to the FCC: I used it as an adjective, it’s ok)