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The critic speaks

A hat tip is due to education officials in Brunswick County who refused to bow to a local politician who sought to have a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel yanked from school bookshelves.

County Commissioner Pat Sykes raised a stink about students at West Brunswick High School reading Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” which she described as “filth” in a formal complaint filed with the county’s education committee, according to a report in the Wilmington-based Port City Daily.

She admitted in her complaint that she had not actually read the entire book, only portions of it. Also, Sykes doesn’t have children who attend school in the county.

But that didn’t stop her from tearing into the book. She apparently was offended by the book’s themes, including racism, writing that racist language was unacceptable “in this day were [sic] we are being sued for using or saying the ‘N’ word. Look at Paula Deen.”

Sykes also pulled the religion card, asking why the Ten Commandments were no longer taught in public schools. “Yet, it’s true history,” she wrote. “So the Ten Commandments are too divisive and offensive, but not books containing immorality that are contrary to faith principles?”

The education committee reviewed Sykes’ complaint, took a look at the novel, then unanimously decided that the book would remain on school library shelves and continue to be included in the curriculum.  Sykes could not be reached for comment, but we suspect that decision turned her the color purple.

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