Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb” has been moved from the elementary section to the middle school section of a Miami-Dade County public school after a parent complaint and school review.
A parent of a student at Bob Graham Education Center objected to the poem, claiming it “is not educational and have indirectly hate messages.”
The grammatical error is not mine. It’s a direct quote from the written complaint.
The complainant also argued that the poem would “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.”
They also claimed that the poem was written by Oprah Winfrey.
The same parent made similar complaints about “Love to Langston,” a poetry-based biography of Langston Hughes; “The ABCs of Black History,” and two books about Cuba.
Those books remain untouched on their previously assigned shelves.
My students and I watched the Presidential inauguration in 2021 and heard Amanda Gorman read her poem.
I’ll never forget it. My students and I loved it. I still do.
It’s a beautiful poem.
Every time I read about one of these ridiculous book bannings or attempts to ban a book, I always think the same thing:
There are a lot of fragile, frightened, small-minded white people in our country.
A surprisingly large number of people lack the intellectual rigor and ethical footing to both acknowledge the truth of the past and accept the realities of the present.
Also a bunch of bigots, too. White supremacists, racists, and the like. Real scum of the earth villains.
Not the majority, of course, or even close to it, I hope. But enough to be annoying, threatening, and sometimes exceedingly destructive.
Sadly, their kids will ultimately pay the price for their fragility.
These children will either fall down the same ugly, racist rabbit hole as their parents, or they will be poorly equipped to handle adversity, incapable of navigating nuance, stunted in their ability to feel empathy, unable to work with and love those who don’t look or think like them, and find themselves trapped in homogeneous pockets of our country where opportunity is so often limited.
If you believe that Amanda Gorman’s poem is somehow dangerous to your children, you have likely doomed those same children to a small, stunted, narrow life filled with anger, hate, and disappointment.
As a teacher, I can’t bear the thought.