The chair of a high school English department in South Carolina approved AP English teacher Mary Wood’s request to use Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me, for a lesson. But some parents’ snowflake children complained that the book made them feel “uncomfortable” and “ashamed to be Caucasian,” so district officials ordered the lesson halted in February.
Yesterday, the parents who value education showed up wearing blue (the school color) to support Ms. Wood. Ta-Nehisi Coates showed up too! He sat next to Wood to demonstrate his support.
Good for Mr. Coates. Here’s an excerpt from a story about the meeting in the Post & Courier:
One of those speakers, Tess Pratt, the chairwoman of Chapin High School’s English department, told the board that she had ordered the copies of Coates’ book for Wood’s class, and recounted her experience taking the assigned copies of “Between the World and Me” away from students after district officials stopped the lesson.
“I became a high school English teacher 30 years ago because I believe that every human being has a story … I have dedicated my entire life to sharing such stories, both fiction and non-fiction with my students,” she said, choking up. “I have shared my own stories with my students throughout these years and invited them to do the same with me.”
“On the day that I took Ta-Nehisi Coates’ books out of the hands of Ms. Wood’s students, I silenced his story,” she continued. “Even though this was a decision that was not mine, I will regret that moment in front of those students for the rest of my life, because it was wrong.”
Good for Ms. Pratt for owning that. Good for all those parents and students for showing up.
The meeting ended inconclusively (no vote on resuming the lesson), but at least there was pushback on the book banners, and the sane people had their say too. God knows the Moms for Liberty types never shut the fuck up, so it’s up to the rest of us to show up and support educators.