ATHENS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee school district has voted to ban a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust due to “inappropriate language” and an illustration of a nude woman, according to minutes from a board meeting.
The Associated Press notes that “The nude woman is drawn as a mouse. In the graphic novel, Jews are drawn as mice and the Nazis are drawn as cats.”
According to a tweet by the U.S. Holocaust Museum: “Maus has played a vital role in educating about the Holocaust through sharing detailed and personal experiences of victims and survivors. On the eve of International #HolocaustRemembranceDay, it is more important than ever for students to learn this history.”
One news story, which I cannot find now, noted that it’s increasingly difficult to teach historical events to students who weren’t even born when 9/11 occurred. I can see how this would be a challenge to history teachers: making the events of the past relevant to a generation focused on texting the current moment as though there were never any earlier moments.
Maus is not a pleasant book, but then neither is the subject matter and the lessons we learn from being made uncomfortable about the world’s worst moment are, I think, vital to our understanding of how we became the people we are now.