Author Ta-Nehisi Coates crashed a South Carolina school board meeting where his book was at the forefront of discussion because it allegedly made students feel “guilty for being white.”
On Monday (July 17), Lexington-Richland District 5 School Board convened to discuss controversy surrounding Coates’ book “Between the World and Me,” which details the author’s experiences with racism, the Daily Beast reports.
The meeting came after an AP Language teacher at Chapin High School conducted a lesson earlier this year involving the book. The book was later banned from the course after students filed a complaint saying it made them feel “guilty for being white.”
At Monday’s school board meeting, a group of people wore blue and came together in support of the book and academic freedom. Coates joined the meeting, sitting in the back of the room next to the teacher who conducted the lesson on his book.
“What matters most to me is that my students have the ability to hear six or seven opinions on one topic and come up with their own thesis, supported with evidence, and come up with an independent conclusion,” Superintendent Dr. Akil Ross said.
PEN America, a literary human-rights organization, said the book ban was “an outrageous act of government censorship and a textbook example of how educational gag orders corrupt free inquiry in the classroom.”
“We cannot become critical thinkers without being uncomfortable in some way,” one student told the Lexington-Richland board. “If students can’t learn these things in a safe space, like school, how are they—we—meant to make good decisions and think critically?”
A vote wasn’t held by the board after public discussion.
Join our email list to stay connected.