A Tennessee school board has banned a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Holocaust.
Maus: a Survivor’s Tale, a graphic novel that depicts the experiences of the author’s parents during the Holocaust, was reportedly banned owing to “rough, objectionable language” and nudity.
Tony Allman, a board member on the McMinn County Board of Education, said: “It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff? It is not wise or healthy.”
Board minutes show that in response, Instructional Supervisor Julie Goodin countered, “I was a history teacher, and there is nothing pretty about the Holocaust, and, for me, this was a great way to depict a horrific time in history.”
The Board voted to ban the book and replace it with one that it deemed less controversial.
The book’s author, Art Spiegelman, said that the decision had “the breath of autocracy and fascism about it. I think of it as a harbinger of things to come,” and clarified that the Board’s concern with nudity referred to a small image of his mother in the bath after cutting her wrists. “You have to really, like, want to get your sexual kicks by projecting on it,” Mr Spiegelman added.
In response to an online backlash to the news of the ban, the Board said that its members “do not diminish the value of Maus as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the importance of teaching our children the historical and moral lessons and realities of the Holocaust.”
They added: “We all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn of its horrors to ensure that such an event is never repeated. We simply do not believe that this work is an appropriate text for our students to study.”