The Washington Post has published a guest article by a California teacher arguing that American high school students shouldn’t read Shakespeare because he’s a dead, white man.
Dana Dusbiber, who teaches English in Sacramento, says she avoids Hamlet and all the rest because her minority students shouldn’t be expected to study a “a long-dead, British guy” (Dusbiber herself is white). And while Shakespeare is widely regarded as the premier writer of the English language, able to timelessly portray themes central to the human experience, Dusbiber says he only is regarded that way because “some white people” ordained it and he can easily be replaced.
Progressivism: A Prime... Best Price: $8.99 Buy New $10.95 (as of 08:30 EST - Details) “Why not teach the oral tradition out of Africa, which includes an equally relevant commentary on human behavior?” She suggests. “Why not teach translations of early writings or oral storytelling from Latin America or Southeast Asia other parts of the world? Many, many of our students come from these languages and traditions … perhaps we no longer have the time to study the Western canon that so many of us know and hold dear.”
To bolster her case for dumping the Bard, Dusbiber says that minority students, like those who dominate her own classroom, deserve to study their own cultures rather than being exposed to “Eurocentrism.” But at the same time, she takes the exact opposite position for whites, saying school should be a place for them to explore cultures other than their own.
“If we only teach white students, it is our imperative duty to open them up to a world of diversity through literature that they may never encounter anywhere else in their lives,” she says. “I admit that this proposal, that we leave Shakespeare out of the English curriculum entirely, will offend many.”
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