Skip to main content


School’s out for Malala’s book

Muhammad Reza/Anadolu Agency

It’s not only the left who are banning books these days, says Charlie Sykes in The Bulwark. Now the right are at it too. In Pennsylvania, parents complained that a school’s reading list put their children at risk of “growing up feeling guilty” because they’re white. The schoolboard put a freeze on children using a children’s book about Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography and CNN’s Sesame Street town hall on racism.

In Tennessee, parents have gone further. A group called “Moms for Liberty” have taken it upon themselves to object to any book which “made kids feel uncomfortable about race”. On the chopping block are Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington, and The Story of Ruby Bridges, about the black six-year-old who integrated a Louisiana public school in 1960. A description of how Ruby prayed for God to forgive the white mob who tried to stop her coming to school apparently makes a “direct comparison between white people and those that crucified Jesus”.

St Andrews wants saintly students

St Andrews University has introduced compulsory “unconscious bias” training modules for new students, says Nicola Woodcock in The Times. If they fail, they’re not allowed to begin the year. The induction asks students to agree with statements including: “Acknowledging your personal guilt is a useful start point in overcoming unconscious bias.” Those who tick “disagree” are marked incorrect.

Another question from the course asks: “Does equality mean treating everyone the same?” Those who respond “yes” are told: “That’s not right, in fact equality may mean treating people differently and in a way that is appropriate to their needs so that they have fair outcomes and equal opportunity.” Other testers include what year the university’s biodiversity strategy was approved and “how long it takes to reach Dundee by bus”.