Canceling the Bard: “It’s Time for Shakespeare to Be Set Aside”
Well, in an era where social justice warriors are working tirelessly to cancel celebrities, American founders, and everyone in between, it should come as no surprise to see them finally arrive at that old master of English literature: None other than William Shakespeare.
In a recent entry in the School Library Journal, librarian Amanda MacGregor carefully explains that, no matter how much the Western canon may owe to the Bard, his “works are full of problematic, outdated ideas, with plenty of misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir.”
And just think of all the time English students are spending on his masterful plays when they could be reading the latest divisive tripe from Ibram X. Kendi!
“Is Shakespeare more valuable or relevant than myriad other authors who have written masterfully about anguish, love, history, comedy, and humanity in the past 400-odd years?” asks MacGregor. “A growing number of educators are asking this about Shakespeare, along with other pillars of the canon, coming to the conclusion that it’s time for Shakespeare to be set aside or deemphasized to make room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices.”
Well, when you have educators who believe that we should stop teaching The Federalist Papers and start teaching The 1619 Project, none of this should come as a terrible surprise. It’s terrible, to be sure, but it’s no surprise.
MacGregor then spends the rest of her piece profiling public school teachers like…
Sarah Mulhern Gross, who teaches Romeo and Juliet “through the lens of adolescent brain development with a side of toxic masculinity analysis.
Elizabeth Neilson, who uses Shakespeare’s characters to teach Marxist theory to her English students.
And then there’s Cameron Campos, who has moved away from Shakespeare entirely: “My grade 11 and 12 courses use texts almost entirely written by Indigenous authors.”
THAT sounds like a well-rounded education!
MacGregor also lets us hear from ninth grade English teacher Liz Matthews, who has decided that Shakespeare doesn’t make sense for her “95 percent Black and Latinx” students.
“I replaced Romeo and Juliet with The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros last year and Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds this year,” she says. “Simply put, the authors and characters of the two new[er] books look and sound like my students, and they can make realistic connections. Representation matters.”
We’re not familiar with those authors, but if they “sound” like ninth grade high school students, that’s not the highest recommendation we’ve ever heard.
So it is that the dumbing down of America continues, this time under the guide of diversity, inclusion, and “representation.” We can only hope that a future generation rediscovers the old masters and thinks to themselves: Wait, this stuff was around the whole time?
That is, if leftists haven’t burned every trace of it by then.