High-School Teacher: Stop Teaching Shakespeare Because He’s a White Man


A veteran teacher at Luther Burbank High School, the biggest high school in Sacramento, Calif., is proposing that high-school teachers stop teaching Shakespeare because he’s just some old white guy who died a long time ago so what could he know about anything.

In a piece published in the Washington Post, Dana Dusbiber explains that we should “leave Shakespeare out of the English curriculum entirely” because she “[does] not believe that a long-dead, British guy is the only writer who can teach [her] students about the human condition.”

“What I worry about is that as long as we continue to cling to ONE (white) MAN’S view of life as he lived it so long ago, we (perhaps unwittingly) promote the notion that other cultural perspectives are less important,” she writes. 

Why she seems to consider not teaching Shakespeare at all and teaching only Shakespeare to be the only two options here is unclear. After all, it seems to me like you could assign Shakespeare and works from “other cultural perspectives” — but hey, what do I know.

#related#And although Shakespeare is indeed a “(white) MAN,” (boo! hiss!) one might argue that some of his other credentials — such as being one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language – might make his work an important thing to keep teaching.

But Dusbiber just doesn’t see it that way:

“Shakespeare lived in a pretty small world,” she writes. “It might now be appropriate for us to acknowledge him as chronicler of life as he saw it 450 years ago and leave it at that.”

But don’t worry. She doesn’t think Shakespeare’s whiteness is the only reason he shouldn’t be taught — she also explains that it’s just too hard.

She writes: “I dislike Shakespeare because of my own personal disinterest in reading stories written in an early form of the English language that I cannot always easily navigate.”

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online

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