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Culture & Religion

Literary Canon: Dead, White, Essential

"Efforts to make education more 'relevant' to black people can be both patronising and harmful. The western literary canon should be taught to everyone."

“Sadly, the canon has a serious image problem amongst black people, too. Many see it as the preserve of white public schoolboys, taught in fusty classrooms by doddery Oxbridge tutors. We have been led to see it as whitey’s birthright, not ours. Meanwhile anti-racist educationalists and black community leaders rail against a racist curriculum which does not meet the cultural needs of their students, with some calling for ‘black schools’ in which black culture—rather than an elite white culture—can be taught. But the literary canon should not be the preserve of any one race.”


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