Friday, May 20, 2022

Cambridge University slaps ‘trigger warnings’ on classic children’s books because of potentially ‘harmful content’

Classic children’s books in a Cambridge University archive will in future be labelled with ‘trigger warnings’ for ‘harmful content relating to slavery, colonialism and racism’.

Researchers are reviewing more than 10,000 books and magazines to expose authors who have been ‘offensive to historically enslaved, colonised or denigrated people’.

It comes after anti-racist campaigners demanded teachers censor racial slurs when reading out the text of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.

The archive at Cambridge’s Homerton College is being reviewed as part of a move to upload texts to a digital library. In online versions, words, phrases and images deemed harmful will be flagged and content warnings placed at the beginning of each text.

Offending authors include Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote Little House On The Prairie, for her ‘stereotypical depictions of Native Americans’. Another is Dr Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of the Dr Seuss books, for ‘overt blackface’ and cultural insensitivities.

The Water Babies, Charles Kingsley’s 1863 children’s classic about a young chimney sweep, is described as having the potential to ‘harm readers without warning’ for comments about Irish and black people.

L Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, is also cited for ‘white supremacy’ in his Bandit Jim Crow, written under the pen name of Laura Bancroft.

The project is being paid for by a £80,633 grant from the taxpayer-funded UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Source: The Daily Mail