Two Completely Unrelated Stories


Today, Stinque brings you two completely unrelated stories from the great state of North Carolina:

Our first item, comes to us from scenic Randolph County, where the local school board has voted 5-2 to remove all copies of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man from public school libraries, after the parent of an 11th grader complained about the book. Ellison’s novel has heretofore been considered  a classic of American literature and an invaluable portrait of the black experience in America and landmark narrative of racial alienation at a time in our nation’s history when, in many regions of the country, African American’s were routinely denied, not just the vote, but the right to eat, shop and attend school in the same establishments as whites. The novel won its author the 1953 National Book award.

However, this assessment has more recently come under fire by members of the Randolph County school board. Speaking for the majority, board member and literary authority, Gary Mason, pronounced that he “didn’t find any literary value” in the work, and so it has been banished.

Our second story, gentle reader, comes to us from Charlotte, where, in a comedy of errors befitting a Three Stooges film, or Movie Night in Hitler’s Bunker, an injured African American man who managed to drag himself away from a horrible accident, found himself, first shunned by a terrified homeowner to whom he had turned for help, and then, riddled with bullets by a police officer who mistook the young black man’s pleas for help as an impending attack. Before making questionable decision to turn to white people in North Carolina for help with his injuries, Jonathan Ferrell played football for Florida A &M, where he majored in Chemistry.

Now, there may be some among you who would seek to find some link between these stories, to see an underlying commonality in a story about members of a white North Carolina school board who see no literary value in the great American Classic Novel of African American alienation and residents and police officers of a North Carolina city who react to the pleas of a wounded African American man with fear and deadly violence. But if that was your first reaction then allow us to assure you that you’re barking up the wrong tree and you couldn’t be more wrong. Trust us, there’s nothing to see here. Apples and oranges. Now, please move on.


It would appear we are moving backward in time. (facepalm)

Some days I read this stuff and just want to crawl under a rock.

Edited to add: “I am an invisible man. Unless someone finds my flailing gestures threatening.”

Common sense, or a fear of bad publicity, wins out. Invisible Man was the only book in my Freshman Lit class I read cover to cover.

I’m not ashamed that my grandparents were part of the Harlem Renaissance. I’m ashamed that I’m part of the US Dark Ages.

@JNOV: I don’t know that I’m ashamed, but I’m getting tired of people my age — Franzen, Sorkin — turning into get-off-my-lawn fogeys. I would remind my Grumpy Cohorts that our Halcyon Youth was spent in the Seventies.

Some people think the 1870s were better than the 1970s. A lot of those people also think both the 1860s and the 1960s were decades from hell.

@Benedick: The best thing I can say about the Seventies is that it wasn’t the Eighties.

@Benedick: You voted for Lincoln in that election, right? Your papers had come through by then, I think…

@Benedick: I liked the 60s. Way better music than we have now.

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